Since the birth of techno music in the mid-’80s, we have witnessed many Techno DJs that everyone should know and hear. Berlin and Detroit had a huge influence in shaping the music scene the way we know it today. That is why you will hear many Techno DJs that originate from Germany and US.
Four decades later Techno music has gained more popularity than ever. So if you are not familiar with the scene yet it’s time to learn some Techno legends.
15 Techno DJ Legends You Need To Know
Genres: Techno, Detroit Techno, Dub Techno
Probably one of the most well-recognized Techno DJs in the world. Jeff Mills was in the scene from the very beginning. He is considered one of the fathers of Techno music and his unique sound is probably something you have already heard.
Detroit Techno was inspired by Jazz music and was basically created with the 4/4 drum rhythm of the legendary TR drum machines of Roland. A drum pattern widely used by Jeff and is still used to make Techno music today.
The American DJ and producer had a wide discography, he is the owner of Axis Records, and his live performance with drum machines and synth is an act you shouldn’t miss.
Find Jeff Mills:
Genres: Techno, Minimal Techno, Progressive Techno
The German DJ and music producer has played a significant role in cultivating the electronic music scene not only in his homeland but all over the world.
The owner of the Cocoon clubs in Frankfurt, and Ibiza has performed in countless events, parties, and festivals and has one of the largest fan clubs worldwide. His 30 hour-long DJ set is definitely worth listening to.
Sven Vath has been an inspiration to many DJs including another legend of electronic dance music, DJ Tiesto. In his interview at Billboard.com, he spoke about how a 6-hour set of Sven’s inspired his career.
More Sven Vath:
Genres: Techno, Minimal Techno, Industrial Techno
The Swedish techno DJ, music producer, radio producer, and owner of one of the biggest techno labels in the world, the Drumcode, is definitely worth a place on our list.
His label has inspired thousands of people to follow their dreams of becoming DJs and music producers. His weekly radio show Drumcode live has a weekly audience of 11 million, making it the most listened to Techno broadcast on the planet.
The “Drumcode sound” will probably stick to Techno music for many years.
Find Adam Beyer:
Genres: Techno, Minimal Techno, Acid techno
The three-time DJ award winner Richie Hawtin is well known to every Techno fan out there. Also known as Plastikman, with his acid sound, Richie became involved with Detroit Techno in the early ’90 and he is still a big part of the Techno scene today.
The British/Canadian DJ and music producer has a unique style of playing live and the vibe in his events is truly an unforgettable experience. His music is behind the news Prada’s menswear collection which you can find more at his website fromourminds.com
Find Richie Hawtin:
Genres: Techno, Minimal Techno
The Techno scene probably wouldn’t be the same without the American DJ and music producer, with his unique hairstyle and performance skills.
Born in Chicago, he grow up listening to Jazz, blues, and rock music, which influenced him to produce amazing records over the years and make him a true techno legend.
How influential he has been in the scene? Let’s just say that every newcomer producer imagines Green Velvet playing their new tracks.
Find Green Velvet:
Genres: Techno, House
The American DJ and music producer grew up in Chicago, but she is based in Berlin and New York. She has been a huge advocate for trans rights and awareness helping many artists find safety and creative expression.
Miss Honey Dijon has performed at underground clubs, bars, fashion shows, and galleries. Thankfully you can still catch one of her events.
Listen more Honey Dijon:
Genres: Techno, Detroit Techno
Another DJ and music producer who was born and raised in Detroit, the place of birth of Techno music as well.
Carl Craig was a leading figure in the second wave of Detroit Techno in the early ’90s, which shaped Techno music as we know it today.
Find Carl Craig:
Genres: Techno, House
Danny Tenaglia is a well-known DJ to all old-timer clubbers. He has won three DJ awards, three international dance music awards, and the title of the best international DJ in 2002.
But the most amazing thing it’s still his music and live DJ sets. He still DJs around the world and his unique style of combining new music with old records is still a big part of his performance.
Follow Danny Tenaglia:
Genres: Techno, House, Tech-House
You cannot speak of Techno legends and not mention Carl Cox. The most famous Techno figure in the world with the most catchy phrase ever created by a DJ. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!!!
With over 15 years of club residency at Pacha Ibiza, appearances in every dance music festival in the world, and collaborations with the top artists, the name Carl Cox is a synonym of Techno music.
His energy in every performance is remarkable and every newcomer DJ out there should take notes for everything he does.
Listen more Carl Cox:
Genres: Minimal Techno, Tech Minimal
Boris Brejcha might be one of the youngest Techno DJs on our list, but he has a huge discography and career to show.
His unique signature is the Venetian carnival mask that you will see appear at the biggest festivals and clubs in the world.
Follow Boris Brejcha
Genres: Techno, Minimal Techno
Ricardo Villalobos is a DJ and producer whom most clubbers around the world are very familiar with. He was born in Chile but raised in Germany where he started his career and create his European Minimal techno style.
He is considered one of the most lovable DJs out there for a reason. You won’t find many online DJ sets of his, so the best thing to do is to attend one of his events.
Follow Ricardo Villalobos:
The Slovenian DJ and music producer has been involved in the Techno music scene for over three decades. He is the owner of several Techno record labels but he has still released many original works and remixes with other labels including Spinnin and Ultra Records.
UMEK has won the title of the Best Techno DJ three times in his career. At the Beatport music awards in 2010, three years later named the best Techno DJ by EMPO Awards and again the year following at the International Dance Music Awards.
Genres: Techno, Acid House, Minimal Techno
With over thirty years of career in the electronic music scene, filled with masterpiece music and live performances, Robert Babitz is an inspiration to many young techno DJs.
You will most likely see him improvise live with his synths, drum machines, and live equipment, which makes each performance unique.
Follow Rober Babicz:
Genres: Techno, Tech House
The Lebanese/British DJ, music producer, and radio producer is a real ambassador of electronic dance music, and a real advocate to disadvantaged young women who want to pursue a career in music.
The Techno queen, as many call her, has extraordinary career and DJing skills that you don’t want to miss. If you are at any time anywhere near one of her events, you have to attend.
Check out more female DJs that dominate the electronic dance music scene today.
More Nicole Moudaber:
Genres: Techno, Ambient Techno
The German DJ and music producer became famous after the release of the movie Berlin Calling. His album that most of his tracks are featured in the film became an instant success. His song Sky and Sand became platinum with over 200.000 copies sold.
His unique sound and live performance is an act you shouldn’t miss. You will most likely find him playing in Germany, but he is also touring around the world at clubs and festivals.
Follow Paul Kalkbrenner:
List of the best Techno DJs to listen to
- Carl Cox
- Nicole Moudaber
- Adam Beyer
- Paul kalkbrenner
- Green Velvet
- Richie Hawtin – Plastikman
- Amelie Lens
- Nina Kraviz
- Boris Brejcha
- Danny Tenaglia
- Robert Babitz
- Staphan Botzin
- Ricardo Villalobos
- Sven Vath
- John Acquaviva
- Monika Kruse
- Maya Jane Coles
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