Lucas & Steve

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.

Carl Nunes

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’.

Brennan Heart

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.

Nervo

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.

Bassjackers

Nearly 20 tracks and remixes released, headlining huge festivals and sell out gigs across the world — fair to say 2017 has been pretty large for the Dutch duo. Oh, and there was the small matter of appearing in one of the biggest games of all time. “Our track was featured in the video game ‘Destiny’. This made playing the game even more special,” the Bassjackers tell DJ Mag. The highlight of their live season was playing the mainstage of Tomorrowland — “the cherry on the top”, says one-half of the duo, Ralph Van Hilst — but they were busy in the studio as well, creating their ‘Signed By Bassjackers’ music production series, “in which we gave away our project files and released a studio session online where we explained what we did and why,” says the other half of the duo, Marlon Flohr. Invaluable to any fans of their big room sound. And 2018 plans? “We already have releases lined up deep into 2018 — which include our collabs with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike — that have been making waves on the internet for quite some time now.” News to our ears!

Headhunterz

Walking a fine line between creative freedom and success, Dutch DJ and producer Headhunterz, aka Willem Rebergen, in recent years has struggled to find the right balance. From 2014 to 2016, Rebergen — like many producers — jumped on the EDM bandwagon, seduced by the bright lights and new opportunities that EDM could bring.

This two-year period had a profound impact on Rebergen, who broke down during a performance at hardstyle mecca Defqon.1 and soon realised that EDM wasn’t for him, something he’s wrestled with articulately via his popular vlog series, Vlogs From Without. 

So the last 12 months has seen Rebergen trying to reconnect with the community he abandoned, and like any family, they’ve welcomed him back with open arms. The veteran Dutch producer is now back to his hardstyle best with his latest track ‘Taking It Back’, a massive nod to his roots.

And his hardstyle homecoming was most evident when he and Wildstylez’s Joram Metekohy brought their iconic Project One alias back for a special one-off performance in Amsterdam in late 2016. The duo has only ever released one album and played a handful of shows together, but their album is arguably the genre’s most iconic and proved Rebergen’s desire to be at the centre of the scene he had helped create once again.

Vinai

VINAI is an Italian EDM project consisting of two brothers, Alessandro and Andrea Vinai. After forming in 2011, they came to prominence in 2012 courtesy of a string of well-received remixes for the likes of LMFAO (for whom they put a new spin on ubiquitous chart-topper ‘Sexy & I Know It’) as well as the queen diva of pop, Nicki Minaj.

Further remixes followed for the likes of Steve Aoki, David Guetta, The Chainsmokers and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and as you’d imagine from a roll-call like that, the guys are very much hot property when it comes to EDM.

Remixes aside, VINAI also possess the Midas touch when it comes to their originals. Tracks such as ‘Bounce Generation’ and ‘Legend’ are proof of the fact, but it was barnstorming appearances at Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival that really set the guys on the course to greatness and cemented their place at EDM’s top table. So where do the guys conjure up all the “crazy energy” they bring to their sets and productions? It just comes from our “crazy minds”, says Alessandro. We don’t doubt that one bit.

Marshmello

Enigmatic masked DJ/producer Marshmello makes groove-oriented, synth- and bass-heavy electronic dance music. In the spirit of other masked DJs like Deadmau5 and Daft Punk, Marshmello (whose real identity remains a mystery) appears wearing a full-head-covering marshmallow mask. Despite the anonymity, Marshmello’s career blew up in 2015 when he began releasing tracks online, including remixes of Zedd’s “Beautiful Now,” Jack Ü’s “Where Are U Now,” and others. From there came shows at New York’s Pier 94, Pomona, California’s HARD Day of the Dead festival, and Miami Music Week. In 2016, Marshmello released a compilation of his previously released tracks, Joytime, which reached number one on a digital top electronic albums chart. Included on the album was the single “Keep It Mello,” featuring rapper Omar LinX.
Steve Aoki

Steve Aoki

Steve Aoki is a DJ and also the founder of Dim Mak Records, which has counted leading indie rock bands such as Gossip, Bloc Party, the Kills, and the Rakes among its stable of signees. The son of wealthy restauranteur Rocky Aoki, he is of Japanese heritage and calls Los Angeles home. In 2007 he released his first official mix CD, Pillowface & His Airplane Chronicles, on Thrive Records. Featuring tracks by Justice, Klaxons, Mystery Jets, Peaches, Datarock, Yelle, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, and Scanners — most of them remixed — Pillowface & His Airplane Chronicles is fairly representative of Aoki’s renown as a taste-making dance party DJ rather than a skillful turntablist. In 2012 he released his first EP, It’s the End of the World as We Know It. More collaborations followed in 2013, with Aoki reworking a Linkin Park track for the group’s remix album Recharged. The resulting “A Light That Never Comes” was released as a single alongside several more remixes. In 2014 he announced details of a forthcoming album titled Neon Future. Marketed as a two-part record, the first installment arrived later in the year with Fall Out Boy, will.i.am, and Waka Flocka Flame among its guests. Neon Future, Vol. 2 followed in 2015 with guest appearances from Rivers Cuomo, Snoop Dogg, and J.J. Abrams. He became one of Top 100 DJs on 2013, 2014, 2015 (#10), and 2016(#7). Last played: September 2017
florrian-picasso

Florian Picasso

We all know Pablo’s paintings but have you heard Florian’s music? Ranked #38 in top 100 DJ mag, French producer Florian Picasso was born in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam in 1990 and now lives between Cannes, France and Geneva, Switzerland. He’s the great grandson of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), the Spanish painter, sculptor, ceramicist, poet and arguably the single most influential artist of the 20th century. When Florian reflects on his life, however, he thinks less about his preeminent bloodline and more about the second chance he received from his mother. Marina Picasso adopted Florian from a Vietnamese orphanage when he was 3 months old. “I’ve been adopted at 3 months old from vietnam. My mother is Marina Picasso, she saved me and gave me a second chance. When I was back in the orphanage it was a special moment to me. Sitting in that exact same room where I was as a newborn but this time holding a child was a unique experience. Reminding me not to take life for granted, i could have been one of these kids with no family and a though life. But instead I’m doing what I love and I owe my success to them, I can’t cry over the fact that I was abandoned It wouldn’t be fair. And today I stand tall, fighting for my ideas and beliefs because they aren’t privileged like you and me.”