It’s honestly pretty ironic how much media attention We Are Your Friends is getting considering how abysmally it performed at the box office. It’s pretty consistently mentioned on most EDM publications, but even the constant attention can’t seem to give it a bump in the theaters.
Even publications outside of EDM got in on the action, with SPIN asking festival goers at Electric Zoo what they thought of the film, or if they had even seen it. (Not surprisingly, the majority hadn’t.) Playboy, too, got some producers together and ask them about their impressions and criticisms. In fact, it was such a good idea, we figured we would do it, too.
We got together a group that had recently moved to LA together – Kap Slap and Gazzo – along with Charlie Darker, manager Alex Bender, and producer Justin Caruso. We sat in a home theater, drinking beer and eating In-N-Out for 100 excruciating minutes.
I know it’s hard to narrow it down, but what was the most inaccurate part of the movie? Technical-wise?
KAP SLAP: The most inaccurate part of the movie was how much importance they placed on Zach Effron playing the OPENING set of this festival. The entire movie was built up to that moment and they portrayed it as if an opening set was going to make his career. First off, never in the history of any festival will there be that big of a crowd at the mainstage for the opening act. Secondly, there is a chance your career might take off because of one track, but not because of one set you played at 2pm.
JUSTIN CARUSO: The most inaccurate part of the movie was him performing off of Garageband and a MIDI and having that be his hit song. That is basically impossible. At least have it be Ableton which people actually perform off of.
GAZZO: I think there was one point during the party scene that he was actually moving and pressing buttons that would’ve been the Microphone section of the mixer aka BULLSHIT. Basically everything from the minute the movie started to be honest.
CHARLIE DARKER: I’m gonna have to take two on this one. 1) how recording “organic sounds” made his music sound better. I’m all for creative recording and sampling but that whole concept portrayed in the movie (e.g. the nail gun) was such bullpoop. Also, if you pay close attention you will notice that in his “final hit track” that he plays, the “real recordings” all disappear when it builds into the drop (cc: shitty version of Eric Prydz).
A lot of people brought up the apparent sexism in the film, citing no women in roles more than “play thing.” Thoughts?
KS: I know they showed Posso for a minute which I thought was cool. There are some pretty powerful women in the music industry (Amy Thomson, Kathryn Frazier, etc), but I never really felt like there was a lack of a female presence in the movie. There was the famous DJ, his hot girlfriend, the struggling DJ, and his entourage.
JC: I don’t believe sexism was an issue in this movie. The main character was Zac Efron so they kept most the roles around him.
G: I think that they could’ve definitely had the girl from Yale or whatever ivy league school play a more important role in the movie. Instead of an “assistant” being an agent or something that wasn’t so sexist.
CD: Obviously with Emily Ratakjowski as a lead, its going to be very sexualized for the average male (or female) viewer. However, one of the longest DJ cameos in the movie was given to my girls Posso. Of the many many inaccuracies of this film, I don’t think sexism was one of them. Well, at least not to a degree that isn’t present in the real world. So maybe that’s the one thing they hit accurately…
KS: My only comment is that there is already such a horrible and negative association with electronic music/festivals and drugs. Warner Bros was in a perfect position to do something bigger than the cliche popping a “Molly” at EDC and having the best time of their life / falling in love thing. Think of all the 14 year olds that love EDM and Zac Efron and now think, “I can’t wait to go to EDC and take ‘Molly.'” I don’t think there was a single character who wasn’t taking drugs throughout the entire movie.
JC: The drug use in this film was terrible. For example when they sneak drugs into EDC the movie basically condones drug use at festivals. The only positive part about the drugs in the movie was the fact that Squirrel passes away due to them which shows viewers that drug use is highly dangerous.
G: WAY overused in the movie.
