Once again music heads, welcome one and all to the most important day of the week for many people in the working world...FRIDAY! Everyone loves Friday. I'm not even working right now and I love Friday. Not really too sure what it is about today, but Fridays usually just radiate positive vibes, good energy, and all around good times considering most of the working world knows their work week is coming to a close and they can enjoy doing the things they actually want to do for the next couple of days in the weekend. What does that include for most people? Cutting loose, putting on some good tracks, enjoying a nice strong drink, and dancing the night away. And if that's not what you enjoy doing on a Friday night, well you should probably re-evaluate your extracurricular activities.
On another note...this day brings me to a more important topic. It has come now to that time of year where once again (drumroll please) the TOP 100 DJ POLL HAS BEEN RE-OPENED!! That's right ladies and gentlemen. For those that haven't been up to speed in the DJ world, this is the most prestigious and recognized ranking system for DJ's around the world to showcase who remains on top, who is having a great year, who is making a breakthrough, and who is generally relevant in the electronic music community. Put on by www.djmag.com and voting through www.top100djs.net, the system runs from now until September for music lovers to vote for their top 5 DJ's of this year. The system has a very legitimate way of verifying voting so there is as little spamming as possible, and usually the results come out around October to announce the full 100 lineup in voted order to show who has really made an impact this year. As you can imagine, my voting has already come full circle and I've cast my choices. Do you want to hear about them? Of course you do. These are my top 5 choices that I've cast in rank order.
A few things to remember:
-This is in no way an opinion on who I think are the BEST 5 DJ's in the world. I'm sure some of my choices could be considered inferior to some bigger names that have had a few years head start. This is mainly my voting on who I feel deserve the votes because they have impacted my music listening in 2010 in some way, shape, or form. Somehow these have been special. So don't take it personal if I didn't pick your favorite.
-Only 5 are allowed to go on your cast ballot. If 10 were allowed or 20 were allowed, I could include more of the DJ's I hold near and dear to myself. However, I can't, so only 5 can do.
-This is not simply a countdown on who is a good "DJ". This is an all inclusive list that incorporates their productions, live shows, DJing skills, and ability to maintain their fanbase.
Now journey with me...
The ever so energetic DJ duo from Austin, Texas has my vote for number five because of the amazing breakthrough they have accomplished and great year they have had so far. They haven't really come on my radar in the past, but I felt they deserved a vote this year because of the countless shoutouts they have been receiving from huge name trance DJ's on radio shows, compilations, and remixes. Their podcast "Air Up There" has also been gaining a great amount of steam with great cuts picked out on the regular. These Texas boys have good taste. Not to mention, how often do you hear of trance DJ's coming out of Texas?? That's almost unheard of to me. Very remarkable. There is some definite USA pride coming with this vote and I think they deserve it. They work hard. And from what I have heard, their shows showcase a great amount of energy as well.
4. Ashley Wallbridge
Perhaps my favorite producer of 2009-2010, Ashley Wallbridge from the UK never ceases to impress me. His productions are flawless. I don't think I have listened to one of his tracks or remixes yet without being stricken with awe. I really don't think this man has made a bad or boring track yet (knock on wood). He deserves this vote because this has certainly been his year on the rise. He has become a work machine, pumping out track after track while still maintaining a hectic touring schedule all over the world and maintaining his podcast. You could say, he's kind of like an Armin van Buuren Jr., but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. I've witnessed some live footage of him on youtube and from what I can see, the man certainly does not disappoint in his live shows either. Perhaps my biggest regret of 2010 will be the fact that I missed his show in San Francisco at Ruby Skye. Oh well. If he continues on this path of success, I am sure it will be only a matter of time before he comes back.
3. Dada Life
These party boy Swedes most definitely have amazed me this year. I had the pleasure of seeing them twice at the same event! Seeing their name on the lineup for Electric Daisy Carnival had me do some investigation on their tracks and where they are from. Considering this has been a huge year for house, Dada Life has enjoyed some success in 2010 stemming from their big releases, remixes, and guest DJ remixes of their own track for maximum exposure. I really dig their style of producing. Whether they lean on the more electro or progressive side of things, their tracks always have a groove that immediately has your head bobbing to the beat. What really makes them stand out however, is their live show. Their set at EDC completely rocked me because of the insane amount of energy these two have live. Most importantly for me, they rock it because they honestly look like they are having fun while they are spinning the records they love! I think this is important because a sour DJ will never have the crowd in their pocket. These two are incredible fun and always bring out surprises at their shows (inflatable bananas and champagne bottles anyone?). Their sense of humor has also been able to crack up their follow DJ's with the likes of twitter. I can see big things coming for Dada Life. Do the DaDa!
2. Benny Benassi
The Italian Stallion himself, Benny Benassi certainly belongs on this countdown for me because of the amazing year he has been having so far. We all have known him ever since his smash hit "Satisfaction" in 2003, however what has made him relevant ever since then and this year especially, is his ability to re-invent himself to once again bring something new to the fold. When a DJ has a big single like "Satisfaction", that sort of success can either make or break you. In the latter case, many DJ's like Darude and Dirty Vegas have scored a one hit wonder and fizzled out with time due to their lack of a follow up hit and inability to translate that style into momentum. Benny Benassi has kept up as a work-a-holic with countless remixes, releases, and compilations to prove to the masses that his staying power is without question. Switching up the style in 2010 to include hip hop artists and R&B singers, he has still been able to be considered a purist by many because of his producing style having the ability to evolve and bring something new while being able to snag the attention of newcomers to house music. Simply put, he can do it all. On a small side note...his live shows are simply amazing. His set at Electric Daisy Carnival this year proved to me that Benny Benassi will be a name that might never be rid of in the house music world. His transitions, song choices, stage theatrics, guest apperances, and overall show flow made him one of my favorites at EDC without a doubt. Bow down to the Italian Stallion.
1. Armin van Buuren
The man, the legend, the already 3 time top 100 #1 DJ winner once again is a candidate for #1 for me without question. Armin van Buuren is THE icon of trance in today's electronic music scene. How has he been able to do it? We all know the reasons why: his globally popular "A State of Trance" radio show, his incredible live shows, his amazing ability to connect with fans, and powerful productions & remixes. But I think the main reason why I think that Armin has been able to remain on top while others like Tiesto and Paul van Dyk have slowly decreased in rank is because the man is a complete and utter work-a-holic. He's a machine. Ever since I began following him in 2007, I'm not sure he has ever really taken time for himself. The radio show alone and global touring schedule is enough to be considered a 200% full time job, but he still manages to consistently crank out full artist albums that rock the trance community. I could honestly write a whole column on Armin van Buuren and why he is the best (which I think I will do someday), but for now let's just say that the man has been and most likely will be #1 for a reason. He knows what he's doing and he's remained humble all throughout. He has a way of connecting to people that I don't think any other DJ can do at this particular moment in time. I should also mention he has a new album due out in September called "Mirage". Some more classics to turn up on there I am sure. Cheers mate, you earned this one again. 4 times the king!
...and that's it boys and girls! What do you think? Do you agree with these 5 choices? Do you disagree with these choices? What would your choices be? I think these are 5 solid candidates that deserve all the props they get for their hard work and expect to see great things come out of each and every one of them throughout the rest of the year; especially in competing for that grand prize of being crowned as the #1 DJ of the world. I'm certainly excited to see how the polls turn out. Let the games begin! GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!!!!