RA Poll: Top DJs of 2013

The RA readers decide the top DJs of year.

We don’t mean to sound sentimental, but RA readers are what make our site, so it’s natural we’d ask you to decide our top DJs of the year. What hopefully results is a list of global relevance. Our annual poll is a culmination of countless nights out, experienced by people from every corner of the scene. Everyone choses « the best » in different ways, but the collective voice should tell us who was moving dance floors the most in 2013.

We take the purity of the results very seriously, which is why this year we again allowed registered users only three days to vote on DJs who were in their 2013 event calendar. The idea is that the focus was on this year, and this year alone. We have a new number one in 2013, and new entrants and high climbers are scattered throughout the list.

You went out, you voted, now here they are: your top DJs of 2013.

97. Steffi
Next @ Planet Rose
BoddikaBoddika produces some of the heaviest club tracks out there, which is reflected in his stomping DJ sets. This bulkiness earns him a spot on the list for the first time this year.

91. Fred P
Next @ Fred P
Craig RichardsFor a guy who’s played the same place week in week out for 14 years,fabric‘s Craig Richards has an impressive knack for keeping things fresh.

88. Blawan
Next @ Blawan
Tama SumoBerliners have long known Tama Sumo’s house sound is something special. And in 2013, word continued to spread—without blunting her edge in the slightest.
Jeff MillsTimes change. Technology evolves. New DJs come and go. But Jeff Mills, it seems, will always be there, calmly mixing three techno records at 140 BPM.
ShonkyShonky’s trio, Apollonia, keeps gaining steam, but this Frenchman remains a force on his own, crafting house grooves at once warm and hefty, classic and forward-looking.
Catz 'N DogzThough they may sometimes feel like underdogs (ahem), Catz ‘N Dogz make the cut for the third year running. Chalk this up to their unpretentious approach to moving a dance floor.
Nicole Moudaber2013 has been kind to Nicole Moudaber. She gigged harder than ever before, and in Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label she found a perfect home for her big-room techno sound.

Next @ 7 Jahre Yes
DJ TennisWith very few production credits to his name, DJ Tennis has earned his acclaim this year through his excellent label, Life And Death, and his continually intriguing DJ sets.

Next @ Adriatique
AdriatiqueDiynamic isn’t just about Solomun and Ibiza glory. Their talented roster runs deep, as evidenced by Adriatique, an ascendant Swiss duo making their RA poll debut this year.

55. Pan-Pot
James HoldenJames Holden returned to the production fold this year with his second album, The Inheritors. Its stunning imagination and sense of poise were a neat reflection of his DJ sets.
Motor City Drum EnsembleDanilo Plessow plays records loaded with the things most club music strips out—live drums, solos, vocals. The result? His sets are full of soul.

42. Luciano
RareshDoes Raresh have the most loyal fans in the game? With no productions or mixes to consume, they keep coming back on the strength of his groove-focussed club sets.

37. Rhadoo
Next @ NYE Mmxiv
RødhådFerocious techno flawlessly mixed by a tatted ginger lumberjack. With an MO like that, it was only a matter of time before Berlin’s Rødhåd burst onto the global stage

34. Move D
Next @ TBA

Next @ Nina Kraviz
Nina KravizFew DJs have their careers analyzed quite like Nina Kraviz. Jumping 15 places this year, she’s continually let her music drown out the chatter.
ZipAs the mastermind behind Perlon, Zip would have always been respected. But it’s his DJ sets—punchy, psychedelic, loaded with mysterious gems—that earn him a cult following.
The Martinez BrothersThey may still be pinching themselves at how well it’s all going, but 2013 felt like the year The Martinez Brothers hit new levels of success and respect.
Sven Vath

For all of his ubiquity and rock-star behaviour, it’s funny how little we know about Sven Väth. He stepped out for an extended interview at the IMS this year, and it was like watching a film version of a book you’ve read—familiar but not quite as you’d imagined. He also opened up with an RA podcast that dug deep into his home listening habits. Perhaps it’s this sense of distance that keeps us intrigued in his DJing, year after year.

