As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed this NMF.
Photo credit: Michael Poselski
As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed this NMF.
Photo credit: Michael Poselski
It’s officially Calvin Harris SZN.
The Scottish hitmaker has spent the last few weeks teasing a long-awaited return, and now, we finally have two fresh new singles, hot off the press from their BBC Radio 1 premiere—”Hypnagogic (I Can’t Wait)” and “CP-1.” The pair of singles were named Annie Mac‘s Hottest Record in the World, rolling out Harris’ new Love Regenerator1 project. The two new originals mark the first from Harris in a year, since he linked with Rag’n’Bone Man on “Giant.”
Harris has promised fans a new sound in the lead up to a run of major festival appearances this spring, including a return to Coachella and a second consecutive headlining slot at Creamfields. The “One Kiss” producer has one of the year’s most anticipated records up his sleeve and now we’ve finally gotten the first inside look at what to expect from Calvin Harris in 2020. Stream “Hypnagogic (I Can’t Wait)” and “CP-1” below.
It looks like Creamfields has pieced together another robust artist acumen for 2020, having previously announced The Chainsmokers headliners, and now confirming Calvin Harris to return for a sequel to his appearance at the UK stalwart event last year. Calvin came through with a danceable vengance in 2019, drawing in one of the largest crowds of the entire weekend. This year, he’ll be Saturday’s headliner, while Carl Cox slays the festival’s techno terrain. The Chainsmokers are pegged to take over Friday’s headline slot.
With new shows on the horizon, Calvin will have the perfect opportunity to rinse out his newly announced music coming this Friday: “Hypnagogic (I Can’t Wait)” and “CP-1.” These two singles are a glimpse into Calvin’s impending LP, one of the most anticipated albums coming in 2020.
To catch Calvin’s hotly attended headline set at Creamfields, get your tickets here.
Photo Credit: Rukes
Calvin Harris promised new music in 2020, likely packing one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Now, he’s finally ready to deliver with the announcement of two new singles landing January 24, “Hypnagogic (I Can’t Wait)” and “CP-1.” The two singles were posted with what appears to be the corresponding album art, seemingly titled “Love Regenerator” at the top, though it is unclear yet if that is the name of an impending LP.
Recently, Harris took to social media to communicate with fans about his plans for the year, noting that new music will be his focus this year and fans can expect a deviation in style for whatever the Funk Wav producer has up his sleeve. Best of all, Harris has promised new material ahead of his highly anticipated return to Coachella in April, so whatever “Love Regenerator” turns out to be, bet that after “Hypnagogic (I Can’t Wait)” and “CP-1.” land in late January, there will be more to follow.
Start of a new project for me this Friday! Hypnagogic (I Can’t Wait) and CP-1 are arriving on the 24th pic.twitter.com/OKlbV76fYr
— Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) January 20, 2020
Calvin Harris is back in the saddle in 2020. While the Scottish hitmaker has slowly ramped back into the live performance swing over the last year clocking appearances at some major festival events, his release schedule has been scarce to say the least. Early last year Harris and Rag’n’Bone Man linked on “Giant,” though before that, a handful of hits in 2018 were the only holdover we had since 2017’s star-studded Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1. Now though, the Fly Eye proponent is back in the game and he’s promised fans new music ahead of his Coachella performance. In fact, it appears new material from Harris is due to land in the next couple of weeks.
Lol merch is not my focus right now you’ll get plenty of music though https://t.co/DMzTF6pHpu
— Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) January 9, 2020
Couple of weeks I think https://t.co/CSgYXoIbh6
— Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) January 9, 2020
The “Slide” producer took to social media for a rare spree of tweets, answering fans about various upcoming moves. According to Harris, fans will need to continue holding their breath for Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, though his new material promises to be a thematic departure from his previous works. See Calvin’s tweets below and prepare for his upcoming return to Coachella—after all, the last time he was there, he pulled one of the biggest crowds the Empire Polo Club has ever seen. We’re betting on a repeat this year.
For me yeah https://t.co/8owFLXQjlC
— Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) January 9, 2020
Appreciate you asking mate, can’t see it happening tbh https://t.co/taiRl2x9ie
— Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) January 9, 2020
Words: Bella Bagshaw, Rachel Narozniak, Chris Stack, Jessica Mao, and Farrell Sweeney
From “Clarity” to “Bangarang,” the past ten years have borne witness to no shortage of colorful electronic releases that, cumulatively, have contributed to the genre’s expansion from niche to mainstream. A golden decade in dance, 2010 to 2020 saw electronic music hit a commercial climax in 2012.
As dance music worked its way across radio airwaves, most commonly through the recently popularized dance-pop hybrid format, and as the stock of electronically oriented festivals expanded, one thing became increasingly clear: dance music is for everyone. In a retrospective review of the releases that defined the span of time between 2010 and 2020, Dancing Astronaut proudly presents our top 100 tracks of the decade.
1 Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites – Skrillex
“Yes, OH MY GOD!” The premier single from Skrillex’s first Grammy Award-winning album for Best Dance/Electronica Album in 2011. Also grabbing a Grammy for Best Dance Recording, the track catapulted dubstep into the American dance scene.
2 Stay – Zedd
“Stay” arrived as evidence of the symbiotic quality of Zedd’s refined approach to both electronic and pop stylings. In partnering with then rising pop starlet, Alessia Cara, on the record Zedd affirmed what his followers had long known: the dance-pop hybrid is one of his strongest sonic suits—and he’s still here to play.
3 Body – Loud Luxury
The release that catapulted Loud Luxury into the musical mainstream, “Body” is an evergreen electronic anthem that exemplified the duo’s acute ear for effervescent productions.
4 Jackie Chan – Tiesto and Dzeko
Tiësto and Dzeko‘s collaboration with Post Malone and Preme, “Jackie Chan” proved itself to be a particularly pervasive summer anthem, as the star-studded hit single worked its way through playlists and radio queues alike. The cut, which scored a platinum certification, was as much a credit to Tiësto’s ear for electronic tunes that resonate — and have consistently resonated — with listeners as it is a watershed moment in Dzeko’s progressing career as a solo producer.
5 After Life – Tchami feat. Stacy Barthe
The undisputed father of future house, Tchami wielded this dancefloor weapon to open the floodgates, helping a whole new generation of four-by-four lovers discover the “hard” sector of house.
6 The Veldt – deadmau5
Inspired by a fan’s tweet and a Ray Bradbury tale of the same name “The Veldt” is deadmau5 at his progressive peak. The halcyon track paints a visceral lyrical and production portrait, scaling mythical proportions in electronic lovers’ hearts. It’s an untethered demonstration of deadmau5’s unique ability to create music that’s both gentle and galvanizing all at once.
7 Instant Crush – Daft Punk feat. Julian Casablancas
Introspection is one hell of a drug. Daft Punk knows this well, seen through their somber synth-pop moments. The androids borrow The Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas’ palatably plaintive vocoded voice for a glorious game of sad robot.
8 Promises – NERO (Skrillex & Nero remix)
Appearing on NERO’s official debut album, the trio’s “Promises” remix helped catalyze the decade’s emotional dubstep craze. It even snagged Skrillex the 2013 Grammy for Best Remixed Recording.
