Friday, December 31, 2010

Save The Rave: A call for action within the California EDM community

     As 2011 looms, and I'm sitting here writing this blog on the eve of New Years, I realize 2010 has been a great year for electronic dance music.  This year has graced us with some amazing events, huge festivals, and stellar tracks from our favorite artists.  As the year comes to a close and I reflect on the great times and experiences of the year, I realize we could not ask for much better.  However, as 2011 looms, the outlook is not entirely positive.  While 2010 was memorable, it was also infamous for many tragedies that have happened at EDM events.  The tragedies that stick out in my mind are the well publicized local deaths that occurred during POP in San Francisco and Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles.  POP in SF resulted with 2 deaths and 5 hospitalizations, while EDC in LA resulted in dozens of hospitalizations and the death of a 15 year old teenage girl.  I was present at these events and I had a feeling at the time that these unfortunate occurrences would not go without action from state committees...and I was right.
     I'm sure all of you who read this from California are aware of the infamous proposed bill AB 74 by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma from San Francisco, which harbors the potential to prohibit electronic dance events to occur on public property if passed.  It also would ban such events to occur on private property unless a business owner provided a license.  To be specific, the details mentioned in the bill targets unlicensed nighttime events that "include prerecorded music and last more than three and a half hours".  In Assemblywoman Ma's own words: ""Raves foster an environment that threatens the health and safety of our youth. [This] is the first step toward eliminating these dangerous events."
      As hard as it is for me to admit, Fiona Ma's opinion on electronic dance events does not come entirely without foundation.  Long has the culture of the "rave" been associated with underground assemblies of teenagers and young adults doing drugs and dancing from the early hours of the night into the early hours of the morning.  She has cited a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that teenagers who attend raves use club drugs like ecstasy, ghb, methamphetamine, and LSD.  Let's not kid ourselves here...this study is not inaccurate.  A big culprit of this is the fact that most raves do not harbor an age limit on attendance.  Younger generations are always searching for methods of self identity, rebellion, and feeling like part of something.  Raves can offer this.  While any teenager under the age of 18 cannot drink or smoke legally, they could still attend a rave and any drug dealer could exploit this.  This is part of the reason why I don't like the term "rave" and never really have.  I think if you ask any stranger in the United States who is not familiar with the music or culture of the electronic dance scene, a "rave" to them means going to a club, warehouse, or underground location to dance the night away to light shows doing drugs to "techno music".  I know this, because I admit this was my opinion of the rave scene years ago before I really became involved.  This particular demographic, including Fiona Ma, create their opinions based on poor generalization of the community, out-dated principles, and have not taken a look at the bigger picture of what electronic dance music really represents and what it has become.
     If you take a look around at the trends in music on a global scale (or even just here in the United States), it is undeniable that electronic dance music is on the rise both in popularity and acceptance.  Mainstream artists such as Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Black Eyed Peas, Three 6 Mafia, Kesha, and Deadmau5, for better or worse, are spreading the taste of "rave" music to the masses.  Huge events like LA's Electric Daisy Carnival that push attendance numbers to the 200,000 mark and have the capability of filling out huge venues like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum would not be possible without this upsurge in dance music enthusiasm.  It is not strange to hear a name like "Deadmau5", "Kaskade", or "Tiesto" in any conversation about music from any regular household anymore.  MTV in the USA now covers events like EDC and interviews artists like Armin van Buuren and Swedish House Mafia.  The music is out of the shadows and no longer limited to just "ravers" and this is why I believe the old opinions on what it is to be a "raver" should be a thing of the past.  While you could still find your typical underground rave in any major city, the music has moved on to bigger sanctioned events and has begun to attract a wider audience.  While Fiona Ma has gone on to call these bigger events "simply unmanageable," I do not believe that this is the truth.  While management of bigger events could use a few fine tweaks, I believe the solution lies in further education to the masses as to what electronic dance music is and what it truly represents.
     If one digs deeper into the world of electronic dance music and the culture involved, an educated mind on the matter could see that the positives that world brings greatly trump the negatives:
  • Cultural Acceptance:  Electronic dance music has been popular on a global scale for decades.  The byproduct of such a wide audience of this music is that producers and DJ's from all over the world are creating their own brand of the music.  They are also touring all over the world.  French DJ's touring in America, German DJ's touring in Russia, British DJ's touring in India, etc etc. all while building loyal fanbases.  The walls of prejudice and judgment have been broken down within the dance community and could prove to be a great stepping stone for the rest of the world to follow in hopes to settle disputes and conflicts.  There are no disputes over religion, race, and culture within dance music.
  • Global Networking:  The internet and social networking have made it possible to communicate and network with people all over the world within the blink of an eye, and electronic artists have mastered this more than most.  Whether it be a business conversation, sharing of music, or simply connecting with fans, electronic artists have become highly efficient at communication on a global scale to other fellow artists and their fanbase.  This global networking yields infinite possibilities.  An aspiring producer from Australia or any other isolated region of the world is no longer facing such an uphill battle.
  • Musical Expansion:  As I mentioned before, the musical influences of electronic dance music can be heard in the mainstream now.  This means genres have begun to cross and more musical exploration is a result.  Electro-pop, Synth Pop, Synth Rock, Indie-electro, Trip-Hop, you name music has only begun to scratch the surface of its possibilities with embracing the concepts and tools that electronic dance music has provided. 
  • Mutual Respect:  In my years of attending electronic music events (or "raves" if you will), I have not seen one single fight or conflict that was not easily settled with a small conversation.  People do not attend these events with the intent to start conflict.  On the contrary, they are there to appreciate the music they know and love with other like-minded individuals.  You can always make a new friend at a dance event, and it is all because of mutual respect for one another. 
  • Unity through the Community:  Unity happens through one common goal or common appreciation for something.  In our case, the music brings us together.  This has happened so well in fact, that "families" have been created within genres of electronic music.  Ever heard of the #TranceFamily or #HouseNation?  That's called unity right there.  Feeling like part of something, no matter how far away members live away from each other.  Great things have happened through this unity.  Some things that stick out in my mind just within my own local community is the San Francisco #TranceFamily (#TranceFamilySF) creating drives to donate clothes for the homeless and a small foundation for donations for a family member who suffered a horrible event.  People are reaching out to one another to help each other....these kind of things leave me speechless.  This is not seen within any other style of music (that I know of).  Not only are these group of relative strangers helping each other like trusted friends, they truly care about their communities as well.
  • Technological Advancement:  DJ's and Producers constantly push the envelope of computer hardware and software in search of new ideas and tools to identify their music and shape their craft more uniquely.  The searching of this endless frontier drives the development of new software programs, hardware technology, and DJ tools that are infinitely useful not only within the electronic dance community, but music producers of any genre. 
      If the proposed bill AB 74 were to pass, it would mark a huge loss for the electronic dance community, and would create much more of a negative result than it would hope to create.  As Jason "Dyloot" Sperling of Deep Voices (respected Producer/DJ from San Francisco and promoter of Skills DJ Workshop) mentioned in a statement to the LA Times: "If electronic music is criminalized, our government will succeed in alienating a generation of Californians and simply drive dance parties underground — a less regulated, less safe, less sane situation than we have today."  This could not be more true.  The alienation is as clear as black and white: "The bill is not intended to impact traditional music concerts and sporting events," said Fiona Ma in her statement. "AB 74 is about cracking down on raves that harbor drug use and lead to teenage deaths."  Not only is this isolation and targeting a violation of the 1st Amendment (particularly Freedom of Expression), I believe it sends a bad message to the youth that have recently discovered the forward direction that electronic dance music is heading into.  This would, as Dyloot so eloquently put, send dance parties in California to a more unsafe and miseducated direction.  I feel like the passing of this bill would single handedly succeed in the creation of more "raves" that are not regulated and encourage drug use among younger generations (harmful to their own cause) instead of encouraging sanctioned, accepted "electronic music events" that promote all the positive aspects that electronic music represents with the involvement of the law.  Poor involvement from the law can create horrible tragedies like the events of Love Parade 2010 in Duisburg, Germany which resulted in the deaths of almost two dozen people.  The music we know and love so much is heading in a great direction all over the world, it would be such a shame for California to be robbed of this form of expression in a time where the world needs all the positivity it can get.
      I'll close this out with saying one simple thing: Get Involved!  Reach out to the movements at and to help try and save our form of expression and the electronic dance music culture here in our great state of California.  We can only do this together, and we certainly need each other to accomplish the goals that we want.  The main goal that I hope to achieve through our own local networking is educating California residents and California lawmakers on what electronic music really is and what it represents around the world (so we can allow it do the same thing in California).  I'd like to wash away the negative image that the term "rave" used to mean in the past and move forward in the future with a new generation of electronic music enthusiasts and a new image that we are indeed a family and we want equality for all.  Let us write Fiona Ma at

