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Poll 2021: Tom & Collins

75
Tom & Collins
Up
2
From: Mexico City
 
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “John Summit.”
 
 
Having burst into the Top 100 list just two years ago, Tom & Collins have managed to up the ante even in the face of a global pandemic over the past year. Already some of Latin America’s most beloved DJs, Juan Pable Escudero and Jorge Corral of Mexico last year launched their very own record label, Terms and Conditions, and in 2021 alone the label has put out a staggering amount of music (almost 50 releases and counting), including the increasingly vital series of compilations called ‘Hidden Jams’, featuring some of the finest up-and-coming talent from the Latin American tech-house scene.
 
On the road, the duo has been busy making up for the time lost over lockdown, splitting their time equally on either side of the Mexican/US border and visiting South American countries as they too open up after the big pause. Expect them to close out the year with the same enthusiastic gusto at their shows and another slew of impeccable party bangers from the label.

 
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“It was a very unique feeling. We were a bit rusty and hadn’t tried out tracks in a long time. In the end, it was a great gig.”

 

How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“It has definitely made us more aware of what we do, the amount of time we dedicate to each thing, and the impact of positive habits such as working out and meditation.”
 
 
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change? 
 
“If we spread awareness on the subject people can get involved locally, join organisations, and back up politicians that have climate change as a priority.”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year? 
 
“Pioneer DJM-V10 mixer. The performance is crazy. So many new features on the effects.”
 
 
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“‘Actual Life’ by Fred again.. Super emotional but still fun album that felt super fresh.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-12 10:31

Style: 
“House/tech-house.”
Best known for: 
“House music icons in Latin America.”
Tune of the year: 
“Melé 'Groove La Afrika’.”

Poll 2021: Daddy’s Groove

98
Daddy’s Groove
Re-entry
0
From: Italy
 
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Topic.”
 
 
Lockdown provided the members of Daddy’s Groove, Carlo Grieco and Peppe Folliero, precious time to focus on family (quite the apt brand alignment), as well as an opportunity to immerse themselves in the studio where they continued their longstanding tradition of pumping out bangers. 
 
The Italian duo ended 2020 on a comparably high note when they unleashed ‘When We Fall’, a groovy house melter featuring the passionate vocals of fellow Naples native, Iossa. The pop-adjacent track, which was released via Spinnin’ Records’ SOURCE sub-label last November, offered an uplifting respite to fans as clubs sat shuttered. 
 
Their newest release ‘Back 2 Future’ EP is a synth-laced journey that trance and progressive house heads will no doubt appreciate. Brimming with high-powered throwback energy, ‘Back 2 Future’ EP manages to sound effortlessly fresh for the guys who have numerous shows in store for 2021 and 2022 as venues in Europe and Asia reopen. These days, Carlo serves as the DJ while Peppe sits in the co-producer seat (hence why Carlo is pictured solo here). 
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“It was astonishing. One of my best experiences ever. It wasn’t easy to handle my mood without the warmth of the crowd.”
 
 
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“More focus on little things in life, more time with my kids and family, more focus on the music in the studio. Everything has changed, but not always in a bad way.”
 
 
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
 
“Considering that there’s no more time left, environmental sustainability has to be the priority before anything happens in all fields.”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
“Lately in the studio, we’re using a lot of the plug-ins developed by our friends at Acustica Audio, for mixing and mastering purposes. They have really changed the impact and quality of our sound in the last two years.”

 

What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“Camelphat’s ‘Dark Matter’ album: it’s a masterpiece.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-12 10:23

Style: 
“House/electro.”
Best known for: 
“‘Stellar’ and ‘Bvulgari’.”
Tune of the year: 
“David Guetta & MORTEN ‘Impossible’.”

Poll 2021: Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano

87
Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano
Stay
0
From: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
 
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “QG — don’t ask, you’ll hear all about it soon.”


They’re “the world’s most energetic house duo.” At least, that’s what their Facebook page tells us. However, the Dutch duo (real names Sunnery Gorré and Ryan de Lange) had to spend a chunk of the past 18 months in what was for them an odd position — as homeschooling dads. “But we also had a lot of time in the studio, so we were able to explore, and venture into many different genres,” the pair tells DJ Mag. “And since we’ll pick up touring again, you’ll get to hear much of it soon."
 
We wouldn’t expect those new genres to be all that far removed from Gorré and de Lange’s self-described “body-rocking tribal house filled with drums and vocals” — after all, that’s what’s kept them going since they debuted in the late-’00s, and that’s why their legions of fans love them. The pump-action thrust of 2011’s ‘Tribeca’, the syncopated squelch of 2018’s collaboration with Armin van Buuren ‘You Are Too’, or the melodic grandeur of last year’s ‘Life After You’ — those are the songs that got them onto the Top 100 DJs list, and that’s the kind of music that will undoubtedly keep them there.