9 Faded – ZHU
Remixed by everyone from ODESZA to Lido, “Faded” was a collective late-night mood for more or less the latter half of the decade. No one could deny ZHU’s beckoning vocal advances and up-to-no-good production prowess.
10 Internet Friends – Knife Party
“You blocked me on Facebook / And now you’re going to die.” At the height of Knife Party’s rage or die reign over the first half of the ’10s, came “Internet Friends.” It’s a cheeky, relentless emblem of the group’s electro house savored sonic flavor. Aside from making an appearance in live sets far and wide, it even made it onto The Walking Dead.
11 One Kiss – Calvin Harris
One kiss is all it takes? Over 900 million Spotify streams later, it seems listeners wanted more than that from the heavenly Dua Lipa-Calvin Harris tag team.
12 Raise Your Weapon – deadmau5
Written with Skrillex at his side, deadmau5 puts on a full-frontal display of his aural dexterity. Greta Svabo Bech helps wed progressive and dubstep in this hallowed union.
13 The Island -, Pt. 1 (Dawn) – Pendulum
Between its ample radio play and both Skrillex and The Godfather of EDM, Tiesto’s decisions to offer the track official remixes, “The Island” garnered the good graces it deserves. The flagship progressive paragon not only helped Pendulum flex their genre agility, but catapulted a teenage Madeon’s career, after the young Frenchman won Pendulum’s remix contest for the track.
14 Afterhours – TroyBoi feat. Diplo & Nina Sky
A pairing aligned in trap paradise, Diplo and TroyBoi, with the help of Nina Sky, bring sultry, up-to-no-good worldliness to “Afterhours.” The track pulsed with production ad libs evocative of their champion caliber of nuance across festival frontlines following its release in 2015.
15 Titanium – David Guetta feat. Sia
Close to a billion streams later, Sia’s steely vocals ring with the same prophetic cadence, as does Guetta’s slow-burning pluck. “Titanium” is one of the few preeminent paragons of dance pop in the US.
16 Express Yourself – Diplo feat. Nicky Da B
If we had to pinpoint a piece of music that catalyzed Diplo’s “random-white-dude-be-everywhere” reign over dance music and—who are we kidding—the industry at large, “Express Yourself” was that moment. It’s bombastic, deathly danceable, Afro-leaning style stood as a pristinely telling precursor for the near-decade of nonsense to brew from the Diplo camp. RIP Nicky Da B.
17 I Know The Truth – Pretty Lights
“I Know The Truth” is nothing short of an instrumental love letter to dubstep. Expertly placed, just ahead of its genre’s wall-to-wall embrace mid decade, the track displays Derek Vincent Smith’s unparalleled sample savvy, in this case O.V. Wright’s “A Fool Can’t See The Light.”
18 Tell Me – RL Grime & What So Not
A trap affront for the ages. “Tell Me” combines RL Grimes’ over-the-top orchestral energy and What So Not’s ethereal, trend-setting melodic flair.
19 I Can’t Stop – Flux Pavilion
Producers literally couldn’t (and still can’t) stop playing this larger-than-life track out. The proverbial dubstep onslaught became a quintessential live set closer soon after its release.
20 Marijuana – Chrome Sparks
“Marijuana” not only helped spark synth wizard Chrome Sparks’ career, but topped the ubiquitous “chill-out beats” playlists near and far.
21 Civilization – Justice
Picked up for multi-national ads with Adidas, “Civilization” is Justice at their best, full of funk, femme, and downright fun.
22 Say My Name – ODESZA feat. Zyra
An exemplar of ODESZA’s fluttery, technicolor sweetness, “Say My Name” helped pave the way for the ’10s’ chromatic chill-out niche.
23 Turn Down For What – DJ Snake
Soon to become a ubiquitous catchphrase and altogether ethos of the mid-decade, “Turn Down For What” is one of the most voraciously used movie score, TV commercial, and remix sources in the history of dance music.
24 Spaceman – Hardwell
Big room house most certainly had its day in the sun this decade. “Spaceman” is hands-down the sound’s token epochal track.
25 Harlem Shake – Baauer
One of those songs of which the legacy precedes exegesis of the song itself. The “Harlem Shake” isn’t a track; it’s a phenomenon.
26 Tidal Wave – Subfocus & Alpines
The decade’s proverbial melodic drum ‘n’ bass offering. Nearly a full ten years later, “Tidal Wave” still washes over like a welcomed rush of endorphins.
27 Gecko (Overdrive) – Oliver Heldens & Becky Hill
A watershed waypoint in the “future” house foray this past decade. A precocious young Oliver Heldens proves the clarity and ultra-modern precision of his vision with this one.
28 Rude Boy – Zeds Dead feat. Omar LinX
A bass line has never crunched harder than Zeds Dead’s “Rude Boy,” with lyrical hellfire to boot on behalf of serial ZD collaborator, Omar LinX. Islandy and merciless all at once, 2010’s “Rude Boy” splashed onto the decade’s dubstep scene sending heads rolling.
29 Innerbloom – RÜFÜS DU SOL
Idealistic, implacably danceable, a song for lovers to its core, to “Innerbloom” we surrendered. We’re all for cheesy saccharine-sweet house tracks, but this just isn’t one of them. Melt into the chromatic complexities of “Innerbloom”‘s swimming corridors of color.
30 Roses – The Chainsmokers feat. ROZES
An effervescent dance pop presentation like no other this decade, “Roses” was instrumental in taking The Chainsmokers from niche to nationally recognized.
31 Midnight Hour – Boys Noize & Skrillex
No, not a Dog Blood number. But “Midnight Hour” bangs with the same flare and dexterous finger on the pulse of the modern electronic heartbeat. A notable cobblestone on the duo’s prolific partnership path.
32 Pop Culture – Madeon
What would this list be without dance music’s token mashup? An overnight YouTube sensation “Pop Culture” shot Madeon into the stratosphere.
33 It Ain’t Me – Kygo feat. Selena Gomez
Kygo’s one-size-fits-all appeal is supremely evident in the sweeping success of the Selena Gomez-assisted “It Ain’t Me.” This track saw cross-continental top-five chartings from Australia, to Canada, to Belgium. The tropical house/dance-pop phenom continues to prove why he’s sought out with nearly unprecedented fervency from all-star vocalists.
34 Cheerleader – OMI (Felix Jaehn remix)
On the precipice of the tropical house explosion “Cheerleader” was a wholesome, silver-tongued spoonful of dance music for the unenlightened. Infectious and saccharine as a sweet tooth, Felix Jaehn gave “Cheerleader” the feel-good flip we could all get behind.
35 More Than You Know – Axwell Λ Ingrosso
Fans crawled and clawed for this one after tasting it at Coachella in 2015, waiting another two years for an official release. “More Than You Know” are the Swedish boys at their best, pure festival euphoria bottled in a song.
36 Viol – Gesaffelstein
Nasty, writhing, deliciously unsettling, it must be Gesaffelstein. “Viol” is a slow-crawling, torrential techno endeavor that will send the unprepared spiraling into the darkest corners of the electronic continuum, if they’re not careful.
37 Closer – The Chainsmokers
A driving force of the dance-pop hybrid’s pop cultural pervasion, “Closer” exerted a white knuckle grip on the charts, spending one year in the US Top 40 and 61 weeks in Billboard’s Top 10.
