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Poll 2015: Eric Prydz

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Swedish producer Eric Prydz is a chameleon. Whether he's dipping his toes in the underground as Cirez D, or entertaining the main room masses with his Eric Prydz moniker, the Swede has captured the hearts of dance fans worldwide.

It's with his recent show EPIC that he's won the minds of the US market — the touring show featured the globe's biggest hologram, stunning stage production (including an impressive 32 lasers), plus a slew of big room tracks penned by Prydz himself.

Since he took over NYC’s Madison Square Garden with the show last September, the veteran DJ/producer hasn't stopped — next up he'll play LA's Escape festival and EDC in Orlando, before a headline set at Space in Miami.

Unlike other main room DJs, Prydz insists that he never 'plans' his sets (he spilled the beans in an interview with DJ Liquid Todd at EDC Las Vegas earlier this year), preferring to read the vibe of the room on the day.

Aside from his work as Eric Prydz, the Swede's other moniker (and imprint of the same name), Pryda, is still going strong, with his latest release 'PRYDA 10' smashing the Beatport charts with ease. It was so successful that it hit a new milestone for the influential label — 'PRYDA 10' is currently the highest selling release in the imprint's eleven-year history.

Then there's his all-new, exclusive and bi-monthly Beats 1 radio show that aired to acclaim earlier this month, and featured two hours of unreleased productions spanning his Prydz, Pryda, and Cirez D aliases. 

New tracks included 'Multo' and a private edit of Adventure’s 'Rio', with fans hypothesising that these might feature on Prydz's upcoming debut LP. The as-yet-unnamed record is tipped to drop sometime before the end of the year, as well as an upcoming Cirez D release 'Vol. D' that's also in the pipeline from the producer.

CHARLOTTE LUCY CIJFFERS

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 11:18

Style: 
Big room
Best known for: 
EPIC.
From: 
Sweden

Poll 2015: ATB

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Andre Tanneberger, aka ATB, has come a long way since his UK No.1, ‘9PM (Till I Come)’. In the almost 20 years since the smash hit, that additionally found fame after being featured in cult Ibiza rave flick Kevin & Perry Go Large, the German producer has repackaged himself as a big room killer, playing sets like Ultra USA and Europe, EDC and Tomorrowland.

His productions have undergone a similar metamorphosis, though he’s still staying true to the excellent studio standards that first helped garner him respect in the early noughties.

“I think I can't hide my influences from the past, but it's very important for me to get into today's culture with my sound. However, I also think that my experiences from the past have shaped my unique sound — so I am grateful for all of this,” he told Ministry Of Sound back in July.

No matter what style he's producing — ATB has also released multiple times on Armin van Buuren's A State Of Trance imprint thanks to his roots in prog and trance — the German shows no signs of slowing down. 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 16:17

Style: 
“Electronic music.”
Best known for: 
“'9PM' and 'Ecstasy'.”
From: 
Germany
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Zhu.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“They should be able to finally mix two records without a computer!”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Of course!”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“It's a part of my life! Since forever.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“My wife, family and friends!”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Tarm Center, Bochum, Germany.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I don't know the result yet!”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“That's a part of the business these days! I couldn't do it like this! My music is my identification.”

Poll 2015: Markus Schulz

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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.”

BEN MURPHY

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 11:17

Style: 
“Unicorn-slaying trance.”
Best known for: 
“Music for the soul, life-changing marathon sets and being scandalous on Snapchat.”
Tune of the year: 
“Markus Schulz feat. Delacey ‘Destiny’ and Gouryella ‘Anahera’.”
From: 
Miami, Florida
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Nifra.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Understanding the art of DJing. DJs are taking this same festival formula into their traditional club sets, and I don’t think that’s right.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“The hard, aggressive sounds of modern-day EDM are slowly being phased out, and the more melodic deep house movement is becoming more prevalent.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Undoubtedly, the most difficult aspect of the job by far is the travel involved. The two most important things are being dedicated and disciplined.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“I’m actually a big animal lover, and supporting them in everyday situations is very important to me.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Paradise Garage in New York City. When I was growing up, I would be inspired by reading all of the wild stories emanating from that venue.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“There should be, but there must be a change in attitude within the scene for that to happen. I’ve named Nifra from my Schulz Music Group artist agency as my pick for breakthrough this year.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I think the fans can conclude fairly easily whether a track is from the genuine article simply by hearing what comes out of the speakers.”

Poll 2015: Wolfpack

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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.

BEN HINDLE

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

Style: 
“Electro progressive house.”
Best known for: 
“'Find Tomorrow'/'Ocarina'.”
Tune of the year: 
“'The Hum'.”
From: 
Belgium
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Lost Frequencies.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Having fun during a set. Bringing that fun over to the people.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“We definitely believe so.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Sometimes it does get to you being away so long and missing your family and friends. But we are extremely lucky to be able to do this, so we actually can't complain!”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Our families. Music.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Cherry Moon in Belgium.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“No idea, ha ha.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“Sometimes working together with others can accomplish great things, but having a track made by somebody and to sell it as your own is just not right."

