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Poll 2020: DVBBS

55
DVBBS
Down
32

DVBBS be good to us: it’s been another successful year for the long-haired Canadian pop merchant brothers Chris and Alex van den Hoef. Switching their usual massive mainstream crowds for studio marathons this year, a steady flow of DVBBS freshness has tickled our ears all lockdown. Kicking off the pandemic with the feel-good funky house jam ‘Wrong About You’, they’ve been relentless in their disco dispatches from the pounding euphoria of their Moti collab ‘This Is Dirty’ to the heartfelt ‘Tinted Eyes’ with rappers Blackbear and 24kGoldn (the lads donated all proceeds from the track to the Black Lives Matter movement) to ‘No Time’ with the mighty Wiz Khalifa and fellow popsters Cheat Codes.

As if that wasn’t quite enough heat, they wrapped up the summer with their long-awaited sophomore album ‘Nothing To See Here’. Representing all sides of their sugar-sweet EDM sound, with collaborations with the likes of Bridge and Safe, it hit the spot perfectly – bridging the gap between their usual mainstage energy and the more mature, song-written approach they’ve been experimenting with this year.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 21:47

Best known for: 
Massive EDM tunes

Poll 2020: Ferry Corsten

53
Ferry Corsten
Up
6
If, during lockdown, a new home studio parked at the bottom of your neighbour’s garden would’ve sent you a Hulk-ish shade, best look away now. “As it happened I’d just completed it at the beginning of this year,” says Ferry, “and I was really excited to spend time there. We had a lot of show dates scheduled for my What The F tour, but when lockdown came, unexpectedly, I had all this extra time to start tinkering in there. Pure chance it was finished beforehand, though!”
 
That happy happenstance has meant the production tap has been wide open Chez Corsten. Also, by the sounds of it, circumstances have added some multiplicity to his bunker time. “You can expect a diversity of tracks in the new year,” he says, “and maybe even an album in 2021. I’m also working on a show that should be launched soon, so keep an eye on my socials for more information!”
 
Talking of gardens and Hulk-ish shades, another type of ‘green’ has crept its way into Corsten’s system of late. This one though is of the green-fingered variety, with Ferry taking to horticulture to bust through the big stay-home. “A year ago, I never would have thought it,” he reflects. “Now that I had time to be home though, I decided to pick up the trowel. There’s nothing more satisfying than nurturing something and seeing it grow and thrive. I took some real pride in that work!”
 
Throughout, Ferry’s Flashover label has continued to flourish, and not least in his UNITY collaboration project. That has seen new co-ops with Ciaran McAuley and Trance Wax on – respectively — the ‘Black Lion’ and ‘Mo Chara’ releases. Ferry has also been taking the partial reins of Armin’s A State Of Trance radio show, with a first-of-its-kind monthly residency. 

 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“My studio at home, gardening and family.”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“That we can never take things for granted, patience and that we all need each other! You can have different genres, sounds, and opinions, but only together can we push through.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“I think first and foremost it’s a mindset. If you don’t see a peer as an equal, to begin with, then we will never get further. There is ‘genre-ism’ already, where people like you or dislike you based on the genre of music you play, which in itself is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve always lived with the mantra ‘live and let live’. Respect each other. Whether you’re purple, yellow, male, female or anywhere in between, just respect each other and treat others the way you want to be treated.”
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“As a producer, I actually produce all genres. I think it helps make my creativity more worldly, opens my mind to ideas and keeps thing fresh. I think allowing DJs and producers to open themselves up in this way can only be beneficial.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“There are too many amazing ones out there.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 21:45

Style: 
“Trance and more.”
Best known for: 
“Great music and great vibes.”
Tune of the year: 
“We Are Loud ‘On The Run’.”

Poll 2020: Diego Miranda

51
Diego Miranda
Up
4

Portuguese DJ Diego Miranda has been in a mainstay in this poll since 2013. And while 2020 is a very different year for all of us, when it comes to the Top 100, it’s business as usual for the Ushuaïa DJ. After an incredible run of Beatport chart smashers and an NYE set in Thailand to over a million ravers in 2019, Diego has spent the year refocusing on his family, his dogs, his label LESS IS MORE Records, his studio and a whole wealth of collaborations.