San Francisco District Offices:
455 Golden Gate Ave.,
Suite 14600
San Francisco, CA 94102

and educate her on the great things that electronic dance music has done globally and within our community.  Let her know the positive experiences you've had at dance events and how it has changed things for the better.  This is also a call to action to promote a drug-free environment at electronic dance events, because after all, it was always about the music and not about the drugs.

Thanks everyone for reading....I hope for a happy 2011 for all and Happy New Years Eve.  Please be safe.  Long live electronic music.


The LA Times
Save The Rave

Thursday, December 30, 2010

#ThrowbackThursday: Thomas Bronzwaer "Shadow World"

Around the year 2007 is around the time where my interest in electronic music and trance in particular really hit a peak for me.  I had been listening to acts like The Prodigy and Daft Punk since way in the past, but I guess you can kind of call that my renaissance year because once I embraced the lifestyle and genius behind trance, it changed my tastes forever.  I owe it all to that month of October (and the specific events of Lovefest in San Francisco and Monster Massive in Los Angeles).  Around that time I caught wind of this little gem from dutch producer Thomas Bronzwaer.  Quintessential trance at its best.  This track really takes you on a roller coaster.  The production is as perfect as the ear can pick up.  The effects are crispy clear and perfectly placed.  The main riff, while simple, leaves an incredibly lasting impression.  What more can I say?  It became one of my favorite tunes at the time and still has high repeat value when listening to it 3 years later.  I don't think I'll ever get sick of it.  For your listening pleasure:


Today's LOL: Tiesto vs the personal trainer

Tiesto wins fights against his trainer if he gets him hammered the night before...LOL

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today's LOL: Andy Moor & Gareth Emery vs. Ashley Wallbridge (Drunks)

It's pretty common among friends to have each other pressure another into drinking, especially calling them out when they decline, but this one was just too funny not to post (keep in mind the conversations start and go from bottom to top):

It all started with:

 Followed by:

And the final KO punch:

In any language...LOL!  Just goes to show that if you party with Andy Moor...don't be a girl.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Upcoming Event: ETD Love 2011

Everyone who lives in the Bay Area or surrounding regions of San Francisco should be no stranger to ETD Love.  2011's offering of this annual valentines themed dance music event should prove to be quite a powerhouse with big names in Trance and House alike.  I am particularly excited about seeing Mr. Pit and tyDi on the Trance bill.  Both have had some killer tunes this past year and would be great to see them played in a big room setting.  On the House side...I've heard some Felguk and have been impressed by their work.  Other than that, don't know too much about it.  Seeing as how I am more of a Trance follower, I know that room certainly will not disappoint with the aforementioned talent.  The house room I am sure will not disappoint either.  Let's get ready for LOVE!


What's the deal? Afrojack

2010 was certainly a monster launch year for a lot of young new acts in the progressive house (and house as a whole) scene.  One name that certainly sticks out of that bunch is Afrojack.  Known as Nick van de Wall in the Netherlands, this guy had a great take-off into the scene for various reasons: huge support from his buddy David Guetta, big remixes of big records from big guys like Benny Benassi, lots of satellite radio play, a dynamic DJ set, and popular records such as "Bangduck".  Anyway, I don't feel like going on and on about Afrojack, but he's got a new song out right now called "Replica".  Without further adieu...

 Does it sound familiar a little bit?  Does it sound a little similar (almost TOO similar) to his previous track called "Take Over Control" which was a huge song this past summer?  Take a listen...

 Now, before anyone feels like lynching me over this, I'm not necessarily a huge Afrojack fan.  His tracks seem a little obscure and leave quite a bit to be desired.  Songs like "A Msterdamn" and "Bangduck" are just a little strange to me...I don't really understand why are they so huge.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, go take a listen to them.  Not to mention his synth style that he uses is on EVERY SINGLE TRACK!  I know he has some DJ skills, but I saw him at Electric Daisy Carnival and wasn't too impressed.  Now with this new song "Replica", I think the title makes much sense in terms of his all too repeated formula.  This might be a classic case of popularity through friends in high places (ie David Guetta, another producer/DJ that is hard to stomach for me personally).  I don't know, I'm sure im overlooking something if he is so popular, but I've yet to see it.  Still waiting to be amazed.


Producer Tips: Morgan Page

What's up everyone? Especially for the aspiring producers out there. Here's a little tidbit from the progressive house genius Morgan Page about compression. His # hashtag seems to yield some more tips. Great to see top down support from the big names for the future generation of producers. That's what makes the electronic music scene so great.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Triumphant Return of THE PRODIGY to the United States!

