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Poll 2016: Porter Robinson

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Porter Robinson
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35

From: Chapel Hill, US
DJ style: Electro.

Shortly before DJ Mag went to print for this Top 100 issue, Porter Robinson was touring the live show that he debuted last year, this time to audiences in middle America in a joint tour with French artist Madeon. It was taking in cities like Denver that were once written off as unconquerable by dance culture luminaries, which illustrates the power of the movement he’s helped spearhead in his country.

Beyond his collaboration with his buddy Madeon, ‘Shelter’ that accompanied their touring adventures together, it’s been an otherwise quiet year for Robinson in terms of releases. It's been a chance to breathe, perhaps, after the cyclone of inertia over the past few years that saw him release a quick succession of anthems like 'Language', which proved utterly definitive for the time and place, as well as his debut album 'Worlds' that followed.

It was a period that saw him take his place alongside the likes of Skrillex as part of a new generation of young US producers who have risen alongside the concurrent explosion of EDM culture across the country, developing a sound altogether fresher and more innovative than the imported European sounds that have dominated the main stage and its crossover radio hits.

“I see enthusiasm and inspiration as the most important currency you can have when you’re making music,” Porter said this year, prior to the release of ‘Shelter’ in cahoots with Madeon. “It’s this weird sensation of being drunk on your own confidence and excitement that leads to so many creative breakthroughs. That effect was really exaggerated when we were working together.” 

 

WORDS: ANGUS PATERSON

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 11:25

Poll 2016: Bobina

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Bobina
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From: Moscow, Russia
DJ style: “Future trance.”
Best known for: “Highest DJ Mag Top 100 position from Russia ever.”
What’s the next new big track? “Hilight Tribe ‘Free Tibet (Vini Vici Remix)’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2016: “Alan Walker and Vigel.”

Bobina is back! The Russian trance star last featured in the Top 100 back in 2013 (clocking in at No.47), but has quite a history with the poll. First entering in 2008, Bobina — real name: Dmitry Almazov — instantly set two records, becoming the first ever Russian to chart, and landing the highest ever spot for a Russian DJ to date, at Number 28!

As with so many trance fanatics, Bobina’s passion was sparked by the one and only AvB. “I listened to Armin van Buuren’s live set on a pirated MP3 CD in 2001, which I got as one of the presents for my birthday,” he tells DJ Mag. “At that time I just liked rock music basically, so that set was really the first electronic music I started to understand.” Since then Dmitry has dropped seven albums, with 2008’s ‘Again’ in particular propelling him into the limelight. His latest effort, ‘Speed Breaker’ dropped this year via Sony Music — who said trance was dead?!

Moving into 2017, the Moscow DJ is looking forward to getting back on the road and, he says, shooting some music videos. “I’m not really speaking about music ‘cause this is something which is already my usual day work,” he adds. It’s a tough life, eh? 

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“This year I didn't have a chance to share my radio show, Russia Goes Clubbing, with my fans on SoundCloud because they have a lot of copyright issues.”

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
“I think it depends on a country. In some countries, for sure, but not everywhere.”

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
“For me, there was no really breakthrough production technology, so let's wait for 2017. I seriously can’t remember anything which impressed me that much.”

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
“It’s very complicated to speak about genres in dance music nowadays. Maybe a drummer in a rock band? Why not?”

As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“$1 million — I have a special Bobina price just for Bobina.”

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“We probably need to push electronic music to an even higher level (production-wise) to make more people enjoy it while sober. Personally, I’m sure it’s quite easy to enjoy a dance music event without taking any drugs.”

How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“To be honest, it depends on all parties involved. Producers have to be sure that their tracks are well done, maybe even extraordinary, and labels need to release more original and creative sounds.”

WORDS: BEN HINDLE

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 11:20

Poll 2016: Zatox

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5

From: Rome, Italy
DJ style: “Hardstyle/hard dance.”
Best known for: “‘My Life’, ‘Sunlight’, ‘Rumble In The Jungle’.”
What’s the next new big track? “Yellow Claw & San Holo ‘New Days’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2016: “Marshmello.”

