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Zoukout 2012: Your Essential DJ Guide

Since its inception in 2000, Singapore’s iconic nightspot, Zouk, has gathered crowds of dance music lovers to Sentosa beach to experience what we now know as the number one dance party in Asia, Zoukout! From a relatively humble turnout of 9000, Zoukout has increasingly attracted more and more like-minded night animals from around the region, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong. In 2010, Zoukout recorded 30000 people attending the party, the largest attendance of the event yet.

But there is more, much more to come. Spanning two exhilarating days of nonstop dancing, rest assured that your wildest expectations of crazy partying will not be let down. Zouk has always had a knack for attracting world-class talent from all over the globe to sunny Singapore, and just by looking at the lineup for this year’s romp, we can understand why Zoukout had to be spread out over two days; there’s just TOO much fun to go around!

For first-timers who can’t make head or tail of what acts to catch, don’t stress out just yet! ActuallyMAG presents a handy guide of the top DJs for you to look out for! You definitely do not want to miss them.


Day 1:



1. Kaskade

A perpetrator of all things house, Kaskade, aka Ryan Raddon, promptly rose to prominence when he switched to Ultra Records in 2006. His first single, “Move For Me”,  became his first number one hit on the Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay chart.

Since then, Kaskade’s success has never stopped flowing, with his follow-up single, “Angel On My Shoulder”, reaching number 5 on the same chart. This year was a big year for the American producer, with his headlining acts in major music festivals such as Ultra Music Festival in March, Coachella Valley Music Festival in April, and Electric Daisy Carnival in June.

And Kaskade looks set to end off the year with a bang with his greatly anticipated set at Zoukout. Look out for his minimal yet strangely addictive tunes that have served him so well over the past few years.


Tracks to check out:

– “Move for Me” (with Deadmau5)
– “I Remember” (with Deadmau5)
– “Dynasty” Feat. Haley
– “Fire In Your New Shoes” Feat. Dragonette
– “All You” (The Cataracs feat. Waka Flocka Flame & Kaskade)




2. Major Lazer

Everyone knows Major Lazer for one song: that seemingly annoying yet highly addictive “Pon the Floor”. Known for their extreme take on electro house and reggaeton, Major Lazer has, time and time again, excited crowds with their ever-changing style of dance music.

And the duo has given us reggae lovers yet another reason to rejoice! They will be releasing their upcoming album, “Free The Universe”, in February next year, so make sure you catch them live to get a sneak preview of what’s in store!


Tracks to check out:

– “Get Free”Feat. Amber Coffman
– “Jah No Partial” Feat. Flux Pavilion
– “Pon de Floor” Feat. Afrojack & Vybz Kartel
– “Original Don” by Major Lazer & The Partysquad




3. Hardwell


To say that this progressive house giant has taken the world of dance music by storm would be a gross misunderstatement. Sprinting up 18 spots to place 6th on this year’s DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll, Robbert van de Corput has just about covered the entire world in the past few years, headlining some of the largest global music festivals around.

2012 has been a massive year for the young producer. The release of “Spaceman” propelled Hardwell into a whole new stratosphere of stardom, instantly turning him into a household name for diehard house fans and all other EDM lovers alike. He has also successfully maintained a large fanbase, connecting with them through his weekly podcast, “Hardwell On Air”.

With so much talent in the Dutch DJ (it has to be the genes), who knows what other wonders he’ll churn out in the near future?


Tracks to check out:

– “Apollo” Feat. Amba Shepherd
– “How We Do” Feat. Showtek
– “Three Triangles”
– “Kontiki” Feat. Dannic
– “Spaceman”




4. Above and Beyond


Twelve years since the birth of progressive trance project Above and Beyond, Paavo Siljamäki, Tony McGuinness and Jono Grant are still going strong. If you are a fan of dance music, or if you just happen to listen to dance music once in a while, you’ve most certainly come across some of their songs. With their melodic symphonies and thumping rhythms, it’s hard not to fall in love with their tunes.

Their sister project, OceanLab, is a separate yet equally successful alias that lends more focus to vocal trance. Their addition of Justine Suissa adds an etheral touch to an already heavenly sound, and their version of uplifting trance has seen crowds around the world pause for a second to stop dancing and just take in the beautifully crafted chords.