38 Where Are Ü Now – Jack Ü
Defined by its inescapability, “Where Are Ü Now” secured triple platinum status in addition to Grammy Awards and AMAs for both Skrillex and Diplo, while simultaneously ushering Justin Bieber back into the sonic spotlight.
39 Turn Up The Speakers – Afrojack and Martin Garrix
On “Turn Up The Speakers,” Afrojack and Martin Garrix collaboratively revive the heart pumping, adrenaline spiking glory of electronic festival sets, to take attendees and the genre alike back to its buzzing roots. To say that the 2014 cut has aged well would be an understatement; “Turn Up The Speakers” remains a prominent inclusion of electronic circuit sets.
40 One (Your Name) – Swedish House Mafia feat. Pharrell Williams
Axwell, Ingrosso, and Angello made their auspicious debut under moniker Swedish House Mafia in 2010 with single “One.” Their entrance into the electronic music scene with “One” was a force that would set the tone for the group’s career. “One,” also written by Pharrell Williams, was one of the music industry heavyweights’ first forrays into electronic music writing and co-production. “One” is a track that has become a pillar of Swedish House Mafia’s discography and is still performed to this day thanks to the timelessness of the upbeat production elements. The single won Best Electro/Tech House Track and Best Progressive Track at the International Dance Music Awards in 2011.
41 Get Lucky – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
Daft Punk basically brought back disco with this single. Enlisting an all-out all-star collaborative team behind the release, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, “Get Lucky,” half a billion streams later, did just that.
42 Levels – Avicii
If there’s one song that arguably kickstarted the commercialization and mainstream crossover of electronic music, it is “Levels” by Avicii. The larger-than-life progressive tune single-handedly took over every festival mainstage, radio station, becoming the backdrop to movie scenes, sports networks and more.
43 Animals – Martin Garrix
“Animals” was the first global hit produced by the then 17-year-old prodigious producer, Martin Garrix. “Animals” is definitive thanks to the fact that it took over mainstages across worldwide, and vamped Garrix’s career on a global level. No mainstage set was complete without dropping this track at the height of its success.
44 We Found Love – Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna
Calvin Harris led the way for major pop music collaborations with electronic music artists when he enlisted Rihanna for “We Found Love.” Despite having only released electronic leaning music, Calvin Harris was an opening act on the pop queen’s Loud Tour, and this crossover helped to cement the fact that electronic music and pop music not only could coexist, but that electronic music could truly appeal to the mainstream. “We Found Love” was the first of many collaborations between Harris and Rihanna, including “Where Have You Been” in addition to “This Is What You Came For.” Calvin Harris can also credit his lone Grammy award to “We Found Love,” which won the Best Short Form Music Video category during the 2012 Grammy Awards.
45 Losing It – Fisher
Fisher reignited a global addiction to a song with his release “Losing It,” which also arguably put the producer on the map for the long haul. Chris Lake co-produced the single, as if that isn’t insurance enough for a hit. But “Losing It” is also impactful because it helped to reignite the electronic music community’s love of house music. Gimmicky, sure, but intoxicatingly fun.
46 Lean On – DJ Snake and Major Lazer
DJ Snake and Major Lazer brought Carribean sounds to the forefront of dance music after releasing “Lean On,” which went on to become a worldwide phenomenon. The single inspired many other artists to tap into Carribean and reggae influences for feel-good summer releases. The track even became one of the top 10 most streamed videos on YouTube after it amassed two billion views on the platform in 2017.
47 Shelter – Madeon and Porter Robinson
Porter Robinson and Madeon teamed up in 2016 to produce “Shelter,” and the collaborative effort was truly a noteworthy one. Their distinctive qualities combined to yield a french electro and Japanese-inspired single that was quite different from the vanguard of the time. “Shelter” has withstood the test of time as a fan-favorite of both its creators.
48 Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
One of Swedish House Mafia’s most alluring ballads and well-known works is “Don’t You Worry Child.” It came out at a pivotal point during Swedish House Mafia’s ascension into progressive house royalty. The single cemented them as truly influential for the genre, and it remains one of their most streamed works to date.
49 Latch – Disclosure feat. Sam Smith
Both Disclosure and Sam Smith reign as leading artists of their respective genres, but each of their ascensions was aided by “Latch.” The fluid exposition of Smith’s vocal chops and Disclosure’s production landed on Disclosure’s debut album, Settle, released in 2013.
50 This Is What It Feels Like – Armin van Buuren
Trance titan Armin van Buuren pioneered the underground subgenre, achieving notoriety for his trance anthems, but van Buuren’s breakthrough into more mainstream dance music was aided by this aching number.
51 Feel So Close – Calvin Harris
The second single released from Calvin Harris’ gilded third studio album, 2012’s 18 Months, “Feel So Close” saw Harris transcend his disc-jockey talents to lend his vocals to this leading cut. The success of Harris’ extension, from producer to vocalist, was evidenced in the track’s alluring catchiness, and ultimately, its inescapability.
52 Runaway (U & I) – Galantis
“Runaway (U & I)” laid the sonic groundwork for Galantis’ penetration of the electronic genre, and pending the single’s release, the production pair swiftly attracted and held the public’s attention as they went on to further define the style. Streamers got a first glimpse of Galantis’ dance aesthetic on “Runaway (U & I),” and in the time since, Galantis have animatedly labored to sharpen it.
53 Sweet Memories – Kaskade & CID
The rushing, mid-tempo bliss of Kaskade’s “Sweet Memories” is nearly unparalleled in its ability to please all in the crowd at the afters. The energetic number eases streamers from the weekend adrenaline spike to the gossamer glide back down to repose with a muted brilliance that only Kaskade could effect.
54 Language – Porter Robinson
The seminal Porter track “Language” marked a pivotal point in not only the producer’s evolution as an artist, but also the dance scene’s welcoming of melodically-inspired electro house— Peaking at #1 on the UK Indie charts and #7 on the US Billboard Dance Airplay charts, “Language” cemented Porter as a household name and served as a precursor for his creative direction in Worlds.
55 Clarity – Zedd feat. Foxes
To this day, “Clarity” stands irrevocably as a Zedd masterpiece that has held its own amongst the exponential growth of the dance scene. Smashing the charts, the Triple-platinum record was Zedd’s first Grammy and broke through to mainstream airplay—introducing the producer’s pop-influenced electro house and marking another wave of dance music domination.
56 Opus – Eric Prydz
The final offering from Eric Prydz’s debut artist album Opus, titular track “Opus” and its deliberate 9-minute intricacies have perhaps seen itself as one of the most grandiose and gratuitous unfoldings of progressive house in the sense of both a standalone track and its context as the capstone of a concept album. Melding cerebral textures and masterful layers, “Opus”‘s climactic progression is an ode to the Swedish producer’s legendary craft and continues to be a pillar of his EPIC sets.
57 You & Me – Disclosure (Flume remix)
The iconic Flume remix of Disclosure’s “You & Me” shot the Aussie producer’s pioneering future bass sound into the hallmark of fame and opened the gateway for the subgenre’s subsequent popularization. Enveloped by euphoric strings and brimming oscillations, the remix’s momentous drop has been celebrated time and time again.
