Everyone has an opinion on the phrase ‘EDM’. It is perhaps too loose a term to successfully categorise any artist under its umbrella but undoubtedly, in the last ten years specifically, it’s become necessary to label certain music as such. Although the word itself has no clear etymology, it is widely recognised as the abbreviation of ‘Electronic Dance Music’, pertaining pointedly to a genre of music loved in the states. EDM generally refers to a style of dance music that is typically pop-friendly, its melodic synth lines coupled with a swelling build and in-your-face chorus’ make up the sonic signature.
Naturally, this open-ended genre ruffles the feathers of many music fans and artists alike. There have been many discussions on who and what (if anything) should fall into the genre; artists like Avicii, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, Tiesto and the like often fall comfortably into the category but acts like Disclosure, who play alongside the latter, are among the many artists that shun the label. EDM draws a huge audience, specifically in the large scale festivals in the US, and this is possibly where the classification of genre comes from and why the term is becoming a necessity when marketing to fans.
But where did the term derive from? EDM actually has a history that goes back further than the commercialised version of it that we know today. Its history owes a great deal to the development of technology and the lowering of costs, making the use of music tech much more accessible. It’s origins can be found in the UK, France and Germany in the 1990’s where the European Music Boom was well underway and clubs like Ministry of Sound were gaining recognition. They can be found in techno and trance where DJ culture was taking full hold and artists like Paul van Dyke, ATB, Pete Tong, Armin van Buuren and Tiesto were not only emerging, but thriving. Today, EDM is a fusion of many of the sounds these music makers paved the way for, and it sparks great debate throughout the music community.
Afrojack ▶ Afrojack was born and raised in the Netherlands as Nick Leonardus van de Wall. Having been on the scene for some time he, like Harwell, starting DJing at the young age of 14 and released his first EP ‘In Your Face’ in 2007.
Avicii ▶ 25 year old Tim Bergling, better known to his many fans as Avicii, is a swedish DJ whose career in the past two years has been on the up and up.
Axwell ▶ Axel Hedfors, age 37, has been working in music since 1995 and was once one third of Swedish House Mafia.
Borgore ▶ An Israeli Dubstep, Gorestep and EDM producer, Asaf Borger is credited for the change of style Miley Cyrus suddenly went through.
Boys Noize ▶ Alexander Ridha has been making music since 2004, he is label owner of a label of the same name and has worked with many relevant artists.
Calvin Harris ▶ Scottish singer, songwriter and producer Calvin Harris has had a string of successful EPs from the age of 18. From 2013 -14 he was the highest paid DJ in the world.
David Guetta ▶ Born in Paris, France in 1967 Pierre David Guetta's trend setting album ‘One Love’ was one of the first EDM albums to really make waves on pop radio and really inflated the rise of EDM around the world.
Deadmau5 ▶ Joel Thomas Zimmerman released his first studio album in 2005 and went on to head his own Mou5trap label. He is one EDM’s most successful artists and brands and is well known in the media for his opinion on EDM as a genre.
Diplo ▶ Thomas Wesley Pentz's career was founded in Miami Bass and his projects since then have showed the evolutionary way in which music can progress; he is a huge part of Electronic Dance Music in every way, shape, and form.
Disclosure ▶ Disclosure’s Guy and Howard Lawrence are two brothers from Surrey and were nominated for best dance/ electronica album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Hardwell ▶ Hardwell, otherwise known as Robbert van de Corput, was born in 1988 in Breda, Netherlands. His musical background is extensive; at only 27 years of age the EDM mega star has been in the business for well over 10 years.
Laidback Luke ▶ Lucas Cornelis van Scheppingen is a Filipino-Dutch DJ and producer and made his name as a graffiti artist before his musical career.
Skrillex ▶ Sonny John Moore, otherwise known as Skrillex, has 8 EPs and rising, and a net worth of around 17 million. He is well known for his role in the world of EDM.
Steve Aoki ▶ Steven Hiroyuki "Steve" Aoki is a huge electro house and EDM producer. In 2012 Pollstar designated Aoki as the highest grossing dance artist in North America from tours.
Tiesto ▶ The Godfather of EDM and a mentor to many, Tiesto has been on the scene for over 20 years. At the age of 45, Tijs Michiel Verwest was born in Breda in the Netherlands, but has gained global success DJing all over the world.
Zeds Dead ▶ Zeds Dead is a Canadian electronic music duo from Toronto, Ontario, Canada composed of Dylan Mamid and Zach Rapp-Rovan. The name "Zeds Dead" refers to a scene in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction.