Ever since I began following EDM, I fell in love with Trance music almost instantly. Although there are various other subgenres of electronic music(such as House, Electronica & Dub-step) that grace the EDM scene, there is an exclusive quality about Trance that’s able to lift the soul. Incorporating a steadily knocking tempo of about 125-150BPM, Trance tracks normally begin with a consistent bassline that is followed by a progressive melody, which is then beautifully intertwined into the bassline with various harmonic rifts. What results is a piece that is so emotionally moving that one can’t help but stop and think about the progress of his/her life while listening. As a matter of fact, Trance is so powerfully uplifting that Daniel Kandi, one of the world’s most prominent Trance producers and DJ’s, remixes several of his own productions and label them, “Emotional Mix.”
When I listen to Daniel Kandi’s tracks and close my eyes, I can almost envision myself flying through the multiple atmospheric layer’s of earth’s outer crust. Not convinced? Take a listen to the progressive Trance track posted above entitled “Let Go” by Daniel Kandi & Daniel Neumann, two of the most revered Trance producers to date. And by that, I mean really take a listen, from beginning to end. Once you do, you’ll probably understand the sappy gibberish I’ve written above.
Satisfied? I’m sure if you weren’t familiar of the Trance genre you are now. Because from what I can understand, it heightens the senses, awareness, consciousness and elevates our states of mind onto a level that can only be achieved through meditative practices or through the teachings of Siddhartha himself. Trance isn’t just music, it is a way of life.
As I’ve been following the scene for quite a while now, I’ve witnessed that Trance music hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves. That is, in comparison to other EDM genres. Although its popularity is exponentially increasing, House music and its Electronica variants still rule the EDM scene. To any readers who are following the mainstream trend that is House music, take the time to get past the initially repetitive bassline of Trance and you won’t be disappointed.It’ll make you want to jump off a cliff and soar. Just make sure not to do it literally.
Its that time of year again. The annual Electric Daisy Carnival is currently positioning itself to transform the Las Vegas Motor Speedway into a glamorous audiovisual spectacle, once again. “Hosting the world’s most renowned performers and electronic dance music talent with leading-edge production, art, and special effects to create an unparalleled experience of sight and sound,” EDC is one event that EDM lovers do not want to miss.
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a thousand acre complex that hosts a wide variety of festivals each year, will undergo an intensely aesthetic transformation as the EDC festival rides into town for the 2012 year. Insomniac events, which has been hosting the EDC festival since 1997, will transform this huge location into a fantasy-like festival ground complete with six areas of electronic dance music, carnival rides, interactive art installations and a wide array of other festival attractions. The lineup includes(but isn’t limited to) Avicii, Above&Beyond, Adventure Club, Jack Beats, Kaskade, Steve Angello and Thomas Gold. With Above&Beyond headlining the second night as the biggest Trance act, Adventure Club being one of the many Dubstep artists to take the stage and Thomas Gold bringing the best in House music, the EDC festival is a versatile testament to the ever-growing EDM movement.
(Couple of friends and I at EDC 2010)
Although I’ve attended the event every year from 2007-2010, I won’t be participating this year for two reasons; because of EDC’s abrupt relocation from Los Angeles to the Las Vegas area(The Los Angeles event drew criticism from local authorities and promoters alike after minors under the required age of 18 gained entrance and numerous people were taken to the hospital by paramedics. Not to mention, an underage attendee died of overdose on ecstasy. Attempting to ban the “rave” scene from the city, the city of Los Angeles cut its contracts with Insomniac events, forcing EDC’s inevitable move.) ; and the increasing number(imo) of bandwagoning festival goers who attend for the drug scene while having little to no knowledge of the recently popularized music. Anyways, EDC was much more financially accessible and reasonable for attendees while it was held in the Los Angeles Exposition Park. Driving to Las Vegas alone drains wallets down to the last penny, while its relocation to Las Vegas along with changes in security protocol have hiked ticket prices dramatically.
