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Poll 2017: Kura

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Already the highest charted Portuguese DJ of all time, Kura has now been involved in the Top 100 DJs poll for an unprecedented four times, a sure sign that the big room and electro DJ is doing something very, very right. 

Highlights have come thick and fast for the Spinnin’-affiliated spinner, with sold out shows across China, Tomorrowland, private jets to Ibiza and a spine-tingling 35,000 sitting down during a sold out show in his native Portugal. “I did a lot of preparation so I could have every weapon available to respond to the crowd,” says Kura, proudly. And those weapons don’t come much bigger than ‘Police’, his frenetic collaboration with long-time inspiration Hardwell and also Anthony B. 

“This year I've been concentrating on bringing quality music, tracks that I know are going to work 100% on the dancefloor,” says Kura of his success. Prime among them has been ‘Bangalore’, a seismic slice of big room energy that channels Bollywood vibes during its monumental breakdown, while the newly released ‘Sedated’ shows a more subtle, emotional side to his production.

Words: ANDY BUCHAN

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2017-10-17 10:05

Poll 2017: Deadmau5

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It’s been a balanced year of old and new for Canada’s oft-outspoken mouseman Joel Zimmerman. Tapping into his roots and legacy, Joel dedicated time to celebrating a decade of Mau5trap, reminding us of just how much talent has passed through his label’s doors from Chris Lake to Noisia via Rezz and Excision. He also dug deep into his own vaults and gave away an entire album of old projects called ‘Stuff I Used To Do’ that featured a host of unreleased and rare Mau5 classics. 

Never one to sit still or ever languish in the past, he’s been much more innovative than he has nostalgic. His eye-melting Cube has been thoroughly updated and invigorated with a 2.1 reboot and remains up there with the likes of Prydz as one of the most striking and technologically-advanced performance concepts in the game. Taking it around the world to a huge array of big festivals and solo on his Lots Of Shows In A Row tour, its sense of spectacle backs up the strong opinions he’s happy to share online.

Musically we’ve also seen a cool departure from the big anthemic tracks he’s known for as he develops his collaborative relationship with Manchester MC Shotty Horroh. Recent single ‘Legendary’ shows a much darker, grittier side to Deadmau5… And one that we’d like to hear a lot more of in the future.

Words: DAVE JENKINS

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2017-10-17 10:00

Poll 2017: Nicky Romero

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Nicky Romero has been hitting all the big notes this year across multiple touch-points. He’s been touring the festival main stages around the world as part of the Ultra Worldwide events, as well as holding down a residency both in Ibiza at Amnesia and in Las Vegas at the Wynn.  

“This range of different shows gives me the chance to play a lot of different material, at clubs and festivals alike, and I love to be able to promote new talent as well as play my own records,” Nicky tells DJ Mag. “It’s also been exciting to celebrate five years of Protocol Recordings this year — the new talent coming through via my inbox has been incredible. I’m looking forward to seeing these artists develop.”

Words: ANGUS THOMAS PATERSON

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2017-10-17 09:46

Poll 2015: Danny Avila

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Danny Avila is a DJ who proves that age really is just a number. Having first whet his appetite for dance music in Marbella, at the club his father's friends owned, it wasn't until he suffered a wakeboarding accident aged 14 that he truly had time to sit down and learn his craft.

Now, having racked up close to 80k Instagram followers, he treks relentlessly round the world’s biggest clubs, and the 20-year old explains he's had “a year of innovations and lots of moments of joy! I feel blessed to have had the chance to visit so many countries.”

It was sneaking into a Fedde Le Grande show in ‘09 that made him understand how to really ‘kill it’ in a club, and at that point Danny upped sticks to Madrid.

One of the plaudits he’s earned since is the title of Hakkasan's youngest-ever resident, as well as gaining residencies in Las Vegas and Pacha Barcelona, and this is Danny’s first entry into the Top 100.

“Nothing is more nourishing than to celebrate along with your fans and to feel the rush that comes back from their energy onto the stage,” he gushes. “It’s been the most diverse year of my career so far, with my whole MORE concept coming to life where I take people on a journey through a vast variety of electronic music.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 12:23

Style: 
“Electro house, deep and tech house.”
Best known for: 
“High-energy DJing in many genres.”
Tune of the year: 
“Eric Prydz ‘Opus’.”
From: 
Madrid
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Tujamo.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“To be able to read the crowd and lead them to the best time they can imagine.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“I’ve never liked the word ‘EDM’. Electronic music is bigger than ever before, and it’s a great time to try out new stuff that might have been too experimental for crowds in the past.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Not really. I have been touring since I was 15. You can get used to it if you know how to spend your time efficiently while travelling.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“There are a lot of homeless people in Madrid. When I’m there, I try to bring them food and something to cheer them up, though I always feel pretty helpless seeing so many of them.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Dreamers, Marbella. I had some of the best nights of my life there when I was 14.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I think the profession of being a DJ is still led by men. So, in relation to the amount of female DJs in the world, there are much fewer DJanes in the Top 100.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I think the original idea has to come from the artist himself. He has to be involved in the creative process. But there are great sound engineers that can help bring the track to the next level, which is a great thing.”

Poll 2015: Nicky Romero

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For Nicky Romero, 2015 was another typically hectic year. Playing at all the biggest festivals across the world, including Ultra Miami, Europe and Japan, at EDC Las Vegas and Tomorrowland in Brazil and Belgium, the DJ/producer still found time to drop the first installment in his new ‘Lighthouse’ trilogy of productions.