58 Gold – Adventure Club Feat. Yuna
The second meeting of Adventure Club and vocalist Yuna brought about the Canadian dubstep duo’s iconic Calling All Heroes track, “Gold”. Arriving in the midst of the golden era of melodic dubstep, “Gold” exemplified Adventure Club’s command of emotive dance music and female vocals in its prime.
59 Calling (Lose My Mind) – Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso
Undeniably one of the most popular EDM tracks of all time, “Calling (Lose My Mind)” joins the forces of powerhouse Sebastian Ingrosso and Alesso with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder in the culmination of euphoric-inducing progressive house. With songwriting support from Matthew Koma, the chart-topping track, its instantly recognizable top line and sing-along characteristics have established the collaboration as a timeless festival anthem.
60 It’s Strange – Louis the Child Feat. K.Flay
Upon the release of their K.Flay track, “It’s Strange”, it wouldn’t take long before then-newcomers Louis the Child broke onto the electronic scene. While the age of future bass had dawned, the Chicago outfit innovated on the popular sub-genre—constructing subaqueous-like synths over K.Flay’s spoken rap fusion to deliver a tastefully eccentric concoction of future bass, pop and trap.
61 Room for Happiness – Kaskade Feat. Skylar Grey
Hailing from Kaskade’s iconic 2011 album Fire & Ice, “Room for Happiness” lives among several other companion singles including “Eyes”, “Turn It Down”, and “Lick It”, as a nuanced showcase of Kaskade’s discography. The track saw the superstar coalesce with pop singer Skylar Grey on a melancholically hopeful track with house progressions equal parts gut-wrenching and suited for the dance floor.
62 Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris Feat. Florence Welch
Topping the UK and Ireland charts and nominated for a Grammy, “Sweet Nothing” made up of one of nine top ten singles from Calvin Harris’ 18 Months and marked his first UK No.1 from the album. A distinct departure from his previous stylings, “Sweet Nothing” simultaneously rocketed Harris as an electro house aficionado with a penchant for radio appeal and showcased Florence Welch dynamism—its firing synths, club-driven BPM, and embrace of Welch’s powerful vocals as the foundation for a smash hit.
63 Bunnydance – Oliver Heldens
Ushering in his groove-tinged house productions, Oliver Heldens and his delivery of “Bunnydance” put footwork first, beat-wise and quite literally, on stage. Both quirky and channeling mass appeal, “Bunnydance” built the Heldens brand in his dance antics during sets and established him as a future house frontrunner.
64 HyperParadise – Hermitude (Flume remix)
Yet another ode to Flume’s range as a producer, his remix of Hermitude’s “HyperParadise” resides as his self-titled debut album’s embodiment of the Grammy-winning act’s investigation into trip hop-influenced future bass. Infused with heavy vocal chops and funkadelic rhythms, the 2012 remix timelessly depicts Flume’s inclination as an experimental innovator then, and now.
65 5 Hours – Deorro
Perhaps Deorro’s most preeminent track, “5 Hours” crushed the charts, receiving two gold certifications, and received widespread success across the industry with appearances in several dance compilations during 2014. An electrifying hook encased by a four-on-the-floor structure, “5 Hours” breathes as an addictive track on all occasions, from the dance floor to late night drives.
66 Tremor – Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Martin Garrix
Good or bad, the argument for “Tremor” as one of the most iconic dance tracks of the last decade is difficult to refute. Its 2014 release brought about the commercialization of the next generation’s big room house and resonated with festival crowds worldwide—crowned as one of the quintessential anthems among staples like “Seven Nation Army” and “Kernkraft 400”. Characterized by archetypal drops and crowd-pleasing energy, “Tremor” paved for success for main stage sound, undeniably influencing the future direction of both EDM and festival appeal.
67 Ten Feet Tall – Afrojack
Afrojack’s cross-genre hit “Ten Feet Tall” became an international sensation upon its release in 2014. With inspiriting chord progressions and rousing vocals from Wrabel, “Ten Feet Tall” and its emotional dance-pop connected with listeners through the track’s uplifting foundations.
68 Acrylics – TNGHT (RL Grime Edit)
When two bass superforces collide, RL Grime’s “Acrylics” Edit happens. Revamping the heavy duty TNGHT single, RL Grime’s edit ups the ante on the original gargantuan destructive soundscape—doubling the chaotic trap expression and championing an evil acidity exclusive to the bass legend’s realm.
69 Firestone – Kygo Feat. Conrad Sewell
The seminal Kygo track “Firestone” established the Norwegian producer as the tropical house’s lead innovator while simultaneously breaching international territory with No. 1 positions in several countries. In line with his major key stylings, “Firestone” distinguished itself from its dance counterparts of big room and festival-oriented peers with its heartfelt vocals and soft aesthetics.
70 Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye (Kygo remix)
Preceding his attention-garnering Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” remix and subsequent breakthrough with “Firestone”, Kygo’s 2013 “Sexual Healing” remix stole the spotlight with its infectious, sensual undertones and served as the platform for his continued execution of tranquil dance beats.
71 Fantasy – Alina Baraz & Galimatias
If sound were a remedy, “Fantasy” would be the cure. The then-20 year old Alina Baraz joined with electronic producer Galimatias in delivering a fantastically-sensual track reminiscent of the directions of ambient electronic music blooming in SoundCloud spaces. Its dreamy fusion of lush sonics set the precedent for more downtempo, synth-kissed acts to perforate the scene.
72 Lights – Ellie Goulding (Bassnectar Remix)
Bassnectar rarely crosses over into the pop realm; however, the underground bass king made an exception for Ellie Goulding, and the result was resounding radio success.
73 All is Fair in Love and Brostep – Skrillex
The Recess track “All Is Fair in Love and Brostep” garnered attention not just for its impeccable dubstep sound design, but also for its uncanny resemblance to Zomboy’s “Terror Squad” — ultimately, bringing about a speculative war regarding who-copied-who that ended with “love and brostep” in which Zomboy revealed “Terror Squad” was unwittingly inspired by Skrillex’s This Much Power DJ Tool.
74 Boneless – Steve Aoki
2013 “Boneless” amassed widespread success across Europe and the broader dance scene as a club banger—adding to Steve Aoki’s portfolio of party smashers and forecasting Chris Lake’s rise as one of the house music’s most coveted. Boasting a minimalist electro structure easy enough to mix into any dance set or simple enough to layer hip-hop verses over, “Boneless” and its signature beat have continued to be recognized over the last decade.
75 Need Your Heart – Adventure Club Feat. Kai
Adventure Club’s “Need Your Heart” enlisted Kai for a forceful display of melodic dubstep that showed the duo’s intuitive craft for balancing heavy wobbles with euphoric vocals. Complete with a tasteful build-up and scintillating bass, “Need Your Heart” sits comfortably in Adventure Club’s arsenal of potent, yet artful dubstep tracks.
76 Everyday – Rusko (Netsky remix)
One of the most sweeping drum ‘n’ bass/drumstep tracks to ever touch down in the states, Netsky’s “Everyday” remix is a fearless explosion of ad libs and production nuance evocative of Netsky’s production caliber.
