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Introducing the DJ Awards' progressive house category

We chat music, current projects and Ibiza with 2019's nominees.

Whilst Ibiza - and the world - might not be ready for a full-on progressive house renaissance, we have certainly noticed that elements of the genre have crept back into populism. Like a trojan horse, they now masquerade under other - some would say cooler - pseudonyms.

You might consider them something else entirely, but to those of us who were there at the height of progressive's popularity, this current wave of electronic music branded “melodic” is unmistakably prog.

When EDM exploded and hijacked the “progressive house” tag, the vultures circled and the underground quickly distanced itself.

Though a few protagonists remained loyal, the music style progressive house was largely ostracised - that is, until recently. Now the underground has united around a new common enemy to aim its collective mirth.

One entity that never turned its back on progressive house was the DJ Awards.

Launching the DJ Awards into 2019, Ibiza's version of the Grammys invited Hernán Cattáneo and Nick Warren to play back-to-back at sunset at Café del Mar.

Ahead of their appearance later that night at HEART Ibiza alongside Behrouz, Hernán and Nick displayed exactly why they've remained class acts through all the fads and eras. If you missed it, you can catch-up on the stream below.

In actual fact, this past Tuesday really underlined how influential progressive house still is on the island. In addition to Hernán and Nick repeating their b2b at Do Not Sit, you could have also caught Patrice Bäumel opening up the main room at RESISTANCE.

Original progressive house pin-up boys John Digweed & Sasha then swiftly took over - and, yes, we did do a lot of club hopping on the night!

With the vote closing recently for this year's DJ Awards, we put six of the eight nominees under the microscope, getting their views on music, their current projects and Ibiza.

Here's what the Progressive House category had to say.


Dave Seaman will forever be a house music legend for those Renaissance and Global Underground mixes. Aside from his exploits on the underground, he's even been known to jump in the studio with pop royalty!

Today, he's the top dog at Selador records, whose alumni includes Zoo Brazil, Cristoph and O.C. & Verde amongst others.

Last summer, Dave appeared alongside fellow old school heads Darren Emerson and Danny Howells to form 3D. The trio appeared for Renaissance at Moments Of Ibiza, while they also made further appearances together across Europe. Proof that there's life in these wily veterans yet.

... on how the 3D project came together.

"It all started as a bit of fun. We all got booked to play at Ministry Of Sound in London a couple of years ago and I joked to the promoter "we should call it 3D for Dave, Danny & Darren." Then before we knew it, he'd made up artwork billing us as 3D!

On the Monday straight after the weekend, the phone started ringing with promoters asking if they could book 3D. Suddenly, we were a thing! But once we realised there was a real appetite for the 3 of us playing together, we embraced it.

We have all known each other for a long time and have real fun together so it was a no brainer really to run with the project and see where it takes us."

... on his label - Selador - being inspired by Donnie Darko and it reaching the 100th release milestone.

"The label's name was inspired by Donnie Darko. There's a scene in the film where it's said that the most beautiful sounding combination of syllables in the English language are 'cellar door.' That struck a chord and we adapted our name from there.

We're really happy with what we've achieved so far, the label continues to go from strength to strength, but that's just really set a new agenda and whet our appetite for what we can do next. My label partner Steve Parry has teamed up with Luke Brancaccio for our latest release.

Next, we have Justin Massei back on the label with Marco Resmann on remix duties, followed by a Dee Montero EP with Christian Nielsen, Made By Pete and Animal Trainer after that. Made By Pete and Ed, One last EP on Selador was one of the strongest releases we have had in my opinion."

... on where progressive house sits in today's electronic music landscape.

"It's funny that prog is seen as being back in vogue again when in reality it never went away. It was just disguised as something else. It became a real dirty word on the underground for a while. But now Beatport separates EDM into Big Room and Future House.

What goes around comes around in the circular nature of fashion. It's now no longer a curse to be tarred with that brush. The thing is, I noticed recently, that myself and Nick Warren both did charts recently for Beatport and not one of the tracks we chose actually came from the progressive section.

No matter what we play, we will always be called progressive DJs. Whereas the likes of ARTBAT, Township Rebellion, Adana Twins, Undercatt etc., who are all making some of the best modern progressive house out there, are considered "techno." It's all the same thing.

