For all the hoopla around dance music’s second mainstream ascent in the U.S., there’s one aspect that hasn’t returned: the clubbing movie. Sure, filmgoers have sat through painful efforts like those Step Up movies, but the confluence of culture and sounds of late ‘90s/early ‘00s efforts Human Traffic, Party Monster, and Groove are nowhere to be found – not even within the independent circuit.
Resurrecting this trend is Diplo, who, while he just put out a second Major Lazer album, has been promoting another project: an EDM movie described as 8 Mile meets Project X.
On April 11, The Hollywood Reporter revealed the producer and business partner Kevin Kusatsu are putting together a plan for 20th Century Fox. While production has yet to start, the premise, according to the DJ’s reports, is this: three teenagers attempt to get into one of his concerts. Adam Weinstock and Andy Jones are writing and Trevor Engelson producing.
This still-untitled project, however, isn’t Diplo’s first foray into film. He studied film at Temple University and more recently did Favela on Blast, a documentary about Rio’s carioca scene.
Since the news broke, Diplo went on radio show Kevin & Bean to discuss the project. “Dance music and the culture of going to a festival and shows is part of every young kid’s life, but it’s not really been represented on anything,” Diplo explained. “People are still doing the same movie ideas about high school problems and this and that, but kids they love to go to these festivals and dance and have a party, so we kind of came up with an idea of something to do where it takes place at a festival.”
He continued, saying, “It’s got to do with me because I’m one of the main DJs who are there at the festival, and these kids are trying to meet me and give me one of their demos. It’s just going to be a funny story, you know? We’re still working on the script, but the storyboard is amazing.”
While playing himself in the film, Diplo seems to be putting the soundtrack together at the same time. Reports have him in talks with Ellie Goulding and Cat Power.
Diplo’s idea might be original – or it may be ridden with clichés. At least based on the news so far, the premise appears awfully like Depeche Mode’s 101 meets any Ultra Music Festival documentary, only with a script and actors.
Regardless of how the final product turns out, the dance music movie cannon isn’t that small. While fare veers more in an independent direction, documentaries and films focusing on the music, production, and the culture have seen the light of day over the past 15 years.
A 2004 documentary by Hans Fjellestad, Moog is essential for the gear heads out there. With a side of electronic music rarely captured on film, the narration-free footage focuses on Dr. Robert Moog’s conversations with other artists (the most notable being Stereolab and DJ Spooky) and interviews.
Even though Moog’s a documentary, its soundtrack pushes the envelope. 17 tracks, all produced on Moog instruments, replace the typical club tunes offering.