Sunday, January 18, 2015

Confessions of an over-40 EDM fan

Porter Robinson, Worlds, at Oakdale
Since I was a kid, music and dancing have been a big part of my life. We even had an under-18 dance club for a little while in Killingly, where my friends and I would go to dance to hip-hop tunes like Self Destruction, It Takes two, and Paid in Full.

You would think I'd grow out of all that, but then a student's senior project presentation introduced me to hardstyle (Headhunterz -Power of the Mind). Then came Porter Robinson's early stuff (The State), which led to Skrillex, and then European Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and Armin van Buuren.

Not that I don't have concerns about some aspects of the EDM culture. I do. But those problems (sexism, drug use--language/content warning!) are not unique to this genre, nor are they universal in the movement, and at the same time, there are some really positive aspects. We have work to do in the music scene (and society) in general, but as a whole, trance music has a decidedly positive message and is truly multicultural and unifying, as Skrillex noted in December. There is an open-source culture in the scene, where producers are constantly remixing and building off other's work, and the theme of love and acceptance is palpable at trance events. So if I introduce some folks to the genre, I think it's probably a good thing.

But sometimes I wonder: Aren't I too old for this? Shouldn't I be listening to Bach and Schumann or something, or at least 80's rock?

But I'm not so weird. Turns out that 14% of EDM listeners are over 35, and 18% of DJ magazine's top 100 DJs are over 40. And besides, I don't care, because it's an energizing, immersive, flow-generating experience, and the style I listen to (trance) is typically very positive and uplifting (check out A State of Trance on Spotify). The way I see it, I'll dance until I can't.

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