This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Amlan Chaudhuri. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

EDM Is The New Pop

More from Amlan Chaudhuri

By Amlan Jyoti Chaudhuri:

“Music is the emotional life of most people” –  Leonard Cohen

It was the year 2009 when I had the first sleepover with my friends. We had started late in the evening and went on till early morning. Throughout the 10 hours we had spent, we listened to a variety of music ranging from Green Day to Lucky Ali, Floyd to Rahman and Cobain to Euphoria. We all had different taste in music. Yes, we listened to Altaf Raja as well, early in the morning.

Fast forwarding to 2016, in all the sleepovers that I have had with my friends in the recent months, the only music that I have been listening to is Electronic Dance Music (EDM). Today, inarguably, the most popular genre of music in the entire world is EDM.

EDM is an amalgamation of techno, house, trance, hardstyle, drum and bass, dubstep, metal house, trap, jersey club and their respective subgenres. It’s not the ‘E’ or the ‘M’ that people are interested in, it’s the ‘D’. The dancing element of electronic dance music is what makes the genre so prevalent. It is said that disco died on July 12, 1979, when rock fans gathered in thousands in Chicago to burn and explode numerous disco records. Nothing so histrionic has happened with EDM though, but the drop in interest for other genres is unquestionable.

As record sales for rock and pop, musicians have reached an all-time low all over the world, tickets for concerts and festivals are the main source of revenue for almost all artists now. EDM happens to be a genre that specifically demands live attention, hence, its popularity has ballooned in the past decade with DJs like Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Tiësto, leading the pack. From festivals to radio airplay, social media and even collaborating with A-list musicians like Madonna, EDM artists are getting a lot of attention and since pop music now frequently features them, EDM has become the new pop.

Thanks to Sunburn which started in 2007, India today feels at home with names like Avicii, Dash Berlin, Armin Van Buuren and many more. The new economy and the exploding night-life, with Indian minds turning comfortable in their own skin, has helped EDM become a part of the Indian psyche. No wonder why Swedish House Mafia sold 18,000 tickets in Mumbai though they were priced at a premium of Rs 4000. Of the coveted world’s Top 100 DJs list released annually by UK-based magazine DJ Mag, at least 60 have played in India over the past three years.

However, India is no stranger to electronic music. Music composers like RD Burman had begun dabbling with electronic music gear as early as 1977. “Dhanno Ki Aankhon Mein” is the first Hindi film song that featured flanger machine effects, which Burman picked up on a visit to the States. Not to mention Bappi Lahiri who brought in the ‘disco’ music in Bollywood in the 1980s.

From leading the charge of experimentation in the ’80s by introducing the sounds of disco to bluntly copy-pasting the EDM formula on Hindi film tunes today by music producers like Honey Singh, Badshah and Pritam, Bollywood has been quick to acquire the new wave of electronic music.

Perhaps India’s EDM moment came with the Bass Rani album launched by the Delhi-based artist Nucleya last year. His signature Indian street sounds and pop-culture references with slabs of raw bass has hinted to a new future of EDM in India.

But all said and done, what happens to music as a whole? People say that this is the digital age and technology has taken over music. But are we really progressing at the time when music stores are getting bankrupted?

Although being a Rock music fan, I basically prefer listening to music where real instruments have been used. Starting from the Bird to Led Zep, Clapton to Guetta, I respect all of them for what they have achieved. But if I were to judge, I would never go with the DJ.

Most of the EDM songs follow the same format. Artists ratcheting up musical tension in anticipation of the ‘bass drop,’ where the structure of the song changes and heavy distortion blasts through. EDM music tends to become monotonous after a certain time frame. The only artist I like in these musicians is Avicii, who mixes good vocals with badass electronica and bluegrass folk.

Be it Coldplay or Cohen, Dylan or Beatles, their songs have deep and meaningful lyrics. The last famous EDM song I heard that had good lyrics was “Don’t you worry child”. Well, I am not comparing, though.

Yet, the huge craze around EDM never dies. Our culture has changed dramatically focusing on partying and raves. Due to the level of competition starting right from the school level, kids are sent for IIT tuitions since the sixth standard. Today, Mtech or an MBA degree after a Btech is a must to survive in the market. Summer breaks have become the period when students opt for internships in order to add more value to their resumes. The notion of a 9-5 job is archaic now. People prefer to stay back in office for getting an early appraisal. In this fast moving and competitive society, there is hardly any time to stop, listen and appreciate the likes of Steve Vai, Dream Theater or Lennon. People are more interested in going to a night club during the weekends and forgetting all the work pressure momentarily and partying. No party qualifies as ‘great’ unless it comprises ‘dance’. And what better music to dance to than the EDM which sets the mood and helps to live up to the maximum.

I am not against this genre of music, but I feel that in a generation of live parties with psychedelic laser shows, we will never witness a Beyonce duet with a blind fan from the crowd again. Fans clapping along in complete unison to songs like “We will Rock You” and “Radio Gaga” with Queen at Wembley Stadium will become a thing of the past. Frontmen like Eddie Vedder diving onto the crowd from a huge height will become unnatural to come across.

“Rock and roll can never die,” Neil Young claimed in 1978. Six years later, James Cameron released The Terminator, where it showed a future where machines nearly wiped out mankind. There might come a time when machines will wipe out all musical instruments.

However, there is no need to justify electronic music, by comparing it to other types of music. Sound design, DJing, sequencing, drum programming, turntablism are also art forms in and of themselves. Nevertheless, if given a choice, I still would prefer an Agnee performance like the one in my school fest or a Cactus Performance in Jadavpur University over today’s DJ nights.

As a conclusion, I would want to paraphrase Steven Wilson by saying, “I’d rather hear Dave Gilmour playing one note and break my heart, than hearing Guetta pushing 300 buttons and not touch me in any way at all.”


Featured image source: Buda Mendes/ GettyImages
You must be to comment.

More from Amlan Chaudhuri

Similar Posts

By Ananya Bhuyan

By Rushikesh Barje

By Puja Bhattacharjee

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below