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Poll 2021: 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 2020: KSHMR

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2020 and it’s another Top 100 DJs appearance from US producer and musician Niles Hollowell-Dhar, better known as KSHMR, who’s been a regular face in the chart for a few years now. KSHMR has had a productive year working hard at the electro-house, hard dance and psytrance coalface with big releases on Spinnin’, Controversia and his own Dharma imprint. 
 
Dharma also put out his sparkling rework of MGMT’s 2007 hit ‘Kids’ with MKLA and was also home to releases from David Flix, Reid Stefan & Karra, along with KSHMR’s collab with Timmy Trumpet and 22Bullets, the dystopian stomp of  ‘Everybody In The Party’ featuring Ghost. KSHMR and Mr Trumpet also collaborated on the epic hard dance of ‘The Prayer’ with Zafir too. 
 
Aside from his releases, KSHMR also launched his Dharma Studios website this year which hosts samples and tutorials from KSHMR and the rest of the Dharma team. And in what’s clearly been a productive year, he’s also been working on his debut album and unveiled his brand new project Dreamz with the huge mid-tempo banger ‘Casual’ featuring NEVVE.
 
 
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
 
“Throwing a ball with my friends, spending time with my dogs, and studio time – I’m working on something special.” 
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“Allowing artists a lot of time to be home working on music. I think that's been really good for creativity, to give people the time to experiment. On a personal level, it's taught me the importance of doing simple things like spending time with friends and loved ones.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“I recognise the dance music industry is classist because you do need a lot of money to buy turntables and software associated with making dance music. I think the trend is starting to head in the right direction, where people can learn and practice at a lower cost, thanks to companies like Splice and others that offer subscription models.”
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“I try to represent my heritage, India, in my music and shine a light on other cultures as well. When possible, I try to use money from shows to support initiatives primarily in India to help the children there get better resources.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
 
“Alice Deejay ‘Better Off Alone’.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 16:42

Style: 
“Festival.”
Best known for: 
“‘Secrets’, ‘Wildcard’, ‘Jammu’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Glass Animals ‘Your Love (Déjà Vu)’.”

Poll 2019: KSHMR

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US musician, producer and DJ Niles Hollowell-Dhar, better known as KSHMR, only began releasing his brand of hi-octane electro-house in 2014. Since his Highest New Entry debut in the Top 100 DJs poll of 2015, he’s quickly been accepted into the upper echelons of EDM and has collaborated on music with artists like Bassjackers, Hardwell, Timmy Trumpet and Tiësto. In a year of several strong KSHMR releases on his Dharma imprint, a few vocal tracks were particularly big: Mike Waters sang on KSHMR’s stadium-banger ‘My Best Life’, and the tropical-esque ‘Bombay Dreams’ with vocals from Kavita Seth, the frantic ‘Lies’ featuring Luciana and ‘No Regrets’ with Krewella all got plenty of DJ traction. 

In 2017 KSHMR performed at Ultra with Timmy Trumpet and live musicians, a show he’s continued to develop in 2019, from his native California to Japan, Romania, Germany, Canada, Holland and beyond: “For the first time, I brought the Live Orchestral Experience to a headlining show in NYC, using live players to create a truly magical EDM/orchestral hybrid. This year I toured with a new, fully 3D animated story in my show as well.”

 

Do you submit your DJ setlists to the relevant royalties collecting society?

“No.” 

What more can we do to combat the mental health crisis in our scene?

“Stop giving DJs so much money. The other DJs.”

Are you personally doing anything to improve the gender balance of line-ups?

“I have no interest in gender at all, I work with people who inspire me and occasionally those are women, like Mariana Bo, who I think is extremely talented, but I won't pretend to be an activist.”

What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?

“I started recycling at my house.”

What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?

“Ninja Turtles action figure.”

What’s your guilty pleasure?

