5 Moments EDM Entered the Pop Mainstream
We follow EDM's emergence into mainstream culture.
Next week is the release of the film, We Are Your Friends, which looks to follow the California dreams of a group of aspiring EDM DJs and promoters. That it took until 2015 for Hollywood to put out an EDM movie even by their “a least year behind everything” timing, feels a bit late. Once codified as EDM, the musical “style” was pretty solidly in the mainstream. But the release of We Are Your Friends feels like one of the final frontiers across the pop cultural plane, so here are few other moments of when EDM made the journey into American waters.
1. February 10, 2008 - Daft Punk’s 2008 Grammy Performance
For the last couple of decades, Daft Punk have sat oddly in the center of America’s interest in electronic music. The French house duo came to prominence when the word “electronica” was thrown around years ago, but also outlasted plenty of other poor genre names to grab a Grammy for Album of the Year for Random Access Memories in 2014. But in 2008, their Grammy performance showed a glimpse into the tour that showed the type of scale an EDM concert could showcase.
2. July 24, 2009 - The release of the single “Sexy Bitch”
David Guetta, another Frenchman, was one of the big reasons that EDM found a home on American Top 40 radio. In the last seven years he’s scored hits with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Ne-Yo, and Sia, but it was his hit with Akon that started it all. “Sexy Bitch”, the late-summer-into-fall hit, signaled a clear shift in the Top 40 that was already dabbling in more electronic styles with Flo Rida and Lady Gaga. Guetta was the first major DJ remake himself into a Top 40 hitmaker, which we have to thank for the Calvin Harrises, Aviciis, and Diplos of the world.
3. July 2011 - The release of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”
In 2011, Skrillex pulled of an incredible feat. He made for a memorable music magazine cover — less so for what he was doing on the cover, just Skrillexing, but more what he represented. He was at this point already one of the biggest artists in the United States, but he did not have the same level of mainstream attention he commands now. But this cover was the single not only of his rise from a screamo singer to a EDM star, but was the coming out party for an entire genre that is often, and still is, overlooked by the music press.
4. October 8, 2012 - The original single release of “Latch”
A few years ago, Disclosure were a couple of British teens making nice, if not unremarkable house music. Then they started getting some attention for their remixes and put out their debut album Settle to much acclaim. Then something strange happened. Sam Smith started getting big in America, but his album wasn’t out. But what was out was “Latch,” which prominently featured Smith as the vocalist. The song shot up the charts, found a home on rap radio, and all of a sudden the duo was one of the biggest electronic acts in the world. Many songs from electronic producers have crossed-over this last decade, but “Latch” remains one of the most intriguing.
5. August 28, 2015 - ‘We Are Your Friends’ Release Date
Based on the name of a song by the french duo Justice, We Are Your Friends appears to be the final stop aboard the EDM train across America. Directed by Max of Catfish fame and starring Zac Efron of Zac Efron fame, it looks to follow a set of aspiring DJs and producers, because aren’t we all a Deadmau5 in the making? The movie isn’t out yet, but based on the trailer it must be worth all the molly could grab. All of the molly.