On The Over Saturation of EDM

From May 6-10 in Toronto it was Canadian music week, they’re on their 32nd year. Musicians are always in attendance and its a really big thing here.

“CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK is recognized as one of the premier entertainment events in North America focusing on the business of music. The Canadian Music Week festival spans 5 nights of performances, with 1,000 showcasing bands at more than 60 live music venues in downtown Toronto. All convention functions take place at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre.”

One of the guest speakers was deadmau5, a Canadian electronic musician. Known for his usage of branding and marketing of his mau5 head on stage and for his performances.

I saw a clip of deadmau5 talking about his new album. He discusses the over saturation of EDM, claiming it’s easy to create those sounds and a lot of popular music have been searching for this radio play are acquiescing to the signature big room edm sound and style.

He speaks of being boxed into the label of EDM even though he had been producing before the rise and explosion of EDM. He claims that he is not a musician but a producer. He wishes to distinguish himself apart from other producers today that have poor mixes and over maximized sound and what people call “sausage” shaped waveforms, that are just appealing to the mass market of increasing perceived loudness, which I’ve discussed before.

I’m curious about his new “album”. He doesn’t see it as a typcial “compilation” record as most EDM producers create. It is a continuous play album, not to be confused with a DJ mix. Deadmau5 is inspiring because he really does not wish to conform to any mold. He wishes to stay afloat and overcome his past endeavors, to him it is not about money, he has more than enough. That is inspiring to me.

I agree with deadmau5, that there is definitely an over saturation of electronic music. The bad productions will drown the good production. The comparison drawn to the rise and fall of disco seems appropriate. As disco is feel good music derived from soul and funk and is dance based. It’s a good parallel to EDM.

deadmau5 also insists the social media can only help or hinder the fact that the crumbling of EDM is inevitable. deadmau5 claims EDM has killed itself and it is not just happening now, he believes it to be done since 2012. That now, the scene is only about festivals and that the producers today are trying to “unfuck themselves” by creating new “genres” ie. extensions of Dubstep, Trap etc.

I have been creating electronic music far before the “explosion” and saturation into radio and the mainstream, I started around 2001. I understand where he is coming from. There are people who began producing before the scenesplosion and others after it. Unfortunately, the ones that came after are emulating what is seemingly popular in terms of loudness and mix. It does seem as the radio is filled with this kind of electronic music. “It’s all the rage.” Will it go out like the dinosaur? Perhaps. I think the youth is dictating what’s “hot” whether or not it is actually good music.

But there will always be good music, whether happens to be electronic is to be foreseen. In terms of production, it is far easier for a kid to pick up new material for production/studio gear directly pirated and downloaded to their computer. It is far cheaper in this sense than buying an actual instrument. It is so hyper available. Similarly video tutorials are just as incredibly prominent in this modern age.

Social media makes everything happen at the blink of an eye. Though deadmau5 sees there’s a trend of squishing music to juice out the dynamics, I have always tried to stay as far away of this as possible, leaving peaks and valleys into my music in order to sustain the listener and not be able to listen to a record repeatedly, as listener fatigue may set in when the dynamics become blasted beyond repair (see loudness wars). I know it’s over saturated when you start to hear wub dubstep basslines storming across on the scenes from trailer films.

I would not say I had foreseen this EDM explosion and its increase in popularity. I don’t feel I particularly associate with all the radio EDM sound, I know it’s just “Ooh that’s a hot sound right now, let’s use that” done from artists looking to play the slot machine correctly. I think it’s a shame to call oneself an artist and continue in that line of thinking. People are not stupid, when there is a homogenization of sound it is quite discernible, it can only last so long.

Luckily, through no real forethought in myself I had gone against the grain many times, I have a piano album, an industrial albums and a synthwave album (arguably more edm like) and I’ve fallen in love with scoring films recently. Which just happened from me just experiment and loving what I do rather than others loving it, they love that I’m loving what I do. I don’t like to box myself and I think it shows. I’ve always loved creating in all sorts of styles, from hip-hop, classical, electronic, you name it!

I think while EDM simmers down EDM producers may have to expand their horizons. For me, that has to do with films and other styles of music. I have a dubstep album practically completed, I still have a more EDM album in the works – but it definitely veers on a different track with these creations, original – to do it like no one is doing it. Hopefully, because of this saturation, artists must become original, creating more than what is consumed. And I pray their originality does not get hyped and everyone begins to copy each other again. It feels as though I am attempting to do something different in a sea of sameness, though there are some people doing things differently, even in my City of Ottawa, though it is arguably “EDM”, industrial is surprisingly rising in my area, I see it as electronic music rather than EDM but there is plenty of creative acts here, and it’s just as inspiring for me to listen to industrial acts doing something interesting as it is for anything else.

Where do I see mainstream EDM going? Not far. It can continue it’s path, finding ulterior styles branching off from more styles, it can just disappear from excessive use (just as disco) or can have new artists with new ideas shifting where EDM goes and potentially keeping it around a little longer. Electronic music producers will branch into other styles, but not necessarily electronic, ie (tv/film related etc.) To me this is all a ruse to fire up potential. Stay creative!


2 Replies to “On The Over Saturation of EDM”

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