2012 has been an exciting year for dance music, the scene has grown beyond any of our comprehensions, supplanting itself in popular culture, fueling the soundtrack of commercials, sitcoms, and even a Disney movie, and shaking the foundation popular culture by establishing a new wave of music consumer. At the forefront of everything have been the artists, the true pioneers of the electronic dance music wave. With a scene as large and expansive as EDM, it was hard to honor only 50 – for every David Guetta or Calvin Harris there are droves of aspiring bedroom producers all doing their fair share of pushing the movement — simply by creating and sharing their art. With the EDM explosion officially in full swing in 2012, we saw countless new artists emerge, seasoned producers experiment with new sounds, and massive collaborations form that made crowning the “best” artist a nearly impossible task.
We have run through the Biggest Tracks of 2012 and now we are ready to unveil our picks for the most influential artists of the year. We’ve already covered 50-41 and today we bring you our picks for 40-31. Hop past the break to see who made the cut.
40. Sander van Doorn
After last year’s release of his astounding Eleve11 album, 2011 was going to be hard to top for Sander van Doorn. Though it wasn’t quite as big of a year, 2012 saw Sander destroy the decks at Ultra Music Festival and Amsterdam Dance Event, as well as release a slew of chart-topping originals. Sander started the year off with a bang with “Chasin’,” before releasing the beautifully delicate “Nothing Inside,” our favorite single from him yet. Finally, Sander collaborated with Julian Jordan on the endearingly melodic and spastically electro “Kangaroo,” a single that would steal the Beatport number one spot for weeks.
39. Pretty Lights
Though he didn’t release an album in 2012, Derek Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights, managed to skyrocket his career into the festival spotlight. From performances at Ultra Music Festival, to Electric Zoo, to the main stage of EDC, Derek finally began receiving the attention he deserves. Head of Pretty Lights Music, Derek continued to expand the trip hop genre by supporting experimental artists like Gramatik, Break Science and paper Diamond. While he released originals like “So Bright” and “You Get High,” it was his ambitious Illumination Tour that impressed us most. Unveiling his brand new stage production, a luminous and enchanting cityscape, Derek toured across the US dropping tantalizing unreleased album material. Smith is still the king of soulful glitch hop, and 2012 was his biggest year yet.
38. Flux Pavilion
2012 was a year of monumental collaborations for Circus Records head honcho Flux Pavilion. Early in the year, Flux teamed up with UK dubstep heavyweights Nero for an awesome remix of “Must Be the Feeling.” Soon after, Flux worked with Example on “Daydreamer,” which would become Flux’s biggest original of the year. More recently, Flux teamed up with none other than Major Lazer on Jan “No Partial”. Aside from these massive collaborations, Flux also got the honor of crafting his own Radio 1 Essential Mix in April.
37. Wolfgang Gartner
The much revered Wolfgang Gartner had a busy 2012. Wolfgang kicked off the year strong, remixing Miike Snow’s “Paddling Out” and collaborating with Tiesto on “We Own the Night.” His original production “Redline” represented a more melodic approach, inspiring many fans to harken for a return to his electro origins. Wolfgang responded with perhaps his best tune of the year, “Flexx,” as well as two standout electro house EPs: Casual Encounters of the Third Kind and Love and War. Wolfgang’s Kindergarten Recordings put rising talents Popeska and Charlie Darker in the spotlight, and finally, Wolfgang capped off his monster year with “Evil Lurks,” an eerie electro collaboration with Tom Staar.
36. Markus Schulz
Markus Schulz may not have had some of the biggest singles of the year, but he certainly had some of the biggest moments. Amid the Saturday wind catastrophe of EDC in June, Markus Schulz not only finished the worldwide broadcast of A State of Trance with Armin Van Buuren, but took over the decks of a mobile art installation and played for thousands of disgruntled fans who had yet to leave the stadium. In September of 2012, DJ Times voted Schulz America’s Best DJ. Finally, 2012 saw Schulz release his massive 19-track album Scream.
35. Feed Me
Jon Gooch’s toothy alter-ego, Feed Me, may very well have one of the most deftly produced sonic styles to grace the EDM-landscape in years. With the release of his Escape from Electric Mountain EP earlier this year and a long-awaited Essential Mix that earned a top spot in our Essential Mixes of the Year list, this dubstep mastermind has asserted himself as one of the best in the business. His sound and style is unlike anything else being produced today, creating a following and a presence that is uniquely his own. With a tour starting in January, a new EP in the works, and some very cool look animatronic Feed Mes being produced in his lab, we predict an even bigger year for this wobble wizard in 2013.
34. Jamie Jones
Jamie Jones does it all. From headlining big shows such as Governor Island’s Black & White Festival, to running burgeoning label Hot Creations alongside Lee Foss, to taking over Pete Tong’s Radio 1 show with Seth Troxler, Jamie’s influence can be seen (and felt) everywhere. His DC10 Paradise Parties in Ibiza have gained widespread notoriety, while his Hot Natured side project with Foss, Luca C, and Ali Love produced the deep house anthem of the summer, “Benediction.” Jones finished his impressive year with his Changes EP on his brand new HOTTRAX label.
33. Dillon Francis
Dillon Francis had a huge 2012. Starting with the February release of his Something Something Awesome EP on OWSLA, Dillon went on a production tear, remixing Zedd’s “Stars Come Out,” Flux Pavilion’s “Daydreamer,” and collaborating with A-Trak on “Money Makin” and Doctor P on “Music is Dead.” Francis continued his studio output by remixing Madeon’s “Finale” and releasing his heavy original “Bootleg Fireworks (Burning Up).” While he became a hilarious social media icon, Francis also embarked on his impressive Wet & Reckless Tour and debuted his own “F#cking Awesome Radio Show.”
32. Dada Life
Potassium obsessed practical jokers Dada Life had an anthem-fueled year in 2012. With the release of their second studio album, The Rules of Dada, Olle and Stefan continued to push their iconic, no frills brand of gritty electro house. With the addition of chart topping releases like “Feed the Dada” and the incredibly disconcerting music video for “Rolling Stones T-Shirt” this Swedish duo took the carefree, who-gives-a-fuck attitude of the EDM wave to new heights in 2012. If bananas, champagne and parties are your thing, then the Dada boys deliver in aces. Don’t forget to close out 2012 with all the bananas you can handle at their Dada Land compound in Brooklyn, New York on the 31st.
Madeon doesn’t release songs often, but when he does, they’re brilliant. His low studio output is made up for by the sheer quality of his releases. Madeon started off the year with his angelic original “Icarus,” before treating the world to a splendid nu-disco remix of Martin Solveig’s “The Night Out.” Madeon’s biggest triumph came with the release of “Finale,” a clean and invigorating drumstep tune, serving to prove Madeon’s versatile production abilities. Finally, Madeon released “The City,” an infatuating nu-disco original. The young producer continued his trend of creative live mixing by impressing us at both Ultra and EDC NY, as well as crafting a stunning five minute minimix for Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show. To say that Madeon has a big future ahead of him would be a gross understatement.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our end of the year rankings, including top underground artists and biggest tracks.