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Poll 2015: Umek

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When he first emerged in the mid-’90s, Umek was associated with the loop techno sound. Nowadays he’s far more visible as a key resident at Carl Cox’s Space Ibiza Revolution parties, and as a headliner at countless gigs and festivals across the world.

Accordingly, there’s a house music timbre to his sets nowadays. Still, Umek remains an anomaly in the Top 100, one of the last bastions standing strong against the EDM tide.

He claims he’s returned to his techno roots this year. “I’ve really enjoyed coming back to my own 1605 label after a while, re-launching my classic aliases Zeta Reticula (electro-infused techno; check out ‘Fonon’) and Alba Patera (techno) along the way. Maybe that wasn’t so obvious but I’m really enjoying exploring electro and proper techno realms right now.”

He’s enjoyed some big back-to-back sets with Spanish selector Coyu in 2015 too, at Ultra Europe and in Ibiza at Join The Revolution, and “a never-ending world tour with approximately a hundred gigs, including some top class clubs and festivals in Europe and the USA”. 

BEN MURPHY

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:27

Style: 
“Not much change there since previous years!”
Best known for: 
“Being a big sneaker addict.”
Tune of the year: 
“Kölsch feat Gregor Schwellenbach ‘Talbot’.”
From: 
Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Dosem.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Being capable of selecting good music and presenting it in a way that people feel excited about it.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“Absolutely!”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Yes, especially during winter when I get less sunlight. I have quite an aerophobia that I’ve luckily learned to cope with, but it’s still very stressful for me flying around.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“Right now we’re gathering money and means for refugees from Syria, the Middle East and Africa that are coming to Europe in large numbers.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“I always had a good time performing at Palazzo in Bingen, Germany and the old Tresor club in Berlin.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“It looks like we boys are still more skilful in this business, though I would expect at least some of the ladies such as Nina Kraviz to be part of the DJ Top 100 list in future.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“This is a reflection of the fact that DJs are being booked not for their DJ skills but the ability to produce and promote hit songs.”

Poll 2015: Firebeatz

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This year’s Top 100 is filled to the brim with duos, but among the most exciting to have emerged in recent times is Firebeatz. An all-Dutch duo consisting of good friends and musical sparring partners, Tim Benjamin Smulders and Jurre van Doeselaar, the boys have left their mark on the EDM scene thanks to heavily endorsed hits such as 'Dear New York', 'Here We F*cking Go' and 'Helicopter'. 

As prolific in the studio as they are on the decks, the past twelve months have also seen them team up with everyone from Martin Garrix to Tiesto to Calvin Harris. “We’ve been touring all around the world, had some amazing experiences and produced a lot of new music,” they tell DJ Mag. Their polling in this year’s poll, we gather, is the cherry on top. 

STEPHEN FLYNN

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:18

Style: 
Electro-house
Best known for: 
“'Helicopter' and our energetic DJ sets.”
Tune of the year: 
“Our own tune, 'Invincible'.”
From: 
Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
KSHMR
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Reading the crowd.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“We think that EDM is still one of the most popular genres around there. Music will always evolve, and that’s a good thing.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“It’s hard, because you need to recharge at home from time-to-time. Family and friends are really important, and it’s amazing to share all of these experiences with them.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Cocoon club in Frankfurt — that place was just amazing. We had some amazing gigs there at the beginning of our career.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“Maybe because too many people in the industry have a 'boys club' mentality.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“We understand some DJs just don’t have the time or knowledge to produce, and without productions it’s impossible to tour around the world. Those DJs use 'their' music as a marketing tool but for us it’s hard to understand.”

Poll 2015: Quentin Mosimann

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Quentin Mosimann’s personal highlights of the year include officially remixing David Guetta and Bob Sinclair and making his debut at Tomorrowland. But when he tells DJ Mag that “I attend to do this job for the next 20 years at least, I'm not looking for my 15 minutes of fame,” it sums up his grounded and humble approach that has won him so many friends and fans across the world.

Mosimann also happens to be one of the few DJs to have attained true 'household name' status, having been a coach on 'The Voice Belgium'. “I didn't want to appear like a judge, because even if I have experience in the music industry, I'll learn from others all my career, for sure,” he explains.