77 Spectrum – Zedd
In the span of an artist’s career, there are few songs that subsist as the apex of their artistry. Alongside its sister single “Clarity”, “Spectrum” endures as one of ZEDD’s legendary productions. The Matthew Koma collaboration topped three charts including Billboard’s US Dance Club Songs and enforced Clarity as a holistic body of work in itself. Fine-tuned with complexities of layers and emotional lyricism, “Spectrum” speaks to ZEDD’s capabilities as not just an electronic artist, but an artist built from traditional musical foundations.
78 Faded – Alan Walker
Clocking in 2.6 billion views on Youtube and over 1 billion Spotify streams, “Faded” saw massive worldwide success upon its release and charmed both dance and non-dance fans with its instrumental beauty and brand of anonymity.
79 Gold Dust – DJ Fresh (Flux Pavilion remix)
Dubstep came from the UK, and Flux Pavillion was known to influence the likes of Skrillex with his remix of DJ Fresh’s “Gold Dust” and the likes.
80 Alive – Krewella
When the group was a trio with producer Kris “Rain Man” Trindl behind the beats, “Alive” charting at 32 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was Krewella’s first and only top 40 hit on Billboard.
81 Cinema – Benny Benassi (Skrillex remix)
The hard hitting remix was a seminal weapon in Skrillex’s liver performance arsenal for years, and won a Grammy for Best Remixes Recording, Non-Classical.
82 Bird Machine – DJ Snake and Alesia
At the precipice of EDM Trap, “Bird Machine,” was simultaneously silly and hyphy, and a festival pleaser as one of the first officially released tracks from the mega-superstar, DJ Snake.
83 I Could Be The One – Avicii & Nicky Romero
The first Avicii producer collaboration that really took off with its unforgettable melody. Released after “Levels,” the track fast-tracked Avicii’s upward propulsion to stardom.
84 Bass Head – Bassnectar
Bassnectar fans are some of the most, maybe THE most, devoted fans in the history of dance music. This is their theme song.
85 I Can See It In Your Face – Pretty Lights
Pretty lights continued his upward, live-performance trajectory towards the turn of the decade, and “I Can See It In Your Face” was a mainstay in the electro-funk magnates sets.
86 Light – San Holo
“Light” is San Holo’s certified gold, future bass offering that bolstered the experimental melody writer to new heights.
87 Thief – Ookay
2016’s sing-a-long anthem was brought to us by the lovable and jovial, Ookay, with his sax-lead, future bass crossover, “Theif.”
88 Edge – REZZ
After Skrillex’s dubstep ran its course, a new kind of bass music began to emerge in the low-end populous. REZZ surfaced from the mau5trap depths with the piercingly scintillating “Edge,” launching her to headline for the new era of bass heads.
89 Eyes – Kaskade Feat. Mindy Gledhill
Kaskade’s first Grammy nomination came by way of Fire & Ice, for best Dance/Electronic Album in 2013. “Eyes” was the lead single off the project and a closing song for that epoc of the melodic house guru.
90 Higher Ground – TNGHT
As hip-hop crossed over to EDM for the electronic trap wave, Lunice and Hudson Mowhawk’s “Higher Ground” was at the forefront, helping the duo earn stellar production credits with Kanye West and the like.
91 Never Be Like You – Flume Feat. Kai
Off Flume’s first Grammy winning Skin album, “Never Be Like You,” was the premire song off the project and received a Grammy nod for Best Dance Recording. To this day, it’s Flume’s most streamed song on Spotify.
92 Bangarang – Skrillex
Skrillex won back-to-back Grammy awards for Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronica Album in 2011 and 2012. The latter was from his Bangarang project with the title track winning the prestigious award.
93 Fade Into Darkness – Avicii
The infectious piano melody encapsulated the melodic house wunderkids’ early ability, as the hit predecessor to his world renowned “Levels.” “Fade Into Darkness” served as a momentum that catapulted Avicii to the top of the industry greats.
94 Wake Me Up – Avicii
Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ featuring Aloe Blacc has been named as the highest charting dance track of the decade as a seminal closing or opening song for Tim’s 2013 tour supporting his True album that crossed country music into the electronic music realm for an epic and emotional melody escapade. The track is Avicii’s most streamed song on Spotify, reaching close to 1 billion streams all-time.
95 Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey (Cedric Gervais Remix)
An oxymoronic summer anthem flipped one of Lana Del Rey’s number six Billboard topper for a 2014 Grammy Award winner for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.
96 Original Don – Major Lazer
The dancehall trio partnered with The Partysquad for a festival staple in their 2012 and beyond sets. Notable remixes from Flosstradamus made it to Major Lazer’s essential list on Spotify in 2018.
97 Techno – Destructo
Gary Richards (Destructo) took Eminem’s infamous Moby diss from “Without Me” (“Nobody listens to techno!”) and set the record straight.
98 I Want U – Alison Wonderland
The effervescent Alison Wonderland at her best. “I Want U” is the bouncy, frolicsome trap that had us hooked from that first time we watched her crawl up on the decks.
99 Bodies – Drowning Pool (Drezo remix)
Drezo has a penchant for frequenting the smoky and seemingly uninhabitable corners of the dance music continuum. His “Bodies” remix soon became a soul-sucking insertion in hundreds of artists’ sets across the globe, from festival front gates to covert club floors.
100 OKAY – Shiba San
If anyone can make tech-house digestible for the uninitiated, it’s Dirtybird dynamo Shiba San. “OKAY”‘s genius is in its sensational simplicity. The four-on-the-floor guru has been stripping crowds of all will power and sensibility with this one since its 2014 release.
As usual, Coachella opens the new year with a bang. The festival’s full 2020 lineup has been revealed, and as promised, Rage Against The Machine, Travis Scott, and Frank Ocean top the bill, followed by a massive cast of today’s top acts…and a few surprises. Calvin Harris will return to Coachella, where he once commanded one of the largest crowds in the event’s history. The lineup also features Disclosure, Madeon, Louis The Child, Big Sean, FKA Twigs, Charli XCX, Run The Jewels, Lana Del Rey, and more.
This year’s lineup bears a particularly impressive electronic showing from across the spectrum—deadmau5 will perform as Testpilot, with TNGHT, DJ Koze, SLANDER, Peggy Gou, Lane 8, Fatboy Slim, GRiZ, TOKiMONSTA, and more. Notably, the lineup features the long-awaited return of A-Trak and Armand Van Helden’s beloved Duck Sauce project, and not the My Chemical Romance reunion many were expecting. Coachella’s two weekends will run April 10 – 12 and April 17 – 19. See the full lineup below.
2010 may as well have been a lifetime ago. At the breakneck pace by which dance music throttles through the stratosphere, the decade is ending in an entirely unrecognizable place from where it began. For context—ten years ago, Electric Daisy Carnival was held in Los Angeles, not Las Vegas, where the Los Angeles Rams now play. Only 250,000 people were paying for a Swedish music streaming service called Spotify, and Billie Eilish was finishing up second grade. It’s been a wild ride through the 10’s, largely soundtracked by EDM’s global boom into a multi-billion dollar industry. Ten years ago our culture was creeping out of South London basements and New York warehouses, and now we’re performing at the Olympics.
