In a new interview with MTV, dance music legends John Digweed, Paul Van Dyk & AC Slater spoke out against Ultra main stage headliners.
The primary concern is addressed by former number one DJ in the world, John Digweed, who won the award back in 2001. “If you’re the biggest DJ in the world, you’re in a position where you can play stuff that people don’t know and blow people’s minds, but if you just chose to play stuff they know just to get a reaction, that’s just being lazy,” he boldly states. The stark difference in what was acceptable in 2001 and 2015 is quite remarkable, as Digweed mentions that he won the prestigious number one DJ title for playing music that the audience mostly didn’t know. Yet, today, Hardwell can take the main stage and play a set similar to one he plays all year long and it is widely accepted.
Paul Van Dyk expounds upon this ideal, firing at Dim Mak head Steve Aoki (among others). “I’m not part of that part of the EDM culture – I’m not making that music, I’m not playing these pre-programmed sets and I’m not throwing cake at people.” He goes on to stress how electronic music, in its most real form where artists are performing live and incorporating the best, little-known tracks into their sets, “is still, to me, the most amazing music out there.”
AC Slater bridges the gap best between the old and new school by recognizing that at Ultra main stage, these artists are expected to play certain tracks. However he prefers to play primarily unrecognizable sets with more well known songs sprinkled throughout to keep the crowd interested. “I play a lot of new stuff that people probably don’t know, trying out new things, seeing how it goes down. As a fan, I love going out and hearing brand-new stuff that I’ve never heard before. It’s exciting — you’re like, ‘What is this?’”
All-in-all it has become exceedingly obvious that for long-time fans of dance music and for people who want to hear new music that they haven’t heard before, the festival main stage is a place to avoid.
Photo by Ultra Music Festival