With dance music’s ever-increasing popularity across East Asia, votes for artists from across the region continue to pour in thick and fast. And as a result, we’re happy to welcome China’s ChengLong (Leon) Zhou, aka DJ L, who makes his first appearance in the Top 100 DJs poll this year. 2017 has seen DJ L release a slew of new music, including ‘Kraken’ with AvAlance & Flash Finger, ‘Pow Pow’, and his collab with AVYANNA ‘Follow Me (MYST Version)’ — with the latter two dropping via major label, Sony Music.
“This year is super-busy, but meaningful,” explains DJ L. As musical director at Shanghai’s 2000-capacity MYST club — which landed 44th in this year’s Top 100 Clubs poll — DJ L is naturally well-loved by his home crowd, and this year he’s been spreading his name far and wide with a world tour, taking his combination of trap, bass and big room to new ears, and as such, new possible fans. Will DJ L look back on 2017 as the year he began a long, successful run in the Top 100 DJs poll? Will he become China’s finest EDM export? Only time will tell…
Overnight hits are a fantasy for most artists, but for young Martin Jensen, this was a reality. His single ‘Solo Dance’, released at the end of last year, has continued to pick up with supersonic speed throughout 2017, propelling him into Spotify playlists the world over and amassing over 340 million streams.
This year he made his debut at one of EDM’s most highly regarded main stages, wooing the crowds of Tomorrowland in Belgium. The Danish-born DJ’s schedule has already seen him high-flying across the festival circuit with appearances at CRSSD and Kaaboo in the USA, Bråvalla in Sweden, Skral in Norway, Smukfest in Denmark and Lollapalooza in Germany.
”I have been playing loads of shows across the world, and we released a bunch of remixes, plus my latest single ‘Wait’ came out in the summer,” he tells DJ Mag about the highlights of this year so far. Keeping the momentum going strong and his fanbase happy, ’Wait’ featured Loote on the vocals making it his most catchy number yet.
One of the things that have really blown away Jay Hardway this year is the realization that more and more of the people that come to his shows know his music. “I’ve been flying all over the world again this year, and that isn’t always easy,” he tells DJ Mag. “But as soon as I see people going crazy over my music at shows, it makes it all worth it!”
His positivity shines through when we reveal the news of his Top 100 entry. “It’s already awesome that there are so many people who are listening to my music and enjoying my shows, and to know that they’re voting for me because they want to see me higher in the list means a lot.”
By way of thanks to his fans, Jay intends to release online music videos and tutorials about the process he goes through in making tracks like this year’s anthemic ‘Golden Pineapple’. And there are plans to give his live shows a big ole upgrade for 2018, with exciting new visuals and exclusive tracks currently being written to be performed there. “This way, making my sets truly unique and a great experience at festivals and in clubs,” Jay beams.
Prolific would be one way to describe the partnership of Lucas de Wert and Steven Jansen. One of many Dutch acts in our annual poll, they’ve gone from rising hopefuls to headliners since their creative talents first aligned seven years ago, a meeting of minds that has given the world plenty of dancefloor ammunition in that time. Signing to the relentless hit-making machine Spinnin’ Records in 2014 marked the start of a string of huge releases, and this shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.
This year alone has seen them deliver work like ‘Calling On You’, alongside Jake Reese, hitting the Billboard Top 40 in the process; ‘Feel Alive’ with Pep & Rash; ‘These Heights’ with fellow Top 100 DJ entrants Bassjackers; not to mention collaborations with Mike Williams, Firebeatz and Madison Mars. Oh, and the solo bomb ‘Up Till Dawn (On The Move)’ — a tried and tested summer anthem. Known for their love of future-leaning dance that has roots in electro-house and pop, high-profile shows have taken them everywhere from the main stage at Tomorrowland to Bangkok during 2017. If that’s not proof of some serious global demand, we’re not sure what is.
