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Poll 2020: Breathe Carolina

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Since their MySpace page accumulated 30 million plays in 2009, Breathe Carolina have become a potent voice in electronic music, combining electro-pop and EDM with a mid-2000s punk rock aesthetic. The duo, who hail from Colorado, USA, have since released five albums and nine EPs. Their 2011 anthemic party single, ‘Blackout’, still finds itself spun today after racking up massive mainstream success when it charted in the UK, Canada and America simultaneously. Auto-tune and vocoders may dominate their work, but it’s the duo’s amalgamation of post-hardcore influences and dance-oriented electronica which ends up being infectious.

Breathe Carolina’s latest project, ‘Dead: The Album’, was released late in 2019. Their first studio album in five years and their first since their departure from Fearless Records, ‘Dead: The Album’ strays towards a new sound weaving together elements of various strands of EDM and leaning heavily into pop and R&B. After five years without a studio album, this latest venture marked a turning point for the duo who were set to take 2020 by storm. One can only expect 2021 to fulfil their ambitions.
  
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
Dave: “Besides making music, I have been cooking a lot. It’s very therapeutic.” Tommy: “Just trying to stay active, making music, working out, going on runs.”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
Dave: “Never take for granted sleepless nights or long plane rides — haha.” Tommy: “We need to set up artists for success without live touring. We are fortunate enough to have our business running even without shows..."
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
"No matter if it’s the dance music scene or any other scene, racism is never OK and should never be tolerated. We need to open up more opportunity on every level of the dance community.”
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“We always strive to lead with an ALL are welcome approach and make a conscious effort to collaborate with artists, creatives etc from all backgrounds.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
Dave: “One of them is Nero’s ‘Promises (Skrillex remix)’.”
Tommy: “Daft Punk’s ‘Digital Love’.”

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 23:00

Style: 
“House/pop/future house.”
Best known for: 
“Our high energy shows.”
Tune of the year: 
Dave: “Joel Corry ‘Head & Heart’.” Tommy: “Jax Jones ‘This Is Real’.”

Poll 2020: Miss K8

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Ukranian hardcore DJ and producer Miss K8, real name Kateryna Kremko, has spent the last six years steadily climbing the Top 100 DJs poll. After big changes in 2019 — Kremko became a mother for the first time, performing until she was 28 weeks pregnant, and returning to the decks just three months later — the producer returned with brand new music for 2020. Collaborating with Angerfist on an EP earlier this year, as well as releasing a solo effort, the ‘queen of hardcore’ also confirmed a new album would land sometime in 2020 — the first since her 2016 LP ‘Magnet’. 
 
Outside of the studio, Kremko still managed to perform gigs this year, returning to the home of hardcore, Defqon.1 festival, for their first virtual event. She joined DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs Virtual Festival in September, and streamed a skull-crushing birthday live set for fans while in lockdown. If that’s not enough Miss K8 for you, there’s also archive sets online from the DJ at the incredible Dominator Festival in the Netherlands.
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“Spending 24/7 with my baby, studio time, Netflix.”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“Nothing is infinite.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time? 
 
“The Prodigy ‘Firestarter’.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 22:54

Style: 
“Hardcore techno.”
Best known for: 
“Dropping bass like an earthquake.”
Tune of the year: 
"DJ Mad Dog ‘In My House’.”

Poll 2020: Wolfpack

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Wolfpack
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"Going from a ‘tour life’ into the lockdown-life, you learn how important your close friends and family are," Belgian duo Wolfpack tell DJ Mag when asked what they've learnt in 2020. Known to those close to them as Steve Braet and Ruben Khaza, the duo have been on a whirlwind of success since their 2011 chart-topping single 'Rising Moon' was released.
 
Since then, collaborations with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike on 'Turn It Up' and 'Ocarina' have allowed them to twice reach the top of Beatport charts and they've become a mainstay in DJ Mag's annual Top 100 DJs list. Along the way, they've performed at Tomorrowland, Cream Ibiza and several major festivals around the world, garnering rave reviews for their electro-house style.
 
Wolfpack's non-stop touring and release schedule has afforded them little time with their families which they're now catching up on. Some unexpected free time has also allowed them to focus on other aspects of their career, including launching their brand new website with its own bespoke merchandise store.
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Family, music and friends – without them, we are nothing!”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“We can’t rely on our business model alone anymore. We’ve got to improve with live stream experiences like, for example, virtual reality, but also with even more focus on social engagement on Facebook, Instagram and others.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address racism in the dance music scene?

“We don’t really see any racism in the DJ scene. I (Ruben) am originally from Bangladesh and Steve is partly from Spain. We travel the whole world and love the variety of cultures.”
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“We would love to see more [revenue from] streams and downloads from music go to the artist who created it.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“What Daft Punk did on their album ‘Homework’ in 1997 was so unique and had never been done before.”
 