As always with Diego, we should expect the unexpected. With a sound that touches on everything from dreamy EDM (‘Next Step’ with Mazza on Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s Generation Smash imprint) to pumping string-laced hard trance (‘Techno Guitar’) by way of the best cover version of Yello’s iconic funk runner ‘The Race’ we’ve heard in years, Diego’s accessible, versatile style remains just as vibe-some as it did pre-pandemic. Now focusing on bookings in 2021, he’s looking forward to being the first Portuguese DJ to headline Tomorrowland next year. Bring it on! 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 

“For someone who spent most of the time travelling around the globe, it was very hard to cope with being in the same place all the time. On the other hand, it was great to be able to spend more time with my family in Portugal, and I also spent more time in the studio producing new tracks.” 

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 

“We all tried to do our best at keeping the interaction with audiences but let’s face it, streaming and broadcasted DJ sets are not an option because there is no building of memories through a screen. People need to be together to do that. I believe that society, in general, is now more aware that social dancing, DJs and partying has an important role in the livelihood of so many people around the world.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“Telling the history of dance music and the importance that, for example, Black communities had in the development and promotion of dance music globally might be a way to help with this issue.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?

“I do a lot of collaborations with artists and producers from different countries, backgrounds, genders and ideologies. Right now I’m working on a huge project with an amazing singer called Wuant and my partner WAO.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time? 

“DJ Rolando 'Knights Of The Jaguar’.” 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 21:30

Style: 
“Energetic.”
Best known for: 
Being a dog lover, for my track ‘Ibiza For Dreams’ and for being a DJ at Ushuaïa.”
Tune of the year: 
“Meduza, Becky Hill & Goodboys – ‘Lose Control’.”

Poll 2020: Paul van Dyk

50
Paul van Dyk
Up
37
Like most top DJs, Paul has been relatively inactive in 2020 compared to previous years. Although, the former two-time Top 100 poll winner (2005-6) had only just got back into playing out regularly again after suffering a serious, life-changing accident a few years ago. PvD fell through a hole in the stage at A State Of Trance in 2016, and at one point it was thought that he might never be able to walk again. Thankfully he recovered, although his movements are still somewhat restricted and have meant that he couldn’t tour the world like he used to — when touring the world was a thing. 
 
He was able to slip out his latest album though, ‘Guiding Light’, whose ethereal title track was sung by UK vocalist Sue McLaren, who Paul first worked with back in 2015. Stuffed full of other artfully composed trance bangers like ‘You Found Me’, ‘Remedy’, ‘Resource’ and ‘Exhale’, it was a signal that Paul isn’t about to deviate from the trance sound he’s pursued throughout his career. 
  
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 
 
“We’re still kind of in the middle of it, but what always helps me is my wife, family and friends.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“People come together to celebrate dance music regardless of where they come from, which passport they hold or what religion they believe in.”

  

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“Everyone is entitled to enjoy the music they like. Dance music is open to listeners from all walks of life.” 

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“There’s no ‘one’ track to be defined. Electronic music started as a subculture and was defined by many people who followed their passion.”

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 21:22

Style: 
“Trance.”
Best known for: 
“Not giving up."
Tune of the year: 
“Fuenka ‘Callisto’.”

Poll 2020: Alison Wonderland

47
Alison Wonderland
Down
3

If you want a to get a reflection of how badly things have spiralled globally, just look at the titles of Alison Wonderland’s last three releases since she was last spotted in the Top 100 2019. In December came the hopeful, contemplative ‘Peace’. In March came ‘Bummed’, a soulful shoegaze number that soundtracked the start of our lockdowns. Most recently, in October, came the gnarly, swaggering bass of ‘Bad Things’, succinctly capturing the tone and tension of these turbulent times once again.

For Alison, however, times have been less turbulent. After years of intense touring and international on-road antics (something she covers in detail on the recently-premiered Underplayed documentary that dissects the gender and ethnic imbalance of the dance music industry), Alison has embraced the time out and headspace to enjoy a little gaming, sleep and mother nature’s finest. DJ-wise she’s still been as present as one can be during the great rave shutdown with modem-mashing sets for Digital Mirage and Lollapalooza and a series of DJ tutorials for her fans. With ‘Bad Things’ heralding rumours of her third studio album (her first in over five years), we hope the track titles reflect a more positive story through 2021!

 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 

“Animal Crossing, making music and shrooms.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene? 

