EDM Artists Are Changing the Game
STS9 at Euphoria. Photo by Julian Bajsel
About a month ago, I had the pleasure of attending Euphoria Music Festival in Austin. While I was there interviewing artists and soaking in the music of artists I wasn’t familiar with, I noticed a big movement starting to make waves in the electronic music industry: the incorporation of live instrumentals into EDM sets. Imagine your favorite EDM artists and their many magical sounds, but instead of hearing them solely on equipment, you are whisked away by listening to the actual instruments being used for that song. It’s like Above and Beyond’s acoustic sessions, only on an entirely different level. Many of the artists I interviewed agreed that the next big thing for electronic music would shift from the previous tradition of a basic deck setup (CDJs, controllers and laptops) to an atmosphere of instruments on stage. I could see this shift already happening with artists such as Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) and Tycho to upcoming artists Big Wild and Bass Physics. In my opinion, the presence of live instruments within these sets provides a more substantial and complete sound. This, to me, seems like a natural progression since it seems that EDM crowds (at least the audiences I have observed) have become less and less interested in the idea of the stereotypical standardization of EDM (one DJ and their decks) and more enthusiastic in the incorporation of live instruments.
It’s clear to me that the age of the Mega DJ starring in their own shows is coming slowly to an end while the start of the age of the EDM band is upon us. Within every genre, there seems to be a regression to the genre’s roots and I believe artists performing with actual instruments shows people who recently started riding the EDM bandwagon exactly where the genre began. Live instruments provide the crowd with something more than simply watching a DJ hiding behind his decks. I also believe this will weed out the fake artists who made it big by just pressing “play” on their laptop. Artists are able to showcase their varied talents, whether it be on a drumset or on an electronic midi pad. In the last decade, many famous DJs have sold out to residencies in Las Vegas such as Tiesto with Hakkasan. DJs such as Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren and even Dada Life have taken advantage of this trend, and instead of traveling all over the world to tour, their audience can come to them. This transition applies to EDM as mainstream acts in places like Vegas have been the trend for ten years, but with the budding popularity of live instrumentals taking over this once popular solo DJ act, I am confident we will see acts like Bloody Beetroots and Pretty Lights taking over this scene as well. Thus, the idea of the DJ residency will remain the same, but will be replaced by the new growth of artists that play instruments instead of equipment.
I am really curious as to what people think about this transition because this concept is something I have only recently noticed. An EDM-like band, to me, is more enjoyable, but I wonder if the newer, younger audience feels the same way. I hope the growing popularity of live instrumentals within the EDM world is not just a fad, but is actually here to stay.
by Nadine Obeid