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The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

Electronic dance music's recent resurgence has made the genre more popular than ever before, but it's still often not taken seriously as an art form.

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And yeah, many goofily-dressed ravers are so high they'll literally dance to anything. But below we've highlighted 20 top-notch spinners who put real thought into rocking asses on the dance floor. From Los Angeles to all parts of the globe, here are our picks for the best EDM DJs in business. -Ben Westhoff

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

20. John Tejada

For years John Tejada was L.A.'s best-kept secret, a producer's producer whose records occupied places of honor in every techno DJ's crate, even as his name remained unfamiliar to casual EDM fans. Thanks to a prolific hot streak that's included a killer contribution to the FabricLive DJ mix series and percussive floor-fillers like "Orbiter" and "Torque," that's finally starting to change. Live, his sets are subtle, sinewy and flawlessly sequenced--especially when he sticks to his own material, which he's been favoring of late. L.A. couldn't ask for a better techno ambassador. -Andy Hermann

See also: John Tejada Is a Techno Traditionalist, Dammit

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

19. Audion (Matthew Dear)

On solo albums like this year's Beams, Detroit's Matthew Dear layers his own eccentric vocals atop danceable yet fractured art-pop. But behind the decks -- especially at Avaland, where he's an on-again, off-again resident -- Dear ditches the pop elements in favor of a live-wire mix of minimal techno, acid house and old-school electro-funk, highlighted by the robot-sex grooves of his techno alias, Audion. Among next-gen techno jocks, Dear's ability to transform classic Detroit sounds into 21st century EDM anthems is second to none. -Andy Hermann

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

18. Araabmuzik

MPC sampling prodigy Araabmuzik, aka Abraham Orellana, began playing drums at age three and has progressed in the nearly two decades since to become one of the fastest-fingered producers in the beat-making game. Live, his sound is dubstep built on eclectically-sourced samples that are chopped, twisted and spit out the other end as a dirty digital shitstorm. Araabmuzik gets everybody within close range moving along, while elevating drum machine button pushing to the level of performance art. -Katie Bain

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

17. Paul van Dyk

Now 40, veteran Paul Van Dyk has been dubbed the world's greatest DJ two years running by DJ Mag. He's come far since growing up in East Berlin, where he exposed himself to music through illegally-tuned-in West Berlin radio stations and cassette tapes smuggled into the country. Nowadays, he tours the world and remixes for Madonna and U2. He's know for his modern trance and exceptional live mix that's packed venues of all sizes. If there were an award for the largest DJ audience, he just might have it, seeing as he attracted over a million dance music fans to a beach in Rio de Janeiro for his New Year's Eve gig, as 2009 was rung in. -Nicole Pajer

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

16. Sandra Collins

With respect to Irene, Collette, and Heather, Collins is perhaps the biggest female American to emerge from the EDM explosion of the 1990s. We have witnessed her mesmerizing, long-winded beat matching and icy cold progressive beats whip massive festival crowds into a frenzy, and her precise-yet-groovy performances have been aired on BBC Radio One. If women are mounting an assault on the top-DJs circuit, Collins is the general. -Dennis Romero

See also: Where Are the Women in EDM?

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

15. Kaskade

Last year Kaskade tipped off his Twitter followers that he'd be playing at the EDC film premiere in Hollywood, and more than 250,000 people a big crowd showed up. (See below.) Aside from his crowd-wrangling abilities, the Evanston, Illinois-bred DJ who specializes in progressive house has played an integral role in the rise of electronic dance music in the U.S.; he was the first DJ to headline the Staples Center, and has worked with female vocalists including Haley Gibby, Joslyn Petty, and Sunsun Tamra. A devote Mormon and the father of three, he's never had a drink or done drugs in his life. How about that. -Nicole Pajer

See also: Rave Standoff in Hollywood: Cops Move in to Disperse Crowds That Came to See DJ Kaskade

