Dancing Astronaut Gives Thanks 2014
Today is Thanksgiving. It’s a time to give thanks for good health, good friends, good family, and, of course, good music. We thought we’d take the time to pay tribute to our favorite parts of dance music culture on this day of thanks, not only for the guys who slave over turntables while we get to party, but for the dance music scene in general and its constantly expanding fanbase. This one’s for the electronic acts that put their heart and soul into it, the clubs that go all out every night of the week, and the people who live and breathe dance music. It’s the least we can do.
I’m thankful for Boysnoize Records, for OWSLA, Future Classic and Bromance. For Kitsune and Ed Banger. For their continued efforts to define new sounds and new styles. For seeing the envelope and then watching it bend to their will. For ignoring everything that “EDM” is and sticking to making music for music’s sake. I’m thankful for TMA-1s for having a fully replaceable auxiliary cable — it makes life a lot cheaper when dealing with loose connections. I’m thankful for Mysteryland’s upcoming inaugural event at Woodstock, for giving our generation the true, movement-defining festival it deserves. I’m thankful to our fans for sticking with us when we spent too much time talking about Daft Punk and deadmau5 beefs. And for the Sunday Morning Medicine, my eternal hangover remedy.
Aside from my insatiable love for anything Pryda or Bassnectar related, I’m thankful for genres. Sure, they’re arbitrary, they’re unreliable, and hell, they’re even made up. But hey, isn’t that the beauty of them? Every “genre” entails a certain sound, and through that sound, an entire history unfolds. The songs that first introduced the sound, the songs that revolutionized it, and the songs that went on to bastardize it — they’re all a part of its history. Artists move in and out of this metaphysical space, building off the sound, contributing to its collective invisible discography. The sound of the genre twists and turns until hardly discernible from its roots, giving birth to new subgenres. These subgenres mature and evolve, taking on lives of their own. New subgenres form by marrying, revolting, and branching off from existing ones. The trend continues. The web of connection grows. One day, we look around and find a whole damn tree of life of music before us, fictional as it may be.
I’m thankful for getting the chance to live in the future (Sweden) for the past year and half and learn about all the innovative things Swedes are doing within the music industry. I’m thankful for Swedish progressive techno artists like Jeremy Olander, Eric Prydz and Adam Beyer who take me into some alternate universe every time I hit play. I’m thankful for producers like Goldroom who have begun touring with a live band, proving there is still musicality alive in dance music. Most of all, I’m thankful for growing along with the dance music explosion over the past three years. I can’t imagine my life without it.
I’m thankful for all of my music festival memories this year. Maetrik at Movement, Frankie Knuckles at Wavefront, Nicolas Jaar at Lightning in a Bottle, Brodinski (and Gary Richards) at HARD Summer, Kaskade at Outside Lands. I’m thankful for Burning Man (big surprise). I’m thankful for Innervisions and Life and Death. I’m thankful for Dubspot and Daniel Wyatt. I’m thankful for DARKSIDE and other hybrid outfits bringing live instrumentation back to electronic music stages. I’m thankful for deadmau5 punting Twitter and replacing stale gossip with haunting piano ballads. I’m thankful for Ableton 9 for continuing to innovate game-changing tools for producers of all strengths and styles. I’m thankful for Splice and its potential to connect collaborators from all corners of the earth. I’m still thankful for Kraftwerk and you should be too, all you kids out there better read your damn history books.
In the spirit of this music that was once simply called electronic, this year I am thankful for technology. I am thankful for Sennheiser headphones for allowing me to block out the screaming children, mindless chatter, and delayed flight announcements in the world and for saving me from the bro nod that comes with Beats. I am thankful for SoundCloud and the hours I have spent going deeper into its rabbit hole when the Beatport Top 100 is just nowhere near cutting it. I am thankful for The M Machine for being complete audio nerds and as a result consistently making actual music, and I am also thankful for the ventilation system at Chicago’s Congress Theater for being disabled and helping the city justify its near-closing and hopefully improved return.
