It’s Friday night and a lot of teenagers and 20 something adults are walking down the streets ready to throw off their weekend stresses and just have some fun clubbing. They would crowd on the dance floor under the colorful dancing lights moving to the sound of spontaneous fresh beats of the popular Electronic Dance Music.
Can you picture it very well? Looks very familiar these days right? Fun is what a lot of youth are looking for today and for most; they have found clubs to be their oasis. And with the rise of EDM or Electronic Dance Music in the scene, a sense of discovery and expression made fun look even better, or should we say, sound even better?
Electronic Dance Music (EDM) or also popularly known as dance or club music is a fresh genre that mixes various electronic sub genres and is mainly played for dance-based environments such as clubs for example. Unlike other genres of music, EDM isn’t played or sang by musicians and artists. We have reached a generation where guitars and microphones can be done away now and still have really good music. EDM is played by a Disc Jockey (DJ) who usually mixes various selection of tracks along with varying beats and tempos, making a distinct electronic aesthetic creation of his own.
The sounds that we hear from Electronic Dance Music are created by computers from start to finish. Production software is used and enable the DJ to creatively play with different tracks and sounds. Soft or heavy, fast or slow, it all depends on discovery. But the glory doesn’t all belong to these cool dudes (some gals) spinning on some records in clubs. For mainstream music and album releases, EDM creation is a collaboration of DJs and producers who artistically generate this fresh wave of sound through creative song selection and sound mixing.
Discovery—that is the soul of Electronic Dance Music. DJs try to select songs and mix it up altogether with various beats and tempos that would connect to the emotional rhythm of those listening to it. But how was Electronic Dance Music discovered in the first place?
If you’re going to really trace back its history, EDM’s ancestors might most probably be Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer. On 1977, producer Giorgio Moroder worked with artist Donna Summer in the creation of the song “I Feel Love”, a dance hit made using synthesizers and drum machines. This song paved the way of house music’s boom in the late 1970s and 1980s. It became an instant hit and a lot of people loved it. In 1979, the two collaborated again to work on something bigger, this time, an album entitled Bad Girls, which also used the same production techniques. Bad Girl became Donna Summer’s highest selling album.
By 1988, house music exploded into popularity. Acid house, a sub-genre of house music with a defining feature of squelching bass sound produced using the Roland TB-303 synthesizer-sequencer increased house music’s popularity even more. At the same time, the warehouse party subculture based around the sound system scene was established and the music that was primarily played was house. It wasn’t long enough when house music wasn’t only appreciated within the confines of warehouses. Organized mass parties called raves came not long after and house music had nowhere to go but forward.
However, not everyone liked house music, especially if you were once from London. Thus eventually, Detroit Techno came into the scene. Detroit Techno is a type of Techno music which originally included the first techno produced music by Detroit based artists. Detroit has been cited as the birthplace of Techno music. According to DJ Mark Moore, it was Derrick May’s “String of Life” that eased London club-goers to the acceptance of house music. With subtle differences between the two genres, clubs started playing both house and techno music without objection from patrons.
It can be said that EDM’s musical roots are more underground than mainstream. They were changes in the before accepted music genres in the music industry. Various forms emerged but all were discoveries using sound machines. Electronic Dance Music was first adopted in the American music industry as “electronica” in the 1990s. Electronica was more of underground music using electronic aesthetics and were mostly produced for foreground listening, some forms of dancing and background music for other activities.
Although there was already a demand of electronic music in the mid-1990s, it didn’t gain much mainstream attention until the mid-2000s. Daft Punk’s performance during the 2006 Coachella Festival was considered to be the tipping point of EDM in the mainstream music industry. Along with this, various artists and their electronic songs hit the charts such as David Guetta’s “When Love Takes Over”, Akon’s “Sexy Bitch” and Black Eyed Peas “I Got A Feeling”. Websites such as YouTube and Soundcloud helped fuel the increase of the masses’ interest in electronic music.
In 2011, Spin declared the start of a “new rave generation” led by acts of David Guetta, Canadian producer Deadmau5, Skrillex and others. In January 2013, Billboard introduces a new EDM-focused Dance/Electronic songs chart tracking the top 50 electronic songs based on sales, radio airplay, club play and online streaming and by November of the same year Music Trades Magazine was calling EDM the fastest growing music genre on the planet.
Every generation seem to have a genre of music that distinguished them. There was the blues and rock and roll of the 1960s; the disco, funk, and jazz of the 1970s; the pop, dance and new wave of the 1980s; and the hip hop and RNB of the 1990s. Today’s generation or the millennial needed to find a music genre to call their own as well and EDM best suited them.
Electronic Dance Music provides a fresh new sound and a sense of freedom and discovery that the youth are so passionate about these days. Creativity and expressions are two huge things that characterize the millennial and only in EDM can these two be mixed up in a way that it doesn’t only sound good, but awesome. And most probably the very reason why it’s so ear catching to today’s youth is that EDM creates an environment of festivity and fun experience that the youth are craving for nowadays.