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.
For Markus Schulz, life imitates art. Or rather, fantasy. The self-styled unicorn-slayer of trance has found his moniker has presented some surreal encounters in recent years. “Now it’s gotten so big, I don’t know where it’s going to end. I played a show at Avalon in Los Angeles a few years ago and they had a full life-size unicorn statue at the front of the club!”
In 2015 he’s focused on his City Series project, making a track a month dedicated to his favourite worldwide clubs or festivals. He’s also excited by the ongoing success of his New World Punx project with Ferry Corsten.
“We’ve made even more strides this year, highlighted by the first-ever performance at the legendary Coachella festival. We have a few dates together before the year rounds out — in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Moscow and of course the Top 100 DJs party for DJ Mag in Minsk on 29th November.”
2015 has been a big one for Steve and Ruben, aka the notorious Wolfpack. Not only did the Belgian duo tour Asia for the first time — an experience they describe as “very cool” — but also happened to score two massive hits. Firstly, back in August, Wolfpack teamed up with Funk D and the don dada of booming vocals, Fatman Scoop, for the huge 'Drop The Smiley'.
Then the following month, 'Ocarina' — the pair's beloved Tomorrowland Anthem collaboration with fellow Antwerpians, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike — got the remix treatment from Klaas & Mazza. That track has already catapulted through the rankings to become Wolfpack's second most popular release on Beatport.
Speaking of Tomorrowland, Wolfpack also happened to play the first ever South American edition of the festival earlier this year, as São Paulo spent four days as the global epicentre of EDM. Still signed and releasing through Dimi and Mike's scene-shaping Smash The House imprint, and having now appeared in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for two years running, Wolfpack can stride confidently into 2016.
Ummet Ozcan's techno-influenced trance made something of a seamless transition to gain huge popularity amongst EDM fans, but that's come as no surprise to the man himself. “I am not bound to any musical conventions, I just produce whatever I like. People tend to put things in boxes. I personally don’t do that,” Ummet tells DJ Mag.
Of course, not every DJ or producer actually has a hand in creating the things that make the actual noises that are used to create tracks either, but Ummet is famous for providing softsynth and soundbank designs for some of the biggest music software houses too.
When it comes to making your own music, Ummet has a tip or two for aspiring producers: “There are certain elements that work better for your song than others, but the magic appears only with the right parts that fit the puzzle… but let’s say it helps to have a festival mindset before you start producing,” he advises.
Citing Tomorrowland 2015 in Belgium as one of the highlights of his past year of playing out, plans for 2016 look likely to see Ummet spending more time in the studio. “Producing is sometimes hard to combine with tour life,” he explains, before quickly adding: “My records are equally important. So that is one of my aims for 2016.”
A Belgium EDM hitmaker with a close link to newly crowned Top 100 kings Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and their Smash The House label, Yves V kept the hits coming in 2015.
In addition to the turbo-charged main stage thrills of ‘Memories Will Fade’ earlier this year and his new single ‘Octagon’, he’s penned collaborations with the likes of Sidney Samson and Don Diablo.
He’s continued his residency at his country’s goliath Tomorrowland Festival, with his V Sessions Sound brand regularly hosting arenas at the three-day party in addition to his main stage performances, and he also took the brand to SupermartXe in Ibiza this year.
“My year has been amazing, I’ve been very lucky to return to some of my favourite places in the world,” Yves tells DJ Mag. “We went to Brazil for our first Tomorrowland event in Sao Paulo, visiting Thailand again was a lot of fun, and playing to sold out crowds at Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s House Of Madness night at Amnesia was crazy!
I’ve pushed my releases this year more as well with more original tracks, but I have a feeling 2016 is going to be bigger and better!”
For a new entrant into the Top 100 last year, DJ Snake’s had a pretty wild year. Which is presumably why he was otherwise engaged when being hit up for interview (probably, y’know, in Chile or Japan or something).
Born William Grigahcine in Paris, the viral hitmaker cites arty French film La Haine as an influence on his sound as well as Cypress Hill and KRS-One, and earned the name 'Snake' due to his effectiveness at hiding from the police after graffiting the Parisian ghetto.
Nominated for a Grammy as part of his productions on Lady Gaga’s album, the producer’s name blasted into the minds of the public after his 2014 track with Lil Jon, ‘Turn Down For What’, meant that you could barely step onto a dancefloor without hearing it.
But this year the DJ/producer proved to have even greater success, with the Major Lazer and MØ collab ‘Lean On’ raking in the plays (it scooped Best Dance/Electronic Song at the Billboard Awards and, more importantly, is a Top Tune of 2015 among a fair few of these Top 100 DJs...).
With recent appearances at TomorrowWorld, EDC, and an India tour scheduled for November, it’s fair to say that this Snake will soon be on another plane.
Deorro, born Erick Orrosquieta, started out DJing when he was just 14. Keen to encourage his interest in music, his father — also a DJ — bought him a copy of DAW Cakewalk Sonar aged 17, and he’s been producing ever since.
The LA-based producer and DJ’s breakthrough moment came in 2012 when he was asked to remix Chuckie’s ‘Make Some Noise’ — the resulting track reached the Beatport Top 50. Orrosquieta has since gone on to release singles on Hardwell’s label Revealed Recordings and collaborate with Steve Aoki, Diplo and R3hab.
In last year’s DJ Mag poll, Orrosquieta was voted in at No.19, the highest charting new entrant. Shortly before voting closed, the American-Mexican DJ made the surprise announcement on Twitter that he would be taking a break from performing to focus on producing and expanding his own record label PandaFunk.
The gamble seemed to pay off: in December, Orrosquieta’s single ‘Five More Hours’, featuring Chris Brown, reached top 10 in charts across Europe. He’s since returned to DJing, playing Coachella, EDC Las Vegas, Electric Zoo earlier this year as well as making a couple of appearances in the UK.
Dannic is an artist who needs little introduction. One of the Dutch crop of EDM stadium-fillers, the DJ/producer has been playing out for over a decade now, and just recently collaborated with 2014's No.1 DJ, Hardwell, on ‘Survivors’.
His saccharine synth-filled tunes have been scaling the lofty heights of the Beatport charts, girls are getting his lyrics tattooed on their backs, and the producer seems to be constantly hanging out by a pool. “My year has been amazing!” he nods.
“I released my ‘Dear Life’ documentary, played the Tomorrowland main stage and now I’m back in the Top 100 list! 2016 looks set to be bigger and better as I’m getting ready to launch my very own imprint, I can’t wait.”
That label is looking to be a place for his own work as well as other fresh faces. “That’s exactly why I wanted to launch my own label,” he explains. “So that I had a platform for my own sounds that I could fill with the grooves I wanted, but also support new talent that doesn’t have a specific home yet but a sound that would fit.”
Though he’s riding high on the waves of the industry, he’s aware that it would benefit from some feminine input. “I think there is definitely a space for more female DJs and producers to step up and equal it out!” he concludes.