John Digweed and Paul van Dyk discuss ‘the problem with mainstream EDM festivals’
If there’s anyone who can comment on the malaise of the main stage, it’s dance music legend John Digweed. As both a former DJ Mag #1 and one of the foremost champions of the underground scene, Digweed holds a unique position tip-toeing both sides of the industry. As such, he’s in a position to offer what is, in many ways, the best perspective on the current state of EDM.
In an interview with MTV for a piece titled ‘The Problem With Mainstream EDM Festivals,’ Digweed expressed his frustration with the current crop of mainstream artists: “If you’re the biggest DJ in the world, you’re in a position where you can play stuff that people don’t know and blow people’s minds,” he said. “But if you just chose to play stuff they know just to get a reaction, that’s just being lazy.”
Anyone who’s been to an EDM festival can attest to the phenomenon. Main stage sets have become generic, simply put. On the flip side, anyone who’s seen a Carl Cox or Digweed performance can relate the magic of not knowing any tracks in a set. Digweed cemented the comparison in place: “What’s more rewarding for me is.. to play a record I just downloaded this afternoon and everyone goes crazy.. no one knows what it is.. that’s a better buzz.”
Trance legend Paul van Dyk was also on hand to offer his thoughts. “I think it’s our responsibility as DJs to dig through all those thousands and thousands of tracks that come out every week and pick out the ones that actually mean something.”
What Digweed and PvD both touch on is the role of the DJ as a tastemaker. Anyone can sort through the Beatport top ten to find a track that we’ll garner a big response, but it’s a DJ’s responsibility to find the tracks that will leave people clamoring for weekends on end to figure out that elusive ‘ID.’
Photo Credit: Doughlas Wojciechowski