Editor’s note: On April 9th, I posted a story about the legend, Quincy Jones and his dislike for electronic dance music. This left a bitter taste in my mouth because not only do I respect Quincy Jones, but he is a vital part of what music in general has become today. Some of the musicians he was behind are my favorite musicians and the ones I have grown up appreciating. With that, I asked our podcaster, Mr. Grim to write up something up because while I could write something up, I am just a fan whereas Mr. Grim is a fan, producer, remixer, and more. I felt it would be more appropriate for him to write this out. He absolutely blew my expecations by a landslide. His only request was this to not be an open letter / attack to Quincy Jones. I never had in mind, although reading past conversations about this, it may have seemed like I was. Please take time to read this by Grim and give your thoughts. Thank you.
People don’t like change. Once again, we find ourselves getting criticized and ridiculed from people who just don’t understand us, our music, and our love for dance music. Musician purists of a different era and culture are talking about EDM like it’s a bad thing to the music industry. Clearly it is not. The world of Electronic Dance Music has opened up so many new avenues, advances, and possibilities in the music industry. These possibilities involve networking and collaborations, digital creativity, massive festivals that bring in hundreds of thousands of people. It also gives a musicians a passion and drive for pushing their own personal limits of what can be accomplished in this day and age of new music. As time advances, so do we, whether technology, socialism, or musical integrity. Generalists seem to think that music has to come in the form of vocals, guitars, drums, bass, horns etc. Open-minded musicians know that music is music; be it electronic, or live-instrumental.
I know (from personal experience) that EDM has helped me to become a better musician all around. I’m sure I speak for many as I make such a bold statement, but I sincerely believe it to be true. Since dance music came around, I’ve been infatuated with it. I’ve been DJ’ing, remixing, producing originals, collaborating with others, and expanding my musical pallet beyond anything I would have thought capable today, and I would not have it any other way. I started off playing the keyboard at an early age, and expanded my musical tastes to guitar when I was a teenager. As time went on, I continued to expand my horizons and decided to give dance music a shot. I was very intrigued with its creative variety from day 1, and thus began my quest to thrive as a musician in the future-world of dance music.
Dance music (as a whole) is unlike anything else. I’ve never seen so many happy faces on a dance floor, at a festival, or in their homes while working on a new track, remix or DJ set. The energy and drive that dance music provides us is such a positive experience. It’s much different than sitting into a live jazz set, a rock or pop show. This music just makes you move. The new breed of EDM-followers is younger and more energetic. The saying goes: ‘energy breeds energy’, and that’s true! It’s driving younger talents to start focusing on their careers much earlier, which is such a positive event.
Music history has shown us that even 40 or 50 years ago ‘noise’ was being invented in music. Amplifiers were being turned up too loud, damaged cones or tears in the speakers bred new tones when the volumes went up, and Both Jimmy Hendrix & Jimmy Page being pioneers in the way this new distortion changed the rock music industry eternally. The same can be said about: Skrillex, Excision, Noisia, Knife Party, Kill The Noise, and other purveyor’s experimental user-created synthesizers. Robert Moog took us in a different direction with his modular analog synthesizers back in the mid 1960’s, which played a major role in the world of EDM, and his synths are still being used to this very day in dance music. The difference in the EDM world is, we don’t consider it noise. We consider it sound & music.
The monetization of EDM has also received some harsh criticism for being ‘all about the money’. There is really only one approach to this. Music is a business. To those who want an actual career in music (in ANY genre), they obviously have to pay the bills somehow. If your music is making money, and you can put food on the table, have a roof over your head, and provide the same to your family (if you have one), then the business aspect of any music industry is just as important as the music itself. I don’t recall any one musician/artist/producer/re-mixer or DJ saying they hated doing what they did. We love this music. Some of us work hard, and try to make what we love, become a career. The music industry has always been about making money, and the artists have always been about making the music.
Listeners of EDM aren’t just listening to only EDM. They have a wide-range in musical taste, as this current era is showing us not to be closed-minded, and to love what you love, no matter what others may think. My personal tastes in music range from current EDM in a variety of genres, rock, metal, the 1940’s, and all the way back to the classical period. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I can respect that, but let’s focus on keeping the negative outlooks at bay, and concentrate on the positive future of music progression, respectfully. Dance music has always been about keeping things light, energetic, and memorable, but even the nastiest of dubstep drops have paved the way for dancers to come up with new styles and moves, and have influenced producers to come up with more exotic sounds, and ‘outside of the box’ creativity.
To wrap things up, any and all styles of dance music have influenced me (and thousands upon thousands of people) to become a better musician. To me, without dance music, I would still just be playing guitar, or the piano (which is fine); but discovering this whole new world has let me play ANY instrument imaginable, and has opened my mind up to play any style freely, in my own way. Along with that, it has also let me create new instruments from scratch, and has led me to mix and master my own originals. With being involved in the scene, I’ve met some amazing artists, be it producers or DJ’s, listeners, and this is all thanks to the dance music community. It’s an exciting world of music to get involved in, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
From the mind of a musician, DJ, producer and remixer.