Another day, another Deadmau5 rant. At times, from the pictures of his cat to random digs at Avicii, Deadmau5’s complaints morph into whining, but at others, he makes a decent argument. The latest is his beef with Afrojack, which culminated in toss-off track “Drop Da Bomb.”
After telling the Dutch DJ, “100% of people, expect to hear new things, ever evolving sounds and compositions, new genres, originality. F*ck your Mcdonalds,” Zimmerman posted a 46-second track that intentionally pulls out EDM’s most cliché elements, from the buildup to the drop to “drop the bass” leading into a complete change in melody.
While many might just dismiss Deadmau5 as having another hissy fit on the internet, a CP24 interview in preparation for the Veld Festival paints him as more articulate. “I don’t think enough EDM artists are taking risks right now and that’s the big problem,” he explained. “Everyone wants to be safe, and do that thing you know is going to work.
“Someone, please take the wheel and turn it. Not to say I’m going to be that guy and I’m going to crusade on that journey of making turbo dub neo pro step but I would just like to encourage a bit of diversity and the way that I do that is the only way I know how, which is to make some downtempo thing … and just like flex engineering muscle on a piece or two.”
Zimmerman’s not alone with this sentiment. At the same time he mocked Afrojack with “Drop da Bomb,” Swedish producer duo Daleri put out “Epic Mashleg”, a short mashup that, rather than steal from EDM’s most generic and overused moments, just borrows from the Beatport Top 10 – and shows just how often so many mainstream EDM artists, even established ones like Fedde Le Grand and Chuckie, reuse the same rhythmic and melodic bits over and over.
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The argument Zimmerman and Daleri both make doesn’t pertain to all of electronic dance music. After all, considering their modern-day prominence, trap and dubstep didn’t make the cut. But, unlike what Zimmerman verbalized and Daleri sonically implies, all tracks are what passes as mainstream EDM these days.
So, in that case, do they have a point other than “All mainstream music sounds the same”? Bassnectar, in an interview in November 2012, expressed that this occurrence is inevitable – the narrow path of acceptable sounds, all of which blend together into radio-friendly, palatable hits, is just what happens when a genre finally finds mainstream acceptance. “