At this year's Sonar Festival (review here), DIY mag sat down with James and Jas of innovative electronic duo Simian Mobile Disco who gave a rather frank overview of dance acts at today's major music festivals.
From the get-go when questioned on the topic of the main stage fray of once relegated DJs move to the headlining spots - generally occupied by the Skrillex's, Avicii's and Guetta's, the two were quick to shoot it down by saying; 'I wouldn’t really identify ourselves with Skrillex…', adding "To be fair, the alternative to them headlining would probably be some big, cheesy band that I wouldn’t be into either, so I don’t feel bad either way."
James continued; "My main issue with it is, I’ve heard people claim it’s a positive thing because there’s more people focused on electronic music, so for everyone else operating in that genre, those kids will get into more underground stuff and it’ll be a bigger pie for everyone. That’s a nice positive way of spinning it, but the negative thing, especially in America where it’s more obvious than anywhere else, is that it pushes a different kind of dance music, and a different way of appreciating it. It’s more about a DJ on the stage, fist pumping, crowd surfing, throwing cakes in people’s faces…"
Guess Simian Mobile Disco wouldn't approve of Steve Aoki's rider.
The two raise a rather interesting question as to where the performance side of things come from at the festival level. As we see it the real heads are cooped up in studios perfecting production and playing rather intimate shows versus the arena-spec stuff of todays superstar DJs.
On a personal level it's great to see the influx of support and popularity from the mainstream globally but seems like this at-times shallow and white bread audience isn't enough to sustain a lasting memory of dance.
In turn the cost of booking these DJs for festivals skyrockets when, at the end of the day it should be a passionate professional who wants to play exotic and often interesting locations often only carrying a CD wallet, laptop or even USB.
Has the explosion of 'EDM' created an unprecedented demand for wow versus whoa?