EDM's big so the love is getting some hate. But are there good reasons for antagonism towards this incredibly popular form of music? Three DJs, Armin van Buren, Hardwell and Tommie Sunshine, recently shared their responses to concerns about drugs, money, hate and bubbles. Together they remind us that EDM is also about community and perspectives that often connect back to the youth of many parents of EDM fans. And Tommie Sunshine, seen in this post's thumbnail, makes a strong case that the bigger picture is positive and that we're at the beginning of a boom not a bubble.
I'm not sure if inthemix planned this group of articles as a related series but we're at the point where representatives of EDM will probably have to address the same issues over and over as long as the media writes about EDM. It remains to be seen whether it will go the way of hip hop, perpetually working under a question mark in the larger culture, or rock music, for which all sins are forgiven and monetization by Muzak is old news.
For EDM, as opposed to electronic music as a whole, the latter appears most likely. Until then, people have issues.
They're All High On Molly!
One of the biggest assumptions regarding EDM is that everyone's high on Molly aka ecstasy aka MDMA (though a lot of it isn't actually MDMA). The consciousness of ecstasy, also known as the "love drug" or "hug drug" back in the day, can be most equated to LSD consciousness long associated with the culture of the 60s.
Now I can understand your concern. Looking back, we see a bunch of kids and freaks on drugs. But looking forward we can see that most of those people went on to make lots of money, found companies like Apple and generally join in the capitalist spree that marks our "ever closer to environmental destruction despite all the conscious chatter" world.
Given the mainstreaming of EDM, that may well be their script too.
Until then, DJs like Armin van Buren will step forward with statements like, "I’ve never used drugs in my life."
But the more important point is that:
"You don’t need drugs to have an amazing time, you really don’t."
Which is true. But kids will be kids. EDM is associated with widespread drug use and that's been part of its appeal to young people for a long time. And outsiders of earlier generations, like Madonna, have been more than happy to get in on the action.
So no progress on that propaganda front as of yet.
Those DJs Make Way Too Much Money!
They are caking. No one question's that.
But like Hardwell says:
"People always say ‘DJs are the new pop stars’...but when Rihanna, Jay-Z or Lady Gaga is selling out an arena and get a ridiculous amount of money, everyone is handling that ok."
Honestly, I wonder if this is more of a topic of discussion inside EDM and the larger world of DJs and electronic music.
At least in America, if you have money, you can get away with so much that such complaints don't really matter.
EDM Hate and Bubble Talk
Hate from outside is just fine. You can't be loved on a massive scale without generating hate. Michael Jackson almost transcended that but his demons undermined his final days.
However a lot of EDM hate is coming from what is sometimes called the "underground," people who feel EDM destroys the true value of their dance and music communities.
This is separate from talk of EDM being a bubble but Tommie Sunshine ties them together along with addressing other cliches.
I don't even want to try to sum up his argument. It covers quite a bit of ground from an insider who can clearly move between camps.
But, from his vantage point, Tommie Sunshine says we're nowhere near the end, we're actually still in the early stages of EDM growth and and he "want[s] everyone to come to the party."
And here's a point that's so good I'll close with that:
"One of the main points that I would love this piece to make is that you have these kids who are as open-minded as possible, at a time when the country is at its most conservative. The best art is made in times of political and social chaos. You want to talk about political and social chaos? Our government shut down for over two weeks. Boom, you’ve got it. It’s here. Of course kids want to find something that takes them on a journey out of everyday life."
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.