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Poll 2015: Chuckie

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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.”

Poll 2015: Disclosure

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Disclosure
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 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.

ANDREW RAFTER

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:12

Style: 
House/garage
Best known for: 
A succession of poppy house/garage hits
From: 
UK

Poll 2015: Carl Cox

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Carl Cox
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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

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:08

Style: 
“Techno, tech house, electronic music.”
Best known for: 
“In the early days, three-deck turntable mixing.”
Tune of the year: 
“Format:B 'Gospel (Pleasurekraft & Jaceo Psalm 69 Remix)'.”
From: 
The UK
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Drumcomplex & Roel Salemink.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Any good DJ should be able to read a crowd.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Yes of course, but now, EDM should stand for concert events, because this is where it is at right now. It's a show.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“No, not really, if you can balance the lifestyle it will never take a toll, some DJs cannot handle it, it’s not for everyone.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Cancer research.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Twilo New York — that was one amazing club.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I really don't know, at my night at Space in Ibiza, I book at least eight to ten female DJs every year, because they play great music and kick dancefloor ass.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I believe, as a DJ, you should stand up for what you make and not hide behind anyone. It's been going on for years and it will continue to do so.”

Poll 2015: DJ Chetas

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DJ Chetas
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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.

 ANDREW RAFTER

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 11:25

Style: 
“Big room with Indian vocals.”
Best known for: 
“Bollywood mash-ups.”
Tune of the year: 
“'Lean On'.”
From: 
Mumbai, India
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“KSHMR.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Any DJ has to know how to read his/her audience.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“The country where I come from, EDM is still on the rise. With pop stars and film stars willing to lend their brand to EDM, it definitely looks like EDM still has a LONG way to go!”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Mentally possibly not, but it definitely does take a toll on the health.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“I've come across a lot of fans who due to their financial status can't pursue their love for music. To counter this, I’ve set up a music school in Mumbai where we give out a lot of scholarships to passionate students who find it difficult to pay their fees.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“None currently, I'm absolutely in love with all the venues I've played at in India and internationally.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I'm sure that a lot of artists from India — male and female — will participate now that we've managed to break the stereotype. I've come across some really talented women DJs out there.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“Everyone has their own personal choices, I'm not one to comment on them.”

Poll 2015: Diego Miranda

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Diego Miranda
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“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.

ADAM BYCHAWSKI

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 11:21

Style: 
“If I have to define a style, I would say house music!”
Tune of the year: 
“'Turn The Lights Out' feat. Mikkel Solnado.”
From: 
Portugal
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Kygo.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“In addition to good technique, it’s essential that the artist knows how to communicate with his public and never lose his humility.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Honestly I don't think so, the songs have become very repetitive and I think people are getting bored of it!”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“The only toll it can take on me is the increase of responsibility to do my best not to disappoint the fans and the people who hire me.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“I cannot stand cruelty to animals and people who cannot defend themselves.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Locomia brought the greatest DJs from around the world to Portugal. I played there with Carl Cox, it was one of the best parties of my life.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I think in the past being a DJ was seen as a profession of men. But nowadays the talent of women DJs such as Nervo, Magda and Maya Jane Coles is unquestionable.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
"It gives me much joy playing my own songs and seeing the reaction of the crowd. People who use ghost producers maybe will never know that feeling — and I feel sorry for them.”

Poll 2015: Yves V

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Yves V
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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!”

ANGUS PATERSON

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 12:01

Style: 
Progressive house, electro-house
Best known for: 
“Tomorrowland, V Sessions.”
Tune of the year: 
“'Octagon'.”
From: 
Antwerp, Belgium
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“KSHMR, I love his sound and style.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“It’s a combination of the DJ’s interaction with the crowd, having an understanding of music and trying to create a musical journey.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Yes of course, it’s evolving.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Yeah definitely, life on the road can be tough at times, but it’s a life we all choose so you can’t complain. You just need to be smart, take care of yourself and don’t push yourself too much.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Improving the welfare and future of animals.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Illusion in Belgium, it pioneered trance music and was the start of my passion for music overall.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I think nowadays there are more and more women coming through like Nervo, Krewella etc. It’s really good to see, and I hope we continue to see this growth in our scene.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I actually work with a studio partner, and that works really well for me with my schedule. The first records I released were made entirely by myself, but since I’ve worked with a partner and I really feel we can go to that next level.”

Poll 2015: DJ Snake

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DJ Snake
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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.

FELICITY MARTIN

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 11:00

Style: 
Trap, dance
Best known for: 
Major Lazer, MØ and DJ Snake 'Lean On'.
From: 
Paris

Poll 2015: Deadmau5

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Deadmau5
Down
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Known as much for his personality both online and onstage as he is for his massively successful productions, Toronto native Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, maintains his place in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for another year.

Deadmau5 continues to showcase his endless musical versatility, tantalizing fans with previews on his Soundcloud account, like the melodic rework of last year’s hip-hop track ‘Are You Not Afraid’ and a powerful ballad of slowly building synths in a yet-to-be-released collaboration with Grabbitz called ‘Blood For the Bloodgoat’.

