Perry Farrell, co-founder of Lollapalooza, member of Jane’s Addiction, and namesake of the Perry’s stage, has admitted that he absolutely hates the current EDM climate.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune that aimed to focus on his 25 years as a festival runner and curator, the topic eventually shifted to Perry’s Stage, where (most of) the electronic music of the festival is staged.
“When they said they wanted to name a stage after me (when the festival relaunched in 2005), I was honored,” he says. “I like the adulation. But now you say, ‘Perry, what’s going on with your area here?’ Believe me, I’ve got questions myself. I hate EDM. I want to vomit it out of my nostrils. I can’t stand what it did to what I love, which is house music, which was meditative, psychedelic — it took you on a journey. … I sometimes cringe at my own festival.”
Farrell apparently “grew up attending clubs and dancing to house music and has been doing DJ gigs since the ’90s,” so he’s familiar with the genre. While he doesn’t state precisely what his gripe is with current EDM, his mention of music taking you on a journey is apparently counter to what he’s currently seeing.
Without a doubt, many electronic acts booked for festivals have omitted the classic call-and-response formula of sets from the days of DJ Dan and even Wolfgang Gartner, and there’s a lot more crowd pleasing going on. There’s less incentive to craft a set that actually flows than there is to drop banger after banger.
Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger isn’t surprised when he heard Farrell’s complaints. “Perry is right,” he says. “Commercial EDM has peaked, it sounds tired. … When you book 170 acts per festival and don’t want to repeat yourself, you run out of greatness and you start compromising. When you’re dealing with 14 acts like the old days, it was easy to find ‘great.’ When you get past 100 bands, it’s hard to get greatness, really inspirational greatness.”
Lollapalooza begins next week, July 28, in Grant Park, Chicago. EDM acts on the lineup include Major Lazer, Disclosure and more.