Every music connoisseur has been down this preverbal road once or twice. Take a second and picture this: You have developed a special interest in an artist that is beginning to be recognized by the general public but hasn’t quite made its way to the big stages or to the top of the billboards charts yet. One bittersweet afternoon while listening to the radio and driving in your car this particular artist you love gets played following a Justin Beiber song.
Yes that’s right, the artists you scrapped money together to see at a smoke filled bar or club is now on the radio sharing air time with the “greats”. Truly a bittersweet moment because you love that this artist is reaching larger audiences and that their dreams of making it big is finally a realization but you in your car or room or wherever you heard it play truly hope this is not the end. You hope that this band or artist doesn’t “sellout” what makes them so special. What is most important is that now you know that people will fall in love with them just like you did, with a shocking and significant difference. They will like them because they were told to like them or rather because everyone else does. Your ultimate fear is they will be just a fad and with that fad change their sound, their appearance, their appreciation for the fans and most importantly change their selves to better suit the larger audience that they just gained with that one song that is never as good as their “older stuff.”
Now, imagine you apply this to a genre of music and an ideal not a particular artist or band but a whole sound and movement, which is what electronic music is experiencing today. Listening to the new “hit” songs by artists today one can certainly agree that an electronic spin has been infused in nearly every track on the radio. The murmurs and echoes from those clueless individuals say, “Electro is coming back.” Electronic is fine all on its own. No track played on the radio today is winning over the hearts of true Electronic Music lovers but actually repelling them. If the artists that use an electronic sound at random were actually any good at incorporating and producing tracks then we would have a different story on our hands.
The truth is every song on the radio that has that “club vibe” attached in between the awful lyrics or even worst underneath the artist’s voice, is not only awful but it’s ruining a person’s chance to even discover great electronic music. What is worse is that it is bringing a crowd to electronic and shows that do not appreciate the movement behind the music. I’m not talking about drugs, thank you very much. I’m talking about P.L.U.R. (Peace Love Unity and Resect). All often this idea is completely and totally forgotten and as a result the passion for humanity and oneness that the music can bring to its audience is forgotten. Shows and festivals become about fist pumping and getting completely messed up with your friends and smearing paint on each other. The appreciation for the composition and mixing of tracks is long forgotten.
For instance months ago chaos ensued in the electronic music circles about a certain track produced by Mat Zo. As many of you may know Will I am used Mat Zo’s track entitled “Rebound” and incorporated it in his “Let Go” track. Now, after the fact, Will I AM claimed to give credit to Mat Zo in the fine print and so no copyright harm was done. But, let the record show, some other harm was done. Rebound is a great trance track and a wonderful display of talent and composition. The tragedy here is that the original track was completely butchered. This was one example of how a mainstream artist took on an electronic feel and came up short. This time we actually get to hear the before and after of what happens when something beautiful gets remixed and tarnished. You may say “who cares…then don’t listen”. …and you would be right. We all have a choice of what we listen to but that’s not the point here. The point is those mainstream artists are ruining EDM by attempting to master it. They appeal to the person that has never listened to Mat Zo before. This awful sound that receives airtime on the radio becomes popular and then guess what happens….they want more. This wouldn’t be a problem except that the current producers are more than capable of selling out just like everyone else. Big fist pumping crowds come to shows expecting to hear what is on the radio. Well good for them. But what happens to the true talent and the true audience of EDM, the people who do know who Mat Zo is?
A perfect example of a particular artist changing their sound and style completely just to appeal to mainstream crowd is ShowTek. Showtek is a talented Dutch duo that is known for their happy hardcore sound. If you happen to catch Show TeK now they are far from happy hardcore. Showtek played at Sun City Music festival in 2011 and were completely refreshing with an intense hardcore sound pumping from the speakers and filling the venue in El Paso. A few months ago, in a small venue in Austin, ShowTek served up an interesting show but their sound had completely changed. They had a great crowd but the show was like any other dubstep- trap show. No hardcore, no more originality, no more ShowTek. It’s an artist’s choice to spin or sing or play whatever they want but unfortunately mainstream media always wins. Then you find yourself standing in a crowd of teenyboppers who are way past their curfew and can’t help but wonder what happen to the sound I love.