Mano Le Tough

Most DJs aren’t very good at showing their emotions. They’re stoic in the booth, and they have no lyrics in which to reveal their feelings. Mano Le Tough is an exception. This Irish artist croons on his tracks, loves a sad melody and appeared in tears on one record sleeve. The guy is practically the Morrissey of house music. Combine this with a knack for rocking a party, and it’s easy to see how he slipped into the top 20.

Maya Jane Coles

We’ve got to know Maya Jane Coles in a club context these past couple years, but in 2013 we met her pop side. Her debut album, Comfort, showed just how far her range extends beyond the dance floor. When we profiled her in the summer, it seemed like she’d found her rhythm as a touring DJ after the madness that was 2011, her breakthrough year. It’s given her the stability to make the artistic expressions she so highly values.

John Digweed
Next @ John Digweed

Plenty of DJs have come and gone since Diggers got his start some 20 years back, but few have matched his ambition, reach and success. With his label Bedrock turning 15 and four-disc DJ mixes quickly becoming his norm, Digweed’s 2013 has been a mix of celebrating past accomplishments and kicking off new ones. Something tells us that at this time next year he’ll have added even more to his already peerless resume.

16. Âme

With Frank Wiedemann carrying the duo’s live torch, Kristian Beyer looks after the decks these days. Considering Âme’s top-20 appearance this year—after catapulting there last year from number 66 in 2011—the division of labor is working well. Beyer is, along with Dixon, the standard-bearer for Innervisions’ warmly epic aesthetic. And whether on the Croatian coast or in the confines of a Lost In A Moment marathon, he’s used it to craft some magical sets.

Marco Carola

Widely considered to be the standout DJ in Ibiza this summer, Marco Carola’s marathon performances on the Amnesia Terrace were booming masterclasses in how to satiate a 5,000-strong crowd week in, week out. Made up almost entirely of new music, his tightly woven sets expertly brought together the best in house and techno, while never letting the swing slip out of his grooves. With Music On residencies in New York and Miami this winter, expect big things from the Neapolitan don in 2014.

14. Sasha

The release of the much-anticipated Involv3r set Sasha’s year up neatly, leading into what he described as his busiest summer in recent memory (at one point he played 16 gigs in 19 days, taking 22 flights). With a successful season of Never Say Never parties in Ibiza behind him, and a Last Night On Earth NYE takeover of Brixton Academy still to come, there’s plenty to suggest that Sasha is as relevant now as ever before.

Marcel Dettmann

He’s as in-demand as he’s ever been, with festival gigs and headlining slots at big clubs the world over. Yet Marcel Dettmann remains fundamentally unchanged, even as his shadow looms ever larger over techno. He’ll go as big as his stages dictate, but he continues to select like a record geek, mix with the flair of a true believer and reliably slaughter Berghain with mind-bending obscurities deep into Sunday.

12. tINI

It’s been a year of gigs, gigs and more gigs for tINI. Enjoying her biggest summer in Ibiza to date, she played over 30 shows across every major club on the island, with her DC-10 debut coinciding with her first Essential Mix. But the jewel in her crown is her weekly tINI & the gang residency. This season saw the Desolat DJ use her increasing influence to give something back to the scene, showcasing a rare but refreshing White Isle commodity: new talent.

Eats Everything

Dan Pearce DJs like his life depends on it—you can put this down to years of struggle to establish his name. Two years on from his breakthrough track, « Entrance Song, » his sense of determination remains steadfast. It helped him gain a reputation as one of the in-form jocks of the summer, and he’ll start out 2014 with an eye-catching three-monthweekly residency at London’s XOYO.

10. Ben UFO

We’d wager that Ben UFO thinks more closely about DJing than anyone else on this list. From his technical prowess and thirst for new music, to his peerless sequencing and ever-evolving taste, it’s tough to think of anyone who better embodies the tenets of the form. It’s kept his growing fanbase engaged and guessing, and landed him in the top ten for the first time this year, proving that a niche approach can mean widespread appeal.

Jamie Jones
Next @ Jamie Jones

Jamie Jones, you might say, is here for a good time. Think of the catchy basslines that anchor his sets, the full-on pop he makes withHot Natured, or the summery aesthetic that follows him everywhere—a party called Paradise, a label called Hot Creations, a logo with a palm tree on it. In everything he does, Jones helps inject unpretentious good vibes into dance music. It’s no wonder he’s struck such a chord.