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

14. Donald Glaude

Glaude, a Southern Californian originally from Seattle, is one of America's original EDM showmen. Before there were guys like Steve Aoki jumping up and down on-stage, Glaude was showcasing razzle-dazzle hip-hop skills on the mixer and getting on the mic, instructing folks to put their hands up. He plays the kind of funky house and techno that has become a staple of the West Coast EDM sound. -Dennis Romero

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

13. Skrillex

Skrillex has become an EDM lightning rod, almost single-handedly bringing dubstep to American mass culture, for better or worse. But in addition to three Grammys and increasingly-massive celebrity, the 24-year old Highland Park native also been a force for good in EDM, seeking out and releasing music from top rising stars like Dillon Francis, Kill The Noise, Zedd, and Porter Robinson. And, ok, many of his songs are ridiculously catchy and he posts funny things on Twitter, so there's that. -Nicole Pajer

See also: Top Five Girls Who Look Like Skrillex

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

12. The Gaslamp Killer

The Gaslamp Killer is a Low End Theory legend on the power of his aggressively heavy sets, characterized by sludgy beats, loads of whomp whomp bass wobble, jump cut samples incorporating everything from Jay-Z to the Star Wars soundtrack and a frenetically-energetic stage presence, characterized by a shit ton of head banging and myriad elastic facial expressions. Already beloved in the L.A. beat scene and beyond for such performances, he advanced his rep as a Brainfeeder darling with the September release of his excellent debut LP Breakthrough. Plus, the man can rock an iPad solo like no other. -Katie Bain

See also: The Gaslamp Killer Confronts Tragedy and Finds His Way Forward

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

11. Charles Feelgood

Orange County's Charles Feelgood got his start in the Baltimore rave scene of the 1990s and has since become one of the nation's most beloved DJs. He plays house, house and more house -- mostly of the loopy, Daft Punk variety. There is rarely a better fan experience than soaking in a Feelgood set when he's rinsing cheeky bootleg mixes of the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince and whoever's at the top of the charts. -Dennis Romero

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

10. Boys Noize

Thirty-year-old Hamburg, Germany native Alexander Ridha -- also known as Boys Noize -- has worked with everyone from Snoop Dogg to David Lynch and Depeche Mode. The producer-DJ got his start supporting DJ Hell and Felix Da Housecat and has gone on to win over crowds with his unique electronic sound, for which he draws from his hip-hop and disco roots. Having racked up a slew of awards, he's currently in the midst of his first live tour and has teamed up with Hard Events to bring forth a huge show. He also runs Boysnoize Records, and his discoveries include notable new artists LE1F and SCNTST. -Nicole Pajer

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

9. DJ Dan

L.A.'s original superstar DJ is a master artisan of the craft; think of him as a chef who's never served a disappointing meal. An adherent of "funky techno," Dan's sound is a whirling blend of soulful house set to a pogo pace and beat matched with skill rarely seen on the EDM circuit. (Dan used to cut and scratch, hip-hop-style). We'd pit his performances against anyone in DJ Magazine's Top 100 and dare you to say Dan lost the battle. -Dennis Romero

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

8. Chus & Pablo Ceballos

The Spanish duo of Chus L. Esteban and Pablo Ceballos blew the roof off of Monday Social at Playhouse in Hollywood recently. There's much talk of the return of house music via the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Avicii and Afrojack, but these two put it down properly, mixing percussive vocal grooves with dark synths and providing a bridge between cathartic festival performances and a druggy European underground. -Dennis Romero

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

7. Bassnectar

Perhaps no artist personifies the electronic-live-show-as-transcendental-group-experience better than Santa Cruz-based Lorin Ashton, also known as Bassnectar. Known (and named) for fusing sub-bass vibrations with lush astral trance and quirky samples, Bassnectar's ultra-low frequency sound waves vibrate off of every cell of every body within a certain radius, and it feels amazing. Add this energy to an engaging visual production rife with sophisticated imagery, lights, and lasers (and his trademark locks), and you've got a show that feels like the open portal to an inter-dimensional realm of multi-sensory hedonism. -Katie Bain