 

How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“Can’t describe it. Being amongst great people, doing the thing you love the most… we needed that.” 
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
“We bought a SPHERE from Mischa Jacobi.”

 

What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“Blxst ‘No Love Lost’.”

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-12 10:10

Style: 
Bigroom house
Best known for: 
Sexy By Nature events and radio show
Tune of the year: 
“The Tom Staar remix of our track ‘Amanzi’.”

Poll 2021: Black Coffee

68
Black Coffee
Up
23
From: South Africa
 
 
Nkosinathi Maphumulo’s star continued to rise in 2021. The artist, better known by his stage name Black Coffee, released his sixth studio album, ‘Subconsciously’, in February to glowing reviews. The 12-track record was packed with music heavyweights, including Pharrell, David Guetta and Usher, reviving the SA house legend’s signature smooth and subtle sounds, with a few more radio-friendly cuts thrown in for good measure. He took to the road following the release, playing at venues in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Zurich and Ibiza and even revived his world-renowned Deep In the City nights. 
 
South Africa’s top DJ also gave an NPR Tiny Desk performance in March, becoming the second DJ to do so and in September it was revealed that his No.1 single ‘Drive’ was the most-streamed South African song in Apple Music history, proving Black Coffee’s staying power after many years in the game. “I’ve been in the studio this year working on new music, gearing up for the launch of Sensorium Galaxy’s PRISM, composed the soundtrack for Amiri’s SS 2022 runway show and focussed on Gallo Music, as well as my angel investment company Flightmode Digital,” he tells DJ Mag.
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“My first show after having been in total lockdown in South Africa for most of 2020 was just such a revelation. There is very little that can top performing to a live audience. Human connection is not over-rated.”

 

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

“The pandemic has allowed me to spend real-time at home and to really rest and replenish, something I haven’t been able to do in about five or six years. It was a joy to have extended quality time to devote to my kids and to be able to sit and do nothing, just listen to my inner voice and reconnect with myself. This past summer I’ve made a point of breaking touring into chunks and returned home to South Africa every four-to-six weeks.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-12 10:05

Style: 
House music
Best known for: 
Ibiza residency, being Africa’s most well-known DJ

Poll 2021: Nora En Pure

59
Nora En Pure
Up
14
From: South Africa/Switzerland
 
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Paradoks.”
 
 
 
When Nora En Pure polled in the DJ Mag Top 100 for the first time in 2020, the Swiss-South African DJ and producer was presenting her style of orchestral-leaning melodic deep house at festivals like Ultra and Coachella, at residencies like Privilege Ibiza and on her weekly broadcast, Purified Radio. During the pandemic, she spent time in the Swiss Alps and South African wilderness working on new music, continuing Purified Radio and preparing for a return to clubland. “I finally spent more time with my family and friends, then touring picked up again, especially in the US, so I was quite busy on the road during the summer months,” Nora says.
 
Propelled by this year’s EP ‘Oblivion/Thermal’ and single ‘Won’t Leave Your Side’ featuring Liz Cass — both on her long-time label Enormous Tunes — Nora En Pure has come back with style, playing a special live-stream set for Beatport from Switzerland’s stunning Lake Arnen and readying performances for Mexico’s Kygo’s Palm Tree and Departure festivals (this December and January 2022 respectively). Tapping into her life-long love of nature, she’s also teamed up with Beneath The Waves, a non-profit organisation for ocean conservation; another summertime single of hers, ‘Aquatic’, is inspired by this collaboration.
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown? 
 
“I had some really special ones that meant a lot to me and where you saw the crowd is in the same place. Others I had high expectations that it would feel very emotional, which they did to me, but that market was having events already for months.”
 
 
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“I definitely have a healthier balance now, which I was already aiming for though before the lockdown happened."
 
 
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
 
“I think there are other industries and huge companies that carry a much more heavy and impactful responsibility for this topic, which could make the real change we need. While it's rather unrealistic that we all stop driving cars, taking planes and get rid of our electronics, I think we should all try to stay informed on current issues and what solutions can be, also on a political level. In daily touring life, my rider states to avoid any sort of plastic – bottles, cups, packaging etc – I think this is something festivals and clubs could easily adopt, though many already do this.”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
“A Roland Juno-60.”
 
 
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
“I'm waiting for the new ABBA album.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-12 09:59

Style: 
“Melodic house.”
Best known for: 
“‘Come With Me’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Claire feat. Delhia De France ‘Anyma & Janus Rasmussen’.”