Following the release of his debut full-length last year, titled ‘New World Order’, it seemed a big ask for Italian hardstyle goliath Zatox to follow up with a stronger 2016. But through the release of his big room smash ‘Indigo’, as well as dominating hard dance charts with tracks like ‘W.T.F.’ and Villain collaboration ‘Warning’, he has certainly managed to.

“This year has been really interesting for me musically,” Zatox, real name Gerardo Roschini, tells DJ Mag. “I’ve always loved to produce freely, but I’ve also had the chance to collaborate with big artists.” 
These include Krewella, W&W and Le Shuuk, with Roschini also seeing his material released through Sony and Armada Music. “This is all pretty new to me,” he enthuses.

As well as being a huge year personally for Roschini, the Italian has also seen hardstyle continue to grow globally. “Because it’s expanding so much, I’ve had the chance to play a lot more internationally where this style is something new, and the energy is amazing,” he explains. “Hardstyle isn’t just underground anymore.” 

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“I’ve always been free-minded about my productions, but this year I decided to experiment and play with sounds influencing hardstyle from other genres, evolving my music in a new and fresh way.”

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
“It’s finally big enough for there to be a huge community of people that love it and put effort into developing it. I don’t know if everyone considers it art, but it’s definitely a lifestyle that is changing the world and connecting people.”

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
“The best thing about technology in music production right now is the fact that there’s no limits.”

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
“I don’t think I’m going to be switching genre. Hardstyle is really meaningful to me; it’s something that has changed my life deeply.”

As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“The best way to get to see the DJs you love is definitely at festivals. Some may be a little expensive, but you pay for the whole experience, which can be unforgettable.”

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“Educating youngsters and inspiring them through music. We, as influencers, have a big responsibility in sending a positive message and making them understand that it’s not about the drugs, but the music.”

How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“Mixing music genres and fighting the way of thinking that if you experiment and don’t follow the trends, you’re going be cut out. Those that create something new change music history and create the trends.”

WORDS: ROB McCALLUM

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 11:13

Poll 2016: Dyro

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DJ style: “Hard-hitting, raw electro.”
Best known for: “WOLV Records.”
What’s the next new big track? “Apashe is about to drop his new album on Kannibalen Records. Its lead track ‘Fuck Boy’ is fire!”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2016: “Goja.”

Dyro has been one of the key younger players in the EDM scene the past few years, a hotshot taken under the wing of Hardwell, who released Dyro’s debut EP on his Revealed Recordings imprint in 2011. Hardwell  also took him on tour around the world at this time, which pegged him as one of the next-gen EDM producers as the sound exploded worldwide. 

However, lately it’s been Dyro’s own WOLV Records label — launched in 2014 — that’s cemented his rep as a main stage dark horse, allowing him to indulge the darker, more experimental side of his productions. It’s a path that reached its zenith in 2016 with the release of his ‘Set Me Free’ EP, which saw him unleashing a particularly rough and gritty collection of records, primed for the edgier direction that main stage EDM finally steered towards over the summer. 

His WOLV endeavours have also allowed Dyro to nurture his own young posse of talent, showcasing the upcoming sounds of producer padawans like Loopers, Goja, Awoltalk, D.O.D, NDS and Conro. He’s kept a steady presence on the festival and club circuit this year, though Dyro says the studio is where it’s at for him at the moment, and to expect big things soon. 

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“All of the WOLV guys — Loopers, Awoltalk, Sam Lamar and everyone that’s released with us this year, they’re standing out from the crowd and just killing it.”

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art form?
“Yes it is, but some artists are more serious than others.”

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
“I’ve got so many new plug-ins that boost my work that I’d have to straight up say FL Studio 12 — it’s just such a great foundation to work with.”

