The 2020 Breakthrough DJ Competition is now well into Round 2, so we’ve decided to catch up with each of the Top 16 to learn a little more about them 👀 We’ll be speaking with all of the Top 16 in the coming days.

We catch up with Dan Sterry next, who stood out for his energy in Round 1.

Hi Dan, well done for making the Top 16! You stood out in Round 1 for your energy, it was great to see.

So first, introduce yourself?

I’m 24 from Reigate in Surrey. I have always loved and appreciated all music and grew up with music from R&B, Soul or Rock to D&B, House and Dubstep. I fell into DJing when I was 16 from being asked to provide a playlist at a friends house party and since then I’ve been hooked! I try and use my taste for so many genres to influence me in open format playing and be as creative as possible to keep the audience on their toes and not just watching me throwing my hands into the air. 

Yeah we can certainly hear that! Tell us your favourite genre to play and your favourite track right now?

I love all genres but I think Soulful House has to be the best. It’s groovy, uplifting and provides a solid bassline to get you in the mood to have a good time. Favourite of all time has to be Chase & Status’ Blind Faith, I think it’s an absolute anthem and gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. 

Certainly can’t go wrong with Soulful House, so how long have you been behind the decks? Biggest claim to fame?

I’ve been DJing for 8 years and would like to continue for many more. I managed to get within spitting distance from Andy C, the Godfather of D&B, but personally speaking with Sammy Porter last year was a highlight. 

Decent! We’d like to know who each of you aspire to?

Patrick Nazemi (head resident at Ibiza Rocks and owner of Brooklyn Zoo) has been influential in how I have tried to create sets and energise the crowd. He doesn’t contain himself to a style and does some wicked old school and house sets which I love and his energy is contagious. 

Our judging panel were definitely feeling the energy in your first mix. So, if you could play at any party or venue, where would it be?

I’d love to play at EDC Las Vegas which is definitely one of the biggest dance music platforms in the world. More locally I’d love the opportunity to play at Abode. 

Nice! Anything you’d like to share before we wrap up?

I think it’s great that promoters like Time Off Festivals can give DJs the chance to enter competitions and the overall winner based on their talent. With most promoters only looking for how big ‘up and coming’ DJs are, on top of it being so easy to pay for plays/likes/comments, the water can get muddy. I hope that events like this continue where raw talent is exposed and DJs are given a chance. 

Last question: what’s your opinion on phones on the dancefloor?

Phones can be good… Especially for us DJs to Shazam!! But I think some people need to refrain from broadcast their nights out to the world and just enjoy the moment. I think sadly some parties and events are turning into a fashion/lifestyle statement rather than going for the artists or the music. There are some raves now where smart phones are banned which I quite like the idea of.