Poll 2021: Deadmau5

52
Deadmau5
Up
12
From: Canada


It’s been 16 years since Joel Zimmerman hit the ground running via his debut LP, ‘Get Scraped’— and we’re beginning to think that he might want to trade in his rodent persona for a hard-charging racehorse, as he shows no signs of slowing down. In just the past 12 months, he’s released five singles ranging from the lighter-than-air ‘Bridged By A Lightwave’ to the strutting ‘When The Summer Dies’, and launched a pair of new labels, hau5trap and beathau5, the latter specialising in providing music for film, television, advertising and digital media.
 
That’s just the start. On the live front, Zimmerman’s been revving back into gear, first via drive-in events and, later, full-scale outdoor gigs, perhaps most notably a massive party at LA’s SoFi Stadium with Kaskade. He’s partnered with Richie Hawtin to launch the direct-to-avatar gaming venture PIXELYNX; he’s teamed with game developer Manticore to create Oberhasli, a virtual world that’s just kicked off with an in-game deadmau5 concert; he’s on the advisory board of the emerging streaming platform Audius; and almost needless to say, he’s dived headfirst into NFTs. We could keep going, but you get the idea — Zimmerman is one busy house mouse.
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-12 09:55

Best known for: 
Wearing a mouse head

Poll 2021: REZZ

45
REZZ
Up
12
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “fknsyd.”
 
 
After breaking into the Top 100 DJs poll as the highest new entry in 2020, REZZ continues to hypnotise her cult of fans with her electro-powered productions and swirling LED glasses. This summer was a breakneck one for the Canadian whiz who picked up her postponed tour right where it left off. She hit massive venues like Brooklyn Mirage and Red Rocks Amphitheatre along the way, the latter of which hosted her REZZ Rocks series which has become a highly-anticipated annual tradition for her mile-high family.

Though the prodigy says as of late she's been "relaxing and living a very normal life with close friends", 2021 has not been without notable releases. REZZ joined forces with her champion and label mate Deadmau5 on ‘Hypnocurrency’. The two stormed the stage together at this year’s Electric Zoo Festival in New York City to perform the churning and menacing track which may be one of the best Mau5trap collaborations yet. In September, REZZ teamed up with Deathpact on ‘Chemical Bond’, a true snarler of a cut that pushes the bass to new boundaries, and to be honest, we’re all about it. All hail Space Mom.
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
 
“My first USA festival back was Sunset in Tampa and it was fucking amazing, and made me realise how much I missed playing shows.”
 
 
How has the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“It's been nice to slow down and tour less. I've been able to get my life more balanced and work on music, which has been great.”
 
 
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
 
“Would be great to see single-use plastics not being used at events or clubs.”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
"Haven’t added anything new. I like to keep things simple.”
 
 
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
 
"Billie Eilish 'Happier Than Ever’."

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-12 09:50

Style: 
“Mid-tempo hypnosis.”
Best known for: 
“‘Edge’."
Tune of the year: 
“Kasablanca 'Hold Me Close’.”

Poll 2021: Boris Brejcha

42
Boris Brejcha
Up
18
From: Germany
 
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Moritz Hofbauer.”
 
 
In the summer of 2019, Boris Brejcha played his first shows on the White Isle, at Ushuaïa and Hï Ibiza; his trademark, Carnival-inspired mask and self-styled “hi-tech minimal” sound framed the German as a unique prospect for Ibiza’s packed calendar. Later that year, he entered the Top 100 DJs poll for the first time at No.85; in the 2020 edition, he climbed 25 places to No.60, and this year he’s up a further 18 places. 
 
Throughout the pandemic, Brejcha has released music by Deniz Bul, Theydream and Ann Clue (among others) on his FCKING SERIOUS label, and plenty of original music, too. Alongside several singles and EPs, his debut album, ‘Space Diver’, was released on Ultra Music last year. As clubland gradually returns for millions worldwide, Brejcha is charting his own path back to the dancefloor, with shows in London, Prague and Berlin this winter. And with his hi-tech minimal – that twisted blend of minimal techno, melodic house and rough electro – Brejcha is set to charm old and new fans alike.
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown? 
 
“It was a bit like going back in time to 2019 and you couldn't believe that you were back at a party with so many people. You had been waiting for this moment for so long, and then it quickly felt like you had never been away.”
 
 
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
 
“I have realised how nice it is to spend ‘normal’ time at home and now I put even more emphasis on my health. I also have to say: I enjoyed this time in a way. I've rarely been home so much at a stretch — that was very nice.”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
 
“Since I only use software in the studio, I have everything digital. But I bought a couple of plug-ins from the company UJAM.”
 
 
What's the best album you've heard this year?
 
“I honestly don't listen to much music other than my own and my label mates, so I guess I'll have to pass.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-12 09:44

Style: 
“High-tech minimal.”
Best known for: 
“My joker mask and my own music.”
Tune of the year: 
“Of course, one of mine: ‘House Music feat. Artic Lake’.”.

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