Dancing Astronaut’s Top 25 EDM Superstars of 2014 #BIG100
Top 25 EDM Superstars of 2014
EDM has become a multibillion-dollar industry. It is now bigger, more widespread, more talked about, and more prolific than ever before in its history. For the explosive, mainstream success of the scene, you have these artists to thank. These are the kings of the festival stages; the headliners and the headline grabbers. These are the artists who own the space dubbed “EDM,” the artists who charted electronic music into new territory while inflating its size and scope to unprecedented levels.
Deorro has had a whirlwind year marked with original after original that spanned multiple genres and continents, garnering him widespread attention and a diehard fanbase. The PandaFunk frontman made an announcement this year that he would be turning away from touring to focus on his family and his music. The news was met with excitement as his fanbase swelled with anticipation for a more fantastic Deorro productions. One of EDM’s most talented fan favorites, Deorro made the right type of noise in 2014.
24. Cash Cash
New Jersey born and bred, Cash Cash made their presence known with their breakout “Take Me Home,” but it is their follow-up “Surrender” that cemented the trio in the dance music zeitgeist. Rising to the top of the radio charts for the second time in their career, JP, Sam, and Alex continue to represent the Big Beat brand with carefully-crafted dance pop. Craftsmen of catchy hooks and sing-a-long refrains, Cash Cash effortlessly reign supreme atop the electro pop mountain.
23. Oliver Heldens
Whether his “deep house” distinction is a misnomer or not, there’s no denying that Oliver Heldens kicked the trend into “Overdrive.” Pun intended. After “Gecko” was transformed by Becky Hill, the Spinnin Records wunderkind gave main stream life to a relatively underground sound. From there the sound quickly came to define the next step in the tectonic shift on dancefloors worldwide.
Whatever it is you know Carnage for, attend his shows for, or buy his records for, doesn’t even matter. The pleasantly plump, Chipotle-endorsing DJ has collected a unique following at an unprecedented pace and just as head-scratching method. Perhaps the don of the festival trap ethos, Carnage’s larger than life music and personality drew in fans the world over. Always a must-see act in whatever city he may be passing by, Carnage is one of 2014’s hottest tickets.
21. Nicky Romero
Movie scores, high-end pop productions and an ongoing penchant for moving the masses. It was by no means his most prolific year, but Nicky Romero packed 2014 with an unprecedented level of achievements throughout. His Protocol brand not only expanded its management leg significantly, but took flight on a global scale with branded events and spotlights across the continents. Add his own valiant efforts to show that big room heavyweights are not limited to run-of-the-mill club records via soundtrack duties for Requiem For A Dream, a subsequent production tip for Polyna’s “Angel” saw the Dutch heavyweight knocking outside of his comfort zones considerably. We’re still waiting for that debut album, but since singing on to CAA and showing a considerable commitment to taking Protocol global, 2015 is unlikely to play any quieter.
20. The Chainsmokers
After developing a cult following in New York for their always on point indie dance remixes, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart lampooned the very culture that nurtured them and “Selfie” was born. What followed was a stratospheric ascent that landed the pair a major label record deal, an American Idol appearance and a globe-trotting lifestyle. Sure, “Selfie” may not be for everyone, but the track helped launch one of the year’s biggest trends and the careers of two of the scene’s newest personalities.
These guys went 0-100 real f*cking quick. As soon as they dropped “Tsunami,” their career spiraled such as the single’s title would insinuate. Hoping on some top-tier collaborations of the year (ie “Gold Skies,” “Raveology,” “This Is Dirty), the flamboyant pair of stage acts accelerated just slightly beyond their debut momentum and has racked up a sizable and cult-like fan base in the process.
18. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike
The ID&T poster boys and festival house gods, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike stayed steady in 2014. The duo stayed on top of the main stage heap with “Tremor” alongside Martin Garrix. A wave of festival appearances on Europe’s largest stages, they propelled the main stage ethos to new heights throughout the summer. Their popularity was further exemplified by a climb to the #2 spot on DJ Mag’s vote-driven fan poll. Love them or hate them, DV and LM are the best at what they do – and they do it well.
17. Laidback Luke
Laidback Luke stepped his game up this year, rebranding Mix Mash and outing plenty of ‘14’s notable tracks. All the while, his brand continues to translate well into its live concept series — remaining a staple afternoon of Miami Music Week, and flooding clubs and venues alike with a superhero themed dance event that never gets old.
16. DJ Snake
Jumpstarted by a stellar Essential Mix, DJ Snake bulldozed through 2014 taking no prisoners. Shrouded in a unique live appeal and maintaining such valued presence throughout the year, Snake kept feet on both sides of the fence and added a handful of acclaimed collaborations to his dance music rolodex.
Afrojack’s 2014 was shaping up to be a notable one as quickly as February, when his newest music began rolling in grand fashion, with “Ten Feet Tall” making its official debut during the Super Bowl. From there, it was all speed ahead for his first ever album, celebrated for unique collaborations with Sting and Wiz Khalifa.
14. Sander van Doorn
Few non-teenaged artists have proven the ability to bridge gaps and gain bubbling popularity amongst dance music’s youth. Sander van Doorn is one of those artists. Sander’s namesake imprint was up there as most the consistent host of chart-toppers and festival favorites, many releases even coming from the frontman himself. Look no further than “This” with Oliver Heldens and “Goldskies” with Martin Garrix and DVBBS.
