'I mean, shit, you can't hate on ass n titties music.' - D J 1 3 8
"House" & "EDM is also a fad which is why these guys are getting booked in these type of clubs. Fact is they are not equipped to handle crowds & scenes like that. Not even Calvin Harris who actually produces monster records for these kinds of clubs & crowds. They need to take some lessons from open format DJ's if they want to hop on the train. If you don't know how to play Carly Rae Jepsen, 2 Chainz, Kanye, Rihanna, Avicii & Afrojack all in the same breath you should not being playing these places.
I can't tell you how many times clubs & lounges open stating they are going to be all about the music, not go commercial. You get hired to play indie dance and three weeks later it's back to the same script because they don't have the will or the wherewithal to build an alternative crowd. That's why the nobody working dj stays on the job and the indie producer turned dj doesn't because he/she has no ability to adapt.
Last edited by Sal Paradise; 06-10-2012 at 03:04 PM.
Here's a recent article from Spin that puts the Vegas EDM scene into perspective. The last paragraph says all that needs to be said about the EDM scene relation to the House scene
EDM in Las Vegas: A Desert Mirage?
June 8 2012, 2:35 PM ET
by Philip Sherburne
Club vets butt heads with bottle-service speculators
For a while now, boosters have been touting Las Vegas as "the new Ibiza." When I visited a year ago, I thought the comparison was something of a stretch; as I noted in my SPIN feature on Skrillex and the “New Rave Generation,” Ibiza's club scene extends back to the 1980s and, for all its garish excess and monied interests, has grown somewhat organically. The Ibizan scene is tightly connected to a variety of communities — underground and commercial alike across Europe and the United Kingdom — which has helped to preserve stylistic variety on the island: It's not all just big-room crossover fare, and you can encounter a variety of sounds and artists that you wouldn't find on any of Vegas' high-gloss lineups. Vegas' club scene, like many things in the city, looks more like a simulacrum, a Disney-fied fantasy of clubbing that fits perfectly with the fake New York skyline and ersatz Eiffel Tower.
You can't say that Sin City's reality-spinners aren't staying on message, though. I've read reports this year that there are billboards for Las Vegas nightclubs lining the airport road in Ibiza, interspersed with advertisements for local institutions like Amnesia and Pacha. Whether Vegas' presence on the White Isle is a case of bringing coals to Newcastle or the sign of a tectonic shift in global nightlife remains to be seen. This weekend, Insomniac Events will make its case for the latter when it brings its flagship event, Electric Daisy Carnival, back to Vegas for the second year in a row, after getting booted out of Los Angeles in 2010. Last year's EDC was a mammoth spectacle, with a total attendance of around 230,000 people across the three-day event. This year, they're increasing their footprint with a week's worth of pre- and after-parties in the city's clubs; additionally, this week Insomniac sponsored EDMBiz, a professional conference hosted by ultra-insider and KCRW "tastemaker" DJ Jason Bentley, featuring panel discussions like "Brand Integration in EDM: The Hyundai Initiative" and "Circuit Breakers: Breaking EDM Artists."
EDMBiz is clearly an attempt to replace Miami's Winter Music Conference, a long-running professional confab for DJs, A&Rs, and aspirants, which has suffered a dramatic decline in attendance in recent years; it also arrives as a counterpart to Pete Tong's International Music Summit (IMS), which just held its fifth annual installment in Ibiza. But a glimpse at the schedule suggests the extent to which the landscape has changed since the glory days of WMC. The Conference was a cattle-call of epic, and famously democratic, proportions, with eager DJs descending upon Miami with hopes of getting signed, white labels (and later, CD-Rs) in hand. Many succeeded; in my interview with Dirtybird's Justin Martin last month, he told me how a demo CD handed out at WMC got him signed to Ben Watt’s Buzzin' Fly.
But the EDMBiz agenda privileges a top-down model, with a list of speakers tilted heavily toward the major labels and massive talent agencies; keynote speakers include Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman and Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino. To be fair, some independent players are represented, like the Windish Agency and Detroit's Paxahau. But, by and large, the conference's agenda reinforces what the New York Times' Ben Sisario described just this week as "a wave of corporate interest in dance music," including a major new salvo from Robert F.X. Sillerman, the founder of Live Nation, who plans to invest $1 billion this year, snapping up electronic-music promoters and merging them into an iron-clad conglomerate.
For evidence of corporate EDM's fling with the big bucks, look no further than Michael Satsky, a representative of Provocateur nightclub in New York’s Hotel Gansevoort. Speaking on the "Circuit Breakers: Breaking EDM Artists" panel, he described his success in tapping into "a niche for electronica within high-net-worth individuals," as August Brown reported in the Los Angeles Times. Once alternately celebrated for its futurism and derided as derivative, electronic dance music is now viewed more like futures and derivatives.
