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Poll 2015: Shogun

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What sets Shogun apart from other US DJs is his work ethic; Andrew Chen is known to spend 12 hours a day in his studio, and that hard work and dedication brought him to the attention of some of trance’s biggest names including Ferry Corsten, Above & Beyond, Paul van Dyk, Markus Schulz and Nadia Ali.

Despite falling in love with the industrial sounds of Nine Inch Nails, Filter, The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, Chen was eventually drawn to the epic melodies of Armin van Buuren and Gouryella in the early 2000s. 

Fast-forward to 2015 and Shogun has become a permanent fixture in the Armada family, featuring heavily on Armin’s A State Of Trance radio show.

But it’s been his own productions that have really propelled him into the upper echelons of the trance world, including his recent album ‘Dragon’ – which took four years to complete. This saw the producer touch on a range of styles including trance, progressive and electro — ranging from vocal bangers like ‘Underwater’ to fierce, beat-driven tunes like ‘Laputa’.

This year has been amazing!” Shogun enthuses. “I released my album 'Dragon', and the response has been incredible. I toured in different parts of the world, and had a blast playing at festivals like Stereosonic.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 10:43

Style: 
“Progressive house.”
Best known for: 
“'Skyfire'.”
Tune of the year: 
“Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs Ummet Ozcan 'The Hum'.”
From: 
Orange County, California
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Ummet Ozcan.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Track selection. DJs should know which tracks to play at certain times to get the crowd amped up.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Yes, I believe it's just starting and will only get bigger.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“It takes a toll, but after a while you get used to it. It's kind of like a boxer taking hits, eventually you adapt to it a bit.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“When words fail, music speaks.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Ministry Of Sound — Taipei. It was one of my favourite clubs in Asia.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I believe there just aren't as many women making EDM, but the stage is open for both.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“Good music is good music, but I feel DJs should make their own music to represent themselves artistically.”

Poll 2015: Kura

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It's been business as usual for Kura (aka Rúben de Almeida Barbeiro) in 2015, having placed 42nd in last year's DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll. Despite a slide in the rankings this year, the Portuguese electro-house producer has cemented his position as one of the most in-demand EDM producers in Europe with a raft of new tracks and collaborations.

2015 saw Kura release stadium-sized cuts, 'Oxygen' and 'Collide', on Dutch imprint Spinnin’ Records, collaborated with Dutch producer Tony Junior for a huge track ‘King Kong’, which is being released on Afrojack’s Wall Recordings this month, and he still found time to tour all over the world. 

As well as a string of well-received productions, the DJ and producer has seen his output consistently supported by EDM’s leading lights — including David Guetta and Hardwell, who’ve supported his output throughout 2015.

Not only has last year’s No.1 DJ, Hardwell, been playing his tracks consistently during 2015, the Dutch producer recently revealed during a radio interview that the two producers have been collaborating in the studio. With his next release coming out on Afrojack's Wall Recordings, 2015 has seen Kura become one of Portugal’s biggest dance exports.

“This year has been intense, so much good stuff happening,” he tells DJ Mag. “Travelling the world, new collaborations, meeting new people... I can only remember of positive stuff, the shows keep getting bigger and bigger, and the support of the fans is insane!” 

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 12:28

Style: 
“Electro and progressive house.”
Best known for: 
“'The Portuguese'/KURA trademark drops.”
Tune of the year: 
“Calvin Harris & Disciples ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ and Camelphat ‘Constellations’.”
From: 
Lisbon, Portugal
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Dallas K & Wiwek.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“I think reading the crowd is the most important one, having the capacity to 'change gears' once in a while, be eclectic and have fun with the people.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“For sure, a lot of people announced the death of EDM a long time ago, and it's still going strong. When the music is good I don’t really believe in genres, I like to listen to everything.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Not really, I love it, wouldn't see myself doing anything else. When I’m not playing I surround myself with family and long-time friends, so I live a pretty normal life, nothing fancy.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“I believe the most important cause of our days is ecology. The fate of the planet is something that should worry us all as a species; otherwise there will be no future.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“The club where I started out as a DJ that recently closed — Bauhaus in Estroril, Lisbon.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I believe that is something that is going to change in the next years, there are a lot of good female DJs that are now into music production and that will change the poll for sure.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I personally never used one but I don't really care if someone uses them. For me it doesn't make sense because I really love to make music, so it would be taking away a big pleasure that I have. If you do it you should be open about it, to your fans.”

Poll 2015: Quentin Mosimann

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Quentin Mosimann’s personal highlights of the year include officially remixing David Guetta and Bob Sinclair and making his debut at Tomorrowland. But when he tells DJ Mag that “I attend to do this job for the next 20 years at least, I'm not looking for my 15 minutes of fame,” it sums up his grounded and humble approach that has won him so many friends and fans across the world.

Mosimann also happens to be one of the few DJs to have attained true 'household name' status, having been a coach on 'The Voice Belgium'. “I didn't want to appear like a judge, because even if I have experience in the music industry, I'll learn from others all my career, for sure,” he explains.

The experience was “really a story of sharing with and between artists” and leads Mosimann to pass on some valuable tips for all aspiring DJs when he says: “I think a career is 50% of trusting your guts and 50% of learning with good advice/experiences from others.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:31

Style: 
Progressive-House
Best known for: 
His unique live performances
Tune of the year: 
Opus - Eric Prydz
From: 
France
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Damien Ndrix
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
Heart.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
I stay optimistic about this, trends come and go, but to my mind people will always need to dance, whether it's House, Techno, Progressive or EDM!
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
Except the fact that you can't enjoy enough family time, I think I couldn't be happy or actually live without this lifestyle.
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
Mistreatment of dogs (and animals in general). I always had dogs, I have now 2 adorable chihuahuas, and I can't support damn human beings hurting them.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
Studio 54 in NYC, disco period. What a story in this place!
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
Maybe because women can't handle with the DJ lifestyle we were talking about. I don't know... Some are awesome like Juicy M for example, and I wish there were more!
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
It's hard to pass judgement on this. I really support composing collaboration, sharing between artists and musicians, at least for my projects. Regarding a ghost producer, actually it happens I make some tracks for other artists because sometimes they need a different approach than their own, it's easier to write for someone else than yourself I guess.