For proof that dance music is now a truly global affair, you need look no further than Guatemalan DJ Carl Nunes, who’s found fame and fortune — and thousands of fans — across the world with dozens of gigs in China, India and Indonesia in 2017 as part of his Limitless Tour, alongside shows in Vegas, Mexico and riotous homecoming gigs in Latin America.
“Apart from producing and collaborating with other artists, I have been learning from other cultures,” says Nunes. One look at his social media accounts confirms that he’s a man immersed in global culture — from walking the Great Wall of China to the back streets of Bali and Hong Kong, he’s made an effort to see beyond the club scene on his travels.
But when he’s behind the decks and creating in his studio, his music speaks the universal dancefloor language. “I’ve been trying to absorb and assimilate as much as possible, creating my own mix-match of concepts and perceptions of the world,” Nunes tells DJ Mag. The results have been impressive, with Armada releasing his tropical hit ‘White Dress’ earlier in the year, a more chilled counter-point to more well-known earlier releases like ‘Out Of My Mind’.
This sweet-spot debut in the Top 100 marks another hectic year for the 20-year-old. Now signed to Spinnin’, he has hammered us a consistent flow of bouncy, uplifting EDM anthems that often come with their own acoustic covers and modish videos. Hits include such things as the classically-informed dynamics of ‘Don’t Hurt’, the hyper-infectious hooky hit ‘Let’s Go’, the much darker, dramatic chugger ‘Step Up’, the warm euphoric ‘Bambini’ (on Tiesto’s label) and the soul-surging jet-setter DJ anthem ‘Jet Lag’…. Something Mike can definitely relate to, having performed extensively across Europe, Asia, and America throughout the year.
Beyond the gigs and releases, Mike also launched his new radio show on Dutch national channel SLAM. Entitled Mike Williams On Track, his show represents Mike at his most diverse and eclectic. With a clear nose for a strong melody and big riff theatrics in both his broadcasts, DJ sets and productions, Mike is most definitely on track right now.
Brennan Heart has enjoyed a whirlwind past few years. Yet another Dutchman on the list, Heart (real name Fabian Bohn) continues to win fans the world over courtesy of his unrelenting dedication to all things hardstyle. A true innovator and very much a poster boy for the genre he’s best renowned for, Heart’s music is always impeccably produced, with harmonious melodies and catchy vocals at the forefront of his sound. Nowhere is this more apparent than on his 2016 album, ‘I AM HARDSTYLE’, which quickly became the genre’s best-selling album ever.
Despite a hectic gigging schedule, Heart is also an impressively prolific producer with over 100 releases to his name. He’s also a radio DJ of some repute, with his show on Dutch station SLAM!FM considered an essential listen among hardstyle enthusiasts. Throw in the fact that he also runs a successful label, WE R Music, and it’s clear that when it comes to work ethic, few DJs in the world can hold a candle to the hardstyle maestro. With further releases and more high-profile gigs in the pipeline, Brennan Heart is sure to be a regular fixture in the Top 100 for some time yet.
The Australian sisters Liv and Mim have been a regular mainstay in the Top 100, and this year has proved there’s no stopping them.
DJ Mag caught up with the busy duo to ask what they’ve been up to this year: “Touring like crazy. Think we’re nudging 200 shows this year. We had our NERVONation parties in Miami, Austria and Ibiza at Ushuaia, which have all been amazing. We have been busy working on new music and recently got a major sync with iPhone 8 for a track we did with Sofi Tukker called ‘Best Friend’,” they begin.
This year has been non-stop for the charismatic Aussies. As well as their shows, they’ve had releases gracing many of the record label giants including Ultra, Spinnin’, Big Beat, Cr2 and Armada Music. Their summer smash ‘The Other Boys’ is an all-star collaboration with the legendary Nile Rodgers, pop princess Kylie Minogue and Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears
Considering their previous records have won Grammy Awards and regularly surf the top of the iTunes charts, there’s no doubt they’ll be continuing to ride the wave straight into 2018.