We can go on and on about the rise of EDM. Frankly, we’re all up to speed at this point. You know that it’s huge now, you know that it’s not exactly what the techno forefathers had in mind and you know that there are still people taking a thoughtful, intellectual approach to dance music. They aren’t extinct, but with such a sharp spike in popularity, the old days of discovering something more mainstream and going backwards to learn the history, etc. are over.
Simply put, there are too many new fans and not enough people that care, but Richie Hawtin is hoping to change all of that. Hawtin is setting out with Loco Dice on their CNTRL: Beyond EDM tour, 17-stop tour across North American college campuses aiming to draw kids in with their more mainstream (well, mainstream compared to Berghain, anyway) brand of techno, but also serving as a history lecture of sorts. But will Hawtin be the one to teach these youngsters where it all began (Sweden?) and an even bigger question looms, do they even care? If only there was some way to insert a massive drop into a history lesson… Via NPR Music:
“What America did in the 90’s is flirt with [electronic music]” says BBC Radio One’s Pete Tong, who has followed the electronic dance music since its beginnings in Detroit and Chicago. “They embraced electronic music in the sense that as long as it was a kind of band that could go and play a festival in the U.S., then America got very excited about it. America fell in love with the Prodigy because they could put them on Lollapallooza, their videos could go on MTV and in a way they looked like a bastard child of rock and hip-hop, and America got that.”
As the story goes, North America’s love affair with dance music didn’t last long and drifted into an ambiguous, unmarketable territory often referred to as “electronica.” However, for those who have stayed the course and weathered the storm there is a certain apprehensiveness now that EDM is taking over as Philip Sherburne explains,
“I detect a certain sense of resentment from some of the old school players about it, and I’ll cop to having felt some of that myself too,” Sherburne says, “because you’re involved in something for a long time, and you have a certain vocabulary for it and a new generation comes along and christens it something new.”
Everyone on the non-EDM side of the coin can probably admit to what Sherburne is talking about. Rather than popularity gaining steam gradually, the sudden burst of interest has caused the culture to become fragmented and divided as Amanda Claudio laments,
“The thing that doesn’t make sense to me is that [people who like deep house] are like, ‘Oh, you don’t listen to this. Your music taste sucks.’ But I don’t think they actually want kids from the main stage crowding their stage,” she says.
And then there are certain voices that would have you believe that Hawtin’s mission is in vain.
Zedd isn’t necessarily interested in some of the styles that led to EDM, like old school Chicago house. “I feel like Chicago house is mostly based on beats and rhythms, and that’s cool and people love dancing to it,” he says. “But it just does not bring up the emotion in me that I would get in a song with strong lyrics or melody.”
Only time will tell, but we’ll be holding our breath and crossing our fingers for Hawtin and crew.