So now, as the single most important, historic, and certainly memorable decade dance music has ever seen draws to a close, we had to figure out a new way to break down how far the culture has come. One master list couldn’t possibly reflect the decade in review. In effort to properly recognize the remarkable collection of events that has brought us here, we’re tweaking our typical end-of-the-year model. Instead, we’re dividing the decade’s most deserving into a handful of unique categories.
In review of 2010 – 2019, the most important factors that shaped the decade were Artists of the Decade, Labels of the Decade, Albums of the Decade, and Most Impactful Moments of the Decade. Together, they comprise Dancing Astronaut’s decade-end collection. Introducing, The Big 100.
Among the greatest techno deities stands Richie Hawtin, watching another ultra successful decade shrink in his rearview mirror. Hawtin’s emphasis on the intersection of technology and his craft have made him one of the most dynamic minds in all of electronic music, from his CLOSE live show to the production of his own Model 1 mixer. He’s clocked two Essential Mixes in the last decade, hosted a beloved party series on Ibiza, hit a list of the most prestigious festivals and events across the world, performed unforgettable back-to-back sets with deadmau5, brought techno to the Guggenheim, and even resurrected his Plastikman alter ego. Electronic music went largely mainstream in the 10’s, but that didn’t stop Hawtin from holding it down for the underground with a firm, unrelenting grip.
Lorin Ashton, better known to his loyal fans as Bassnectar, has spent the decade swallowing crowds with his proprietary blend of bass, punk rock, and electronica, with a fanbase perhaps best compared to the millennial generation’s Deadheads.
In the last ten years, the Bassnectar team has established themselves as an elite live entertainment group, capable of packing stadiums and festivals alike, from selling out Madison Square Garden for Bass Center VIII in 2014 to their homegrown, three-day, sold out, Deja Vroom Festival in Cancun. Selling out has become status quo for the project fronted by Ashton, whose decade-long staying power is fueled by the the ever-evolving bass landscape. Ten projects in ten years stamp a mark of prolific output from Ashton. From Divergent Spectrum (2011) to Unlimited (2016), the beloved king of bass claimed two No. 2 slots and three No. 1’s on Billboard’s US Dance Album charts. What’s more, Bassnectar has supported some of the most successful bass music innovators of the day such as G Jones, Eprom, ill Gates, while uplifting the likes of PEEKABOO, and more.— Chris Stack
Just as RL Grime did for trap and Flume did for future bass, tropical house’s moment in the sun during the middle of the decade can’t be discussed without crediting Kygo’s championing of the genre. The Norwegian hitmaker may even be the first real star of the streaming era, amassing a billion streams by 2015, just a year after his emergence, becoming the fastest artist on Spotify to achieve the benchmark. Behind his brand of sun-soaked poolside house, Kygo carved out his place in the decade’s top echelon, culminating in a historical performance at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony.
Easily one of Australia’s brightest musical exports of the decade, Anna Lunoe firmly holds her place as one of dance music’s favorite curators while simultaneously rocking crowds as a triple threat producer, DJ, and singer. From her Beats 1 stint to appearances on Mad Decent, Fools Gold, Future Classic, and Ultra, Luney commands a certain sway among DJ circles while still maintaining her status as one of the most down-to-earth selectors in the game. In the summer of 2016, the Bass Drum Dealer made history alongside Alison Wonderland by becoming the first solo female DJs to perform on the main stage at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.
You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Well, in the case of Noisia, that couldn’t be more on the nose. In 2019, the seminal Dutch drum ‘n’ bass trio announced an impending split in 2020, exactly 20 years after their formation. Fear not, for a victory lap is in order for one of the most influential dance groups of all time—hitting major festivals and events next year for an extended farewell. The decade was ushered in by their debut studio album Split The Atom in 2010, they helped break Skrillex to the world, they did their part to put British hip-hop on the map well before grime took a hold of the cultural zeitgeist with I Am Legion alongside Foreign Beggars, and now, after a monumentally successful run, Noisia is ready to hang it up in search of new creative journeys. Though, as the decade draws to a close and bass music currently commands more sub-genres and new incoming talent than any other category of electronic music, Noisia’s impact on that can’t be understated.
There’s no talking about the last decade in electronic music without acknowledging trap music’s moment. In 2012, Henry Steinway was already enjoying a successful career as a DJ, known as Clockwork. But the moment he donned the RL Grime moniker and he and Salva laid their unforgettable spin on Kanye West’s “Mercy,” things changed forever. Not just for Steinway, but for electronic dance music as a whole. Trap, or rather, hip-hop’s emerging intersection with club music, would go on to fuel the next two years of electronic music’s meteoric rise, and firmly establish RL Grime as the genre’s forefather. His sound has changed considerably since his take on Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction,” and he’s become a label head in the latter part of the decade, championing a new wave of talent under the Sable Valley banner. This decade wouldn’t be what it was without RL Grime.
Mat Zo has spent the decade keeping us guessing in the best possible ways. He’s been a chameleon of styles and genres, with a catalog that spans some of dance music’s finest imprints. Not to mention founding his own esteemed label by the middle of the decade, Mad Zoo. But while Zo has shared his affinities for trance, bass, electro, and drum ‘n’ bass in nearly equal measures over the last ten years, he’s also been a vocal critic of dance music’s shortcomings, generating a voraciously loyal fanbase in the process. His two studio albums, 2013’s Damage Control and 2016’s Self Assemble still deserved repeated plays as some of the most innovative works of the decade, and with allusions to a third LP sometime in the future, look for Mat Zo to continue commanding the respect he’s earned as a new decade unfolds.
