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!!