2010-2019: Most pivotal producers of the decade
With 2019 drawing to a close, We Rave You continue the latest in our ‘Decade in Review’ series, highlighting the very best in electronic dance music from the past 10 years. To celebrate the end of ‘the teenies’, we’re taking a look at the most pivotal producers of the 2010-2019 period, placing emphasis on all those who helped pioneer dance music into the spotlight across this era, as the electronic industry moved from the shadows of club-floors to daytime radio, and a more worldwide audience. With that in mind, it seems only right to pick out 19 of these legendary names in honour of 2019 drawing to a close. These are…
The most pivotal producers of the decade.
ARMIN VAN BUUREN
Biggest hits of the decade: Blah Blah Blah, This Is What It Feels Like, Another You
Whilst other producers adapted their sound to follow current trends, trance titan Armin van Buuren stayed true to his roots, amassing a gigantic fanbase on account of his massive main-stage anthems. Still as popular as ever at the turn of the ‘twenties’, Armin remains the figurehead, and posterboy, for trance as an entire genre.
Biggest hits of the decade: Levels, I Could Be The One, Without You
Now recognised as the most famous DJ of all time worldwide, Avicii started the career with a pioneering batch of melodies which helped catapult the entire ‘EDM’ movement into the public eye. Crossing into the mainstream with his 2013 radio hit ‘Wake Me Up‘, Tim is – sadly – the only artist in this list who will no longer bless us with his incredible live sets in the next decade, after tragically passing away in 2018.
Biggest hits of the decade: Calling, If I Lose Myself, Under Control
With the progressive side of EDM particularly enjoying a meteoric rise in the early part of the decade, it was another talented young Swede who helped the popularity of this sub-genre burst into life. Crafting hits such as ‘Heroes’ and ‘I Wanna Know’, Alesso has stayed true to the prog scene, and remains as relevant as ever after dropping his ‘Progresso’ mixtape earlier this year.
Biggest hits of the decade: One Kiss, Feel So Close, This Is What You Came For
Based on stats alone, Calvin Harris is THE most successful artist of the decade. A one-man hit making machine, it appears the Scot is simply incapable of crafting anything other than supremely addictive pop perfection. Add a multi-million pound Las Vegas residency into the mix, and Calvin shines head and shoulders above all other producers as the highest earning DJ of the decade.
Biggest hits of the decade: Cola, Panic Room, Breathe
As the EDM bubble started to burst in the final third of the decade, tech-house’s immeasurable rise collided on the popularity chart, led by the unmistakable sounds of UK duo Camelphat. Despite the pair’s wealth of productions, including Axtone whopper ‘Paradigm’ and ‘Constellations’ on Spinnin’ Records, it was their 2017 Defected anthem ‘Cola’ which propelled the pair to a Grammy nomination and Ibiza residency.
Biggest hits of the decade: Titanium, Memories, Bad
Playing a hugely instrumental role in the rise of dance music at the start of the decase, David Guetta’s 2011 album ‘Nothing But The Beat’ saw dance music cross into the mainstream via collaborations with R&B and hip-hop stars such as Nicki Minaj, Usher, and Flo Rida. Fast forward almost 10 years, and Guetta has now turned to a darker style, teaming up with MORTEN, and showcasing his ‘Jack Back’ alias.
Biggest hits of the decade: The Veldt, Raise Your Weapon, Monophobia
Love him or loathe him, nobody can deny the impact Joel Zimmerman (aka deadmau5) has had on the electronic scene in the past decade. Following up his stunning debut releases ‘Ghosts N Stuff’, ‘Strobe’ and ‘I Remember’, the Mau5 crafted one of the hottest albums of the era in the form of 4×4=12 and amazed fans with his live ‘cube’ shows.
Biggest hits of the decade: Latch, F For You, White Noise
When British brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence burst onto the scene with their 2013 album ‘Settle’, the industry changed. Ditching heavy build ups and explosive drops in favour of more groove-led mid-tempo tones, Disclosure became pioneers of a deep-house trend, fused with elements of UK garage and breakbeats. As audiences became more accustomed to housier sounds, their success subsequently paved the way for acts such as Duke Dumont and Gorgon City.
Biggest hits of the decade: Middle, Let Me Love You, Lean On
One of the first acts to fuse music with fashion, the sharply-dressed DJ Snake emphasised everything ‘cool’ about dance music when his emergence spawned viral hit ‘Turn Down For What’. The Pardon My French superstar spent the rest of the decade on his path to global superstardom, even headlining Ultra Music Festival in Miami.
