The Top 25 Breakthrough DJs Of The Year 2023 - Features - Mixmag

The Top 25 Breakthrough DJs Of The Year 2023

The new generation of DJs taking over dance music

  • Words: Patrick Hinton, Megan Townsend, Gemma Ross, Becky Buckle, Tibor Heskett | Design: Keenen Sutherland, Tomi Tomchenko
  • 13 December 2023

A new year is always a time for reflection and anticipation of what comes next. Every time the calendar rolls over in dance music, we find ourselves eagerly awaiting the new dancefloor experiences, musical movements, and new generation of DJs that’s going to inspire us and blow our minds in tandem. We weren't disappointed in 2023. In the list below, we salute our top 25 breakthrough DJs of the year (in alphabetical order).

Read this next: The Top 25 DJs Who Defined The Year 2023

Credit: Helge Mundt


Iranian-Canadian DJ and label head AIDA has been putting in the work this year. Launching her own record label, Apranik, alongside Nesa Azadikhah at the beginning of 2023, AIDA helped curate the 12-track all-female compilation protesting the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died at the hands of police in Tehran, while fundraising for the wider cause of liberation for women and marginalised groups in Iran. Since then, she’s gone on to gig across the world - regularly hitting the Berghain line-up - and continues to stand as a voice for women from Iran and its diaspora. With her own signature style of global bass, breaks, and techno, AIDA also put together a number of high profile mixes in 2023 for the likes of Resident Advisor, Circoloco, and Crack, and is staying on the up with a brand new residency on Rinse FM launching in 2024.

Credit: Harriet T-P


Borne Fruits label boss Amaliah has truly blossomed this year. 2023 has seen her venerated by some of the biggest names in electronic dance music, with the London-based DJ and producer playing her trademark mix of house, garage, techno and more in b2b sets with Call Super, Dr Banana and Joy Orbison, while also taking part in the Hessle Audio takeover at Glastonbury. Amaliah hosted a Borne Fruits takeover of her own in tandem with Black Artist Database at Love International in July, and threw a raucous show at Venue MOT in the name of her two-year-strong party collective-cum-label, inviting Aletha and EMA to join her on the sold-out night. The list of accolades doesn’t end there, as Amaliah released her first record, on Moxie’s On Loop label no less, made her debuts at De School, Draaimolen, Field Maneuvers, Phonox, and played her second Boiler Room in April. There’s no understating it: this has been a big year for the Rinse FM resident.

Credit: Raphaël Weikart


Californian duo Baalti are spearheading a sound that breathes new life into old Indian records - it’s fun, sample-heavy, and plays on house, breaks, and bass. In 2023, Baalti put out mixes for Mixmag, Rinse FM, and Juno Records, and released their sophomore EP, ‘Better Together’, on Seb Wildblood’s all my thoughts imprint. The record was hotly tipped as one of 2023’s best electronic releases, with spins on Radio 1 Dance and a remix package which enlisted the likes of Tom VR, Farsight, SUCHI and Villager. 2023 was also the year that Baalti broke away from regular shows in San Francisco and India, picking up gigs in New York, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam - but there’s plenty more where that came from. Speaking to Mixmag in June, Baalti revealed even bigger plans for 2024: “There's definitely lots of rooms we wanna play in,” they teased, adding the prospect of a hybrid live set, and the making of an “ethnomusicology-type documentary” exploring the rich musical history of India.

Credit: Norman Wong


This year we became members of the ‘Infinity Club’ and we can not get enough of it. Toronto-based DJ and producer BAMBII has been keeping the dancfloor fruity with a cocktail of Jersey club and dancehall, breaking out as a leading vibe-setter of 2023. With a past as a promoter BAMBII knows her way around a club, so it comes as no surprise that she’s been dominating dancefloors with her lively sets. When you witness BAMBII on-deck you recognise the influences from Toronto’s nightlife to her Caribbean heritage, especially with her event series, JERK, which prioritises diversity and inclusion for people of colour and from the LGBTQI+ community. BAMBII brings plenty of charisma and self-expression to her mixes. There’s never a dull moment where she isn’t dancing along hard to her set.

