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Last Night’s Riot In Hollywood: Is Electronic Dance Music The New Rock & Roll?

image from www.hollywoodreporter.com Last night, a DJ's single tweet caused a riot outside the premier of the Electronic Daisy Carnival Experience film in Hollywood.

The social significance of this is huge. This was no staged publicity stunt mustered up by Gaga’s backroom team to fake a seemingly out of control rebellion. This was kids on the street causing a commotion of their own accord.

The focus in the music industry has been centered on mainstream efforts to stay afloat and once again find profit in product. In the meantime, outside of the mainstream, a movement has been brewing, reaching a crescendo with Southern California’s, Electric Daisy Carnival – a huge dance festival featuring the top DJs and a crowd of over 200,000 people. Similar events have taken place across the USA.

The riot happened outside the Mann's Chinese movie theater on Hollywood Blvd at the premier of this documentary about the Electric Daisy Carnival. DJ Kaskade was set to perform at the event, and his tweet drew such a huge crowd that the police made attempts to disperse the revelers. It was at this point that things starting turning nasty.

It becomes normal for people to exploit a burgeoning scene, to jump on the bandwagon. But the real lesson to be learned here is that it takes time to build these things. Overnight sensations of this nature are in reality at least 10 years in the making (EDC started in 1997).

The DJ’s who spin at these events have helped build up a movement by performing for years in underground clubs. In these times of recession, the cheapness of their touring costs have for sure helped their rise. But more than that, they are connecting with what people want, to the extent that they become riotous when it is taken away from them.

The scene will undoubtedly become marred by reports of drug use and these aggressive activities, which is a shame. Those at the heart of it I am sure will argue that its size has now attracted the wrong element that doesn’t understand its core values and appeal.

But the thing to focus on here is that people dedicated to their craft can tap into something that people want. Given time and energy, they can build it into something that breathes its own life. It becomes its own “little monster”, outside of the control of the media, the record labels, and the establishment.

If you want to succeed in this business, make friends with the bands around you, not enemies. If two bands can pull fifty people to a club separately – thats a hundred when you put them together. Riots are a tipping point that happen because there is strength in numbers. DJ Kaskade may be at the center of this latest uproar, but he is a mere catalyst, the cause was something way bigger than any individual.

Isn't this exactly what the heart of Rock and Roll is all about.

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Robin Davey is an award winning independent musician and film maker and Head of Music and Film Development at GROWvision.

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13 Comments

  1. my goodness, did somebody dig this article up from a time capsule?
    Dance music was the new rock and roll in 1989. The riots, the new laws, the media sensationalism, the front-page drug overdoses, the stadium shows from millionaire DJs, the carnivals with over a million attendees, these had all happened by 1995.
    The author comes across as somewhat uninformed, to put it mildly.

  2. Um I think you should check your facts, whereas the Rave movement was a huge underground movement in the UK in 1989 and later in the states. It somewhat fizzled out. However the phenomenon of Rock and Rock has remained a staple in Society.
    Rock and Roll’s beginning had a growth that spanned more than just one movement in order to truly throw it into the mainstream.
    It took from Chuck Berry to Elvis through to Led Zeppelin via the Beatles and the Stones to fully infiltrate the system and become the cultural phenomenon that it is. Not forgetting it’s origins grown out of blues.
    Dance music snobs will of course claim that the previous scenes warrant something to be called the new Rock and Roll, but they would be more justified calling it the new Punk. Punk was a hugely important cultural phenomenon but has since has fizzled into a minority scene, just like Dance music did after it’s peak in the 1990’s.
    But now dance music has come back bigger than before, to the extent of the events in Hollywood. Previous Raves in the 1990s drew tens of thousands of people, now they are drawing hundreds of thousands of people. That is another cultural shift.
    The previous movement was never big enough to become termed the new Rock and Roll, but the extra 15 years it has had gestating in culture and it being a focal point for people dealing with the troubling times of a recession, might just cement it as worthy of the new Rock and Roll title.

  3. 2002 Brighton, Southern England. 250,000 people turn up to see Fatboy Slim play for free. 1 person dies. Several in hospital.
    This was 10 years ago Americans! Keep up! 🙂

  4. While all the comments here are quite valid, there is merit in the original article. I was only thinking the other day how much activity there was on Soundcloud surrounding tracks of the electronic, dub and remix variety compared to other genres. My Soundcloud inbox is constantly receiving “new exclusive” tracks from DJs so my guess is that the ability to churn out content is proving successful for those artists. Also, the increased crowd numbers to dance music festivals is on the rise. And I’m not talking about secret raves, but totally mainstream affairs. In my town there’s a dance festival held every year (maybe bi-annually) which sells out it’s 15000 ticket quota well in advance. The main point, there is no music scene here to speak of, and only one nightclub to speak of, and yet, they pull the crowds. Perhaps Electronica is the new Rock’n’Roll.

  5. Dubstep doesn’t belong in the EDM category. It belongs in the same category as heavy metal and rock and roll…I wont believe otherwise until I see these kids step up and ACTUALLY dance. Just because it’s electronic and music does not make it EDM. EDM originates from hip-hop. DJ Kool Herc/b-boys/b-girls.(and rap music that followed cause you can’t take a b-boy home with you like a rap album..rap had a product to sell) Anyone that doubts this and has actually been to a dubstep concert…I ask what is the difference between going to a rock concert and a dubstep show?

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