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
“I do make a lot of trap-influenced music, though I’d go deep into some hardstyle dubstep.”

As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“A couple hundred for a big festival if one of my heroes was playing.”

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“Open up the conversation, and educate the ravers.”

How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“By being diverse ourselves and welcoming new talents — it’s what makes music exciting.”

 

WORDS: ANGUS PATERSON

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 11:06

Poll 2016: Flume

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After three years of hype and hearsay, excitement and expectation — and well over a trillion crass copycat Flume-alikes — the young Australian known as Harley Streten finally gave the world what they’d been waiting for this summer: ‘Skin’. 

The follow-up to 2013’s agenda-setting, game-changing self-titled debut album, ‘Skin’ came loaded with titanic collaborations with the likes of Beck, Little Dragon, Tove Lo, Vince Staples and AlunaGeorge. And while it maintained his now signature spacy sounds, unhurried grooves, finely balanced songcraft and abstract production aesthetics, it established a whole new benchmark for the 24-year-old with radio-ready hits like ‘Never Be Like You’ and ‘Say It’ clocking up hundreds of millions of streams and tickling the US Pop Radio chart top 10. 

Not content with these successes, somewhere along the line this year he also managed to find time to write and produce for both AlunaGeorge (‘I Remember’) and DJ Snake (‘Talk’), and is now presently on the biggest world tour of his career to date. 

Covering the US, Europe and his own Aussie stomping ground, the tour has sold in excess of 300,000 tickets and almost every show has sold out: proof, if it’s needed, that Flume really is one of this decade’s most unique and influential sonic success stories whose technique and elements are evident across the widest electronic terrain (he’s even aped by major EDM superstars) 

Meanwhile, as a DJ (what with this being a top DJ poll and all) Flume backs up every ounce of these successes and presence with a forward-thinking selection style that remains entrenched in the sci-fi beat roots he originally came through in. With key performances at world renowned festivals such as Lollapalooza, Day N Night and Laneway, his sets during winter and spring were in fact one of the best sources for new material and that hype, hearsay, excitement and expectation that has buzzed around him since he came through in 2011. 

WORDS: DAVE JENKINS

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 11:01

Poll 2016: Infected Mushroom

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Psy-trance pair Infected Mushroom are one of the most rock-inclined dance acts of their era, so it makes sense they landed on former punk Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak with some big tunes in 2016. 
“We also released some of our own music plug-ins this year, which were very well received,” say Erez Aizen and Amit Duvdevan. “And along with a massive world tour, we feel like this was one of our best years to date.”

Once again they traversed the globe, playing everywhere from Asia to the Americas — including at places like Burning Man — and after missing out on the Top 100 in 2015, they are now back with a bang. 
“It’s nice to feel that big love from the fans. We do what we do because we love making you dance,“ they say before explaining that in 2017 they plan an exciting new stage production, more “slayers from the studio”, some new plug-in projects, another world tour, as well as some solid collaborations. 

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“In addition to our memorable stage production called Animatronica which infused a ‘Burning Man’ style with trippy visuals, we are also proud to have celebrated IM's 20-year party in Israel this year.”

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
“Yes, we feel like the electronic music scene has become more dominant as an art form over the last five-to-ten years. Even the biggest artists such as Gaga and Bieber are using electronic music producers to create the ‘sound’ for their albums.”

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
“We think the best piece of technology is our USB key holding all the music needed for a DJ set, instead of all the CDs or computer we used to bring.”

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
“Rock music.”

As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“If it were up to us we would pay in food, for some good burgers and beer, but we understand bills need to be paid!”

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“More education from parents and social media, more substance-testing stations, better searches upon entry.”

How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“We think that creating an electronic music elective course in high school would allow students to learn about the culture, production, DJing, genres (or the lack thereof) before they even turn 18. This would encourage a variety of youth to enter various sectors of our scene.”