CD: Drugs aren’t inherently good or bad. You aren’t a bad person if you do drugs – it’s a chemical, not a morally corrupting choice. I personally don’t identify with the whole “Molly” culture. It has absolutely nothing to do with music and that’s why we’re here. Be safe, and never be naive enough to think that you aren’t putting yourself at risk every time. I wish the average festival attendee knew how so far removed producers and DJs are from that mindset of taking drugs. We might only be ten feet away behind a ten foot fence, but while a lot of people are taking drugs we are like eating hot dogs and nerding out about plugins. I see both sides of the coin. To each their own.
Were the cameos from Dillon Francis, Alesso, Posso and Nicky Romero at all enjoyable? Or were they just ways to distract you from what you were really watching?
KS: Yeah I loved them, kinda wish those guys had a longer cameo to be honest. Also wish they would have maybe consulted these guys on at least one question before writing this horrible movie.
JC: The cameos meant nothing, it was almost a bad thing making it seem like those DJ’s supported this movie.
G: They were brief and I think they add some legitimacy. Also probably a promo move like “oh Nicky Romero is in it.” I also think they should’ve used Dillon more because that dude is HILARIOUS.
CD: Don’t forget ma dude DallasK! His perfect hair really stole the film for me.
What’s the honest-to-God likelihood of having a crowd that big for an opening DJ? Use the most absurd analogy or metaphor you can come up with.
KS: Same likelihood of Jack Ü playing the 2pm opening slot…because the only way that crowd is showing up that time is if that’s the case.
JC: More likely a Mexican votes for Donald Trump.
G: Having a crowd that big as an opening DJ at a festival is as likely as an opening DJ at a festival having a crowd that big. Absolutely not going to happen. The first DJ of a festival is starting at DOORS at almost every single festival I’ve played at, attended or friends have played/attended.
CD: Honestly, that whole sequence is just analogous to a big fat turd.
Is there any way that this movie could have been good?
KS: 100%. It’s laughable that a bunch of movie execs got together and said, ‘hey these kids love this EDM, let’s make a movie about it’ and just assumed it would be a huge success because it’s about electronic music. With that said, a lot of producers have incredible stories that are film-worthy…there are guys who delivered pizza for 6 years so they could practice producing all night and then there are guys like Garrix who went from a no name to an international superstar over night. Any of these stories would have been better than the storyline they went with.
JC: This movie could have been good if they showed more the production side of DJing and not having any unnecessary drama. If they would have sat down up and coming DJ’s and also established DJ’s and really studied their careers this could have been way more accurate and a well done movie.
G: If they ACTUALLY did their fucking research. For god’s sake, he was using Garageband to DJ which I’m pretty sure is not a real thing.
CD: Yes. But, it wasn’t.
What do you wish they did differently?
JC: It shouldn’t have been this easy for him. It should have been a few years in the making.
G: I wish they took the time to have Zac play the personality of a DJ aka absolutely nothing like he was. Who the FUCK wears their headphones EVERYWHERE?! Oh and maybe mentioned the words “Producer, Musician” or anything other than EDM and DJ.
Was any of the movie realistic?
KS: The only real thing in the movie were Emma Ratajowski’s breasts.
G: Yeah, I think there are a lot of people who might look at a person differently if they were successful as an artist of DJ.
Do you think this negatively reflects on the music industry and “EDM” in general, if so, why?
KS: Unfortunately. I think adults and outsiders all look at our industry as a joke. They think electronic music isn’t real music, that it’s easy to make, and that DJing is just hitting “play.” All this movie did was reinforce those negative stereotypes.
JC: This does negatively reflect on EDM and somewhat makes it look like a joke, however no one went to see the movie so it should not negatively impact EDM too badly.
G: I don’t think it does. I think it’s so FAR off that it’s actually hilarious. Not to mention the movie is like the 3rd worst opening weekend movie of all time. NO ONE WANTED TO SEE DAT SHIT. Luckily only like 76 people saw it in total so we’re good.
Thanks to the guys for sticking through it. Hopefully I won’t have to see this movie for a third time.