Courtesy by: DJ Ron Slomowicz, thoughtco.com
Created in the early 1980s, house music is a genre of electronic dance music made by club DJs and music producers out of Chicago. House music is generally made of characteristics like repetitive 4/4 beats, drum machine rhythms, synthesized basslines, and more. The genre evolved in the gay subculture of the 1980s when pop-like disco tracks were altered to have a mechanical beat and deep bass line.
House music has become a part of mainstream pop and dance music since the mid-1990s and has developed multiple sub genres from euro house to jump house. Frankie Knuckles, Chicago DJ and record producer, is considered one of the pioneers of the genre. Learn about the most popular house DJs creating music around the world today with the list below.
Number 1 - Roger Sanchez
Roger Sanchez is an American house music DJ born in 1967. He is known for his remix of No Doubt's "Hella Good" in 2003, which led him to receive a Grammy Award. He has also won "Best House DJ" four times at the DJ Awards since 1999 and received more than 10 nominations.
Roger Sanchez is not only the DJ's DJ, but the producer's producer. Constructing his entire new CD Come With Me from scratch, with outside assistance he proves his skills as an engineer, producer, programmer, and songwriter
Inspired by the dance Mecca and island of Ibiza, the CD has already spawned several club anthems, with much more to come. To experience him as a DJ, listen to the mixed CD Release Yourself 5.
Number 2 - Ben Watt
Ben Watt, also known as Benjamin Brian Thomas Watt, was born in 1962 in London, England. Watt is a British musician, singer, songwriter, and DJ. He focuses on genres like alternative rock, new wave, and house music. Watt has owned many labels like Lazy Dog, Cherry Jam, and Strange Feeling Records since 1998.
An artist turned DJ, Ben Watt showed his audience that the transition from Everything But the Girl to Buzzin' Fly is more of a logical and artistic growth. The recent release of Buzzin' Fly Volume 3 is a testament to the music that Watt continues to produce and find for the house heads of the world.
Number 3 - Frankie Knuckles
Frankie Knuckles is considered the Godfather of House. Frankie Knuckles has spent many nights spinning at The Warehouse in Chicago during the late 70s and early 80s, where the term "house music" comes from. Knuckles was born in 1955 in South Bronx, New York and passed away in 2014 in Chicago due to diabetes.
Recipient of the first Grammy for Remixer of the Year, Knuckles has worked on just about every important soulful vocalist in the past 20 years, including Diana Ross, Patti Labelle, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, and Patti LaBelle.
Knuckles was featured in the documentary Maestro in 2003 and many others after that. One of his popular releases, Your Love, was in the well-known video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Number 4 - Gavin Hardkiss
Since 1990, Gavin Hardkiss has been one of the biggest players in the American dance music industry. Gavin Hardkiss is a musical artist focusing on house, dance, and electronic music. Hardkiss was born in South Africa and is affiliated with record labels like Shadow Records and Sunburn Records.
Alongside his siblings Robbie and Scott, Gavin has served as a label boss, performance act, disc jockey, promoter, and key industry figure. Any devoted fan of house music has been following his career while increasingly seeing his name appearing in tracklistings and on playbills around the globe.
Number 5 - Murk
Murk is a band also known as Funky Green Dogs. Murk is a house-music production team from Miami, Florida, working together since 1991. The group consists of three members, including Ralph Falcon, Oscar Gaetan, and Tamara Wallace. Murk has had seven consecutive singles topping Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.
Murk's sound includes three basic components: basslines too deep and dark for Talla 2XLC's bog, hi-hats that ring out like some particularly funky species of frog punching through the night, and synth hooks riding atop the groove like a painted harlot. Over ten years later, the sound is still emblematic of the primal incarnations of house and body music.
Number 6 - Deep Dish
Deep Dish is an American electronic music duo from Washington, D.C. focusing on genres like progressive house, tech house, electronica, and trip hop. The band was active from 1992 to 2006, with a brief break, and has been working together again since 2014. Duo members Ali "Dubfire" Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi focus on remixes to popular artists from Madonna to Cher.
The Grammy Award-winning remix team Deep Dish have earned their well-deserved international reputation as one of the best remixer and live DJ teams. They were chosen as Best International DJ by Muzik Magazine and ranked highly on DJ Magazine's World's Top 100 DJs reader poll.
Number 7 - Armand Van Helden
Armand Van Helden is an American DJ, record producer, remixer, and songwriter from Boston. Helden was born in 1970 and is known as an influencer for the speed garage genre. He has remixed famous artists like Katy Perry, David Guetta, and Sneaker Pimps and has connections to the electronic music scene in NYC.
Helden is also known under names like Deep Creed, Circle Children, and Hardhead, amongst much more. He has been active since 1990 and is affiliated with over seven labels such as Nervous, ZYX, and Southern Fried.
Armand Van Helden has been out of the spotlight for a while, sticking to the underground scene. In 2004, Armand released New York: A Mix Odyssey, a truly unique and ground-breaking mixed CD compilation blending 80s dance music from Yaz, Soft Cell and Blondie with his current productions. His newer productions "Hear My Name," "My My My," and "Let Me Lead You" remind audiences of the brilliance of "You Don't Know Me" and "Witchdokta."
Number 8 - Junior Vasquez
Junior Vasquez is an American club DJ, remixer, and producer from Lancaster, PA. Vasquez was born in 1949 and focuses primarily on the house genre. He has been active since the 1980s and is affiliated with labels like Tommy Boy Records, Virgin/EMI Records, and Nervous Records.
Vasquez's birth name is Donald Gregory Mattern and he is known for the public falling out between famous artist Madonna in 1996 with his single "If Madonna Calls." As styles change and people come and go, Junior Vasquez stands singularly as one of the legends who continue to spin and produce music that clubland loves.
Number 9 - Robbie Rivera
Robbie Rivera is a house music producer from Puerto Rico mixing genres like electro, house, dance, funk, and tribal music. The DJ has incorporated garage and Latin elements in his music since 1996 and has worked with labels like Juicy, Virgin, and EMI.
With his mixed compilation Wicked in stores and distribution through respected indie Subliminal, Robbie has a lot to be happy about. The song "Bang" became a huge hit in 2000, leading Rivera toward a rise to fame that made it to the Olympics and MTV the same year.
Number 10 - Joey Negro (aka Dave Lee)
Whether referring to him as Joey Negro, Jakatta, or one of the Hed Boys, Dave Lee is well known as one of the roots of the British house and garage scene.
Joey Negro, also known as Dave Lee, is a British DJ and house music producer born in 1964 in the UK. Negro has created albums like The Secret Life of Us and Produced With Love on record labels like Defected, Virgin Records, and Azuli Records.
With countless productions and remixes in every DJ’s set, Negro manages to find the best music for his compilations and DJ sets while exploring his musicality with diverse and soul-satisfying projects. His set Kings of Disco, with Dmitri from Paris, is one of the latest gifts he has given to housemusic lovers worldwide.