But the love-in between the EDM community and Las Vegas — not to mention those high-net-worth individuals — is already being tested. At the Cosmopolitan hotel's Marquee last weekend, the veteran Chicago house DJ Mark Farina, who was to follow Miguel Migs and Julius Papp, says that he was asked not to play after the day-club's manager received "complaints from their table-service crowd." A Marquee rep told Las Vegas CityLife, vaguely: "It was the end of the afternoon and management made a decision to reschedule him for another day." But, as CityLife's Mike Prevatt reports, "Farina was replaced by another DJ who began playing more commercial house."
The incident echoes a recent kerfluffle at Miami's Mansion nightclub, where the New York house DJ Dennis Ferrer claims he was kicked off the decks "for not playing commercial enough."
As Spinal Tap's lovably cutthroat Bobbi Flekman once explained, "Money talks, and bullshit walks." But if the big money's not careful, it could witness an exodus of the dance-music faithful from the playground being constructed for them with all the haste of a Nevada high-rise. Not that the major labels and mega-agencies don't have a place in the equation, but electronic dance music always has been, fundamentally, a culture of independent labels and intractable fans, and that's not likely to change any time soon. We may be headed for a split in the scene, as the big investors create a gated community designed to their own specifications, and the strong-willed masses make their own rave in the vacant lot adjacent.
None of this need concern actual fans; corporate rock didn't kill off the underground, even when the suits co-opted "alternative rock"; indeed, it could be a good kick in the pants for grassroots electronic music scenes, in the same way that a cash-bloated '70s rock scene helped instigate and sustain punk’s rebellious fury. Vegas certainly needn't worry: High-net-worth individuals, and those willing to fork over the cover charge to party with them, aren't going away any time soon, no matter the soundtrack (or the recession).
friend on facebook posted this who happens to manage tours for various high profile names. its not for gen. powell and recycles some quotes we've seen of late.
Is America killing dance music?
By: angy on Wed 13th Jun, 2012
It’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for DJs in the US. Last Monday, plenty of feathers were ruffled when house hero Mark Farina alleged he’d been kicked off the decks by a “table service crowd”. Then just a few days later, Calvin Harris declared that he’d got the boot for declining to spin hip-hop and, uh, tween sensation Carly Rae Jepsen. Of course, those are just two – perhaps isolated – incidents. But considering them in the grander scheme of the EDM explosion in the States over the past few months, you’ve got to wonder: what is America doing to dance music?
The USA might very well be buying into dance music big time – quite literally if you look at last week’s announcement that Robert Sillerman is re-entering the live music market with a whopping $US1 billion to spend on ‘EDM’ focused acquisitions.
However, there are still plenty of dissenters when it comes to North America’s open-armed embrace of club culture. If you count yourself as one of the doubters as to how much value Guetta, Tiesto and co are bringing to the worldwide scene, and you reckon that Mark Farina being kicked off the decks at Marquee in Las Vegas represents our culture’s absolute lowest point – there’s no need to worry because you’re not alone: that ol’ favorite of New York’s business elite The Wall Street Journal has got your back.
In a diatribe that could have been lifted directly from the fiery comments underneath of one of ITM’s infamous Skrillex stories, the Dow Jones publication wept well-coiffed tears all over its tailored business slacks, due to the fact that what was “once almost exclusively an underground movement” is now “embraced by a mainstream pop audience”, and even worse, “feels meek and calculated”, with the “complex rhythms and synthesized orchestrations” that we all love so dearly now playing second fiddle to “pop and hip-hop vocals”. Gasp.
The controversial allegations keep coming; apparently the symptoms are most evident, “especially when it’s spun at high-energy festivals” (with explicit reference given to the Las Vegas leg of the Electric Daisy Carnival (which ITM happened to be on the ground covering over the weekend). This was followed by the pearler of an accusation: that “there’s also a growing sense that some newcomers to giant EDM festivals… still prefer songs they’ve heard on the radio to on-the-spot DJ mash-ups or the varying forms of EDM known as house”. Hot diggity! And don’t try and tell ITM you’ve never uttered those exact words yourself, ‘cause we don’t believe you.
Continuing to brand the radio-friendly work of Guetta and Calvin Harris as “cliché-riddled, white-bread house that don’t represent the best of the genre,” the Wall Street rag makes the worrying prediction that, “as EDM and its related events continue to grow, an audience may be developing that wants nothing more than predictable, middling entertainment.”
Wall Street Journal, we didn’t know you cared. Stay tuned for Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly’s expose on how Avicii’s live show represents nothing more than flashy style over substance.
