When the term EDM (Electronic Dance Music) first came about, genres such as House, Trance and Techno were all mashed under this term that seemed to appear out of nowhere. It’s very definition was used to describe Swedish House Mafia, Avicii and more. We’ve even seen some Trap music referred to as EDM, but let’s not get into the whole genre debate here…it’s confusing at the best of times.
Wikipedia defines EDM as follows:
“Electronic dance music (also known as EDM, dance music, club music, or simply dance) is a set of percussive electronic music genres produced primarily for dance-based entertainment environments, such as nightclubs.”
Some will argue that EDM is a genre itself, categorising such songs as DVBBS & Borgeous’s Tsunami, Martin Garrix’s Animals and W&W’s Bigfoot, popular songs that follow a pattern that revolves around constant drops. It is quite literally, pop music on steroids. Listen to any recent set by Benny Benassi or Laidback Luke and you’ll really get a feel of what EDM stands for, yet listen to something by Carl Cox and the majority would argue against it being labelled “EDM“, despite the literal definition describing it so.
What EDM really should stand for is “Electronic Dance Marketing”, or “Electronic Dance Manufacturing”, because at the end of the day, it’s a term coined by major labels to try and push Electronica to the masses, particularly North America. In an interview with Maxim from The Prodigy a while back, he told us that it’s always been hard to take dance music to The States. Through the “EDM” vehicle that has been created, this is finally happening. It’s just a way of keeping music fresh; re-manufactured and pushed to impressionable teenagers.
Simon Cowell, successful businessman most famous for flattening the pop music industry in 2001 with the introduction of Pop Idol, has clearly recognised this and jumped on the EDM bandwagon at the perfect time. He has partnered with SFX, a large scale EDM promoter who have said “Bringing EDM to the world is our goal.”
Pop Idol really crippled the pop music industry. While few make it, the majority of contestants get rejected. Being told “they aren’t good enough” quite literally shatters dreams. In an interview with Sky Magazine, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters frontman) couldn’t have summed it up any better:
“When I think about kids watching a TV show like American Idol or The Voice , then they think, ‘Oh, okay, that’s how you become a musician, you stand in line for eight f**king hours with 800 people at a convention centre and then you sing your heart out for someone and then they tell you it’s not f**king good enough.’ Can you imagine?”
It literally is soul-destroying. For aspiring DJs, it can have the same effect. It’s not all about the mixing and technical ability. Nothing proves this better than Seth Troxler hitting number one in the Resident Advisor charts last year, as voted by the public. Seth is an incredible guy, who doesn’t rely on producing or incredible technical ability when it comes to mixing, but has a strong and passionate personality, with an ability to connect with the crowd like no other, something that is built on years of DJ’ing, and not a few minutes on some TV show.
The reaction among underground Electronic music fans has rightfully being against the “Ultimate DJ” show for this very reason, yet in some ways we think it can do a bit of good (please bear with us here!)
EDM has brought Electronic music to the masses, bringing big events to major cities worldwide, but as always, the towns are struggling to catch-up. There are always amazing underground nights that you can find nearby, if you know the scene. They’re usually born out the room twos and club basements of this world, attracting a very niche crowd. The predicament that underground fans currently find themselves in is that EDM isn’t quite developed enough to warrant the mainstream and as such, these underground nights have amalgamated with the EDM crowd, to create some sort of hybrid that doesn’t create the atmosphere either crowd is looking for. Estimable nights such as Cocoon, We Love Sundays and Paradise have seen an influx of crowds that don’t really understand the music, believing it to be “EDM” and as such just end up standing around looking confused, fist pumping and sleezing on the opposite gender.
With shows such as “Ultimate DJ”, EDM will continue to become something bigger and for the underground music fans that can only be a good thing. EDM nights will eventually divide from the rest and earn their own identity, allowing the underground nights to be able to focus back on what they’re good at; attracting a passionate and undivided crowd.
“Ultimate DJ” is going ahead and all we can do is stand back and watch the chaos unfold. It may take a while, but we can only hope our underground nights are restored back to their former glory.