4 ARTISTS FROM PARIS THAT HAVE CHANGED DANCE MUSIC
The world was rocked this past Friday when a series of terrorist attacks struck Paris, claiming the lives of over 120 innocent civilians. Since then, the entire world has rallied in support of the City Of Lights. Whether it’s a simple gesture such as changing your Facebook profile picture to include a French flag, or a large one such as attending a candlelit vigil for someone you’ve never known, this tragedy has affected everyone on Earth, and that’s because Paris is a city that has helped to shape our planet into what it is today.
Other than Paris’ defining roll in historical change across a history of hundreds of years, there is not a single cultural discipline of which Paris hasn’t aided the advancement. Paris is widely renowned as the most important city on Earth for fashion. The culinary experience in Paris is one of the most sought after by patrons, chefs, and restauranteurs, and while they may not have been native Parisians, many of the greatest writers to ever exist (Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein to name a few) flocked to Paris in the 1920’s where they produced some of their best work.
One of the lesser known cultural contributions of Paris is that of music. Once the orchestra began to phase out of the mainstream, the U.S. and the U.K. dominated the worldwide music scene with jazz, rock n’ roll, disco, rap etc., but that didn’t mean the rest of Europe wasn’t doing its own musical exploration. It may have taken a little longer to come to fruition, but soon enough, Paris’ tradition of cultural expansion extended to the world of music with a little genre known as “electronic” music.
Now, in 2015, electronic music is the biggest genre in the world and has sparked a culture that has swept up the youth in a manner that hasn’t been seen since the Beatles played Ed Sullivan.
Unfortunately this weeks tragedies will be included in the history of Paris right along side its endless contributions to the culture of our world, but this also represents an opportunity for the electronic music community to unite. However, instead of uniting through grief, let us unite through joy and remember how Paris has vicariously provided us with smiles, laughs, and dance moves through these artists and so many more who have called that city home.
By the time you had heard the name of this Parisian DJ and producer, he had already made a name for himself in the Paris hip hop scene ten years prior. It was just a couple years ago when Shiba decided to take his raw skill behind the decks to the likes of house music. It was also around this time that the trend in dance music began shifting away from being as loud as possible. Artists like Disclosure began to define a more mature style of EDM, but the bulk of the festival crowd was still there to hear Calvin Harris’s radio hits or the cookie-cutter trap of Flosstradamus. It wasn’t until Shiba San released “Okay” that the sounds of tech house and techno had a place at main stage. With appreciation for genres such as these on the rise, a whole new wave of producers have entered the EDM scene, and all it took was a little Parisian flavor.
When one thinks of DJ, the thought that usually comes to mind is the raucous voice of Lil’ Jon and their multi-platinum single, “Turn Down For What?” While the people who consider themselves aficionados of EDM have made up their minds as far as DJ Snake is concerned, his ability to continuously produce next-level hits can’t be denied. Plus, all of these hits fall under different genre categories. First, DJ Snake was a trap DJ because of his expertly sampled bass track, “Bird Machine”. Then he teamed up with Dillon Francis for the moombahton hit, “Get Low”, which includes a signature Dillon beat with Snake’s flare for sultry melody. “Lean On”, his groovy collaboration with Major Lazer and MØ, just became the most streamed song ever on Spotify in addition to being first ever independent release to reach number one on pop radio. On his most recent track, “The Middle”, Snake brings his production skill to chilled out soulful house. Say what you want about DJ Snake, this Parisian knows how get the crowd moving, and he knows what the people want.
This Parisian is another DJ whose name seems to be more often mentioned negatively in the EDM community for some reason. What those naysayers don’t get is that’s the reason they’re at EDC Vegas watching whatever artist they think makes them too cool to give Guetta the respect he deserves. Something that evades most people about music, is that the almost all of the sounds they love to hear so much have existed long before they may have heard them. The way genres evolve and become differentiated from one another mostly pertains to how those sounds are arranged. This means that someone had to come up with the way to popularize the house beat, and that person was David Guetta. Listen back to his first album Just A Little More Love and it’ll be clear that was making all kinds of EDM before EDM was even a thing. There are elements of deep house, electro house, big room house, tech house, and more all on a record that came out over a decade ago. It was his effortless integration of the house beat into pop music that was the launching point for EDM, and without him, EDM would still be confined to clubs, with DJs shrouded behind a thick cloud of smoke.
What really needs to be said about this pair of Parisian robots? They are electronic music. They proved their superiority in techno and house in 1997 with their eponymous debut Homework and since then they have pushed every boundary, jumped every hurdle, and blurred every line as to what electronic music can be. Their musical ability goes so much further than these in-the-box producers who spend hours in front of their laptops, which is demonstrated by the gripping original score they wrote for Tron and their latest grammy-winning album Random Access Memories. Yet despite their level of reverence throughout the electronic music community, they continue to embody the heart and soul of dance music: enjoying it together without regards to who’s playing it. Obviously their LED laden robot helmets are quite the spectacle when placed in front of you, but those suits have allowed them to succeed in their goal of completely separating their personal image from their music. That’s why they’ve only toured twice in a career of 20 years. Thats why their last two projects had almost nothing to do with house music. That’s why they wouldn’t even accept their grammies out of costume, and yet millions of fans worldwide are forever waiting on the edges of their seats for even slightest hint at new music, Because Daft Punk isn’t something to be seen. It’s something to be heard.
It is important to look at all situations in life the most positive way possible. So when you think of the tragedies of the last few days, know that the city of Paris, and its millions of citizens need all the support they can get at the moment. But instead of encumbering them with your grief, demonstrate just how much joy the city has provided by dancing extra hard to the music of your favorite french artists.