Without a doubt one of the most common, just-met questions a person gets asked is, Why kind(s) of music do you like? I always love it when folks respond with “everything” or better yet, “everything except country.” Are you for real? OK. You may be.
Inquisitors are often stupified when I proclaim my affection for electronic dance music, not because they know what electronic dance music is, but because they wonder why I didn’t just say “techno” instead of that thricely concatenated parvenization which I’ll abbreviate EDM. “Oh I like a little bit of techno, too” or “so, you like Moby?” seem to be the common rejoinders. I’ll respond only briefly here to the latter question by saying that while I respect Moby as a pioneer, I don’t particularly enjoy his tracks. So, I ish-like Moby. Anyways, Moby is not what I wanted to post about; rather, I wanted to draw out my trek away from contemporary Christian into EDM because this is usually the conversation that ensues after we get passed the unfortunate all-important Moby question.
Away from Christian Music
In high school I became increasingly disinterested in both pop music and Contemporary Christian music (oftentimes you can’t tell the difference!). I started to walk away from pop/”hits” about the time every four-piece male vocal bands decided they needed to singÂ in a tight, gruff Creed-impersonating voice. You know what I’m talking about because I still hear “new” bands on XM’s 20 on 20 who sing like this! It’s incredible every time I hear it. Incredibly unoriginal.
Contemporary Christian Music similarly has its unfortunate trends: women-singing-like-girl bands, three chord “worship” songs with the same recycled vocabulary rearranged just like the last “hit,” and copying the pop music gruff-man singing; not to mention the myriad of songs spouting positive, encouraging but hokey theology. Please, Jesus is not your boyfriend or a rainbow. He’s God.
So as a high schooler with all this mounting up against pop music (secular or Christian or distinguishably otherwise), left me wondering to which genre would I turn to fulfill my musical cravings.
Towards Electronic Dance Music
Two friends caught me in this delicate imbalance of musical tastes and put EDM in my hands…or ears. The first was a gentleman with whom I rode to soccer practice who had burnt CDs sent to him by his brother in New Jersey featuring the latest dance hits. I rememberÂ Ayla (whoever it’s by) and Ian van Dahl’s Castles in the Sky. Those two are enough to get you hooked.
The other friend introduced me to XM radio and thereby its two dance stations BPM and The System. Sandstorm is the memorable hit of this period in my life. We also loved Tiesto, 4 Strings, Ferry Corsten, Lange, and yes, DJ Sammy. We cruised in his subwoofered-BMW after school booming the satellite radio. I was hooked.
Though I listened to EDM while living at home it wasn’t until I went away to college and had my own room with understanding roommates that I began to deeply imbibe all the EDM that the Internet and its radio stations have to offer. I started off listening to DI.fm and then found out about what is now ETN.fm. Over the years, numerous stations have come and gone but that hasn’t limited the flow of live and recorded DJ sets you’ll find on a sites like alldj.org or newmixes.com. These fit nicely on any number of portable MP3 players.
I could now tell you how I began producing my own songs (cf. http://drew.maustsontoast.com) or how I once djed live on Marshall University’s college radio station, but my Facebook Friends mixes I posted on Facebook the end of last year probably bespeak my continued EDM affections.
What I Like about EDM
It’s structured. Most people don’t realize the highly structured production of EDM and therefore lose respect for it. Thinking that EDM lacks structure is utterly fallacious, except those genres that strive to be more abstract and avant-garde, but let me assure you that they’re the exception not the rule.
Most EDM is built around 32 count bars. That’s 8 bars of 4. Tune into AH.fm and starting counting (on beat) to 32 when you hear a cymbal crash. When you reach 1 again, you’ll likely hear another cymbal crash or a new part of the song entering or exiting. This structure is imperative to what EDM considers all-important: mixing, transitioning one track into another seamlessly. This seamless flow is the environment djs like Armin van Buuren are paid the big bucks to recreate in any number of clubs on just about every night of the week. This is also the feel you’ll get from most Internet radio stations when you stream them over your computer. I love it!
Secondly, the fact that EDM is danceable is a plus. How are you supposed to dance to Matchbox 20? You’re not! But Ferry Corsten’s Punk is major on the dance floor.
Thirdly, most EDM is incredibly rhythmic and harmonious. Sounds playing off sounds. Percussion. Melody. Harmony. Bass. More bass.
Fourthly, it’s uplifiting. Yeh, I find it positive and encouraging (unless of course you’re listening to GOA or Psy-trance).
You Listen to No Christian Music?
False. I love Duke Chapel Choir’s podcast, choral music in general, Leeland, Flame, Lecrae, Trip Lee, Keith and Kristyn Getty, and oddly enough, (usually) Hillsong.
What Were You Listening to When You Wrote This?
friskyRadio @ friskyradio.com
What Should I Do to Start Listening to EDM?
Go to DI.fm and click through all the stations to get a feel for what EDM has to offer. You never knew it was such an umbrella term until you’ve actually listened!