Miami's Ten Best Local DJs
Craze is among Miami's crème de la crème.
Photo by Ian Witlen
Avicii, Tiësto, Afrojack, and other superstar DJs of the ilk may be all the rage come Miami Music Week and Ultra Music Festival, but as the undisputed party playground of the South, the 305 has its own set of equally talented DJs in our own backyard.
We're talking the beat bangers you've been partying with since before Wynwood was cool — the vinyl-spinners who never fail to turn your night into a rager, no matter what day of the week it is, and the ride-or-die club rats who rep the 305 everywhere they go.
While the Magic City has an abundance of gifted music makers, we've narrowed it down to the ten best DJs (and by DJs we mean club DJs — not electronic acts like Otto Von Schirach and Afrobeta) who currently call Miami home. Keep them in mind come Miami Music Week, because, when the dust clears and the tourists fly home, don't forget who will still be here fighting for your right to party.
10. Michelle Leshem
As the creative mastermind behind SuperMarket Creative, Michelle Leshem and her crew have been responsible for organizing some of the coolest events in the Magic City, helping local and international brands find their style and tap hip demographics. Come nightfall, though, Leshem takes Miami's club rats on a "melody-driven, era-hopping" spin on the dance floor. Aside from hitting the club with her blend of "disco, synths, and deep melodies," Leshem works as head of music programming at downtown Miami's Libertine. With the ability and reputation of throwing some of the most creative parties you'll ever attend (and the DJ skills and musical taste to match), Leshem is a triple threat.
Uchi discovered her love for space-age house and techno while working on her Dead Air radio show at the University of Miami's WVUM 90.5. Today, Uchi has created a nightlife concept surrounding her passion for "dark voids, shimmering lights, and the sound of the space between them" — and it's called Cyborgs. She started throwing the party back at the Electric Pickle last August. "I've always been enthusiastic about synthesizers and sort of '80s-sounding music," the DJ told New Times back in 2014. While the party has slowed down a bit, Uchi is now focusing more on her live sets. In fact, she recently played a live boiler room in Tulum, Mexico, and is working on releasing new music.
8. Santiago Caballero
There's no escaping the deep-house vibes of Santiago Caballero. As one of Slap & Tickle's resident DJs, Caballero and the S&T crew have taken the underground nightlife scene by storm. "Slap is very personal for me, because if it wasn't for this party, I probably wouldn't be DJ'ing right now," Caballero told New Times last year. Whether behind the booth at Bardot during S&T's weekly Tuesday-night residency or after hours every other Saturday at E11even Rooftop, Caballero puts his heart and soul into his music, and it makes you want to dance.
7. Dude Skywalker
Dude Skywalker has "time-traveled from the year 3046 to bring you dance music of the future." As self-proclaimed "explorers of sound with no regard for genres, time, or space — just that good shit," the Dudes — Sam Plessett, Alex Borges, and Fabio Galarce — are spreading futuristic party vibes across the 305. Though the threesome hasn't officially released new material since its 2014 EP, Together, the trio played a set during last year's III Points Festival. Nowadays, you can find them spinning tropical space-disco beats at Bardot or the Electric Pickle. But be warned — the Dudes are known for playing Jedi mind tricks on fans, so don't be surprised if you end up dancing your pants off.
6. Jessica Who
Having been featured on the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards as part of the Dove Fresh Spin campaign and this year's Red Bull's Inspire the Night series narrated by Andrew WK, Jessica Who has tasted celebrity. Still, the S.K.A.M. artist — the same label that carries DJ Irie, Lil Jon, and Will.I.Am on its roster — is staying loyal to her city.
5. Danny Daze
From spending endless days tirelessly working on new music to becoming an international DJ sensation, Danny Daze is a Miami success story. Though he relocated to Berlin in 2013, Daze technically still lives in Miami, spending about 70% of his time in our city. And somewhere in between his European gigs and Miami shindigs, the DJ found time to create a new record label, Omnidisc, while pushing releases from artists like Cliff Lothar and Drvg Cvltvre. But that's not even the most impressive news. Later this month, homeboy will be dropping a new EP, Miami. Described as "his most well-rounded work on Omnidisc to date" by Mixmag, we can hardly wait to hear what Miami will bring to the table.
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