The Best DJs of 2013, So Far

best djs 2013 so far li The Best DJs of 2013, So Far

The term "DJ" in 2013 doesn't mean the same thing it meant 10 years ago. A DJ, especially a successful DJ, is so much more than a person who spins records these days. What makes a DJ "the best," though? Is it based solely on who has the best selection or the biggest cuts? What about acts who have shows on major radio stations, or tour worldwide? Where do you factor in running a label or having successful releases? And what about mainstream appeal?

In looking back at the first half of 2013, DAD applied all of those points (and more) into our look at the best DJs of the year... so far.

Click to start the list
  • Daan

    terrible list. just awful and def not made by an expert on electronic music.

    • dominique

      totally :/

    • dd

      the guys that run this site don’t know edm. look em up

      • khal

        no? how do you figure that?

  • Paul

    Same old shit

  • BS

    That list and:
    Nicky Romero, Viceton, Fedde Le Grand, Zedd, Tommy Trash, Hard Rock Sofa, Swanky Tunes, DubVision, Alesso, Deniz Koyu, Calvin Harris, Chuckie, Dirthy South, Dannic, Dyro, Showtek, W&W, Thomas Gold, Bassjackers, Bingo Players, KURA, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and of course Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello (Individually)

    • khal

      you’ve picked some great names. i could possibly add a few, although many of them haven’t made huge marks in 2013.

  • Zachary

    Not even one mention of Bassnectar. What in the world?

  • JustThis

    I know this is a short list but this is called keeping it real. And the title says “SO FAR” so don’t rush, More will be added to the list soon!
    For now I guess is a good list to start off!
    I like it!

  • Jake

    to be honest, skrillex hasn’t really make a mark this year

    • khal

      he scored a Hollywood film, just turned in a stellar essential mix, released an EP that got people talking, has thrown down two much-talked about sets with Boys Noize as Dog Blood and runs OWSLA. please tell me what more he’d need to do this year.

      • braindead

        learn how to DJ and not produce dubstep because it’s crap.

        • Squilz

          He put out one dubstep track this year that largely went under the radar (scary bolly dub). He’s making moves on every front of dance music, denying that because you don’t like his sound (which he’s clearly trying to abandon) is childish.

    • Jon Seres

      I must have heard Wild for the Night about 1000 times at every festival and show I’ve been to this summer.

  • Jon

    Agree with BS. Is this list made by one person? It’s leaning more towards a particular genre…A more balanced list would be nice. And no Armin? I think Armin is having a pretty good year esp with the release of “Intense”. I do enjoy the artists mentioned though.

    • khal

      Armin has been having a good year. the list includes house, trap, dubstep, dnb, and trance. plus whatever you’d call Diplo sets. what more could you possibly want?

      • Miike Prince

        ummm techno? REAL house?

      • Dutchboy

        Its funny I Am always interested in views from abroad in regards of electronic music I prefer to call it house as that it is originally speaking. I hate the term EDM and fortunately in Holland everyone who likes clubbin’ has the same opinion. Ironically the Dutch DJs you name like hardwell, Chuckie, Nicky Romero, Afrojack. Are DJs who never play as the good festivals in Holland as no one likes this genre here. We call it weener house or gumball house and has lost it chemistry about 5 years ago. Its sad to see That the populair artists such as Detroit Swindle, Tom Trago and Prunk to name a few which are Much more respected in Holland never play on the big festivals in The US. Is it because you americans have no taste or you just way behind the music scene. I think and hope its the last. No for sure tho, when we were playing OLd skool tunes from Kerry and Kevin on the school party you lot were still inviting greenday wannebees as the main act next to 3rd range hip hop artists! Last words EDM is no house, Trance is passé , Deep House and Techno is played in Every serious festival so US learn from your big Mistakes such as Aoki Hardwell Guetta etc

    • Squilz

      I was unimpressed with Intense but I agree Armin is still very much on top of dance music. The brand he’s created with ASOT is absolutely massive. This is the kind of list a person who wears a tank top and a neon hat that says “rage” or “molly” would compile.

  • Deshete

    Oneman was the only name there worth reading

  • Lewis

    I’m glad not to be alone in feeling the author hasn’t got a clue.Half the guys on the list couldn’t construct a listenable set if their life depended on it.Fair play oneman,skream and friction are worth a mention and from what I hear tiesto was a bit of a don in his time.But what about the likes of Ben UFO,Dj EZ,Spooky,Surgeon and Dettman? they’re just a few of many who could smash most of this list in terms of both selection and technical ability.

    • khal

      and i feel like you didn’t read what this feature was based on. fair play to you, though. Ben UFO is a beast, and DAD has supported Spooky numerous times. but having the best selection, in today’s dance music scene, isn’t all that makes someone a great DJ.

      • Lewis

        cheers for the reply,you make a good point.i think my idea of what makes a great DJ is antiquated.

