20 Essential Up-and-Coming Techno DJs

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Many artists who have topped bills for years continue to do so—longevity and evolving success are the hallmarks of the genre's biggest names. Industry-leading techno artists like Charlotte De Witte and Amelie Lens, who have consistently topped festival lineups, continue to draw larger crowds than ever before. Meanwhile, labels like Drumcode remain pivotal, dominating platforms such as Beatport with their compelling releases. But make no mistake, these artists have been around for nearly a decade, and a label like Drumcode for almost 30 years.

This growing fanbase is due in part to a greater mainstream crossover, something that is reflected not only in the sound of the music. Take, for example, Peggy Gou’s "(It Goes Like) Nanana," which has pop sensibilities that broaden the genre’s appeal. This commercialization is also prevalent on the events side of things. In the capital, this trend is exemplified by the opening of new megaclubs like the Drumsheds and The Beams, as well as the newly-revamped Camden theatre KOKO, which programs big names across the spectrum of dance music.

Evolution of Techno

In counterpoint to the commercial sphere, there exists a vibrant and healthy underground scene. Though there is no doubt it is in a bit of a funny place, in part owing to an ongoing post-COVID recovery and shifting economic pressures. The challenges are palpable: in Berlin, Berghain’s Ostgut Ton label and agency ceased operations at the end of 2022. Similarly, Amsterdam's rave haven, De School, declared its permanent closure in January, signaling an end of an era for the city's underground scene.

Techno, once a distinct genre, now encompasses an array of dance music styles, making it a near catchall term for DJs who blend various influences within the 120-150 bpm range (though even these tempo restrictions are very much out the window today). In fact, traditional, straight-up techno seems to be experiencing a lull.

Instead, today's DJs and producers are increasingly drawn to more eclectic sounds. Recently, this includes the dembow/reggaeton rhythms championed by labels like TraTraTrax, the shuffled breaks of UK garage, and the bouncy synths adopted from trance. More recently, there's been a resurgence in loopy hardgroove, hinting at a potential shift back to deeper techno in 2024.

As one BBC News article put it: 'Music genres are now irrelevant to fans’. The landscape is changing. Look at 'best of' compilations from publications like Pitchfork to Resident Advisor; there's no single dominant genre. We might be entering an era where fleeting TikTok trends replace longer, cyclical genre popularity.

And it's this evolving landscape that has provided the core principle for my list below. The featured artists are those who use a techno set as a framework for sonic exploration, reflecting a wide range of sounds they enjoy.

How has technology changed the way Techno is produced and performed?

The increasing versatility of CDJs has played a significant role in the genre-hopping trend within techno. Honestly, when was the last time you saw someone play a record? A CDJ's advanced functionality allows DJs to loop and beatmatch with remarkable ease and speed. These tools facilitate layering across multiple decks—no wonder pop acapellas are often integrated into sets! Moreover, having tracks stored on USB sticks enables DJs to carry a library of tunes so vast, it would be inconceivable for a vinyl DJ.

So, what does it take to stand out these days? Well, the essence of the role remains the same: for DJs to connect with an audience, it's not just a matter of technical competency but also conveying an energy and passion for the music they play.

Ahead of the Curve: 20 Techno DJs to Listen to Now

1. Kia

Undoubtedly, one of the brightest stars to emerge over the last few years is the Berlin-via-Melbourne head of Animalia and Cirrus. With a keen ear for bass-heavy rhythms, IDM, and the deeper shades of techno and trance, Kia glides through genres and emotions in exciting and often unexpected ways.

2. Marie Montexier

Vinyl-only, French-rooted, and Cologne/Leipzig-based DJ Marie Montexier is another rapidly ascending name, thanks to her infectious party-starting. Her diverse selections, combined with razor-sharp mixing, have paved the way for Marie to gain more and more international attention—no doubt she will continue to do so further this year.

3. Mad Miran

A child of the Dutch underground, Miran’s ecstatic eclecticism sees her sets moving through deep cuts of electro, bass, IDM, dubstep, electronics, and breakcore. Her ability to energize a dance floor has to be experienced in person. Check out this oldie but goldie mix for the legendary Clone.

4. Jenny Cara

Based in Zurich, Swiss DJ Jenny Cara first touched base with electronic music early on when she ventured into the club scene of Lucerne, where her musical education began. Her selection oscillates between blithe and cheerful sounds, driven by the dynamic influences of UK sound culture. She is at her best when she keeps it fun, like in this Oddysee mix.

5. Livwutang

Seattle native Livwutang is another genre-bending DJ capable of delivering the most compelling of shape-shifting sets. 'As a lover of dubby, percussive tracks (that she likens to her father's influence), her sets are often propulsive, but even within that driving force, she manages to make her audiences feel comfortable.' - Mixmag

6. Softi

Cozi founder Softi has a knack for weaving together introspective, tempo-changing sets, gaining herself recognition amongst the UK underground scene. This HÖR mix perfectly demonstrates her ability to captivate.

7. Surusinghe

Championed by tastemakers such as Jamie xx, HAAi, and VTSS, the now London-based DJ continues to push a innovative and percussive, bass-driven brand of dance music. Expect more big things to come.

