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
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
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
Tom Swoon's interest in music started at a very young age. At 17, he discovered dance music and was inspired by artists like Deadmau5 and Daft Punk.
Over the next few years, Swoon taught himself to spin and saved up enough cash to score a proper DJ set-up, transforming himself from a bedroom DJ to full-blown pro — his devoted fans voted him in at number 46 in last year's Top 100 DJs poll.
2016 set to be another great year for Swoon, and we are lucky enough to have him performing a live DJ set from the DJ Mag office this Friday!
It’s music that stirs the soul, brings a lump to the throat and a tremble to even the stiffest upper lip. For a whole generation, ‘Strings Of Life’, ‘Go’ and ‘You Got The Love’ are our equivalent of ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Land Of Hope and Glory’ and the national anthem the classical standards unfurled every year during the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. A place, you might assume, where house music would go down as well as Ben Klock dropping Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at Berghain.
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.”
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.”
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.
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