        • braindead

          what is unfortunate is the fact that DJ’s in this day and age don’t have to possess talent or know how to pick tracks to crush the dance floor. All they have to do is play everyone else’ hits, a few of their own, and popular tracks and they are loved. most of them don’t even mix anyways. personally, I hate the term EDM, i think it’s stupid, and every tween and their best friend are using it to water down the electronic music culture that so many worked very hard to build and keep strong.

          • khal

            to each their own, but i think it might be backwards; i imagine more DJs these days play their own tracks and some from other producers. depends on the DJ of course…

  • Eugene (ism)

    didn’t flosstradamus get found out pre recording sets

    • khal

      i know there was this video from Boston where the table fell and the song was still playing

      but they’re also playing on computers with an entirely different set up than even two turntables with Serato.

    • Jon Seres

      They use Abelton to play out. It doesn’t mean the set is pre-recorded. Only the uneducated think so.

      • Eugene (ism)

        Ableton like on the laptop in this video, that falls the fuck off the stage with everything else as the music continues

        • Squilz

          I’ve seen them twice and both sets were mixed flawlessly, too much so. Watching them dramatically tweak the mixer and not hear any difference on the speakers was hilarious.

  • Jack

    “so while [oneman] might not be dropping a new mix every week like some DJs” looks like you definitely spent alot of time background researching for your one token decent DJ; if playing on rinse for two hours every tuesday isnt enough to qualify as a “new mix every week”, then i dont know what is. Appalling list, especially when you have DJ’s like oneman, who can actually tie two songs together perfectly like no game, placing below sync DJ’s like Baauer and Flosstradamus. Please, carry on listening to Oneman and listen to his peers like Jackmaster, Ben UFO, EZ, and others mentioned in these comments, and you’ll look back in two years thinking “what the fuck was i thinking hyping skrillex”

    • khal

      fair play, but comparing a DJ with a radio slot to DJs who are posting new mixes at will, for free, via many means is a bit different.

      and no one is dissing guys like Ben UFO or jackmaster, but again this list isn’t just about the best skilled DJ or the DJ with the best selection.

      • Jack

        all rinse shows are available for free on their website, so unfortunately i’m left with not being able to see how its “a bit different”.

        and yes, it isn’t, but both Ben UFO and Jackmaster have regular radio shows (jackmaster on both bbc radio 1 and rinse!), run highly successful labels (hessle & numbers), and regularly tour everywhere – Ben UFO toured the US last december, and his counterpart Pearson Sound did a tour even more recently. The fact that Jackmaster covers Skream and Benga’s show on R1, and has had his own slot, is enough to fit the “appeal to mainstream” factor, but even so, this idea that someone is good because they connect with popular trends is so flawed, yet everyone continuously comes back to it. The UK has had a far more rich history of Dance music in the mainstream, from Acid house and Hardcore in the early nineties, through UKG, to where we are now, with bedroom MC’s like Wiley and Dizzee now headlining festivals and getting multiple number 1s. Yet ask anyone knowledgeable on the UK scene and they will vouch that the underground is where it is always at

        • khal

          because most of the time radio shows are structured a bit differently than mixes are? because “Solitaire Vol 1″ has a bigger theme than a radio show?

          And you don’t need to run Ben or Jack’s infos down to me. Hessle and Numbers are great – Numbers had a big single with the Rustie release this year. But you think they’ve had more of an impact in 2013 than the names on this list?

          vouching for the underground is something that DAD does, often. i won’t say “go through the site and check it out,” but we balance the “mainstream” and the “underground.” but we’re also realists; no matter how much i listen to Mele or Paradox tracks, i can’t have their beauty outweigh the obviously bigger accomplishments these other DJs are achieving, bet it just in the UK or worldwide. Jackmaster might cover for Skream & Benga, but it’s still their show.

          this criteria won’t satisfy everyone, but it has to be done.

          • Jack

            Solitaire is just a snapshot of what he does on rinse every tuesday, blending absolutely everything he likes to form a coherent mix. Besides, mixtapes like Banned by Floss may claim to have some sort of overarching theme, but personally to me it never sounded to me like it actually had one: all face, no soul.

