Where’s My Head’s At: JR’s DJ Mag Top 100 Picks
In my view, there is no reason to get wound up over the DJ Mag Top 100. In all likelihood, nothing will change. Twenty million people, who, for some bizarre reason, still like David Guetta, will probably ensure he takes the top spot. Hundreds of people who are really into the “underground scene” will be outraged that a) Carl Cox isn’t ranked number one, and b) their favorite minimal producer from Toronto (who incidentally no one else has ever heard of) didn’t make the list. Oh and Tiesto will be ranked in the top five for the 47th year in a row.
With that in mind, I’m not going to justify my choices with an elaborate algorithm of DJ skill + production ability / sellout-ness. Here are five DJs/Producers that I like and am going to vote for:
There is something undeniably awesome about A-Trak. Maybe it’s because he won the DMC World DJ Championships when he was fifteen years old. Or maybe it is the fact that he continues to put out incredible music on his Fools Gold label. He is someone who effortlessly seems to bridge the divide between pop and house. Who else could produce a track for Converse with Mark Foster (of Foster and the People), while at the same time put out a track like “Stingray?” If you’re looking for someone who is one of the best producers in the business, as well as one of the best DJs, A-Trak is your guy.
2. Pete Tong
Nicknamed the “Lord of Dance,” Pete Tong has been around since the beginning. Unarguably one of the most influential people in the dance music world, Pete Tong’s Radio 1 show has been unveiling new talents and dictating the direction of dance music for more than twenty years. His Essential Mix is a program that is unparalleled by any other, and week in week out draws the biggest names in the industry. If you haven’t heard an episode of his show yet, be sure to check it out; it makes SiriusXM’s BPM look laughably bad in comparison. You can catch Pete Tong this summer in Ibiza at his Friday night Pacha residency.
3. Jack Beats
This British duo is far and away the least well-known name on my list. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, Jack Beats is a fidget house duo made up of Plus One and Beni G. In a music world where it seems as though every other track being released is generic big room progressive, it is wonderfully refreshing to hear something different. Drawing on influences from dubstep, electro, drum and bass, garage, hip-hop, to Chicago house, Jack Beats’ productions are simply unparalleled in uniqueness. Have a listen to their track “Get Down” below and you’ll see what I mean. Oh and did I mention that Plus One is also a DMC World Champion DJ?
P.S. Check out the preview of their upcoming album!
4. Eric Prydz
In my view, Eric Prydz has been the producer of 2012. He followed up his remix of M83’s “Midnight City” with two more smash hits in “Allein” and “SW4” — not to mention finally dropping his Eric Prydz Presents Pryda album on the world. On top of all of that he just previewed another single which sounds as though it is going to be just as big as the prior three tracks (and the album they’re on). Now that he has finally returned to the United States, we expect his legion of fans to grow exponentially as more and more people get to experience Pryda live. We don’t know how you do it Eric, but whatever it is that you are doing, keep doing it because we’re all loving the results.
Ryan Raddon, AKA Kaskade, makes my list for two main reasons. One, I absolutely love his productions and two, because of the way he reinvents his own music during his live performances. Obviously most DJs incorporate bootlegs into their sets, but many either recycle the same ones that others use or layer incredibly unoriginal vocals over one of their own tracks. How many times have you heard the “We Are Your Friends” acapella? (Or “Somebody That I Used To Know,” or “Rolling In The Deep”…?) Kaskade takes it to the next level and allows fans to enjoy all of his classic tracks, but in a new way. For example, at EDC he played Swanky Tunes’ “The Edge” with his track “Be Still” and then out of nowhere come the vocals from his house anthem “Sorry.” Brilliant, simply brilliant.
So, where’s your head at?