If you haven’t hit spacebar enough to make your fingers bleed, you shouldn’t call yourself a DJ.
American dance music pioneer Brian Transeau, better knows as BT, recently took to Twitter with a rant on American EDM culture. Take 5 and read this:
Wow, so much to say. I had some pretty big epiphanies last night. First, thank you @anjunabeats and @ministryofsound for an amazing night. Last night was incredible, effortless, stunning even. It was so relaxing playing for an audience that loves and understands good dance music. What I mainly realized is US is in a deep lull in electronic music. Which is counterintuitive because it’s inverse scalar in popularity. And I also realized, and I kind of haven’t wanted to admit this, because it WAS such a good idea to have one unifying banner for dance music: the name “EDM” has unfortunately become instead of a movement, an actual sound & a terrible one at that. It leads the ADD/drop culture in US.
As with many other things (and hard not to digress into politics and culture) America is no longer a leader at much of anything. We follow. And, I suppose appropriately, this is reflected in our consumption and “McDonaldsafication” of dance music. Here’s what’s happened. The rest of the world has supported, embraced, loved, understood this music for almost 30 years. There is a long and deep understanding. America has never understood it. Until now. What happened? A lot of things. Corporate America stepped in for one, but most importantly… We have DUMBED DOWN GREAT ELECTRONIC MUSIC. America is solely responsible for this. Not all American producers but our country none the less, because our country has to add salt, saturated fats and sugar to foods to make things literally addictive (this really happens). Look up the focus groups and scientists that have figured out how to make Oreos more addictive than heroin. We have done the same thing with electronic music in America. It is a caricature of powerful, evocative, forward thinking electronic music.
Many of us, let’s say a group of founders, purposely avoided pop music culture because it was too restrictive to innovate in. Quality dance music is not 3 minutes long. It’s not 1:30 to the next drop, it is not shitty and overly loud, it is not all soft synths. It’s not terrible vocals devoid of meaning. It does not have a shelf life of two weeks. It’s is not a hashtag. It has no hand symbol.
All the pressure that producers & artist feel to “fit it” in American “EDM” culture is damaging the cultural & sonic diversity of dance music. And guess what, zoom out, look at a the macro, it’s an embarrassing blip on the radar. It will pass and when it does..(spoiler alert) there will be an incredible bloodletting. Either the people playing the “keep up w/the jones” game ie making crappy music to play festivals will either make (and somehow barely survive but also barely be able to sleep at night) another disingenuous shift it their creative output or be eaten alive as the floodgates open & Americans begin to experience, authentic, moving, non-commercialized, beautiful dance music and it’s resounding and rich, diverse culture. Last night, I realized it is still here. It’s just not in America. The people, the producers, all of it still exists. While America gets fat and dies of diabetes on EDM Oreos, the rest of the world still cares. And as with everything else, instead of taking the lead and innovating (like our country used too) we will fold and follow. And in this case, that will be a wonderful win in the world of music that I love. Electronic dance music.
Viva dance music #endrant
OK. The fact that BT used to be one of the bigger acts on the world scene and subsequently disappeared, only to reappear with this rant kind of makes this all laughable, but the core of his message is something I’ve been saying for years.
Kids, don’t settle for Oreos.