Here’s a link to a great article that A-Trak has written for the Huffington Post regarding the recent controversies stirred up by Steve Angello’s pre-recorded shenanigans at the Dance Valley festival last year, and Deadmau5’s recent ‘we all hit play’ rant about “live” acts and DJing in general.
A-Trak is an incredibly talented DJ and is a veteran of the scene, so his words can be taken with a higher authority than most. He talks about the shift that’s happening with EDM, what with the term becoming a giant buzzword, and the movement of dance music to a bigger setting, making the DJ’s “live” shows the spectacle and the big draw, while the music and the craft of DJing itself takes a back seat.
“This scene is turning into a caricature. Explosions, private jets, standing on tables (I plead guilty to the latter), and now carbon copy playlists… The hair metal soap opera of EDM risks devaluing a culture that has waited for its big break for 30 years.”
His article outlines just about everything I’ve been complaining about for the past year, and it’s nice to have the problem identified by a key player in the industry. I feel a lot of the issues to blame are caused by the enormous rise in the amount of festivals that are taking place in the past couple of years. In Australia, during the warmer seasons – and even some of the colder ones – you’d be able to visit a festival each month, it was relentless and a constant drain on the funds of punters. As a result, it hit a tipping point where a number of festivals have been cancelled, We Love Sounds, Good Vibrations and Canberra’s Mission To Launch among the victims.
In addition to this, as outlined in A-Trak’s article, tracklists between big name DJs become more and more homogenised. Miami’s most recent Ultra Music Fesitval, one of the biggest festivals in the world, featured an immense amount of names on it’s roster. Compare the tracklists between those DJs on the larger stages – particularly the house DJs – and you’ll find there’s a huge amount of overlap between them. You’ll see the same names over and over, barely – if any – new artists, and it’s entirely monotonous and predictable. I know looking at these names as a source of something fresh is probably asking a bit too much, but surely there can be some variation, but unfortunately this is hardly the case.
One thing not mentioned in the article, but is entirely prevalent in Australia – probably due to it’s distance from the rest of the world – is the recycling of lineups. Much like tracklists, almost every EDM festival here showcases the same set of artists every year. As of September this year at Parklife, I’ll have seen Justice 3 times in 2 years, Nero, Jack Beats and Benga twice, the list goes on. Thankfully, the size of Stereosonic this year has allowed for a more diverse range of artists that seem to have been on a few people’s wishlists for a while now, which is a breath of fresh air.
Am I whining too much or do I have some valid concerns?
Somewhat relevant, but very cool, the video below demonstrates why A-Trak has been crowned the DMC World Champion many times over.Please enter the url to a YouTube video.