Credit: Carlos Jaramillo

Bianca Oblivion

Bianca Oblivion was at the forefront of harder and faster dance music in 2023. With her unique blends of jungle, Baltimore club and Miami bass, Bianca’s sound was well-travelled across the year, hitting everywhere from Toronto to Leeds, São Paulo to Paris. Alongside Star Eyes, Bianca also put together an exploratory piece about LA’s new rave underground for Mixmag - digging into the way her hometown’s music scene has diversified post-lockdown with thanks to the influence of femme and queer POC DJs and collectives - and made her Boiler Room debut in LA with the club night she runs with Star Eyes and AK Sports, Warp Mode. But it didn’t stop there - sets for Keep Hush, Bass Coast, and The Lot Radio also kept the ball rolling this year, as well as a newfound friendship with Bristol’s Sam Binga that saw the pair travel and play extensively together. As Bianca Oblivion wraps up an enormous 2023 with an endless output of music - including a track due to appear on the next FIFA game - she’s only gearing up for the next. “I have some huge personal and career goals I’m working towards,” she said in November.

Credit: Camilo Galvis

Bitter Babe

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, water is wet and 2023 has been Bitter Babe’s year. Having started 2023 as a star on the rise, this Bogota-born, Miami-based DJ has spent the last 12 months shaping dancefloors in her own image with a delicious blend of razor sharp demow, buoyant raptor house, Brazilian funk and booming hard drum. This year has seen her play an eye-watering 70+ shows, everywhere from Beijing to Madrid, Rio to Delhi, introducing countless dancers to her raucous blend of Latin-influenced club sounds. She’s caused havoc at Madrid’s Primavera, packed some punches in Berghain, and set all wrists a-flapping alongside her TraTraTrax compatriots at Dekmantel. We’re not expecting her momentum, or air miles, to let up any time in 2024.

Credit: Serafina Ventura

DJ Fuckoff

One of the leading voices in sexy, braggadocious techno, DJ Fuckoff has taken over the world with her relentless energy and distinctive vocals across her tracks and DJ sets. This year the New Zealand-born, Berlin-based artist has embarked on a North American tour and made her debuts at fabric, for the London clubbing institution’s mega 24th birthday celebration, plus Boiler Room for the Sports Banger takeover at Boomtown, b2bing with Denham Audio in celebration of their tantalising track ‘Deep Breaths’ on Banger’s HERAS label. Last year ended with a barnstorming linkup with fellow CDJ seductress Miss Bashful and DBBD on the duo’s ‘Slut Bopz Vol. II’, and Fuckoff has carried that energy through the whole of 2023, releasing her magnum opus ‘FUCKTOPIA’ album and bringing her unabashedly sensual self to festivals and clubland worldwide.

Credit: Luis Frederik

DJ Heartstring

Berlin-hailing duo DJ HEARTSTRING captured attention across the world after their Boiler Room debut at Belfast’s AVA Festival in June, racking up almost half a million streams in the six months since it aired. Their sound harks back to the ecstasy-soaked era of ‘90s rave fused with a modern pop sound, with plenty of progressive melodies, euphoric breaks and playful edits of familiar vocals. You could have spotted the pair playing back-to-back shows across a weekend almost anywhere in Europe this year - whether that’s the sweaty basement of Sub Club or the huge open-air stage of Ibiza Rocks. In 2023, they also bagged a Radio 1 Essential Mix, and released plenty of new music, including a rework of Charli XCX and Sam Smith’s ‘In The City’. Still to come, though, DJ HEARTSTRING are headed for their first North American tour in 2024 following an end-of-year run over in Australia.


Baile funk is evil music — or so the Brazilian authorities would have you believe, with their persecution of the scene. This criminalisation campaign has nevertheless failed to suppress the explosive sound, which has been popular since the ‘80s but had another global ‘moment’ this year via internet virality and interest from the world’s biggest music stars. Back home at the root of the sound, São Paulo’s DJ K has emerged as one of the most influential figures of the latest wave. He deals in a menacing variation of the sound known as ‘bruxaria’ which originated at street parties in Heliópolis, São Paulo's biggest favela — it translates as ‘witchcraft’ and is defined by sinister, eerie and harsh sonics. Despite the establishment opposition, he’s been unstoppable in his rise, releasing a debut album on Nyege Nyege Tapes, racking up millions of streams, touring a who’s who of leading European experimental events including Unsound, No Bounds and Nuits Sonores, and even getting props from a major Brazilian newspaper.

