Overnight hits are a fantasy for most artists, but for young Martin Jensen this was a reality. His single 'Solo Dance’, released at the end of last year, has continued to pick up with supersonic speed throughout 2017, propelling him into Spotify playlists the world over and amassing over 340 million streams.
This year he made his debut at one of EDM’s most highly regarded main stages, wooing the crowds of Tomorrowland in Belgium. The Danish-born DJ’s schedule has already seen him high-flying across the festival circuit with appearances at CRSSD and Kaaboo in USA, Bråvalla in Sweden, Skral in Norway, Smukfest in Denmark and Lollapalooza in Germany.
”I have been playing loads of shows across the world, and we released a bunch of remixes, plus my latest single ‘Wait’ came out in the summer,” he tells DJ Mag about the highlights of his year so far. Keeping the momentum going strong and his fanbase happy, ’Wait’ featured Loote on the vocals making it his most catchy number yet.
ith a surname like his, it was perhaps inevitable that Florian Picasso would emerge as a creative type. But Picasso isn’t just a clever alias that hints at this producer’s inventiveness. Indeed, Florian actually is the great-grandson of the famous surrealist painter — and he makes music under his real name too. Although he’s unlikely to go down in history in quite the same fashion as his great-grandfather, for a contemporary group of EDM fans he continues to be one of the most exciting names in the scene.
Renowned for collaborations with Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki and well-received appearances at Tomorrowland and Ultra, Picasso first started making music at 13 and graduated to DJing at big clubs by the time he was 16. He’s also repped some of the biggest labels in the EDM scene, with Dutch behemoths Armada and Spinnin both calling on his services in recent years. A devilishly diverse DJ/producer, Picasso is equally likely to emerge with a slamming electro-house number as he is more progressively-inclined works. And at only 27 years young, who’s to say that the best isn’t yet to come?
Since bursting onto the scene in 2013 with their galloping brand of progressive psy-trance, Israeli duo Vini Vici have quickly become the face of the genre. In little over four years, Aviram Saharai and Matan Kadosh's productions have amassed millions of views and their breakout remix of Hilight Tribe's 'Free Tibet' was the first psy-trance track in history to break into the top 10 of Beatport's overall chart. “Our main goal since we started Vini Vici has been to spread the psychedelic spirit to the wider world,” they tell DJ Mag.
Since then they've performed their energetic brand of in-your-face psy-trance at almost every festival imaginable, including Ultra, Tomorrowland and A State Of Trance. Whilst their success might seem like it happened overnight, that couldn't be further from the truth, as the duo spent 13 years honing their craft as Sesto Sento before they created Vini Vici. With nods from the trance elite — including Armin van Buuren, who regularly spins their tracks and collaborated with the duo for the 'Great Spirit' — Vini Vici have also been tipped for big things by psy-trance demigods Infected Mushroom, who declare the duo the most exciting psy-trance act of the moment. What makes their success so impressive is they've managed to bring psy-trance to the masses without watering down the genre's pulverising aesthetic.
JAUZ, aka LA-based Sam Vogel, surfaced in last year's chart for the first time off the back of his wobbly bass mechanics, energetic DJ style and a host of high-profile fans. With his name pronounced the same as Steven Spielberg's famously snappy shark, it was clear we were soon going to need a bigger boat to accommodate this EMPHATICALLY CAPITALISED young talent.
Just 21 years old, the graduate of his adopted city's Icon Collective has been doing his old teachers proud in the last twelve months with a string of killer releases, from the recent UK house-sounding 'Meant To Love You' featuring ROUXN, via edits of Skepta and Chase & Status, and the merciless bassline/wub alternation of 'Claim To Be', to remixing MØ alongside Diplo — just one of his many supporters.
This festival season, meanwhile, has seen his adventurous eclectic sound venturing into neuro d&b, and his debut at SW4 was so warmly received he's been invited back to headline Electric Brixton alongside a host of allies. It would also be churlish not to mention that another poll in a transatlantic magazine voted him America's best DJ of 2017 — no small feat given the current competition.
Driven by the same hunger as his namesake, this won't be the last you've heard of JAUZ.
Miaow! If you’ve been curious about the name of breakthrough act Cat Dealers, wonder no more. “We have nine cats at our home,” say Luiz Guilherme and Pedro Henrique, more often known as simply Lugui and Pedrão. “So everyone that goes there, we ask if they want a cat. That’s why we are the Cat Dealers.” That’s cleared that one up, then.
The feline-mad duo are on a winning streak in their native Brazil and further afield too, thanks to a slick line in electro-house production. Cat Dealers’ 2016 remix of Tom Novy’s handbag house hit ‘Your Body’ in particular brought them to a larger global fan-base, and this year they’ve set their sights on the commercial market. “We’ve been doing more pop stuff as you can see, and focusing on our main label party, Cat House,” they say.