Any cynicism aside, these are the exact same concerns ITMers have been wailing about for ages now, but it’s a perspective that’s also starting to be heard beyond the confines of specialist dance music media and its community forums. Will North America’s embrace of dance music ultimately be a bad thing for the scene worldwide?
The tone of the Wall Street Journal article was surprising because up until now, the mainstream American media has for the most part welcomed the commercialised aspects of the ‘EDM’ craze with open arms. Take US trade weekly Billboard Magazine as a prime example. As ITM pointed out in February, “Billboard has donned its neon ‘RAGE’ cap to help champion the cause. One of the magazine’s favourite poster boys is Tiesto, with lengthy features devoted to the Dutchman’s business acumen and ballooning Stateside following.” If they’re raking in a shitload of money, then they’re OK with us. The Wall Street Journal ’s scathing account has definitely been the exception to the rule, as far as American mainstream media goes.
Over in the UK though, one of the world’s most enduring spots for clubbing culture, there’s been plenty of people looking on at the developments in the US with a touch of bemusement. Quality journalism tome The Guardian recently published a fascinating critique of David Guetta’s stateside adventures; titled with the slightly misleading Lord of Dance, it examined the current levels of commercialisation we’re witnessing in dance culture.
“I’m not Carl Cox the hit player… Am I supposed to dumb down to the idea that all I’m doing is pressing a button?”
“If you’re part of the original acid-house generation, for whom dance music was a genuinely counter-cultural movement born out of dirty raves in basements and warehouses, it couldn’t be a more alien world. Dance music went mainstream in the UK in the 90s with the rise of superclubs and festivals, but the likes of Ministry of Sound and Creamfields have nothing on its current commercialisation in the US,” The Guardian quite accurately pointed out.
“Planes fly overhead trailing 40ft banners advertising new gigs in Las Vegas for Guetta, Afrojack, Swedish House Mafia, et al. Vegas has no interest in alternative music – only in who sells the most tickets, and the casinos that used to court Elton John and Dolly Parton are now scrambling to offer residencies to DJs.”
In comparison, the Wall Street Journal ’s critique was a lot less measured in its assessment, and allowed a few of dance music’s most enduring performers to weigh in, including longstanding favorite Carl Cox. “If somebody said to me: Play The Time of My Life by the Black Eyed Peas and throw your hands in the air, I couldn’t do it. If you gave me $10 million, I couldn’t do it,” He told the paper.
“I’m not Carl Cox the hit player. I find I have to work hard for it. I have no idea what I’m going to play when I start… Am I supposed to dumb down to the idea that all I’m doing is pressing a button?”
Cox’s comments don’t sound altogether too different from what trance icon Armin van Buuren said to ITM late last month. Up until a few years ago he was the ultimate example of a DJ who managed to straddle the divide between the mainstream and the underground, although these days he’s almost looking like a Chris Liebing style militant techno specialist, if you compare what he’s playing to the predictable sets being pumped out by the likes of Avicii and Swedish House Mafia at festivals in the States. He expressed his concerns to ITM that the craft of DJing is in danger of being lost, in a festival-centric environment where the “hits” are banged out one after the other, in quick succession.
“I won’t mention any names, but I’ve been listening to a lot of mainstage sets from these new DJs and I found the first hour of their sets is unbelievable. They play two, three minutes of every track and it goes absolutely crazy. But after an hour, they’ve played all their hits and you see the crowd just going flat,” Armin told ITM.
“I don’t know. It’s a big debate. I was brought up in the days of Sasha & Digweed, Carl Cox, Judge Jules, Paul Oakenfold: these huge sets that build and build. I guess people don’t have the patience for that anymore. We live for the quick fix… I try to lure people into something more beautiful than just that quick fix of all the big hits. I don’t want to be a jukebox at a festival.”
“There’s at least some anecdotal evidence to suggest that otherwise credible artists are beginning to water down their sound”
Like Armin, there’s others who try to look largely on the positive side, spotting an opportunity to do their thing and stand out from the DJ crowd. Speaking to NYC dance blog Elektro Daily recently, Eric Prydz expressed enthusiasm over his upcoming 15-date US tour as headliner of the Identity Festival; though he also expressed misgivings on what’s currently being widely played in the US.
“I think a lot of music that is popular in the States at the moment sounds a little bit the same, all the DJs are playing the same tracks and they’re playing the same bootlegs… So for me it’s a challenge, but also it’s a fun thing for me, to come with something that’s a bit different.”
