Future Music Festival 2014 - Brisbane

Deadmau5 recently called out Arcade Fire for anti-DJ remarks at Coachella, but the man in the mask has always been refreshingly candid about the realities of the EDM scene. That candor continued in an interview with The London Evening Standard in which the DJ born Joel Zimmerman shows off his Nyan-Cat-emblazoned “Purrari” at an English racetrack and unloads on the festival system. Zimmerman thinks the festival system renders fests as a bigger deal than the artists in the popular imagination, and he’s had enough. One choice quote:

It’s another thing I can’t fuckin’ stand, you know? Festivals are being branded bigger than the acts, which is totally backwards in my head. It’s ’cause of those acts that you’re a festival! Who wins? The promoter. The guy who’s throwing this festival that’s branded bigger than you, that you think you’re awesome for headlining. It’s a shame, so that’s why I’m pulling out.

The plan instead is to launch his own stadium tour with a setup far too elaborate for festivals so that he can maintain control and monopolize attention. His new stage show sounds intense:

The show is gonna be a whole lot better than all eyes on you in some confined cube. It’s gonna be way more immersive. It’s in the round. We have Hollywood screenwriters coming up with a script. We have Chris Ha over at Blizzard [the video game developer] doing storyboards for it. We’re producing it like you’d produce a film. I’m really excited about it because it’s a sink-or-swim thing. Even the accountant’s freaking out.

He also thinks the entire EDM boom is bound to go bust sooner or later:

As they say, the rat is the first one to jump off the boat when it starts going down, and that’s kind of what’s happening. It’s already been going down the last couple of years, for me. Maybe not in the industry. Maybe there’ll be a whole new herd of sheep following that shit, and fucking good luck. Disco had a longer run than EDM has, to be honest about it, and that died in a fucking hurry. EDM is way more susceptible because that was in a time when they didn’t have mass social media and all that shit. It’s not gonna be me saying, “OK, EDM’s done,” and the whole thing falls apart, but I think it’ll eventually fuck itself so hard.

The story also suggests that, like fellow EDM superstar Porter Robinson, Deadmau5 has developed contempt for the build-drop model he helped pioneer and is moving away from the genre on his new album while(1<2). Read the full interview (and see the “Purrari”) here, and tell us how long you think the EDM craze will last in the comments.

[Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.]

Comments (17)
  1. You mean this won’t be a thing forever? Bummer.

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  3. I think Groups like CHVRCHES and Jaguar MA are going to take the idea and set up of EDM and actually make good music with it. So it’s not really dying, just changing to have less WUB WUBS and a more standard song format.

  4. I couldn’t agree anymore.

    It was a matter of time before the build-drop formula turned washed out and from the sounds of it, his latest album has this Nine Inch Nails kind of feel… you know, the kind of stuff that sounds like music and is literally injected with artistic brilliance from all spectrum of sonic vibrations?

    Everything comes and goes in waves, this is just another mid-second before something new really touches the hearts and ears of the people – who knows, maybe we’ll go back to enjoying 9 minute songs with and epic journey from point A to point B, rather than 3 minute transformer orgasm.

  5. anyone without live instrumentals will get left behind this year. look at all the festivals booking the floozies, sts9, keys n krates, SAVOY, EOTO, etc. FUCK THE BUILD-DROP they are taking it back to live jam enhanced with electronic production.

  6. EDM and dubstep and brostep may come and they may go but house music will be here forever.

  7. Somewhere out there an unknown producer is currently trying out new ideas that will lead to a superhit, and that sound will become a craze for a while. When? Where? What? Who knows…

    But just like Timbaland, Pharell, whoever came up with that 80s sound (like really, how did that happen?), this next trend will also die within 3-6 years.

    Trends come and go. Other genres will live happily alongside them.

  8. as a huge fan of electronic music and a dj myself, i wait with excitement for the bubble to burst and have all of the party bros go onto something else…

    but yeah EDM is as much a fad as hip hop was and will settle down into a genre that will endure same as hip hop…

  9. Deadmau5 will say anything for attention. Truth is there’s always been a switch from analog to digital. Music is just one component. It’s a natural evolution. And when you have more and more people over saturating the market, festivals are a good way to hear artists. There wasn’t a single point Joel made about why fests are bad, other than he wants to be in the spotlight. Some people just don’t care about the rat, and will leave main stage (or whatever stage he’s guaranteed to play at in the next few years) for artists who aren’t complete douches

  10. It’s stuff like this that illuminates just how vague and lazy a term like “EDM” is.

    Literally speaking, since EDM = Electronic Dance Music, that would include any genre that is a) primarily, if not totally, electronically produced and b) intended for dancing. That definition is so wide it’s functionally useless and ensures that it can’t ever really die. For it to “die” would require the commercial/creative deaths of house, techno, trance, most ambient, most hip-hop, most R&B, dubstep, jungle, garage, and drum-n-bass (to name a few), and practically all of pop music. All of them becoming commercially/creatively unviable, all at once? I just don’t foresee that happening. Not any time soon, anyway.

    I assume of course that deadmau5 is referring to the buildup-drop format of a lot of popular EDM and the following surrounding that. I’d agree with that. Yeah, it probably will wane from the public spotlight: nothing is popular forever.

    But “die”? Yeah, not so much. Disco, the go-to example of “pop music genre dying a messy death,” didn’t even die. It just went back underground and changed form, like pretty much every genre of music that is popular for a time then suffers public/critical backlash and a commercial downfall.

  11. EDM is a Mainstream term. The underground from which Electronic Music came from does not CARE about the term, in fact we hate it.

    It is NOT the umbrella term you think it is. Most mainstream kids only care about Electro House, Dubstep, Trap, and other new genres. They do not care about the past. PERIOD. You mention Ambient, and Jungle, EDM kids do not have a CLUE what those are, unless Skrillex or Deadmau5 starts making it that is.

    EDM hopefully will die. ELECTRONIC MUSIC hopefully will go on in the underground where it belongs and go back to the way it used to be with soulful music that has personality and for gods sake bring back the Breakbeats!

  12. EDM has become its own type of electronic music, big drops with irritating beats and screechy sounds… in Europe it is just known as that annoying music that american teens are into at the moment.

    Its simplified and backwards compared to the majority of other genres of electronic music, but if it gets the kids researching and looking into other types of dance music then its a good thing in my opinion.

    Electronic music will never die, it just evolves over time.

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