- Brienne Boortz
Dubstep haters, take heart: The loved-and-loathed genre's extended 15 minutes of fame may be over, at least on a club level.
"Some subgenres of music are really short-lived," says Mansion DJ and three-time Indy Music Award winner Brandon Lee. "I don't really play any dubstep at all, and probably haven't for the last five months."
What's been taking its place, says Lee, are twerk and trap music, dance-friendly genres with pronounced hip-hop elements and lyrics that tend to be about "strip clubs and drugs and gangs or whatever; it's got a really Dirty South feel to it."
And while Lee is always scouring Beatport and other sources for the most current sounds, he also has a fondness for mixing in unexpected old-school rock and Motown.
"I really like rock and roll, and I really always wanted to be a guitar player," he confesses. "I always wished I was in a band, that I could sing and play guitar. But since I don't have any of those skills, DJing became my outlet for creative energy."
Lee also subscribes to the view that the true spirit of DJing is best conveyed through two turntables and a microphone, something largely abandoned by stadium acts like Skrillex and Deadmau5. In the latter's defense, it's worth noting that mixing, matching and scratching are pretty challenging when you're wearing a giant mouse head.
"I think he uses that as a distraction from what his hands are doing," says Lee of Deadmau5 and other big-name producers who dabble in live performance. "With a lot of festival DJs, it's set up so that you can't really see anything, and a lot of times they're just twisting knobs. But with real DJs and turntablists, you'll be able to see exactly what they're doing, because that's their showcase. That's what they want you to be entertained by."
2nd place: Animus Invidious
3rd place: DJ Gravity