When we asked Questlove last summer about the whole Nicki Minaj/Hot 97 feud, his answer was, as expected, both trenchant and accurate: "No subculture stays true to its rulebook for its whole duration or else it would still be a subculture. Every subculture starts under the ground and eventually sprouts forth and then it becomes your parents' music that you hate." He was talking specifically about hip hop, but his words seem appropriate today after two more battles within the EDM community came to light.
Case #4,324 in the "EDM has become a victim of its own success" file finds Afrojack, the Dutch house DJ best known for hopping on Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" and co-writing credits for Beyonce, assailing producer/DJ/professional antagonizer Deadmau5's assertion that all DJs do is "press play" when it comes to their live sets.
"You're never just pressing play," Afrojack told Billboard. "If you're a guy in a cube with a mask on, you can press play. Deadmau5 also said himself he's not a DJ—don't talk about stuff you don't know about. I don't know sh-t about LED walls and giant mouse heads; I can't judge it. But if you put four CD players in front of me or [Sebastian Ingrosso] or even Skrillex, we've been DJ'ing for so long, we can do a lot of things with those CD players."
In related "No, I'M the real DJ" news, Mixmag reports on a brewing fight between Chemical Brothers' Ed Simons and DJ Tommie Sunshine over EDM lightning rod/superstars Swedish House Mafia. After Sunshine tweeted "Don't You Worry Child by @swedishhousemfia went platinum today. Big things for EDM in 2013. This is just the beginning," Simons replied, "It's drivel!! Sounds like Nickelback. This post modern everything's ok attitude is kililng interesting dance music. It's an awful, awful record. Who gives a monkey about how many it has sold?"
There's of course nothing new about this fight in musical history. It's the same argument hip hop had in the mid-'90s, that disco had in the mid-'70s, that rock had in the mid-every decade since the '50s. Hell, that EDM itself has had every decade or so as it crawled into the U.S. consciousness. Except unlike the last great push of the late 1990s, when Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, the Prodigy et. al. were destined to be Kings of the Universe, EDM actually reached the promised land this time, an inherently impossible feat without the music becoming more consumable for the greatest common factor of people (or lowest common denominator as Simons, or Guy Called Gerald or DJ Sneak, would probably call it).
We'll let Deadmau5 get the last word (for now) on this one: