While most social media has been overflowing with news about ISIS and Ebola lately, reactions to DJ Mag’s Top 100 is what kept EDM fans feverishly refreshing their feeds. Producers, DJs, revelers, and agents alike agree the list has lost almost all authenticity and relevance, yet it’s impossible not to talk about the remarkable ability for Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to market themselves to the second position, the likes of up-and-comers Martin Garrix, DVBBS, and Blasterjaxx to claim top 20 positions over electronic ambassadors like Paul Van Dyk, Carl Cox, and Eric Prydz, or the notion that Boy George is somehow a better DJ than Richie Hawtin.
More than just a fan-voted status symbol that draws tons of traffic for DJ Mag and its brand sponsors, the list provides insight into the current mood of the amorphous EDM landscape. It’s no surprise that the scene likes its beats big and its egos even bigger. But when you’re done scratching your head over the rise of DJ Bl3ND and the trio-turned-duo Krewella, there are a few revealing takeaways to uncover. First, despite the resurgence of bass-line techno and deep house, each genre remains vastly underrepresented as they continue to be bested by club pseudo-celebrities. And despite efforts to bring more women into the profession, the Top 100 list is more of a boys club than the US Senate.
New entrant Oliver Heldens leads the charge in bringing dance back to EDM with his future house aesthetic, possibly nabbing some votes from former twentysomething standouts Arty, Porter Robinson, and Madeon. Their massive drops indicate that longevity for electro upstarts can be fleeting without regular international mainstage festivals appearances on their resume, so don’t get too excited just yet for The Chainsmokers, Carnage, and VINAI.
As eclectic as their sounds may be, these 100 artists offer just a glimpse into the more popular tones of dance music. This month, The Drop explores some of the fringes: jumping on a Skype chat with London’s Erol Alkan, cruising through Miami with Anoraak, partaking in the transformative bass of Phutureprimitive, and chatting with artist manager/talent buyer Will Runzel about the first steps in turning fresh faces into possible contenders.
Senior Staff Writer