This posted originally appeared on Press Play on 03.14.13
As I scanned through a shit-load of useless internet content, from blogs and news articles to YouTube and Vimeo posts (even reaching that level of boredom only a game of Bloon Tower Defense 5 could overcome) I came across something quite interesting. Then again, I do seem to find anything that has to do with internationally renowned, Canadian-home-grown talent pretty interesting. And to boot, I found myself reading Electronic-inspired journalism on thestar.ca of all places…
The article discussed Richie Hawtin and Deadmau5, (two artists that share very little in common in terms of the specific sounds they produce) and their presence at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. Think about this for a second and let it sink in –
How often has Electronic Music News been covered in mainstream media outlets with a focus placed on the negatives, rather than the positives?
I know, right? Unlike past articles that have concentrated on the apparent ‘recreational drug activity’ that all fans of the genre seemingly partake in (and outwardly abuse?), as well as the barbaric nightlife the sounds seem to infiltrate, this article placed an emphasis strictly on the music itself, and featured the collaboration of two artists that have done more for the industry than anyone could have ever imagined.
They came together for a rare seminar on techno, even going head to head in a Hawtin versus Deadmau5 turntable battle…Bizarre you say? I call that entertainment, and I get the strange impression that there’s a lot more of that mutual admiration thing going around these days than one may have previously thought.
After blasting through it, with tear duct factories on overdrive (haven’t read in a while…felt like my eyes were benching 250 by the end of it) I quickly realized three specific similarities the two legends share – yes, precisely three. One, they’re both Canadians… Two, they both share a similar attention to detail when it comes to designing mind-blowing performance visuals. And most importantly, number three, they clearly share an appreciation for quality tech, regardless of sublevel genres and minus all the “I hate early techno” bullshit we hear on a regular basis.
So yeah, maybe Electronic Dance Music isn’t as divided as I once thought, or at least it shouldn’t be.
There seems to be a brotherhood emerging among international DJs and producers alike, and that can only aid in the quality of the sound itself for future generations to come. When asked about performing at a festival where EDM was often neglected, alongside a fellow Canadian trailblazer, Deadmau5 answered in typical Deadmau5 fashion: “Not to blow smoke up your ass, but if someone had told me 10 years ago that I was gonna DJ with Richie Hawtin . Well, whatever: I’m honored,”
He went on to address Richie Hawtin directly, “I’ve always aspired to be a little more underground. I listen to techno; I listen to the really dubby old stuff and all of your old stuff. And I like it.”
Coming from two different sides of the musical spectrum – a truth usually reserved as the foundation for intensifying the underground versus mainstream EDM debate – the pair of successful musicians seemed to have a very different perspective on the subversive dichotomy many individuals claim exists – myself included…
At the end of the day, the conversation leads to one distinct conclusion – all that matters is the music, not the politics. Whether it is the old-school, underground, or modern techno, the commercialized or the obscure, quality remains the universal measuring stick. Quality will forever separate the real musicians apart from the DJ impersonators. I think I’m just starting to realize that quality can be found on both sides of the coin, the mainstream and the underground…
My personal epiphany aside, the fact of the matter remains – both Richie Hawtin and Deadmau5 can sit down at the same table and discuss the advancement and future development of their craft cooperatively, and that only suggests that, progress is more important than anything else.