What's up everyone.  Happy to report some exciting news.  Now, for the purist, this should actually not be news at all; but the good word is that The Prodigy will be making an all too rare appearance in the USA beginning early next year 2011.  I really cannot describe how thrilled I am to get the opportunity to see these electronic legends live and in the flesh.  I missed their show at the Warfield in San Francisco last year and I will definitely not pass up the chance to see them again.  Anyone who knows me knows that The Prodigy isn't just one of my favorite electronic acts of all time, but certainly one of my favorite musical acts of all time transcending all genres and tastes.  Not to mention, I have first hand recommendations from friends that have seen them that they completely tear the house down in their live shows.  In good spirit of this occasion, I have decided to go see their show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in February instead of my more local Los Angeles.  Why so, do you ask?  Well, because...why not?  And more importantly, seeing Prodigy in Vegas would be all more glorious (plus its on a weekend).  Ready for a weekend of debauchery anyone?  I certainly am.  For those who plan on attending, see you there!!

Here is a flyer of the tour:

And for those that have any inclination of what they are in for should they decide to attend; I leave you with this:


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today's LOL: Twitter joking with Sied van Riel

So I know this didn't happen today (for those that took notice of the date), but I had this in my twitter and didn't think to post it until now. For those that don't follow @SiedvanRiel on twitter, the man does have a sense of humor and throws jokes back at ya if you catch him in the right moment; like I did. I definitely got an lol from this. Shout out to SvR!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#NowPlaying: Deadmau5 "Raise Your Weapon"

What's up everyone.  I'm sure by now the loyal house and mau5 followers have gotten a chance to check out the latest offering by Deadmau5: 4x4=12.  I've had a chance to listen to the whole album and let me just!  Some of the album is pretty typical straight forward stuff from the mau5, but there is one particular track that stands out for me above the rest.  It is definitely the magnum opus of the entire album.  Here it is:

"Raise Your Weapon"

Holy moly! What a jammer.  This track definitely reminds me a lot of "Strobe" from his previous full length album For Lack Of A Better Name.  Although the track reminds me of that one a lot, this one is very different; namely the dubstep breakdown around the 4 minute mark.  I've never really been one for dubstep, much less dubstep breakdowns within already good progressive tracks such as this one, but I think it kind of fits in this case.  Especially considering the feel of the rest of the album, the dubstep part isnt so bad.  It's perfectly placed and is a good easing into the next track "One Trick Pony" which is entirely dubstep.  I probably could have done without it though.  If this was just another straight forward progressive track with an awesome peak instead of the dubstep breakdown, I could have given this a full rating in my iTunes.  Oh well...I still can't get it off repeat on my player.  Good stuff mau5.


Today's LOL

Arnej knows how to throw some clever jabs at his boss Markus Schulz...LOL

Monday, December 6, 2010

Today's LOL

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well...for Armin and Markus, this picture is worth that and more. woww, kandi, red cup, and all!  ...wait for it.... LOL!!!!


Thank You to!

Hey everyone.  If you haven't read my previous post, the column about my dream collaborations in electronic music (and just commenting on collaborations in general), please take a moment to do so and leave a comment.  Or...even better, why not read it HERE and comment there!  Want to take this moment to give a big shout out to my good friends at for posting my column in their guest blog section.  This website does amazing things for the local trance scene and the community as a whole, and I feel whole-heartedly thrilled to be a part of it; no matter how small.  That being said, please check out the rest of their site at!  Keep the music alive in the bay area!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Collaborations in Electronic Music; My Dream Wish List

What's up everyone? I haven't written a column that has required some thought in quite some time since I've just been bombarding you with new tunes that have caught my attention or just plain old hot tracks that have been in my rotation. Apologies, as I've been holding back. Anyways, time for me to get to a subject that I have been wanting to write about for quite some time. So here it goes...

This year in electronic music has been amazing! Trance, house, DnB, Dubstep, Techno, you name it...all have had some groundbreaking tracks that will change the landscape of new music to come in 2011. That being said, this year also brought along some collaborations that have been classic: Above & Beyond vs. Kyau & Albert, Above & Beyond w/ Gareth Emery, Tiesto & Diplo, Paul van Dyk & Armin van Buuren & Paul Oakenfold, Deadmau5 & Wolfgang Gartner, etc. On the flip side, some collaborations have left us scratching our heads: Tiesto & Kaskade "Only You", Armin van Buuren w/ Ferry Corsten "Minack", etc.

Collaborations can be a hit or miss. Depending on the artists, how well their styles come together, their work ethic, their humility (collaborations are an equal opportunity playing field), their knowledge of the other's work, and their respect of each other all play important factors as to whether the collaboration will turn out successful or not.

I'll go on a bold statement here (so don't kill me if you disagree) to say there are really two kinds of collaborations that I can see in the electronic music world. The peas & carrots collabo and the ketchup & mustard collabo. Now before you think I've lost my mind because of my food references, let me explain:

The peas & carrots collaboration (insert two other foods of similar origin that go good together if you hate vegetables) in a nutshell describes two artists coming together from similar backgrounds and similar styles (or tastes lol...get it?) to make a collaboration track that harmonizes and blends so well you would think it came from just one producer on a workaholic studio binge. Just like peas and carrots are both vegetables and don't necessarily taste too different (but go well together), many times the artists are so similar the track just makes perfect audible sense. The ideal example that comes into mind for me is Deadmau5 & Wolfgang Gartner's recent collabo with "Animal Rights". These two electro house heads are both synthesizer geeky computer nerds at heart and love experimenting with obscure synth sounds and notes that don't quantize too well all while keeping in perfect groove with the backbeat which usually incorporates some raw thumping bass. If you take a listen to that track even with a close ear, it's pretty hard to tell apart each producer's contribution to the track. I really can't tell, and that's what makes it work so well. It all comes together like peas and carrots.

Check it out:

Now the ketchup & mustard collaboration to me describes a collaboration that on paper makes no sense due to the completely opposing nature of the artists and their styles, however ends up creating a concoction that tastes so well to our ears. Much like ketchup is relatively sweet and mustard is awfully sour, opposite un-related artists can be very capable of coming together to create a track that comes together surprisingly well. Much like a yin-yang relationship, different style artists can fill each others' voids on a track. While one could be good at creating obscure synths & sounds that usually don't keep a rhythm, the other could bring the beat and organization that will keep it on tempo and create the proper groove for a structured song. Example: think of Tiesto & Diplo's "C'Mon", easily one of the biggest summer anthems this year. It was played at 90% of electronic events around the world I'm sure. Tiesto is known for being one of (if not the biggest) names in trance music and a pioneer in his genre. Trance is structured and follows an arrangement. You have your intro DJ friendly part, your buildup, your breakdown, another buildup, the climax, a calming, and an outro. Tiesto has become a master at this. Diplo on the other hand, doesn't necessarily follow rules or guidelines. Much like he doesn't necessarily have one style you could confine him to, his songs don't necessarily need follow a pattern or arrangement. However, he's been able to create some insanely unique sounds that would sound great with a structured home. Cue in Tiesto. How did these two come together? Who knows. All we know is the bi-product of this yin and yang relationship is a track that will ring in our heads for years to come. Opposite tasting ketchup and mustard coming together well on the hot dog that is a sequencer.

