15 DJs who make us love Throwback Thursday
For every epic, Rukes-shot photo that exists of your favourite DJ, there’s another gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. It can be easy to forget that once upon a time, Steve Aoki rocked a bleach blonde bowl cut, Laidback Luke was a fresh-faced raver, and there was no Skrillex, only Sonny Moore, vocal-shredding From First To Last frontman (actually, who could ever forget that?).
That’s why we can always look forward to Throwback Thursday. In amongst the flood of #TBT-tagged posts each week on Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, there are always a few gems from the dance world. In this feature, we take a trip into the internet vaults for some standout throwback moments, some stretching further back than others.
Get ready for child prodigies, ‘90s ravers, terrible haircuts, and Dillon Francis as a 5th grade lady-killer. And yes, we made some GIFs too.
#15 Laidback Luke
Long before he was leading Super You&Me arenas at festivals across the world, Laidback Luke was on the other side, looking up. There’s few better places to discover dance music than The Netherlands, where Luke had the pick of iconic festivals like Dance Valley and Mysteryland. All which leads us to this classic photo of the raver who’d become the headliner.
You just know it’s Laidback Luke, too – because unlike his companions, he’s grinning like a fan who knows what’s up. As the Mixmash boss recently wrote on Twitter: “I just still love rave music. Tough sounds that make you jump and make you feel like you can take on the world.” Amen to that.
Never mind the blurriness of this photo – even at an early age, this kid had swagger, posted up in his high chair without a care in the world. No clothes? No problem: Little Diamante Blackmon appears nonplussed by his missing shirt, perhaps already contemplating his debut set as Carnage at Electric Daisy Carnival.
#13 Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
Why can’t all baby photos be as perfect as this? In recent years, the producer we know as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs has released a standout album “Trouble,” toured the world, and collaborated with Dillon Francis on last year’s addictive “Without You.” Back around 1991, he was still Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom, music connoisseur.
#12 David Guetta
Back in 1990, David Guetta released his debut single Nation Rap with French rapper Sidney Duteil. As well as marking the auspicious beginning of a career that’s now stretched past two decades, it also gave us this cover art. Behold, David Guetta sporting a fanny pack.
In 2014, Guetta can headline the Tomorrowland main stage with only a USB and a whole lot of heart hands. In the early days of his DJ career, though, it was all about two turntables and a mixer. “I started as a bedroom DJ when I was like, 14, practising my mixing every day after school,” Guetta told inthemix. “I could not even buy house music in my own country. I had to go to London to buy records. You could not go on YouTube and check out a DJ.”
A fresh-faced David Guetta made his name playing records in the clubs of Paris, and the rest is history. Somewhere along his path to being pop music’s go-to-guy, he even found time to sell water-resistant hair product to France.
Back before Josh Young was J2K, one half of stage-igniting trap superstars Flosstradamus, he ran Chicago with his “high school whip,” a 1966 Chevy Impala. Even if the car’s gone to rest, we hope he’s still got those sneakers.
Yes, you’ve seen these photos before, but do they ever really get old?
Back when he was dancing to “Art Of Trance, Union Jack and more or less anything on Plus 8 or Platypus Records,” Joel Zimmerman went all-out on the ‘90s rave gear, from the wide-legged pants to the Pikachu backpack. We can’t help thinking part of the reason Joel’s so conscious of pleasing his loved-up fans is because he vividly remembers being one himself.
#9 Daft Punk
In the days before their robot reinvention, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo had no call for helmets. This photo, from a 1997 article in enduring UK magazine NME, captures Daft Punk as the acid house-obsessed DJ duo they once were. As the article puts it: “Daft Punk don’t do requests. They crash through the club hits, grind through the rarities and twist and burn across the EQ dials.”
Then came the Alive 1997 tour, which saw Thomas and Guy-Man working their drum machines, synths and sequencers in the shadows, as strobes pummelled the dancefloor. All which adds up to a far more captivating picture than that other Daft Punk throwback that’ll live forever. Yes, we’re talking of course about the “what were they thinking?” 2001 Gap commercial.