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What’s the Deal with EDM?

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Every single time I listen to EDM music, from house to trance, my dad declares, “That’s not music.” And every single time he says that, I wonder how people can consider EDM to not be real music. Trust me, I’ve tried to play DJ with those free downloads you can get on the Internet and by watching YouTube videos of people who think they can DJ, and it’s hard. Maybe it was because I was using free downloads and amateur YouTube videos, but it was hard, and it goes to show that not everyone can do it. EDM is not new, but its recent impact and following is huge.

Here’s a few things that I could see may affect people’s misunderstanding of EDM:

1. The teenagers who don’t know what EDM is and just see it as a reason to try illicit drugs and jump up and down. On October 12, 2013, I went to see Kaskade for the second time, the first being at Lollapalooza in 2012. I love seeing Kaskade live – the energy he gives off while performing just shows that he really wants to be there, that if he could, he would perform forever. However, I went into the concert knowing that I wanted to see him, but that it was all ages and I would have to deal with a lot of people who weren’t really there to see that energy in play. When the show started, my sister and I, 20 years old and 23 years old respectively, were both sober and found ourselves behind a group of 20 or so preteens. I kid you not these kids had not even hit puberty. At no point during Kaskade’s show were these kids paying attention to Kaskade. I witnessed them as they passed around a full bottle of Bacardi that had clearly been stolen from the venue bar, whip out a bag of Molly and wave it around to show everyone they were “cool enough” to take it, and make out with every person of the opposite sex in their group. They had NO IDEA who Kaskade even was; I know this because when the opening act started to perform, they all argued whether or not he was “Cascada” and had to whip out their smartphones to find a picture of Kaskade’s face. I get it – you’re fourteen years old and this music and atmosphere is the new trend, but maybe that’s why older generations can’t understand what EDM means to us. There’s so many people that are just jumping on the bandwagon and not understanding the true meaning of EDM. EDM is not just some fad that’s going in and out; EDM is to my generation what MTV was to my parent’s generation – it’s our passion.

2. There’s a lot of popular remixes.  A lot of the reason that I first started listening to EDM was because I liked the remixes of the songs I already listened to. I liked that I was getting a way to listen to the same song, but still have it be different. I liked that it was bringing back older songs in a new way. A lot of people argue that DJs take music that isn’t theirs and just remix it. But how come we accept Flo Rida as an artist, but not DJs? When was the last time Flo Rida released a song that didn’t have some hint of someone else’s material in it? He’s “sampled” Etta James, Infinity Ink, Bingo Players, Dead or Alive, Eiffel 65, and so much more; he doesn’t even give credit where credit is due. When you buy a DJs remix on iTunes (I can only speak for legal practices of purchasing music), the “artist” listed is the artist that originally created the song. The best way to sum up why remixes are OK is with a quote from Kaskade (have we figured out that he’s my favorite EDM artist yet?): “Music is not disposable, people. We can twist it, sample it, mash it and experience it in endless ways. Open up.”

But here’s why I love EDM, why and how EDM is making an impact, and why you should jump on the bandwagon (for the right reasons):

1. Dance music has always been around; we’re just morphing it into our dance music. I remember when I was living in Texas (so keep in mind I’m like 7-10 years old), my mom and I would always listen to the “gay radio station” whenever we were in the car. That’s how I learned who Daft Punk was, who Basement Jaxx was, who Benny Benassi was, and who Who Da Funk was. I’ve been listening to EDM since I was seven years old and I embrace the way it’s changed. All music changes – our minds are only capable of deciphering so many different sounds so why not explore all those sounds?

2. Anyone can become a DJ… just like anyone can become a journalist. In the age of Internet, the line between professional journalism and amateur journalism has been blurred, but we still get to choose which source we like, which source we trust. Why can’t the same be said of music? Anyone can become a rockstar, a singer, a dancer – but we choose to only point out that anyone can be a DJ because it’s “so easy”? I’ve tried. It’s not easy… not that I ever wanted to be a touring DJ artist – I’ll stick to my dream of owning a restaurant. The only reason people are choosing to point out that anyone can be a DJ is because they want to find reasons to shut down the EDM movement. The only reason you hear about more up and coming DJs than other types of musicians is because they are more passionate about their music – because they want their music to be heard by everyone. And so what if it’s easier for a DJ to make it than other types of musicians – we still get to choose who we like, who we trust.

