Pete Tong explores the ebb of EDM and of what’s to come for electronic music
If one individual could be the entrusted voice to speak to the questions regarding electronic music that sits in everybody’s minds, it would be Pete Tong. In a recent interview, Village Voice placed the esteemed BBC Radio 1 host in the hot seat regarding the direction of ‘EDM.’ Unsurprisingly, his explanation of where the music is headed was proceeded by a brief revisit to how the sound first exploded into popularity. Specifically accrediting the spike in interest to the first pioneering artists that navigated dance music into the Top 40 radio arena like David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia, Tong explains that the “new music” attracted a large population of young listeners, most of which that were largely uneducated about the origins of the music.
This, the UK native continues, is the root of the EDM divide. For America, electronic music shot straight to concert arenas and big time festivals, skipping the dark and dirty club scene of Europe and elsewhere in the world that first birthed much of the music that identifies more as “electronic” rather than “dance” of EDM. “If you were a techno DJ playing in Ibiza and someone called you EDM, you were getting very offended or making great efforts to point out that you were different,” he explains. “And so it became a term that became very generalized, a bit blurred around the edges. I think if you’re an EDM DJ now you certainly think your image is probably of that Main Stage sound.”
Though electronic music has only really struck the US within the last five years, already many of both artists and audience have grown loathsome of the term and associations of ‘EDM.’ In its place, “deep house” rose as a new favorite and quickly became a term producers and listeners grasped tightly onto.
“Deep house actually means everything other than EDM. So it goes from Disclosure to the most hardcore techno act. It’s a way of saying ‘Anything other than EDM’ […] Some people have done their three or four years of being a kandi raver and maybe never go to a club again. Other people have grown into a little bit more of a sophisticated thing, maybe they’ve gone from David Guetta and now they’re mad about Skrillex and Diplo, or maybe they’re getting crazy about much more underground artists like Jamie Jones, I think we’re starting to see that now.”
Fundamentally, electronic music has come full circle as listeners’ interests begin to drift towards the more eclectic subgenres where most veteran zealots never left. After equating the more generic sounds of EDM as the first shallow layer of electronic music, Tong shares his bit of clairvoyance for the music’s near future: “The thing about the next wave of music is that it’s more the environment, it’s more determined to deliver the best experience of more supple music — you need a different set of criteria to the ones you need to deliver the music we’ve been seeing on the Main Stages for the last five years, so it’s not going to be confetti and explosions.”
Pete Tong was sure to interject that he doesn’t aim to sentence the definitive end of EDM. Rather, the genre is heading in the direction of its due course. “Things are shifting […] I’m not here to sound the end of EDM as we know it. No, I think that, where I sit, it’s the right time to really push now for the next thing.”
Via: Village Voice