Best DJs in the UK :: The portal of the largest rankings on the Internet!

DJs have a powerful hold over people once they start working their magic. Whether they’re playing trance, chillout, dub, or any other type of tunes, DJs can bring thousands upon thousands of people to the brink of euphoria from behind their decks.

It’s fascinating to see the best DJs at work, filling any space of any size with energy, with excitement. People flock from across the globe to watch (and hear!) them perform at festivals, at solo gigs, and in luxurious spots like Ibiza and Dubai.

The UK has produced many of the leading DJs in the world, with top names hailing from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

In this list of the top 10 British DJs, we celebrate the UK-born masters of the craft, all of whom were born after 1950. Where will your favourite be ranked?

The 10 Best DJs in the UK

1 Fatboy Slim Fatboy Slim helped bring dance music into the mainstream in the 1990s.

Fatboy Slim AKA Norman Cook has had a long and varied career in the music industry. He was a member of the indie band the Housemartins (known for their beautiful a cappella version of ‘Caravan of Love’, a favourite Christmas hit of many a Brit) in the 80s, before he struck out on his own as a dance act.

He became a mainstay of the UK charts in the late 90s and 2000s, thanks to hits like ‘The Rockafeller Skank’, ‘Praise You’, and ‘Weapon of Choice’. Many of his tracks were known for their iconic music videos, with ‘Praise You’ featuring film director Spike Jonze and ‘Weapon of Choice’ showcasing the legendary Christopher Walken’s impressive dance skills.

These tunes had immense mainstream appeal, attracting fans who had little to no previous interest in dance music.

His albums include Better Living Through Chemistry, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby, and Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars. He has performed countless times around the world, including free open-air gigs in Brighton, a seaside town in the UK. This drew incredible crowds, with more than a quarter of a million people arriving to watch Fatboy Slim perform.

Learn more about Fatboy Slim at his official website.
2 Calvin Harris Scottish performer Calvin Harris is recognised as one of the foremost DJs in the world.

He has scored a string of hits, and worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including powerhouse names like Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, and more.

He released his premier album, I Created Disco, in 2007. This featured his first hit song, ‘Acceptable in the 80s’ and ‘The Girls’. This helped to make him an act to watch, bringing him to the attention of the UK and wider world.

His next album, titled ‘Ready for the Weekend’, went straight into the UK chart at number one. His third album was 18 Months, and he actually gained a record over the following months: eight singles released from 18 Months entered the top 10, beating even Michael Jackson’s record.

The tracks from this third album include ‘Bounce’, ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’, ‘Drinking from the Bottle’, and ‘Let’s Go’.

Other songs include ‘This is What You Came For’ with Rihanna, ‘Hype’, ‘Heatstroke’ with Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams, and Young Thug’, and ‘Amenity’ with Dua Lipa, and ‘Feels’ with Katy Perry.

Calvin Harris achieved remarkable success, making him one of the most successful DJs in the UK ever.
3 Mark Ronson Mark Ronson is from St. John’s Wood, in London. He has racked up a huge list of hit songs, usually in collaboration with other massive stars.

His breakthrough came with Version, his second album, released in 2007. His managed to claim the number two spot in the UK chart, and gave him his first top 10 tracks (three, in fact).

He was awarded a Brit Award in 2008, dubbed the Best British Male Solo Artist.

His most well-known tunes include ‘Uptown Funk’ with Bruno Mars, which went on to be number one in the UK and US. ‘Uptown Funk’ also scooped the Brit Award for British Single of the Year in 2015, as well as two Grammy Awards.

Ronson has worked with range of performers during his career, like Mos Def, Sean Paul, Jack White, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Christina Aguilera, Robbie Williams, and more. His other albums include Record Collection and Uptown Special.

As a producer as well as a DJ, Ronson has worked on albums by such acts as Duran Duran, Kaiser Chiefs, Q-Tip, Nas, Macy Gray, and Lady Gaga.
4 Paul Oakenfold Like Fatboy Slim, Paul Oakenfold is a household name in the UK and around the world, having worked on many hit tracks during his long career.

He has been awarded three Grammy Awards and been announced as the No. 1 DJ in the World by the popular DJ Magazine on two consecutive occasions (1998 and ‘99). His studio albums include Bunkka (from 2002), A Lively Mind (2006), and Trance Mission (2014).

Bunkka achieved decent success in the UK, reaching number 25 on the charts, while it also managed to claim the top spot on the US dance chart.

Oakenfold has also released two live albums: Global Underground 004 in 1997, and Global Underground 007 in 1998. He has performed a huge range of mixes across dozens of albums, and is well-known for creating the Big Brother theme on the UK version of the hit reality series.

He also released a song with late actress Brittany Murphy in 2006, titled ‘Faster Kill Pussycat’. His mixing skills have featured on such albums as Tranceport, A Voyage into Trance, Resident: Two Years of Oakenfold at Cream, Essential Selection Vol. 1 with Fatboy Slim, Creamfields, Oakenfold Anthems, and many more.
5 DJ Harvey DJ Harvey, AKA Harvey Bassett, was born in Cambridge. He has had an interesting, varied career, which started with a punk band from his home city, Ersatz.

