First of all: let's agree to disagree. Every single person attending EDC Las Vegas this year will have a unique top 10. I made my top 10 in hopes that it makes your scheduling decisions somewhat easier. How did I hand pick 10 from the 100+ performers this year?
My criteria included: overall productions (or taste in their original music), DJ skills, recent festival sets, and perhaps the most important - why you should see them THIS year (they have a popular song at the moment, they rarely play EDC, etc.)
So let's get started!
10. R3HAB - Although many DJs could have taken this tenth and final spot, R3hab makes as strong a case as anybody. The last year has truly been the break out one for him, releasing original tracks and remixes played by all the biggest names out there. Recently, “Do It (Life in Color Anthem 2013)” and his remix of David Guetta’s “Play Hard” have been igniting crowds – add in his countless collabs with hot DJs like Ummet Ozcan and Bassjackers – and you have quite the library of songs to expect during his set. It’s safe to say, if you are reading this and attending EDC: you need R3hab.
9. MAT ZO - If this list was “Easy” to put together, I’d put Mat Zo and Porter Robinson together. But I had to pick. This year, I’m feeling Mat Zo’s style of music and I am thrilled to see him on the EDC lineup this year. His remix of Empire of the Sun’s “Alive” might have been the deciding factor for putting him in the top 10, while his original track “The Sky” still stands as one of those all-time great trance tunes. It will be interesting to see which Mat Zo shows up – while he favors melodic trance, it’s not unlikely to hear some real drops thrown into his set. For a pleasant surprise, make room for Mat Zo in your schedule.
8. KREWELLA - Completely honestly, I don’t know what to expect from these girls. I have yet to see them in action and have only heard a few live sets, which have varied from festival music to club house. But that’s exciting to me – the unexpected. And let’s look at the facts: “Alive” has been the most played and remixed song of the year thus far, and everyone... and I mean, EVERYONE (especially Nicky Romero with that hyped up track, "Legacy," which is yet to be released)... has been hyping them up as of late. Something epic better be going to go down during their set at EDC and I want to be there to see it.
7. FEDDE LE GRAND - I might be a little biased here – Fedde Le Grand is one of my favorite DJs of all time. While I always try to explore and broaden my taste in electronic music, so does Fedde. In the last few months, he has released two tracks that rival his own personal best: “Rockin’ N’ Rollin’” and his collaboration with Sultan & Ned Shepard, “No Good.” I’m as excited to groove with Fedde this weekend as much as any other DJ, as he has always exceeded incredibly high expectations. And everyone is at their very best for EDC.
6. SUB FOCUS - This should be a nice change of pace from the rest of my top 10. While house music and trance seems to be the talk of EDC Vegas 2013, Sub Focus stands out as a bass-heavy act you will want to check out - I hear the bass pod and the smaller stages will have not-so-small production this year. After seeing and going crazy at multiple shows of his, I can’t wait to see what Sub Focus brings to the EDC table. His track, “Endorphins,” has gotten attention from many DJs around the globe, and his recent BB1 essential mix was straight fire. Get down and dirty with Sub Focus this weekend, but don’t be surprised if he leaves you too exhausted to function.
5. DIRTY SOUTH - One of the all-time great festival performers, Dirty South will be back at EDC – this time with a whole new set of beautiful and uplifting tracks from his near perfect album, “Speed of Life.” Usually I’d say, “Wait until next time” to see such a repeat performer, but let’s face it: If I don’t hear Dirty South opening, “City of Dreams,” with 50,000 people singing along, EDC almost isn’t worth it.
4. DANNIC - A lot of attention has been given to Hardwell and Dyro, but completing the Revealed Recordings trio is the Dutch power house (music) DJ, Dannic. Not only does he have excellent taste in music (as heard in his monthly promo mixes), Dannic has two of the most exciting songs at the moment: “Clobber” and “Viper.” It’s been a long time since he has been on the west coast so I couldn’t be more thrilled to see him in action. I expect HUGE things from Dannic in the future. It starts now.
3. DOG BLOOD - You know this combination of Skrillex and Boys Noize is going to throw down extra hard, especially since Skrillex (usually an EDC staple) is missing from the lineup of solo performers. With only a few public appearances since releasing their first EP, Dog Blood will most definitely bring it all – trap, D&B, maybe even dubstep? For any hard-style fans, it’s simple: you MUST check them out or you may never have the chance again. Two superstar DJs for the price of one? Sign me up!
2. AUDIEN - He is only 21 years old, but Nate Rathburn (“Audien”) is already changing the progressive-trance game. His original mixes have been played by everyone from Tiesto to Armin Van Buuren – and even if you miss Audien (for god knows what reason), you can expect to hear his melodies throughout the weekend: including “Wayfarer” and his latest track on Anjunabeats, “Iris,” which premiered on Above and Beyond’s Group Therapy just two weeks ago... and don’t forget about his vocal track, “Leaving You,” which might be the catchiest song of the year. Personally, I have never seen Audien live... but after hearing his set from EDC Chicago, I’m circling his name on my must-see list.
1. TRITONAL - It’s official: I am a Tritonian. It’s hard not to be lately with Chad and Dave taking the world by storm – including their Tritonia podcasts and club appearances that transcend any particular genre of EDM. Their latest original track, “Bullet That Saved Me,” is one of those sing-and-dance-along songs that will undoubtedly be a moment to remember this EDC weekend. Also, if you haven’t already – download their recent mashup pack (my favorite being: “If I Lose Myself at Midnight”). On top of all that, Tritonal is going to be rocking the Kinetic Field this year!
~ What do you think? Tell me your top 10: @Elliotkschwartz