            Me running down BenUFO and Jackmaster’s deets was by no means meant to belittle, but to justify that they did indeed meet the requirements your intro sets out

            I think those names would’ve had a bigger impact in 2013 – worldwide – if the US forefrontal dance music scene wasn’t as much of a game of making money. Apart from that, i’ll settle that as a writer from the USA, you value your scene more, as you are continually exposed to it, and I as a UK resident am more exposed to my scene. Unfortunately this is just the way it works when we have such a music business like it is. I think the UK is a bit more open to what the USA has to offer than the vice-versa, with EDC coming to London, AllTrapMusic (as far as im aware) being a UK-based blog and Diplo always gets a big reaction whenever he comes over

            Further to the point about money, do you truly think the achievements of people like Tiesto or Skrillex are completely independent? i don’t think so; these artists have the backing of massive labels and PR conglomerates, who, as long as they have the initial appeal and a potential market, can string together any image of “started from the bottom” and set up the opportunities for these achievements, consequently making money

            This could go on forever, but i respect the fact that you take time to reply to comments on here. as they say we’ll agree to differ. I think the USA will eventually come round to a similar situation as the UK in terms of dance music – the labels will find a new “indie” sound (not forgetting the alternative to pop music on the radio was nu metal and country rock not 4 years ago), and hopefully US Niches like Footwork will spread out of chicago and create a more unique USA sound – though that’s probably unlikely haha

          • khal

            “i’ll settle that as a writer from the USA, you value your scene more, as you are continually exposed to it”

            you’d be mistaken. i actually appreciate the UK scene MORE. I’ve been a jungle/dnb fan since 1995. i wish the US mirrored how the UK was in selection, and while the mainstream is opening up to dance music more, it’s definitely not the same.

            I’d say you’re right about Tiesto, but while Skrillex has an affiliation with Atlantic, everything he’s doing with OWSLA is on his own. That’s all him.

            I hope your notes on the US coming around to the UK happens (and I think acta like Disclosure could be the start of it). Footwork growing would be a dream – dnb being the main sound of the US would make my job complete!

  • BNGR

    I think you made a huuuuuge mistake between being a poducer and a Dj.. Love Baauer songs but his dj quality’s are not that well (and that is softly said)

  • Thomas Bonin


  • Krackkkk

    Person who wrote this doesn’t know between a DJ and a Producer and probablly only looks at the “Top 40″ of dance music.

    • khal

      You couldn’t be more wrong.

  • squeetz

    Ya this list is terrible. Since Tiesto won worlds greatest DJ 2002-04 he has asked people to stop voting for him in these garbage polls. Guys like Tijs and Diplo are legendary and shouldn’t be included in stupid ass articles like this one. Since you’ve included a good amount of trap DJs lets look at how they mix. One who relies upon cdjs has to have a certain amount of talent, but one who has shit pre set in a macbook is like everybody else. If your going to mention UMF sets where is Porter Robinson? Who gives two fucks about the harlem shake. Based off your number one selection you should probably kill yourself. The expansion of EDM has its goods and bads. The Good – underground artists with more talent then these so called veterans are emerging. The Bad- there are much more listeners to support upcoming garbage and existing garbage producers(all of SHM; Prydz made the right move not to join). Truthfully the majority of the progressive/electro house scene sucks balls. All of the sounds are copied with a slight variation and then regurgitated to the masses. Then these tards eat it up because Alesso or Axwell is behind it. If listeners expanded their likings, they would soon find out that what they used to consider good is actually dogs shit.

    • khal

      “those” garbage polls, as there was no voting done on this.

      relying on CDJs is a bad thing?

      If i was basing this on one set, i’d include a lot more. obviously you didn’t read that this wasn’t based solely on technical skill or selection. millions upon millions of people gave a fuck about “harlem shake,” which further emphasizes my point.

      the rest of your points have nothing to do with this post, so i won’t even bother speaking on them. but if i killed myself, you’d have nothing to rant and rave about. so, rave on.

  • Gav

    Are you fucking kidding me? Thats one fucking stupid list. Only one who has right to be there is oneman. Get your shit together and learn to listen, all of these artist play with pre-made-sets with ableton, its not mixing. Sliink and Oneman plays it live.

    • Gav

      Skream too is a great dj. But almost everybody else are garbage.

    • khal

      Friction plays ableton? A-Trak doesn’t play live sets? Your points are invalid.

  • alyssa

    Stress the fact that being totally unbiased to the styles of music, you said djs, more like producers that have accomplished a lot this year. Producers dont need to dj, they choose to use the programs that are easiest to get their music heard. Simple. I have no problem with that. If you payed to see them, thats your problem. Complaining about a list that changes every three months is undeniably stupid. I believe this list is acurate. The ones with all the opposite opinion have a right to it but is a personal opinion not what is of the masses collectively. Just remember that while your trying to rip someones head off.

  • Hassan van Buuren

    this has to be the worst list ive ever seen in my life. the author does not know music.

    • khal

      i’d say i do know a little something about music, even if you dislike the list.

  • Benedikt Kiessling

    selecting diplo on top 3 and putting hardwell on #7 clearly shows a very bad insight on DJs nowadays haha

    • khal

      is that how it works?

  • Cillington

    is this thing retarded avicii is in the top 3
    easy !

    • khal

      I’d say he’s had a better second half of 2013 than first half (remember, this list was done in June), and when we do our year end, you’ll definitely see him making an impact.

  • muhammad umer khawar

    Stupid!list ever where is arman van bureen

  • Pingback: Hajskul – Kdo je Hardwell?