Musical countercultures have always had a history of political sentiment, or at least a stance on the world around them. The punk rock scene was rooted in the working class rising up against the government; the folk music movement was aligned with civil rights and anti-war, and the beats/jazz culture of the 50s was about pushing forward social boundaries and artistic freedom. Even grunge had an anti-establishment voice and angst that muttered and sputtered against the Bush administration of the early '90s.
As reality TV and social media have entered the cultural landscape in a more significant way our cultural zeitgeist has moved closer to the future Mike Judge portrayed in his 2005 comedy Idiocracy.
We now worship Kanye West and the Kardashians; a buffoon has won the GOP nomination, and our lives are jammed full of hollow, soulless hype, crafted celebrity, and intentional diversions.
Even the electronic music scene, a once sacred and self-contained space, has become plagued with carpet baggers that are looking to fleece it. Do you think Robert F.X. Sillerman had the cultural integrity of the scene on his mind when he went on his buying spree?
The rave scene in its early days was about creating a place that was safe for people of all types to gather and celebrate life. It was about acceptance and defiance of social stereotypes, but those values slowly got ripped away and died off once the rave scene was crippled in 2003 by The Rave Act.
The police and local government got sick of the raves, so they leveraged a crack house law to prosecute event promoters as drug dealers should any contraband be found on the premises. So that was it, no promoter was going to risk a felony or incarceration for a party. Imagine if they used that same mentality on mainstream concerts? It would be curtains for the entire concert industry.
You can certainly argue that those values live on in pockets of underground culture across the US, but they are small and quiet pockets.
As "EDM" culture roared into the mainstream in 2010, or at least towards it, the PLUR element was left far behind for the most part.
Similar elements of the original culture survived; one cannot argue that point, but the guts had been stripped out of the culture for the most part.
Which brings me to my main question: Why has a musical scene like EDM with so much inspiration and influence completely gone politically flaccid? Surely there must be something left of the original blueprint to register on the heat map.
We are on the eve of one of the most ludicrous presidential races in our country's history, and mum seems to be the word. DJs won't take a stance on anything with most arguing that politics and music have no business being mixed? Promoters aren't taking sides and most importantly the community doesn't seem to care. Many are opting not to vote at all or justifying throwing their vote to a hopeless third party candidate.
The artistic community is vital in times of political strife, but this time around we need them more than ever because we really don't have a much of a choice here.
A vote for Clinton might not be your first choice, but when we are left with Trump as our alternative, there isn't much of an option. It's like choosing a lobotomy over the flu.
In-Q says it quite eloquently in his verse below.
If any culture needs to stand up and rally it's that of electronic dance music; the community is young and vibrant with the power to reach millions, and no one is taking a stand on anything. EDM is more or less a silent majority watching this tsunami slowly rolling toward the shore.
I think, or at least I hope, that Trump will slowly cook his goose over the next couple of weeks, but it would sure be nice to see some DJs' boots kicking his ass on the campaign trail and calling him out on his BS.
Trump is still very close to the presidency, dangerously close. We all laughed ten months ago but now this shit is getting real - an anxiety-inducing kind of real.
What will a Trump presidency mean for our culture and the US at large? I shudder to think.
I would think that despite your take on music and politics, this time around there might be cause for a special clause in that policy.
I'm sure it's a pipe dream, but wouldn't it be nice to see the EDM community stand up against this candidate that clearly stands for everything that is wrong in the world.
If you are a DJ, promoter, fan or anyone that is passionate about electronic music and the future of our country, email us a quote, and we will put them all together in an article.
Info@magneticmag.com - subject FTrump
"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything." - Irene Dunne