The vocal snippet by Simian is possibly one of the most – if not the most – recognizable sample in electronic music. “We are your friends / You’ll never be alone again.” It’s the kind of message that unites fans of dance music regardless of their race, creed, or social make-up. And while many of us still subscribe to the ideology that makes that lyric so compelling, mainstream culture has bastardized the purity of dance music so much over the past 5 years that it now resembles a husk of what it once was; now it’s some kind of deranged art form built around making the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time in the fear #EDM is some kind of fad about to get kicked to the ground.
Warner Bros. and Studio Canal are now in the boat trying to capitalize on the #EDM machine.
The film, We Are Your Friends, stars Zac Efron, Wes Bentley (that guy who always plays the creepy supporting character), and The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal and presents #EDM in a manner which tries to imitate the purity and simple rush that many of us experienced the first time we were exposed to dance music. Efron plays the male lead, a kid with high hopes of becoming a renowned DJ who gets to go from 125 BPM to 128 BPM all over the world. Along with his buddies, a ragtag group of party promoters, he navigates through California’s electronic music community to follow his dream of making it big, meeting a various array of characters who will serve as bumps in the road ahead of him.
And seeing as it’s a big budget, Hollywoodized version of the struggles DJs go through, he’s more than likely going to rise above it all: just as the hero would in any other underdog story.
The trailer presents a pretty picture for sure: parties, a thumping soundtrack, and tongue-in-cheek sensibility litters the preview like wristbands on the ground at Coachella. However, while the trailer makes the movie out as seeming to try and understand the ethical code of DJs - including a Hallelujah inducing, snarky clip where a female partygoer requests a song which the DJ swiftly shoots down - the filmmakers seemed to have overlooked a major opportunity. The initial trailer gives the impression that much of the idiosyncrasies of dance music culture will be washed away for the sake of fine tuning the film for the basic, modern moviegoer.
In other words, while it may have unique, spot on moments throughout, the film looks like it could be in danger of dumbing down the history and cultural resonance of dance music in order to spoon feed it more easily to a specific demographic; I wouldn’t be surprised if they wind up targeting the 20-something festivalgoer versus the nerdy house fanatic. And while it’s exciting that dance music has gotten to a level which has prompted filmmakers to make a film to join the countless others about hip-hop, rock ‘n’ roll, and the blues, it’s still a tad disappointing to see the struggle of becoming a renowned DJ mitigated to an underdog story (especially one that takes place within the world of the big room, major league, festival #EDM circuit).
Thankfully, the movie is directed by relative unknown director Max Joseph who, in addition to being the man behind the camera for MTV’s Catfish series, he also was the documentarian responsible for 12 Years of DFA, the incredible, introspective documentary about DFA Records from 2013. Hopefully the same regard and respect for the music is a common thread in his big screen debut as a director but, again, seeing as it’s still an initial trailer, we will have to wait and see.
That said: reading a room can be extremely difficult and if Zac Efron can do that as easily as his character can in this movie, kudos to him.
Watch the first trailer for We Are Your Friends below. The film due for release on August 28.
Hot off the Kitsune presses, the official video for Cesare’s remix of Citizen’s “Lighten Up” is one of my favorite things I’ve seen this year. It’s lighthearted, summery, and features French girls with animated foxes. What’s not to love?
It had been a good while since Marcus Marr released any new material which made a lot of dance music aficionados exceptionally excited when DFA Records announced a few weeks ago that his latest release was on the horizon. It’s been a couple of days since his newest record, the trippy, technophile wet dream Brown Sauce, was shared with the world and, in the normal giving spirit DFA has with its fans, we have been gifted a hilariously eccentric, offbeat music video to go along with the release of this undeniably excellent track.
The music video is beautiful in its simplicity and quirkiness: it features DFA label manager, Kris, consuming a chip butty slathered in a traditional English condiment as the eponymous track, Brown Sauce, plays on a Technic turntable alongside him. It’s a bizarre, oddball concept that miraculously works well for the title track as poor Kris Peterson relentlessly takes bite after bite out of a gargantuan, saucy sandwich while Marcus Marr’s loopy, acid house heater bumps and grooves in the background. It’s revolting. It’s kitschy. And it’ll make you want to eat a french fry sub.
Watch the video after the jump for Marcus Marr’s supergroove, Brown Sauce, after the jump and be sure to visit DFA Direct to pick up a white label or a limited print colored 12″ of the track.
As a deep house heater that parallels Duke Dumont’s I Got U from this same time last year, Michael Imperial’s All Night operates on a level that is basic: approachable, essential, and rhythmic without becoming a generic re-hash of the UK sound the mainstream’s become familiarized with over the course of 2014. In fact, the track, released through the Imperial’s label, Rare Beef, could very well become one of the first must have songs of 2015 for DJs as they search for new, provoking content.
The parallel continues with the video for Michael Imperial’s track which follows around a young man in an exotic locale as he interacts with vice. The video, expertly shot by commercial director Kristof Brandl, weaves through portraits of a Vietnamese young adults interactions with sexuality, drink, and carnage with calculated delicacy and grace resulting in multiple beautiful subtleties. In this context, the track complements these images the same way an aria would pair with images of a war torn battlefield: hauntingly and as if time stood still.
Watch the video after the jump and be sure to pick up Michael Imperial’s Secret Drugs: Vol. 3 for free on SoundCloud.
Hercules & Love Affair, the DFA supergroup and new addition to house label Defected, has been a force to be reckoned with in the independent music scene for the better part of a decade now. With a relentless energy and a focus on the roots of modern day dance music, the band’s beating heart, Andy Butler, has been one of the defining models of the indie dance underbelly by allowing cultures to blend and mesh to form a new school of dance. And with that, it’s only appropriate that the band’s video for “Do You Feel The Same?” features an apocalyptic wasteland where vogueing is your only path to enlightenment.
In the spirit of “Mad Max” meets “Paris Is Burning,” the video features styles fashioned by renowned designer Bernhard Willhelm and choreography from contemporary ballet dancer Josh Johnson and the Forsythe Company in order to create a dystopian desert infused with lush hues and a space rock attitude where dance reigns supreme. What results is a beautiful video that celebrates escapism and feeling free from the constraints of being grounded. It’s a rich world with personality and decay and love paid to each detail: a fitting monument to such a supreme track by such a Herculean act.
Check out the video after the jump and look out for new remixes to be released soon via Defected Records.