The experience was “really a story of sharing with and between artists” and leads Mosimann to pass on some valuable tips for all aspiring DJs when he says: “I think a career is 50% of trusting your guts and 50% of learning with good advice/experiences from others.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:31

Style: 
Progressive-House
Best known for: 
His unique live performances
Tune of the year: 
Opus - Eric Prydz
From: 
France
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Damien Ndrix
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
Heart.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
I stay optimistic about this, trends come and go, but to my mind people will always need to dance, whether it's House, Techno, Progressive or EDM!
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
Except the fact that you can't enjoy enough family time, I think I couldn't be happy or actually live without this lifestyle.
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
Mistreatment of dogs (and animals in general). I always had dogs, I have now 2 adorable chihuahuas, and I can't support damn human beings hurting them.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
Studio 54 in NYC, disco period. What a story in this place!
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
Maybe because women can't handle with the DJ lifestyle we were talking about. I don't know... Some are awesome like Juicy M for example, and I wish there were more!
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
It's hard to pass judgement on this. I really support composing collaboration, sharing between artists and musicians, at least for my projects. Regarding a ghost producer, actually it happens I make some tracks for other artists because sometimes they need a different approach than their own, it's easier to write for someone else than yourself I guess.

Poll 2015: Marlo

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MaRLo sums up his sound when he tells DJ Mag that it is "basically Tech driven chunky beats with plenty of hands in the air moments."

It's this down to earth and refreshingly honest crowd-pleasing approach that has won him so many fans. "This year was better than last year in almost every way, I'm really happy and am blown away with the support I've received and the incredible shows and opportunities I've been given this past year," he says.

However, it's not all about the noise for MaRLo, as his trip to play in Canada this year had some unexpected surprises. "I had a great time at Lake Louise and Banff in Canada when I had a few days off in between shows," he explains. "I was by myself and kinda got in tune with the silence and peacefulness of the incredibly beautiful landscape."

With plans to complete his first artist album next year, the ambitious Netherlands-born DJ would also love to be able to realise his dream of putting on his own arena-style shows in his adopted homeland of Australia in 2016.

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:56

Style: 
Trance/Tech Trance
Best known for: 
Visions
Tune of the year: 
Gaia - In Principio
From: 
Australia
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Alex Di Stefano - Even though he's been around for a long time, this past year I've really been into his stuff. A great blend of Techno and Trance.
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
To be able to read a crowd and adapt his set accordingly.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
For Electronic Dance Music as a whole, Yes.
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
Yes! It's really exhausting and takes a huge toll on me both mentally and physically, but I wouldn't change a thing. I absolutely love what I do, and feel so blessed to be able to do what I love every day.
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
The Humane Society
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
The Palace in Melbourne, Australia. It was an old cinema and just had such an epic atmosphere for Trance events. I miss that place so much.
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
No idea! Would love to see more ladies in the poll.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
Each to their own, I don't focus on what other people are doing - I'd rather spend that energy and time making my own music.

Poll 2015: Tom Swoon

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Tom Swoon only discovered Deadmau5 and Daft Punk around five years ago but his early efforts at unofficial remixes soon led to his bootleg of David Guetta & Avicii vs. Laidback Luke 'Till Sunshine' achieving around 15 million views on YouTube.

The official remixes, original tracks and massive tours that swiftly followed mean that the 22 year old is now firmly established in his own right, as his showing in this year's Top 100 poll confirms. "I sincerely feel that Bootlegs have lost a bit of the magic they had when I started... but a good bootleg always gets plays and therefore I still think it is a great tool to get noticed," Tom tells us.

"I've really had the opportunity to travel to many new countries this year and see different people, experience different cultures and simply appreciate how amazing this world truly is," Tom enthuses, and shares this tip for any aspiring promoter who wants to book him: "If a promoter takes me out for Sushi I am the happiest guy in the world!"

Next year looks set to be even busier as Tom explains: "I've been working on a lot of new music and collaborations. I am aware that a lot of touring is already in place for next year and some very special festival plays are on their way! Really excited about 2016!"

