Nowadays, everybody is trying to hop behind the decks and become a DJ.
Who wouldn't want to? DJs are unequivocally the rock stars of 2012. However, there are a select few who are really pushing the envelope and doing some genuinely different as far as electronic dance music goes.
Those few, in our humble opinion, are the most exciting out there and they tend to translate beyond the confines of the club and into other realms ranging from pop and hip hop to metal and Latin. That alchemy is the most attractive thing. That's what makes a DJ an artist.
ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino selected this exclusive list of eight DJs who completely flip the script and elevate the art form to a new plateau.
You might be surprised by who's on here or you might not be.
J Devil makes EDM evil, and he does it better than anyone ever could. With a flurry of dubstep, a hint of goth, a sliver of industrial, and just the right amount of metal, he conjures up an amalgam of genres that's completely unique. Just like he revolutionized rock in Korn, he's going to revolutionize dance music forever. Live, he stalks the stage with unmitigated energy, jumping up and down, singing and screaming, and engaging every fan directly. Plus, he adds a visual element missing from the genre with his black eyes, teeth, and priest collar. Church is in session, and J Devil's sermon might just change you forever. Get ready for his debut release soon! Plus, he's one-third of Killbot, the bass music super group featuring Sluggo and Tyler Blue…
Havana Brown stands on the opposite end of the spectrum from J Devil, but she's equally groundbreaking. Merging her intense deck skills with an entrancing voice, she creates dance floor anthems that transcend the night club and enter the pop arena seamlessly. Not your average pop star or DJ, right? Her debut EP When the Lights Go Out illuminates just how diverse and dynamic she is. Plus, her shows are an all-out party. She goes from spinning to jumping on her podium and commanding the stage singing. Very few DJs in history have this much energy, and she transmits it flawlessly. She runs the night and will be running pop and EDM.
Not only is Gary Richards aka Destructo, the visionary behind HARD Summer, HARD Halloween, and HOLY SHIP, he's one hell of a DJ. His performances emanate a rock 'n' roll bombast that gets hands in the air immediately, while his original tracks like "Technology" echo Daft Punk and Kraftwerk with a personal and potent swagger characteristic of Destructo alone. He's going to keep curating and putting on the best festivals in the world and making some of the most intriguing and infectious electronic music out there.
He's the king of dubstep, enough said. He brought it mainstream with a mind-blowing visual sensibility and intense musicality. Plus, he's done some game-changing collaborations with Korn on The Path of Totality and even The Doors, for crying out loud, as well as headlining the biggest festivals in the world. Hail Skrillex…
Sluggo is the biggest, best, and baddest purveyor of "metalstep". He's merged abrasive metallic riffs and grooves with dubstep chaos masterfully. You can hear it on remixes for the likes of Iwrestledabearonce, and on stage, he'll take Lamb of God and Suicide Silence and make them danceable—that's not an easy feat. He's got all kinds of dance floor brutality on the horizon. Get ready to band your head and shake it at the same time.
In Slipknot, he brings a level of skittering madness to the group's inimitable metallic assault. As a DJ, solo artist, and part of KEEN X SID, he strikes a delicate balance between electronica and hip hop that could wake up the underground for good. His ability to infuse rap bravado into electronic soundscapes stands unmatched.
DJ Jesse Marco
Jesse Marco brings a flavor that no one else has got. His melodic style proves adaptable for everything from Latin to pop flourishes, and his first official single "Daddy Cool" comes to life unlike anything out there. Plus, he rocked the craziest party in history in Project X. He's got class, skills, and an approach that belongs solo to him. Watch him rise to the top…
DJ Pauly D was born to be set clubs off, and that's exactly what he does nightly. He owns it every time he hits the stage with a combination of old school swag that wouldn't be out of place in GoodFellas and hyperkinetic momentum. Plus, he manages to infuse a hip hop fire into what he does as well as pop palatability. For proof just bump "Night of My Life" featuring a divine cameo from Dash. Pauly D will have you beating that beat up more than ever before when his debut for 50 Cent's G-Note records drops. As far as DJs go, he's as dope as they come.