Dj Sueño

Mr “DJ Internacional de reggaeton” himself, has been really living up to that title this year. This Mexico City-based “Dreamlion” has been repping raucous cumbiation (a decadent mixture of cumbia and reggaeton) for years, but 2023 saw Dj Sueño take things a step further. Peak time appearances at EDC Mexico, Aca El Perreo and his newly-minted “FLOTA” party in Mexico City have seen him bring thousands of dancers into the fold — while stops across the pond in Granada, Valencia and Madrid have turbo-charged him towards European domination. For those who haven’t managed to catch him in the flesh, he’s still provided heat via mixes for Rinse France, and his frenetic Boiler Room set for long-time collaborator Rosa Pistolla’s TITANES takeover.

Credit: Lauren Murada


With an already impressive background as a resident DJ and co-organizer of DJ Nobu's Future Terror parties as well as performing in the live act Twin Peaks with DJ Yazi, Haruka has worked with some of the greats. For the last decade the Japanese artist has been DJing around the world, and this year his schedule has been packed, with numerous dates in Asia and Europe, as well as the odd set in the US and Australia, with a debut Colombia tour just starting. Previously playing more of a house style, this year we’ve watched him fall more and more in love with ravy techno. A Haruka set is filled with textures and ‘90s influences as he floats up to trance and plows down techno. While building his own sonic identity, collaboration seems to stay at the forefront of Haruka’s mind. this year also playing b2b with Wata Igarashi at Berlin’s Atonal and London’s Venue MOT, and in the summer releasing his first remix for Sunju Hurgun.

Credit: @mellowminh


Having become the go-to for blossoming UKG and edits, it’s no surprise that NYC-by-way-of-LA DJ Introspekt has gotten us all worked up on the dancefloor this year. An aficionado of everything under the bass and garage umbrella, Introspekt’s keen eye for high-energy club bangers and wobbly basslines has seen her grace the decks everywhere from Melbourne to Miami, locking in slots at the likes of Draaimolen festival, Sustain-Release, Body Movements, De School, fabric — you name it. For the folks at home, she’s been consistently serving up deliciousness with mixes for Rinse, Foundation FM, Boiler Room and, of course, her brand new show on NTS. We dare you to spend longer than 20 minutes at an Introspekt set without raising your hands in the air.

Credit: Leo Adef


What a year it has been for ISAbella. Already a leading figure in the Barcelona club scene through her work as co-founder of MARICAS, the celebrated LGBTQ+ collective, label, party, and platform, 2023 has marked the year that the Colombian DJ went global. From Bangkok to Brussels, Ibiza to Inglaterra, she’s played her signature sound that moulds together house, techno and trance, with highlights including sets at Block9, Circoloco, Dekmantel, Panorama Bar. Though she has established herself as a serious selector in her own right, ISAbella has also been a key part of MARICAS’ takeovers at Atlantic Club, De School, Barbarellas and Nitsa too.

Credit: Isaac Lamb


Providing that feel-good party flavour, Jaguar has a way around the decks that motivates everyone to move. Known widely for her work as a broadcaster for the likes of the BBC, this year Jaguar has concentrated more on her DJing. Working on her label, documentary, podcast and party series UTOPIA, Jaguar has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion across all projects, spotlighting marginalised groups in music. Kicking off the year playing Mixmag’s The Lab LDN, she became a viral sensation, spinning a vast range of unreleased music, an approach she continued in a Pride Month mix at Outernet. Regularly shouting out new artists with her sets means she’s always uplifting the next generation, as well as keeping her DJ sets exciting and fresh. Some monumental gigs Jaguar has had this year beyond her own nights include the likes of Core São Paulo, Trade’s birthday and the closing weekend at Printworks.

Kasra V

Having delighted regular fans of his NTS show for nearly a decade (!!), 2023 saw Tehran-born, London-based DJ Kasra V bring his unruly love of pumping groove and retro electro to the masses — inducting dancers into his eclectic sonic universe like never before. Alongside a spate of appearances at some of London’s most beloved haunts, he’s demonstrated his broad appeal by gracing the decks everywhere from Kala Festival to The White Hotel, firing out peak-time heat with the same fervor for the crowds at Circoloco as Het Weekend. Kasra V’s appeal is bolstered by his love of reference , layering space-age ‘90s floorfillers between modern cuts, and ability to build a story with a set, manoeuvring through diverse sounds with ecliptic blends with undeniable technical prowess.A Kasra V set is unequivocally, and certifiably, a proper good time.