Always one to speak his mind about the state of electronic dance music, the year has seen no shortage of Twitter Mau5-traps — artists and fans alike may unwittingly step into one at any moment — but 2015 also saw the artist on line-ups across the globe.

A headlining act for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, Deadmau5 also appeared at the fabled Austin City Limits, the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England and debuted a new stage at Governor’s Ball in New York City, where he prevailed despite technical turmoil.

Of course, entertaining audiences in the digital ether and on the live stage aren’t the only places you can find him; those who follow his work are well aware that the Mau5 is no stranger to the world of video games.

Earlier this year he released a unique series of sound clips featured in Dota 2, a game developed by the Bellevue, Washington-based Valve Corporation. At the close of the Dota 2 competition — TI5, the largest ever eSports tournament to date — Deadmau5 surprised the crowd at KeyArena in Seattle with a live performance, reminding everyone yet again that his persona is synonymous with large scale entertainment... no matter the mode or method.

ERIN SHARONI

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 10:26

Style: 
Progressive house, electro house
From: 
Toronto, Ontario

Poll 2015: R3hab

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R3hab
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Fadil El Ghoul, aka R3HAB, has been on a quick ascent to join his EDM colleagues at the festival main stages, and for proof of his studio prowess, you only need to glance at the tracklist for his recent ‘Inspired’ mix for Ministry Of Sound. The upfront disc contains no less than 12 of the singles, remixes and collaborations that he’s put his name to this year. 

“The past 12 months have been an absolute whirlwind,” he told DJ Mag. “The most memorable personal highlight for me was playing Coachella. Two weekends with 25,000 people per show, and we even had Ciara come out and do two songs. It is something that you dream about as an artist, and it could not have been better.” 

In addition to Coachella, he also launched a new residency in Las Vegas this year, played across two different days at Belgium’s Tomorrowland in July, and otherwise toured and performed all around the world, from Tokyo to Dubai to Ibiza. 

In the studio is where R3HAB has really made his mark this year though, with his production partnership with Calvin Harris resulting in ‘Burnin’ and a collaborative remix of ‘How Deep Is Your Is Love’, in addition to high-profile collaborations with Sander van Doorn, NERVO and Headhunterz. He’s also remixed everyone from Axwell Λ Ingrosso to Rihanna. 

“I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months have in store!” he enthuses to DJ Mag.

ANGUS PATERSON

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-12 15:17

Style: 
“Dance music.”
Best known for: 
“Remixes and peak-time bangers.”
Tune of the year: 
“Calvin Harris & Disciples ‘How Deep Is Your Love (Calvin Harris & R3HAB Remix)’
From: 
Breda, The Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“KSHMR.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Quite simple, to make people dance and be happy.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Yes!”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Of course. Sometimes you just have to take a little break and be grateful and happy with the opportunities that this life has afforded you.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Nature preservation. Many times we forget how beautiful nature is.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Studio 54.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I have no clue but I welcome women all day long in the Top 100.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“Everybody should be credited, but I also feel that this is a totally overhyped and exaggerated phenomenon. I love collaborating with talented people and getting inspired, so if you want to work together and you credit the person, great!”

Poll 2015: Axwell & Ingrosso

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Axwell & Ingrosso
Stay
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It's official, Axwell and Ingrosso are married. Not legally of course — even if civil partnerships (unlike some US States) are accepted in Sweden. No, the marriage of these two ex-members of the Swedish House Mafia is purely of creative convenience. Not just so they can double up on votes, enter the Top 20 and score an award for Highest Collaboration in the process.

Instead, the Axwell 'n Ingrosso axis is one hinged on amalgamation; dedication to a cause, they say. “The big difference now,” says Axwell, “is that when we did Swedish House Mafia, everyone was also being individuals and doing their own thing.

But now we buried our own things a bit. It’s more of a commitment. That’s what it came to feel like with Swedish House Mafia: it was a side project. But it wasn’t fair to treat it like that. That was the big problem.”

The boom in dance music in America, adds Ingrosso, was one of the motors driving Swedish House Mafia’s success. “It helped us become big,” he acknowledges, “but that meant it couldn’t be a side-project. The culture was demanding more.”

For these two, then, the past 12 months have been about drilling down and focusing more on music as an art — something more personal — rather than as a response to mainstream expectations.

While the intention was to avoid the booth as much as possible, it's a partnership that's seen them close both weekends of Coachella, headline Ultra Miami, sell out London's Alexandra Palace and enjoy a successful season at Ushuaia in Ibiza.  

Culminating in an album later this year, they've also released a series of tracks, including 'Sun Is Shining', picked up as the soundtrack to H&M's summer campaign, and 'Something New' used by Beats.

There's also been various collaborations, including one with Swede musicians Vincent & Salem, and an electro mash-up featuring vocals from Pusha T. If Swedish House Mafia were about capturing people's attention, the Axwell ^ Ingrosso combo is about casting the net out further. 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - admin - 2016-10-19 17:09

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