I am rather lucky that I am able to attend many electronic music events every year. The problem is, attending these events means that I am witnessing firsthand a descent into repetitive, worn out sets. Unfortunately, as many other electronic fans can attest, this is a downward spiral that has been going on for quite some time. Too many DJs take the decks hoping to please the crowd, instead of displaying their own musical personality.
You used to go to events and hear the DJ unfold hidden gems, not play already over saturated tracks. What happened to the innovation? Is it too much to ask to be able to attend an event and not hear Martin Garrix’s Animals or a Clarity vocal? Sadly, it is becoming more and more apparent this is, in fact, too much to ask for.
Major electronic music events are just turning into lineups of washed up producers (note I didn’t call them DJs) playing the same commercial house “hits” over and over. The melodies get old, the vocals get old and the percussive two note drops get annoying.
This is not a new phenomena, but it is becoming too much to handle. There were a few hits along the way, Levels, Internet Friends etc., that were overplayed beyond belief. Now the same handful of songs seem to permeate major sets around the world, creating an obnoxious repetition. DJs need to expand their repertoire and leave the crowds’ comfort zones far behind. They need to play tracks that fit their style, their sound. Tracks that can define them. The overplaying of the same tracks is really starting to get out of hand. Instead of pleasing crowds DJs should be putting forth their own style.
It seems that the art of DJing is being thrown away for pressing play on chart topping tracks. It is sad really. The DJ set should be a piece of art, intricately formed and melded throughout the time at the decks. Instead, it seems each DJ comes up with one set and then play it for months on end. The same tracks, mashups and even in the same order, regardless of the location or crowd. In some sense it gives a feeling of comfort to the crowd, knowing exactly what the DJ will play. The throngs of people coming out to these shows deserve better, even if they don’t know it.
Now don’t take this as me being some whiny blogger just sitting here, pecking away at my keyboard telling you that the art of DJing is dying and there is no hope for electronic music, because there is. I care about electronic music and its direction and it kills me inside to see it going further and further down the road of redundancy. I am just stating my concerns about a growing problem. I am not sitting on my high horse telling you to stop listening to your favorite DJ because they played Animals in their last set, that’s not my point. There are still plenty of DJs out there that hold true to their musical personality, not abiding by whats hot on the Beatport charts. I pray that one day people will get bored of the big room “bangers” and, in search of something unique and new, discover the true DJs electronic music has to offer.
Fans and DJs are closely tied to each other in a relationship that guides electronic music. DJs will continue to play music as long as the fans are enjoying it. In order for electronic music to move forward one half of that relationship must push the other. So I say to both listeners and DJs alike, don’t be afraid of experimentation. Experimentation leads to discovery which, in turn, leads to the future of our music.