Electronic Dance Music popularly known by the initialism “EDM,” has steadily captured the interest of millions in our country for nearly 2 decades! What started way back in the 80’s and 90’s, as an underground anthem for the progressive music scene in similarly progressive communities from Europe and America, has made its way to India. It has even managed to sneak its way into Indian Cinema in the form of Bollywood Beats. However, not many know precisely what defines Electronic Dance Music (EDM). In layman’s terms, Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is an umbrella term for a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves, and music festivals. It is generally produced for playback by DJs who put together a seamless selection of tracks, referred to as a “DJ mix,” by transitioning from one recording to another. Genres such as House Music, Electro, Techno, Dubstep, Trance, and their respective subgenres all fall under Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
Electronic Dance Music has an expansive, special, and truly inspiring history, but it’s the present of EDM and more specifically the subgenre “Techno,” that gets the motors of millions of young Indians revving, or should we say “Raving?” The enormous crowd and adulation for Techno and its subgenres Minimal Techno, Peak + Driving Techno, and Raw + Hypnotic Techno, are reshaping the way the youth immerse themselves in music! In my 23 years of experience as a DJ, Sound Designer, and Music Producer, I have never witnessed such a devout collection of individuals, who find their way week-after-week, to the music that calls out to their hearts. Electronic Dance Music began as a movement calling for inclusivity, collaboration, and progression of thought in the 80’s, and it would seem as though another one has begun, riding on the back of Techno. However, this time it stands for something else; it stands not for reminiscing about the past, nor anticipating the future, but merely being in the present, something that could be called “NOW!ism.” Techno Music is beloved for the sense of liberation it induces, that comes from letting go of the reins and truly enjoying the present. This is extremely challenging to do in our world of perpetual mental stimulation and skyrocketing depression rates. Perhaps active participation in music events, parties, and festivals is what preserves the sanity, productivity, and humanity of young individuals.
An interesting occurrence observed by many Labels, Festival Promotors, Event Organisers, and Club Owners is the boom in demand for Techno, during and post COVID-19. The reasons contributing to this upsurge in demand are many. However, a few self-evident ones include: 1) The increase in time spent online on music apps such as YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Music etc. – here, people are bound to come across mixes from various DJs, and profiles such as “Cercle,” where they will find themselves completely immersed in the musical experience crafted in wonderful destinations. Spotify even observed a 27% jump in subscribers to 138 million during the first 12 months of COVID. 2) House Parties – the closure of public clubs, suspension of music festivals, and a ban on large gatherings during COVID, did not succeed in stopping the youth from organising electrifying house parties and innovative musical experiences at home. 3) Picking up a new hobby – During COVID many found themselves with an abundance of free time on their hands, this naturally led to exploring new hobbies and skills; hence, COVID gave birth to hundreds if not thousands of new DJs and aspiring musicians.
Techno Music has garnered a large audience overtime. Its versatility and accessibility have undoubtedly contributed to its success among the young and old. It still has a long way to go, and is continually evolving, changing, and adapting to the need of the hour. That is precisely what makes it special; its malleable nature, its ability to be what you need it to be. I can safely say Techno and the culture it shapes are here to stay, and we’re better for it!