The Music Needs You - Copyrite 2001 EAM Entertainment

EDM is the new mainstream music fad, but what we know now as Electronic Dance Music has actually been around for quite a while. What’s new is the process of making the music sounds and also that it has crept out from inside of the underground scene. It wasn’t always called Electronic Dance Music, either (or EDM for short). At first these musical sounds were termed “Techno”, the first time I remember hearing this kind of music was C+C Music Factory in the 80’s. Then after that people were calling it “Electronica”, which is a beautiful name for the genre and I have no idea why the name didn’t stick (maybe it’s too complicated for everyone?). For a while after that, and even up to this point in my circles, it is called “Electronic Music”, which seems strait forward, doesn’t it? Well, apparently not everyone else agrees and so yet another a new term has slipped in and it has now been coined EDM or “Electronic Dance Music”. Personally, I don’t like calling it EDM. For some reason it feels like it cheapens the whole thing. Everything I have heard that is called EDM actually doesn’t pay homage to the real artists that previously spun vinyl, nor does it have the same musical variations. There are two types now in my opinion, both EDM and Electronic Music, but the names are not differentiated enough so now it is all getting blended together for people on the outside. I guess one reason why the EDM name urkes me is that it denotes that we are all just “fist pumping” in some club, and really not the type of “dancing” that one would do at a rave or a music festival. One should not be confused with the other.

So, is electronic music here to stay? The above sticker was made to “save the music”, and I’d say the music was evidently saved since that was from a party that friend’s of mine threw over a dozen years ago.

"Made In America" - directed by Ron Howard

“Made In America” – directed by Ron Howard

Director Ron Howard recently chronicled Jay Z’s MADE IN AMERICA film festival in his documentary film of the same name. In the film, Skrillex, a huge DJ, even gives Ron Howard “pointers” on how to DJ electronic music. Apparently Jay Z has confirmed once and for all that this music is here to stay as he was quoted in the film stating “EDM, people are dismissing as a fad sort of like they did hip-hop, that I think is going to be a bit more sticky. I think it’s good music of the next generation, it’s their soundtrack, it’s their music they’re claiming as they own. They’ll buy hip-hop and they’ll buy other music but they’re like “this music is ours.” Kid’s don’t want to listen to their dad’s music, they want to be on the cutting edge of something new, and I think this is something they can claim.” (See the source article linked to the above image, there is a link to the “Made In America” documentary there also.) It means a lot to have the stamp of approval from such a mainstream pop artist, like Jay Z, because for so long Electronic Music, and now EDM, have been the red-headed step child of the music industry. I live in Los Angeles and there isn’t a single radio station that is dedicated to just Electronic beats. I do know that the world-wide popularity of Electronic Music has been much greater than in the US. I bet the term EDM was made in America.


I used to be a full-fledged raver; I was excited about the socially deviant aspect and fascinated with its elements of social unity and artistic expression in the forms of music, fashion, and dance. I went to dozens of raves/massives from 1999-2002. Most of it I filmed on camera while I was in film school, in hopes to one day make it into a documentary about the phenomenon of so many young people coming together (and so often) all in the name of music. The underground scene was about F.A.M.I.L.Y. (Friends And Music I Love You) and values like P.L.U.R. (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) used to be tenets that everyone at these parties lived by. There is a great sense of belonging when the community is fostered the right way. Mainstream dance clubs don’t seem to have this same effect, and although the music is still “Electronic” there is also a lack of skill needed for the artistic expression…which brings me to my next point.

Electronic music is an art, whether or not you spin vinyl records or use a computer to “scratch” your beats – it is all music, I do admit. However, spinning vinyl is much more of a skill. I just think that it takes much more physical coordination to put on a record, line up the needle, match beats, and scratch physically using your hands. Nowadays just about anyone can go to any club and “dance” to electronic music while a DJ “spins” on their laptop. It just seems to me that a DJ on a computer could fake their talent pretty easily; I’m sure there’s an “app” for that.