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Poll 2021: Nervo

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Nervo
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From: Australia

Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “KC Lights and Dom Dolla.”
 
 
Australian DJ duo Liv and Mim Nervo have been a constant in the Top 100 DJs poll for nearly the past ten years. Intensely likeable and without question one of the finest double-acts the clubbing community has been blessed with, NERVO remains firm favourites on the scene. They’re known for their many artist collaborations with the likes of Kylie, David Guetta and Miley Cyrus, while their huge tune 'Best Friend' peaked at 100,000,000 streams on Spotify and has appeared on a recent iPhone ad. Nice work. 
 
NERVO ‘opted' to take the summer off to enjoy some beautiful weather in southern Europe. “It was one of those Covid silver linings!” they tell DJ Mag about time spent over the past year. “We have been busy making lots of new music and taking care of our toddler daughters.” Refreshingly keen to talk about parenthood, Liv and Mim are also fired up about their forthcoming NERVOnation shows across the globe. 
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“It was incredible. We were in Bangkok and had quarantined for two weeks with a bunch of other DJs, so by the end of our month in Thailand we had all become close buddies.”
 
 
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“It has just reiterated how lucky we are to have the life we live.”
 
 
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
 
“It would be amazing if clubs were all powered by solar energy! And there should be a ban on plastic cups and straws. All plastic should be banned!”

 

What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
“We have been loving our Neumann U87 mic, and find we spend less time EQing and compressing vox now!”
 
 
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“It’s a little shameful to say, but we haven’t been listening to albums at all actually. But we love KC Light’s ‘Girl’, and what Purple Disco Machine has been releasing lately.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 11:47

Style: 
“Big room house.”
Best known for: 
“DJing around the world at all major festivals like Lollapalooza, Creamfields, Tomorrowland, and having residencies at superclubs like Hakkasan and Omnia in Las Vegas, and Ushuaïa in Ibiza.”
Tune of the year: 
“'Friday (Dopamine Re-Edit)' by Riton x Nightcrawlers, and 'Gotta Be You' by NERVO feat. Carla Monroe.”

Poll 2021: Calvin Harris

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Calvin Harris
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From: Scotland


Despite playing no DJ sets this year, Calvin still remains a firm favourite with many fans as he appears in the poll for the 12th consecutive year. That’s not to say the Omnia resident hasn’t been active, though. As Love Regenerator he’s dropped some of the most underground sounds of his career: the piano-pumping, NYC-inspired ‘We Can Come Together’ (with ex-drum & bass star/current bigroom smasher Eli Brown) and ‘Rollercoaster’ with Manchester tech-house duo Solardo. Both landed this summer and reminded us all of Harris’s dancefloor roots. Prior to these came a more typical poppy Harris anthem in the form of ‘By Your Side’ — a hazy, feel-good track with Tom Grennan that hit the UK top 10.

While we’re unsure when Harris will be able to return to perform at regular haunts like Pacha and Ushuaïa, judging by his Instagram we can confirm he’s grown a reasonably decent (if a little unkempt) beard, and his watermelon growing game is on-point! We told you he was active. 

 
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 10:27

Best known for: 
A string of dance hits

Poll 2021: KSHMR

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KSHMR
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From: Berkeley, California
 
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Padé.”
 
 
2021 for KSHMR was all about unveiling his debut album, ‘Harmonica Andromeda’. “I really wanted to show people the music I had inside of me that wasn't really seen before,” he says. “It spans many moods and genres, which was a challenge but it made me fall in love with music all over again.”
 
The American musician, producer and songwriter also worked on creating new tools for producers including a new plug-in debuting later this year, as well as ‘Sounds Of KSHMR Vol. 4’, the latest instalment of his sample pack series. 
 
He also valued the pandemic-induced downtime and used it as a chance to “develop new hobbies and relax”. Fans will notice the dance titan managed to evolve his sound this year, too: he broke away from big room and tried to focus on music that “embodied the breadth of my musical interests”.
 
