Orange County gets a bad rep for not having a real dance music scene. Sure, we have the EDM bros fist pumping through the weekend starting Thursday and bottle rats trying to get into the DJ booth on the regular. But if you look past the fake smiles and excessive plastic surgery in the crowds, you will find there are some DJs who have a real passion for electronic dance music. In fact these are the guys shying away from the club gigs to focus on producing quality music, throwing some of the sweetest parties down the street, or creating their own scene where they see it lacking. We've highlighted the top five local DJs to watch in 2014.
Dangerhouse is most known for killin' it at his regular weekly gigs all over OC from The Yost Theater, Ten Nightclub, La Cave, Sharkeez, Commonwealth Lounge to Bassmnt in San Diego and beyond. The self proclaimed real local DJ can read a crowd like nobody's business and play old school hip-hop perfectly spliced to tech house, progressive house and mainstream electro. Following the release of his single “Dreamares” produced with Daniel Mihai N Von Ukuf on StellaR's Calamity of Noise Records, he began stepping up his production game on a side project titled Aminal Crackers. As his tech house productions increased, his sets have only gotten better. We can't wait until his collabs with Denver's Shea Delany come out and Barnes gives Orange County more of that underground tech house sound.
4. Kedd Cook
Our 2010 “Best OC DJ” winner has graduated from a nightclub DJ to a stellar artist. Kedd Cook has been getting down at Le Cave Wednesdays which he has thrown with his partner Brendan Thomas for four years strong now. As the Modern Disco Ambassadors, they also throw weekly's at Mesa and one-offs with our favorite deep house institution Focus (which included a major gig with Nina Kraviz at Ten Nightclub this month). Known for bringing out nothing but good vibes with sexy house grooves, Kedd Cook (born Ian Alexander) recently dropped his original “Don't Talk, Listen,” proving that his producing skills are just as sharp as the records he plays from LA warehouses to OC Lounges.
3. Aaron Marcus
HB native Aaron Marcus began manning the decks in the OC nightlife scene at clubs like Sutra and the Yost Theater after sharpening his DJing skills through his Insurgent Radio Podcast in 2010. It stood on iTunes next to Tiesto's Club Life and Armin Van Buuren's ASOT for almost a year gaining him thousands of fans worldwide. He graduated from Icon Collective last year and was nominated for student of the year alongside MAKJ. His electro banger “Attention” with Jay Dangerous was then soon picked up by Lazy Rich's Big Fish Recordings. Now Marcus' songwriting skills are maturing as he works on projects with LA favorite Darrigo, which incorporate vocals and live instruments in mind with hopes to change the game of progressive house music.
2. Angelo Patino
Angelo Patino has toured the world as part of the Dim Mak family and made some pretty famous friends along the way – spending Vegas vacations with artist like Adrian Lux and more. The former PeaceTreaty member embarked on a solo career this year and has already released an EP on Robbie Rivera's Juicy Music label. Known for playing the big room electro house which dominates the festivals and clubs today, Patino has proven to be a talented songwriter, producer and DJ through his remix work, mash-ups and current originals. Working on future collaborations with artist like Cold Black, the Newport Beach resident has a slew of new tracks said to be released next month.
Derek Anderson and Scott Land (two former frat brothers from UCI) have been helping cultivate a trap scene right here in OC. Opening for everyone from dubstep king Flux Pavilion at the Observatory to trap master UZ at the Yost Theater – they have honed their sound as a medley of everything from dubstep to hip-hop. Playing gigs from Space in Miami to XOYO in London, Slander has garnered most of their support through the interweb trap craze. Diplo played their Calvin Harris “Awooga” remix on BBC Radio 1, their Hardwell N MAKJ “Countdown” remix was played on Power 106 LA, and SiriusXM's Electric Area played their original collab with Kayzo “Gettin' Down.” They just finished a mix for Jay Z's Life + Times and are rumored to be releasing music on his Roc Nation label. We wouldn't be surprised if we catch Slander at one of HARD's well known trap stages in 2014.