Poll 2015: Ferry Corsten

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From his early UK chart success with 'Out Of The Blue' under his System F alias to creating a raft of timeless trance anthems alongside Tiesto as Gouryella, Rotterdam's Ferry Corsten has been around in one guise or another for 26 years.

During his impressively long career Corsten has released four studio albums — including the excellent 'Fire' which saw the trance DJ experiment with more hard-edged electro influences including an excellent collaboration alongside Gangstarr's Guru, for 'Junk'.

But it will always be his work as Gouryella — alongside Tiesto — that many of us will remember the producer for, and in 2015 — some 16 years after they wrote the trance rule book — Corsten decided to bring back his Gouryella alias, albeit without the help of Tiesto, for 'Anahera'; a classic cut of uplifting trance that was pure fan-service. 

A permanent fixture in the Top 100 DJs poll since its inception, Corsten is the only Dutch trance heavyweight to have missed out on being crowned the world's No.1 DJ back in the day, just missing out in 2004 when he reached the No.4 spot. Since then he has been in the top ten six times, and despite slipping to No.91 in the poll last year he has rallied a bit in 2015. 

ANDREW RAFTER

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 16:23

Style: 
“Trance.”
Best known for: 
“Giving great interview answers.”
Tune of the year: 
“Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella 'Anahera'.”
From: 
The Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Dimension.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Just drink the champagne instead of spraying it.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Not sure about EDM but trance is looking great!”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“It can be exhausting but I can take it.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“My kids.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Fight Club... but I'm not supposed to talk about it.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“Yes. Why not? Tell me.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“Oh well... it has been creating a lot of work for me!”

Poll 2015: Richie Hawtin

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From the moment Richie Hawtin crossed the river from Windsor, Ontario, to the techno heartland of Detroit, Michigan, the techno savant set in motion a journey that would see the British-born producer rise to the top of his field and become one of the most respected artists in electronic music. 

Whether it’s at his ENTER. residency at Space, Ibiza that truly offers something different to the brash, bright lights of Ushuaïa et al, or bringing his love of Japanese sake to the dancefloors of the world — Hawtin has become something of a cultural vanguard in electronic music. Where he goes others tend to follow. 

Hawtin — who is renowned as a performer that really embraces technological change — was the first DJ to stream tracklists live during his performances, and this year was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music Technology by the University of Huddersfield from none other than Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart. 

2015 also saw Hawtin re-launch his US college tour — after the hugely successful 2012 edition — where he returned to the US with an expanded itinerary that saw him hit eight colleges for a feast of master classes and all-star parties.

ANDREW RAFTER

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 11:05

Style: 
Techno
Best known for: 
Minus, Minimalism, ENTER.
From: 
Originally Canada, now Berlin

Poll 2015: Vicetone

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The duo of Ruben Den Boer and Victor Pool, aka Vicetone,inject a strong affinity with melody into their main stage EDM productions, and describe the past year as the “biggest in our short career so far”.

While they’ve been responsible for several polished hits on goliath stables like Spinnin’, Ultra and Dim Mak, their landmark achievement since they placed in last year’s Top 100 DJs poll was producing the rather epic and emotional soundtrack for the Ultra Music Festival 2014 after-movie, the rather epic and emotive 15-minute ‘United We Dance’.

“It was the biggest project of our lives,” they say of the after-movie that dropped last November. “We worked closely with the Ultra team, and it was a challenging project since the music had to evolve over time, and change from dance music into an orchestral soundtrack.

It was a big accomplishment for us and it really pushed our creativity. It’s gotten millions of plays by now and has become one of the most requested songs in our sets. It’s definitely been a highlight.”

Otherwise, it’s also been full speed ahead for Vicetone this year. They’ve toured a whole stack of new countries and territories, including a variety of spots throughout Asia where they point to a booming dance scene, as well as beginning their own Vicetone Records imprint, which they say has opened up the possibility of experimenting outside of their normal release schedule.

ANGUS PATERSON

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 11:03

Style: 
“Melodic house music.”
Best known for: 
“‘United We Dance’ (Ultra 2014 Aftermovie Soundtrack).”
Tune of the year: 
“Major Lazer & DJ Snake ‘Lean On’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Kygo.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“A feeling for what the crowd wants, and what you as a DJ want to play.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Of course! It’s always evolving but it’s still on the up.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Occasionally it does, but we don’t like to complain. It’s always been our dream and we’re very fortunate to do what we do.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Equal human rights for every person regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“The Guvernment in Toronto. We played there once, and the club had an amazing atmosphere. Such a shame they closed it down.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“There will be more and more, hopefully! Luckily there are talented girls like NERVO and Krewella who are setting a good example.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“In our opinion you’re always better off making your own music. We couldn’t fathom having somebody else making our music for us - it’s an art we pride ourselves in.”

Poll 2015: Coone

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Koen Bauweraerts, better known as Belgian producer Coone, is one of the elder statesmen of hardstyle. It’s been over a decade since Bauweraerts put out his first single, ‘Protect The Innocent’ on Hardball Records, making him one of the longest-running DJs in the scene.

