Simian Mobile Disco blast Aoki and co: “It’s lowest common denominator stuff”
It’s no secret that America’s “EDM” boom has been one big talking point lately. Between Deadmau5’s ongoing rants, uproar over respected names being booted off the decks in Vegas and our own recent in-depth look at whether America is killing dance music, there’s been no shortage of opinions on just what the USA’s embrace of all things electronic means for the scene at large. But just when you might be getting sick of the whole debate, another big dance name chips in their own $0.02 and gets us thinking again: this time, it’s the respected likes of Simian Mobile Disco.
In an interview with DIY at Barcelona’s Sonar Festival, the English duo expressed their own concerns over David Guetta and Skrillex’s position on the mainstage. “There’s a lot of talk about EDM and dance music going mainstream,” Jas Shaw’s measured assessment begins. “I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing for festivals, but I feel like it’s not that much of a new thing; you had the whole superstar DJ thing that came and went before.”
“My main issue with it is, I’ve heard people claim it’s a positive thing because there’s more people focused on electronic music, so for everyone else operating in that genre, those kids will get into more underground stuff and it’ll be a bigger pie for everyone,” James Ford chimes in. “That’s a nice positive way of spinning it. But the negative thing, especially in America where it’s more obvious than anywhere else, is that it pushes a different kind of dance music, and a different way of appreciating it. It’s more about a DJ on the stage, fist pumping, crowd surfing, throwing cakes in people’s faces”
Yep, that’s a dig at one Steve Aoki. “And it’s just, literally, lowest common denominator stuff,” Ford continues. “The thing that scares me is that it pushes just one way of appreciating dance music, and that’s as you would a rock concert, but for me that’s missing a lot of the point. The way a lot of European clubs and festivals operate, where the DJ isn’t necessarily the focus – he could be off in the corner somewhere – it’s more about the music and the communal experience, usually over a longer period of time as well. That’s a very different way of approaching it, and that’s my concern: that people will think [the US version] is what dance music is, and the norm of how it should be appreciated.” Sure, Simian Mobile Disco aren’t the first to express this concern – but nonetheless, it’s food for thought.