This early outing was successful, attracting the attention of Leisure Sounds (an independent label). Ersatz was able to release their own single, titled ‘Smile in Shadow’, which went on to receive airplay by John Peel, a true legend of British radio.

However, it was dance music that was to help Bassett make a name for himself. He found inspiration in New York’s rising hip-hop sound, which he discovered while on a trip to the States. He had experience as a drummer from his Ersatz work, so appreciated the beats, and became part of a group known as TDK (Tone Deaf Krew).

Bassett became DJ Harvey properly in 1991, when he started his own gig once a week at a club in London. He would perform for long stretches, running for six hours or more, mixing garage, disco, house, and more genres to create a distinctive sound for himself.

DJ Harvey has played at the UK’s prominent Ministry of Sound club, as well as Liverpool’s iconic Cream and in Ibiza. He was awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award at Ibiza’s DJ Awards in 2014.
6 Idris Elba Surprised to see Idris Elba on a list of the top 10 UK DJs? Don’t be – he’s a talented musician who has achieved great success.

He released his first EP in 2006, titled Big Man, followed by 2009’s Kings Among Kings, 2010’s High Class Problems Vol. 1, 2014’s Idris Elba Presents Mi Mandela Mixtapes, and 2011’s Merry DriisMas Holiday Mixtape.

In 2015, he released Murdah Loves John (The John Luther Character Album), related to his work as John Luther in the hit BBC series, Luther.

His first single, ‘Please Be True’, was released in 2009, and has worked as a producer for other musicians. He worked with Jay-Z on his American Gangster album in 2007, and acted as DJ at the NBA All Star Party at the Ice House Lounge in Las Vegas in the same year.

His music has received a number of prizes, and was nominated for a Billboard Music Award. It’s not easy for performers to gain recognition for their talents in more than one field, but Idris Elba has managed to do just that as both a DJ and an actor.

He’s a versatile star, and his DJ work has achieved success across his recorded music and live performances.
7 Carl Cox Carl Cox has been on the British DJ scene for a long time. He has presented radio shows, hosted his own events, and even had his own stage at numerous festivals like the BPM festival and Ultra Music Festival.

He started his career at just 15, running his own mobile DJ business, before he was recognised as a leading name in the Chicago house music genre. He soon became recognised as one of few DJs to actually use three decks in his mixing, a more complex set-up that marked him out as a distinctive talent.

His debut single was ‘I Want You (Forever)’, and his studio albums include At the End of the Cliche in 2996, Phuture 2000 in 1999, Second Sign in 2005, and All Roads Lead to the Dancefloor in 2011.

He was named the top DJ by the readers of DJ Magazine in 1997, and founded a record label in 1998, known as Intec Records (which became Intec Digital in 2010). Carl Cox also enjoyed long residencies at Space Ibiza, a prominent club, for more than 10 years straight.

He has also won a large number of awards during his career, such as Best Techno DJ and Best International DJ from the DJ Awards.

Learn more about Carl Cox at his official website.
8 DJ Fresh DJ Fresh (AKA Daniel Edward Stein) was born in Worthing, and gained early success with his group Bad Company. He and the two other members managed to attract major attention with their song ‘The Nine’, which was released in 1998. This was a hit with fans of drum and bass, with Knowledge Magazine’s readers voting it the best song ever recorded in the genre.

He released his debut solo album in 2006, titled Escape from Planet Monday. His second album came along in 2010, titled Kryptonite, which reached the number four spot on the UK dance chart, as well as hitting charts in other countries.

His third album Nextlevelism was released in 2011, and included the single ‘Louder’. This was a hit in the UK, and featured in an advert for Lucozade, helping to bring it to even wider attention.

One of DJ Fresh’s most well-known songs included vocals from the supremely-talented Rita Ora. ‘Hot Right Now’ went on to be a British number one, and received a lot of play on the radio and music television channels.

DJ Fresh has also worked with Little Nikki, Ellie Goulding, Ella Eyre, and Adam F, and his distinctive sound has helped him to be recognised as one of the foremost DJs in the UK.
9 Roni Size Roni Size is, without a doubt, one of the most recognisable names on the DJ scene.

He started his career with Reprazent, a group focused on drum and bass, as their leader. They became well-known in 1997, when they were awarded the Mercury Prize for album New Forms, a stellar achievement for any act.

He stayed with Reprazent for a number of years, but forged his own solo DJ career too. His albums include Touching Down from 2002, Return to V from 2004, and Take Kontrol in 2014. Touching Down consisted of 16 tracks all mixed into each other across a one-hour session, showcasing his DJ skills to great effect.

Return to V featured vocals from performers like Jocelyn Brown and Beverly Knight.

His work with Reprazent has led to multiple albums, including Ultra-Obscene, In the Mode, and New Forms 2. He released an album with DJ Krust in 2016, titled Past & Present. They reformed in 2008, with the original members returning, and they played at some of the world’s biggest festivals, such as Glastonbury, Bestival, Rock Herk, and EXIT.