3. EDM is making a huge economic impact. As Pasquale Rotella, Insomniac CEO responsible for Electric Daisy Carnival, stated this past month, EDC Chicago brought in an estimated $26.1 million in to the Chicago area economy. I don’t know about you, but having money brought into our economy right now sounds pretty good. Big cities and states embrace the festivals: Chicago has Perry’s Stage at Lollapalooza, Spring Awakening Music Festival, Wavefront Music Festival, and North Coast Music Festival; Miami has Ultra Music Festival; Michigan has Electric Forest; New York has Electric Zoo; California originally had Electric Daisy Carnival, but it has since expanded nationally; Texas has plenty; Georgia has plenty. These massive festivals bring tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people together… and in the process, bring money to the local and state governments.

So, yes, EDM has seen a huge increase in popularity within the past couple of years, picking up a huge following. The thing that people who are anti-EDM don’t understand is that EDM is more than the commercialized market they see thrown in their face everyday – in advertisements, in political campaigns, etc. – it’s a movement that a lot of us are proud to be a part of. I love that for the past two hours I’ve been sitting at my desk listening to Kaskade, Calvin Harris, Krewella, Alesso, Nervo, and more without getting bored. I love that on my calendar I have listed four different concerts in Chicago that I know I won’t get to go to (because there’s a little thing called school and “poor college kid”) but that I still pretend I get to be a part of. I think the reason I most love EDM is because the artists love their fans – they’re most dedicated to their fans. Don’t get me wrong … I’ll always love Katy Perry … but I don’t think she’ll ever interact with her fans as much as EDM artists. I don’t see her playing hangman in the middle of the day on Twitter, putting up truth or dare videos on YouTube, or giving away free music just in the hopes that fans will spread the word in exchange.

Don’t judge the movement, join the movement. And if you still can’t agree with that – Nicki Minaj exists, so why can’t EDM?

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Spring Awakening Giveaway… Stay Tuned.

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So, unfortunately there’s these concepts that go by the name of a job and poor college kids. Therefore, it pains me to say that since I have a job and poor college kid friends, I won’t be making it to Spring Awakening this year despite making sure I was at my computer the second tickets went on sale and posted hundreds of social media posts about how excited I was to go to the festival. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to help out other poor college kids have the chance to attend the festival. So, I’m going have a ticket giveaway and let someone else go in my place. As soon as I work out the legalities of it, I’ll post the details. Seriously, though, I fully understand not being able to attend the most anticipated concerts and festivals of your year simply because you can’t afford it or your friends can’t afford it, so I promise to make it “no purchase necessary” to enter. Be sure to LIKE WTF Music Review on Facebook so you don’t miss the announcement! In the meantime, let’s address some of the fantastic DJs appearing at Spring Awakening this year and mourn in my loss of not being able to attend.

1. Calvin Harris

Luckily, I was able to crawl through the mud at Lollapalooza last summer and see Calvin Harris, so it’s not the end of the world, but it also really is because he’s my favorite. And on top of it, he just released 18 Months so it would have been like a whole second show. The best part about Calvin Harris is that he doesn’t play his own original tracks – he remixes each and every one so it’s not just listening to some DJ push play on stage. And I mean, it’s not like he’s hard on the eyes or anything.

2. ATB

I’ve been listening to ATB since I was just a little pre-teen living in Arlington, Texas and my mom would drive around listening to the “Gay Radio Station.” I haven’t kept up to date with them so recently so I can’t say they were at the top of my list of acts to see, but I’m sure they would have been great.