Take a listen:

Now this brings me to what I've been wanting to write about all along: my dream collaborations! We had some great ones in 2010 like I talked about, now these are the ones I would love to see happen in 2011. Will they happen? Probably not. But hey a dance head can dream right? This is my wish list:


10. Paul Oakenfold & The Prodigy

Now I know this one is far fetched, but imagine what kind of beautiful insanity this track would provide? Well, couldn't. And that's what makes the premise of it seem so great. Nobody could have predicted the Tiesto & Diplo (ketchup & mustard style) collaboration to work so perfectly, so whose to say this one wouldn't work. I'm a huge fan of both these legends and my prediction is that their differing styles could compliment one another. Prodigy brings the ruckus while Oakenfold brings the atmosphere. The combining efforts of the two would most likely yield a journey into sound that our sensitive ears probably wouldn't be able to handle. It is however, a shot in the dark, as most of these type of collaborations usually are. I would have faith in it though. Brits seem to understand one another pretty good. They're both veterans of their own style. So it begs the question...why not?

What you could expect: I have absolutely no clue. A beautiful melodic mess perhaps?

9. Mr. Pit & Phynn

The boys of Coldharbour...why hasn't this happened? Mr. Pit should need no introduction. 2009 and 2010 were huge for him. He has produced some of the biggest anthems I've heard recently. It is no wonder why Markus Schulz uses him as the right hand man for his DJ sets. Listen to "Sky Traffic"...wowww! It is an absolute trance roller coaster. There is so much going on, and that's kind of become a staple for his sound. Phynn (a name that hasn't really reached my attention until this year) reminds me a lot of Mr. Pit. Not only are they in the same label family, but Phynn has gained the trust of Mr. Schulz himself by completely owning the remixes of his tunes. Much like Mr. Pit, his songs can go all over the place. His remix of Markus' "Rain" completely won me over. Yes Mr. Pit has remixed one of Phynn's tracks recently, but it's not enough! Come on Markus, you're their boss, make it happen!

What you could expect: A fast paced, high octane, trance roller coaster.

8. Sander van Doorn & Marco V

These tech trance geniuses both create anthems that sometimes leave me scratching my head when it comes to being able to classify them. Can I even call it tech trance? I'm not sure, because it's housey too. What am I trying to say? Honestly, I have no idea (and that's a good thing). That's how success is measured with artists such as these. They are generally revered within the trance community, but it has the ability to be appreciated by all. Their productions are so intricate and incorporate such different production elements that sometimes go unnoticed. Take a listen to any song by these two with a good set of studio headphones, otherwise you don't get the full effect. They are both so unique masters of their craft. It is no wonder that they are so highly respected. Why did I choose these two? Listen to SvD's "Daddyrock" in conjunction with Marco V's "Reaver". Sounds kinda similar no? Two totally different producers, but both have the potential to work and sound very well together. I would love to hear what these two could come up with together!

What you could expect: A crazy catchy dance-able tune that would be almost impossible to classify.

7. Avicii & EDX

The older generation meets the new. Although EDX is in no way old, the Swedish progressive house prodigy Avicii (aka Tim Berg aka Timothy Bergling) has been completely taking off this year with leaps and bounds and he's only 21 years old?!? Unbelievable! The big room anthems that this young man creates has the ring of a veteran. Once again...unbelievable. Since he's one of my new favorites of progressive house, I thought he could naturally work well with one of my all time favorites of progressive house: EDX. EDX is without a doubt the progressive house juggernaut. Everyone realizes this; even the trance heads. EDX tracks can be heard all over the place in everyone's sets. We got a taste of their power with Avicii's remix of EDX's "Shy Shy". It gives me chills to think about the big room sound that these two could produce together. It could even make the most loyal trance fan join the house side.

What you could expect: An amazing progressive tune as intricate and emotionally moving as any huge trance anthem.

6. Arty & D-Mad

Exploding onto the scene in the past couple of years, these two have worked very hard to cement their names into the trance world. Remix after remix, production after production, both of these guys have created a body of work that has been appreciated by all the big names and veterans in the scene. Without a doubt, Russian trance is coming up BIG in the world and these two are at the forefront of it (along with Bobina). The elements that these two put into their songs actually create a distinct brand of trance that can actually be recognized quite easily, especially Arty. Russian brand trance...who would have thought? I'm a big fan of these two and they are clearly no strangers to each other (Arty has remixed D-Mad's "She Gave Happiness"). I'm a huge fan of that track and is definitely a sign of the future of things to come in regards to trance music. I would be very interested to see what these two would put down in the studio working jointly.

What you could expect: A trance track unlike anything you've ever heard. Vodka for your ears.

5. Dada Life & Wolfgang Gartner

Anyone that knows me well understands my love for Dada Life. Simply put, their brand of electro house is what I think is the perfect embodiment of the genre: PURE ENERGY! If you have ever seen Dada Life live then you know what I'm talking about. You could be tired as hell from the night before but they would be able to get you PUMPED! Their productions are raw and dirty, as electro house should be. Listen to their new single "Unleash the F**king Dada!". The bass and synthesizers are so deep and obnoxious that they demand a dance floor. Much like the style of Wolfgang Gartner as of late; a man that has won me over in 2010. Like Dada Life, his production style is based around odd (and almost random) synthesizer effects. His songs can almost be called controlled chaos, only controlled by staying on tempo. His collaboration with Deadmau5 left me hungry for more. I also know that they are huge fans of each other. Both's style of electro house is raw, dirty, loud, and in your face. Make this happen!!

What you could expect: One of the dirtiest, filthiest electro house beats produced by any group of human beings (or aliens for that matter).

4. Paul van Dyk & Cosmic Gate

This is one of those dream collabos you think about and wonder why it hasn't happened because it almost seems like a no brainer. We heard a taste of what they are capable of with Cosmic Gate's remix of PvD's "Home", but I'm sure them actually working together would produce a track all too hypnotic. Both have a penchant appreciation for techno which always rings prominent in their productions. As for PvD, while much of his uplifting tunes have a trancy ring to them, they are hardly ever full on trance. There is much more to them than that. His blend is all too complex. Listening to the incredible In Between album is a testament to that. And while the trance flavor is subtle, it rings true when spun during a set that is full trance. Cue, Cosmic Gate. I think they could enhance the trance elements of what PvD would bring to the production and supplement each other very nicely. It would still be techy, but Cosmic Gate would certainly turn up the trance volume. It would feel like Berlin on any dance floor. Sidenote: to date my favorite trance song is Paul van Dyk's "Crush".

What you could expect: A very complex trance tune with some techy flavor that could hypnotize you on the dance floor.

