“Starting to listen to EDM is a lot like getting your butt-hole fingered while getting a BJ. It’s going to be scary and uncomfortable at first…But all the kids today are doing it, so give it a fair chance and see if you like it.” – Chris Barton
Electronic music, or techno as many know it, is becoming a force in American popular culture that can no longer be ignored. With a number of Grammys awarded to electronic dance music (EDM) artists yesterday, it is clear that the mainstream is welcoming the genre with open arms. As we all know, EDM is not a new style of music production and has been steadily huge all over Europe, parts of Russia and elsewhere on the global party circuit for decades. With its recent explosion into the American party scene, young people across the country have wasted no time hopping on the bandwagon. Everyone is clamoring attend a show at a nightclub or a festival to find out what all the hype is about. One explanation of the experience is akin to a shepherd leading his sheep. When the DJ wants people to jump, the crowd jumps – when the DJ wants people to get low, the crowd gets low – when the DJ allows the crowd a coveted second to breath with a lull in the action, please believe the crowd takes full advantage of that second before being thrown back into body-extorting beats that seem to force most to lose control of all motor functions. Everyone is totally uninhibited and there is no judgment or labeling of good versus bad dancing. The only thing people are judged on is how much fun they’re having. The clip below is the after-movie for the 2011 Tomorrowland festival which is held annually in Belgium. Beautiful people, bright colors, good music and smiling faces. Perfect.
It’s also important to understand that the spectrum of sub-genres of EDM span far and wide. There is something for everyone. From the gritty bass wobbles of dubstep to the beautiful vocals and hooks of house music, you would be hard-pressed to honestly feel that there isn’t a single EDM DJ whose music strikes a chord with you. In addition to the spectrum of sub-genres, there are so many different types of DJs within each – some who produce amazing original mix’s, some who know exactly the right chords to pull and basslines to stretch to create a masterful remix, others who can take any song from any genre to create a live-set that will make you temporarily lose your mind.
So where is all of this taking EDM? It seems like the scene has finally graduated from taboo and underground to the early stages of mainstream. In the eyes of those who are more out of touch with the status of popular culture in this country, EDM remains to be something that cannot be taken seriously and only lives in underground abandoned warehouse parties in Bushwick inhabited by ecstasy addled derelicts. To many others however EDM is a scene full of happy and like-minded people, incredible music and non-stop fun. Below is the after-movie for the first ever 4D EDM show performed by Deadmau5 on the Millbank Tower in London.
Born in Engels – Arty seems to be living the American dream out of a small region in, what seems like, the middle of nowhere Russia. This odd, alien-looking producer has been churning out intense tunes since he was 19 years old. While not quite on the mainstream EDM circuit quite yet, Arty is an up-and-coming name to look out for in coming years. He manages to take the progressive trance style and package it in a way that makes it palatable for almost any listener looking to cut the rug.
Rushing to the top of the EDM scene with such hits as Levels and Alcoholic, Swedish DJ Avicii is more of a producer than a live-action DJ. His singles are masterfully crafted works of art. His live shows are also incredible since the crowd will know – and proudly belt out – every word to each song that comes through the speakers. At an Avicii show you will have trouble spotting a single person in the crowd who is not jumping around, dancing – having the time of their life. These are the reasons that Avicii has no trouble attracting huge crowds to his shows, despite the fact that his live sets feature less track mixing and alteration than some other DJs, like Martin Solveig (below) for example, are known for.
Just as Avicii creates some of the best pre-recorded productions, Martin Solveig creates some of the best live-sets your ears will ever experience. With a set-list ranging from songs by Nirvana to Dead Prez to his own productions like Hello, each of Martin Solveig’s sets seems to be a work of art produced on the spot for all to enjoy. Without question, the crowd will know the words to all of the songs and Martin will put them together in a way that will force you to shuffle through the dance floor having the time of your life.
Protégé of Sebasian Ingrosso, Alesso seems to have stormed the beaches of the EDM scene faster than it took over America. With tracks that manage to mix upbeat vocals and hooks with scary introductions or basslines, Alesso has proved his ability to keep his fans dancing in and out of nightclubs and festivals.
Thomas Gold is another newcomer to the EDM scene. His remixes of songs by Adele and Lady Gaga have been incredible and manage to turn already masterful productions into dance-floor smashing monstrosities. Being able to turn Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” into a massive dance track is no small feat and Thomas manages to construct these incredible remixes time after time.