“Everyone should call people out if they’re acting whack! Sad Nazis.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive? 

“People not being labelled on anything but their art.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time? 

“Todd Terje ‘Inspector Norse’.”

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 17:18

Style: 
“Freeform.”
Best known for: 
“My live shows.”
Tune of the year: 
“Cardi B ‘WAP’.”

Poll 2020: Alesso

45
Alesso
Up
16
Alessandro Renato Rodolfo Lindblad, better known as Alesso, is no stranger to the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll. The Swedish DJ and hit-maker hasn’t missed a spot since 2011 — an incredible run that shows just how much he understands exactly what brings a dancefloor together. And even if we haven’t seen a ’floor since early this year, Alesso has stayed busy, dropping the ‘Midnight Hour’ EP with Liam Payne this October, which included the smash single ‘Midnight,’ which has hit an impressive five million views on YouTube so far.  
 
But the EDM giant’s production prowess is near-universally known. Over the years he’s worked with legends like Calvin Harris, Usher, David Guetta and Sebastian Ingrosso, and headlined major events like Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, Creamfields, and Tomorrowland. He’s even been memorialised in the popular video game Payday 2, when players rob a vault during an Alesso concert. Thankfully, events aren’t done everywhere, and you can catch Alesso at Ultra Taiwan on November 14th with SLANDER, Vini Vici and more.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 17:11

Best known for: 
Huge EDM hits.

Poll 2020: Tujamo

40
Tujamo
Up
3

2019 was one of German EDM producer Tujamo’s biggest years on record. After a summer of huge headline sets at the biggest festivals around the world, remixes of the likes of Tïesto and Hugel and a whole slew of releases on Spinnin’ Records, he was crowned as the best-selling electro-house artist of all time on Beatport. 

2020 has of course been a different story for the 32-year-old artist. But, as he explains himself, it’s not all been bad. He’s used his time wisely to create a whole new vault of big room weapons and feels more creative and inspired than ever. Best known for his XL sound that lends itself to the largest crowds (and a DJ style to match), it’s no coincidence that some of Tujamo’s most personal and touching tracks have dropped this year. While ‘Taking You Home’ and ‘Lonely’ both hit like EDM sledgehammers, like everything else he’s done, the tone, pace and lyrical content definitely reflect the changes we’ve been suffering this year, and set us up for the whole new barrage of releases in 2021. Bring it on! 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 

“To finally have enough time to work on music without being stressed and tired from touring. I must say, I’ve never been so creative before.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 

“I learned to not take everything I had for granted. I mean, at some point I got so used to travelling around the world, playing the best clubs and festivals, it became very normal. Once we start again I can say I’m going to enjoy this whole lifestyle so much more than before.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene? 

“It’s already sad that this is still a topic. I grew up with a bunch of friends from multiple cultures and this was never a thing for me. But if we really think about this whole thing... What are we talking about? That somebody looks different? Speaks differently? I don’t really know how to stop it, but it needs to be stopped!”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time? 

“Armand Van Helden ‘U Don’t Know Me’.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 16:46

Style: 
“Clubby, grooved electronic music.”
Best known for: 
“Brassy club tunes.”
Tune of the year: 
“Diplo ‘On My Mind’.”

Poll 2020: KSHMR

12
KSHMR
Up
3
2020 and it’s another Top 100 DJs appearance from US producer and musician Niles Hollowell-Dhar, better known as KSHMR, who’s been a regular face in the chart for a few years now. KSHMR has had a productive year working hard at the electro-house, hard dance and psytrance coalface with big releases on Spinnin’, Controversia and his own Dharma imprint. 
 
Dharma also put out his sparkling rework of MGMT’s 2007 hit ‘Kids’ with MKLA and was also home to releases from David Flix, Reid Stefan & Karra, along with KSHMR’s collab with Timmy Trumpet and 22Bullets, the dystopian stomp of  ‘Everybody In The Party’ featuring Ghost. KSHMR and Mr Trumpet also collaborated on the epic hard dance of ‘The Prayer’ with Zafir too. 
 
