It’s tough enough to stand out from the crowded pack of talented selectors on home soil, but for Australian DJs, cracking international markets and playing to fans across the globe is the dream.
Our local DJs and producers have proven they have what it takes to make it to the biggest stages in the world, and we’ve picked out a selection of just some of the homegrown acts from the past decade who’ve made the leap from small rooms to international tours, and put Aussie DJs squarely on the map.
If being voted Australia’s number one female DJ three years running didn’t give enough of a clue as to her success, Tigerlily aka Dara Hayes has been one of the biggest recent success stories in Australia’s electronic music scene.
Getting her first break as the runner-up in the Your Shot DJ contest, Tigerlily honed her skills playing prog house and techno around the Sydney club circuit before a mentorship from EDM superstar Tiësto saw her step it up and play huge stages across the world.
With her rep as one of our country’s biggest global party-starters secured, Tigerlily turned her attention to producing and now has a string of hits under her belt, including her breakthrough hit ‘Paradise’, the Beatport-topping collab ‘Invisible Children’ with Spinnin’ Records artist KSHMR, and her huge new pop-infused single ‘Ashes’.
After experiencing the successes and rigours of the music industry firsthand, Tigerlily has also become a high-profile ambassador for physical and mental health, working with RUOK? Day and Lifeline, as well as an outspoken voice about gender bias in the music industry.
Tigerlily has returned with her infectious new single ‘Ashes’
A man who needs no introduction, Flume has been at the forefront of the Australian electronic scene since he first appeared with the track ‘Sleepless’ back in 2011. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of success for young Harley Streten, and whether he’s DJing or playing his live set, he’s in demand in any country you’d care to name.
Having headlined solo shows and festivals all over the world, we’re fast getting to a point where if you were to ask anyone from overseas who their favourite Australian musician is, the answer will invariably be Flume.
From humble beginnings, Anna Lunoe has managed to become one of the country’s biggest exports, supporting acts such as The Weeknd and Disclosure, and even hosting her own HYPERHOUSE program on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio.
Having worked with the likes of Skrillex and TEED over the years, Lunoe has added even more notches to her belt, even earning the distinction of becoming the first solo female DJ to perform on the main stage of Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. If we ever needed proof that Aussie talent is well-received overseas, we only need to look at Anna Lunoe.
When you base your entire onstage persona around a particular gimmick, you can usually count the amount of time your music career has left. Unless of course you’re Timmy Trumpet, and you’re able to not only hugely evolve as a musician as you go along, but also manage to build yourself a dedicated global fanbase in the process.
From starting his career over a decade ago, Timmy Trumpet has gone from playing the local stages and dominating the Future Music Festival to becoming a household names in some of the world’s biggest electronic hotspots, including Ibiza and Miami – the spiritual homes of many of the world’s greatest DJs.
First emerging half a decade back, it took Will Sparks almost no time at all to become one of the most in-demand and beloved DJs in the country. Before anyone outside of Melbourne’s club circuit could take notice, he was headlining local festivals like Stereosonic, and even playing events worldwide, including the famous Tomorrowland festival.
At the tender age of 24, Sparks has already managed to set himself on a path of world music domination, and was crowned Australia’s number one DJ by inthemix in 2014, just a year after he won ‘Best Breakthrough Artist’ . With his tendency to sell out performances both here and abroad, and platinum singles with Joel Fletcher and Wiley under his belt, Sparks has cemented his place.
Havana Brown has been such a prominent figure within the Aussie electronic scene that it’s hard to remember a time when she wasn’t around. For almost 10 years, Brown has been one of the biggest DJs in the country, and her features on songs by some of the most successful names in the industry has seen her name spread around the world, while she’s also notched up ARIA nominations back home.
Having supported the likes of the Pussycat Dolls, Bruno Mars, Pitbull and Rihanna, her music has topped US dance charts on numerous occasions, and she’ll go down as one of our biggest figures of the past decade.
There’s a common theme for a lot of EDM producers and DJs, and it seems to be that, despite their electronic leanings, they often have a history of classical training. Such is the case for Tommy Trash, who used his early knowledge of piano and trumpet as a jumping off point for one of the most exciting careers for an Aussie musician in years.
His 2011 track ‘The End’ made him a global name, and he went on to collaborate with A-Trak. Digitalism, Wolfgang Gartner and Kylie Minogue, while also belting out remixes for Deadmau5, Empire of the Sun, Swedish House Mafia, Sub Focus, Zedd and Steve Aoki, earning him a Grammy nom for his work on Deadmau5′ track ‘The Veldt’.
Despite having a more classical background in music, Alison Wonderland’s spot near the top of the Aussie DJ pile is hardly surprising. Having first appeared on our radars five years ago, she’s gained momentum with every release she composes, and her profile has spread far and wide.
Following the release of her debut record Run in 2014, she’s gone on to collaborate with some of the biggest names in music, including The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, and has found herself performing around the world. Not a bad DJing career for a former member of the Sydney Youth Opera, eh?
Starting his career in Melbourne back in 2004, Dirty South (or Dragan Roganović, as his mum calls him) has made a name for himself as one of the world’s most in-demand DJs and remixers, lending his name to work by artists as varied as Snoop Dogg, The Pussycat Dolls, Kaskade, U2, Diddy, Dirty Money, The Temper Trap, David Guetta and dozens more.
Of course, this success has translated to the global stage as well, and he’s currently spending his time touring the U.S. and the rest of the world.
The sisterly duo of Miriam and Olivia Nervo have had one of the most successful careers in Australian music in general, with Forbes dubbing them the highest paid female act in EDM. Having signed to Sony/ATV at just 18, they’ve spent the better part of a decade spinning pop-tinged sets to some of the world’s biggest rooms.
Notably, they play about 60% of their own tracks in any given set, and have written music for some of pop’s biggest names like Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, as well as working with EDM figures like Armin Van Buuren and Afrojack.
“In regards to female DJs, I always really looked up to the NERVO girls,” says fellow big-room DJ Tigerlily. “In my eyes they’re really the only girls that have broken through into the top tier of DJs in the EDM scene, and it’s so awesome to watch their career go from strength to strength.”