10 DJs Over 40 Still Going Strong
I don’t know about you guys, but I like to think I’ll still be every bit of the EDM fanatic I am right now when I turn 40. But, the reality is, that’s not how it works for most people. It’s a scene where the landscape is constantly changing. The DJs I grew up listening to have opened the door to the younger generation. The Beatport top 100 is filled with names that are too young to even legally get into the clubs that they headline at. Although these young and talented artists deserve every bit of the recognition they receive, I think it’s important that we pay homage to some of the DJs that have been anchors in the scene. Despite ups and downs in the industry, extreme shifts in audience musical taste, and the stigma that EDM is for young people, these 10 DJs over 40 have stuck around and are still absolutely killing it.
10. Paul Oakenfold (50 years old) – It’s not even fair to try and sum up Paul’s accomplishments in a few short sentences. He is truly a legend, and we here in the United States, have had the pleasure of seeing a lot more of his face in the last 5 years. Paul is still a resident and one of the most in demand DJs in both Las Vegas and Miami. During his career, Paul has played shows in Alaska, Vietnam, Cuba, India, Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, China, the Philippines, South Africa, and Egypt.
9. Benny Benassi (46 years old) – I doubt when Benassi released “Satisfaction” in June of 2002 that he thought it would still be a staple of so many big name artist’s sets 11 years later. “Satisfaction” is only one small piece of Benassi’s incredible DJ career. His song “Cinema” was one of the genre’s anthems in 2011. In addition to his insanely successful single releases, Benassi still maintains the role of a headliner at some of the world’s biggest music festivals.
8. Fatboy Slim (50 years old) – If you’ve been to a festival this year, you’ve probably watched Fatboy Slim play a main stage set. “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat” has become somewhat of an anthem for the EDM community. But, it’s “Praise You” that will forever be Fatboy Slim’s anthem in my mind. Released in 1996, it is a track that will always be remembered, along with his other generation-defining hits such as “Right Here Right Now” and “Weapon of Choice”. Scattered over a period of about 20 years, Fatboy Slim has raked in 10 MTV Video Music Awards.
7. Frankie Knuckles (58 years old) – I’m sorry if you’re too young to know who Frankie is, but it would simply be wrong not to include this guy on the list. After a rough childhood in poverty stricken Harlem, he played perhaps the most vital role in the emergence and popularization of house music. His work in Chicago in the late 1980s and early 1990s helped birth a scene that did not exist in any way before him. Simply put, EDM as we know it today would not exist without Frankie Knuckles. At 58 years old, he’s still as active as ever. He came back to his stomping grounds earlier this summer and let loose an incredible set at Wavefront Music Festival in Chicago.
6. David Guetta (45 years old) – After getting his start in the 1980’s, David Guetta has managed to rack up an unfathomable amount of accomplishments in recent years. Six million album sales, 3 UK #1 songs in a single year (2009), and 15 million single sales. When you’re headlining the main stage at Ultra, there’s little doubt about your place in the industry.
5. Carl Cox (52 years old) – Everyone had to know this name was going to be present somewhere on the list. Carl Cox is one of the most beloved and talented DJs in the industry. You’d be hard pressed to find a single person that has a negative thing to say about him. Depending on who you talk to, an argument can definitely be made that he hosts the most impressive stage at Ultra Music Festival. The Carl Cox & Friends stage is a visual and musical masterpiece. Cox is perhaps the most well known face in the dance music capital of Ibiza as well.
4. Paul Van Dyk (41 years old) – When it comes to massive and long lasting success, no one holds a candle to Paul Van Dyk. Van Dyk has managed to hold a spot as a top 10 DJ in the world for every year since 1998. He is one of the first DJs ever to use his musical gifts to vault himself to celebrity status. The German producer helped bring the genre into the public eye. Oh, and add a Grammy to his list of accomplishments as well.
3. Pete Tong (52 years old) – It’s all gone Pete Tong. Pete Tong is electronic music. He’s dabbled with just about every aspect of the industry. In addition to being a musical genius, Tong is a brilliant businessman. He’s responsible for starting the International Music Summit. He’s also helped launch the careers of so many of the artists we love today with his world famous BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix and The Essential Selection. I feel our industry is safe so long as we have a man of Tong’s caliber protecting it. He’s no slouch on the stage either. There’s a reason artists pull out their best work when they are in his presence. Tong will be joining Tiesto and Calvin Harris on tour this December.
2. Kaskade (42 years old) – Having been entrenched in the scene for over ten years, Kaskade seems to pick up more and more steam each year he ages. It was just last year that Pioneer and DJ Times ranked him as the number one DJ. His upcoming Atmosphere tour remains one of the most highly anticipated tours in recent memory.
1. Tiesto (44 years old) – Named the number one DJ in the world three consecutive years starting in 2002, Tiesto is showing no signs of slowing down now ten years later. He remains arguably the most recognized name in the industry. Whether it be trance Tiesto, house Tiesto, or even deep house Tiesto, it’s going to cost about half a million dollars to book the Dutch superstar.