 
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 22:48

Style: 
“Big room.”
Best known for: 
“‘Ocarina’/‘Carnival’/‘Kalinka’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Bassjackers vs DJ Furax ‘Big Orgus 2020’.”

Poll 2020: Adam Beyer

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It’s taken him a while, but Adam Beyer has now firmly cemented his position as one of the biggest names in techno. It’s been 24 years since the Swedish DJ and producer released ‘Drumcode 01’, the simply-styled, debut of Drumcode Records. In those 24 years, Beyer’s Drumcode has become one of the most well-known and recognisable sounds within contemporary techno music: a steely functionalism and echoing power, drawing from the dark, cavernous spaces that command the European club scene.
 
Even with a year of no touring and plenty of time spent with family, Beyer has been on a tear; Drumcode has released 18 records and counting, including Beyer’s ‘No Defeat No Retreat’, his first solo EP in five years. Written in lockdown, and as the title suggests, the EP reminds Drumcode fans worldwide that this year won’t make Beyer retreat from techno stardom.
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“To help each other, rather than turning on each other.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“Racism has no place in our scene, or indeed anywhere. It all begins with education.”
 
 
Can you tell us what the main things you’ve been up to this year have been?
 
“I have finally built myself a studio and workspace. I have seen my family more than ever, and I’m well rested after 25 years of intense touring.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 22:42

Style: 
“Techno and beyond.”
Best known for: 
“Being a driving force in the techno scene since the ’90s, and founder of all things Drumcode.”

Poll 2020: Nicky Romero

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Remaining in the poll for a seventh consecutive year, Protocol Recordings boss and progressive house superstar, Nicky Romero, has managed to keep the wheels turning in 2020. After a slew of cancelled performances at festivals like Ultra Miami and Tomorrowland due to COVID-19, the DJ and producer contracted the virus himself in August. It didn’t put a stop to his plans, though, and he released a 2020 edit of his iconic track ‘Toulouse’ the same month.
 
Like the rest of the industry, Romero took his performances online this year, and hosted his own immersive, showstopping virtual event: Nicky Romero presents Another World. Taking viewers on a virtual journey through "wildest imaginations and hyper-realistic effects", Romero was joined by thousands of fans during the live stream back in July. 
 
It’s not just been virtual gigs keeping Romero connected to his fans this year, either. Taking to Twitch during downtime, Romero regularly streams games of Warzone, Call Of Duty and FIFA in his native Dutch, and cites gaming as a saviour while festivals and gigs are on pause.

 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“Family and friends, gaming, music producing.”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“Artists shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket. Diversify your creativity and business so you aren’t left out in the cold when unable to tour suddenly. We also need to be more supportive of our festival and club promoter partners while times aren’t so good.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“Racism is the opposite of what this culture is founded on. There is no place for it and no tolerance for bigotry.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“David Guetta & Sia ‘Titanium’.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 22:38

Style: 
“Progressive house.”
Best known for: 
“‘Toulouse’ / ‘I Could Be The One’.”
Tune of the year: 
“YTRAM & Elderbrook ‘FIRE’.”

Poll 2020: Vini Vici

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No doubt echoing the thoughts of many in the dance music industry, Vini Vici say of 2020: “We’ve just been trying to stay focused”. That’s been given a boost in the prevailing 'strange and uncertain' times by certain strokes of luck.

“A few things we largely wrapped in 2019 have only seen the light this year,” says Matan. “Our film ‘A Psy Trance (R)Evolution’ is a full-length documentary about ourselves and the psytrance music wave in general. We partnered with [production company] Bad Birds, [pay-per-view channel] InsightTV and Tomorrowland for the project and it turned out being bigger and becoming more global than we imagined.”

“We will also be releasing a remix album of some of our earlier tracks,” adds Aviram. “We pretty much have all the strongest artists in the psytrance scene doing reworks and we’re really happy with the results so far. That’s going to be out around the end of the year.”
 
Release-wise, the boys have been keeping it fairly low-key on their Alteza label front. June however did see them drop a major collab bomb in the form of ‘Get Into Trouble (So What)', alongside Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike.
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“Music, workout and family.”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“We cannot take things for granted. We always need to thrive and show the world the importance of dance music and rave culture for the happiness and unity of humanity.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“Racism is a no-go in our industry and, of course, generally. It’s all about peace, love, unity and respect. We think so far our industry did a good job deleting racism. Now we’d like to see more women and different ethnically-oriented DJs.”
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“Personally, we use a lot of different languages in our music. The variety and coolness of other cultures is something that brings different people — and not necessarily dance music lovers — to listen to our songs.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“Daft Punk ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’.”