Although there is a difference between the sell outs and the original talent, there is a fine line that is drawn in the sand. There is a sound that everyone knows when it comes to pop music and now it is being taken from one main genre. Before pop would be a culmination of music and different influences, not a single sample from a few synthetic beats.
Electronic music has changed from being about the music to a fad, a scene, and unfortunately has some negative associations that are beginning to be seen in the mainstream. Overdoses at electronic music festivals, lack of security, and sexual misconduct all lead to the shows we see today. The neon colors from the fraternity or sorority at the nearby college all drinking singing along to the mainstream track and then talking and taking pictures to post on instagram is a norm. The neon hats that say, “rage” or something to relation to “wub,” “bro,” or “step,” all flood the area followed by shirtless guys with plaid shorts or neon sunglasses. Go-go boots and an obscene amount of kandi bracelets with pacifiers or an excessive amount of make up all wiggle slightly as the standard vocals for the generic track come on.
The events held by these artists are no longer about the music, (conditionally said of course) but mainly revolve around the show itself. The lights must blend perfectly together and astound the audience while the music has to be the tracks that the crowd wants to hear, which for the most part are the ones on the radio or sampled by other artists.
Check back later for Part 2
Adding to the already god-like worshipping of producers and claiming them as DJ’s, there is a sense of depreciation for the movement and what it has become. Electronic music sweeping America not only made it a trend but also part of a culture creating the ever famous Bros. At the same time you have drugged induced and fueled people who rush and rudely push through the crowd to get to the front and listen to the one song they know, only to leave five minutes later.
These comments are all seen throughout the different genres of music, but with that, the difference is the amount of money that these ventures are taking in. Aside from the souvenirs from the show, ticket prices, alcohol sales, there are bottle service charges. This is in which the wealthy patrons sit in the balcony or “high above the clouds with the birds.” With other events such as rock concerts or festival the ticket prices are judge according to special privileges such as a private bar. This is a norm is all genres of music, rock concerts have backstage passes, hip-hop have massive after parties, but the difference in this situation is that those with the money control the DJ.
It as just earlier this year that Calvin Harris, finally a mainstream artists for his tracks, “Sweet Nothing,” and “I Need Your Love,” was playing a normal set in Vegas at Tryst. The venue was packed and the majority of the crowd on the dancefloor was composed of older fans and new ones alike trying to catch a glimpse at the artist who made it to the high ranks of Beatport this year. He took to twitter after allegedly being kicked off of the stage
This was not the case, it was in fact people screaming and demanding that he play more popular tracks leading him to not want to play his set. With him being one of the largest modern day House producers, he did what anyone else who did not appreciate their work would have done.
“No offence intended to Tryst, great club + staff but I don’t know why I was invited there…! The people hated me!”
Another artist by the name of Mark Farina had a similar issue.
Trysts….. dayclub manager “was getting complaints from their table service crowd.” And, according to an attendee, Farina was replaced by another DJ who began playing more commercial house.
The money and the way this scene is going is being extorted and will soon die because of the amount of money involved. Although through the years and extortion of music there has not been a time where it was like this.
With the people with the money aren’t creative or aspiring to trend new ground but instead chose to stick to the same formula in order to entice the same crowd with different artists. The repetitiveness of the scene is only masked by the difference in names of the artists and the amount of lasers one has compared to another. Although there are many ways to demonstrate this, recently “Swedish duo Daleri had a light bulb moment and released a minute long compilation combining every ‘hard hitting’ drop from the current Beatport Top 100.”
Below is an example of the drops (climactic point of a track) of the tracks all ranging from different artists.
Although this may seem like it is bad, it only gets worst with none other than ex lover of Afrojack Paris Hilton took residence in a nightclub that is housed in the Electronic Music capital of the world Ibiza. She will be the celebrity DJ at the venue Amnesia and will also have her line of clothing and accessories on sale at the events.
With this being a fad, hopefully the music will return back to the originators and the amount of influence by the high paying customer dwindles down giving the artist the freedom they need to find the next dance style because if the above is the best we can do, then I believe we are in trouble.