My decision to not attend is based on my own discretion. Don’t let this decision make you think that the EDC festival is a horrible event promoting the use of drugs and illicit activity because they do have stricter security regulations now. I’m plain broke. And two, I’m a huge fan of the music who can consume my daily dose of Trance, my favorite EDM genre, through weekly radioshows such as Above&Beyond’s Trance Around the World and Myon&Shane54’s International Departures. By all means, if any of you readers are just getting familiar with the EDM culture, music and movement, attend this event. You have to see it yourself to believe it. It’s electronically entrancing. It’s.. amazing. In fact, I loved the music so much that I made/posted an EDC trailer paying tribute to Above&Beyond, one of the greatest set of Trance producers/DJs to ever grace the scene. You can check it out below.
If you’ve walked around UCSD’s campus just a couple of days ago and asked any graduating senior about what they thought of this year’s Sun God Festival lineup(headlined by The Silver Sun Pick-Ups & Paul Van Dyk), they’ll have most likely told you that it has experienced an unwanted, trembling change. While there exists a small number of students who didn’t mind the fact that a non-hip hop band headlined a Sun God event for the first time since 2008, most have taken the role of detractor. Since the line-up showed itself back in late-April, all I’ve been hearing were complaints, complaints and well, even more complaints. Sure, hip-hop fans experienced a critical blow to their Sun God privileges, but ASUCSD’s move to feature one of the founding fathers of the EDM genre(Paul Van Dyk) as one of its headliners was as culturally relevant as it should be tolerated. Times are certainly changing, electronic dance music is progressively becoming mainstream and the Sun God Festival presents a unique opportunity to showcase this trend.
Oliver Zhang, a friend of mine, and Associate Vice President of UCSD AS Concerts, reflects on this idea; “I’m sure a lot of people weren’t expecting such a dramatic change in the musical order of things, since EDM hasn’t permeated the entirety of the mainstream audience just yet. However, it’s growing exponentially, and we attempted to play with this musical revolution and give those who haven’t experienced it an opportunity to get familiar with the EDM culture.”
And what better artist to represent the EDM culture than Paul Van Dyk? A “grammy nominated artist, globally acclaimed DJ and audio architect,” PvD continues to dominate the electronic music charts and appears at the pinnacle of every Top DJ list around the globe.(Source: http://www.paulvandyk.com) Whether or not people have heard about him or his music before Sun God 2012, they have now.
Audiences need to remember that musical culture goes through changes just as much as anything else. If you’re a homebody who prefers to maintain a familiar routine instead of experiencing such changes, check out what EDM has to offer before Sun God 2013. Because at the rate at which electronic music is taking over, you’ll probably be in for another EDM headliner.
DJ and Producer of various EDM sub-genres, Pete Tong has been at the forefront of electronic dance music since its early development for more than twenty years. Having been relentlessly promoting the finest EDM tunes, producers and DJs long before their recent rise in mainstream popularity, consider Tong one of EDM’s few founding fathers. Interviewed exclusively by the music industry’s premiere news source, Billboard, he discusses the ramifications surrounding the recent explosion of EDM festivals in North America, and the attention they require in order to keep EDM alive on American soil.
In wider terms, how has the growth of EDM on a global scale impacted on the scene and those working in it?
Now the values created around electronic music are starting to be viewed on a par with the top end of pop music or rock. The scene has got everybody’s attention now: the biggest promoters; the biggest management companies; the biggest records companies. And now you’ve got investment funds running around buying up assets. Suddenly we find ourselves as a community, having conversations that we’ve always been desperate to have, but have maybe never had the chance before.
But with that comes a certain amount of naivety and I think people have got to be very smart about how they go about dealing with all the opportunities that are before them. We all want to protect the scene. It’s not just about grabbing the dollar, selling out as quickly as possible and everyone getting rich. That’s an option, but by the same token we have got to utilize all these opportunities to make sure that the scene continues to develop in a healthy way. The underground needs to be taken care of as much as the overground. We need the underground scene, because without that there would not be the opportunities to develop the next David Guetta or Swedish House Mafia or Luciano.
How solid do you consider the North American EDM scene to be?