8. EMA

Forerunner of Dublin’s ever-fertile scene, EMA has established herself as a key torchbearer for a new generation of global bassniks, embodying community rave values through a love of low end frequencies. The Woozy founder’s diary is only going to get busier this year.

9. Veracco

With the release of his incredible VOAM EP, the TraTraTrax founder has firmly established himself as a daring sonic innovator. In his productions and DJ sets, the Medellín artist collides Latin-influenced tribal techno, hyper-electronica, carefully crafted IDM, and cutting-edge perreo-bass technology with both intensity and precision.

10. Rhyw

Like liquid mercury in a petri dish—slick, supple, and playfully disobedient—Rhyw’s music dazzles as it defies expectation. Making up the techno duo Cassegrain in a past life, the Berlin-based artist has turned to a more experimental approach which is yielding very exciting results.

11. French ii

The Tilburg-based producer’s collaborative EP on Nerve Collect is undoubtedly one of the highlights of 2023. Drawing from a darker shade of influences, his functional and murky, breaks and percussion-heavy sound especially depicts Frank’s deep-rooted ties to UK bass music.

12. OK Williams

Long-time NTS resident and London party starter OK Williams is one of those DJs who really know how to ignite a dancefloor with an infectious groove. In her own words: “I play a lot of techno that makes you want to twerk on the dance floor. Techno twerkin”.

13. DJ Mell G

Heir to the throne of Helena Hauff, this artist who broke through via a series of livestreams in 2020 has only continued her unstoppable rise. The Hamburg-based producer and JUICY GANG founder has more recently ditched a ghetto-tech sound for a more classic electro sound—expect brazen, bouncy club bangers.

14. Moopie

Like his label’s wide remit which includes indie rock, lo-fi synth pop, downcast IDM, brooding electro, and drum & bass, as a DJ Moopie is uncategorizable. A true wizard, this mix in the excellent Truancy series demonstrates his depth and class.

15. Purelink

Ambient techno has come a long way since the early days off blissed out 4x4 techno. Modern production tools allow the expansive, richly textured and rhythmically complex variety found on imprints such as 3XL, West Mineral Ltd and Hypnus. Concave Reflection, kindtree and Millia united form Purelink.

16. Dr Jeep

From polyrhythmic techno, to dancehall, to techy minimal drum & bass, the past 10 years have found the Brazilian-American producer Andre Lira, aka Doctor Jeep, exploring dance music from a global lens. Hope to see more of his impeccably produced bass-mutations in the years to come.

17. Yushh

Of all the new British DJs on the scene, here’s one that stands out. With her consistently impressive personal output and quality curation of her label, Yushh has cemented herself as a leading light of Bristol’s new wave. Behind the decks, she has an ability to weave rhythmically propulsive, low end heavy and ultra dubby sets, much like her impressive productions.

18. Tammo Hesselink

The Amsterdam-based artist’s lean, broken techno has garnered him a loyal following—last year’s Beam is a classy demonstration of his subtle variation and perfect loops. This mix shows his daring talent behind the decks.

19. Jonny From Space

Of all the talent to emerge from Miami in recent years, I have a feeling that Jonny From Space is yet to have his moment in the sun. But having honed his skills from the Club Space booth, with another exciting release already forthcoming this year on Incienso, we feel it's only a matter of time.

20. DJ Voices

DJ Voices is of an increasingly rare breed: a DJ, and just a DJ. And not just that but a true DJ’s DJ. The Nowadays resident is perhaps the best example of the new zeitgeist—there are no genre boundaries to her craft, one centred instead around challenging the dancefloor and engendering community.

What's Next in Techno Music?

As mentioned, I suspect there will be an ongoing divide between the commercial sphere and the independent underground, as well as integrating diverse musical influences, from global sounds to experimental electronica, all within a techno framework.

In terms of technological advances, the most significant being AI, whilst I’m of the opinion that it won’t replace DJs, I certainly see it being used as a tool by DJs, as well as producers, say for mixing. Exactly how this will determine what’s next is hard to say. Will people enjoy clubbing in VR as much as in real life?

How to start a career as a techno DJ

Deep Listening.

Immerse yourself fully in the music. Organise your music discovery process and revisit tracks you're considering for your sets. Focus on understanding how different sections of a track can influence the energy of a mix and identify parts that could create impactful loops.


In addition to your bedroom or Pirate’s professional DJ rooms, try and get yourself gigs. The hardest aspect of being a good DJ is connecting with a dancefloor, especially for unknown, new DJs. So giving yourself opportunities—opening sets at small club nights or an impromptu hop-on at a messy house party, are crucial to growing as a DJ.

Try Producing.

DJing and producing are distinct skills, and excelling in both isn't a given. However, trying your hand at production could unlock a new mode of expression for you and deepen your understanding of musical structure and the frequency spectrum.

Above all, it’s important to love doing this long-term, so be sure to enjoy the process. If you’re in it for the right reasons and not with a careerist mentality, you’ll develop lifelong friendships, relationships with certain tunes and have a creative outlet that brings you joy on a regular basis.

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