Loco Dice

Loco Dice stepped out of his comfort zone in 2013. With a mix CD for Defected and the launch of Used + Abused at Ushüaia, he risked widening his global appeal so much that he alienated his core fans. In the end, however, Dice’s appeal boils down to one thing: his DJing. From headline slots at the Warehouse Project to a much-lauded return to DC-10, it’s his visceral, pumping take on house and techno that’s landed him a well-deserved fifth-straight position in the top ten.

Ricardo Villalobos

Asked how he stays inspired after so many years of parties, Ricardo Villalobos once said, « It’s the motivation of a little kid who is playing in the sand for hours and hours, or playing soccer for ten hours with other kids. » On a good night, you can sense this in him. Grinning at the crowd, giggling with his friends, cutting between records with his trademark panache, it’s clear there’s nothing he’d rather be doing.

Maceo Plex

Versatile. There’s no better word to describe Maceo Plex over the past 12 months. As comfortable releasing a DJ-Kicks compilation as he is spinning ear-splitting techno, it was Ibiza that acted as the most fertile stomping ground for the man from Miami. Residencies at Circoloco and ENTER. spoke to both sides of his sonic persona, carving him out a reputation as the island’s go-to-guy for ’90s throwback house, militant Detroit electro and everything in between.

Seth Troxler

Who else would strip down to plug a festival? Seth Troxler may be pure personality, but you don’t top the RA poll—and hold fast in the top five the year after—by goofballishness alone. His carefree ‘tude in 2013 belied a lot of hard work and countless miles logged. As he reportedlycedes some Visionquest duties to focus on new labels and original music, he shows no signs of descending from this altitude.

Ben Klock

Why was that being boiled video such a hit? Probably because Ben Klock’s style of techno couldn’t be further from the buzzes, bloops and general absurdity of that clip. Still, as hard as Klock goes, he always does it with a smile on his face, lifting the crowd rather than pummelling them. That buoyancy has boosted him one spot over last year, and as his rise continues, he’ll keep bringing his light touch to the heaviest of tunes.

Richie Hawtin

More than almost anyone else on this list, Richie Hawtin embodies something very dear to electronic music: the future. From his seminal records as Plastikman, to his pioneering of digital DJing, to his game-changing Minus label and, more recently, his boldly curated ENTER.party, Hawtin’s achievements have always been driven by a desire to push things forward. It’s this creative restlessness that makes him inspiring, and that’s kept him near the top of this list year after year.

Tale Of Us

Surprised? You’re probably not the only one. But when you stop to consider Tale Of Us’s achievements this year—from a classyRenaissance Mix to electrifying residencies at ENTER. and Circoloco in Ibiza—their continued rise makes total sense. Throw in two of 2013’s biggest tracks— »Another Earth » and their remix of Mano Le Tough’s « Primitive People« —and a silver medal place feels very much deserved. Not bad for a duo who only broke onto the scene in 2010.


01. Dixon

Dixon’s beliefs have always been clear. When he started to make waves in 2007, after years spent honing his craft in Berlin, the talk was of a DJ who used melodies, vocals and warmth to tell his story. Six years later, and these guiding principles are firmer than ever. He may have an easily defined approach, but Dixon’s sets throw up some interesting contradictions—the music he plays is accessible, but he retains underground credibility; his performances at once feel safe and unpredictable. It’s this singular sense of balance that has seen his global appeal widen year after year.

The platform for Dixon’s ascent has been Innervisions, the label he runs with Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer of Âme. Since starting out as a Sonar Kollektiv sub-label back in 2005, the imprint has become a collective embodiment of their musical identity. Time and again, Innervisions has released standout tracks imbued with hooks, emotions and songwriting, many of which— »Envision, » « Howling, » « Gotham« —have been enormous club hits. This aesthetic was best experienced in 2013 at Lost In A Moment, the Innervisions event series. This title was only used for the first time this year, and it felt telling: it was as though they’d finally figured out a name for their mission. Dixon has made an art out of creating transcendent dance floor moments, and it’s the reason he’s at number one in our poll this year.