Above and Beyond stands true to their sound, refusing to conform to any other dance music trend. This is one headline act nobody should ever miss, if only because their larger-than-life sets are hard to find anywhere else, even amongst the mass of talent in the EDM world.


Tracks to check out:

– “Alchemy” Feat. Zoë Johnston
– “You Got To Go” Feat. Zoë Johnston
– “Sun And Moon” Feat. Richard Bedford
– “Thing Called Love” Feat. Richard Bedford
– “On A Good Day” (OceanLab)





Day 2



1. Paul van Dyk


Where do we even begin with this German legend? Getting his initial inspiration from illegal mixtapes that were smuggled into then East Berlin when he was just a teenager, PvD gained international acclaim with his album, “Seven Ways”, which saw success in Britain.

Coming in at a respectable 16th in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll, PvD’s key achievements this year include the release of “Evolution”, his sixth artist album. And for us Zoukout-ers, that only means one thing: NEW TRACKS!


Tracks to check out:

– “Verano” Feat. Austin Leeds
– “The Ocean” Feat. Arty
– “Eternity” Feat. Adam Young (aka Owl City)
– “For An Angel”




2. Porter Robinson


Who’s only 20 years young but already has 2 EPs and 8 singles under his belt? Meet Porter Robinson, the rising star of North Carolina. Having appeared on major music festivals such as Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, Electric Zoo, and Tomorrowland, all while still in his teens, Porter Robinson is definitely set to take the Moon stage at Zoukout to new heights with his unique touch of electro!

His presence is slowly but surely getting felt throughout the EDM world, and his latest achievement is a raise in his rankings at DJ Mag, coming in a fantastic 56 places higher to settle at 40th. But with young Porter, one can only guess when this young producer will reach his peak. We’re guessing it should be pretty soon.


Tracks to check out:

– “Hello” (with Lazy Rich & Sue Cho)
– “Spitfire”
– “The Wildcat”
– “Language”
– “Easy (with Mat Zo)”




3. Calvin Harris


Known for his collaborations with popular pop artists, Calvin Harris has worked with people such as Rihanna, Ellie Goulding, Florence Welch, Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah and Example. Calvin’s songwriting career was kickstarted by the famous Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue, after a record producer handed her his recordings. He ended up producing two of her songs on her album, “X”.

Rising three places to come in at 31st, some of Calvin Harris’s popularity can certainly be attributed to his antics. On an episode of “The X Factor”, he gatecrashed a performance by Irish pop duo Jedward, holding a pineapple above his head and pointing at his buttocks, resulting in him being ejected from the set of “The Xtra Factor” where he was due to be a guest the same night.

If nothing else, however, Calvin Harris succeeds in appealing to the masses with his uniquely simple beats and rhythms. His minimalistic sound can be recognised anywhere, and while the talent he employs on his songs are far-reaching, they always exude a similar energy on the dance floor that he can truly call his own.


Tracks to check out:

– “Bounce” Feat. Kelis
– “Feel So Close”
– “Let’s Go” Feat. Ne Yo
– “We’ll Be Coming Back” Feat. Example
– “Sweet Nothing” Feat. Florence Welch
– “Drinking From The Bottle” Feat. Tinie Tempah




4. Knife Party


The electro house/dubstep spawn of “Pendulum” members Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen, Knife Party was the result of their desire to experiment with alternative forms of electronic music. And experiment they did. Venturing far away from their roots in electronic rock and drum and bass, Knife Party has rocked the world of dubstep with the release of their song, “Internet Friends”, which sampled the now-famous phrase, “You blocked me on Facebook, and now you’re going to die.”

Having only been active since last year, Knife Party has definitely come a long way (and in a very short time). Their success has even reached out of the EDM world, with the track “Bonfire” from their second EP, “Rage Valley”, featured on an episode of “Breaking Bad” in August. With the new but highly anticipated act garnering much attention around the world, we wonder whether Rob and Gareth will experiment with any more dance music genres. Trance, anyone?


Tracks to check out:

– “Internet Friends
– “Rage Valley”
– “Bonfire”
– “Centipede”




 Text by: Bjorn Teo
*Images sourced from google images




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