Biggest hits of the decade: Opus, Every Day, Liberate
Completely reimagining the visual experience for attendees of live shows, Eric’s popularity has soared throughout the decade, from one of the world’s true genius producers, to the King of ‘EPIC’ through his incredible holograms. Creating numerous hits such as ‘Lillo’ under his Pryda and Cirez D monikers, Prydz is one of the world’s most respected, and universally adored, artists.
Biggest hits of the decade: Apollo, Spaceman, Zero 76
Adopting the motto ‘Big-room never dies’, Dutch supremo Hardwell can certainly count himself as a leading pioneer of the sub-genre. Bringing heavy in-your-face anthems to mainstages worldwide, his thunderous tones saw him crowned #1 DJ in the world in the DJ Mag Top 100 polls for 2013 and 2014, before he announced his retirement from live performances in 2018.
Biggest hits of the decade: Firestone, Stole The Show, It Ain’t Me
By 2015, a new softer side to dance music had emerged, with acts like Sam Feldt, Bakermat and Lost Frequencies all rising to prominence as ‘Tropical House’ emerged as a credible corner of the industry. Undoubtedly, the most successful artist of this group was Kygo, with the Norwegian going on to work with global acts such as Selena Gomez and John Legend.
Biggest hits of the decade: Alone, Silence, Happier
Few producers have enjoyed a rapid rise on the meteoric scale of masked mogul, Marshmello. Bursting into life with his remix for Skrillex & Diplo in 2015, the Mellogang leader soon went on to bring his own pop-led brand of trap to the masses, garnering a global fanbase and joining the ‘one billion streams’ club on Spotify after collaborating with acts like Anne-Marie and James Arthur.
Biggest hits of the decade: Animals, In The Name Of Love, Scared To Be Lonely
One of very few producers to hit the big time whilst still in their teenage years, Martin Garrix was destined for the summits of fame from a very young age. Now recognised as one of the biggest celebrities of the dance scene, the STMPD boss has also scored a trio of triumphs in the DJ Mag Top 100 poll between 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Biggest hits of the decade: Gecko (Overdrive), Last All Night (Koala), Turn Me On
When Tiësto signed a little-know track titled ‘Gecko’ to his Musical Freedom label in 2013, the world started to sit up and take notice of the uniquely refreshing sound of the release, which was later dubbed ‘future house’. By the time the track hit the #1 spot in the UK Top 40 the following summer, Oliver Heldens was a household name and continued his ascent as a leading pioneer of the movement throughout the decade.
Biggest hits of the decade: Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites, Bangarang, First of the Year
Few producers carry the iconic luxury of instantly associating themselves with an entire genre, but mention the words ‘dubstep’ or ‘bass’ and the chances are, the first face you’ll think of is Skrillex. Later going on to form Jack Ü, the duo responsible for Justin Bieber’s mid-decade surge in popularity, very few producers can match Skrillex in terms of crafting such a consistently high calibre of release.
SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA
Biggest hits of the decade: Don’t You Worry Child, Save The World, One
The most hotly-discussed act on this list, SHM started the decade as leading figureheads in dance music’s rise, crushing all before them with record-breaking shows at venues such as MK Bowl and Madison Square Garden. After calling it quits in 2013, Steve Angello pursued his own solo career, whilst Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso teamed up as a duo… That was until 2018, when a comeback at Ultra Miami – exactly 5 years to the night of their departure – saw the Swedes return, this time “for life”.
Biggest hits of the decade: Adieu, Promesses, After Life
Alongside Oliver Heldens’ emergence in 2013, a new sound was sweeping the scene, with French priest Tchami delivering a refreshing bass-twist to the current house scene with his remixes of Janet Jackson’s ‘Go Deep’ and AlunaGeorge’s ‘You Know You Like it’. Fast forward to 2019 and the Confessions superstar has continued to enthral audiences both solo, and alongside Malaa as part of ‘No Redemption’.
Biggest hits of the decade: Secrets, Jackie Chan, Red Lights
The timeless Godfather of dance music, Tiësto’s start to the decade was shrouded in controversy as he ditched his signature trance sound for a more universally enjoyable pop-led sound. 10 years later, and the gamble has paid off entirely, with Tijs remaining as relevant as ever thanks to collaborations with acts like Don Diablo, Jauz, The Chainsmokers, Jonas Blue, Matisse & Sadko, and many more. There can be no denying, Tiësto is a true legend of the industry.