He will continue to hone this new sound on further singles in 2022, and promises a second album will quickly follow his first. 
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“Truly incredible, seeing the crowd reminded me why I make music.”
 
 
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“I put a lot more emphasis on things outside of work - time with friends, going to the park with my dogs.”
 
 
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
 
“I’m really not an expert but I suppose festivals could aim to use solar energy.”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
“I got the super-fast Thunderblade drive. It stores all my Kontakt libraries and helps with video editing, which I got into this past year. I actually worked on the VFX for my music videos ‘Around The World’ and ‘The World We Left Behind’.”
 
 
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“‘Harmonica Andromeda’ by this guy named KSHMR was pretty good.”

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 10:23

Style: 
“Global EDM.”
Best known for: 
“‘Power', ‘Wildcard’, ‘Secrets’, ‘Carry Me Home’, ‘Harmonica Andromeda’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Cristobal Tapia De Veer ‘Aloha!' from The White Lotus OST.”

Poll 2021: Green Velvet

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Green Velvet
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From: Chicago
 
 
Chicago’s Curtis Jones is truly a singular artist. With a peerless ability to intuitively know what a dancefloor needs, Jones — better known as Green Velvet — draws on nearly four decades of experience to pull together sets that flow seamlessly between genres. His place in the Top 100 DJs list is no coincidence: he founded two beloved US house labels, Cajual and Relief, and he’s been top of his game since the early 1990s — when other DJs on this list may not have been born. His discography also boasts a producer who skips through genres effortlessly with tunes like ‘Flash’ and ‘Brighter Days’ (under his Cajmere alias) sitting neatly alongside 2021’s ‘Critical’. 

With an array of singles under his belt, nearly two dozen EPs, several compilation albums and five studio albums, Green Velvet is deserved of any honour that comes his way. A true stalwart figure in both the house and techno scene, the Chicago producer continually creates legendary memories for everyone. 
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 10:20

Style: 
Jackin’ house
Best known for: 
‘La La Land’, ‘Flash’

Poll 2021: FISHER

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FISHER
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From: Australia

Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Cloonee and Sosa.”
 

In a few short years, Australian DJ/producer FISHER has cemented himself as a renowned artist. Since his massive ‘Losing It’ elevated him from unknown DJ to headliner, FISHER’s continued success has made him one of the world’s most sought-after artists. Though he’s spent the year “playing shows, hanging out with family and friends and getting music ready to release,” the surfer-turned-selector allowed the last 18 months to be a break after a whirlwind few years. 

His label Catch & Release has championed the sounds of his peers and new artists, while his own tunes have continued to gather momentum: ‘Just Feels Tight’ carries the torch of ‘Freaks’ and ‘Wanna Go Dancin’, instantly cementing itself as a banger to be played in clubs across the world. With a slew of singles under his belt, a successful label and an Ibiza residency, it feels like the Grammy-nominated artist is only just getting started.
 

How was your first gig back after lockdown?

“It was in Phoenix, AZ, and it was amazing. The energy was through the roof, it was one of the best shows I have played.”
 

How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“Nothing’s changed, just enjoying it more now than ever. I am super grateful for every amazing moment playing music.”
 

What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
“Novation Summit synth.”
 

What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“Dr Dre ‘2001’.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 10:17

Style: 
“Tech-house.”
Best known for: 
“‘Losing It’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Cher ‘Believe’.”

Poll 2021: Naeleck

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Naeleck
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From: France
 
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Bellorum.”
 
 
French producer Naeleck has had a busy year. Despite being unable to tour, the 32-year-old “dark electro” musician has had time “to focus on new music and even try different styles”. Though his single with Sarah Rebecca, ‘All My Heroes’, doesn’t fall into the usual category of a Naeleck production, it’s one he’s extremely proud of, telling DJ Mag: “It’s very different from what I usually produce and cannot be played at 2am in a packed club. But I had very good feedback and it's my most-streamed tune of all time. I'm not sure it's something I would have thought to produce when focusing on touring, but I'm happy I did.”
 
