The Top 100 DJs Poll: Controversy, surprises and the plus points

Marcus Barnes

IMG 5262 300x200 The Top 100 DJs Poll: Controversy, surprises and the plus pointsLast week, at Amsterdam’s huge ADE event, producer-turned-popstar David Guetta was crowned the world’s number one DJ at the DJ Top 100 Awards. In the previous four years trance superstar Armin Van Burren took the title but this year marked a change in the results (only slightly as Armin came second at last week’s ceremony). For many purists this was a rather controversial result, as they see Guetta as the antithesis of what they believe in – someone who’s taken house music and diluted it for the mainstream. Regardless of this argument, there’s no denying that he is hugely, hugely successful and obviously good at what he does – sold out nights at his residency at Pacha in Ibiza and a constant stream of chart hits are a testament to that.

Here’s what David had to say when asked how he felt about picking up the award…

“I’m very happy of course, I was thinking it was going to be impossible for anybody to replace Armin Van Buuren as No.1. I don’t know how many years trance DJs have been No.1? I have a lot of respect for what those guys have done. But I’m happy for myself, and also think that maybe it gives hope to a lot of DJs playing house and electro.

“I’ve had amazing success as a producer, but I always saw myself first of all as a DJ. So in the same way that I made a double album where one disc is pop and the other electronic, it’s also very important for me. As much as I want to speak to a wider audience, I still want to speak to my original audience — the clubbers, party people and the DJs. Those who encouraged me, and are my roots. It makes me more happy to play an amazing club gig than it does to sell a lot of records. Of course I love making music, but DJ culture is everything to me — it’s been my life for so many years.

“Our music is so big at the moment, as simultaneously there are people like me and Tiësto and the Swedish House Mafia who are really crossing over, and at the same time you have this crazy underground scene that is exploding also. The fact that there are so many creative people on this level at the moment makes our music very strong.”

Controversy aside, the results at this year’s DJ Awards could be seen as a sign of how peoples’ taste in dance music is beginning to change. Personally speaking, one of the most notable, and disappointing, things to have come out of the poll was the fact that there were NO drum ‘n’ bass DJs in the top 100. Now, although some people may dismiss the poll as having no relevance to what’s going on in the ‘real world’ of music, I still thought it was quite sad that none of the DJs I grew up on (Andy C, Grooverider, Fabio and so on…) were featured in the top 100. How this happened is anyone’s guess, as far as I know drum ‘n’ bass is still as popular as ever… Maybe drum n bass lovers just didn’t feel like voting? That said, I’m glad Nero, who have a strong history in DnB, made their way into the chart.

Other plus points include Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin and Sven Vath all holding it up for the techno faithful. Carl was the highest placed techno DJ, at number 31, well deserved as well – he’s someone who’s been entrenched in the techno scene for many, many years and, in my opinion, should have been a lot higher up the chart.

Skrillex was a slight surprise but, then again, he has an absolutely huge following both Stateside and across the globe. His brand of dubstep is pretty much the opposite of what I like, but I can definitely see the appeal and, again, it was nice to see someone from that genre land at such a high position, especially in the face of competition from all the big trance DJs, who continue to dominate the results. And it was his debut in the chart, too. Hopefully next year Skream, Benga and all those guys will feature in higher positions – I’ve been into dubstep since its very early years and it’s been amazing to see how much it has grown and filtered through into the mainstream.

None of the DJs I’m really into right now made their presence felt, but hey ho… life goes on. As long as they continue to succeed in their chosen field and maintain a prosperous career who cares, right?

In conclusion I guess what everyone has to accept is that polls are always going to stoke up the fires of controversy, especially when it comes to something that provokes so much passion and emotion like music does. It’s a highly ambiguous area when it comes to what’s “good” and what’s “bad”… cliched to say it, but it really is different strokes for different folks. For every fan of Derrick Carter or Jamie Jones, there’s a fan (or ten) of Gareth Emery, Paul Van Dyk or David Guetta.

Anyway to add to the debate, based on my extensive club and festival visits this year, my own top 10 (make that 13) would be something like this…

1. Seth Troxler
2. Heidi Van Den Amstel
3. Oneman
4. Shaun Reeves/Lee Curtiss/Ryan Crosson
5. Lee Foss
6. Jamie Jones
7. Dyed Soundorom
8. David Rodigan
9. James Zabiela
10. tINI

To view the entire top 100 list click here –

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  • Dayvan Cowboy

    No Big T, Linda Jayne or Derek Marsden? Doesn’t seem worth the bother then. 

  • Paul Dahill

    Go Seth!

  • Ronan Spoor

    I find the Resident Advisor top 100 poll usually tends to be more of interest. This of course if open to debate though!

  • 312trannny

     lee foss? he has a menial 10 tracks to his name and the ones that don’t sound like they were produced by a 12 year old in 10 minutes or sampled off an old disco record were more than likely done by JJ. Sorry but he doesn’t belong anywhere in that top 100 poll.

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