Being Dancing Astronaut’s token British geezer, this is the first time Thanksgiving has ever entered my vocabulary. Nevertheless, it got me thinking, and I am very grateful for the UK club scene and all those involved in it, those who have persevered in spite of our chest-beating government and its pledge for low cost housing that no one can afford. I am also bloody grateful for both the mainstream and the underground for holding their respective sides of the coin so well. A bigger picture is brewing and it is marvelous to be able to document both sides of it. Honorable mentions to Size Records, Revealed Recordings and Pryda Friends – three imprints who made the family mindset all the more prevalent for modern dance music throughout 2013.
In light of it being Thanksgiving yet again, I am thankful for Facebook and Twitter for keeping me connected to the artists I love. I’m thankful for Deadmau5’s crass tweets (RIP), Diplo’s Twitter name and Borgore’s overly sexual posts. I’m thankful for Dillon Francis for just being a real human being, for acknowledging his love for Taco Bell and for adding an “Awesome Shit” category to his online store. I’m also extremely thankful for podcasts, Soundcloud, 8Tracks, and Mixcloud, and for the dedicated fans that take the time to upload awesome playlists and include stupid titles like “Let’s Be Weird Together” or “Nastya** Honeybadger.” Lastly, I’m thankful for the people that introduced me to this music three short years ago, and for the entire Dancing Astronaut team. It’s strange how things naturally fall into place when you least expect it, but I promise that it does happen.
I am thankful for a year of musical memories. Festival mementos like Dog Blood commanding their crowd as the sun set in downtown Los Angeles and Justice closing with Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” are not soon to be forgotten. Passing school days with Breakbot and summer nights with Diplo, dance music was there through it all. Daft Punk’s “Doin’ It Right” quickly became the frontrunner for my future wedding song, and Disclosure opened my eyes to the wonders of deep house. I am thankful that I am living in a time when it seems artists are more daring and fearless than ever, and genres are just waiting to be blended, meshed, molded and reinvented in new and artistic ways. I am thankful for it all.
While the Beatport Top Ten continues to, well, all sound the same, I am thankful for originality. I am thankful to Avicii, Ash, and the entire Le7els camp for pushing musical and marketing boundaries without succumbing to mainstream pressure. I am thankful for the artists in the midtempo genre, and specifically the Pretty Lights Music label, for pushing free downloads and the implementation of live instruments into main stage sets. I am thankful that the true pioneers and revolutionaries of the trap genre have refused to let the spark of creation die. I am thankful for the vast media attention surrounding the electronic music culture and its best and worst aspects. Eric Prydz. I am thankful for the rap community’s gradual acceptance of electronic music from industrial to dubstep. I am thankful that TomorrowWorld is 21 and older. I am thankful for the popularization of binkies in “rave” culture so I know where to walk away from. I am thankful everyone isn’t trying to be Skrillex. Now Skrillex can be Skrillex. That’s cool.
I’m thankful for dance music, and for all music, for providing the soundtrack to our wonderful, very lucky lives. Of course I’m thankful to my friends, family, and loved ones. I’m thankful to our lovely editors at Dancing Astronaut and I’m thankful for the artists, DJs, promoters and personalities that permeate through electronic and dance music and make this scene so amazing and worth covering every single day. I’m thankful to my favorite producer Porter Robinson for embedding a spirit of euphoria and positivity into his music, and for making it sound beautiful and triumphant all at the same time. I’m thankful for each and every one of you, and all the beautiful work that you do each day. Thank you so much, for everything.
I live about an hour from NYC, Philly and Atlantic City. Now, I’m NOT thankful for Japan ruining the Pacific, likely crushing my dreams of one day moving to California. But where I currently live gives me endless possibilities to discover music and see almost any live act. I’d be insane to not be thankful for that. I’m thankful for the unused space heater my company just rediscovered. If it’s wrong to be in love with a space heater, then I don’t want to be right. I’m thankful for a friend at Insomniac who got me free EDC New York tickets this past Spring. I’m thankful for Disclosure. Surprise. Next. I’m thankful for Kanye’s Yeezus, and for James Franco & Seth Rogan’s tasteful interpretation of the Bound 2 video. Finally, I’m thankful for finally immersing myself personally, professionally and voluntarily in the industry I love. I sincerely hope and wish everyone could feel that same satisfaction. Happy Thanksgiving, ya turkeys.