Aside from his releases, KSHMR also launched his Dharma Studios website this year which hosts samples and tutorials from KSHMR and the rest of the Dharma team. And in what’s clearly been a productive year, he’s also been working on his debut album and unveiled his brand new project Dreamz with the huge mid-tempo banger ‘Casual’ featuring NEVVE.
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“Throwing a ball with my friends, spending time with my dogs, and studio time – I’m working on something special.” 
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“Allowing artists a lot of time to be home working on music. I think that's been really good for creativity, to give people the time to experiment. On a personal level, it's taught me the importance of doing simple things like spending time with friends and loved ones.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“I recognise the dance music industry is classist because you do need a lot of money to buy turntables and software associated with making dance music. I think the trend is starting to head in the right direction, where people can learn and practice at a lower cost, thanks to companies like Splice and others that offer subscription models.”
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“I try to represent my heritage, India, in my music and shine a light on other cultures as well. When possible, I try to use money from shows to support initiatives primarily in India to help the children there get better resources.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“Alice Deejay ‘Better Off Alone’.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 16:42

Style: 
“Festival.”
Best known for: 
“‘Secrets’, ‘Wildcard’, ‘Jammu’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Glass Animals ‘Your Love (Déjà Vu)’.”

Poll 2020: Alan Walker

26
Alan Walker
Up
1
In a world where almost everyone wears a mask, Alan Walker’s signature look suddenly no longer stands out. But in a way, that’s always been the point: when our identities are hidden, what separates us no longer matters, and we all become one. And for the Norwegian superstar’s adoring fans, known as Walkers, it’s all part of why they love him.
 
Of course, Walker’s uncanny ability to produce pop-inspired EDM chart-toppers doesn’t hurt. Since his meteoric rise from bedroom producer to international superstar — propelled by his 2015 breakout hit ‘Faded’, which went platinum in over 14 countries, and further fuelled by recent hits like 2019’s ‘Alone, Pt. II’, already at 125 million YouTube views, and 2020’s collab with Ruben, ‘Heading Home’ — Walker has steadily joined the ranks of EDM’s biggest stars. 
 
While COVID may have scuttled his tour plans for the year, which included some of the biggest stadiums and venues on earth, Walker says he’s used the time to “non-stop make music and interact with my fans. The World of Walker never stops evolving, so stay tuned.” We certainly will. 
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown? 
 
“Music, gaming and spending time with my family.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis? 
 
“The crisis is devastating, but it’s creating opportunities that help us to think differently and more creatively in the music business. The future is digital.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene? 
 
“Music has been and always will be something uniting us. From the beginning of my career I’ve believed in this, and the mask has been the symbol for that. Our looks and faces do not matter, at the end of the day we are all the same.”

 

What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive? 
 
“The fan community is the most important factor, at least for me. They are the ones listening and enjoying this music every day, and they are the ones that are allowing me to make music. Especially in times like these; I think technology is crucial to bridge the gap between the artists and the fans.” 

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time? 
 
“I guess for me, it is ‘Levels’ by Avicii.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 16:42

Style: 
“Pop-inspired EDM.”
Best known for: 
“Mask, hoodie and the logo of course.”
Tune of the year: 
“I like to groove to ‘Silence’ by Julian Calor.”

Poll 2020: Tiësto

16
Tiësto
Down
8

Tiësto is still riding high off married life, having tied the knot in 2019, and this year has learnt “that there’s actually also a life outside the DJ touring life!” That said, the enduring Dutch titan has continued to evolve and adapt his sound, worked on various remixes as well as start a new project VER:WEST, “which has allowed me to explore the deeper melodic side of my musical interests.”
 
He adds that although many great things have happened in his career so far, “the greatest is yet to come.” He hints at new music which “will be perfect to drop when the clubs and festivals are back”, though says it's hard not to be road-testing material as he goes. 
He has also just signed with Atlantic Records and released ‘The Business’, the first single from his debut album, currently planned for release next year. As a parting shot, he says: “I'm sending my love to everyone, stay strong and stay positive!” 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“Being able to focus on new music, some fun live stream events, and most importantly more time with family.”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“Don’t take anything for granted.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“Dance music is all about PLUR!”
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“I try to support as many upcoming new producers as possible and guide them in the right direction if needed.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time? 
 
"The Age of Love 'The Age Of Love'."
 
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 16:13

Style: 
“My style is continuously changing and evolving, expanding across genres.”
Best known for: 
“Bringing the party!”
Tune of the year: 
“[Saint Jhn] ’Roses’ remix by Imanbek because it’s so awesome that you can make a worldwide hit out of your bedroom from any country in the world!”

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