And I’ve seen tons of Electronic Dance Music artists from Deadmau5 and Tiesto, to less well known names such as Two Fresh and Emancipator, and even Pretty Lights and Hallucinogen (Simon Posford of Shpongle). 


But what exactly is EDM? What makes it different from other types of music? Wikipedia says it’s “electronic music produced primarily for the purposes of use within a nightclub setting, or in an environment that is centered upon dance-based entertainment.” Well, duh. 

There are many different genres within electronic dance music – house, trance, breakbeat, downtempo – and many subgenres within them. This can all get a little confusing, however, if you’re not an expert. So I’ve called upon a few DJ friends to help make things a little clearer. These are all guys I’ve met since I’ve been living here in Blacksburg, and I feel privileged to call them friends and to dance to their well-selected tracks.

I asked each of them three questions:
1. What is your favorite genre of electronic music?
2. What makes it different from other genres?
3. Why do you like spinning (or why don't you like spinning) that particular genre?

Here’s what they had to say.

KillaZap (Nathaniel Tran)
1. Drum and Bass
2. It has a huge diversity of moods. It can range from sweet relaxing jazzy tunes to tracks that are so raw it's almost like a cheese grater rubbing on your temporal lobe. Drum and bass can settle you down from a hard day’s work or it can blast you off into new levels of intensity you didn't know were possible.
3. The pace of spinning drum and bass keeps you on your toes. In addition to the fast pace, the complexity of the tracks gives the DJ a lot of layers of drums, synths, vocals, and basslines to play around with. Lastly, it's important to play the music you love.

DJ Pyrite (Chris Reese)
1. Dubstep
2. Dubstep is often very heavy and grimy. In some circles it is deemed as the "metal" or "hard rock" of electronic music. The wobbly bass is both mind and body engulfing. To me, drops in dubstep give you a feeling completely different from any other genre.
3. I love transitioning into a drop and watching the way people react to the music. I get into the music just as much as the people watching me, so I love making people feel the way I do about the music. Nothing to me can ever beat watching the crowd build up to a drop and watching them make a massive bass face! It's my favorite genre and it's best to go with what you love; having a passion for what you're doing is critical.

Chup (Sam Welz)
1. Dubstep
2. Structurally, dubstep is very simple and similar to drum and bass. It differs only in tempo, usually right around 140 beats per minute with the drums in a half time pattern. This slowed down drum beat creates spacing between drum beats, allowing for a sense of anticipation in melodic patterns. Dubstep has an incredibly broad spectrum of sounds, ranging from tribal percussive songs to energetic, in your face dancefloor destroyers. While most songs are instrumental, a large number of remixes to popular music have helped push dubstep into the mainstream.
3. I was introduced to dubstep in its early stages while away working in London in the summer of 2007 and haven't listened to anything else since. The underground feel of many dubstep events adds to its appeal to me, but mainly I'm hooked because I can never get enough bass.

DJ Rahbee (Robbie Baxter)
1. Glitch
2. Very versatile in the sense that it can be made/produced into just about any BPM. A lot of glitch is paired or remixed with hip hop as well as many other styles and vocals. Remixes and vocals are usually something the listener can relate to ... which is crucial!
3. I love playing ALL types of electronic music because it’s FUN! Making people happy and making people dance is truly a feeling you can't replace with any drug.

Class-A (Stephen Morris)
1. Drum and Bass
2. Well, first of all, DnB ranges from 80-90 BPM, which is the same as a human heart, so I think it is only natural to be attracted to that speed. I love the way double drops sound; most other genres let you mix in intros and outros but don’t always sound right when you let the drops go together, I feel like double drops are a signature of some glorious DnB mixing. I also used to live in the UK and DnB always brings me back to good places; no other EDM genre can have MCs over it like DnB can.
3. As I mentioned before, the double drop. DnB has always been my favorite genre to spin; being one of the faster genres it is harder to mix but oh so much more rewarding when you have two beats perfectly locked. I used to DJ with an MC and I don’t think anything can top the way it sounds when an MC and DJ are on the same vibe dropping some heavy jungle beats. Also, Andy-C. Enough said.

Emporia (Peebles Squire)
1. House
2. The good ol' four on the floor. Since the dawn of man, this has served to be the primal beat. It's the simplest and one of the most effective. What is more or less an electronic extension of disco has become the most widespread and pertinent EDM genre in the history of, well, EDM. Electro house and fidget have always brought me to the floor in a way that only the sickest of breaks can beat. House is super-accessible; people recognize it instantly, and it's the only genre that my mom is willing to dance to that isn't 20 years old.
3. I don't always spin house, but when I do, I take advantage of the HUGE intro and outro portions. You get a chance to do some super fun layering and it's also a nice break from constantly worrying about what to throw on next.

Dub Perry (Perry Graham)
Obviously I'm going to talk about dub reggae and dubstep here for two reasons: the skank rhythm and the driving sub-bass. Other genres overwhelmingly focus on the downbeats, but for me, the offbeats are what make me go for my dancing shoes. I also think it's important to talk about them together because I see them following similar paths: I believe that dubstep, like dub reggae before it, is increasingly becoming the domain of bands/original performers. With the advancement of technology to the point where dubstep sound effects can be created spontaneously live, the advantage of studio precision is lost to live chemistry. And compared to a DJ, a band's creative potential is exponentially greater.

It should come as little surprise at this point that my interest in spinning has been dwindling. In an era when about seven producers dominate 95 percent of setlists, it's hard not to be discouraged while trying to do something different. So these days I spend my music time combining dub reggae with dubstep basslines and figuring out how to recreate it live with a drummer. I don't go see dubstep DJs anymore, only producers, which is sad because I'm destroying my own market. When I do go see EDM, it's usually glitch, only because there's not enough drum n bass in the world.

So there you have it. From the men behind the tables themselves, what EDM means. Still not satisfied? You can always find any of these guys on Facebook (some of them are still around the area doing shows and house parties), or, if you’re looking for something less personal, check out Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music at http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide.

Printed in 16 Blocks Magazine