3. Deadmau5 & Kaskade

I know what you may be thinking: "Haven't we heard this already?? On TWO tracks??". Well yes...and no. Everyone remembers the collaborations from these house giants. The singles "I Remember" and "Move For Me" were the house anthems of 2008 that were played on everyone's ipods, car stereos, computer speakers, and rave events until you couldn't bear to play them again. Classic songs, no doubt. However, the reason I say "no" is because these two producers have grown quite a bit since 2008. 2010 saw the release of Kaskade's monster album Dynasty and will soon see the release of Deadmau5's 4x4=12. Their productions have certainly evolved and they have become more opposite than ever. Kaskade has taken more of a turn for the pop side while Deadmau5 has gradually taken steps more to the full blown electro side of things. We haven't heard that much progressive style from the mau5 lately. Then again we haven't heard much from the mau5 lately. However the point stands, they are very different two years later. I think it would be really interesting to see what they could come up with now. They are a good embodiment of the ketchup & mustard style collaboration and they compliment each other well.

What you could expect: Another summer anthem for 2011? I would surely hope so.

2. Gareth Emery & Ashley Wallbridge

These two have so much in common, that a collaboration only seems natural and necessary. Both are Brits, both are trance heads that yearn for bigger classification, both have huge support from the bigger DJ's (friends in high places), and both have had monster take offs in the last two years. Every single that Ashley Wallbridge drops ceases to disappoint. It almost seems like the man is incapable of failure. The same could be said about Gareth Emery, whose album Northern Lights completely blew my mind. I think their style of trance is actually very similar if you look at some of the elements. Listen to "Walk On Water" by Wallbridge and then "Sanctuary (Club Mix)" by Gareth. Very melodic, very euphoric, incredible build up, lots of reverb, no synth is too stand out or obnoxious, both use a lot of piano, and both have a HUGE thing for gated vocals (especially Wallbridge who does it on almost every track. Kind of becoming his signature). They are almost too similar that they could be cousins (maybe we should track down their family lineage). Both of them easily were 2 of my absolute favorite producers of 2009 and 2010 and deserve incredibly huge props in my book. Get the proper vocalist, and this track would be an absolute showstopper!

What you could expect: One of the most euphoric vocal trance anthems you would ever hear.

1. Tiesto & Armin van Buuren & Ferry Corsten

The original Dutch master trio of trance...these three are who I'd most like to see collaborate on one track. It is likely? Probably not. BUT...these three are no strangers to each other. Tiesto is a huge reason why Armin and Ferry have enjoyed such success this past decade. They have all 3 helped and supported each other in the early years of their career and heave learned much from each other. We hardly see them together on the same bill anymore due to career and business politics, which is sad, but understandable when each of them are trying to build their own brand and earn respect in their own right. Each one is an absolute master of their craft and have catapulted themselves into the fold so well that each could fill any stadium around the world on their own. Neither need any introduction. Anyways, what made me think of this one was the successful collaboration between Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, and Paul Oakenfold on "Remember Love". It is rare to see a 3-way collaboration. Seeing these three names on paper at first filled me with doubt since each have differing styles and egos could come into play. However they didn't, and created an amazing tune. I also think of the collaboration between Rank 1, Nic Chagall, and Wippenberg on "100" this past year. Definitely confirms to me that if business could be set aside and the right cause called for it, a Tiesto, AvB, and Ferry collaboration would sound absolutely positively A-MAZING. I don't even think there would be a word in the dictionary to describe what it would sound like. Please it for the #TranceFamily. (Or in our case #TranceFamilySF).

What you could expect: ...I have no idea. I would be speechless. It would probably melt your headphones.

So there it is.  Did I dream big enough for you? I think I could probably come up with some outlandish ideas but within reason (somewhat), this is my dream list. If any of these are possible and should happen within the next few years, my musical appreciation would know no bounds. I think that's what makes our precious electronic music so great: the power of collaborating ideas for the greater good of musical exploration. Even though some of these seem completely far fetched, I believe the right motivating parties would raise eyebrows for the artists. As long as respect and appreciation is in place, anything is possible in the world of electronic music. The connection between fans and artists surpasses any other musical demographic in the world.

What do you guys think? Did I miss any essentials you would like to see happen? What would your ideal collaborations include? Or more so....have any of these already happened that I don't know about? Thoughts please! Let me know what you think! Post a comment in the comments section and let me know if you liked this read or if I have gone completely crazy. As always, one love to the electronic music community!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ASOT: Highlights of Episode 484

What's happening everyone? I'm sure most have had a chance to hear Armin's latest offering of ASOT: episode 484. I was a little lagging with catching up with it but had an opportunity to listen to the episode in its entirety. Here are some of the key tracks that definitely had my head bobbing from the new episode. Not only that, he hinted that Gareth Emery's "Sanctuary" will most likely win the tune of the year at the end of this year's episode. Predictable? Kinda. Not really how I would have voted but the song blew my mind nonetheless. Want to see how I voted? Click here. Till next time, here's the songs of episode 484 that I was digging most:

Episode Favorite
Shato & Paul Rockseek – Crypoint (Stoneface & Terminal remix) [Tool Trance]

BT feat. Jes – The Light In Things (tyDi remix) [Nettwerk]

Signum – Centurion [from the album "For You"] [Armada]

Pulser – In My World [Garuda]


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#NowPlaying: Deadmau5 "Sofi Needs a Ladder"

so in the last post I talked about Deadmau5's new upcoming album 4x4=12 and how I wasn't too impressed with the lead single off of the album...however, a new single has resurfaced and once again, I'm filled with excitement about the new offering from the mau5. Once again, it's nothing too incredibly impressive from the Canadian dynamo (nothing in the league of "strobe"), however, this is vintage Deadmau5 coming straight forward and back to his roots of how he got started. Nothing too ambiguous or experimental, just straight groove. This reminds me of some of the old stuff he's done with Melleefresh on the At Play vol. 1 album. I'm digging it for sure. Do you?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Now Playing: Deadmau5 "Right This Second" (New Track)

One of my favorite but highly regarded and slightly disliked producers, Deadmau5, is coming out with a new album called 4x4=12 and has released his debut single for it exclusively on iTunes. Here it is for your listening pleasure:

I'm not sure how I feel about this one. It seems kind of...bland? I don't know, I don't really feel a rising action out of it like most of Deadmau5's tracks that he releases as singles. This definitely doesn't seem like a crowd picker upper in anyone's sets. It's not bad by any means...but it doesn't really...excite? Yeah, that's the word. But in this day and age it seems like the mau5 man is doing his own thing and not really trying to please the crowd. Who knows though, maybe like all other Deadmau5 releases, it will grow on me the more I hear it in clubs and what not. If this is any indication of the forthcoming album, it might sound more like another At Play release than a full on compilation or artist album. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanks Markus ;)

Oh by the way...Markus Schulz has love for San Francisco. Awesome!

Tweet by @MarkusSchulz:

Congrats to all my peeps in San Francisco. Nice world series victory for the Giants. Party safe tonight!