Poll 2015: Tom Swoon

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Tom Swoon only discovered Deadmau5 and Daft Punk around five years ago but his early efforts at unofficial remixes soon led to his bootleg of David Guetta & Avicii vs. Laidback Luke 'Till Sunshine' achieving around 15 million views on YouTube.

The official remixes, original tracks and massive tours that swiftly followed mean that the 22 year old is now firmly established in his own right, as his showing in this year's Top 100 poll confirms. "I sincerely feel that Bootlegs have lost a bit of the magic they had when I started... but a good bootleg always gets plays and therefore I still think it is a great tool to get noticed," Tom tells us.

"I've really had the opportunity to travel to many new countries this year and see different people, experience different cultures and simply appreciate how amazing this world truly is," Tom enthuses, and shares this tip for any aspiring promoter who wants to book him: "If a promoter takes me out for Sushi I am the happiest guy in the world!"

Next year looks set to be even busier as Tom explains: "I've been working on a lot of new music and collaborations. I am aware that a lot of touring is already in place for next year and some very special festival plays are on their way! Really excited about 2016!"

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 10:40

Style: 
Progressive House - House
Best known for: 
Tom Swoon, Lush & Simon – ‘Ahead Of Us’
Tune of the year: 
Tiësto, KSHMR feat. Vassy - Secrets
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Vigel
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
I would say reading the crowd, and playing for the people that came down to have a good time!
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
Only time can tell. But dance music is definitely evolving.
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
I am grateful to being able to play my own music around the world. With over 100 shows this year I've been away from home every weekend and it really builds up and is trying. I do sleep on all my flights which helps!
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
Freedom in all its forms and shapes!
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
I’m pretty young so most of the clubs I've grown up with are still running.
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
I think it's simply a question of numbers. There are many more men doing this than women and therefore it is not proportional in this sense. It's great to see however that more woman are present in the list each year.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
I spend a lot of time to produce my own music and in the end this works for me.

Poll 2015: MAKJ

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Makj is the alias of US DJ/producer Mackenzie Johnson. Famed for his take on all things electro-house, this prolific producer has also worked alongside a varied crew of musicians, with everyone from Hardwell to Lil’ Jon to M35 rubbing shoulders with the Tomorrowland main-stager. 

Another on this list who’s signed his music to the likes of Spinnin’ and Ultra, Makj is also a talented DJ and by no means simply a talented producer – which is no real surprise considering he got his first pair of Technics at the tender age of 15. 2015 marks his second year in the Top 100…but all the signs would indicate that he’s here to stay for some time yet.

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 16:19

Style: 
My own
Best known for: 
Looking like a giraffe
Tune of the year: 
MAKJ & Thomas Newson - Black
From: 
San Luis Obispo, Californian
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Kenze
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
Reading a crowd.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
Of course! Classifying it as one specific genre is the issue. "EDM" to me will always be around.
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
100%. Not seeing my family, friends, dog, is extremely hard. But if that’s the only thing I can complain about with this job then yeah, I'll take it. Happily.
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
My best friend died of cancer last year, so the National Foundation for Cancer Research means the world to me.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
The Government in Toronto.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
Let's just say this, if there was no such thing as "ghost producers" then a lot of the Top100 wouldn't exist. So I guess it’s important to some people. Not me.

Poll 2015: Headhunterz

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Dutch DJ & producer Willem Rebergen, better known as Headhunterz, pulls off an admirable balancing act between his own creative freedom and the high expectations of success. He’s blazed his own trail, making music his very own, open-minded playground. In the past 15 years, Headhunterz has shown to be following his inner flow, with a unique sound that’s ever genre-bending, yet truly his. Outstanding performances at festivals like Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival, as well as more intimate venues like Ruby Skye, LA Exchange, ZOUK and Ushuaia, have wowed fans all across the globe. Following golden records, chart-topping remixes for Avicii, Armin van Buuren, Hardwell and Zedd, collabs with KSHMR, Hardwell, R3hab and Steve Aoki, and many, unforgettable moments on stage, Headhunterz is sure to continue wandering the infinite options of electronic dance music.    

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 10:48

Style: 
A combination of different sounds
Best known for: 
Bringing the music that comes from within
Tune of the year: 
Galantis - Runaway
From: 
Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Oliver Heldens
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
Stage presence.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
Genres come and go but music stays and we should just accept the change and move with it.
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
It most certainly does, but I do what I can do to balance it out by doing sports and meditation and taking rest when I need to. There would be no point in doing all this if my mind was too stressed to enjoy it.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
Forgotten clubs are not something I store in my long term memory.
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
The DJ mag Top 100 mostly consists of people who produce, and sitting behind a computer programming music is not something that generally appeals to women, I believe. With this in the back of people’s minds, they tend to be sceptical towards women who DJ, with a few exceptions of course. DJing nowadays is, in my opinion, more of a showcase for the producer, and isn’t very technically challenging. So when you take away ‘producer’ from the showcase, you’re left with something that practically anyone could pull off.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
I don’t like to point fingers and rather focus on myself. For me personally there is no greater satisfaction than the satisfaction I get from producing music.

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