August 10, 2021
Overnight success takes about ten years. By that measure, your favorite DJ or producer was grinding long before you even knew they existed. And they probably tried countless times to find their groove. Dance music is a vast web of genres and subgenres. Its diversity makes it easy for artists to stay in the scene while they test out new sounds. DJ aliases also allow artists to exist in relative anonymity, at least until they blow up and their cover is blown.
Take, for example, Marshmello. The masked dance music phenom turned pop star scored a Billboard dance top 10 and a gold record and it was a mystery who was beneath that shiny lampshade. It was a running joke in EDM that even Dutch dance legend Tiesto got in on in 2016 with a fake reveal at EDC Vegas. The truth was before he donned the iconic dayglo white helmet, he was dubstep producer Dotcom.
We uncovered five more surprising former DJ aliases.
Before Kye Gibbon and Matt Robson-Scott released chart-topping hits like “Ready For Your Love” and “You’ve Done Enough” they were solo acts. Gibbon was Foamo and his wobble-heavy house - known as fidget - was an obvious forerunner for bass house.
Previously known as RackNRuin, Robson-Scott was also locked on heavy bassline business. He produced breaks, fidget, and early electro house. What’s more surprising is he was producing dubstep when it was still dubby and hadn't become the head-banging brofest it is today.
Treasure Fingers 2008 “Cross the Dancefloor” established the Atlanta producer as a leader in a new wave of disco house. He’s since harnessed that thumping retro funk on remixes for Foster The People, Chromeo, and Katy Perry.
Before that, he was a member of Drum & Bass trio Evol Intent. He went by The Enemy alongside partners Knick (Nick Weiller), and Gigantor (Mike Diasio). All three members of Evol Intent reimagined their careers. Diasio produced house as Computer Club. Weiller became lauded dubstep producer Bro Safari.
When Camelphat released “Cola” in 2017, their star rose quickly. They have continued to dominate the charts with “Panic Room,” “Be Someone,” and “Rabbit Hole.” That was no overnight success. The duo has been on the grind for nearly 20 years.
Before Mike Di Scala teamed up with Dave Whelan, he already had a career as a vocalist and producer for the British trance trio Ultrabeat and was a member of Rezonance Q an early aughts happy hardcore influenced project.
Just two years before Camelphat’s breakthrough hit, Di Scala was still producing Happy Hardcore as Re-Con.
Low Steppa, aka Will Bailey, is an influential figure in house music. When his bootleg of “My Love” by Route 94 first appeared on Soundcloud in 2013, it amassed over 2 million plays. His releases on Defected, Toolroom, and his own Simma Black imprint have tens of millions of streams.
The Birmingham, England native has lived a lifetime in dance music. Like Gorgon City, he was an early adopter of fidget house and electro under the name Twoker (with Alex Calver). Thier remix of CJ Boland's "Sugar Is Sweeter" is a fidget house classic. After their split, he produced dutch house and Moombathon under his given name and even has an early remix of Steve Aoki and Armand Van Helden from 2010.
Born Niles Hollowell-Dhar in Berekely, California, KSHMR's unique blend of main-stage dance and sonics that beautifully highlight his Kashmiri roots captivates audiences worldwide.
Before becoming a big room superstar, he produced hip hop with his childhood friend David Singer-Vine as The Cataracs. “Like A G6” with Far East Movement and “Bass Down Low” with DEV are club classics. And they produced “Slow Down” on Selena Gomez’s debut album Stars Dance.