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The Top 5 Biggest Names in House Music for 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Worldwide house music has always been the go-to choice for pop radio, nightclubs, and concerts. In recent years however, house has finally begun to make a mainstream presence in America, with top djs frequently contributing and producing top ten radio hits and hip hop anthems. Just turn on any American radio station and you’ll be sure to hear a song with a house influence. Generally the music is characterized by a four-on-the-floor beat structure with prominent bass drum and features of synthesizers, electronic effects, and looping music samples. Additionally, house music usually creates anticipation and excitement in the listener through gradual tempo progressions of what are called builds and drops. With its popularity at an all time high, it doesn’t appear house music is going anywhere anytime soon. House djs garnering a worldwide following have reached ultimate celebrity status, rising to levels of fame close to that of Hollywood stars. Below we explore the top 5 djs to keep an eye on in 2011.

1. The Front Runner: Afrojack

Leading the way of what has been coined “dirty dutch house,” Afrojack has quickly made a name for himself in not only the house music community but also among hip-hop and pop artists looking to create a dance smash hit. In the past year Afrojack has already collaborated with artists like Pitbull and Ne-yo, and he’s just getting started. His single “Take Over Control” feat. Eva Simmons was #1 on iTunes dance downloads for several months after its release in August 2010, and has still remained in the top 10 until today. The “dirty dutch” sound he is so noted for did in fact originate in Holland, and is characterized by heavy drops incorporating high-pitched synths usually resembling sirens or whistles. (For similar beats check out: Chuckie, Sidney Samson, and Laidback Luke.)

2. The Safe Bet: David Guetta

Already having a huge following throughout his successful dj career, David Guetta made his international breakthrough with his 2009 album One Love, producing the top ten hits “Sexy Bitch” (feat. Akon), “Gettin’ Over You” (feat. Fergie), and “Memories” (feat. Kid Cudi). In a short span of time Guetta has become the most sought-after producer in the music business, already having worked with many notable artists such as Kelis, Flo-Rida, Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, The Black Eyed Peas, and Jennifer Lopez. For the house music genre Guetta’s success is truly unprecedented, and he has become somewhat known as the producer with the midas touch. Already reaching the upper echelon of the music industry, he continues to produce hit after hit for anything he touches. Guetta has most definitely ensured a place in the music business in the years to come. (For similar beats check out: Kaskade, Benny Benassi, and LMFAO.)

3. The Storyteller: Deadmau5

Who knew wearing a giant mouse head would make you so popular? Canadian dj Deadmau5 (pronounced as “dead mouse,” a name he received after he found an actual dead mouse in his computer) has become well-known for his spectacular dj sets with state-of-the-art lighting and sound, along with his infamous mouse head costume. Style-wise, his music generally follows a more traditional style of house known has “progressive house,” so called for its progressive building of beats to climactic massive drops. The anticipation generated by his builds, which often may be torturously long, lead to destructive, larger than life drops, that are always worth the wait. He has become one of the most desired djs for live sets at nightclubs, concerts, and music festivals, drawing in crowds by the masses with his top billing. (For similar beats check out: Chris Lake, Swedish House Mafia, and Tiesto.)

4. The Young Punk: Calvin Harris


A triple-threat as a dj, music producer, and singer-songwriter, Scotland’s Calvin Harris has become well known for his electropop style, which usually consists of heavy use of synthesizers, producing electronic sounds that are cold and robotic, and formed into minimal arrangements. His debut album 2007’s I Created Disco has been certified gold with sales exceeding 100,000, and he is expected to release his highly anticipated third album late in 2011. Harris is also known for starting the trend in “fly eye” glasses, which he wears in public appearances as well as in photos on most of his albums. He has also worked with several well-known female artists like Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, and Kelis. His upcoming singles “Awooga” and  “Bounce” (feat. Kelis) are generating huge buzz across the web, and Harris has already begun a 2011 tour across the U.S. and Europe. His fresh pop sounds combined with dance-friendly beats makes him a dj to keep an eye on in 2011. (For similar beats check out: Kraak & Smaak, Cut Copy, and Simian Mobile Disco.)

5. The Rebel: Steve Aoki


Steve Aoki has become somewhat of a cult leader among his fans in the electro house community. His loud and brash beats, usually characterized by destructive synths, rough and heavy bass, and yes actual screaming, usually generate an almost anarchist mob mentality among the audience at his shows. Spraying bottles of champagne among his followers is a common occurrence for Aoki, who’s main goal seems to be not only to get his listeners jumping and dancing, but downright raunchy, rowdy, and riotous. Aoki, who started his own label Dim Mak in his early 20s, has helped launch the careers of many other electro house artists like the Bloody Beetroots and MSTRKRFT. Although his high-energy, high-intensity style seems to set him apart from the mainstream house music scene, it also generates more appeal to the young and rebellious house music fans, who seem more interested in moshing than sipping cocktails and tapping their feet. Productions such as “Turbulence,” “Warp 1.9,” and “Show Me Your Hands” rank at the heavy-metal end in the spectrum of house music, and generate visions akin to an approaching apocalyptic alien battle. Currently Aoki is the resident dj at Surrender nightclub at the Encore hotel in Las Vegas. (For similar beats check out: Bloody Beetroots, Toxic Avenger, and Boys Noize.)