“Cookie Dough ice cream.” 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2019-10-17 15:55

Style: 
“My DJ style is unique in that I have an animated story that accompanies the music in my show, and the songs in my set weave in and out of this story. The result is a cinematic experience infused with the Indian and world sounds that I've become known for.”
Best known for: 
‘Power’ with Hardwell, ‘Secrets’ with Tiesto, ‘Carry Me Home’, ‘Wildcard’.”
Tune of the year: 
“NGHTMRE & A$AP Ferg ‘Redlight’.”

Poll 2018: KSHMR

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From: Berkeley, CA
DJ style: “Ethnic EDM.”
Best known for: “‘Power’, ‘Wildcard’, ‘Secrets’, ‘Carry Me Home’.”
Fave tune of 2018: “‘Killshot’ by Eminem.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2018: “Brooks.”

KSHMR has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows this year. “The best thing about 2018 was getting to do a full tour of India alongside my grandfather,” he tells DJ Mag. “And the hardest was when he passed away soon after.”

Born Niles Hollowell-Dhar, the American takes his stage-name from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, also referred to as “paradise on earth”, and in the last year has launched this own new label, Dharma. It’s focused on putting out music from upcoming producers, and he’s also worked on a new live show with a fully animated story, which is what he’s wanted to do for a long time. “It’s a magical story, intertwined with my own songs,” he says.

This year he’s also DJ’d alongside a small orchestra, and he’s done so in many countries around the world. He’s also produced big new electro-house tunes likes ‘Carry Me Home’, with more to come before the year ends.

“I’ve really experimented in the studio this year and had an open mind,” he says. “Instead of limiting myself to tracks I think will work on the dancefloor.”

Words: KRISTAN J CARYL

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2018-10-12 10:52

Poll 2015: KSHMR

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With releases on Dutch imprint Spinin’ Records, remixes for the likes of Avicii, and a huge collaboration alongside Tiesto, American EDM producer and DJ KSHMR has had quite a productive 2015 to say the least.

His ascension to the top is even more impressive considering Niles Hollowell-Dhar has only been releasing music under his KSHMR alias since 2014. Before then he was one half of hip-hop production duo The Cataracs alongside David 'Campa' Benjamin Singer-Vine.

2015 finally saw the LA-based producer breakout from his hip-hop roots and into the world of EDM, and it was his collaboration, ‘Secrets’, alongside Dutch heavyweight Tiesto that was the catalyst to putting his new alias on the map. That success then saw the LA-based producer play his first live show at the Fonda Theatre in LA alongside Bassjackers and newcomer Yogi.

“This year has gone better than I ever hoped for,” KSHMR tells DJ Mag. “'Burn' with DallasK really opened the door for me, and from there I had the honour of collaborating with Tiesto on 'Secrets', which became the biggest release of my career so far.”

“Music aside, Tiesto introducing me for the first time at Ultra 2015 in Miami was one of the most surreal experiences of my life,” he continues.

As well as high-flying collaborations and remixes, KSHMR also found time to release 'Jammu' — his most personal track to date. It pulled in a host of influences, including those from his Indian heritage, into a giant EDM melting pot. 

With support from the scene's biggest names, KSHMR is showing all the signs of becoming one of the US’s biggest EDM stars to date.

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 10:14

Style: 
“Progressive/electro-house.”
Best known for: 
“'Jammu', 'Secrets', 'Burn', 'Karate', 'Memories'.”
Tune of the year: 
“Of my own, 'Secrets'; overall, 'Flicker' by Porter Robinson."
From: 
Berkeley, CA
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Probably Kygo.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“Preparation. It's important to give people an experience they couldn't get just by listening to your tracks online.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
That's up to the artists, and if we can continue to innovate.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“No. But then again, I've only played one show.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“I want to show people that dance music is a genre capable of evoking the same full spectrum of emotions as any other. That it can reflect culture, and have a soul. I want to give people an artist in dance music that isn't laminated in a glossy film of private jets and penthouse suites.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“I don't know enough clubs to answer this.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I'm not sure. I haven't met many female producers but I'm happy to help any who want to learn.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I think it's acceptable to get help. Ultimately, it is up to the artists to decide at what point they are no longer being honest with their listeners.”

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