Confessions Of A Dance Music Snob: Why The Mainstream Has Cheapened EDM

Whenever someone points me out as the “guy that likes EDM”, I cringe and die a little inside.

Like the others snobs of my ilk, we greet the term EDM (Electronic Dance Music) with derision and contempt. To us, EDM is equivalent to the uncultured hordes gathered at mainstream festivals and the stain on dance music that is Big Room House.

Cheap thrills and overly produced cookie-cutter garbage.

I’m the kind of horribly unfun person that steps into a club and sulks about the shitty music. I then try to scream over the music in order to let people know that I recognize the next song that the DJ is transitioning in. (“HE’S GOING TO DROP FIREWIRE THAT’S AN OLD COSMIC GATE TRACK”)

I get the urge to point out to every person listening to Tiësto that I was listening to him when he was known as DJ Tiësto, when he was famous for producing trance and not big room house (pre-2007 and when he played his 6-hour sets).

Because trance is somehow purer and more authentic, and thus better.

I also then feel the need to point out that what people think is house music is only a very narrow genre called Big Room House, which mostly is just iterations of Dirty Dutch — your Martin Garrixes and your Aviicis and your Swedish House Mafias.

I am one of those insufferable Boiler Room fanboys whose favorite techno producer is Blawan (because of his ‘pounding, discordant industrial beats’ if you must know), and can drop names like Surgeon, Truncate and Regis. I also enjoy Drum and Bass – not because of it’s relative obscurity in Singapore, but because of it’s versatility as a genre, from insanely chill Liquid DnB to dark and unrelenting Neurofunk.

I know all these things because I am capable of performing a Google search.

One of my dreams in life is to end up in a Boiler Room set, dancing half-heartedly and trying to look cool. Eventually a video will be uploaded onto YouTube and in the comments section people will call me a f**cking hipster while making fun of the way I dance.

Speaking of dancing, the way songs are being mixed in clubs now is an endless repetition of build-ups and drops. It’s almost as if the DJ assumes people are physically incapable of dancing for more than 30 seconds before having to raise their hands for a build-up. I blame this generation’s abysmally-low attention spans. (I’m not even that old.) This, coupled with the fact that all big-room electronic music sounds the same has made EDM a near-intolerable state.

This isn’t even about the more cerebral or atmospheric Aphex-Twin/Plastikman kind of electronic music – which will probably get the DJ kicked out of most big clubs if they play them. I’m talking about good ol’ honest 4×4 beats.

The problem isn’t a lack of good music – Martin Garrix has a nice sound with Animals (that ping-pong sound after the first drop). The problem is that once a song with a particular sound becomes popular, EVERYONE latches onto that sound – using the same synthesizers or drum machines (compare Animals and Borgeous’ Tsunami).

So yes, at the risk of sounding like someone from the YouTube comments section – yes, I wished that EDM wasn’t associated with such terribleness so that I can use the term instead of typing all 10 characters of ‘Dance Music’.

Image credits: Alexis Wuillaume


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