To borrow a legendary phrase from the canon of 1960s rock and roll, the evolution of electronic dance music has been a long, strange trip. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when and where the dance craze began, as some music critics would argue that it started as far back as the glittery disco era and the rise of mega-clubs like Studio 54, while others claim its true origins are with the thumping drum machines and synthesizers favored by the New Wave bands of the early 80s. However, the true lineage of dance music can be traced back to Manchester, England.
Known as the Madchester scene, bands like the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays combined psychedelic guitars, baggy beats and woozy effects to send hordes of sweating, glow-stick waving clubbers into a communal frenzy. From famous party-spots like the Hacienda to cavernous warehouses where DJs would spin until dawn, the rave scene was born in the late 80s and early 90s. From that moment on, dance music has seen many offshoots and reincarnations. Techno, house, jungle, drum and bass, down-tempo, dub-step, there are so many categories and subcategories of dance music that it’s impossible for even a hardcore music aficionado to keep up.
Today, all these Euro-centric monikers have been stripped away, and the style of music that’s making waves from continent to continent is known simply as Electronic Dance Music (or EDM). What makes this style different from its many predecessors? It’s not only one of the most popular styles of music in the world right now, but the musicians creating it have broken into the Top Forty, won Grammy Awards, graced the cover of Rolling Stone and are as popular in America as they are in Europe. Chances are while you’re reading this you’ve got Skrillex or Deadmau5 playing in the background. So, if you want to impress that day-glow haired rave girl (or boy) with your knowledge of EDM, here are three ways you can show off your taste.
1. Show Your Love
The best way to shout out your love of the EDM scene is to become an amateur DJ. All you need is a turntable, a crate of records and a MacBook. Of course, when a DJ performs, they usually have some type of video montage behind them. You can easily rig this up. A montage of Kate Moss on the runway, Brooklyn Decker videos, a clip from your favorite science fiction film, all of these will work.
2. Get the Gear
EDM is as much about style and fashion as it is music. In other words, you better have the gear and apparel. If surf culture has Billabong and Roxy, then EDM has JOJO ELECTRO. It’s dance-wear devoted to late nights and DJ culture, so if you’re cruising the global scene, you better be dressed to the nines. J. Crew and L.L. Bean aren’t going to cut it.
3. Start a Music Blog
EDM and the Internet age go hand in hand, so why not start a music blog? You can review albums, concerts and talk to people with the same musical interests. A blog is a way to support the EDM community and impress readers with your taste and knowledge.
EDM is the third or fourth wave of raved-up music to hit the scene, but it’s by far the most popular. If you want to ride that wave into the glorious Ibizian sunset, now is your chance. Spread the word.