When most people think of the genre that is EDM (electronic dance music), they may think of heavy bass, ear-piercing 808-horns, obnoxious party behaviour, a whole lights-and-lasers show. The website, EDMMUSICJUNKIES, notes, “The music is largely created for use by disc jockeys and is produced with the intention of it being heard in the context of a continuous DJ set; wherein the DJ progresses from one record to the next via a synchronized segue or “mix”.”
EDM, to a lot of people, only emerged recently in the 2010s, and now we can’t hear a song today that doesn’t have some type of electronic element. The truth is, EDM actually predates us Millennials that love it so much. It goes as far back as the 1980s, I’m sure. Hell, I didn’t even know that the Ultra festival has been going on since 1999; I only started hearing about it, like, 4 years ago. We just didn’t think electronic music was that old because the genre has a particular sound nowadays, and that is: noise. More specifically, white noise. It is just loud and chaotic, but not all the time.
EDM, like most things in nature, is a spectrum. It ranges from melodic and calm to rancorous and ear-splitting, fast to slow, energising to lulling. Some sound like they belong in video games (exclusively) and others sound like they should be nominated for a Grammy purely for the producers’ artistic excellence. Then there are some that are “outliers”, and this is the best way I can describe them because when I listen to this type of music, I get the feeling that the producer was just fiddling around, trying to create something that sounds good, not caring about which sub-genre it falls under. An electronic gumbo stew or sishebo, if you wish.
The ones everyone definitely knows are dubstep (which led the way in EDM’s spike in popularity in the 2010s), electro, trap, drum & bass and house, but there are more being created as the Earth cruises through space in a spiral. In this age, it seems music is no longer bound by the rules that made music what it was in the 20th century, and I’m all here for it. That’s the tiny postmodernist in me.
I have been listening to electronic music for much longer than I realised, but dubstep was introduced to me (I can’t remember how) in 2009. I didn’t latch onto it until the next year when I started Sixth Form. I even stopped listening to it between 2013 and 2014, but I stopped playing, realised I was blocking my blessings, and devoted myself to it. I guess it didn’t hurt that my boyfriend liked all things electronic. After all this time, I can differentiate between the subgenres (to a degree) and I don’t even discriminate. I know Dubstep an’em as if we work together.
If you hold down a job, maybe one of the subgenres has personified itself at your workplace. Here’s how to check:
Drum & Bass pulls up everyday in a VW Citi Golf that looks like it was the first Citi Golf ever made. He openly talks about smoking cannabis in the workplace, loudly. He doesn’t greet people when he walks into a room, taking wide, fast strides. He can’t sufficiently grow facial hair, and is in desperate need of Bump Patrol. He appears arrogant, but is alright if you can tolerate the entrenched smell of ash.
Experimental is a little like Drum & Bass, but is a ‘cheese kid’ (i.e. of the upper class). She turned down a job that pays more than this one because it was not “stimulating enough”. As relaxed as the dress code may be, her dress style borders on inappropriate for work, but not yet enough to have her called up by HR. She plans to go to Afropunk at the end of the year, with her multi-cultural group of friends from varsity. You’d think she’s on some drugs, but her eclectic nature is really her on the regular. A conversation with Experimental can go ANYWHERE.
Trap drives a Golf 7 GTI (or a “Vrrr Phaa”), and can actually afford the monthly instalments. He dresses like a “metrosexual”. Unfortunately, he exudes soft misogyny during conversations at lunch; when folks start bringing topics like plastic surgery and dates, every female coworker in attendance hopes, HOPES that Trap keeps his damn mouth shut. But alas. You simultaneously wonder why he is single, but understand why he is single. He’s someone most likely to be on Date My Family.
Dubstep swears a lot, maybe too much for a manager. He keeps a messy desk, but somehow finds what he needs. Dubstep has the type of tattoos on his arms that you’d expect a White guy with a coif and an obsession with fitness to have, but he has neither. His lunch hour is spent hitting a joint with Drum & Bass in that part of the office park where no one goes (not even security). Good friends with Trap, and often co-signs Trap’s f**kboy logic, in a different flavour. Dubstep might sound angry when he talk, but it’s really just how his voice sounds. Nothing against you.
Chillstep goes to a lot of elegant lounge-y type of places, dressed to the nines with a face beat by the gods, as evidenced from their Instagram page. Her fingers look like she doesn’t do much hard labour. Chillstep has a Masters, in something. She is productive with her work and has excellent telephone etiquette, but is quite dull. She refuses to date a coworker. She’s quite attractive, with a voice to match. She’s a work spouse to about nine other people in the building; it don’t make her a hoe, though.
Grime works in IT, seldom seen. He has an affinity for liquors named after birds. He has a dating preference for White girls who have a black and white sporty fashion aesthetic. Grime talks like his mouth is full of food, almost making you want to step back. He’s low-key handsome, too. If/when you go out with him for the first time, you will be/are surprised at how intelligent the brother actually is.
Future bass is the youngest person in their division, but the one whose awkward smile you know out of everyone there. They have a Tumblr blog that they curate painstakingly, and dyed their hair a pastel colour the day after they graduated from high school. They are not confined or defined by gender roles, and will wear almost every colour possible, if you let them. They have lots of quirky stationery from Typo organised neatly on their desk. Future bass fraternises with other people from the adjacent office park.
House splurges on any whiskey that has “Glen” in it, and is older than his youngest child. He goes to events promoted on Facebook as “grown and sexy”, and will talk with his closest neighbours at their workstations, about the shenanigans from said events. He flirts with younger members of staff in a way that the ‘flirtee’ doesn’t know whether to report it as sexual harassment, because House sounds so sincere. He may be a blesser, but one thing for sure is that he is a low-key hoe, but calls himself romantic. Not married, never has been.
Electro is a ball of non-exhaustive, near-obnoxious energy. She is always elected as the ‘champion’ for whatever internal initiative is going on, because she has ‘people skills’ and just seems so happy to be doing anything. Top management could approach her to prepare all employees to jump off a cliff, and she’ll send a cheery email to everyone, with “Death at the Cliff 2017 Prep :)” in the subject line. You don’t know what she does but whatever it is, it must be important enough for her to be walking up and down the way she does. Some like her and the rest tolerate her because she’s nice enough, but she could stand to chill.