Credit: Xavier Hadley


The success of livwutang this year has been heartening because she’s affirmed the power of having an artistic vision and staying true to it no matter what. She’s unmoved by pressure to ‘play harder’, or choose tracks for a seconds-long video clip fast-track to viral fame, maintaining a widescreen approach to DJing that’s about the twists and turns, the control of groove and tension, and an invitation for audiences to lock in to unfamiliar experiences. That can be easier said than done in 2023, but livwutang has shown a mastery of her craft which has ensured her position as one of the underground’s most essential new DJs. Bookings have flooded in with tour dates across Europe, Asia and North America, including a Dekmantel debut, Nowadays residency, return to Panorama Bar, and slot at the legendary Club Toilet party during Movement Detroit. At the same time, a series of captivating mixes for platforms such as Homer Radio, NTS, The Lot, and, in a particularly industrious two days in July, Hessle Audio’s Rinse FM show and Mixmag’s Impact series, have earned her the admiration from dance fans all over. Philip Sherburne picked out the latter two among the year’s best in a round-up for Pitchfork, writing: “It’s not every week that a DJ puts out two of the best mixes of the month in the span of just two days.” But livwutang is not just any DJ.

Credit: Nils Reuter

Marlon Hoffstadt

The past 12 months have been massive for Marlon Hoffstadt AKA DJ Daddy Trance. In previous years he has steadily built his reputation through his vibrant and colourful techno and trance sets, which always come with a healthy dose of R&B edits, and his Club Heart Broken party series with MALUGI, but in 2023 he has skyrocketed. A resurgence in trance and adjacent sounds worldwide has raised Hoffstadt to stardom, with his Boiler Room from September racking up almost one million views and performances at E1, INPUT High Fidelity Dance Club, Glitch Festival and Club Heart Broken’s day raves at Watergate winning the hearts of partygoers across Europe and Australia.

Credit: Danny Draxx


Beijing-born, Melbourne-based Matthew Xue AKA Moopie grew his reputation playing alongside DJs such as Donato Dozzy and Silent Servant during their tours, but this has been the year where he has set himself apart as a selector in his own right. Label head of the ever-shifting A Colourful Storm since 2016, Xue’s impressive record collection connects the dots between the esoteric sides of house, techno, drum ‘n’ bass and more. The Australian tastemaker has gone global, going b2b with Helena Hauff at Tresor’s Globus and Ben UFO at Dekmantel Selectors, as well as playing a rousing all-night-long at Pickle Factory. Next up, Moopie travels to Alsisar Mahal, India to perform at Magnetic Fields to wrap up a year where the world has finally caught on to Moopie’s interstellar talents.

Credit: Nick Astanei

Pretty Girl

This year, Pretty Girl has taken the UK by storm. Already well-respected for her impressive live shows, production skills and vocals, she’s proven that she is also an exquisite DJ, fusing house, UKG, and techno. While live sets remain a key part of her touring, her DJ sets have also got heads turning. After making a big splash in Australia, she is now showing her strengths internationally, with a bulletproof set in Mixmag’s Lab LDN, supporting DJ superstar Fred again.., playing the infamous Circoloco and Glastonbury, as well as putting on her own headline event in Edinburgh. Her sets include a range of feel-good trance to cheeky bootlegs which never fail to crowd please. Pretty Girl is on a roll.


There’s a swaggering confidence to Regal86 that has made him a breath of fresh air in dance music. The Mexican DJ and producer has carved a unique identity with his sound blending techno, hard house, breaks, hip hop, Chicano and Memphis rap, boom bap, R&B, corridos and experimental club textures. The range of his inspirations is only beat by the intensity of his work rate, producing a relentless stream of releases that hit Bandcamp at a rate of knots (there’s at least 40 on there). With a background as a graphic designer, he also makes a lot of his own artwork and merch, with his former life as a rapper and teenage years living among gang violence in Monterrey influencing a visual identity that features low ride cars, alloy wheels and bullet holes. Essentially, he does what he wants in his own way: whether that’s choosing to DJ without headphones; maintaining breathless, choppy mixes across extended sets; or resisting a move to Mexico City where the country’s creatives tend to flock. Occasionally his non-conformity might provoke the the ire of techno purists or Jeff Mills’ manager, but mostly it’s won him an engaged and excited fanbase who fuck with the sounds, aesthetics and attitude. Starting the year as a Rinse FM resident and ending it with an NTS residency, he’s also delivered searing mixes for The Lot, Ilian Tape and SHERELLE’s BBC Radio 6 Music show, while touring regularly around the States and Latin America. Now Europe and UK dates are being teased for 2024 as his ascent continues apace.

