You’re Mixing It Up: 7 DJs Who Do More Than Just Press Play

Whether it’s the Ashley Simpson SNL lip-syncing debacle or the fact that most pop stars actually don’t write their own songs *eye roll*, there’s always been a great debate on the credibility of the actual talent that music superstars have.

The most prevalent debate for this article, however, is the one that surrounds the electronic music world and involves the so-called “button pushers,” AKA DJS who do not mix their own music live. The problem is that it’s really smoke and mirrors more than anything and the true musicians who put a lot of time and effort into their craft certainly don’t believe it’s worth all the hype. Deadmau5 even weighed in on this current state of affairs in the electro music world in a blog post .

Personally, I’ve seen my fair share of DJs who mix live, EDM button pushers and those DJs below who take it all one step further with the incorporation of live instruments like guitars, drums, saxophones and more. I’ll just say watching true talent perform live is almost always my first choice.

So lets see what happens when DJs stop hitting ‘Play’ and start getting real…


Big gigantic

I’ve seen this talented duo live more times than I can even remember, and every single show just gets better and better. It’s the beauty of live music. With Dominic on Sax and Jeremy on drums, the two jam together so hard it makes sense why their name is BIG GIGANTIC. They’re considered an “instrumental livetronica, hip-hop and jazz musical group,” so if you didn’t find at least one genre in there you enjoy, IDK what to tell you. Haven’t seen them live yet? Don’t worry — they’ll be at Terminal 5 in NYC on March 11 and 12. Click here for tickets!



Here we have yet another electronic duo comprised of two brothers from the UK. Obvi you’ve heard of them and their undeniable success after “Latch” (which is now three years old, can you even believe it?). This led to other hit songs, another album, a Grammy nom and many tours. After experiencing their sheer talent in person, it’s easy to say they really make this look easy. The most alluring part of their live performance is watching the brothers beat their drums pads perfectly in sync while also bringing in other live elements such as live guitar bits.



I had the pleasure of hanging backstage with this talented musician before one of his shows in NYC. For starters, he is very soft spoken, laid back and genuinely intrigued by his fans. His love for the music is really real — I mean this guy is a music fanatic and it shows in the quality of the work he puts out. He also stands whole-heartedly behind his digital freedom philosophy by giving his music away for free.


Ex Mag

Now these guys could actually be considered an electro band. Gramatik produces for this talented group, made up of Eric Mendelson on keys and guitar, Mike Iannatto on beats, guitar and keys, Tyler Dondero aka SuperNicer also on keys and guitar, and Bryn aka ILLUMNTR on vocals and bass. I don’t know if you got all that, kinda sounds like a modern day Grateful Dead, but the main point is that they are super talented dudes who are down to switch up the culture through their music.


Empire Of The Sun

After finding their most popular song on YouTube, “Walking On a Dream,” and scrolling down to the comments section and reading, “Is anyone else here from that Honda commercial” I literally cringed. This song and group are not new by any means so the fact that they’re not on everyone’s top five list by now is simply tragic. I saw their highly acclaimed live show this past summer at Firefly Music Festival and it was the highlight of my entire weekend. The outrageous outfits, backup dancers and Luke Steele ripping his guitar solos is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives.



If this list was high school then Griz would be that pretty boy that every girl had a crush on. He’s a cutie and an extremely talented saxophone player as well. He combines his sax as well as funk, electro-soul, and calls himself future-funk. When he performs live the pure energy is undeniable. He’s also really fun to follow on snapchat — mynameisgriz.


Pretty Lights

Also known by his real name, Derek Vincent Smith, Pretty Lights is all about the show he puts on, especially when he brings out his live band. He is also well known for the light show that mesmerizes the masses. He mainly uses samples in his music and is considered a mix of electronic, hip-hop and soul. I currently have a Pretty Lights curse upon me where every time I go to see him live something comes up and I end up not being able to go. Hopefully you all don’t have the same issue and can see him when he’s in your city, I hear it’s worth the trip!

Source :

fact mag