I really like what Baime are doing right now. I think they're going to have a great year. Same for Made By Pete and EdOne. I love what Ed is doing."

Eelke Kleijn, The Netherlands

A natural DJing talent, it says much about Eelke Kleijn's multi-talents, that is perhaps better described as a composer first and foremost.

On the remix front, he has reworked music from artists as diverse as John Legend and Pendulum - heaping further versatility at his door.

Eelke may not have a bigfooting on Ibiza. Yet he can regularly be found exporting his brand of melodic music to faraway shores. He's practically a permanent fixture on the Balance Music stage at Sydney's Electric Gardens festival.

… on his career working on TV/film scores

“That background does help (as a dance music producer) to some extent, but you have to be careful at the same time. You can't just take something from the TV/film world and turn it into a club track.

I'm a big fan of string instruments, but a solo violin piece that is amazing in a movie can be too much in a clubbing environment. A good dance track often comes down to “less is more", whilst music for scores can be the exact opposite principle, especially in relation to orchestra.”

...on developing a live A/V format show.

“I started working on a live show earlier this year, with the first performance at DGTL in Amsterdam. The show is based around 2 Pioneer DJS 1000 samplers which I used to run the basics of the track, like drums, bassline and some effects.

Then I play the main melodies live on top, either directly from my Dave Smith Mopho x4 or through my laptop which is running Cubase with Omnisphere and Kontakt. In the past, I've done another live show based around Ableton with some controllers. But I never really liked it.

I wasn't able to improvise in Ableton. I also wanted to play an instrument live on stage. Those were the most important requirements for the current live project, and I'm happy it's working out really well so far. I did three shows this summer and three more are coming up in September, at Into The Woods Festival in the Netherlands and then also Berlin and Paris.”

… on his favourite Ibiza memory.

One of the most memorable things I did on Ibiza was actually just taking a break from clubbing with my family. I played two shows over two weekends a few years back, and we decided to stay for 12 days or so and really explored all parts of the Island.

My daughter loved swimming in the ocean; she was only three at the time. She's still talking about that actually! Too often, my trips to Ibiza are pretty much in and out again.

Guy J, Israel

Like many of his fellow nominees, Guy J saw the potential in Km5's gorgeous outdoor garden in hosting a label takeover. Last summer, the Israeli brought Lost&Found to the island for a special one-off. Elsewhere, he even launched a festival in Amsterdam.

While Guy's Ibiza appearances are limited, he was also a guest for Jean Claude Ades's B!CRAZY where he played back-to-back with namesake Guy Mantzur. Maybe success at this year's awards can catapult the Lost&Found label boss towards the forefront of Ibiza's scene.

… on last year's one-off Lost&Found event at Km5.

As everybody knows, Ibiza is a very challenging place to throw a party. Km5 is a beautiful location and I got offered the opportunity to do the party last minute. I think it was great to showcase the label in Ibiza, but in reality, it demanded more planning in advance.”

… on his favourite venues to play on the island.

I love HEART Ibiza since it's not too big and has a beautiful terrace. I've heard a lot about Cova Santa - everyone seems to be buzzing about it at the moment. I'm going to play there on 23 August for Magdalena, so I'm looking forward to that. I'm curious to see the place and excited to play my music there.”

… on Israel being fertile ground for electronic music artists.

Growing up in Israel was exciting and restless all at the same time. For me, Tel Aviv was a city where you got exposed to everything, whether you liked it or not. Maybe that's why a lot of producers from there make colourful music?”

Guy J plays for Shadows at Cova Santa on Friday 23 August.

Hernán Cattáneo, Argentina

HEART is unusual by Ibiza standards. For starters, it's a mere 1,000 capacity - dwarfed by the island's other clubs. Secondly, it's pre-midnight fine dining clientele means that the crowd is not as raucous as other venues. But there are always exceptions to the rule.

Bringing a strong Argentine contingent on his dates at Do Not Sit both last and this summer, Hernán Cattáneo would be the catalyst for such an anomaly. Later in the summer, the patriot collected the special industry award for Dance Nation on behalf of his country - on this evidence, well earned.

… on artists we should be keeping our eye on.

Due to the regained popularity of the melodic sound, there are many new upcoming DJs breaking through at the moment. But also some not so new DJs are finally getting the recognition they deserve. DJs like Davi, Anton Tumas, Khen, Cid Inc, Brian Cid between many others. It's always difficult to give names without feeling you leave others out.”