Credit: Bert Alexander

River Moon

River Moon is helping keep the original pillars club culture was built on alive, by being unapologetically Black, queer, sexy and a bit chaotic. Those energies fuel River’s music and sets. Take Manni Dee collaboration ‘Hot’ which dropped in June and injected sultry rap into Berlin’s techno dancefloors, receiving props from Mary Anne Hobbs, or the updated ‘Hard 2.0’ cut with Only Fire (sample lyrics: “Fuck me hard, fuck me sideways / Fuck me on the fucking highway”). A lusted after umru collab ‘Molly’, which has been clamoured for off the back of socials snippets, also landed in its full glory as a tease for an upcoming album, ensuring many eyes and ears have been firmly fixed on River Moon this year. Born in South Africa and raised in New York, a relocation to Berlin this year has seen bookings piling up in Europe, including in Lisbon, Milan, Amsterdam, London, Manchester, a first-ever live show supporting COUCOU CHLOE, and a debut at Berghain for Dweller’s historic takeover featuring the club’s first all-Black line-up. It’s not all been plain-sailing, health problems in summer forced a necessary pause, but just six weeks after a hip replacement surgery River bounced back to link up with Goth Jafar and open for Beyoncé at her homecoming Houston date of the Renaissance tour. Since then remixes for Kelela and PinkPantheress have followed. At this point River Moon looks unstoppable.


Look up breakthrough in the dictionary, and from thus forth, there should be a picture of North Shields’ very own Schak. Having burst onto the scene last October with his debut on TRICK ‘Movin All Around (Jumping)’, Schak has gone from being on the dole to gracing some of dance music’s biggest stages in just over 12 months. He’s dished out his bubbling take on hard house everywhere from Croatia’s Hideout to Creamfields, opened for Calvin Harris at Ushuaïa, blasted the masses at The Warehouse Project and even soundtracked the semi-final of the Carabao Cup at Newcastle’s St. James Park. A Makina fairytale if we ever saw one.

Credit: Guy Gooch

Tommy Holohan

Dublin’s own Tommy Holohan has been climbing onto every line-up this year. Keeping things fast-paced and in your face via techno and hardcore, his sets will have you sweating buckets. This year in particular has seen him reach new heights, captivating a worldwide audience from Belgium to Vancouver to Sydney to Berlin. Being so busy it’s impressive to see how Tommy has continued to find time to make music, as well as form a new collaborative moniker Hard Target with DJ duo Clouds, and play alongside fellow Steel City Dance Discs favourite KETTAMA as Samba Boys. We’re sure that Tommy will be continuing this rapid pace of non-stop shows through to next year.

Credit: Kasia Zacharko


Colombian imprint TraTraTrax shot to international acclaim last year off the back of some club-conquering releases and an increased appetite for so-called ‘Latin sounds’ among Western clubbers. That latter point is not exactly one to celebrate, reflecting a narrow-minded gaze of a continent-spanning music scene that’s thriving with individuality and singular artistic expression. Label co-founders Verraco, Nyksan and DJ Lomalinda rightly want to make music on their own terms and not be boxed in by ignorant colonial expectations, which they lucidly explained in a recent Crack Magazine cover feature. This year Verraco has hammered that home, dealing in a distinct hybrid sound that’s as intrigued by techno, IDM and UK soundsystem pressure as it is dembow rhythms. ‘Escándaloo’ on Blawan and Pariah’s Voam has been one of biggest tracks of the year, riding a 4/4 techno beat but forefronting dramatic, unstable synths that set it apart. It’s contributed to a particularly big 2023 for Verraco, who headed across Europe to challenge preconceptions at the likes of De School, Berghain, Printworks, fabric, Nitsa and Draaimolen, where he explored styles such as amapiano, IDM and drone techno, as well as dates in Peru, Mexico and Colombia, including a residency at Video Club in Bogotá and Baum festival where he caught the attention of Jeff Mills.


21-year-old South African superproducer and pianist Yumbs made his mark in 2023 producing music for some of the biggest amapiano artists in the game. Following his multi-platinum breakout album ‘Ivy League’ in 2021, Yumbs has catapulted from Kagiso to the world. playing shows across the US, Europe, and beyond this year, even putting in a shift on BBC Radio 1 Xtra when he touched down in London. Tipped by Major League Djz as one of the next best artists emerging out of South Africa with a nod to his “versatile” style, Yumbs has linked up with everyone in the scene in 2023, from Mellow & Sleazy to DBN Gogo, doing it all with an infectious smile on his face.

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