I don’t think it’s a passing fad. The live base is so strong now. There is a circuit there of very established, very strong events that provide real stickiness. Ultra [Music Festival] in Miami, Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, HARD Summer Festival in Los Angeles, the Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit – they have all really put roots down in the communities where they are based. So it’s really solid stuff over there on the live front, and then that’s obviously combined with [David] Guetta ruling Top 40 radio; Calvin Harris just stepping up to that now; Skrillex exploding on every level. Although disco was big there it’s a lot more to the underground here. It’s a lot more real. Hopefully it will just evolve. I think we’re already beyond a passing fad.
The explosion of EDM in North America has seen the re-emergence of a lot of the controversies that surrounded dance music when it first exploded in the U.K. and Europe in the late 1980s/early 1990s, such as anti-rave legislation and the drugs issue. Are you surprised, at all?
I think it’s inevitable that when you become a main attraction and headline news that there will always be an element of that. It’s crazy that as big as dance music is in America, in 95% of the fifty-two states, you still can’t dance after 2 am, which is another reason why the festival/one-off event business is so big over there – it provides a breakaway from that rule. So, it is inevitable that you are going to get some flak, but I do think that if these brands want to interact with the top level – if they want to attract the big money from sponsors and all these other opportunities that traditionally have only gone to the world of rock and pop stars – then they have got to have their house in order. They can’t be doing illegal s–t. They have to pay their taxes.
The sudden exposure that the EDM world has experienced has given power to a once, largely ignored genre. In the interview, Tong alludes to EDM’s recent upsurge in popularity on North American soil by championing a few EDM artists who’ve taken over America’s Billboard charts not long ago. But like everything else, with great power comes great responsibility and Tong implores that EDM patrons “can’t be doing illegal s–t” if they want to lace the EDM genre with big money sponsors and investment. Security checks must be strict and thorough for festivals such as the Electric Daisy Carnival, which was recently forced to leave their Los Angeles festival grounds for housing the death of a fifteen year old girl who collapsed due to an ecstasy overdose. In layman’s terms, they must pay their taxes.
“Ecstasy” is precisely the word many EDM advocates would use to describe the feelings they experience while listening to the progressively uplifting tunes of Trance music(Trance is a subgenre of EDM). For the bystander who hasn’t yet discovered the EDM genre and culture at large, the term “Ecstasy” represents the methamphetamine drug of the same name, which has been abused over the years at underground clubs serving as a foundation for Trance’s growth. So not surprisingly, EDM’s relatively niche, musical community still faces a large number of detractors within mainstream culture that criticize its undeniable, yet stereotypically overblown, connection to drug abuse. Enter Insomniac, a concerts/events organization that “produces innovative concerts and music festivals enhanced by state-of-the-art lighting design, large-scale art installations, interactive circus and theatrical performances, and audience participation,” which hopes to take such negative connotations off of EDM’s hands.
Having witnessed the force with which electronic dance music has greatly impacted mainstream culture and commerce in recent months, Insomniac has decided to launch the inaugural EDMbiz conference at the Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from June 8-10.
“Uniting industry leaders and pioneers with peripherally connected businesses and ambitious entrants, the conference will focus on moving EDM forward on a credible and prosperous path. EDMbiz will facilitate relevant discussion and debates focused on the most pertinent topics and issues specific to the scene including: best practices, social media, technology platforms, festivals, direct-to-fan relationships, licensing, branding, sponsorships, and sustaining community, humanity and credibility during a period of massive growth.”(Source: Insomniac to Launch EDMbiz) Panelists and speakers will include internationally renowned electronic artists as well as top executives from AM Only, Atlantic Records, Atom Factory/Atom Empire, Burning Man, Citizen Net, Glassnote Records, Insomniac, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub, Mobile Roadie, Pacha, Red Light Management, among many more.
While the EDMbiz conference principally aims to initiate a key forum for successful business practices within the EDM community, it notably aims to sustain community, humanity and credibility as well. This is particularly important for a time when electronic dance music is indubitably reaching new heights of popularity and influence, as the pool of skeptics may also be deepening. For more information on the EDMbiz conference, visit EDMbiz‘s website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.