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
By now you’ll know the singular synth strokes of ‘Tsunami’, a UK No.1 and the reason its producer shot to fame in 2013. The Miami-born, now LA-based John Borger (or Borgeous as he’s known to his two million and counting Facebook fans) made his debut mark on the Top 100 last year and could well be here to stay.
The American producer's proved he’s not a one-hit wonder since that worldwide chart smasher, with tracks like ‘They Don’t Know Us’, ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Voodoo’ (another collaboration with DVBBS) granted major airtime by key tastemakers.
The Spinnin’ Records signee even teamed up this year with Waka Flocka Flame and Wiz Khalifa on ‘Toast’, showcasing the versatility of his productions. Having remixed the likes of Afrojack and Canadian singer-songwriter Lights, he’s shown to have a dab hand at reworking tunes into crowd pleasers.
The 'Borgeous Army' (his fans) are always out in full force at his shows, keenly awaiting those big room house drops and heavily clad in custom garms. While on those rare days he’s not catering to EDM-hungry crowds, he’s busy cooking up mixes for his ‘House Of Borgeous’ podcast on Sirius XM. 2016 looks set to be just as big a year for the chart-hitter.
He’s been sliding around the Top 100 for some time now, but Laidback Luke wasn’t about to let himself be phased by last year’s results. “Funnily enough, after dropping to position 50 last year, this year seemed to be my busiest year ever,” recalls the big room house producer — Lucas Cornelis van Scheppingen, as he’s known off stage.
He’s been on more than one of those this summer — Tomorrowland, Ultra, EDC, to name a few — and produces incessantly for labels like Size, Fool's Gold as well as his own Mixmash. Having also just announced his first album in ten years, ‘Focus’, we’re questioning whether the first half of his name is really necessary.
Despite his status as successful DJ and producer in his own right, the Philippines-born, Holland-raised artist doesn’t look down on those who use ghost producers. “DJing and producing are two totally separate entities,” he goes on to say. “Just because you're a good producer with big hits, doesn't mean you know how to work a crowd properly and that you're able to take the crowd on a musical journey. And vice versa, just because you're a great DJ, doesn't mean you'll be an amazing producer.”
You heard it here first.
EDM takes many of its cues from the French touch electro sound that preceded it, so the only surprise in Tchami's dramatic new-entry position this year is that there aren't more like him.
Bloody Beetroots and Germany's Boys Noize might have represented Gallic-inspired noise in this poll over the years and subsequently dropped out, however it's as part of EDM's new wave that this hip Parisian finds himself rubbing shoulders with the big guns.
One of the few managing to straddle a line between mainstream success and underground credibility, Tchami has been spotted dropping everything from EDM bangers to silkier, bass-inflected house beats on gargantuan festival stages as well as the cooler, more demure rooms of clubland in 2015.
On the one hand acknowledged as a pioneer of the future house sound — to the point where comparisons between this summer's 'After Life' and Oliver Heldens' breakthrough tune 'Gecko' have raised one or two eyebrows — he also sits comfortably alongside trap/EDM and brostep names such as DJ Snake and Nero.
Reaching No.2 in the UK charts earlier this year with 'Promesses', he's already proved a darling of Britain's house-loving public and his After Life tour has just visited the US.
A compatriot of fellow Frenchmen Madeon and Martin Solveig (both notable absences in the poll this year), Tchami — as the namesake of his associated genre suggests — really does appear to be the future. Not just for house, but EDM as a whole.