As previously announced, Electric Honeycomb has been releasing five editorials over five days, denouncing many of our genres’ myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions. Today comes the fourth one, in attempt to put an end to the “All EDM sounds the same” myth.
Electronic music is definitely one of the most debated genres of music today. I myself take caution when someone asks me what type of music I like, as the usual “A bunch of stuff, mostly Electronic music” type of answer I give is followed by remarks such as “oh, that uns uns uns club music?”. No matter how hard I try to explain to them that Electronic music offers a diversity of styles of music, most people brush it off, claiming that all Electronic music sounds the same.
It’s one of the many arrogant attitudes people take when faced with the question of Electronic music. I’ve noticed however that when people make this claim it never comes from someone who doesn’t really know much about the genre. In fact, some people even tell me that it sounds the same when they’ve never really listened to any at all, and are just repeating something they’ve heard other people say enough times to think that it’s true.
Why doesn’t it all sound the same?
To be fair, for a long time, Electronic music could’ve sounded similar to any new listener, due to the under-developed technology and the small amount of sounds a producer worked with. Maybe 15-20 years ago, I would’ve thought they had a point to make. The difference now is that modern synthesizers and DAWs offer such a wide range of sounds and bleep bloops that a producer can make, and it’s created a much more diverse bank of Electronic music over the years.
It’s a factor that has differentiated Electronic music from many other genres, in the fact that it’s not as limited to a specific set of instruments. Most punk rock for example will have the typical “electric guitar + drums + vocalist + bass = song” formula. Electronic music doesn’t really have a specific set of sounds or instruments that act as a core base to all of its songs, although some are more common than others.
Even the very term ‘Electronic Music’ leaves us with a very wide category of different styles possible. It’s only defined by the fact that it was made electronically. Just imagine if ‘Guitar Music’ were a thing.
If you don’t what I mean, I’ll show you two different styles of music, both falling under Electronic music:
The first one is Electro-swing, the second one is Hardstyle. Two very different styles of music, both are Electronic. Now I know it may look like I just took two of the most different styles of music I could possibly find just to make my point, but there’s plenty other example that I could use. Sub-genres like Progressive House, Trance, Dubstep, Drum N Bass, Techno, Ambient, all of them have something that differentiate them from the other, although it is true that some of these genres leak into each other, like Dubstep and Drum N Bass for example.
Why do people say it’s all the same then?
Not many people even know about the existence of these sub-genres, let alone would go out and listen to it. Most people who’ve never been into Electronic music have only heard it a couple times at clubs or during parties. The fact is the music that you’d hear in those environments is arguably quite similar, especially to someone who doesn’t have an ear for it. It’s why I can understand people who make the claim that electronic music sounds the same; I would probably come to the same conclusions if I had only heard that small fraction of it.
So when you come across one of the debates that almost every Electronic music fan has had on the fact that all Electronic music sounds the same, don’t just get angry at them and criticize their taste in music. You’re almost never going to be debating this against someone who really knows what they’re talking about, so all you have to do is show them what Electronic music really is. Simply make them listen to so Electronic music that they’ve probably never heard of before that would open their eyes to the potential of this genre.
Electronic music is really starting to explode, so if we ever want the general public to respect it as a real genre of music, it’s going to take a lot of effort to spread the word on all the amazing music coming out of it. Now that’s where you and I come in.