Resident Advisor believes very strongly that DJing is a form of art. Their definition of DJing means more than playing good records with smooth transitions. It means sensing the mood of a room with incredible accuracy, gauging the collective taste of hundreds or thousands of strangers and giving them enough of what they want to lure them into your own musical world. It means having the entire history of recorded music as your toolbox and drawing from it whatever you think the night requires. RA is one of the top music sites dedicated to showcasing electronic music and events across the globe. They are one of the leading editorials covering electronic music, and they have thrown parties all over the world. The NY Times, LA Times and The Guardian have profiled RA in recent months.
As the year is soon coming to an end, RA’s annual poll has been revealed. With the results, we salute the artists who made it to RA Poll: Top DJs of 2016. There are some unexpected and a few non-surprises in the results. Having seen and/or met most of these DJs and personally agreeing with the results. Be sure to catch your favorites in the new year.
Techno came naturally to Rødhåd, his intense sets are blended beautifully together with drops and running up to four decks at a time. He controls the dynamics and energy with a keen sense of focus that works as well in dark sceneries as it does on festival stages.
Every second of his sets, from his trademark Pointer Sisters intro, he has a slew of different forms of music like, house, disco, soul, Latin and African music combined into one incredible set.
18. Jamie Jones
Recently seen at EDC Orlando, Jamie Jones is a beast in the techno world. Whether he's playing at a festival or an Ibiza after-hours, he still enjoys every transition, bassline and drop like every raver. Capturing every techno moment.
17. The Martinez Brothers
Chris and Steve Martinez aren't twins—they're three years apart—but listening to them perform, you might think they are. The way that their track selections, their transitions, their dance moves in the booth, they appear synced in a way that seems almost supernatural. They are always in the groove and pleasing each crowd with their music.
16. Ben Klock
A DJ fanatic, obsessed with making each set better than the last. At every festival or mass club performance, he reminds us what he truly is. Using all elements in music, using each track at its full potential.
A genuine force in house and techno is now complete. He transcends his audience through his beautiful sets, building up the moment using transitions and drops that stun us all.
14. Carl Cox
The closing of his residency at Space Ibiza, followed by the club's own finale two weeks later, caused a furor rarely seen in our world. But Cox has always stood alone, all his sets put together with love and sweet techno sounds.
13. Ricardo Villalobos
Throwing the faders around, swerving unpredictably from one record to the next, framing a dazzling mosaic of different sounds—techno, electro, synth pop, jazz—within his classic style of tripped-out minimal house, his sets have a wild, mad scientist quality that entrances dance floors each and every year.
12. Motor City Drum Ensemble
You wouldn’t normally see Motor City Drum Ensemble playing at the Main Stage of a festival. However, people always flock to see him perform. Closing out Dekmantel was one of this summer's defining festival moments. It was a high point of a year in which Danilo Plessow was also responsible for a wonderful compilation and a hugely popular RA podcasts.
11. Patrick Topping
Last week, Patrick Topping released a track called Tease Magnet, and his overall success is pretty much summarized those six minutes and 56 seconds. One of the most funniest DJs to perform, with rattling drum machine, a sassy vocal sample, an urgent bassline. “Tease Magnet” was released on Hot Creations, and as a member of that crew, Topping has gone from being a small-time promoter in Newcastle to a globally-celebrated DJ.
10. The Black Madonna
Recently playing last week at RA first Art Basel event, The Black Madonna has defined herself with a sound as party-rocking as it is personal, storming through everything from Nitzer Ebb's Join In The Chant to The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men, sometimes in a single set. She has become an inspiring icon outside the booth for much the same reason that she is such a great DJ.
9. Ben UFO
When you are on the dance floor you cannot control your body moving to his deeply strange yet infectious tracks. He continues to be a key inspiration for artists dedicated to pushing the boundaries.
Every year the Belfast duo subtly reinvent themselves, and their fans love them for it. 2016 was a big year for them, that meant debuting a new live show while continuing to experiment with their DJ sets, dusting off tunes no one else would play—pitched-down psytrance, and combining them into highly effective musical weapons.
Also known as, Kristian Beyer – he uses heavyweight records in his sets to captivate his audience all around the world. He is a tastemaker, strategist and world-class DJ, his influence is felt far beyond the 100-odd dance floors he played to this year.
6. Adam Beyer
Creator of Drumcode and Host of podcast Drumcode Radio, Adam Beyer is DJ like no other. Filling your body with the best techno imaginable, giving off a euphoric feeling throughout the entire set. Whether it was with Daft Punk tunes at Awakenings or Maurizio classics in Ibiza, Beyer delivered some of 2016's biggest dance floor moments.
When listening to Solomun performs, his sets are filled with tasteful pop and underground house. Spending ten years carefully building a record label, Diynamic Music. It's giving these people ways to connect with him and the label, which this year included two unique party concepts in Ibiza, and recently in Miami for Art Basel week.
4. Maceo Plex
When Eric Estornel became Maceo Plex back in 2011, he said the project was simply him “having fun,” little did he know it evolved into the darker sound he'd been pushing as Maetrik. For nearly two decades, Estornel has pushed himself relentlessly, broadening his sound as a producer, challenging himself as a DJ, upping his game in every way possible.
3. Tale Of Us
With its huge success of their innovative event from Tale Of Us – Afterlife, striking imagery and edgy lineups, proving that it's more than just mixing records, the Italian duo embody a mood that chimes with people who like their dance floor experiences emotionally rich with groovy techno sounds. From Space in Ibiza to Miami Beach, FL – Tale Of Us made people feel like they were part of something this year.
Jack Revill is deeply concentrated in entertaining his fans. He has a way of teasing open a high-pass filter before slamming the beat back in and sending the place wild. The way he performs and his sets are a true work of art.
Still holding the crown for the number one spot is none other than Dixon. The way he mixes music, and how much he tours it only makes sense on why he is still number one. There’s no safer pair of hands in the scene. Technically flawless but with a wild streak, his sets, especially the all-nighters, are atmospheric, otherworldly and reliably unpredictable. You'd think that would be a hard act to maintain, but over time Dixon only gets better.