7:32 PM Nov 1st via Echofon
Retweeted by 6 people

#NowPlaying: Klauss Goulart "Maximum"

For those that haven't had a chance to check out this gem of a track that you can find on Ferry Corsten's Once Upon A Night 2 compilation, check it out below. I really don't even know what there is to be said about this particular track. It brings you up while bringing you down at the same time. It sounds almost...evil? Makes you feel like something really big is about to happen. Like a big climactic kung fu battle or something. It's a really great dark track. Huge fan of Klauss Goulart now.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Vocals on Trance Tracks; Now Playing: 4 Strings "Safe From Harm"

Hey what's up everyone. Sorry for the delay in the blogging. There was this little thing that's been happening in San Francisco for the past 2 weeks. You miiiight have heard of it... a little thing called the WORLD SERIES! And guess what? THE GIANTS WON IT! Needless to say, my week has been completely encapsulated by the San Francisco Giants reigning supreme and me soaking in the festivities and madness that has been happening all around SF and the bay area. But now it has all settled in, the booze has been drank, and the streamers have let's get back down to business...

Vocals on trance tracks...this debate could go on FOREVER! Should we like them? Should we not like them? Do they enhance the song? The way I feel about it, is that vocals can enhance the song if the song calls for it. If the beat is simple enough and has a feeling of emotion to it that could be enhanced by a soothing vocal track, I'm all for it. Sometimes however, vocals can clutter the mixdown of a song and sound out of place. Aside from a studio aspect, while vocals can make a song sound more radio friendly, many times the beat could be intricate enough to where a vocal track is not needed and/or even entirely uncalled for. Paying attention to the lyrics of a song could make you miss entire parts of studio effort in creating the instrumental track...hence: making you miss all the real important stuff.

I decided this would be a great time to talk about this because the very talented 4 Strings has released a vocal version of their track titled "Safe From Harm", a re-work of their instrumental "Sundown". Do the vocals work? You be the judge:

Non-vocal mix: "Sundown"

Vocal mix: "Safe From Harm"

It is just me, or does that track have some definite Ashley Wallbridge-esque flavor to it? Might not be a coincidence that I discovered this track through his podcast eh? Anyway, my final verdict is that the vocals actually work for this particular track. While I was accustomed to this track originally as an instrumental, I don't necessarily think that the vocals drown any drastically important aspects. The breakdowns in the vocals happen with good enough time to supplement the important instrumental melodies. But honestly, it works both ways. What do you guys think? I think this debate first entered my head when I heard the vocal version of Deadmau5's "Ghosts N Stuff" and thinking that the non-vocal version worked way better. In this case, it works legit. Keep it up 4 Strings!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

San Francisco Giants 2010 Season in Music; Fan Videos

This baseball season has been awesome! In celebration of a great season of trials, tribulations, and triumph of the San Francisco Giants ultimately winning the world series, I found it very heartening that the entire Bay Area has been standing up big time for our favorite boys in orange and black in music. Below are some of more noteworthy selections of music to commemorate this great time in baseball and SF history. It goes to show how great this fanbase really is!

...what a great time to be living in the Bay Area!! Now if only there were some electro songs out there. If there is please post in the comments!


San Francisco Giants Win the World Series!!!

...words I didn't know that I would ever be able to say in my lifetime. This is a truly a blissful moment for Giants fans, the city of San Francisco, and the Bay Area as a whole. In my humble sports opinion, I don't think any team is deserving of the crown more than this 2010 Giants club. They worked hard, they made changes, they were determined, and they never took the doubters to heart. Every sports "expert" out there had the Giants losing every series they stepped up to. The NL West? They had Padres. The NLDS? They had the Braves winning in game 5. The NLCS? They had the Phillies winning in game 6 with one of the "best offenses in baseball" and the fearsome pitching of Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. The World Series? Predictions of the Texas Rangers' batting hammering on the Giants and Cliff Lee walking all over the offense. Not bad for a band of "characters", "misfits", and "cast-offs" eh? In the end...the final strike was thrown by Brian Wilson and the Giants won the first world series to ever be awarded to the Giants franchise since moving to San Francisco. The party hasn't stopped, nor will it, and all I can say is...well, nothing. I'm speechless. Civic Center was out of control with emotional Giants fans and all that can be said now is still what we've been saying all along... "GO GIANTS!"


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Congratulations Armin!!! Number 1 DJ for 4th Year In a Row!

A huge congratulations from the SF Tremor for the hardest working man in dance music winning the coveted #1 DJ crown AGAIN for the 4th year in a row: ARMIN VAN BUUREN!! I figured it would be a hard fought battle against David Guetta for the crown, but I'm very glad that Armin prevailed because he definitely deserves it. He had a monstrous year, especially with the release of Mirage. In his own words claiming his award in England at the ceremony: "I just wanna say....AHHHHHH!!!!!!!" Cheers, mate. Party hard tonight, you deserve it.



Markus Schulz likes to party!

These pictures tell more of a tale than my feeble words ever could...

Seems to me like he's quite the guy to party with. Let's share a toast in honor for trance's premiere party boy! Markus Schulz!

Where did this hilarity come from do you ask? Follow him on twitter: @MarkusSchulz. Pure comedy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ASOT: Top tracks of the year vote (My Top 5)

Oh amazing of a year was 2010 for Trance? So many amazing tracks and remixes were released in this year. In my humble opinion, I believe 2010 put 2009 to shame in terms of releases and it was great to see how many great DJ's and producers had come ups this year. I'm thoroughly excited to see what the top 100 DJ's poll from turns out like. But in the meantime, it's that time of year to vote for Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance top tracks of the year for his end of the year episode. For those unfamiliar with the ASOT final year episode (which I wouldn't imagine any of you would be), the ASOT listeners get to vote for their top 5 favorite tunes of the year here, which then get tallied and premiered in the end of the year ASOT episode to premiere the top 20 of the year as voted by the viewers. What are your top 5? I'm sure everyone has their favorites for any specific reason; whether it be for legitimate production appreciation, its your favorite producer, or you really just fell in love with the track hearing it at your favorite summer festival. Regardless, here are my top 5 picks:

1. Sied van Riel & Radion 6 - Radiator

Up until this year, Sied van Riel and Radion 6 were relatively unheard of to me. But oh goodness do I know them now. This was a great introduction to a great year for these two. Their styles meshed incredibly well for this tune to great a jam that was probably played by the vast majority of trance DJ's at all their sets this summer. The sound is unique, the progressions are unpredictable, the melody is uplifting with a dark edge to it, and it picks up crowds like no other. What really took me aback is the main melody synth and it's buzz-saw like feel to it. Absolutely stunning. Both went on to have great come ups this year.

2. Faithless - Not Going Home (Armin van Buuren Remix)

Anybody who doubt's Armin van Buuren's artistic prowess when it comes to producing need not look any further than this summertime jam off of his A State of Trance 2010 compilation. I first heard it when I listened to that album for the first time, but the power of it never really hit me until I heard it live during his set at Electric Daisy Carnival this past summer. Simply put, it's as catchy as a trance song could possibly get. Most Faithless remixes are good, but Armin's distinct recognizable flavor could be spotted a mile away. That synth bass carries this tune along perfectly.

