Earlier this month, Crossfade's sister blog West Coast Sound kicked up lots of controversy and a massive comment thread with a list of the World's Douchiest DJs. And predictably, it was hotshot commercial EDM megastars like Tiësto and Paul Oakenfold who made the cut.
Now we here at Crossfade have been known to talk our fair share of shit. But just so you know that we aren't on a strict haterade diet, we thought it would only be fair to list the world's least douchey DJs.
Granted, the international EDM industry is driven mainly by big egos and even bigger pockets. But there's a few blessed souls who've used (and continue to use) the music to actually give back to humanity.
Slovenian DJ-producer Uros Umek is testament to the fact that being a commercially successful international DJ superstar doesn't mean you have to be a douche. Back in 2005, Umek single-handedly founded the Party for a Cause humanitarian music festival. Going down every year in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, Umek's event raises funds and generates support for both local and international charity organizations, benefiting victims of crime and children with cancer, among others. Party for a Cause draws upwards of 30,000 people each year, with performances by Umek and other international heavyweight headliners like Carl Cox. Our hat goes off to anyone -- let alone a DJ -- who can move that many people for a good cause.
2. Jay Haze
American DJ-producer Jay Haze was probably destined for a career in the Peace Corps, if he hadn't found his musical calling first. After all, he's been an active charity worker since his teens. And he certainly didn't allow his international success as a globetrotting DJ to get in the way of being a dedicated philanthropist. After witnessing third-world poverty firsthand in Lima, Peru, Haze teamed up with the Tuning Spork label to organize a series of international charity events called Toys & Needs. But his humanitarian efforts did not stop there. Haze's DJS4DRC campaign in 2009 helped women and children affected by rape and violence in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, raising a whopping €100,000 through Haze's donation of all profits from his Fabric 47 mix CD. Talk about giving back!
3. Mike Huckaby
Mike Huckaby is definitely one of the world's least douchey DJs. Although international demand for his dance beats regularly takes him to Russia, Australia, and beyond, Huckaby's made it a point to spend the bulk of his time in his hometown of Detroit, teaching music to underprivileged kids. He puts in a ton of hours at Detroit's Youthville, a community center that fosters positive youth development, where kids of little means can learn electronic music production, among others skills. His commitment to sharing the gift of music and fostering the next generation of EDM producers makes Huckaby a true humanitarian and a selfless leader.
4. Seth Troxler
DJ-producer Seth Troxler may be best known for his druggy late-night techno stylings and irreverently humorous DJ persona. But in 2011, he also proved that he's got a heart of gold. Following the catastrophic March earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, Troxler launched Red Dot Relief (later joining forces with Jay Haze and the Tuning Spork Efforts Team), asking the dance music community to help raise money for and spread awareness of the disaster. Troxler's relationship to Japan is personal, as his fiancee's family was affected. But he knew his influence as an internationally celebrated DJ could get thousands of people involved in helping the cause, and Red Dot Relief has received widespread support across the international EDM community.
5. Terre Thaemlitz (AKA DJ Sprinkles)
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Few DJs have done more for education in general than Terre Thaemlitz, especially in promoting awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. In addition to her critically acclaimed work in avant-garde and electronic dance music production, and her twenty odd years as a club DJ, Thaemlitz is also a public speaker, educator, and academic writer specializing in issues of non-essentialist Transgenderism and Queerness. Even her much-lauded 2009 deep house album Midtown 120 Blues was a commentary on house music's roots in NYC's gay minority community.
You can keep your meat-headed, fist-pumping DJ Pauly Ds of the world. We prefer our DJs brainy and humanitarian.