Why EDM is not musicianship

Before I even start my intellectual-in-my-mind titular argument, let’s listen to this digital waveform –

Yes, EDM! No artistry. No skill. No sense of musicianship.

But this article is about EDM and not electronic dance music. Yes! Though electronic dance music happens to abbreviated to EDM, the latter one is like a big, successful corporate construction company which wants to remove an age-old around-the-corner book store to build a mall. Add the market and minus the soul. I am not talking about Ritchie Hawtin or Fatboy Slim. I am talking about ‘DoucheBouy & PoopGod’. A brutal manifestation of music meant for massive consumption, to cater to everyone.

Let me start with this point – from what godforsaken angle can someone call “pressing  a few buttons and turning fancy-looking dial knobs” ‘composing a song’? All an EDM artist (pun intended) has to do is to add a bass-heavy beat and run it in loop; fast, if they want takers to put their hand in the air (let’s do it..lets do it..aan..aan) and slow, if they are building up. Ok, more than that but you got the gist. At least a skeletal EDM track is ready. I was in a band (drummer bwouy) back in my college days and majority of the persistent memories of our practice sessions are about how we five struggled to come out as one coherent unit instead of five individual instrumentalists. Not because of ego or something but it used to be as basic as sticking to one damn dead-hand tempo! Elements like crashing a cymbal exactly on the note, breaking a simple 8/8 into 2 4/4s for variations, not increasing the tempo just because guitar solo is friggin’ shiz – these create compositions and make a player a musician. I remember we used to emphasize on the fact that we wouldn’t mind chucking an 7/8 odd signature segment on the cost of timing and tempo of much simpler intro. The point I want to stress on is that a musician doesnt have a loop or sync button. He has to play it every single time and that too on a tight tempo. That’s where the musicianship lies. Now can you find all these aspects in a one man techno show?


drop notes vs time graph

This thing sunk to a new low when I read somewhere on the internet that Paris Hilton is also an EDM artist and people are grooving on her DJ beats in Ibiza. Kill me now! You can gauge how much untalented you can be and still be an EDM artist. Anyone can be a four-on-the-floor beat producing, knob-turning guy and claim to be a DJ. No seriously, even I managed to come up with a 50 sec track in 2 hours in my first attempt. Listen to this –

I am sure you will never hear Hiltons or Kardashians playing Jimmy Page solo. They can’t even in their wildest dreams.

Not just pseudo-DJs, even its audience is equally responsible in making this thing such a big sham. These shallow music muggles and urban poor just need something to shake their body on with absolute disregard to what is being played. They line up to slap down their hard-earned money so they have somewhere to pop a couple of pills and dance like no one is watching on a Saturday night. Linkin Park is the limit for them in non-EDM world.

The reason of my ranting is in the fact that The Aristocrats play in a small pub of strength of 100 people whereas Sunburn happens beach-side for 3 full days with daily attendance of more than 5000 people. We are living in the legacy of greats like Jim Morrison, David Gilmour, Jason Bonham et al but what will be leaving behind for future to come – Drop-heavy, stadium-filling, fist-pumping mishmash of sound frequencies!



We can do better than this.

Let’s hope we do!

And before signing off, this beautiful song!