In spite of Cox, van Buuren and Prydz’s admirable refusals to play the game, there’s at least some anecdotal evidence to suggest that otherwise credible artists are beginning to water down their sound, in an attempt to cater to an audience that’s a little more fresh to dance music. ITM was recently in London to catch Above & Beyond’s hometown Group Therapy show over the Easter Weekend, and arguably witnessed exactly that in Dutch class act Sander van Doorn’s “warmup” set.
“Last time I’d seen him was at Cocoon in Ibiza where he’d delivered an absolutely impeccably deep opening set that built beautifully into mainroom trance,” the review said, “but last weekend though, he was banging out a set not a lot different from the peaktime insanity of his recent ASOT550 set at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. Free of subtlety, he’s basically throwing out everything he’s got (including the kitchen sink) at an admittedly receptive crowd.”
Where there’s money to be made, there’s usually creative compromises. One of dance music’s true icons Pete Tong, still a fervent supporter of the underground, has been for the most part very positive about recent developments, though he was very explicit in expressing caution earlier this year when tackling the subject in a column in Music Week, sending out an SOS to artists at risk of cashing in their creative integrity when chasing the almighty dollar. He also issued a warning to watch out for those shadowy corporate types lying waiting in the shadows.
“Success inevitably attracts attention – and now numerous extremely wealthy individuals, big business and VC funds are eager to buy into the EDM action. If allowed to run riot with their corporate machinery, these same people will destroy the scene. Wikipedia the word ‘stampede’ and I think you’ll get the picture. Now is the time for those involved to sharpen up and play their very best game; to develop the scene steadily, keeping it true to its roots.”
Later, he added: “The money at stake now dwarfs what was on the table back then, but the history should come as a warning shot to all about selling the genre short and being seduced by cheque book-waving billionaires with no care or vision for the long-term game.”
Something that is undoubtedly true is that while there used to be a tangible link between underground dance and what was being played at festival mainstages, a yawing chasm has since opened up, and it’s beginning to look more and more like the Grand Canyon. Last week, production veteran King Unique offered a few valuable insights to ITM about why this might have happened; perhaps the dance underground has something to answer for?
“Perhaps Guetta is actually making some sense. Maybe we might even need him to ensure the longterm survival of the dance culture we know and love?”
“Right around the time the whole minimal thing happened in 2005, the underground side of things became so specialist, so utterly demanding of people who were into this scene and sound,” he told ITM.
“In a way that wasn’t quite the case before, as you could often occupy more of a middle ground; you could produce a vocal remix of a mainstream act, though it might have been done in a more underground kind of way. It made the culture seem accessible to people.”
Thomas argues the determination of underground dance came at the expense of maintaining a connection with a wider audience. “That’s why we ended up with Guetta, Afrojack and all that shit. It’s because we just didn’t take people with us. We decided we’d be completely underground, and completely cool. It’s created a situation where mass appeal went elsewhere.”
Thomas describes somewhat of a culture shock amongst his producer colleagues in the techno and house ‘underground’, in seeing DJs like Guetta and Tiesto embraced on such a massive scale. “It’s why you’re hearing DJ Sneak bitching on about the Swedish House Mafia. When people feel like their value is being completely sidelined, they start bitching. But ultimately, it’s immaterial; if every single last person in house and techno denounced Guetta tomorrow, that’s a tiny voice compared to the people who think he’s fantastic.”
Interestingly enough, you could argue King Unique’s sentiments are dangerously close to some of the comments David Guetta made to The Guardian earlier this year. “In a way, this is what killed dance music for so many years,” the smiling Frenchman argued. “That spirit of wanting to keep this only for ourselves; and anything that’s successful is bad. That culture that goes in a cycle where everybody loves someone and they’re all talking about him, and then in one second, because he’s successful, ‘Ah, fuck him, he’s bullshit!’ What? But you were saying the same guy was a genius last year, now he’s the worst person?”
Perhaps Guetta is actually making some sense. Maybe we might even need him to ensure the longterm survival of the dance culture we know and love? Could Richie Hawtin, the one dissenting voice in the Wall Street Journal article, possibly have been right when he said that it will be the big money spinners who draw the next generation of kids to the cooler side of electronic music?
Maybe, instead of getting annoyed the Swedish House Mafia are headlining Coachella, the other side of the dance music canyon should be reflecting on what they need to do to in order to sway a few new kids over to their camp.
And then shall rise DeepHouse... And it shall stay underground... And its hearts would beat at 118BPM... And promotars would have hundreds of people on their guestlists... And Produssars would be freeing the souls with machines... And the flutes will be fluting and the bongos will need more cowbells... And it will not achieve commercial success... But it will be worth 4.3$ milions as a whole scene... And it'll get Afrojack kicked out of the list in 2012...
Cos peeps would say so...