3. Sander van Doorn - Daddyrock

Call the presses because Sander van Doorn did it again with "Daddyrock". An amazing track by the likes of a man who is hard to classify. Could this even be trance? It starts off trancey, but what is it really? It's just SvD style...that's what it is. His productions continue to leave me scratching my head with the "how did he do that?" afterthought in terms of how he goes about producing his tracks. That piano like synth putting it in gear for the breakdown...nothing short of amazing.

4. Stoneface & Terminal - Moment

I can't say enough about Stoneface & Terminal for this particular tune. It is trance teasing at its finest. The build up is long but justified. Everything is perfectly placed and as soon as you think the track has reached its peak of pick up, they throw a curve ball at you. Every single layer added on to the track adds an amazing new depth to it. Once the track finally does reach its peak, you realize how much this "trance" track actually could be played on any sort of dance floor. This is definitely should be a top candidate on anyone's top 5 jams.

5. Jochen Miller - Humanoid

Trance heads, if you aren't a sucker for killer melodies (like me), why are you even listening to trance in the first place? In terms of killer melodies, look no further than this banger. Along with this vote's #2 track, hearing it in a live setting really set it off to me how epic this track really was. From start to finish, it never disappoints. Like the #4 track, the build up is what really sets your euphoric points up until the main melody hits. The Ali Wilson remix is pretty good too. What can I say? We need more guys like Jochen Miller.

Now I know there were many other tracks that deserved to be on this particular vote. But sadly, Armin only let's us vote 5 of the tracks we love. Unfortunate no? Oh well...however, these are a list of mentions I feel were close contenders for my list as well. Oh my how great was 2010?

Honorable Mentions:

Gareth Emery - Sanctuary (Club Mix)***in retrospect I'm bummed I left this one off my top 5!!
Ashley Wallbridge - Smoke
Ashley Wallbridge - Walk On Water
Markus Schulz - Perception (from the album "Do You Dream?")
Markus Schulz - Lifted (from the album "Do You Dream?")
Markus Schulz - Rain (Phynn Remix)
Gareth Emery - Citadel (from the album "Northern Lights")
Gareth Emery w/ Jerome Isma-Ae - Stars (from the album "Northern Lights")
Armin van Buuren - Orbion (from the album "Mirage")
Armin van Buuren - Mirage (from the album "Mirage")
Armin van Buuren - Not Giving Up On Love (Dash Berlin 4AM Mix)
Above & Beyond w/ Kyau & Albert - Anphonic
Faithless - Feelin' Good (Ferry Corsten Mix)
4 Strings - Sundown
Ummet Ozcan - Arcadia (Original Mix)
Dustin Zahn - Stranger To Stability (Len Faki Podium Mix)
Faithless - Tweak Your Nipple (Tiesto Remix)
Mr. Pit - Sky Traffic
Michael Angelo & Solo - Alone (Ashley Wallbridge Remix)
Radion 6 - Lightning
Mat Zo - 24 Hours (Rank 1 Remix)
Super8 & Tab - Black Is The New Yellow
Kyau & Albert - Painkillers

...and probably many, many more I'm forgetting.

So what were your top 5? Any thoughts, comments, criticisms? Please leave your 2 cents in the comments section! I'd like to hear what every one else's favorite tunes were. Till next time!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Introducing..... THE SF TREMOR!!!

Hey everyone and welcome to the unofficial first entry to the brand new blog: The SF Tremor! But if this is the first entry and there several other entries listed prior to this is this the first one you might ask? Well good friend, the answer is that many of these entries were written on my other blog known as the Music Rehab Clinic. That site started as a general music blog, began seeing more postings in regards to electronic & dance music, and eventually took over to the point where the electronic section warranted its own sanctioned blog. So here it is! I will be posting regularly to this blog as I feel that my electronic postings have a home now and don't necessarily feel out of place amidst my other ramblings about all things rock, rap, and pop. So hope you enjoy! I'm very excited about this! Please feel free to leave all comments possible! Whether you dig what I had to say or not, this is an open invitation to speak your mind! After all...isn't the whole EDM community about sharing with each other??

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trance in 2010, where do we go from here?

Hey what's going on readers out there in music land. Hope you all have found some new tracks to have in rotation with your iTunes or CD players or whatever it is you use in this day and age (myself being an iTunes man). Wanted to touch on a topic that's been kinda blossoming in the back of my mind ever since I've been listening to more trance these days. When it comes to electronic music, trance has always been reigning king at #1 in my book, when progressive house at a very close #2, and electro house rounding it out at #3. Maybe techno would come in at #4? There are some techno tracks that stand out for me. While they aren't dance material, I can recognize the musical prowess and effort that goes behind a good techno track. However, these days I've noticed that the genre lines are without a doubt being blurred, spawning some very interesting and peculiar results with new tracks coming out this year. It has been hard to deduce sometimes specifically which genre or sub-genre to classify some tracks. That being said, trance DJ's are stepping into the house realm, house DJ's are speeding up their tracks a little bit and adding breakdowns, Dubstep DJ's are remixing and slowing down popular electro tracks, and so on and so forth.
Is this a good thing? I think absolutely. It shows appreciation from all fronts of the EDM world for good music. Simply because you make drum & bass music, doesn't mean you can't understand and love trance. In this day and age, it wouldn't surprise me that a drum & bass would even include a trance song he likes in his set, of course nicely sped up and remixed to his drum & bass set specifications.
Now this gets me to thinking, what does this mean for my #1 genre trance? Where is the future going to take our once genuinely distinct favorite form of edm? One thing is for sure, is that the BPM is going down to match somewhere along the lines of progressive house. When trance first started out, the BPM was very high. Usually within the 140 BPM to 150 BPM range. Take a listen to the very famous track "Flight 643" by Tiesto in 2001.

This fast paced, techno inspired, melodic, and up-lifting track is genuinely what trance is all about. Since the spawning of it (when it actually was classified under the name "trance" and not "techno"), and even up until the mid 2000's, this held true. Check out Sean Tyas' "Drop". If my memory serves me correctly, this track came out in 2006-2007:

All those years later after Tiesto's smash (one of the pioneers of trance music), the formula still holds true. However these days, many of the trance releases have been slowed down to mirror a formula that becomes very reminiscent of progressive house. I'm not saying this about all trance, just some trance; that some being a big portion of crossover for the trance community that is translating into success. One of the biggest acts in trance right now is Gareth Emery. This is a great example of trance that has slowed down and taken a turn for the more progressive house friendly crowd:

Without a shadow of a doubt an amazing track, but greatly different from the first two that I played before. Many more examples of this are relevant from our favorite trance artists. Along with some taking a turn for the more progressive, others are simply taking a turn for the more "pop" friendly. A song like Armin van Buuren's "Not Giving Up On Love" could easily be heard on the radio, even though it's from a trance artist. Especially considering how even hip hop and other pop acts have taken a liking for more electronic & dance productions.
The flip side of this, is house artists exploring the realm of trance with their breakdowns, uplifting melodies, and overall euphoric nature. EDX, Deadmau5, Kaskade, and Swedish House Mafias are perfect examples of this. Some of examples of this:

Amazing, amazing tracks all around. You could hear any of these spun by your favorite trance DJ's these days, despite technically not being classified as "trance".