One would be hard pressed to imagine electronic dance music in 2010 without “One” playing in their head. Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello acted as a critical authority in early 2010’s, ushering in dance music’s global invasion with a commanding presence. The Swedes transported their electro and progressive house sound across the Atlantic and in the process, issued a new rockstar archetype that had everyone from Miami to Ibiza rocking a black v-neck and skinny jeans. Every single release the group delivered touched the charts, including the likes of “Save the World” “Don’t You Worry Child,” both of which earned Grammy nominations. The Swedish supergroup’s impact was perhaps felt the most when, at the top of their game, they decided to call it quits on the Mafia life amid rising inter-group tensions and an unsustainable lifestyle. Their dissolution in 2013 was the first real massive victory lap EDM had ever seen; our parents would equate it to an Elton John or Kiss farewell stadium tour. The trio’s not-so-secret reformation in 2018 precisely exemplified their international notoriety when they took on closing duties at Ultra five years after they initially said goodbye. Between show cancellations and an absence of new music following their realignment, Swedish House Mafia’s final moments of the decade were undoubtedly less than ideal, but the new era only holds inklings of promise as they build upon their celebrated legacy. — Ross Goldenberg
As trance legends, Above & Beyond have sustained themselves as one of dance music’s most beloved artists of the decade for a multitude of reasons. Despite their artistic evolution from their Oceanlab work to critically acclaimed Group Therapy and their more modern dance stylings, one defining characteristic has remained constant—an innate dedication to their community through the power of music. The group’s unmistakable synergy across their Group Therapy Radio program, live shows and musicality, the English dance outfit never cease to champion music in a way that unites their listeners through the boundaries of country lines and language. Above & Beyond’s proven longevity and ability to break down fans’ emotional pretenses and build them back up have made them an unstoppable force on the international dance circuit. What’s more—Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep have become mainstay brands for dance music fans across the globe, providing further evidence that the trio have undoubtedly earned a place among the top artists of the decade. — Jessica Mao
Eric Prydz makes our Top Artists of the Decade list not by riding the surging wave of any particular trend but by simply honing his own craft year after year which translate into some of the most technologically forward performances in the dance music space. The Prydz sound falls somewhere between the progressive and electro side of house music, but his exceptionally unique flavor profile, paired with a fervor for melodies that are as sophisticated as they are aurally pleasing has given the Swedish icon a signature sound all his own. Of course, Eric Prydz is a seasoned veteran of electronic music, but between his thriving alter-egos (like Pryda and Cirez D), set lists of largely unreleased tunes, and a live show as ambitious as anybody’s in the industry, it’s crazy to think that Eric Prydz’ best decades could still be ahead of him. — Josh Stewart
It’s almost comical to think that a decade ago, Gesaffelstein was just in the zygotic stages of his career. Prior to 2010, Michel Lévy had but three releases to his pseudonym — obscure cuts which showed promise, but belied the magnitude of what was to come. Albeit, it’s unlikely that even Lévy himself could have imagined the heights his grandeur would reach by 2020. By reaching into the deepest chasms of musical possibilities, Gesaffelstein ascended to the pinnacle of a tower he himself built. His absence for most of the decade’s latter half was palpable, fraught by many imitators, but zero duplicators. To dub Gesaffelstein as the greatest artist of the century would only modestly stretch the limits of journalistic objectivity. As such, including him as one of the decade’s best is a no-brainer. Gesaffelstein’s unprecedented talents have proven to serve as a stark beacon across the barriers of dance music. His is a light so overwhelming in its grace, that it casts over all contenders a shadow as dark as his Vantablack armor. — Will McCarthy
Few artists took as much advantage of dance music’s crossover into pop culture as Calvin Harris. The Scottish hitmaker started the decade as an already firm force in dance music, going on to found Fly Eye Records at the onset of the decade. By the middle of it he was producing chart-topping hits with Rihanna and commanding the second largest headlining crowd Coachella had ever seen. By the tail end of the 10’s, Harris had a platinum plaque on his wall, working with Pharrell, Migos, Frank Ocean, Travis Scott, and Ariana Grande, closing in one nearly $200 million in earnings. From a dollars perspective, 2010 – 2019 unquestionably belonged to Calvin Harris.
Even as the entertainment industry’s most elusive creators, Daft Punk’s impact can be felt all over the decade. From their contribution to Disney’s Tron: Legacy to producing for the decade’s most dominant R&B force, the Android keep an omniscient eye over the ever-evolving music landscape. And each time they drop in, whatever they offer feels so new and fresh, it proves that Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter command a level of influence unknown to any other musical artist today. Their signing to Columbia Records and subsequent critically lauded 2013 comeback LP, Random Access Memories, was one of the biggest releases of the decade, and while there’s never any promise the two knighted French visionaries will ever have more to offer, we take comfort in knowing they’re never really that far away.
Claude VonStroke‘s band of rump-shaking house aficionados were happy holding down their lane, representing the bay area with their looney, groovy brand of club music. But as house music splintered throughout the decade into sub-genres and movements, San Francisco’s Dirtybird Players rose to the top of their respective game behind the papa bear leadership of VonStroke. Now, as a momentous decade for Claude nears its conclusion, the man who started out hosting barbecues in the park with nothing more than friends, a sound system, and delicious grilled meats has become an accomplished events curator behind the ultra-successful BBQ and Campout events that represent the label’s humble beginnings. Now, Dirtybird and their brand of zany, fun-loving house music chugs into the next decade, their ethos being more of a movement, or even a family now, than a record label and its fanbase. It wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s favorite camp counselor, and for that Claude VonStroke easily places among the greatest artists of this decade.
ZEDD‘s near-singlehanded blurring of the pop and EDM lines made this an unforgettable decade for the Russian-German DJ/producer. Starting out as one of Skrillex’s earliest protégés, ZEDD carved out an incredibly prosperous decade, ending it as one of the highest paid DJs in the world year-over-year clocking well over a $100 million over the last five years behind massive streaming numbers and a dominating track record of marquee Vegas residencies. He covered Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 issue in 2017 after two ultra-successful LPs: True Colors (2016) and Clarity (2014), that peaked at No. 2 and No. 1 respectively on the US dance charts. Furthermore, the classically trained musician helped champion the likes of Alessia Cara, Maren Morris, Grey, Ariana Grande and more as his steep ascent to pop music’s top echelon continued to trend upward. ZEDD continues to help bridge the gap between pop production and EDM, and with a new decade set to unfold, he’s primed to write his trajectory through 2020 and beyond.
Despite an aversion to the fanfare and celebrity that being global superstar DJs entails, Justice quietly, authoritatively defined the decade behind their characteristically stoic French cool. Before 2010, the duo was instrumental in laying the groundwork for dance music’s global takeover with material like “We Are Your Friends” and “D.A.N.C.E.,” but with 2011’s Audio Video Disco, Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay went from multi-faceted creatives to electronic music icons. The record led to a headlining Coachella set in 2012 and a live album, Access All Arenas the following year. By the end of the decade, the pair had enjoyed a relative hiatus and come back with Woman, a Grammy-winning Woman Worldwide live record, and a return to visual media with IRIS: A Space Opera by Justice. The pair’s French disco and house roots bled into harder club sounds, cinematic progressive rock, metal, and more. When they re-emerge in the next decade, expect their influence to be as profound as ever, even if it takes a different shape entirely.
Dillon Francis’ inclusion on this list may come as a surprise, though, when factoring in the fact that he might be EDM’s first crossover pop culture star speaks volumes to his impact on the decade. Francis, Dancing Astronaut‘s Artist of the Year in 2018, started the 10’s as a festival undercard act; a goofy white kid messing around with the burgeoning Latin-influenced moombahton that Dave Nada was credited with creating around the time. Ten years later and Francis is back to championing Latin sounds, even scoring a Latin Grammy nomination on the way, but not before he went full circle with a highly publicized Columbia Records deal and subsequent move to independent status. He delivered a full-length studio record, a handful of mixtapes, and a jump to TV to boot. Francis may have been among the first DJs to master branding oneself, and as the decade reaches a wrap, he’s undoubtedly done his part to earn a designation as one of the most impactful artists in dance music today.
A decade can seem to be an eternity in the lifespan of electronic music, but Alex Ridha’s musical journey began long before 10 years ago. Since the latter aughts, Boys Noize has been one of the most formidable figures in the adjacent realms of electro, techno, and acid house. In both his music and his live shows, the Berliner savant has set himself apart from the crowd with an unforgiving energy. From Power to Mayday and beyond, Boys Noize has packed sonic punch after punch with a punk-infused clamor that makes Sid Vicious seem more like Sid Rather Polite. Of course, Ridha’s musical output is by no means limited to his Boys Noize oeuvre. Perhaps no one else in dance music’s history has had a keener eye for recruiting collaborators. In his pairings, Ridha is a legend thrice over — alongside Skrillex, Mr. Oizo, and Chilly Gonzales, he’s headlined festivals, and created some of the most delightfully aggressive, utterly bizarre, and mystically soothing songs of the electronic music zeitgeist. Indeed, Dog Blood, Handbraekes, and Octave Minds could all reasonably be considered among the best acts of the decade in their own rights.