Roni Size’s singles discography is long and varied, with tracks like ‘Fashion’, ‘Square Off’, ‘26 Bass’, ‘Sound Advice’, ‘Playtime’, ‘Out of Breath’, and ‘Out of Order’.
10 Skream Skream (AKA Oliver Dene Jones) originates from Croydon, and is known as a major player in helping to bring dubstep to a wider audience. He started making music when he was just 15, and had two EPs published Big Apple Records, the store he used to work at as a teenager. These were produced with another DJ named Benga, who would later go on to join Skream in the electro act, Magnetic Man.

Skream’s solo single ‘Midnight Request Line’, released in 2005, was regarded as an important step in helping the dubstep genre achieve a more advanced sound, and attracted widespread attention from those in the industry. This helped Skream to become more well-known as a DJ to watch.

His first solo album, Skream!, was released in 2006, while the second, Outside the Box, hit the chart in 2010. He has also worked under the name Magnetic Man, releasing a self-titled album in 2010.

Magnetic Man is made up of Skream, Benga, and Artwork, and their album managed to reach the number five spot in the UK chart. As a solo DJ, though, Skream has worked with performers like La Roux, Kelis, and John Legend.

What Makes a Great DJ?

Countless DJs have come and gone over the years. Some manage to forge long, successful careers that enable them to rack up lots of hits and generate serious revenue. Others, on the other hand, make a name for themselves briefly but don’t quite have the longevity of their more successful counterparts.

What is it that makes one DJ stand out over the other? What do DJs need to bring to their craft to secure a solid fan-base and a strong body of work?

Good DJs have Passion for their Sounds

This sounds like an obvious point, but it’s true. All the best DJs in the UK have a real love for the music they make, and are passionate about creating a specific experience for their audience.

This may be wanting to fill them with joy, getting them to shed their inhibitions and dance, or creating a powerful emotional link between themselves and their listeners.

Of course, it may be a combination of all three. It may be something different entirely.

The key factor, though, is that sense of drive: the most popular DJs work hard to achieve a sound that really connects with their fans, taking years to hone their talents. Putting the right combination of sounds together in a hit single or album can bring worldwide exposure, fame, money, and years of success – but it’s pivotal to maintain that passion.

Working with Other Talents

DJs collaborate with fellow DJs and vocalists again and again. Just think about the hit songs that Fatboy Slim, Calvin Harris, and others on this list have created with help from others.

Being able to collaborate with other talented individuals and combine your skills is vital to be a successful DJ. This might not be a regular occurrence, but it can help to attract more attention to your work once in a while. DJs who would rather craft music alone can still flourish, of course, but bringing others onboard can make a big difference to your body of work.

Think about whenever a DJ releases a song with a hot talent attached. When Calvin Harris worked with Katy Perry or Bruno Mars, it was a massive event for fans from both sides, representing a bold fusion of different musical styles. This translated into impressive chart success.

Finding outstanding performers in diverse areas of music can help DJs produce singles and albums that have a unique sound, while lending more credibility to their work. Collaborating with other artists has the power to forge unusual new partnerships and groups, allowing DJs to branch out and pursue new projects in ways they may not have done otherwise.

An Appreciation for their Audience

DJs who perform live are all about engaging their audience. It’s not just standing behind decks and trying to recreate the sounds they’ve captured in singles and albums – it’s building a bond between you and the listeners.

Every DJ, from those playing the local club once or twice a week to those commanding astronomical prices to perform in Dubai, has to recognise that they have their audience to thank for their success. They need to look at the men and women in front of them, listen to their feedback, and see which tracks engage them more.

Are they bouncing more to one type of tune than another? Do you have a couple of tracks that thin the dancefloor out considerably? There’s always something to learn.

It’s vital for DJs to have a real appreciation for their audience, and to express this at times. Paying attention to your fans can help you gather invaluable feedback on your tracks, positive and negative, to help you get better in years to come.

Every DJ should have enough humility to take notice of the audience, even if it’s just to change to a more popular track sooner to keep the atmosphere alive.

Being Willing to Experiment

DJs can become stuck in a rut, just like musicians across all genres and styles. It’s easy to become comfortable in a specific method or trope, or to keep giving your audience what they seem to want, but DJs should always be willing to experiment.

This might mean branching out into other genres, or incorporating entirely different elements into your tracks. Experimenting can help you unlock new sounds and emotions in your music, which might even bring you to discover more about yourself . Experimentation lets you push boundaries, cross borders, and evolve.

Your audience will no doubt stick with you if you start to explore different directions, even if the results aren’t quite to their tastes. If your experimentation doesn’t work, there’s no reason why you can’t return to the styles you’re known for or even jump to another option. Who knows what you might learn?

The UK has clearly always been a hotbed of talented DJs, birthing one talent after another. Acts can keep on influencing and inspiring the next generation over decades, with British DJs learning from the best as they start building their own careers.