See also: How Bassnectar Came to Rule American Dance Music

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

6. Kazell

U.K. transplant Kevin Bazell's eclectic style and uncanny ability to read the room make him a master of the increasingly lost art of setting the mood. Whether he's whipping the club kids into a frenzy with one big-room anthem after another, or building almost unbearable tension with sinister tech-house and tribal grooves, Kazell can work any crowd like a cross-fader. No surprise that he's opened for more top-shelf headliners (Sasha and Digweed, Danny Tenaglia, Sander Kleinenberg) than anyone else in town. -Andy Hermann

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

5. Claude VonStroke

If anyone has the goods to get the dubstep kids into four-on-the-floor beats, it's Barclay Crenshaw and his dirty house alter ego, Claude VonStroke. Specializing in bass drops that are more booty-shaking than bone-crushing, the VonStroke sound -- equal parts Berlin sleek and Chicago slutty -- is a welcome reminder amidst the epic builds and breakdowns dominating the festival circuit that dance music is still best when it's sweaty, funky and above all, relentless. -Andy Hermann

See also: Claude Vonstroke Got in the EDM Game Late and Now He's Taking It Over

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

4. Sander Kleinenberg

This Dutch spinner is probably our favorite contemporary DJ of the moment. He presents massive, dance-floor destroying sets that compete with any button-pusher's show while avoiding the kind of spiraling breakdown cliches and grating synth sirens that have ruined clubland for the adults among us. He'll rinse breakbeats and contemporary house sounds without ever sounding cheesy. Kleinenberg gets in early on those "it" tracks every other jock will be playing three months from now. -Dennis Romero

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

3. Deadmau5

Deadmau5, née Joel Zimmerman, is electronic music's favorite enfant terrible, with his much-publicized jabs against everyone from Madonna to David Guetta. Then there was his now-famous tumblr rant pulling the veil off of "live" EDM, which Deadmau5 boiled down to little more than button pushing. Yet, as the international circuit's pre-eminent electro-house producer, he can get away with it. His sound is a soaring and multilayered assemblage of cleanly produced beats, builds and drops that oscillate between elegant and aggressive. His stirring live show ups the ante with a visual production that he controls from the top of his LED cube as a thousand light panels hypnotize his fans. Through it all, in only a few years Deadmau5 has become almost synonymous with modern electronic dance music. -Katie Bain

See also: Dave Grohl's Grammys Speech About Electronic Music Was Bullshit

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

2. Danny Tenaglia

A DJ's DJ, Danny Tenaglia has mastered the artistry, stamina and storytelling that accompany the ultimate EDM experience. While contemporary stars are used to blasting predictable playlists in an hour's time, this New Yorker is known for 12-hour tribal journeys that have been the soundtrack for after-hours bacchanalia. A "marathon man" who got his taste of clubland at the Paradise Garage in the 1980s, Tenaglia is a rare link between the edge of electronic futurism and the disco soul of dance floors past. -Dennis Romero

The 20 Greatest EDM DJs: The Complete List

1. Richie Hawtin

Considering that he just released a 16-disc career retrospective set -- last year's monumental Arkives 1993-2010: Reference Edition -- you might forgive the techno legend also known as Plastikman for doing a little laurel-resting in 2012. But recent Hawtin shows have been anything but a victory lap, instead showcasing that same sense of innovation and risk that has always made his dense, pointillist take on Detroit sounds so thrilling.

Live, Hawtin conjures up mind-bendingly intricate sets with a gearhead's dream of laptops, processors, drum pads and modulators, often synched up with light shows and video projections. To call him a button-pusher, while technically accurate, is like saying Michelangelo painted pretty good. If more DJs follow his lead, whatever style they play, EDM's future is bright. -Andy Hermann

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