In what has quickly become the EDM world's equivalent to the Razzies, the annual “Bottom 100 DJs” poll was released today, and a new but familiar face tops the list: David Guetta, who placed fourth last year. The list, which was rolled out via Twitter, also included last year's “winner,” Deadmau5, at No. 2, celeb DJ Paris Hilton at No. 3 and EDM superstars Hardwell and Martin Garrix returning to the top 10.
A parody of much-maligned DJ Mag's annual “Top 100 DJs” poll (topped for the past two years by Hardwell), the list was created by Stefan Engblom, one half of the Swedish EDM duo Dada Life. Despite frequently appearing on the Top 100 DJs list themselves, Engblom and his partner, Olle Cornéer, were frustrated with how it had ballooned into a popularity contest that they felt was “taking the fun” out of the DJ world.
“The campaigning people do and the ads that they put on the net, they take it too seriously,” Engblom explains, speaking to L.A. Weekly in Los Angeles the day before the Bottom 100 DJs results were released. Ironically, a giant Hardwell billboard, advertising his Hakkasan residency in Las Vegas, looks down on where we're sitting, near Sunset and Highland.
“Me and Olle, we spend too much time in airports and airplanes, thinking about stupid ideas,” he continues. So they hatched the idea for a Top 100 DJs piss-take, and launched their first poll anonymously in 2013. Since then, the Bottom 100 DJs poll has taken on a life of its own; this year's poll claims to have garnered more than 100,000 votes from 117 countries.
Last year's bottom DJ, Deadmau5, “took it in a fun way,” Engblom says. It's hard to say how Guetta will respond, but in our experience, the French EDM star does have a sense of humor about his critics; in 2011, his lighting technician told a Weekly reporter that he had read a takedown of his song “Without You” in this publication and found it “hilarious.”
Dada Life are no strangers to big, attention-grabbing projects. They threw a world record–breaking pillow fight in Chicago once that required a year of planning and 5,000 pillows. This past summer, they invited fans to show up to their San Bernardino festival, the Voyage, in banana suits. That was a record-breaking gathering, too. “For us, it's not a gimmick, it's natural,” Engblom says.
Raised in Stockholm, Engblom initially wanted to work in the circus. Instead, he studied computer science. Life, however, takes weird turns. “I feel like I became a part of this crazy circus,” he says.
The poll itself is in keeping with what Dada Life hope to accomplish in the dance scene. “When we started Dada Life, DJs were too serious, standing up in the DJ booth, smoking and looking like they're having no fun, not moving at all,” says Engblom. “This is not what music is about.”
In other words: If DJs are going to get super-serious about a little magazine poll, then Dada Life will create one that you really can't take seriously. Sometimes the responses have little to do with DJs, which is part of the fun. In the 2014 Bottom 100, “your mom” came in at No. 60; this year, Deadmau5's cat, Professor Meowingtons, ranked at No. 5, and “me” was No. 57, proving that many voters apparently realize their own DJ skills are even crappier than, say, Borgore's.
Engblom is excited as he talks about the potential that Bottom 100 has. “Next year, I can't say too much, but we have more plans if it keeps on growing, because it's so much fun,” he says.
The 2015 poll wasn't out when Engblom spoke to L.A. Weekly, and he insisted that even he did not yet know the final results — though Dada Life had been campaigning hard for bottom honors. “Fingers crossed that we're ranked as high as possible.”
Well, good news, Dada Life: You came in at No. 9, up from No. 13 last year. You even beat out Pauly D and Justin Bieber! Congrats.
Bottom 100 DJs – The Top 10:
1. David Guetta
3. Paris Hilton
5. Professor Meowingtons
6. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike
8. Martin Garrix
9. Dada Life
For the full list, visit www.bottom100djs.com.