No talent is required to perform electronic dance music

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Let’s just cut the shit for a minute and say it: electronic dance music is the stupidest music on the planet. It even has a fittingly dumb name, EDM, which makes me cringe every time I see it. More so than the acronym, though, the reason it sucks is because the amount of talent required to perform it is precisely none.

Case in point: Paris Hilton recently made her DJ debut in Brazil. She can’t give a competent on-screen blowjob—Christ, you just put it in your mouth and spin your head around like Linda Blair—but she sure can throw down Gotye remixes and Avicii tracks to big crowds. Hilton even pushed a few buttons and it looked like she knew what she was doing. The best part about the whole spectacle was how it showed that trotting out some attractive and vapid idiot with no qualifications to DJ, other than that they have a following, isn’t exclusively a Vancouver thing. (Hi, Mayor Gregor Robertson. I loved your set!)

At about the same time, one of the genre’s biggest stars, deadmau5, came forward and said what we’ve suspected all along: DJing is fucking easy and all the knob-turning that goes on at a “live” EDM show is a sham. The refreshingly candid man behind the mouse mask claims that if you’re remotely tech-savvy you could learn how to do his show in about an hour. It’s just pressing play and that’s all there is to it.

Surely this means the current dance-music craze is done. I mean, Paris is on the gravy train and deadmau5 said that all these $100-a-ticket arena shows are Milli Vanilli with excessive strobes. No, of course not. See, the fans of this stupid fucking music are fucking stupid too. They’re still lining up to slap down their hard-earned money from their dead-end jobs so they have somewhere to pop a couple pills and dance like no one is watching on a Saturday night.

Some will be quick to point out that producing dance music takes a lot of talent, as there’s no magic “make awesome dance track” button that you can push and then you’re done. However, if that’s the case, why does every damn song sound exactly the same? House, electro, dubstep, moombahton, and any other genres that are created this week and fall under the catchall term EDM aren’t something to get pretentious about. It’s dumb music to get fucked up to and nothing more. A four-on-the-floor beat with a sample of me furiously wanking it would make your typical E-tard lose their shit on the dance floor. Granted, I’m a screamer.

“What about my mixing?” you retort. I hate to break it to you but no one cares about that pretentious shit except chin-stroking nerds. Then there’s the ever-popular “Selecting the right track at the right time takes skill.” Because, clearly, scrolling through iTunes and finding a song that a room full of people tweaking on bath salts will enjoy requires a PhD in curatorial studies. I’ve seen a fucking jukebox rock a crowd better than 95 percent of the DJs out there. So no rolling your eyes at me the next time I request that song Rihanna did with Calvin Harris. It’s a party starter! That boring minimal-techno shit you fell in love with in Berlin won’t fly over here, you self-important Fleshlights.

As tempting as it may be, let’s not fault Paris, deadmau5, Avicii, Steve Aoki, or even Skrillex. Ripping off clueless rubes is smart business. And at least they’re giving them what they want: obnoxious party music in a dark room where they can get messed up. In a perfect con, the mark walks away not knowing they’ve been taken. I’m not falling for it, though. For $100 you should always demand more than mere knob-twiddling. Read into that statement however you like.

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Pancho

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:29pm

Wow, what a piece of shit article. I just started reading the Straight again too, however this ignorant, bias, rant has earned my disdain. If you know anything about ANY music, then you would know that there are lots of talentless hacks. Blanket statements relating to the fans of any style of music is in poor taste, this Michael Mann has confirmed himself as a talentless hack of a writer, way to go super star, I guess you do speak of what you know, the editor (if any) is in the same league.

Failed magazine editor

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:29pm

That is all Michael Mann is. A failed editor of one of the most pretentious "magazines" in Vancouvers recent history.

Obviously he fooled the editors of the Georgia Straight into letting him do a rehash "article" on the current state of dance music. An article that has been done many times before and with some actual thought put into it. Not just parroting back what he read on gizmodo last week.

You know what Michael Mann. We don't want you at our parties anyways. You can sit around listening to your shit pop with your air of superiority somewhere else thanks.

open-minded

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:36pm

This guy that wrote this must be a cranky old man. If not that, he's certainly out of touch. Electronic music has a fascinating history, from how it's made to how it's shared and grown in popularity.
Fuck a genre, cranky old man; new ones are popping up faster than your ED pills are kicking in so you can wank to the sound of white noise coming from your shitty AM radio.
Apparently it doesn't take much talent to get published in the Straight either. Slagging a do-nothing bimbo celebrity is easier than DJ-ing. Who forged your CV. You're bringing the Straight down, just quit already.

