Read about the controversial jab toward Electronic Dance Music at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Electronic Dance Music Presence in Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
The second weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival turned out to be even better than it’s first. Alongside the spectacular presence of Electronic Dance Music in weekend one, the festival—in its entirety—made the concurrent weekend worth returning, for EDM Ragers. In the past, Coachella has featured many of the best performers spanning across all genres. From Hip-Hop/Rap to Classic Rock, and EDM to Soul, Coachella impressed us ragers with an epic lineup of DJ/Producers, this year.
Supposedly, there has been an expectation, stemming from several years ago, of Daft Punk’s annual appearance for Coachella. This year, their attendance has been controversially discussed, as perhaps, not actually performing. Throughout two weekends, Coachella allowed for many guest performances this year, highlighting tremendously talented artists that were not originally in the lineup. Pharrell supplied Usher, T.I., and Jay Z, while the Replacements presented Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong, to the controversial inclusion of Daft Punk in Arcade Fire’s festival-closing set.
Neither Arcade Fire’s, nor Daft Punk’s representatives confirmed the spectacle, but the performance caused major dispute of the intentions. Allegedly, Arcade Fire—during their weekend one set—made negative mention of the expansive EDM presence within the festival; their dedication to the performers using “Real instruments,” (Billboard.com) was a direct jab to the face of Electronic Dance Music. Amongst speculation, it has been rumored that Arcade Fire dressed as Daft Punk in ironic display. It is kind of humorous, in that, the EDM Community was outraged with Deadmau5’s trolling of Martin Garrix at this year’s UMF Miami, but when Arcade Fire—a distinctly Indie-Rock Band—condemned the entire genre of EDM, little word has yet been said in disapproval. As Deadmau5 was chastised for his bold statements against the commercialization of EDM, he still recognizes the art within its flaws.
In last week’s article recapping Coachella’s Weekend One, I spoke very highly of Arcade Fire, and their performance; subsequent to these accusations, I now have difficulty supporting the group. While every person is entitled to their opinion, such blatant, public ignorance cannot be overlooked. I wonder how some of their tracks would sound without the ‘computerized’ synths employed for their keyboard and electric guitar? Perhaps, they haven’t met Zedd, Afrojack, Tiësto, or their preceding headliner—Calvin Harris, who all use ‘real instruments’ in their tracks? Sure, they may not be slapping a bass, or beating the drums while performing on stage, but that does not entitle another artist to critique an entire musical genre on the basis of performing instruments. Take Chromeo, for example—who ranks highly within the EDM genre—and their blatant inclusions of guitar and keyboard in their Friday set. Maybe, someone can show Arcade Fire that many EDM producers utilize the same recording/mastering ‘software’ used by the (not so indie anymore)-Rock group. Fourteen years into the 21st century, technological innovations have enabled enumerable artistic features through the medium of computers; what’s next, are writers no longer ‘real writers’ if they don’t use a typewriter?
Moving forward, Rudimental’s Easter Sunday performance on the Mojave Stage was eclectically exciting. Typically falling within the electronic genre, Rudimental’s set featured tracks from all across the board: from R&B to Hip-Hop, and of course—the many sub-genres within EDM. They were the perfect transition for the subsequent trap-centered set of Flosstradamus.
Continuing Coachella’s Second Weekend, the intended EDM-concentrated—Sahara Stage—showcased expectedly enjoyable sets from: Gareth Emery, Fatboy Slim, Empire of the Sun, Skrillex, and Big Gigantic, naming only a handful. Fatboy Slim, a pioneer of Electronic Dance Music from its inception, took a light-hearted approach in his set: bringing the rage, but with a hint of sarcasm in some of his selected drops. As if we didn’t expect, Skrillex displayed epic set designs for his performance on Saturday’s Weekend Two. His set was mixed atop a spaceship, reminiscent to that in his Mothership Tour. Skrillex has expanded his focus on set design, paralleling his dominance of music production. He recently purchased a warehouse in his hometown of Los Angeles, in order to perfect the experience of his sets—integrating lighting and video, alongside his set-list. Skrillex continues to revolutionize Electronic Dance Music, and ascribe himself onto an echelon higher than most.
Unfortunately, Dillon Francis’ Saturday set fell short of expectations; its deficiencies were soon forgotten, following Chance the Rapper’s Main Stage absence on Sunday. Returning from a phenomenal Weekend One performance, his absence went unannounced until his 3 o’clock set, where the information was revealed on the background screen of the Coachella Stage. The details of his hospital visit have yet to be confirmed, but he is still expected to perform this weekend for Counterpoint Music Festival.
With a larger integration of Electronic Dance Music in eclectic music festivals such as Coachella, there are sure to be opponents. Displayed through last weekend’s antics of Arcade Fire, EDM’s appreciation is still growing within the music-world. Transmitting an entire lifestyle has incurred negative stereotypes, but it is our responsibility to defy those expectations. Show those anti-ragers what PLUR is all about. For those who claim EDM lacks authentic musical instruments, show them some of Above & Beyond’s acoustic album; for those claiming the EDM Culture is all about drugs and overdoses, bring them to a real rave—where it is all about the music—and even better vibes. As the negative opinion exists, we should hold ourselves higher as we re-define their interpretation.