WORDS: KRISTAN CARYL

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 10:55

Poll 2016: Showtek

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59

From: Eindhoven, Netherlands
DJ style: “A bit of everything with a lot of electronic.”
Best known for: “Being brothers.”
What’s the next new big track? “Party Favor & Dillon Francis ‘Shut It Down’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2016? “Brooks.”

A huge 15 years after their debut release, former hard dance icons Showtek have continued their transition into EDM megastars in 2016. Made up of brothers Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen, the Skink label they launched in 2013 has released massive main room tracks from Justin Prime and Eva Shaw, as well as the ‘Skinkilation Vol. 2’ EP, which featured high-octane weapons from David Guetta, Tom Ferro, Crossnaders, Jimmy Clash, The Dirty Code, Lenx & Denx and Rendo, as well as Showtek themselves.

The Janssen brothers also started their Crazy Collabs project in 2012, through which they’ve previously worked with Guetta, Tiësto, Hardwell and Bassjackers, amongst many others. “Every three to five years we feel like we want to do something new and add things to our profile,” Sjoerd tells DJ Mag. Although not part of the series, the duo added Major Lazer to their already impressive list of collaborations this year, with ‘Believer’ from the EDM giants’ forthcoming album ‘Music Is The Weapon’ set to establish them as a household name. 

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“Developing a new live show, and our collaboration with Major Lazer.”

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
“Any personally created piece is a form of art, and people will always debate that.”

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
“It’s so much easier to produce music nowadays, so people are getting more and more creative to sound unique — creating an amazing revolution.”

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
“Even though we have a specific style, we are constantly trying to fuse different influences like reggae, hip-hop, old school house and indie.”

As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“We’d have to ask the promoters!”

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“Educate, don’t ignore.”

How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“Things have to saturate before people want a change of palette. Creative people are determined to come up with new ideas, so eventually it will always evolve.”

WORDS: ROB McCALLUM

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 10:50

Poll 2016: Daddy's Groove

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Daddy’s Groove have been pretty prolific in the last year, releasing cuts like ‘WOW!’, ‘Back To 94’, ‘Tribe’ and ‘Scratchin’, as well as collaborating with French stars Bob Sinclar and David Guetta on the Euro 2016 show. 

Despite all that, they still claim that being voted into our poll is “one of the best things that’s happened in our career” and are quick to thanks fans for their support. As for the reason for their success, they have a clear answer. 

"We almost changed everything,” say the Italian duo of Carlo Grieco and Peppe Folliero, “starting with our DJ set right through to the producing side. We are going back to a more house and percussive sound — this is what we feel more at the moment, and this is what we love to do now."

On the immediate horizon for the group that has remixed everyone from Whitney Houston to James Blunt is a new track with Bob Sinclar, ‘Burning’, that is already making waves, and after that they will be in the studio with Kryder. “At the same time we are keeping on developing our own party called TRIBE, with some plans for events in Miami and Ibiza." 

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
"Our new frontier was basically a back to the roots approach, we came back to a more groovy and sexy house sound, with tribal influences.”

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
"We guess so, it has evolved a lot during the years, getting even more visibility in the generic press, throughout festivals and above all through the people all around."

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
"We consider Maschine as a new creative and innovative tool to perform in a fast and excellent way — keeping a lot of freshness at the same time, both in studio or live."

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
"Probably we’d switch to a proper punk rock band with a lot of noisy guitars!”

As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
"Maybe 50 bucks is fair enough."

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
"It’s very important to keep the people always informed about the risks and how the drugs can make damages over our body. As DJs we’d love to keep people passionate for the music and the vibe of the party, so they cannot even think to add something bad to increase the fun."

How can we increase diversity in dance music?
"Improving their own personal taste listening to every kind of music, opening their own minds to more influences and creativity, avoiding to be close or limited to the same pool."

