Dance music went to war with itself yesterday after seeing the theatrics of Salvatore Ganacci at Tomorrowland in a cleverly cut up video that only showed him dancing like a fool on stage. This brought out the old heads, DJing purists and many others on their side who thought this was a disgrace to the art, the culture and an insult to the fans. Others felt like it was all in good fun, unique and making light of those who exact individuals who are mad at him. It is a debate of old and young, new versus veteran. It isn’t exclusive to dance music, but it rages all the time as we try and adapt to the future and hold on to what makes the craft of DJing so great.
So where exactly does this fall? Well he does look like a clown, but it is good to have fun and dance in dance music. The backlash has been swift and fierce, but was prepared for this, as his intro would suggest.
“I think he is a clown and embarrassing himself and the DJ, EDM culture. If he was a real DJ, he wouldn’t be moving at all -- just raise one finger and play deep house and progressive,” a British voice complains. “Why is he fucking dancing on stage? He is a DJ; he shouldn’t be fucking dancing on stage. Who the fuck dances to music anyway?” asks the voice as Ganacci jumps up on the decks and stares down the crowd.
This has been part of his performance and shtick for a long time. If you follow him on social media, he likes to post short videos of him doing these various dances.
Is this the end of DJ culture? Well for what old heads considered DJ culture, that ship has probably sailed long ago with the theatrics of stadium sized events and these massive festivals where the focus isn’t on the art, but the production and performance. When looking at the mainstage, how many of the acts on there are playing pre-recorded sets? How many are playing sets so pre-planned that with an hour of training, any one with a decent sense of rhythm could execute it?
Where do you draw the line? Is it at making out with the speakers like someone three pills deep? Is it taking a short nap on the DJ booth? Or is the Zumba routine he is trying out the crowd? He isn’t alone with these types of theatrics. Diplo jumps up and down on the decks all of the time, but Ganacci has taken it to another level.
Why stop here? Why not go and catapult yourself into the crowd and let the songs play for 20 minutes uninterrupted as you start a dance battle in the front section? Why not go to the top of the stage set up and dance from there?
It is good to see a DJ having fun and doing their best to get the crowd involved in the early afternoon of a 12-hour festival day. There are only so many slots at these festivals with talented artists left aside in favor of Mr. fitness instructor. Could there be more women, POC or other minority groups that EDM festivals always under represent instead?
He is making somewhat of a decent point in a very roundabout way. Unless you are in a dark room with the DJ nearly invisible to the crowd, seeing the DJ stand unmoving, stoic can be a little depressing. Maybe they are going through some tough times of their own, but this should be fun.
He knew this would happen as we heard in the intro. This backlash was expected. Maybe not the level we have seen, but he expected some of it. His set didn’t crack the top 25 on 1001 Tracklists on Monday, but by today it made its way into the top 10. Now he can release a new song or announce a tour and you bet the eyeballs will be on whatever he does with his quick moment of fame. The troll won the day against dance music, ignited the debate again of what is DJing and found himself in the spotlight, but will it be more than just a flash in the pan as the new cycle ping-pongs between one crisis and another?