Most recently, Ridha has begun a crossover into the deeper house and techno scene with his ELAX alias, apparently vying for a fifth spot in the proverbial dancehall of fame. And, as 2020 ushers in the 15th anniversary of his Boysnoize Records imprint, there is little doubt that his continued contributions to the field will earn him countless more. — Will McCarthy
Few have done more to bridge the gap between DJ culture and hip-hop than Brooklyn’s Alain Macklovitch, better known as A-Trak. Considering house music and hip-hop’s origins are about as close as Isaac and Ishmael’s, its surprising that nobody has ever stood so firmly on both sides of the fence as Fool’s Gold Records’ co-founder. In a previous life he served as Kanye West’s touring DJ. In the years between 2010 – 2019, A-Trak successfully ran one of dance music’s most in-demand labels, branded events offshoots, dabbled in fashion, founded an awards contest to keep turntablism alive, and creatively bounced between electro, trap, disco, house, and hip-hop with the likes of Young Thug, Baauer, Dillon Francis, GTA, and more.
During the decade where ten new DJs cropped up every day, A-Trak spent the last ten years reminding us why “real DJing” is so important while putting on a continuous masterclass in what that actually looks like.
It would be a stretch to imagine that Flume had pictured back in 2010 where he would be in 2020. In 2011, Harley Streten was an unknown bedroom producer in Australia with dreams of grandeur. A pairing with friend Emoh Instead brought about What So Not, and by 2012, Streten had released a self-titled LP under his own Flume moniker. What happened next would change the course of dance music for the decade. At the top of their joint game, What So Not split with Emoh taking the reigns on the project himself. Flume would go on to follow up with a sophomore studio LP in 2016 that netted him his first Grammy the following year. Following Flume and Skin‘s respective successes would have been a tall order, but after a deserved hiatus, Flume capped the decade with some of his most ambitious works to date, proving that perhaps Streten is a once-in-a-generation talent whose mind and scope of capabilities as a producer largely overshadows electronic dance music’s confines.
He’s the father of future bass, a genre that’s captivated the masses in the latter part of the decade, formulating his own sound that’s gone on to be duplicated innumerable times since his emergence. All the while, he managed to work with an incredible cast of collaborators that includes Beck, Lorde, AlunaGeorge, Raekwon, Vic Mensa, Vince Staples, Andrew Wyatt, and SOHPIE. Flume’s dance between brash experimentalism and forward-thinking that still incorporates massive mainstream appeal make him an easy contender for Artist of the Decade.
It isn’t too farfetched to postulate that by the end of his career, Porter Robinson will have been one of the most influential dance artists of all time. In his first decade as an electronic music superstar, the North Carolina-born Robinson went from wide-eyed bedroom producer with a serious anime fascination and an ear for how 8-bit video game music could inspire an entire generation of kids to one of the most brilliant minds electronic music has ever seen. That’s to say nothing of his Grammy-nominated side project Virtual Self.
But the metamorphosis from the 19-year-old that made complextro hits like “Language” to the forward-thinker than brought us his opus on the emotional, conceptual Worlds two years later was one of deep introspection. With a throttling ascent to DJ stardom alongside ZEDD and Skrillex on the first Mothership Tour came a halting realization of EDM’s confines, and only after breaking down that barrier for himself was Robinson able to emerge even more focused and driven on making something that matters. Five years after Worlds, there’s no doubt it was one of the most important albums of the last ten years, cementing Porter Robinson’s place among the top DJs of the decade.
For better or worse, 2010 – 2019’s most memorable moments can be quantified by the moves of the late, great Avicii. His name was synonymous with dance music’s light speed rise to popularity over the last ten years. From the global ubiquity of “Levels” to his tragic death on April 20, 2018 with so many moments both bright and interminably dark in between, Avicii simply defined electronic dance music. There isn’t much to say about Tim Bergling’s legacy that hasn’t been said over the last year and a half since his passing, but suffice it to say that dance music would not be where it is today without the “Wake Me Up” producer. Moreover, wherever it winds up being 10 years from now will surely bear the mark of his influence too. Rest in peace, Avicii.
Think about dance music like a family tree for a moment. Picture the deadmau5 family tree, so to speak, over the course of this last decade. It starts with Skrillex just before “Scary Monsters” and runs all the way down to current torch carriers like REZZ and the next generation of dance minds like Rinzen. Then think about the branches of that tree—who else came as a result of Skrillex, REZZ, and others going on to stardom? deadmau5’s impact in dance music is simply inescapable. Since the release of his Grammy-nominated 4×4=12 in December of 2010, the Mau5 has spent the decade pushing the technological boundaries of music creation and performance forward. All while beefing with Disney, scoring films for Netflix, scooping up four Grammy and six Juno nods, successfully running one of the greatest labels in dance music, and in his free time adopting the power of live streaming to give fans an intimate inside look at his processes. Today’s global dance music industry has been undoubtedly shaped for better or worse by Joel Zimmerman, making him a shoe-in for one of the top artists of the decade.
To adequately cover Diplo’s contribution to the culture over this last decade would take a dissertation. Love him or hate him, Diplo has soundtracked the decade—there’s no two ways about it. From Major Lazer to Jack Ü, with LSD, Silk City, and not one but two successful solo projects in tow, to say Wesley Pentz is the busiest man in music would be a pitiful understatement. And that would be to say nothing of launching three successful labels in the last decade. He’s brought sounds from all over the world to the masses, from the Afro-Caribbean to country western, while still managing to proctor some of the most consumed pieces of media in human history on the mainstream front. From Beyoncé to the NFL, one can’t open their cell phone or turn on the television today without being more than two degrees of separation from something Diplo is up to. Yet somehow, the next decade is likely to promise even more from Blondre 3000, and we can’t wait to see it materialize.
This may have been the easiest placing on this list. There simply wouldn’t be a decade in dance music to talk about without Skrillex. The Recess producer’s trajectory to the top of electronic music, and thereafter, is really reflective of dance music’s global expansion over the course of the decade, isn’t it? The parallels between the two journeys are clear, but the examination of their intersections proves unequivocally how instrumental Skrillex was in transforming dance music to the global enterprise it is today. Sold out Mothership tours, scoring for Disney, working alongside Mariah Carey, FKA Twigs, Rick Ross, Chance The Rapper, Kelsey Lu, Justin Bieber, and so many more in between, the sum of Skrillex’s work over the last ten years far outweighs the individual parts, of which there are too many to count. He went from stage-diving dubstep kid, proctoring the most aggressive sounds American audiences had ever heard, to esteemed dance music producer, successfully running a label that for most of the decade promised electronic music’s fiercest works. Then somehow, without a shift in momentum, Moore took his stardom to the top of the pops, all while maintaining a humility that has forced us to change our collective notion of celebrity.
But for a screamed-out punk from LA just trying to find his next creative outlet to transform into the undisputed king of popular music has been a remarkable journey to watch, cover, and enjoy. And yet somehow, the closing of the decade only seems to mark the end of the foreword in Skrillex’s book.