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On the day Resident Advisor’s annual Poll went live, Canadian producer Tiga has shared who he thinks are the top 10 DJs in 2015.

The poll – in case you don’t know – is a highly regarded barometer of who’s been ruling underground dance music in 2015 – which means you’re unlikely to ever see Calvin Harris or David Guetta charting.

It’s a decent counter to DJ Mag’s Top 100, and if you’re on both as either a DJ or live act then you’re probably riding the line between mainstream and underground pretty damn well. So congratulations.

Head over to Resident Advisor if you’re a member to give your two cents now.

In his own colourful way, Tiga has also gone to the trouble of writing down his reasons for his selections.

In no particular order…..

Martinez Brothers 
– The Martinez Brothers make me happy. they make me want to stay at the club, they make me proud to be a DJ, and most importantly (and the highest compliment to a DJ) they make me like records i don’t even like. if you see me at a club, and I’m NOT being paid, and I’m smiling and grooving to some Salsoul edit that i normally cant deal with….. you know it’s them playin. They make me want to be a better man.

– lost in the haze of the massive commercial success, and the social media tsunami and the blah blah, is the simple fact that Diplo is (and always has been) an amazing DJ. he has been crate-digging and mixing disparate sounds together forever and few people can actually destroy a party like he can. As a DJ/producer i rate him as one of the most successful ever and he has achieved it all with the basic DJ toolkit: a great ear, great timing and deep understanding of what works. Also bravery: deeply not caring about what the chin-strokers and trainspotters think. An inspiration. 

Seth Troxler
– for years i wondered where the personality would come from. where were the new artists and the new characters. and then i found seth. The fact that people even talk about seth’s character is only BECAUSE he is an incredible DJ: he has confidence, charm and a fantastic ear and knowledge. He also has a weird streak that is worth its weight in gold in this strange era of conservatism. Most people think, incorrectly of course, that they are vaguely original. Seth is, and the world is a better place for it. 

Ivan Smagghe
– i admit i haven’t heard Ivan play in years, but he was always one of my favorites. He could pull the ultimate DJ trick which is to play records that are RIGHT ON THE LINE…. and pull it off: some borderline horrible trance, but turn it into an epic moment. In a world that has almost seen the total death of “cool”, Ivan remains an inspiration: impeccable taste, zero bullshit, and some attitude to match.

– when the chips are down, if it really comes down to who can totally destroy a party, nobody ever really could match the brothers. and I’m not only talking the proto-edm bangers of the mid 2000’s: obscure disco, early Chicago, EDM, you name it, and if they have the desire, they can craft a set to die for. They have an incredible ear for that perfect (and rare) zone where dance music and pop converge, and they have never been held back by rules or genres. still masters at the game.

– of all the big RA players, the ones that are my personal favorite are AME. a few times i played after/before them, including at their own legendary P-bar parties, and i really was blown away. The number of minutes i delay my return to the hotel is a pretty fair gauge of how dope a dj is… and every time, i just loved every record they played. Never boring, never obvious, never self-indulgent (the three sins)…. always made me want to work harder.

– as a DJ i sometimes struggle with “fun” and “party” and can sometimes lose sight of the basic idea of people wanting to just have fun… and Jack (as well as being a world class digger, and label guy) strikes me as being a master in the party-zone. He has the energy, the skills and most important the breadth of taste to really create the perfect party set. He also just a magical vibe and unmatched enthusiasm. and he’s from Glasgow. game set and match. When i was a kid i remember a rare breed of DJ that would dance to his own last track. i think Jack is that breed.

Gerd Janson
– Gerd is the bomb. a true DJs DJ, and for me, just a welcome reminder of why i started DJing in the early 90s. He has TASTE, and can make a B3 sound like an A1, and really that is what its all about. His knowledge is encyclopaedic and he even loves breaks. add to that the personal style, some denim, a pony tail (the lost Canadian-German?)— we are talking triple-threat. A prince among thieves.

Ben UFO 
– i know i know, its easy to say “Ben UFO”, but the reason we all say it is because its true. In a sea of mediocrity, in a storm of Dutch-hedge fund backed svarovski encrusted DJ bros, Ben UFO shines like a beacon of hope. For me its the simplicity….. Ben is just a guy who has better records then you and then has the balls (or clarity of mind) to play them out, and put them together so they all sound better. It very much reminds me of the record-shop culture i grew up with: it was simple… who had the best records. Knowledge based success. DJing is like comedy—— its about the CONNECTIONS you make, and the speed at which you make them, and Ben is a funny motherfucker.

– confession, this is based on recorded sets and DJ mixes i heard over the years, and not actually hearing him out…. but on a few occasions i was blown away (read: inspired, read: jealous) by his focused and intelligent exploration of a theme: hardcore, some breaks, dark electronics…. hard to put into words, but thats the point: he DID do what is so hard to do, and thats walk a line, select traxx that intelligently evolve a theme. insert all cliches about a “journey” here, because they are true.

Andrew Rafter

Andrew Rafter is the editor and founder of Harder Blogger Faster.