Seth Troxler’s quest to keep the fun in dance music: “Why is it so uptight?”
“Everyone is so fucking serious in dance music,” Visionquest ringleader Seth Troxler laughed to inthemix after sitting on what was possibly the least serious industry panel at Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) earlier this month, The World According to… Tiga. Moderated by Tiga himself, who’s had a big summer hit alongside Audion with Let’s Go Dancing, it was also one of the most revealing conversations at ADE.
The broader topic of discussion was the increasing commercialisation of dance music, and what was highlighted as the inbuilt obsession within DJ culture over “the numbers” – from booking fees and air miles, to DJ rankings and Facebook followers.
“When numbers come up, I tend to space out a little bit,” Troxler said. “Up until some point I did care about charts and rankings… Now I look at Facebook and I can’t really care anymore about the stupid shit they’ve got going on. But my management still checks it, probably.”
The discussion pointed to the inherent irony of a culture built on principles of hedonism, inclusion and fun, being gradually transformed into a number-crunching business machine.
“Why is it so uptight? It’s ‘biz-world’,” Troxler said. “From the stage it’s all hedonism and everyone having a good time. Behind the scenes though, it’s a bunch of old CEOs playing records.”
After the panel, inthemix sat down with Troxler to hear how he defuses the seriousness; whether it’s in the notorious video he recorded for the Eastern Electrics festival earlier this year, or the general ‘party hard and have fun’ persona he discussed at his Red Bull Academy lecture in NYC.
“It’s not something self-conscious that I’m trying to do all the time. You know, how can I be more random? It’s just kind of me. But people do take things too seriously. I mean, I take music insanely seriously, when it comes to buying records and performing. But everything else…
“Some people behave like they’ve been gifted with something. Entitlement is something that is really bothersome to me. I mean come on, get off your high horse. And it’s often working within a group of so-called friends. So we’re friends and we’re working together, why all of a sudden have things become so serious and you’re trying to fuck me?”
Troxler also revealed he’ll be stepping back from Visionquest label duties shortly. “Right now there’s some changes coming up,” he revealed. “Ryan [Crosson] is going to be taking over as the head honcho. That will give me time to focus on making music, and I’ll be starting two other labels. It also gives them [Troxler’s Visionquest labelmates] a chance to step out of the shadows and be known for their own successes, rather than people always bringing me into the picture. They’re really talented, amazing artists, but at times I just get credited for everything, and it’s not really fair for anyone.”
Troxler also pointed to the kind of parties they’ve toured this year under the ‘Visionquest 13’ banner as the natural home for the brand, as opposed to manning their own festival arenas.
“The whole thing about the Visionquest experience is that it should be a long musical journey. Performing for three hours doesn’t let you achieve a lot musically. Playing your own parties though, that’s where it’s at. We play all night, we control everything, you’re here, you’re part of our controlled environment.” Watch below for a recent sample of a seven-hour Visionquest set to get lost in.