Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is huge. Stratospherically popular, about as big as anything can be. The global EDM industry is worth approximately £4.5 billion; its head honchos are the world’s top earning DJs, boyfriends to Taylor Swift, darlings of Las Vegas superclubs and special guests at.....Belgian festival Tomorrowland, the "father of EDM festivals", possible worst place on Earth and annual home to the game’s biggest and best EDM DJs.
Disturbing footage from the festival – held last weekend – has emerged today and it’s confusing stuff for all of us. Steve Aoki and David Guetta, two of the biggest draws for any EDM fan who knows a thing or two about drops, are seen playing remixes of Celine Dion’s "My Heart Will Go On" and "If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands", an actual nursery rhyme.
But instead of thinking "Jesus Christ, I haven’t been four years old in ages, what’s this about?", people are going apeshit. It looks like a nursing home full of people on pills. Here’s Guetta performing his hit "childcore" single in a massive dome in Frankfurt about a month ago. Even YourEDM doesn’t like it.
Guetta may have assaulted the Tomorrowland stage with his own brand of baby shambles, but his esteemed contemporary Steve Aoki doesn’t fare much better with a "big drop" rehash of that tune off Titanic. Check out the Steve Aoki remix of the Andrew Spencer remix of "My Heart Will Go On".
Everyone fucking loves it. In many ways, it’s easy to see why. The production values are huge, the festival is full of other human beings who enjoy the same thing (generally a formula for a good time) and it’s really really loud. The adrenal glands get pumping, you’re waving some glowsticks about and you’re thinking about quitting your job. But then it all comes crashing down on you – you’re listening to a Celine Dion remix in a huge field full of people you don’t know. People don’t come back from these sorts of epiphanies. This clip of David Guetta performing at Tomorrowland last year feels like a moment that we may have lost a man.
But as Steve Aoki says "If people are going to put me on the main stage, I’m going to do my thing on the main stage." It’s not Aoki’s fault, this is want people want. It’s our hysterical mainstream, reflective of a high-octane consumerist culture that just wants more, now, bigger and faster than before. There is no-one to blame and no-one to be angry at, it’s just how we’ve evolved. But doesn’t it just sound and look terrible?