13. Dillon Francis
There are few DJs who do it better than Dillon Francis. From his debut album, ‘Money Sucks, Friends Rule’ to his larger than life persona, Francis has established one of the most successful brands in dance music. Day-to-day he could be any of his many characters, there’s the talented producer, the comical prankster, and one of dance music’s future businessmen.
Outspoken for all the right reasons, Kaskade made a mark on 2014 by continuing to be an honest voice in the industry. A resolved, yet public, dispute with Ultra over the streaming rights to his music Kaskade brought attention to a growing injustice in dance music. His new label, Arkade, finds Raddon joining the ever growing independent movement – a powerful statement from one of dance music’s most revered talents.
11. Knife Party
Knife Party kept quiet for much of 2014 before they kicked off the greatest EDM satire yet – the hype and launch of Abandon Ship. Fueled by leaks and countless “delays” the entire album “accidentally” ended up on iTunes a bit early.
Alesso had been the most promising producer in electronic music when he signed with Refune a few years back, but his candle seemed to be dwindling just prior to 2014. It was this year (and moving into next), not 2011, that Alesso would make his greatest strides. Premiering “Tear The Roof Off” at Ultra and releasing “Heroes” as one of radio’s more heavily rotated tunes both satisfied the poles of his fanbase while proving his versatility has only improved, and enough so to carry forward with a shiny new Def Jam distribution deal.
9. Armin van Buuren
If you’re calling Calvin Harris king, how do you crown Armin van Buuren? There seems to be no end in sight for Armin’s reign as supreme dance music ambassador, and 2014 made for another steady year which his consistency nearly masked momentous occasion. A State Of Trance only grew larger and stronger, and his Madison Square Garden show has been hailed as the most unique live spectacle from a DJ performing in an arena.
8. Martin Garrix
“Animals” was dance music’s first unavoidably massive instrumental anthem since Sebastian Ingrosso and Alesso made a little track called “Calling.” From there, the stage was set for EDM’s youngest superstar, a newcomer with unprecedented charisma and appeal. Garrix was undeniably the toast of Miami Music Week in 2014, and was celebrated similarly throughout the better part of the remaining year. As if his entrance to the scene and subsequent presence wasn’t enough, he continued to rack up chart-toppers — “Gold Skies” and “Tremor,” just to name a pair.
Some may argue that the DJMag poll is a popularity contest but being voted most popular two years in a row definitely carries some weight. The undisputed king of the club circuit, Hardwell found himself voted the world’s number 1 DJ again in 2014, but beyond the fan support his label Revealed Recordings harbored some of electro’s most exciting talents. Alongside Dannic and Dyro, Hardwell continued to satisfy fans on a global scale, stamping his brand on every continent. He wrapped up the “I AM HARDWELL” tour at Madison Square Garden, held down a Hakkasan residency, and began work on his debut album without breaking a sweat.
6. Steve Aoki
Whether atop the Empire State Building, in concert, joining Lil’ Jon in TV ads, or plastered on album covers, Steve Aoki’s face is among the most recognizable in EDM. His live antics went from being questioned to accepted and taken for entertainment, the cake-toss now synonymous with the Aoki experience. 2014 was his Neon Future — a concept fitted for reign of Las Vegas and suited to host an album.
From complextro god to dance pop visionary, Zedd emerged at the top of the pop collaboration heap when he teamed up with Ariana Grande for “Break Free.” It would be the second time he landed main stream recognition and heavy radio rotation alongside one of pop’s brightest stars. A production wizard and a pop genius, Zedd has climbed past many of his predecessors into living room’s across the globe.
4. David Guetta
David Guetta is EDM. That dogma hasn’t changed since its inception. Atop event billings, the veteran still carries as much weight as anyone else, and has done so all year while preparing new music. With individual singles releasing sporadically throughout the year and spreading the wide circuit, Guetta’s 2014 culminated in an unexpected smash single and full length album.
Year after year, Tiësto dominates the EDM landscape as a premier superstar who leaves no time to do anything in less than superstar fashion. His 2014 was no different. In fact, it’s been a year that’d be tough to match. Dropping his newest studio album packed with hit records like “Red Lights” and “Wasted,” a seemingly never-ending touring run that includes headlining festivals in every corner of the world and residency duties at Hakkasan, Las Vegas.
So maybe it wasn’t his healthiest year, but even being forced to miss Miami Music Week and other appearances couldn’t dethrone Avicii from EDM’s Mount Rushmore. The “Levels” sensation gone “Wake Me Up” frenzy moved the Swede from the bright lights of dance music to that of radio. Where could he go from there? It would be “A Sky Full Of Stars.” His production for Coldplay solidified an already solid level of pop superstardom for Avicii, and was perhaps his most seamless transition. Not to mention “Wake Me Up” becoming the most streamed track of all time.
1. Calvin Harris
There is no artist in the dance music industry that had a bigger year than Calvin Harris. Casually releasing Motion based on merit instead of fabricated hype, he broke record after record in 2014. With each successive single, Calvin’s latest album finds itself overrunning the radio airwaves and Billboard charts. The highest paid man in the industry, the most decorated artist in the business, and the most consistent player in EDM, Calvin Harris is the undisputed king of 2014.