The group’s most recent release, ‘Sober’, features the full vocal of Santii, hooky guitars and a bassline from the Oliver Heldens playbook, while ‘Gravity’ with Evokings is another pop song with a respectable combination of 4/4 beats and acerbic electro bass. Seems they’ve found the (sorry) purr-fect combination.
A debut album, fulfilling a childhood dream and his busiest year of gigs to date — it’s no surprise that Dutch house DJ Sam Feldt has moved up in the Top 100, having crashed in as a new entry last year. “I’ve been making a lot of music,” he says with a smile, including his recently released debut album ‘Sunrise’ featuring nine brand new cuts.
He’s been test-running and fine-tuning those tracks across the world, including his debut on the main stage at Ultra Miami and playing both weekends at Tomorrowland. Not to mention gigs in Japan, Holland, Taiwan, Croatia, Lithuania, France, America and virtually any big city with an airport. But the most exciting part of the year? “I just released a single with my childhood hero, Akon!” says Sam. The energetic ‘Yes,’ a shuffling, summery tune set to steel drums, was signed to Spinnin’, and with Sam working on a live set-up — including a trumpet and saxophone player — his shows are set to become even more of a spectacle in the near future. “I can't wait for next year!” he exclaims. That makes two of us, Sam.
When you’re reaching for peak pop/electronic fusion like Schulz, the ambitions get higher and higher. And after the previous years of successes — including a UK No.1 and a Grammy nomination — this year was a case of ‘go big or go home’.
Naturally, he went big. Within the first few months of the year he’d been personally requested to open for Justin Bieber and debuted a feature length movie! Robin Schulz – The Movie premiered in Hamburg and has now been watched almost 300,000 times online. Providing a rare look at media-shy Robin’s life, the movie also revealed his own fashion range, Q/S Designed By Robin Schulz, which is now on its second series.
Musically, his moves have been just as big: since his last Top 100 appearance, he kicked off the grand salvo of his recently-released third album ‘Uncovered’ with a massive David Guetta-collaborated top 30 hit, ‘Shed A Light’. Then, this summer, he rolled out a collaboration with everyone’s favourite Twitterer/balladeer... James Blunt. In less capable hands this could have been a disaster but with Schulz at the controls, the surprising combination hit the top 10 in nine countries.
All this and a hectic tour schedule that has seen him traverse the world’s most renowned clubs and festivals, it’s clear Robin isn’t going home any time soon…
Whamming back into the 100 comes drum & bass’s most popular DJ, who’s consistently graced the poll over the past 15 years — usually being the highest placed d&b jock. Andy released his first tunes when he was just 16, with ‘Valley Of The Shadows’ (with pal Ant Miles as Origin Unknown) on his own fledgling Ram Records kick-starting a career that’s now 25 years strong.
Andy started 2017 with a 13-week residency at XOYO in London, inviting many of the d&b scene’s unsung playas to join him on memorable voyages through the sound. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done as a DJ,” Andy tells DJ Mag. “I played over 1000 different tunes during that residency!”
The fact that he sought out so many different tracks to play in his sets is testimony to his continuing enthusiasm for DJing. Unlike a lot of the Top 100 spinners, Andy still practices for hours every week in order to keep his sets fresh. This year he toured the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and he tells DJ Mag that the festival season was his best ever. “It’s been great!”
One of the most forthright characters to emerge from the EDM trap movement, Carnage remains one of the biggest in his league with one of the most fiercely loyal fanbases. And while previous years have seen him skate with peer-beef and scandal, this year he’s had some very respectable successes.
Release-wise, it’s been one of his most eclectic years so far as he’s dropped a serious hip-hop EP with eccentric MC Young Thug in the form of ‘Young Martha’, an EP that’s scored high with US rap pundits. He’s also dropped some furious hardstyle fusion with Italian EDM couple VINAI (‘It’s Time For The Techno’), and the mosh-mastering EDM/trap banger ‘Chupacabra’ with Ape Drums; a track that hits with such a chaos-inspiring riff that Carnage has been known to jump into the crowd and stand in the middle of. The nutter.
Meanwhile, away from the major festival crowds, he recently donated $20,000 to Houston food banks in light of the devastating Hurricane Harvey. And, by the time you read this, he’ll have hosted his second Rare event in Orlando. A two-day festival he curates and hosts, it’s as unique as the man himself as it promises a sneaker convention, motocross, and acts ranging from Travis Scott to Funtcase and Zhu. Rare to the core.