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”.
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.
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.”
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.
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!"
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…
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.
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.
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.
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…