In honor of our upcoming Best College DJ Competition at Indiana University, we’ve taken five of the best DJs around, from all different genres of music, and slapped them into a Turntable.fm style competition where you, the reader, get to decide whether they’re lame or awesome. I’ll give you some background on each one, accompanied by a track, and you choose. It’s that easy, so let’s get to it.
Tijs Verwest, better known as Tiesto, is probably the most recognizable face in EDM today, and for good reason: the Dutch DJ spends the year touring endlessly, hitting up club after club and making all the little kiddies fist pump to his infectious House beats. Of course, he used to be known as a Trance DJ, but his style has been shifting slowly to accommodate changing attitudes in electronic music today.
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You can’t just be one genre anymore, and Tiesto is well aware of that with new ridiculous songs that reflect the rising popularity in hard, hard Electro. Recently the DJ has been touring colleges across America, so you might wanna be on the lookout for him at a club near you.
While Tiesto has the most recognizable face in electronic music, this former video gamer and now world-famous producer/DJ definitely has the most recognizable gimmick. If you see a mau5 head, you automatically know what it is, and if you don’t then you must be living under a rock.
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Joel Zimmerman, otherwise known as Deadmau5, is now making massive moves: he started his very own Mau5trap label, signed a ton of rising Electro-House artists, and is touring like crazy with a ridiculous light show that could give an epileptic a seizure from 2 miles away.
Armin Van Buuren
Armin Van Buuren needs no DJ name or gimmick. He just is. The king of EDM has been voted DJ Mag’s #1 for four years running for a reason: No one can compete with his reach and prolific knowledge of great electronic music. His epic touring schedule aside, the master of Trance puts a lot of focus on radio and the Internet – the two things that got him to where he is today.
Strangely enough, for a guy who talks about the importance of spreading music across the web, he has no SoundCloud, so I’m forced to post a YouTube video. But if you happen to have Sirius satellite radio, then you can catch a full 24 hours of his famous “A State of Trance” radio show every Sunday on the Electric Area channel.
And now for something completely different. Dubstep/Electro phenom Sonny Moore, more commonly known by the moniker Skrillex, came from a humble background of screaming for the hardcore band From First to Last. Over the past few years he has been touring solo as a DJ, and has honed his sound into something that is undeniably distinct from any other EDM.
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Now Skrillex is blowing up all over the place – high schoolers are bumping his Cinema and Promises remixes, and he’s helping to usher in a new rave generation and the golden age of American dubstep. Young kids are getting down to dance music like never before, and Moore is the freakish conductor leading the way.
Derek Vincent Smith, otherwise known as Pretty Lights, doesn’t have the reach that all of these other DJs do. His fanbase is smaller, more dedicated, and he doesn’t do crazy world tours that totally kill his time in the studio. He definitely considers himself more of a producer than a DJ, and that’s not such a bad thing when you see how he’s changed the definition of EDM.
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His tight hip-hop beats, wicked basslines, and melodic sampling have helped warp the shape of what we dance to, substituting fist pumps with head nods and slow grooves. On top of it all, he releases all of his albums, tracks, and remixes (of which there are many) for free, bypassing intellectual copyright law and making his fans happy at the same time.