Steve Aoki Bühnenshow

Party Gods: Part 2

Photography: Erik Voake

Part Two of our top 10 DJ round up. From Steve Aoki to Annie Mac: how did they get to the top?
Steve Aoki
Steve Aoki

Social media: Almost 7.5m likes on Facebook
Worth: An estimated $55 million
Performances: 143 in 2015 

The Entrepreneur: Steve Aoki

When Aoki was just 18, he was organizing concerts for hardcore punks and founding a record label. He went on to become a DJ entrepreneur. Now, at the age of 38, Aoki runs four restaurants, a DJ management agency and a clothing line and markets headphones. Cameo roles in films and on TV have tapped into new target audiences. 

His trademark:

He was the first to understand that a 21st-century DJ couldn’t just play records but had to be a brand and sell a lifestyle. How does he juggle his business, produce music and manage to perform 217 times a year, as he did in 2014? With the discipline of a top-level sports star. Aoki, who doesn’t drink and works out daily, is redefining what it means to be a DJ: party with a passion but without the hangover.

What can we learn from him?

Building a brand depends on authentiity and consistency.

Cool:

Aoki has turned the DJ into a rock star. He headbangs on stage, cracks open bottles of champagne and showers it over the ladies in the front row. The highlight of any Aoki show is the legendary cake fight with the crowd.

Uncool:

When the satirical website Wundergroundmusic.com made fun of Aoki’s stage antics, he threatened to sue. 

“I still feel like a young punk with $200 in the bank.” 
Steve Aoki
DeadMau5 legt auf

© Drew Ressler/Rukes.com

Deadmau5
Deadmau5

Social media: More than 9m likes on Facebook
Worth: An estimated $53 million
Performances: 34 in 2015 

The Bad Boy: Deadmau5

Best known for his trademark mouse’s head, Deadmau5 is a 35-year-old Canadian who likes creating Twitter storms. There’s a reason why superstars react to his attacks. These days, he’s in their league. 

His trademark:

The bad boy of the mainstream- DJ circus loves confrontation. He informed his former protégé Skrillex via Twitter that his new music was shit. He accused Madonna of promoting drug use. His fans—whom he calls “The Horde”—love him for it, and for pioneering the live streaming of recording sessions. After one such studio session, a fan named Chris James sent him some song lyrics —and Deadmau5 used them. Their joint venture, “The Veldt, ” went on to be a hit.

What can we learn from him?

Being outspoken lifts you above the crowd (and ensures social media gold status)

Cool:

Disney made a legal challenge regarding his trademark. Deadmau5 showed the corporation the middle finger … and won.

Uncool:

The speed freak had his Ferrari 458 Italia custom-wrapped with an image of rainbow-farting Internet meme Nyan Cat. Ferrari was so appalled by the garish makeover that the car company issued a cease-and-desist order against Deadmau5. 

“Get out there and immerse yourself in the world you created.” 
Deadmau5
Calvin Harris Konzert

© Getty Images

Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris

Social media: More than 13m likes on Facebook
Worth: An estimated $160 million
Performances: 77 in 2015 

The Businessman: Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris hates interviews and says he can’t dance or sing. But who cares when you’re the world’s highest-paid DJ at an estimated $400,000 a gig? The Scot reckons his success is down to pure luck, but anyone who has heard “We Found Love,” his huge hit single featuring Rihanna, knows that Harris has an uncanny talent for a catchy tune. 

His trademark:

Business savvy. For years he was remixing for other musicians, such as Florence + The Machine, and instead of payment he would ask to visit the studio. That’s how he’s been able to lace ohis singles with vocals from folks like Rihanna.

What can we learn from him?

Success, often invovles a lot of patience to go along with that long-term plan.

Cool:

Models and pop goddesses can’t get enough of him. He’s dated Rita Ora and Anne Vyalitsyna and is currently linked to Taylor Swift.

Uncool:

Posing as an underwear model for Giorgio Armani and saying that he’s trying not to be a Justin 

“I know how to treat my voice to make it sound as good as it possibly can —which is still not that good.” 
Calvin Harris
Annie Mac
Annie Mac

Social media: Almost 300,000 likes on Facebook
Worth: No data available
Performance: 48 in 2015, plus five radio shows a week 

The Tastemaker: Annie Mac

Annie Mac, 37, isn’t a music producer but a DJ in the most traditional sense. Mac discovers new talent and presents it to the public through her weekday BBC Radio 1 show, in her club sets and at her music festival, Lost & Found. 

Her trademark:

Mac has an incredible ear for hits and turns raw talent into stars. They remain loyal, giving her exclusive mixes and new tracks, which only reinforces her reputation as a tastemaker.

What can we learn from her?

You can get to the top by looking out for others.

Cool:

Mac is a woman who has asserted herself in the male-dominated world of nightclubs, where far too often women are found behind the bar rather than behind the decks.

Uncool:

No one has managed to find anything uncool about Annie Mac.

“The most important thing about being a broadcaster is believability— someone knowing that everything that comes out of your mouth is real. It’s your job to have an opinion.” 
Annie Mac
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02 2016 The Red Bulletin

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