DJ style: “House, tech-house, melodic house.”
Best known for: “Epic DJ sets from sunset to sunrise.”
“I work when others sleep,” says Lukas Ruiz, who is best known as Vintage Culture but is also synonymous with releasing a huge amount of music, playing almost non-stop around the world and often going super long with his sets. It's paid off because in 2023 he enjoys his highest-ever ranking in our poll.
“I have an insatiable ambition and curiosity that drives me to learn and grow each day,” he says. “I’m always improving my production, but at the heart of my work is always a great song.”
This year he reckons his sound has “become more global”, having held down another residency at Hï Ibiza while also playing Tomorrowland, Coachella, Creamfields and Ultra. It started out big and energetic, then grew more deep and melodic after the pandemic, often with a warm, rolling bassline and a catchy vocal hook on labels like Defected, Spinnin’ Deep, and Armada Music. “I want my songs to be something that people can connect with on a deeper level,” he explains. “I want the audience to be listening to my music long after the show is over.”
The shows themselves are often famously long. When we speak, Ruiz is fresh off playing what felt like a “special homecoming” gig in Brazil after so long playing the rest of the world. Vintage Is A Festival is his own one-man event and it saw him play in front of 20,000 people from sunset to well into the next day.
“When I see 10,000 music fans from all different areas of life, different cultures, countries or continents forgetting their differences and focusing on their commonalities, this gives me confidence,” he says. “Music and art have the immense ability to break down barriers and bring people together.”
Right now, Vintage Culture is deep in the middle of writing his debut album. 25 tunes are written and he is working on selecting the best and “enhancing arrangements and adding nuances and textures to the recordings to make them melodic, memorable and emotionally resonant”. After that, he heads out on a tour of North America and Europe.
“Sitting on the porch of my family’s house in a dusty, rural town in Brazil, I’d read old copies of DJ Mag until the ink wore off the pages,” he remembers. “When I embarked on this journey over a decade ago, I could only dream of being in this poll, but thanks to the loyalty of my fans, it’s now a reality.”
Hero of 2023: “Michael Bibi.”
Fave tune of 2023: “Rex The Dog ‘Change This Pain For Ecstasy’.”
Best DJ set you’ve seen in 2023: “Solomun at Pacha Ibiza.”
Rising star DJ/producer of 2023: “Mochakk.”
What was the most exciting tech development of 2023? “Dolby Atmos mixing is a really exciting development in production right now. I had the opportunity to use it for the first time during the mixing process of my debut album.”
What gives you hope for 2024? “Humans’ ability to overcome challenges and adversity never ceases to amaze me.”