Nicky also knuckled down to get his Protocol label bubbling more than ever before.

“We’ve got some seriously great talent on our roster,” he says, “and we had our 50th release at the beginning of the summer. We’re also taking our Protocol nights around the world, and they’re always great fun. I’m so proud of everything that is coming out there.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-10-20 16:34

Style: 
"Full-on energy.”
Best known for: 
“Lately, ‘Lighthouse’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Had a blast collaborating with Volt & State on ‘Warriors’.”
From: 
Amerongen, Holland
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Volt & State — they are mixing the official Protocol x ADE compilation. If you haven’t heard of them, you’re missing out!”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
"The ability to connect with their crowd. The fans are more important than anything else, so it’s crucial that you can read what they want and give them the best time.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
"Of course, but I think we are going to see a change. The dance music landscape is already changing and evolving, which is all part of the process.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
"Yes, absolutely. It can be hard switching time-zones and going from one gig to the next with next to no sleep. As a DJ, you want to be the very best you can be for each and every fan you play for.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“I’m actually a worldwide ambassador for [voluntary work organization] 10,000 Hours and really admire what they do. One of the best aspects is that rather than just donate money, people are fully involved as they are contributing themselves and their time.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in saying I would love to bring back The Guvernment, Toronto. It was an amazing venue and it was a sad day when it closed just over a year ago.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
No answer
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
No answer

Poll 2015: Quintino

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The Dutch DJ, real name Quinten van den Berg, has climbed a further six places in the Top 100 DJs poll this year. “It really made me happy when I heard the news that I was in the Top 100 again,” he tells DJ Mag when we contact him for his interview. “Even though music speaks for itself, it’s great when it gets recognized.”

Signed to giant Dutch behemoth Spinnin', his latest release is a huge EDM update of the Nomad house classic 'Devotion', while earlier in the year he again teamed with his 'Epic' cohort Sandro Silva for 'Aftermath', a release supported by DV&LM, Hardwell, Garrix, Showtek et al.

“We always make sure that there is time enough in my schedule to be in the studio,” Quintino tells us. “And on the planes I sleep like a baby, so that is a good perk.”

He also says that he's had some great shows this year such as EDC and Ultra Korea, and is heading back Stateside for EDC Orlando in early November before returning for Electrowave in France later in the month. 

KIM O'CONNOR

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 15:04

Style: 
“Dutch dance music.”
Best known for: 
“'Go Hard' and 'Epic'.”
Tune of the year: 
“Martin Solveig 'Intoxicated'.”
From: 
Holland
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“MOTi — he’s definitely killing it!”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Being able to read the crowd for optimal performance, and the combination of own music with a strong connection with the crowd is a winner!”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“I don’t like to think about EDM, trap or deep house and I never did. It’s dance music that makes people wanna go out to festivals, party and listen on their phones. It can be everything.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“No not really, we control our tours with management and agency and make sure everything is proper.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Karma! I believe if you do good, it comes back.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“That’s a club in Glasgow called The Arches. I had the honour to play there before it closed. The energy in that venue was out of this world.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“No idea. There is a lot of talent, so I think it’s a matter of time. I think it also has to do with the fact that women are less likely to be interested in technology; basically, DJs are nerds who are figuring out software when they’re starting out. That’s more of a boys thing to do.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I’m personally sort of against it. I mean, basically, you’re lying to the entire world about your work.”

Poll 2015: Chuckie

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Dutch house titan and last month’s DJ Mag cover star Chuckie is going through something of a reinvention. The Dirty Dutch superstar, real name Clyde Sergio Narain, has recently been dabbling in ‘traphall’, aka trap x dancehall — the genre he’s now spearheading.

Speaking about the last 12 months, Chuckie reveals he’s had an amazing year. “I travelled around the world many times and played some of the biggest festivals in the world,” he says.

Having always embraced a multitude of genres, he has this year debuted his Metamorphosism world tour — a mega showcase of floor-fillers spanning between five and nine hours, and an antidote to the (allegedly sometimes) pre-recorded 45-minute festival set. 

Despite having encountered many corners of the globe in 2015, Chuckie’s only lament is that he wishes he “could have had more time in the studio. It was almost impossible to combine it with my hectic tour schedule.”

In our cover story, over a cup of builder’s tea, he admitted to flying 452 times last year, and he explains how “all flight attendants and pilots are allowed to fly only a certain amount of time because of safety measures. We all know that DJs fly way more than whatever is healthy”, the chameleonic producer finishes. FELICITY MARTIN

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:44

Style: 
“Dirty funkin' Dutch music.”
Best known for: 
“Mixing whatever with whatever.”
Tune of the year: 
“DJs From Mars 'Phatt Ass Drop 2'.”
From: 
The Lowlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Ape Drums!”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“The ability to read the crowd, the ability to open and close a room, and all points in-between!”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“The future of electronic dance music has always been bright. But when you're talking about EDM as a particular sound, I would say it is evolving into a more relevant sound.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“The constant travelling doesn't take a toll on me mentally. But physically it does.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“I support different charity projects, so it's hard to say which one is closest to my heart. I feel blessed to be able to give back. If I retire some day, I will dedicate most of my time to help the less fortunate.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Club Voltage in The Hague, The Netherlands. That's the club where I started back in 1994.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I have no clue, but maybe there should be a separate Top 100 DJs poll for women. Not to discriminate against women but there are some talented ladies out there, especially in the underground.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“If a DJ needs help producing his music and he needs a specialist to help him out, be my guest. As long as his heart and soul is all over that track.”

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