Harold Heath wonders if we need the likes of Avicii and Aoki more than we realise...
The last few months have seen a number of reports of the ‘death of EDM’. Events that have inspired such alarmism have included Beatport owners SFX going bankrupt, ticket sales for Bonkersland being substantially down on last year, and Avicii retiring. That totally sounds like I know who Avicii is, but in fact I had to Google him and it took ages because 'EDM clown with too many vowels in his name' actually brought up quite a few search results.
On the one hand, this really shouldn’t concern us over here in the dance music underground. We’ve got our vapourwave, witch-garage and post-trap to keep us happy, and the murky goings on in the high end of EDM really have no relation to what goes on with us, right? And anyway, Richie Hawtin has just started a new white goods and household appliances line that is looking really sick, so what with road-testing all that and keeping up with promos, we really haven’t the time to keep abreast of EDM gossip and nonsense.
Indeed, the death of EDM might seem like a good thing for underground club scenes. No more will your ill-informed relatives see Steve Aoki playing his EDM bastardisation of the Titanic theme to several thousand 'roid-heads, and assume that bears any resemblance to what you actually do when DJing or clubbing. And I think that all our lives would be improved by no longer having to spend our time online ignoring the seemingly endless stream of ‘Paris Hilton isn’t a proper DJ and doesn’t understand deep house’ memes. But in the long term, the death of EDM might just create a serious problem for the underground club scene.
Ever lived in a house-share? If you have, then you'll know whenever there’s a group of people sharing a house, there’s always one person that everyone else in the house unites against, the one we define ourselves by - ‘At least we’re not as dumb/badly dressed/socially inept as Dave, right?’. Dave is the butt of our jokes, the last to be invited anywhere - and he performs a valuable role in any house-share by uniting its residents in their collective dislike for him.
But when Dave moves back in with his parents because he lost his part-time job at Carphone Warehouse, the delicate ecosystem of the house starts to crumble. Once the initial celebrations wear off, his absence starts to make itself felt. Without the common enemy that was Dave, the members of the house turn on each other. Previously united parties are suddenly at odds, and arguments and disagreements that used to be blamed on Dave now get passed around the house like chlamydia at the Fresher’s Ball.
You can see where I'm going with this - EDM is our Dave. Without Dave, who will we all slag off? Without Paris, cake-throwing-guy, French-guy-that-everyone-said-used-to-be-good and all the rest of the EDM music pantomime crew, who will we rail against? I’ve seen it happen before: in-fighting and arguments over who used the last of the milk may just destroy our precious underground dance scene. You have been warned.
PS And by the way: if you’re in a shared house and you’re thinking “There’s no Dave in our house”, I’m afraid that probably means that YOU’RE the Dave.
Words: Harold Heath Pic: Mani9flores/Creative Commons