It was easy to cast my number one vote this time around. It’s a pair of guys that never ever ceases to amaze and blow the mind. It’s only fair, in my honest opinion, that the world gives these guys their due credit and vote them all the way up the list to #1. Nonetheless, Dutch sensations, EDM pioneers, and friends Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano have made themselves even more relevant in 2012, especially stateside, doing shows all over America throughout the year and giving fans the opportunity to really get into their rhythm. They remain true to their original form for the most part but are not afraid to push the boundaries of their live performances crowd-willing. I’ve had the opportunity to witness them in two very different cultures and was overjoyed to see them play to the type of crowd they were in front of. It’s refreshing in the age of prerecorded bootlegs and mashups (let alone an entire string of tracks) that you will never see the same thing twice at an SJRM show. I can’t think of anyone with as much CDJ skill as Sunnery and Ryan, and that is a conclusion that most people who have seen them would agree on. I mean who doesn’t love “sexy beats”?
While it is definitely hard for me to choose a number two, it is plain to see that after seeing the artist formerly known as @TheRealIngrosso too many times to count, one of the overall best live DJing for me has to go to none other than Sebastian Ingrosso. His ability to raise the atmosphere of the party to peak position within two to three tracks is, to me, the winning stroke. His stage presence is also something that gives him a leg up on others. There are few names in the business right now that garner as close to celebrity status as electronically possible. Van Buuren, Guetta, Tiesto, and Deadmau5 have that feeling of celebrity and now Sebastian Ingrosso has solidified his place among them as a top performer. When he steps into the booth, I get that feeling of being in the presence of greatness and know that whatever the venue, whatever the circumstances, Seb is surely going to f**k that nightclub in the p***y. What Sebastian Ingrosso (and Steve and Axwell) has done for the scene can never be overstated and will be talked about for decades as one of the major catalysts in bringing and keeping the new wave of house music to the forefront of American prominence. There’s a saying that DJs are the new rockstars, and Sebastian Ingrosso is proving that to be the case in 2012.
My number three vote goes to Gregori Klosman. I got to see him for the first and second time this summer and was wowed both times. Klosman, a French DJ/Producer, really began as a tech house producer but his statement through 2012 is that he is well equipped to foster the in-your-face-ness of Electro. He definitely made an impression on me back on Easter Sunday with Chuckie even though my expectations of him were unfairly held high. There are moments from that show that are seared into my memory such as him opening the set with “Atom” when this song is usually saved for later on in sets. But that is what I love about Klosman: he gives it to you hard and fast. Bangers and anthems are just numbers on a playlist. He’s going to give the crowd a show in more ways than one as well. Towards the end of show Klosman will just get on top of the booth and climb into the crowd where he’ll surf for a just a little. It’s stuff like that that makes him have an energy unlike others today. Gregori Klosman is very fresh in everyone’s minds right now but I feel he could’ve been at this point a year ago if he had just come to America earlier. So my only gripe is that he doesn’t come around enough. Gregori, on t’aime!
Hardwell is my number four vote in this year’s DJ Mag Top 100. While it has been a while since I saw him live, I feel as close to Hardwell as ever listening to his “Hardwell: On Air” podcasts. His style is big sound and synths to give the uplifting feel and turn it back down to dark bass kicks and pounding drums. As I stated before, I don’t have much of a 2012 sampling to go off of but I just love what he is up to in the studio. Ever since “Zero 76” he’s been on the world map of aspiring prominent DJ/Producers. The best thing is that he is humble and approachable. It goes a long way when you can go up to the artist and feel comfortable, whether it be from a reputation you know of, or just the body language he’s giving off. Regardless, the one time I met him was great because he actually cared enough about a fan to ask what my favorite moment of the set was. Like an idiot, I replied with, “The whole f**king thing was killer!”
Stefano Noferini comes in at number five simply because he’s a beast of a producer. He churns out new tracks every other week it seems and the guy’s definitely up there in age. He’s my favorite when it comes to tech and techno and I think he should be regarded as one of the kings of this genre. There are just so many tracks of his that have been an inspiration to me and I don’t think it would be right leaving this EDM heavyweight out of the discussion. He’s been making great stuff for over 15 years and has stood the ultimate test of time which is to remain relevant past your first two singles. I feel that Stefano has more greatness in store for us, and as crazy as it sounds, 2013 could be his biggest year yet. Whenever the first couple beats of an unfamiliar track of his comes up on the iPod, I can easily tell that, “This is F**cking House Music”, because he seriously has a sound all his own. Some people that aren’t as familiar with the genre would say it’s all 4×4 bass kicks, but it isn’t. Far from it. His bass is fatter, deeper, and just better all around. There are others that have this uniqueness to them as well, such as Swanky Tunes, Kaskade, and Tommy Trash, but Noferini holds court in his own way.
As some people may have figured by now, the Top 100 does not mean the Best 100. It simply is a marketing tool for DJs and producers alike to receive compensation on par with what the demand is publicly. Case in point, SJRM and Gregori Klosman haven’t debuted on the list to this point yet other artists, with no disrespect at all, such as Boy George and Calvin Harris were on the list. It simply has turned into a popularity contest. That said, I think that my boys are all going to be part of the in-crowd this year.
–Spencer Callahan for EDMNYC