Rennie Foster

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:37pm

Enter the end of mainstream's love affair with Dance Music. Again. Exactly like the end of Disco was headed by commercial, straight, white acts making a farce of music created by gay, black artists (and before you knee jerk react.. yes, I'm white AND stright.. but I KNOW where house is from).. and major label suits falling over themselves to throw money at them.. (sound familiar) ... what's next, burning records in a baseball field again? Amazing that people just don't see the cycle repeating itself again. ABBA=Guetta, Bee Gees=Afrojack.. get it? Or the pop stars rushing to do the style like Rolling Stones and Blondie and a million lesser acts did with disco.. Paris Hilton will be the John Travolta in the corny white suit from Saturday Night Fever.. a million miles away from The Loft, NYC Peech Boys etc. .. just like what these people call EDM is a million miles away from House Music. Ironically they talk about "progress" and things like that as if if it is the future of dance music, but I know what it is. The death. ...but wait.. it's not.. because even after these greedy major labels and festival promoters and pop stars and idiotic journalists that think they know what's up turn their back on it and it becomes again the least cool thing to do on the planet .. like Disco was just 3 years after it ruled the industry ... we will still be doing it underground.. like the disco aftermath that created house music... Rising from the ashes again and again. House music was designed for the believers, not the masses, for the underdogs in the dark, not these shimmering hipsters and foolish wannabes. Mainstream journalist, you could never understand real house music ... go rent Saturday Night Fever and think you know all about disco, just like you buy a Deadmou5 CD and think you know about House Music.
You. Don't. Know. Shit.

nawaf

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:37pm

I agree with some things that you are trying to say about the live press play thing but i do have to say your incredibly ill informed , and im not into public slandering . live has 2 methods of being played mostly thru ableton live a DAW production and djing program with 2 interchangeable formats u can do a prerecord set or an actual live set where ur music is split into 7 or more sounds based on preference and then hit play on certain sounds to trigger them so no set is ever the same and what people here is a variaton of ur tracks unlike the original
2.the reason why events charge so much is because the cost of production flyers security marketing are costly not too mention the artist accomadation and hotel food gig fees tickets are the way they are for that reason
3. edm has brought more people together then comments such as yours. i am an arab living in australia and in my events i have seen arabs and israelis shoulder to shoulder having a good time under the edm banner goes with all countries some edm genres have subculture within them like anymusic we are a new breed of people and were all about the love
4. not every one is under the influence of pills yes they are a drug but haveu forgotten that alcohol does more damage and makes you look more of an idiot
5 please go out and meet the world you are a very ignorant person who has no understanding of our modern world

dj producer - promoter - charity event coordinator

vv

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:43pm

How lame this article is !!...Paris hilton also has records published,so the whole pop music industry is shit??!!Even Michael Jackson?!!
It's like saying because someone like Chris Brown has been an actor,being an actor is easy and some great actor's job like Al Pacino's is worthless!!
You are not supposed to be a writer for sure,please quit your job and don't be like Paris!!;)

V

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:52pm

Honestly, i'm a 'electronic music' producer. And to have it all summed up just due to the absolute SHIT they play commercially, and never mind this bimbo who can't mix for shit A) and B) can't sing/perform to save her life.

Theres lots of good and well produced music out there, just like you can say the same thing about any other genre.

The best electronic stuff is always underground tho ;)

a pissed off reader

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:54pm

wow...I can't believe the Georgia Straight posted this article....shameful. You guys pride yourselves on being a musical paper on whats new and happening. Then because Paris Hilton gives a horrible example of dj'ing, you call it sh!t??? brutal.

take a Jimmy Hendrix song and remove the lyrics and guitar solo what do you have....a repetitive string of simple guitar tabs and plucks...takes just as much skill to compose an electronic tune from a computer. in fact the kids that like electronic dance music judge a tune in different ways then you old rockers / woodstockers like whatever the fuck you like. we will also judge a dj on their set and their ability to put different songs together and create a flow and a vibe for an hour + long event.
narrow minded writers like you should be shot, just like me for saying that comment.

bah

Uncanny

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:55pm

@ AR88888...but Michael Mann did learn his lesson from his last article! This IS what he wants...to create controversy, piss people off, and get peops to write in all up in arms. It worked!...It works! The guy's a psychology genius!! And y'all get taken in hook line n sinker!!!.............until his next column.
In the meantime he's probably at his pad this very minute bopping from room to room listenin' to....you guessed it....
(and at the very bottom of this page is an ad for Professional DJ BackMix). That's uncanny.

Sandy99

Jul 4, 2012 at 4:55pm

Dear Georgia Straight,

This is the reason all of the best electronic music producers in Canada move to Europe. That being said, Please fire this ignorant attention seeker.

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