… on global trends and a shift on the dance floor.

I try not to pay attention to styles or genres. Having said that, I know the industry, the press and the clubbers, too, so from that point of view, I think even when there is not a big difference between both styles, in the end, it's a good thing.

Melodic house and techno brings a lot of DJs to the prog side. Even though, for some reason, they don't like that name. It means more DJs are playing our sound.”

… on his and fellow nominees Dave Seaman & Nick Warren's longevity in the industry.

We have stuck to the sound we like and do not follow trends. It may not be huge, but we have a really hardcore and loyal fanbase. And, of course, you could also add to that the fact that we've all been very consistent over the past 20 years.”

Nick Warren, UK

Another proponent of the mix album, Nick Warren needs little introduction. Over the course of the past few summers, we've been treated to some glorious outdoor events put on in the name of Nick's DIY label The Soundgarden at both Boutique Hostal Salinas and Km5. The independent entity thrives on a close-knit community spirit.

As we mentioned above, his b2b with Hernán was one of the stand-out sets of all of 2018. The duo was given the opportunity to repeat that stunt this past Tuesday night with equally spectacular results. The two are no strangers to playing together, and the chemistry is plain to see.

… on The Soundgarden's events in Ibiza.

We loved our events in the garden of Km5. They had the carefree, fun vibe of the original Ibiza. Sadly Km5 is not opening this year. That, coupled with the fact The Soundgarden is very busy with events across the world, has meant things moved slowly. However, we are in talks about doing a one-off event at the end of the summer - we'll keep you posted!”

… on last year's much-talked-about b2b with Hernán at Do Not Sit.

HEART is such a great club and both my appearances last year were amazing. The b2b with Hernan was a complete roadblock and we heard it was the club's busiest night of the season, so of course, I was overjoyed to be asked to return with Hernán and Behrouz. The Elements event was also fantastic, with the cool northern Ibiza hippy crowd in attendance.

This year I'm also playing with my friend Jean Claude Ades for B!Crazy in August, and I absolutely cannot wait. The Do Not Sit On The Furniture, B!Crazy and Elements crews are all such a pleasure to work with.”

… on emerging talent on which we should be keeping our eye.

Gustin is a great friend to both myself and Petra who runs The Soundgarden events. He is also a top-notch DJ who knows how to set up a room for us perfectly. He is helping us with the label and is an integral part of The Soundgarden family.”

Nick Warren plays for B!CRAZY at HEART Ibiza on Friday 9 August.

Yotto, Finland

Odd man out, Yotto likes getting back to nature - that's if his RA bio is to be believed. Brought through the ranks at Above & Beyond's Anjunadeep, he is now considered one of its most valuable assets. He even counts Radio 1's Pete Tong amongst one of his biggest supporters.

With the young Finn recently starting his own label, he's about to embark on an exciting new chapter in his career. Though we hope he won't completely disassociate himself from the Anjunadeep camp.

… on the release of last year's LP, Hyperfall.

Time goes so fast. Hyperfall was a really fun project and I would definitely consider doing an album again in the future. It came together very naturally and I enjoyed it a lot from a personal perspective. I'd always wanted to release an album. There was a bit of something for everyone and the reception was great.”

… on the likelihood of Anjunabeats having a presence on Ibiza in the future.

Anjunadeep is growing a lot and they are doing a great job with all its events, such as Printworks and its London festival. I'm sure it would do really well in Ibiza. Hopefully, in the future, Anjunadeep can make the transition to residency on the island.”

… on being remixed by ANTS regular Joris Voorn.

Joris is not just an Ibiza legend, but a legend, period! It was a great honour for me to have him remix Walls. He smashed it. I have worked with his label and played with him at quite a few occasions, so I actually asked him personally to do the remix.”

Yotto plays for Shadows at Cova Santa on Friday 2 August.

Should you need reminding how amazing progressive can be, we asked all of the nominees we spoke to select tracks for a special Spotify playlist. You can listen to their selections below and subscribe to others on our channel here.

2019's DJ Awards takes place at HEART Ibiza on Monday 16 September. To be a part of the glitzy bash - and this year's theme of Plastic No More - you can purchase red carpet tickets below.

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