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THUMP’s Joel Fowler put a bunch of questions to electronic acts, and the result is a fascinating dive into the nature of taste, exploration and discovery that seems particularly relevant at a time when the entire music industry is pulling out and trying to figure out how to reach new listeners.

EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is part of a dance culture that is making music based on an idea that is completely authentic, whereas the other genres making music that is based on profit.

The current definition of EDM, in comparison to house, techno, or simply electronica has grown in the aughts.

Check out some of dance music’s finest to find out how they see all of this playing out in the dance culture.

The current state of EDM in context of industry achievement and celebrity culture poses a question to EDM outsider: is EDM bad or good for you? Can it serve as a gateway drug to better music? Is any music better than any other music? Does it matter? But that’s not up to me or any of them, it is up to each individual to make the choice, but for many outsider the question still remains. Sure, it might take a couple of years to officially dissipate into the mainstream as artists and fans alike continue to wane. Time will tell.

Go through the whole article to find out the answers about bad indie EDM music to the dance culture


We’ve been living in the midst of an EDM invasion, picking up momentum like that boulder in Indiana Jones. Electronic music is pop music now, with its requisite garbage and gems—as well as its outspoken detractors. As Seth Troxler put it to THUMP in a recent interview, speaking on behalf of underground producers everywhere, “We’re part of a dance culture that is making music based on an idea that is completely authentic, whereas they’re making music that is based on profit.” Still, labeling the entire EDM movement “Sonic Ear Rape,” as he did at Tomorrowland, might be more reductive than insightful. In a recent New York Times interview, Nick Sabine of Resident Advisor posed an alternative interpretation, suggesting that so-called “mainstream music” might serve as a gateway to more adventurous sounds: “Look at the sheer volume of people who now embrace E.D.M. as something they enjoy,” he said. “

Can exposure to bad music lead listeners to the good? Is mainstream EDM a tidal wave of hot garbage? Is there such a thing as good and bad music to begin with? As electronic music continues to travel from niche gatherings in dark rooms to multi-million dollar spectacles, these questions have been bubbling up more and more in the dance community. We asked our favorite artists and music world personalities to weigh in, including DJ Sprinkles, The Black Madonna, Ben Klock, A-Trak, Move D, and even a music professor from Berklee. Here are the answers from the ones who were cool enough to get back to us.

THUMP: What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
It always comes down to the contexts and situations through which we are exposed to certain audio. The relationships between sounds and contexts are usually what motivate someone to find out more about something. It is about social relations—not just the music itself. I mean, what usually makes music crappy is less how it sounds, and more who it culturally serves, right?

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
I’ve seen people argue that everyone likes some type of bullshit first, and that everybody essentially gets in via the gateway drug theory. For me, that was definitely not the case. I was mostly turned off by popular rave music in the mid-’90s, until I heard jungle. Jungle had a direct connection hip-hop and reggae through sampling, and only once I got in through that door was I able to understand the roots of techno and house music, and how far from rave culture those things were. And that’s how I got into dance music. Had I only been exposed to trance and the other most popular stuff at that time, I probably wouldn’t have ever gone down this path.

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
I don’t think the gateway drug theory is a theory. We know it happens; it’s happening now. EDM services a very young audience, and most people’s taste develops to a large degree between their teenage and early adult years. At my college radio station, there were people that got into DJing because they’d played Dance Dance Revolution or loved the electronic music in anime. And this has always been happening; you have to figure that someone who loved the song “Kung Fu Fighting” eventually found their way to The Warehouse and stayed there.

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
When I was a teen, I discovered WKTU & WBLS on the radio, which had some pretty good dance programming. I thought I was pretty cool, because I was listening to stuff the older kids in the hood were into. In the neighborhood, we were listening to salsa, soul, Top 40 shit, early hip-hop—but the older kids were hanging out in the clubs.

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
I got into electronic music around 2005, when I befriended some of the French guys, like the Ed Banger and Institubes families. I didn’t like the clean stuff—I liked distorted, dirty, off-kilter beats, the weird swing of the UK’s fidget sound, and the distortion of Mr. Oizo, SebastiAn, and Justice. Producers like Laidback Luke and Angello & Ingrosso helped tune my ear to what we call “big room.” Their tracks were dope. Eventually, I started embracing more of the bigger tracks; it boiled down to whether I thought it was good or not.



 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
For me, it’s not about people “learning” to like the correct music through listening to shit. It’s more a matter of acclimatizing oneself to electronic music—to the idea of 4/4 (or whatever) beats, music without vocals, music where hooks aren’t always there. More and more, I find people who like both EDM and “deeper” stuff side-by-side, and see no difference between the two.

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?

I 100 percent believe in it. I really got into techno through early ’90s UK rave—music that at the time, while being new and exciting, was certainly not considered “sophisticated.”

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
It’s quite interesting that people like David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, and Steve Angello started the opposite way: by making and knowing loads about “underground” and more obscure music, but ending up creating some of the most hated (and loved) music on the planet.

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
To me, everything is a gateway to something else in life. It just depends on if you take that route. I do believe that the resurgence of EDM has influenced a new generation of young people to look further into the genre and its more introspective styles. I admit I enjoyed a lot of pop-oriented music as a young person, but many things I thought were pop-dance then have become classics now.

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
Music is a journey. You are going to swallow what is directly in front of you until you realize the world outside. That’s when the exploration begins. I don’t believe that anyone rolls out of the crib and immediately has perfect taste. You have to listen to a lot of bad to really know what is good.

 

What’s your take on the gateway drug music theory?
Everyone has their starting point in their musical journey. In Holland, it used to be gabber or happy hardcore that pulled many into techno or house. Nowadays, it’s EDM. As long as it’s kids pre-puberty, I see no harm. If you’re still into EDM in your late teens or even as an adult, I guess there is no musical journey—just an annual trip to an all-in resort in Marbella with no adventures into the deep rainforests of music. Most people are perfectly fine with an annual trip to the same location, but they’ll miss out on a lot of magic!


StreeXB extends special thanks to Thump Vice for the article. Click here to  read the rest of the article and see the rest of our favorite underground Djs.

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