As a Funktasy Magazine Top 10 tradition, every year we highlight the cream of the crop of international artists, House DJs, and producers. Selecting only 10 artists a year is the hardest part of this list – there are countless House DJs that have pushed the envelope and created innovative tracks this year. Our team of writers does extensive research on each candidate and puts into consideration their production, release frequency, live performance, streaming, and fan base. So, in no specific order, we bring you Funktasy’s Top 10 picks for the Top House DJs of 2022.
Danny Tenaglia is a New York-based House DJ whose records take influence from various genres, ranging from R&B and Soul to Samba. In 2002, Tenaglia was nominated for a Grammy in the Remixed Recording category, for his work on Depeche Mode’s “I Feel Loved”. This speaks not only to the caliber of his remixing skill but also to his prolific spread of production and remixes. His most popular track, Music is the Answer, demonstrates Tenaglia’s creative use of icy keys and synths atop drum-loop-centered tracks to create a kinetic, heartbeat-like backdrop in his most polished of songs.
Nkosinathi Maphumulo, better known under the alias Black Coffee, is a South African DJ, Producer, and Songwriter. Founder of the Johannesburg-based label Soulistic Music, it should come as no surprise that heavy R&B, jazz, and soul influences are notable in his production, creating a unique tandem between the rhythmic fluctuations of his drum kits and experimentation on the higher end with his synths, strings, and keys. The tracks he produces truly do evoke the feeling of sipping Black Coffee the morning after clubbing- refreshing, eye-opening, and invigorating. A notable accolade is the fact that he produced Drake’s “Get it Together” – a track that demonstrates his masterful ability to blend vocal features seamlessly with mesmerizing house beats.
David Penn is a Spanish DJ, known especially for his European tours, playing shows for labels like Defected and Glitterbox. With 15 years of DJing experience under his belt, Penn’s production is likely the lightest feeling on this list, however, that lends itself to creating more effusive and unrestrained beat drops on his tracks Worked with Idris Elba & the Inner City to produce “No More Looking Back”, a bitterly-saccharine kinetic track, with tight production that effectively highlights the vocal talents of the featured artist, Steffanie Christi’an.
Purple Disco Machine
Tino Piontek, better known as Purple Disco Machine, is a German House and disco producer. He Remixed Lizzo’s 2022 Single “About Damn Time” effectively upping the piercing bassline and supplementing Lizzo’s iconic vocals with a backing track with a beat that is sure to make this a clubbing classic throughout the next year. Piontek has also produced official remixes of Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” and Lady Gaga’s “Rain on Me”, exemplifying his greatest strength in recutting songs and amplifying their strengths. That is not to say, however, that his solo tracks do not have incredible merit. With the 2022 deluxe release of “Exotica”, Purple Disco Machine put out tracks that were overtly cognizant of contemporary music trends and demonstrated near unrivaled skill in production in not only high tone synths but also compelling, head-bopping basslines.
Honey Dijon is an American electronic producer with a basis in both New York and Berlin. She has collaborated with designer brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton to provide backing tracks for runway expositions. Dijon’s drum work is an apparent strength of hers, producing unique and fresh-feeling drum loops that not only stand out on their own but also emphasize her heavy-hitting style of swing bass. Dijon is an artist that cannot be confined to a single box, however. Despite her roots in the Chicago house scene, the DJ was able to branch out to a multitude of other styles including grimy industrial techno, rhythm-focused house tracks, and head-bumping electro-swing.
Roger Sanchez is DJ with a Dominican-American upbringing. Founder of the label “Stealth Records”, Sanchez handpicks tracks for his compilation albums titled Release Yourself, which pay homage to his Latin roots with infusions of tribal and house sounds. Sanchez received a Grammy for his house remix of No Doubt’s “Hella Good” in 2003, which sparked a long line of notable collaborations with other large-name artists, including Daft Punk, Garbage, Madonna, The Police, Far East Movement, and many more. Sanchez is a four-time winner of the DJ Awards’ “Best House DJ” in ‘99, ‘02, ‘04, and ‘07, and for good reason. He is prolific in the European Club circuit, especially well-loved in the highly-regarded clubs of Ibiza.
Sam Divine is a UK-based house DJ. As an early member of the Defected street team, Divine worked her way up in the industry, gaining popularity in the Ibiza club circuit. Now, she is headlining at huge festivals and clubs, touring globally with iconic setpieces, and has raised over 40k £ for Breast Cancer Research via her charity, D-Vita. As the founder of DVINE sounds, a successful label with upwards of 55 releases, it is undeniable that Divine has made a name for herself and carved out a niche for similarly minded artists in the industry. Divine’s 2022 single “I Want You” exemplifies her creative use of driving basslines in tandem with building keys and vocals to illicit both emotion AND a danceable, versatile track.
John Summit originates from Chicago, and his music takes very clear inspiration from house movements that course throughout the city, with an extra level of shine and polish that makes his tracks that much sweeter. Summit has amassed a huge following, with over 5 million listeners on Spotify. One notable peak in his career was the release of his track “Human” (ft. Echoes), which hit the number one spot on US Dance Radio charts. His tracks lend themselves incredibly well to festival play, with mass-moving rhythmic patterns that allow for those both familiar and unfamiliar with his music to enjoy it. As such, Summit has played festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Tomorrowland, and more.
Armand Van Helden
Hailing from Boston, Armand Van Helden has a branching, genre-spanning career, however, his strengths and passions clearly lie in the house scene. Van Helden got his first drum machine at the age of 13 and began DJing only two years later. Moonlighting as a DJ in college until graduating, Van Helden eventually quit his job to pursue his passion. He is a go-to name for remixing, including official work for stars like The Rolling Stones, Daft Punk, Janet Jackson, and Puff Daddy. Van Helden’s roots in hip-hop production are even evident in his house tracks-take the chart-topping “Bonkers” with Dizzee Rascal for example – there is a clear UK drill influence in not only Rascal’s verses but also in the kits used, the chunky and fluctuating saw bass that builds on the essentials of drill production in innovative ways.
A British electronic music producer, and house DJ, Chris Lake, first gained notoriety off of unofficial remixes, notably among them a mix of Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams are Made of These”. Lake’s first track that skyrocketed him into the limelight was his single “Changes” featuring Laura V. This track focuses on utilizing glassy key movement and pulsating drums to amplify Laura V’s vocal range. One of Lake’s most recognizable performances was in the Indy 500 Snake Pit alongside coveted artists like Skrillex, Alesso, and Illenium. Lake’s production style focuses heavily on top-end buildups that grow and grow until a crescendo into deep low-end cuts, making his tracks ideal for dance clubs.
We take pleasure in introducing artists and DJs from around the world. The world appreciates electronic music as communities everywhere from Canada to the United States, the UK, South America, the rest of Europe, and Asia are building their own DJ culture.
If you’re a DJ and/or a producer feel free to submit your Demos to Funktasy Records.
We look forward to our 2023 Top House DJs.