In 2006, Bauweraerts launched label Dirty Workz, which has since become one of the foremost outlets for jumpstyle and hardstyle in Europe. By the age of 24, he was already commanding a devoted following in his home country, drawing a crowd of several thousand fans to his Coone & The Gang events.

He’s since become an evangelist for hardstyle, helping to spread the genre around the globe — his last album, released in 2013, was aptly titled ‘Global Dedication’.

“Every year I’m trying to convince more people of my style. And it’s working, I’m playing at the world’s best clubs and festivals this year,” he tells DJ Mag. Recent collaborations with Steve Aoki and remixes of Linkin Park have no doubt exposed new audiences to hardstyle and won him new fans in the US and further abroad.

ADAM BYCHAWSKI

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 10:58

Style: 
“Euphoric hardstyle with catchy vocals.”
Best known for: 
“Globalizing hardstyle.”
Tune of the year: 
“Coone ‘Love For The Game’.”
From: 
Belgium
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Cesqeaux.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“I gotta feel the crowd, every country is different. So pre-recorded sets are never gonna do the trick.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“I hear lots of evolution and fresh talents in each style. Yes, the future is still bright.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“I must say, if you don’t take a break now and then, it can definitely affect your private life.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“My girlfriend, my daughter, my passion for music, my family, my friends, my fans.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“’Club Bizarre (Headhunterz & Noisecontrollers Remix)’ - Brooklyn Bounce, ha ha (hardstyle in-joke – Ed).
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I’m getting the idea that a lot of girls are not in it for the love of the music. That does not work.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“If you’re a good businessman, a good entertainer, up to date with the latest trends in music and most of all a good DJ, then I don’t have a problem with it, although it would not work for me.”

Poll 2015: Aly & Fila

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In September, Aly & Fila made history. They performed a show within the grounds of one of the last-standing wonders of the ancient world, The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt. Only a small list of select names, including Sting and Kyle Minogue, had previously had the honour.

And what a fitting venue it was! The Egyptian duo who created a sub-genre of trance dedicated to their homeland have had another storming year. They've celebrated 400 episodes of their Future Sound Of Egypt (FSOE) radio show with eight big gigs — including that one in Giza — and played everywhere from Canada to China. 

As ever, the tracks and remixes have come thick and fast and they've released two compilations ('FSOE Vol.3' and 'FSOE 400') all in 2015, so it's no surprise that their loyal fanbase have voted in full force once again.

ADAM SAVILLE

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 10:27

Style: 
“Uplifting, melodic trance.”
Best known for: 
“Future Sound of Egypt.”
Tune of the year: 
“Matt Darey 'See The Sun (Dan Stone Rework)'.”
From: 
Cairo, Egypt
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Standerwick/Ferry Tayle and Dan Stone.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“As a DJ you should always be able to read the crowd, judge what they are feeling on the dancefloor, and also the interaction with the crowd is extremely important.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“For dance music as a whole, 100%, each country you can see all the genres growing and growing.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Yes, it is very very tiring. But it's great when you meet so many amazing people, and the reaction to our music from the crowd is such a great feeling to have.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Peace on earth (which we don't think will happen anytime soon, unfortunately).”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“The Republic in Sheffield.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“That is a very good point, if there are any female producers out there, please send us your demos to promos@alyandfila.com. We will be happy to help.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“They know themselves and they should be ashamed.”

Poll 2015: Paul van Dyk

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This year, Paul van Dyk released the third in his popular 'Politics Of Dancing' LP series. A risky move, considering number two came out way back in '05, but van Dyk is actually stronger than ever over a decade later. “A great number of things had changed,” says Paul, about the gap between then and now. “The way we make and produce music, how we promote and release music and, of course, how we consume it,” he says.

The producer/DJ also staged his fourth We Are One Festival in Berlin earlier this year — a day and night party that kicks off on Rummelsburg Beach on the banks of the River Spree.

Finally, van Dyk tips his 2016 set at Aquanario as one of his best ever, saying, “I performed new versions of many of my tracks choreographed to a water, light, laser and firework show — backed by singers and an orchestra.” Impressive!

CHARLOTTE LUCY CIJFFERS

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 16:05

Style: 
“Electronic music.”
Best known for: 
“'The Politics Of Dancing 1, 2 and now 3'.”
Tune of the year: 
“Paul van Dyk & Sue McLaren ‘Lights’.”
From: 
Berlin
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Sender.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“To be able to keep their mind on the music, rather than the money.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“If EDM’s still an acronym for Electronic Dance Music, then yes... It’s looking more positive than any year in the last five years. If it refers to pop-dressed-as-electronic-music, then considerably less so.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Happily, I broke through that barrier 15-years or so back.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Professionally, entertaining my fans. Personally, social justice and a more peaceful, fairer world.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“The Loft and the Paradise Garage, mainly as I never got to go; Twilo, as I miss playing there; and Dorian Gray, as I just miss it.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“You never stop wondering that. It’s modern day mystery. The one thing you can say about DJing is there are no obvious preventative barriers, as there are in other professions.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“If you’re not making your own music, chances are it’s not coming from the heart. If it’s not coming from the heart, then likely, there’s a problem.”

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