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 22:22

Style: 
“Psytrance.”
Best known for: 
"Ethnic musical influences and good vibes only.”
Tune of the year: 
“Alchimyst x P.R.O.G feat. Maris Bergrune ‘Runes’.”

Poll 2020: ANNA

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A couple of years after winning the Beatport Breakthrough Award in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs poll, ANNA enters the list at No.95. Known to her parents as Ana Miranda, she went from playing to a 1,500-strong crowd at the age of 14 in her home country of Brazil to fronting DJ Mag North America in 2019. In the interview in that magazine, she talked about how she has had to overcome health problems and career setbacks to get to where she is today.
 
ANNA has spent lockdown building a new studio in Barcelona — where she has lived since 2015 — with fellow Brazilian techno DJ/producer, Wehbba. In recent weeks the pair have been working on an Anaweh Studio Masterclass online course, sharing production tips, tricks and techniques “from building your set up to finishing a complete track, through methods to put you in the right mindset.” With a sound that marries kinetic grooves with a wealth of emotion, ANNA has also managed to stay connected with her fans during the pandemic, through live streams including her Awakenings set in June and Movement Detroit’s Movement At Home event.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 22:16

Best known for: 
Emotive techno

Poll 2020: Green Velvet

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Green Velvet makes it look easy. No flashy tricks, no massive breakdowns, no superstar-DJ histrionics — with a grin on his face and a bob of his chartreuse-coiffed head, all he needs to do is mix one body-jacking stormer after another to transform a crowd into a mass of twitching limbs. But that’s just one of the reasons that Chicago’s Curtis Jones finds himself among 2020’s Top 100 DJs.

You could argue the fact that he founded two of the most beloved labels in all of US house-dom, Cajual and Relief, should be enough to land him on this list. You might posit that his sheer staying power — he’s been at the top of his game for nearly three decades — makes him deserving of the honour. And then, of course, there’s his own classic-filled discography, brimming with raw party tunes like the indelible ‘Flash’ and smoother deep house numbers such as ‘Brighter Days,’ the latter produced under Jones’s Cajmere moniker. Add it all together, and you’ve got one of clubland’s revered treasures. 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 22:11

Style: 
Deep house, jacking leftfield house
Best known for: 
‘Coffee Pot (It's Time For The Percolator)’, ‘Flash,’ ‘La La Land’

Poll 2020: Nina Kraviz

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Nina Kraviz is one of techno’s most iconic DJs. Famous for both her dynamic and varied DJ sets, captivating performances and her acclaimed label трип (Trip), she’s been a techno powerhouse since she launched on the scene in 2009. 
 
In 2020, while her touring schedule was heavily reduced, she did play a series of live stream events and virtual festivals including an empty Dance Arena at EXIT and even on top of Mount Olympus in Greece. She also collaborated with streaming giants Spotify when she was chosen to be part of their trackID series, providing a regularly updated playlist to the platform that includes tracks from her own label as well as a diverse collection of releases from across multiple genres. 
 
That genre-hopping is also evident in her sets, where trance, techno, ambient and hardstyle can all be heard in one swoop, with her inimitable presence in the booth adding to the allure of Kraviz’s sets. As the DJ who played the most sets of any other in 2018, we’re sure she’ll be the first to hit the road again once it’s safe to do so.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 21:57

Style: 
Techno

Poll 2020: Amelie Lens

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Amelie Lens has risen rapidly through the European techno ranks over the past couple of years. She’s now consistently high up the bill (if not topping it) at events like Awakenings, DGTL and Ibiza staples DC-10 and Hï, and this year debuts in the Top 100 DJs poll. 
 
The Belgian’s Lenske label has simultaneously gone from strength to strength, building its name around the five-person crew of AIROD, Farrago, Milo Spkyers, Ahl Iver and Lens herself. Granite-tough techno is the name of the game; epic vibes suited to the cavernous hangars Lens fills on a regular basis. And with its newest addition — Lens’ ‘Higher’ EP — the label has now dropped 13 releases in just two years.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Lens in 2020, though; in August she became the primary target among a group of techno artists who were criticised for playing legal but non-socially distanced parties in countries that had begun to open up from coronavirus lockdown, only to see cases rise again. Lens’ most recent appearance, however, saw her back at home, spinning a vinyl set for her YouTube followers. “This year has mostly been about studio time, plus I’ve started working out three times a week and watched a lot of documentaries,” she tells DJ Mag.

 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“Having so much time to make music, my cats and my rooftop!”

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 21:52

Style: 
“Techno.”
Tune of the year: 
“Viper Diva ‘Born To Slytherin (Tbilisi remix)’.”

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