Old School Vs. EDM?

Ok folks, listen. I just read an article entitled, “Why are old school electronic artists annoyed with edm?” on a blog from LA Weekly. Here’s my take on it….

Pete TongThe article started off well but instantly deteriorated when it began to label Pete Tong as the more ‘underground’ artist at a recent festival known as Coachella (which I hasten to add, is a high profile music festival) . Aside from the fact that Pete Tong is possibly THE most house hold name in dance music; I mean, the guy is a legend and quite rightly so, as he has forged himself a name as the ‘professor’ of dance music for the last 20 years or so, making the description of ‘underground’ somewhat laughable.

Encapsulated in the same category as more ‘underground’ was the next biggest thing in dance music known as Maya Jane Cole, along with biggest name in digital DJ’ing; a name that anyone who understands how the words ‘midi‘ and ‘techno‘ can be used in the same sentence, would instantly conjure up the image of, yes, that’d be Richie Hawtin.

Aside from the blatant misunderstanding of techno and the word ‘underground’ the author continues to drive a wedge between two ‘generations’ of people. I’m sorry, but this ‘divide’ in music is nothing to do with a generation thing, I know many people, many years younger than me that would pick a set from Nick Hoppner any day over some fake named, egotistical, showman who’s only in it for the girls and money. I don’t want to drive any more wedges between myself and the writer of the article I mention, or indeed between the house crew and the dubstep/skrillex crew, but I must say that it has nothing to do with generations, it’s simply a matter of taste.

My taste is no better than your taste, it’s just different

old school star trooper dancingWithout choices, the world would be a very horrible place. Having the freedom to choose the music you love is what gives people their individuality. Lets get over the divide, love the music you love, dance to it like you’ve never danced before and stop worrying what everyone else is dancing to. This isn’t about image, it’s about enjoying yourself. We are all one race and we are all entitled to love whatever music we chose, lets allow each other the freedom to do this, whatever the expression.

The reason old school electronic music lovers are “annoyed with EDM“, is because America has taken something that already exists and wants to ‘market‘ it. (Carl Cox touches on this subject in a beatport article).
Stop buying into the term EDM, it pigeon holes you and allows the big corporations to market their crap music to you. Step outside the box and chose your own path, don’t let big music labels or the entertainment industry tell you what you should like OR buy. This shouldn’t be about Old School Vs EDM, it should simply just be about music lovers with differing tastes!

Now type the most obscure and cool dance music producers name in the comments below…..

To read the article I refer to head-over to the LA Weekly.
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

42 comments

  1. Firstly: NiDRLNDR🙂 (or if I’d try to be a bit more serious Jan Driver)

    Secondly – I don’t agree with your article.
    I think Dance music (Called EDM in the States as people there could mistake it for HipHop which most people used to listen to in the Club) is in the same stage as Disco was in ’78 – mid 80’s.

    Commercialism has set in and people are flocking to the genre not because they like that kind of music best – but because it’s easiest to make a hit in that genre.
    So now we are being flooded with the bubblegum version of the thing it used to be… and before you know it a Hyperreality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperreality) of Dance has been born and it’s called EDM.
    And people new to the genre are lapping it up as it’s the easiest entry….

    Why people are hacking at EDM (wrongly so in my eyes) is because they are afraid that EDM will do the same to the whole genre that Euro Disco did to Disco: tainting it enough that their beloved producers will go and do something else.
    Though one could argue that this is EXACTLY what has made Daft Punk go and make RAM.

      • This is a great conversation….. more Dj s should talk about this, because most of the things that has been said are true. Alot of DJ’s that come from a analog prospective to Digital …………..or not even Digital meaning Dj they still play vinyl are Purest and understand genus and sub genus styles for what they are. They are master of there styles. But EDM Dj’s come off totally different. They just play everything that they know is hot You can tell they come from producer prospective and not a DJ prospective,but the feeling is gone! Yes what the play is good but its all over the place. I can’t stand DJ’s that play Techno with Dubstep, deep house tech house Ect. It sucks!! if you play house. Spin the Dope house tracks if you play techno Drop that real Shit. but if you are that dj that plays all this crazy music in a set it just hurts your ears. And all the new kids coming need to be educated.

        EX: I have XM radio and they played the whole ULTRA Fest
        I love a Dj’s that can mix and blind and drop hot tracks represent the style. But most of the DJ’s that played sucked!! Carl Cox was NICE! But since commercialization has come into the scene music is 50/50 Its becoming more and more EDM with the mainstream.

        Im a Drum and Bass Dj ive been listen to this shit since 88 when it was called breakbeat. I appreciate a good DJ no matter what the style is. But the term EDM is bastardizing the music. There will be a split and the ones that love real underground good music will be called snobs and the other could care less, because they will never understand it.

      • Thanks for your comment – Yes, I think you understand the point here too. Roger Sanchez mentioned this in an interview once, he said that there has been a split in the dance music scene. There’s the commercialisation big room sound of Aviici and all that crap (sorry to say) and then there’s the other scene. Not to say each one is better than the other, it just means that you know what club to chose based on who’s playing.