Whats the point??

Let me round this all off by repeating that not every trance artist is doing this! and not all trance is turning into this! The bulk majority of trance we still hear on radio shows like Trance Around The World, A State of Trance, and Global DJ Broadcast is still reminiscent of the classic sound we all know and love and were brought up with. However, we cannot deny that the trend is taking off and we are starting to see more and more of it. Listen to an episode of ASOT from 2005 and then listen to an episode from 2010. See the difference? I am willing to predict in the coming decade that we will start to see more and more of this. Not to mention that the many hip-hop and pop acts that are starting to dive more and more into dance music will without a doubt affect the EDM scene; for better or worse. Overall, I think it will generate more possibilities for all of our fine producers around the world. Despite if we think it could affect things adversely, I don't think there's anything wrong with universal exposure, appreciation, and mutual respect. Viva Trance! No matter what state it is in.

~Marky Mark

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deadmau5; MTV VMA House Artist; Who for next year?

Hey what's going on everyone? Sure has been a while since my last post. Either way, I'm back and will try and post more often. There's been a lot of events I've been to lately and haven't really had a chance to catch up on all of the amazing energy that's been happening around the bay area and San Francisco. But let's get down to the gritty...
Now I know I'm REALLY late on this one...but the VMA's...oh what to say about the VMA's. Really there isn't a whole lot to say about them except they were boring, superficial, and slightly awkward as usual. No surprise in the random pairing of award presenters, underwhelming pop acts performing songs we've had millions of times on the radio, and of course Lady Gaga trying to out-do herself in the "I dress worse than anyone else but I'm a visionary for it" department. And Jesus, how awfully boring was Chelsea Handler? I swear, the VMA's did better the year that they actually had no host. To me, Chris Rock in 1999 and Russel Brand the previous years were teh ones that stood ut. HOWEVER...there was one big element that changed in this particular year. That big element was the house DJ actually being an electro house artist: DEADMAU5!

Now before I continue, it should be known that I have mixed feelings about Deadmau5, as I'm sure many in the EDM community do as well. He's arrogant, considers himself above his class, rude to fans (in some occasions), rude to interviewers, and overall doesn't seem like a nice guy sometimes. Despite all this, the fact remains that the man is a visionary and his talent for music and stage production cannot be denied. He has created a sound, an image, and a brand that has blossomed out of the dance music scene and into the mainstream. While he has garnered a few haters, his fanbase is nothing less than overwhelming. Good for him. Overall I think he is a positive thing for electronic music because of what he represents: not going with the flow. He hasn't really "sold out" in terms of making radio friendly songs or collaborating with big pop acts like David Guetta has. He's a computer nerd who doesn't really like fame or traveling, and just happen to get famous making the music he believed in. This interview might shed some light into the type of person that he is. Keep in mind its part 1 of 2:

So now I get to thinking why did MTV choose him as the house artist for the VMA awards show? I think it's pretty simple:
1) His popularity is blossoming at a huge rate. Since he's started he reached the upper echelons of the EDM scene within the matter of a couple years. To the point where his popular tracks can actually be heard on the radio!
2) The popularity of dance music as a whole is blossoming; especially house & electro house. Listen to the radio. It's EVERYWHERE! Even Usher using electro pop beats? you kidding me?
3) "Ghosts N Stuff" was a huge hit. It's been played on MTV before.
4) His stage act is reminiscent of Daft Punk-esque visual stimulation. Probably enjoyable for all in attendance and those watching at home. Actually looked really cool in HD.
4) He's cheap. While he is in the big leagues of electronic music, he is still a small fish in the bigger pond that is the global pop music world. At this point, he isn't in the position to demand a lot of money for this opportunity. I'm willing to bet MTV didn't shell out too much for his fees.

Check out his performance:

How well do you think he did? In my opinion, I think he did rather well. Many criticized him for not really doing much at all...which is exactly what he was supposed to do. The house artist has always been meant to provide as background noise. The few couple of times he got to shine, he kept it lowkey to his hits. Why play anything else? I'm sure all the famous people in the audience don't care about his newest track or what direction he's going in musically. They want to hear fun and upbeat popular tracks. He didn't over do it, and that was a BIG key to have the famous audience grooving along to his jams without really feeling like "what is this techno music crap"? I also think the work he had to do was underrated. For the show he had to create a whole slew of remixes and put together the performances that he got with some guest spots. I think it was horrible who he was paired up with to be honest. Travie McCoy? Jason DeRulo? Robyn?? Wow...what a melting pot of pure fail, musically. None of those artists, except for Robyn, had any chemistry with Deadmau5. Just didn't seem to work well at all. He did what he could though, and managed to walk away with himself intact. MTV should have known better. Overall, I give his performance a 4 out of 5 stars. Nothing extravagant, which is what was necessary, while at the same time not failing completely at being molded by MTV. He showed what he was about. Kudos.


Now all this begs the question as to who should be the house artist next year? Should MTV continue in an electronic music direction? Will electronic music still be as relevant in the pop world at this time next year? Or will music be in a completely different direction? For all intents and purposes, let's assume that electronic and dance music continues in its sky-rocketing boom. Who do YOU think that opportunity/burden should fall upon? Who would be well suited to take on the pop masses? I happen to have a suggestion...

I think the house artist for next year's MTV VMA, assuming music will continue its trend, should be none other than the dance music legend: TIESTO. Now I may have my personal bias in this as I am a very big Tiesto fan, but consider the facts:
1) Tiesto is already in the ears of the pop masses, whether they knew it or not.
2) He already has established working relationships with many popular artists including Tegan & Sara, Nelly Furtado, Three 6 Mafia, Bloc Party, and others with collaborations.
3) His musical direction as of late has taken a drastic shift from full blown trance to a more "radio friendly" sound that incorporates progressive house, electro house, and electro pop. He has become a jack of all trades; able to please whatever crowd he steps in front of.
4) He understands and loves all forms of music, not just the trance heavy sound he creates. He could spin anything at the award show and make it blend perfect.
5) He understands the US crowd and knows not to overdo it.
6) He is already a household name to much of the rest of the world outside of the US.
7) My own personal bias again, but Tiesto has earned his legend status through his years of endless hard work. He deserves it.

So there you have wrap up on a lot of opinion on MTV, the Video Music Awards, and just the nature of EDM in the popular music scene. I'm sure the same case I made for Tiesto could be made for David Guetta...but let's be honest, David Guetta just recently boomed. I'm still yet to be convinced he's the real deal. He isn't as prolific of a producer as Tiesto and his popularity push came at expense of his house roots. What do you think? Any opinions?? Who do you think should be the one to spin at the next MTV VMA's?? Leave a comment!!