ItaloJohnson are real party starters. That is basically all we know about the mysterious Berlin based trio, but it’s all we need to know.
Whether playing underground basement parties or headlining festivals, threading together house vibes or unloading heavy techno weapons, they know how to make the dancefloor a visceral, jacking place filled with many happy boys and girls.
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.
Howard and Guy Lawrence, the Disclosure brothers, show up for their promotional appearances the way you would for a job interview: professional and prepared. Fresh-faced and well groomed, at 21 and 24, respectively, the two’s experienced demeanor is similar to a career musician of their combined ages.
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.”
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
We know what you’re going to say: ‘Disclosure aren’t real DJs’. While they are predominantly a live outfit, they do DJ a lot, especially at their Wild Life shows, and considering DJing is generally pressing a succession of buttons these days, no one can accuse Disclosure of not pressing buttons — given the size and complexity of their live shows.
2015 has been a busy year for the Lawrence brothers; they scored a No.1 album with ‘Caracal’, a collaborative album that saw old faces like Sam Smith rub shoulders with new artists like Lion Babe.
As well as a new album, they’ve somehow found the time to put on their own festival, Wild Life, in Shoreham (near Brighton), and more recently Las Vegas, and they’ve also been quietly creating their own underground hit factory with their Method White imprint that has seen a spate of club smashes from Jonas Rathsman, with ‘Wolfbane’, MJ Cole with ‘Bouldaz’, and more recently Eats Everything’s pulverising rerub of Tiga vs Audion’s ‘Dancing’.
Who knows what else the brothers have in store for the rest of the year. Don’t bet against a raft of killer remixes of Caracal’s juiciest cuts, a new live show, which is even more impressive that their last from what we’ve seen, and a few surprises too.
With even a periphery knowledge of dance music, you'd be strapped to find a keen clubber who'd never heard the name Carl Cox. Adored by loyal fans the globe over, Cox has been a guiding light in the underground for over two decades, headlining Space in Ibiza every year for as long as anyone would care to remember.
But all that's about to change. “Next year will be my last year at Space Ibiza, so please do not miss a single night if you can, very special line-ups for 15 weeks,” he tells us when we talk Top100.
Ibiza gigs aside, Cox has spent much of 2015 running his successful INTEC imprint, alongside fellow techno don Jon Rundell, with releases from Christian Varela, Ramiro Lopez, Joe Brunning, Harvey McKay and many, many more.
“I have been working on collabs and remixes with some great artists,” he promises when we hint at his plans for next year. With new material scheduled for the start of 2016, Carl says: “Watch this space!”
CHARLOTTE LUCY CIJFFERS
It’s not only America that’s currently experiencing a dance music epiphany. India — and its population of 1.25 billion people — is beginning to demand the world’s biggest DJs, and Mumbai’s DJ Chetas has been riding this cultural explosion since 2012.
What makes Indian dance music — and DJ Chetas’ music in particular — an interesting proposition is that it’s a cross-pollination of traditional Indian music with western club culture. And that’s where DJ Chetas has built his huge following — by incorporating the best of Bollywood vocals into big-room mash-ups that have been a huge hit in his native India.
While it might not be to everybody’s taste, there’s no denying the popularity of DJ Chetas, and dance music in general in India. In addition, DJ Chetas is using his considerable influence, time and money to create a network of music schools in India to give studio time to those who might not be able to afford it.
With the likes of Diplo and Steve Aoki now regularly touring in India, and a growing middle class hungry for big-name DJs (and dance music in general), India represents a huge new market, ripe with potential for its own artists and touring DJs from around the world. DJ Chetas is merely a product of this explosion, and we fully expect to see more and more DJs from South Asia breaking into the Top 100 DJs poll in the coming years. “With a DJ Mag Top 100 tag, this opens up a whole new international market to bring Indian sounds too!” the man himself enthuses.
“I wish I had more time to do everything I have in my mind. I wish the days had 48 hours,” Diego Miranda tells DJ Mag. It’s not surprising to hear that the Portuguese DJ is hard-pressed for time. He’s been much in-demand, not just in his home country but also in Brazil which he considers his “second home”, playing there — and across South America — several times a year.
What free time Miranda’s had in the past year, he’s spent in the studio. Aside from making it into the Beatport Top 20 with ‘Tequila’, Miranda’s biggest hit so far has been ’Turn The Lights Out’. The single, featuring singer Mikkel Solnado, has received heavy radio play in his home nation, no doubt down to its anthemic, sing-a-long hook.
Miranda’s popularity in South America is also beginning to spread over to North America, thanks in part to his recent remix of Tara McDonald and Snoop Dogg’s ‘VAY-K’, topping off what’s been a great year for the DJ.