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 10:40

Style: 
Progressive House - House
Best known for: 
Tom Swoon, Lush & Simon – ‘Ahead Of Us’
Tune of the year: 
Tiësto, KSHMR feat. Vassy - Secrets
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Vigel
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
I would say reading the crowd, and playing for the people that came down to have a good time!
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
Only time can tell. But dance music is definitely evolving.
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
I am grateful to being able to play my own music around the world. With over 100 shows this year I've been away from home every weekend and it really builds up and is trying. I do sleep on all my flights which helps!
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
Freedom in all its forms and shapes!
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
I’m pretty young so most of the clubs I've grown up with are still running.
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
I think it's simply a question of numbers. There are many more men doing this than women and therefore it is not proportional in this sense. It's great to see however that more woman are present in the list each year.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
I spend a lot of time to produce my own music and in the end this works for me.

Poll 2015: Miss K8

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There aren’t many female DJs in the Top 100 – and there aren’t many Ukrainians for that matter, either. One such lady clearly keen to ruffle a few feathers and do things a bit differently, however, is Miss K8. A native of Kiev, this hardcore techno loving temptress is more than capable with mixing it with the best in the business.

The so-called ‘Goddess of Hardcore’ has had a pretty spellbinding year too – as is evidenced by performances on influential hardcore techno stages a la Masters of Hardcore, Dominator, Syndicate and Defqon.1. Something tells us this lady is just getting started…

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 15:48

Style: 
Hardcore Techno
Best known for: 
Metropolis of Massacre (Dominator Anthem 2014)
Tune of the year: 
Tha Playah & Nosferatu - Riders of Retaliation (Dominator Anthem 2015)
From: 
Kyiv, Ukraine
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Furyan
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
To read the crowd.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
Definitely. Every year it's only becoming brighter. So we are on the right path!
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
Yes, of course sometimes I might be tired, but I refresh myself pretty fast between the weekends. Sport, a healthy lifestyle and a good night's sleep is the trick.
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
My family.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
I have special memories connected to 3 clubs in Kyiv, all of which have been closed for many years. Ultra, Opium Dance Club and Ganesha Party Bar were all really influential for me.
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
It's all about how dedicated your fans are and how strongly they want to support you. It doesn't matter if you’re a man or a woman.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
I don't think about it. Everyone should do what they feel is best for them.

Poll 2015: Mike Candys

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At only 34 years old, Mike Candys has already positioned himself as one of the globe’s most renowned purveyors of big room progressive and electro vibes. The Swiss native burst on to the scene a couple years back courtesy of his track, "La Serenissima”, and it’s safe to say he hasn’t looked back since.

Indeed, 2015 sees Candys feature in the Top 100 for an impressive fourth year in a row. “I’ve spent a lot of the year touring over the past twelve months” Candys tells DJ Mag, “and any spare minutes were spent at home, working on new tunes”. It’s this sort of unrelenting work ethic that makes Candys’ inclusion something of an inevitably.

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 15:34

Style: 
Progressive, Electro
Best known for: 
Smile Mask, Laser Gloves and Signature Bootlegs
Tune of the year: 
Make it Home, because it will always remind me of the awesome summer tour in 2015
From: 
Zurich, Switzerland
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
Nowadays DJing is a lot more about entertaining an‎d playing your own tracks as opposed to your mixing skills. So it’s extra important to party on stage and entertain with your performance.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
If you’re referring to electronic dance music in general then the answer is yes. If you mean big room festival music, I guess this is going to peak some time soon.
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
Yes. The upsides are obvious but there are downsides too. But you also lose friends, get no sleep, don't have time for your family and sometimes don't even know where you are.
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
My family.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
Luckily all my favourite clubs are still alive and kicking!
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
I guess it's easier for guys to entertain people, especially at festivals. DJs need to be powerful, loud and outgoing - although I should point out that there are some great female DJs too.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
Nowadays it's important to have your own productions as a DJ. What if somebody is a great entertainer but doesn't know how to use Logic or FL Studio? I'm happy I produce my own tracks but I understand the others.

Poll 2015: MAKJ

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Makj is the alias of US DJ/producer Mackenzie Johnson. Famed for his take on all things electro-house, this prolific producer has also worked alongside a varied crew of musicians, with everyone from Hardwell to Lil’ Jon to M35 rubbing shoulders with the Tomorrowland main-stager. 

Another on this list who’s signed his music to the likes of Spinnin’ and Ultra, Makj is also a talented DJ and by no means simply a talented producer – which is no real surprise considering he got his first pair of Technics at the tender age of 15. 2015 marks his second year in the Top 100…but all the signs would indicate that he’s here to stay for some time yet.