“I have mainly been making music, doing TikTok videos, eating sushi and playing videogames,” he says. Naeleck has also been busy developing his two labels Den Haku Records and Dancing Deads, spending time finding “talented artists”, while also working on the visual aspects of his projects with “more storytelling for socials and new live setup visuals”.
 
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“Amazing, it felt so good to meet with the public again and drop all the tracks I have been holding off the last 18 months.”
 
 
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“The last 18 months changed my focus from touring to other things, but didn’t really affect my work/life balance.”
 
 
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
 
“I guess the most important step would be to keep raising awareness, especially in some countries where even officials try to make it pass as a hoax…”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
"The [Pioneer DJ] CDJ-3000, it's a pleasure to play on it.”
 
 
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“Apashe ‘Renaissance’.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 10:09

Style: 
“Electro and bass.”
Best known for: 
“Breaking borders between DJing, anime and videos games with 8-bit-style tunes and millions of views on animation videos.”
Tune of the year: 
Naeleck & Hige Driver ‘Virtual Gaming (Tokyo Machine Remix)’.”

Poll 2021: Jamie Jones

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Jamie Jones
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From: UK
 
Rising DJ / Producer of 2021: “Wheats.”
 
 
A longstanding stalwart of the London house music scene, Jamie Jones has since become a globally recognised star. Now an internationally-established DJ regularly touring the world, he co-founded the eleven-year-strong imprint Hot Creations plus its offshoots Hottraxx and Hot Waves, and started a highly successful Paradise event series.

As soon as the clubs returned this year so did Paradise, with an event at Brooklyn Mirage in New York, for which Jamie inviting the likes of DJ Deeon and Technasia to play alongside him. Other big shows include Paradise In The Park in Los Angeles in the summer, a takeover at Warehouse Houthavens in collaboration with Loveland at ADE, and Space Miami in December. This year Jamie became a proud parent to his first daughter, an exciting new addition to his life, and he continues to show passion and drive for his career. As well as a new solo release on Hot Creations, Jamie is already back in action with upcoming gigs in London, Ibiza, Los Angeles and New York to name a few, plus plenty more in the pipeline for 2022. 

 

How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“It was incredible, I’d forgotten what the energy exchange between myself and the crowd felt like. So much joy, everybody was so happy to be together and hear the music on a big system again.”

 

How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“To be honest, I’d worked a lot over recent years on making sure I took a decent amount of time off the road but I definitely cherished the time at home to spend with family.”

 

What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
“I started using Genelec The Ones monitors. They have a tuning system that you buy separately that tunes the monitors to your room, so no matter which room you’re working in they sound the same — and sound amazing too.”

 

What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“J. Cole ‘The Off-Season’.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 10:01

Style: 
“House to techno.”
Best known for: 
“Paradise parties, Hot Creations and ‘Hungry For The Power’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Technasia ‘Bring It Back’.”

Poll 2021: Amelie Lens

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Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Milo Spykers.”

 
After a tumultuous year personally with her father passing away and her boyfriend hospitalised, Amelie Lens would be forgiven for taking her foot off the gas a little in 2021. As it turns out, the opposite is true. This past year has seen a further slew of weapons-grade sawtooth techno come from her Lenske imprint from both Lens and the rest of the crew. She has also just seen out a year’s residency with BBC 1 alongside Joy Orbison, DJ EZ and Sherelle, while her long-time fans over at Tomorrowland hosted her for an animated show for their online festival, Around The World. The past year also saw her pair up with techno royalty in Slam for a collaborative EP on the Scottish duo’s Soma Records label, and remix Detroit originator Kevin Saunderson for Drumcode.
 
With shows starting up in earnest and high-profile gigs at ADE x Awakenings and Edinburgh’s Terminal V festival, expect Amelie Lens’ reputation to just keep growing. 
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“Insane! I think we all appreciate everything even more after the break.”

 

How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance? 
 