        Perhaps EDM is pushing the underground scene more underground.. Which is a good thing. This brings me to another possible blog article I’m working on” ‘True underground isn’t on the internet’

  2. I don’t think there’s ever been a generation that agreed with the musical tastes of those who came after. When my parents were kids, they listened to jazz music to rebel against the popular styles of the 40s and 50s. When my generation wanted to rebel, it was gangsta rap and punk rock.

    EDM is no exception. The new generation shows up with different tastes and a new idea of what’s popular. I can’t stand the half-naked douchebags and drunken idiots that infest the crowds at popular events, but I still go because it’s still fun. My taste isn’t the same as their taste, not always. Music changes, tastes evolve, culture changes, and all of these things conspire to move time forward.

    I wouldn’t want music to be the same now as it was in 2003, or 2005, or even 2008. If I wanted that, I’d just listen to that music all day.

    • A great point – it’s always good for music to evolve and yes, we should be happy that many genres exists, but lets not draw a divide between the people that listen to these genres.

  3. “Stop buying into the term EDM, it pigeon holes you”

    E.D.M. isnt a word its an acronym. Edm is an umbrella term for all ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC. I dont know if this is a revelation to you but that includes oldschool rave music as well. Genre is the pigeon hole but is good for sorting out the crap you dont want to hear.

    • I guess when I say it pigeon holes you – I mean it puts you into a pool of people that are buying in to the term that has been coined by parts of the music industry. As Ryan says above, I think that it’s a matter of people putting this one bracket around everything and being done with it. It’s an insult to dance music and take the shine off it. (That’s just my opinion)

  4. It reminds me of how in the early 90’s everything was grouped under the term “Electronica” Ughhh.
    It’s a way for the uninformed to make a broad generalization about a form of music they really don’t understand or are unwilling to really learn its nuances and various forms. It makes it easier to digest if people can place it in a generic wrapper.

    • Yeah there’s still a lot of people that say, “you like techno don’t you?”, meaning that they know I listen to some kind of music that belongs in a club. They just place all dance music in the techno bracket….. I guess this is kinda the same for the EDM phrase.

  5. Your comments about personal taste, as well as the marketing of EDM, are well put.

    I don’t think the “correct” term(s) will ever be applied when it comes down to festivals and the various tents/stages available, let alone wide sweeping genre acronyms, and only see this getting worse as the younger music fans (and their subsequent culture) moves onward.

    However this gives room for a resurgence of some of the less played genre’s, as well as older style parties/events; there’s a little bit of something for everyone, just not nearly as much as there is for EDM fans.

  6. There are a lot of things that could be said here. I applaud your ‘my taste is no better than your taste’ sentiment.

    Saving money to buy records, grafting to buy decks, finding a venue, learning to mix, risking getting busted by the cops and having everything confiscated, buying tape machines, drum machines, synths, mixers, learning to use it all, printing flyers, standing in phone boxes in the cold, having a free party in the woods on new years eve, never any consideration of making money…… Now all the difficult bits, all the bits that required sacrifice have been replaced by a laptop, a mobile phone and the internet. And the sacrifice before was only to have a party.

    Things do change. Thankfully the bulk of EDM culture is staying where it originated. But long live music, even if it is Hardwell playing to 8000 kids who think the Hacienda is a spa their parents go to in Mexico.

  7. Thankfully some of the “big names” subscribe to this too, I mean Carl Cox just played 7 HOURS so you have to play whatever your taste.

  8. Obscure?

    Nostrum
    AC Boutsen
    Cygnus X
    Hardfloor
    Marc Acardipane
    Jasper Dahlbäck
    Alec Empire
    Mad Mike Banks
    Ralf Hildenbeutal
    Resistance D
    Der Dritte Raum
    German Division
    3 Phase
    James Pennington
    Drexciya

  9. I appreciate your article. However I feel that one of your points of view is too narrow. I agree that the “music industry” can corrupt the musical process and push it to places that it should never go in pursuit of money, but that is a two edged sword. Without the industry, the music wouldn’t be as widely accepted, the festivals would be smaller and they wouldn’t draw as many great DJ’s and producers as it has. The industry bring popularity which garners money which draws the great ones that are motivated by that money to create great music. Agreed, it can, and usually does, devolve into a sad shadow of what it once was in the pursuit of only money, but it eventually recycles. Looking back thru the decades you can see the cycle has repeated itself many times in different genres of music.

    I guess that my point is that the music industry isn’t only a bad thing.

    • Thanks Russell, yes I see your point. We also live in a world that seems to run on ‘economy’, be that a good thing or not, it may not be necessary. Society has been moulded the way it has and unfortunately we are all lead to believe that we need money to survive. In this day and age, it certainly appears that we do, however, there may be another path. We are all taught from an early age that we need to get a job, work hard, or we wont get money and therefore fail at life. This creates an unhealthy obsession with money which can turn to greed and corrupt many things. This however, is a conversation for a different forum, nevertheless a very interesting one. In the interests of keeping it light, I recommend we do what we do for love and not for money, do it as a gift to others, not as a gift to yourself, although it is also wise to give to yourself too now and again and to show yourself the appreciation you deserve. But this is not necessarily in the form of money.