3. Bingo Players

If you’re listening to this song and thinking “Oh my god, Flo Rida,” I seriously want you to exit this webpage as fast as you possibly. If you’re listening to this song and dancing because you love it so much, you’ll understand how upset I am that first, I missed Bingo Players when they came to Madison last fall, and two, that I’m missing Bingo Players when they come to Chicago this summer. I just can’t get it right.

4. Dirty South

Alright, so luckily I get to see Alesso this Saturday night, so at least I might get to hear the song that made me fall in love with Dirty South, but then again, I’m also not entirely sure who to give full credit to for “City of Dreams.”

5. Krewella

I won’t get too upset about missing Krewella at Spring Awakening… until I realize that I’ll probably also miss seeing them in Madison on May 2. Seriously, I just need like one friend to attend that concert with me and I’ll feel like one fraction better about missing Spring Awakening. I’m accepting applications for concert-attending friend now.

6. Nero

You know, I was really looking forward to giving the Nero crowd a second chance after leaving in fear of my life at Lollapalooza last year. I mean, I was really upset at myself for leaving in the middle of their show last summer so when I saw they were coming to Spring Awakening, my reaction was relief… until now when I realize I can’t go and it’s like “lol at my life.”

7. Nervo

Lol. Kidding. That’s a joke. I’m not missing Nervo. There’s no way. Realistically, however, I will end up missing Nervo. I’m just going to prepare myself for a letdown now. Nervo is definitely the show I was looking most forward to at Spring Awakening though so whoever gets to enjoy them, you’re in for a real treat, and I’m extremely jealous.

8. Nicky Romero

Notice how the song I chose to feature on this post includes Nervo? Yeah. That excited. Anyway, Nicky Romero is another that I’m truly upset about missing. I’m sure he’ll come back to Chicago soon though – there will be other times, hopefully.

9. Porter Robinson

While Porter Robinson is fantastic live, I can’t say I’m too upset about missing him because I’ve seen him twice: once before Tiesto in Madison and once at Lollapalooza. He is really good though. Again, there’s nothing truly sensational about his performance, but he still puts on a good show that keeps you dancing through its entirety.

10. Zedd

If Nervo and Zedd were conveniently there on the same day or night when I wasn’t working and had a magical friend with money and interest in the same music as me, life would be perfect. Honestly, I didn’t really know who Zedd was until the first time I used my Shazam app and discovered “Spectrum.” I fell in love. Then, he released his debut album, Clarity, and I became obsessed. First, he’s funny. Second, he makes amazing music. Third, he’s adorable. Fourth, I was really hoping we could lock eyes at Spring Awakening and run away together. I guess that won’t be happening though.

So, that’s my ideal Spring Awakening lineup. There’s definitely more than 10 DJs that I want to see, but those are the 10 that I’m extremely upset that I’m missing. I guess when I bought my tickets a few months ago, I didn’t really think about the fact that you shouldn’t buy tickets to a 3-day festival alone and assume that someone else will conveniently also purchase 3-day tickets to the same festival when you don’t really have any friends who have the same passion for EDM as you do. So, as long as I can’t get sued for giving away my Spring Awakening tickets, I plan on giving them to you – a reader and a music lover. Stay tuned to WTF Music Review on Facebook (LIKE THE PAGE – this is how bloggers get followers, they bribe them, duh).

Mumford & Sons Ticket Giveaway at Bull&Bear TONIGHT August 15

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Just 10 days after Mumford & Sons released their first single on their new album, “I Will Wait,”  the band will be performing at Chicago’s own Chicago Theater on Thursday, August 16, 2012. The show sold out just 4 hours after the tickets went on sale and since there have been so many tickets scalped thus far, not even StubHub is offering tickets to the sold-out show on their website anymore. However, if you’re in the Chicago area tonight, Bull & Bear and 93XRT have got 10 pairs of tickets to give away. I highly suggest checking out Bull & Bear for your chance to win… maybe even try out the Chicken Sandwich or B&B Kobe Burger (my personal favorites on the menu). Event starts at 7pm and giveaway is around 9pm and all you have to do is sign-up with 93XRT when you’re there! Good luck!