“It’s been a difficult few months in my personal life with my father passing away and my boyfriend being hospitalised and in recovery for over one year. I realised I worked too much and spent too little time with my family.”

 

What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change? 
 
“A new study by the University of Oxford has found that switching towards a plant-based diet is vital to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Eating vegan could reduce our carbon footprint by 73%.”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year? 
 
"The best thing I did was delete most of my plug-ins and just dig deeper into Ableton. I feel like all my gear and plug-ins, that I never used, were distracting me a lot!”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 09:58

Style: 
Techno.”
Best known for: 
Techno.”
Tune of the year: 
“Ahl Iver ‘There Is Always Light’.”

Poll 2021: Skrillex

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Skrillex
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From: Los Angeles, CA, USA
 
 
Though Skrillex’s long-promised new album — the follow-up to 2014’s ‘Recess’ — is still yet to arrive, 2021 has been a strong year for new music from the LA-based rockstar-turned-super-producer. In the 12 months since his last Top 100 DJs profile was written, Sonny Moore dropped the stripped-back, hyperpop-tinged deep dubstep track ‘Kliptown Empyrean’; collaborated with Four Tet and Starrah on ‘Butterflies’, a dubby, swinging house belter; blended rock and pop on ‘Too Bizarre’ with Swae Lee and Siiickbrain; joined forces with NOISIA, josh pan and Dylan Brady for halftime monster ‘Supersonic (My Existence)’. He also featured on a number of tracks on Justin Bieber’s sixth studio album 'Justice', including '2 Much', 'Somebody', and 'Loved By You' featuring Burna Boy. Most recently, Skrillex revealed another new track with Biebs called ‘Don’t Go’, this time also featuring Don Toliver. 
 
Outside of star-studded studio-work, Skrillex has been popping up at relatively low-key (but no less brilliant) events too, including an intimate show with Four Tet and Jamie xx at east London’s 300-capacity Moth Club in September, and an off-the-cuff back-to-back set with Ahadadream at the South Asian artist-celebrating Dialled In festival (also in London).

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-08 09:54

Best known for: 
Making big, bad bass music

Poll 2021: Julian Jordan

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Julian Jordan
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From: The Netherlands

Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Gordo.”

 

Rising up the poll once again, Julian Jordan’s position on this year’s list once again cements how popular his sound has become. Famously, before he had left school, the Dutch producer had signed a contract with Spinnin’ Records and then a slew of singles released in 2018 shot him into the spotlight. The 26-year-old has since refined his craft, excelling at creating anthemic bangers worthy of his consistent festival headliner slots. 

Julian has spent this year “working very hard to take my DJ sets to the next level”. With ambitions to give the crowd “a next-level high-energy experience”, it’s no surprise that his releases this year — including ’The Box’ with Will K and ‘Let Me Be The One’ with Guy Arthur — possess relentless, ferocious energy. Jordan is slowly cementing his signature sound across the globe, and the future is his for the taking. 

 

How was your first gig back after lockdown? 

“During lockdown, it felt like my ‘battery’ was empty and could only be refilled with crowd energy. When I stepped on stage for my first gig after lockdown I really felt like I was recharging.”

 

How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance? 

“I started to see my friends and family a bit more. It’s easy to lose yourself in your workflow, but it’s good to stand still sometimes and look at what you’ve already achieved.”

 

What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?

“Reduce plastic waste. Festivals/clubs should always use paper cups and look for ways to make partying greener. Think about the type of transportation to the club or use local food and drinks as much as possible.”


What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?

“I recently bought a new [Akai] MPC drum computer for my studio. I used to be a drummer, so experience with rhythm and samples is important in my productions.”


What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?

“Drake ‘Certified Lover Boy.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-07 15:22

Style: 
“Electro-house/hyperhouse.”
Best known for: 
"Some call it hyperhouse, some call it ‘The JJ Sound’. Let’s say I’ve been very busy creating my own recognisable sound.”
Tune of the year: 
“Fred again.. & The Blessed Madonna ‘We’ve Lost Dancing’.”

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