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10 Best San Francisco DJs Likely to Go Next Level in 2016

Saturday, December 19, 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, now is a perfect time to reflect on the massive year of music that was in SF. It's also great to begin looking ahead to what might be in store for 2016. 

To help get us all excited about San Francisco artists with music on the horizon, I put together a list of the 10 best DJs likely to take their tunes to the next level. Unfortunately, it's very disappointing that no female DJs made this top 10 list, so I'd like to give additional shout outs to SF talents like DJ Kelly, ShOOey from the Space Cowboys, Pam the Funkstress, BackSide, and techno queen Kimba. Hopefully I can find room to add at least one of impressive lady to a special list in the future. 

There is no telling where these local DJ talents will take the music industry in the coming months. However, I'm super excited about what could be in store and can't wait to hear them both in the clubs as well as at numerous venues and shows across California. Cheers to 2015 and hello 2016!


1. Viceroy 
Known for bringing summertime vibes all the time, the Sultan of Summer creates a unique brand of lush, tropical house and disco music. This SF producer has dropped a series of signature “Jet Life” remixes where he reworks classic throwbacks into feel good upgrades. Given his recent collaboration with fellow SF act Giraffage (see further below), expect even bigger things from Viceroy next year and I hope he continues to release the perfect tracks for serene, poolside vibes.  

2. Tycho 
Ambient music project Tycho is led by Scott Hansen, who services as the primary composer, songwriter and producer. Hailing from SF, Tycho is also known as ISO50 for his photographic and design works that are incorporated into his cosmically visual live set. He took his sound to the next level this year with a sunrise set at Burning Man and most recently announced a remix Awake Remixes EP along with the Baio (Vampire Weekend) remix of “Pains." Check him out at The Big One for NYE at Bill Graham Civic and stay tuned his new LP that should come out sometime in 2016.  

3. Lane 8 
Major props has to go out to Bay Area native Daniel Goldstein, who absolutely crushed it in 2015 following the release of his debut album, Rise on English deep house label Anjunadeep. Although he currently lives in Germany, Lane 8 rose to prominence after fine-tuning his production when living in SF. This early exposure led to appearances at The Do LaB stage at Coachella and Northern Nights festival. His most recent activity includes releasing seasonal mixes (Fall and Winter have dropped so far) and I'm super excited to see how Lane 8 develops his craft next year.  

4. Claude VonStroke 
House and techno producer Barclay Macbride Crenshaw, known formally as Claude VonStroke, currently lives in SF now with fellow Dirtybird talent Justin Martin in the Fillmore district. Von Stroke formed the infamous Dirtybird label in 2005, which has since exploded into force to be reckoned with. His crew launched their first Campout Festival this year to promote their own annual house music haven. There's no doubt that Claude has big plans in store for 2016, and I can't wait to see what new music he has on deck.  

5. Giraffage 
Born in San Jose, Charlie Yin currently lives near Lake Merced in San Francisco and has established himself using the performance moniker Giraffage. His insane show at Outside Lands this year included a mind-melting rendition of Darude's "Sandstorm," making the set was one of the more impressive electronic shows from the festival weekend. Now that Giraffage is signed Fool's Gold Records and has started collaborating with masked performer Slow Magic and other SF DJs like Viceroy, it's highly likely that his sound will evolve into a sensational product very soon.  

6. Qbert 
Filipino American turntablist Richard Quitevis has been entrenched in the SF music scene since the early 1990's and can easily be considered the top local scratch master. He opened his own Skratch University, an interactive online learning school and community for DJs, and made a stellar appearance at Ghost Ship Halloween back in October. Qbert's nearly infinite knowledge of sampling and drum machines leads us to believe that he's an unstoppable local force to be reckoned with. His latest work 'Baby Super Seal 2' sold out quickly thanks to the limited edition glow in the dark blue and packaging with 2 Baby Butter Rugs.


7. Vin Sol 
Soo Wavey CEO and Club Lonely founder Vin Sol has impressively spread his techno centric approach across San Francisco and beyond. With help from his good friend Matrixxman, Vin Sol has unleashed a barrage of really cool tunes to further develop the vibrant and thriving local music scene. I look forward to hearing more from Vin Sol and his cavalcade of electronic music stars.  

8. Ken Loi 
Although he was born in Australia, producer Ken Loi has called San Francisco his home since the early 80's. His euro dance style and eventually moved toward the trance scene after receiving inspiration from mega artists such as TiĆ«sto, Markus Schulz, and Sander van Doorn. His more recent release, "Scars" came out in September with help from Marcio Lama and vocals by Binks. Loi has a great opportunity to impress early next year when he plays at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on February 7 for a VIP Party for the Super Bowl.  

9. Atish 
West Coast burner Atish Mehta is a humble soul with a pure passion for melodic house music. With many Burning Man shows under his belt, plus partnerships with the Desert Hearts crew. After quit his job as a software engineer at Facebook in early 2015 to try DJing full time, I think there's a very good chance that Atish will have no regrets about this decision and is just getting started in terms of taking his music to the next level.  

10. Gordo Cabeza 
The Motown on Mondays founder Donovan Gordo Cabeza has expanded his weekly Motown-inspired dance parties worldwide, with American editions located in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and many more. Outside the U.S. it takes place in major cities like Sao Paolo, Brasil and Winnipeg, Canada. At this point, there aren't too many venues left in SF that Gordo hasn't played, including the final Sea of Dreams NYE and a dazzling set a few months ago at Treasure Island Music Festival's Silent Disco. Cabeza conceived MOM SF in April 2009, born from his desire to reconnect with the music that was often the soundtrack to his childhood. More importantly it was a chance to honor the people and music that helped raise him, especially his mother. New heights are the only logical next step for Gordo Cabeza, who has a crew of MOMs representatives to further influence and enhance his soulful mixes.

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