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 16:19

Style: 
My own
Best known for: 
Looking like a giraffe
Tune of the year: 
MAKJ & Thomas Newson - Black
From: 
San Luis Obispo, Californian
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Kenze
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
Reading a crowd.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
Of course! Classifying it as one specific genre is the issue. "EDM" to me will always be around.
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
100%. Not seeing my family, friends, dog, is extremely hard. But if that’s the only thing I can complain about with this job then yeah, I'll take it. Happily.
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
My best friend died of cancer last year, so the National Foundation for Cancer Research means the world to me.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
The Government in Toronto.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
Let's just say this, if there was no such thing as "ghost producers" then a lot of the Top100 wouldn't exist. So I guess it’s important to some people. Not me.

Poll 2015: Headhunterz

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Dutch DJ & producer Willem Rebergen, better known as Headhunterz, pulls off an admirable balancing act between his own creative freedom and the high expectations of success. He’s blazed his own trail, making music his very own, open-minded playground. In the past 15 years, Headhunterz has shown to be following his inner flow, with a unique sound that’s ever genre-bending, yet truly his. Outstanding performances at festivals like Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival, as well as more intimate venues like Ruby Skye, LA Exchange, ZOUK and Ushuaia, have wowed fans all across the globe. Following golden records, chart-topping remixes for Avicii, Armin van Buuren, Hardwell and Zedd, collabs with KSHMR, Hardwell, R3hab and Steve Aoki, and many, unforgettable moments on stage, Headhunterz is sure to continue wandering the infinite options of electronic dance music.    

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 10:48

Style: 
A combination of different sounds
Best known for: 
Bringing the music that comes from within
Tune of the year: 
Galantis - Runaway
From: 
Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Oliver Heldens
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
Stage presence.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
Genres come and go but music stays and we should just accept the change and move with it.
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
It most certainly does, but I do what I can do to balance it out by doing sports and meditation and taking rest when I need to. There would be no point in doing all this if my mind was too stressed to enjoy it.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
Forgotten clubs are not something I store in my long term memory.
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
The DJ mag Top 100 mostly consists of people who produce, and sitting behind a computer programming music is not something that generally appeals to women, I believe. With this in the back of people’s minds, they tend to be sceptical towards women who DJ, with a few exceptions of course. DJing nowadays is, in my opinion, more of a showcase for the producer, and isn’t very technically challenging. So when you take away ‘producer’ from the showcase, you’re left with something that practically anyone could pull off.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
I don’t like to point fingers and rather focus on myself. For me personally there is no greater satisfaction than the satisfaction I get from producing music.

Poll 2015: Krewella

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“There is no bigger compliment than to have our amazing support system, our KREW, vote for us without even being asked to do so. THAT is real love”.

So says Krewella – and to give the guys their dues you would indeed be hard pressed to find a more loved female duo in the EDM world right now. Consisting of sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf, this all-conquering pair have a style that’s very much their own. And in

spite of Kristopher "Rain Man" Trindl’s much publicised resignation, the Krewella party rolls with distinction…

http://danceforparalysis.org/

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

Style: 
Intense, raw and powerful
Best known for: 
Sweaty hugs
Tune of the year: 
Stephen - “Remembering Myself”
From: 
Chicago, Illinois
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
Joyryde, NGHTMRE, & Slander
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
Being able to take a crowd on a sometimes emotional and sometimes intense journey in the span of a set.
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
As long as electronic musicians keep innovating and evolving, there will always be a bright future.
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
Dance for Paralysis is the organisation that the proceeds from our Electric Family charity bracelet go to. Many paralysis victims are told that they will never walk or move again without ever being given a fighting chance -- proceeds from this charity go towards research and equipment to help people get back on their feet again.
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
Neo in Chicago – Vampire and goth vibes!
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
The electronic music industry can be daunting for women. If more women are willing to take big risks and be unafraid of the ridicule, double standards, and any other setbacks or troubles, we will (hopefully) slowly start to see more women releasing electronic music, playing shows and festivals, and thus ending up on the Top 100.
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
We'll leave it at this - giving credit where credit is due is incredibly important with any form of art.

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