      Smaller festivals, with real community, are much more intimate and special, when it is created out of love and the coming together of people. When it’s done for money, something is lost…… check out the Bloom Series of Transformational festivals…..

      Thanks for commenting…

  10. I agree with the point that my taste is different and they can like whatever they want, but my taste is better lol. Really, with the electro/dubstep/trap crap scene, all the music is breakdown/drop. Anyone who has been into the scene for longer than 5 years notices that these producers exploit this cookie cutter formula that will hook these younger listeners that aren’t experienced in classic tracks that actually show progressions and originality. It’s like comparing Nickelback to Tool, sure they are both ‘rock’, but one is definitely on another level of creativity and sophistication.

    • Haha. Nicely said Clay. I think you’re spot on there. Although it would be nice to know if there is longevity in dubstep support, if people ‘progress’ into some other genre or if they stay. Deadmau5 even said that he sticks to a formula. Pop music has a formula too. There’s a difference between making a cookie cutter track and one that the artist has poured their heart and soul into. You can tell the difference.

  11. not exactly obscure since he’s signed to hospital records, but Bop is probably my favourite experimental artist that I know

  12. Drum & bass and dubstep used to be underground, and so diverse. Then they both became commercial and oversaturated, and everything started to sound the same. Commercialization takes the life out of music. Producers exploit this popularity sometimes instead of producing something new and different. Like everyone that tries to sound like Skrillex or Deadmau5- It might sound nice, but dude, raise the bar!

  13. I’ve been djing since ’83. i love my house music, REAL house music, underground, deep, soulful, classic house. i can’t stand edm, for me it’s just noise and it gets to me but i have to play it. just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s good. another thing i can’t stand is djs that fist-pump and clap when they djing edm, is this a concert or somebody djing, it makes other djs look bad making it look like rock stars. it’s so annoying. just giving my opinion. everybody has their tastes, i just think that today’s music really sucks, ALL MUSIC.

    • I’m with you on this one! I usually like to keep it low key in the DJ Booth. To back up your ‘just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good’ quote. You only have to look at Coca cola to work that one out! It’s popular, but it’s sooo bad of you! 😉

  14. I started going to underground warehouse parties in LA at the very beginning — I think it was ’88 — but it’s all a blur. I stopped going when the parties were all getting busted and/or moved out to the desert — or maybe I just burned out.

    About two years ago I started going again. And I’m glad I did. I don’t care if people want to call it “EDM” or “Techno” or “Electronica” — all I care about is that it exists and that I can dance to it.

    Tech-house is the sound I love followed by house and progressive — or any of the tracks from back in the day (Inner City, Cybersonic, Mix Tapes by Doc Martin, Etc.) but honestly, put me in a tent with a few thousand happy people and I am good to go.

    I say let people call it what they want. It only matters what it means to you and the vibes you feel listening to it and dancing to it. Also, I don’t care if a DJ jumps up and down, fist pumps, whatever — they’re having their experience. They’re feeling the love. They’re sharing the love.

    All I can say is that it’s good to be back. I was a little nervous to go back but I fit right in and everyone has been so welcoming. Now I’m looking for some after-hours warehouse parties in LA as I hear they’re making a comeback.

    Thanks for the interesting article!

    • I’m very happy that you have found this great re-emergence into the scene – thanks for your comment @davidjohnhall:disqus – sorry it took me so long to get back to you on this!

  15. “My taste is no better than your taste, it’s just different”. How can anyone be given a chance to discover their own tastes when this obnoxious noise and pathetic excuse for music known as EDM (admit it, don’t start getting politically correct about taste, you know exactly how this shit started OP) gets forcefully shoved down everyone’s throat through various forms of media???

    • Well, it’s interesting, as you could get into the whole, this corporation is owned by that corporation, who feeds money into this thing that feeds that thing, that feeds the system that controls all the money and ultimately controls society.
      Perhaps it’s all a planned dumbing down of the masses so as to distract them whilst they steal away all your rights civil liberties. Governments don’t want the youth to pay attention to what’s happening in the world because they’d be disgusted to see what the future holds! Then god forbid the youth vote because their master plan would be scuppered and there’d be riots in the street!
      But as it happens no one cares…..”because we manufactured EDM!! haha!! Keep them in those dimly lit rooms killing their brain cells, the more stupid the future generations the more chance we have to control them!”

      (just an alternative view)

      • Coincedentally, I think music (in general) started going down the toilet ever since 9/11. Not all of it, but alot of it gradually lost soul over the last decade. From a financial standpoint it’s kind of ironic. I wonder if music labels back then suffered any adverse effects from this?

  16. “Stop buying into the term EDM, it pigeon holes you and allows the big corporations to market their crap music to you.” Thank you, thank you, and thank you Alan Churchill. Amen!

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