 

WORDS: DAVE JENKINS

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 10:44

Poll 2016: Martin Solveig

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This year Martin Solveig presented his joyous My House residency at Pacha in Ibiza. “It's a new challenge for me, and it's super-exciting,” he tells DJ Mag. But he's also in a reflective mood, pointing out to his fans that his entry into the Top 100 DJs is more about the scene in general. “Keep an open mind, keep digging for new talents, and enjoy the music for what it is as much as you can,” he says.

Speaking about the fast-paced nature of what it is to be a DJ in 2016, Martin and his team have decided it's better to do less but to give 110%. “We focus on the essential and drop everything else. It means doing things that are relevant and highly enjoyable,” he explains. “This clearly goes against the trend but I will carry on and take pleasure in doing what I do only under this condition.”

Highlighting the recent difficult times in France and across Europe, Martin goes on to tell DJ Mag that making music is the precious thing that really brings people together. With this in mind, he's found time to go deep and explore a lot in the studio this year, the results of which will reveal themselves next year, he promises. 

How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“I can feel a thirst for new alternative styles of electronic music. 2016 sounds like a very open year in terms of genres, and that’s fantastic.”

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“The biggest challenge I had to face is the acceleration of music careers, emphasised by the growing importance of social medias. You have to be able to play shows, make (good) music, travel everywhere, spend a lot of time for and with the fans.”

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
“Yes, it is.”

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
“The new CDJ 2000 Nexus II, their new functionalities are helping me a lot to upgrade my DJ sets.”

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
“Hip-hop, for sure.”

As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“I would dream that fans could all come for free to the shows, but life is not a dream.”

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“The only thing to do is to communicate over and over again.”

WORDS:HELENE STOKES

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 10:39

Poll 2016: Ferry Corsten

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Ferry Corsten
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14

From: Holland 
DJ style: Trance.
Best known for: “Uplifting, energetic sets/productions and my Gouryella project.”
What’s the next new big track? “Andrew Bayer’s remix of Push ‘Strange World’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2016: “Dimension.”

Over the last 12+ months, Ferry’s been experiencing the full weight of The Gouryella Effect. Returning one of his most popular alter egos to the fore has placed the man from Rotterdam squarely back at the top of trance music’s headlines. And all it really took was two singles. ‘Anahera’ ended 2015 by hoovering EOY titles, including A State Of Trance’s Single Of The Year and Beatport’s No.1 trance seller. Twelve months to the day of its release, he did it again with ‘Neba’, which, Ferry recounts, “had people literally crying on the dancefloor” and was a comparably “emotional experience for me as a producer.”

Collectively, those two tracks powered his Gouryella stage show, which has been putting hands aloft in places as far and wide as Hungary’s Balaton Sound, EDC Las Vegas, Tomorrowland and Ultra Europe. 
Which is just as well as, aside from ‘Neba’ and the just-released Cosmic Gate collab ‘Event Horizon’, Ferry’s been production-quiet in 2016. “I took a lot of time off this year to work on my fifth artist album, which is taking longer than I thought. Taking Gouryella to the stage still made it an amazingly creative and fulfilling year for me.” 

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“Bringing to life the live aspect of Gouryella.” 

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form?
“I think that there are plenty of genres within the electronic dance music space that can be seen as a form of art.” 

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
“Right now I really love the latest Native Instruments stuff. Simply amazing.” 

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be? 
“It would probably be house or chill-out.”

As a fan, what is the top price you would pay to see yourself DJ?
“I’m priceless. I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Just kidding!”

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events?
“I remember hearing about having your drugs tested in Holland here at events (if they were clean you got it back, if they were poisonous they would be confiscated). I honestly don’t know if they still do this. I know this idea is very radical, but knowing that people will take drugs regardless of it being illegal and there are sanctions for using it, at least this could help prevent further deaths. Education/awareness about drugs is key.”

How can we increase diversity in dance music?
“By having a clear-cut identity to your own sound. What happens very often now is everyone wants to sound like the sound of now, making everyone sound the same.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 10:21

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