The term DJ or ‘disc jockey’ we hear so frequently was created in 1935 by an American radio presenter, Walter Winchill, who used it to refer to someone who operated a machine playing a vinyl record. It wasn’t until a few years later though that these disc jockeys had the wild idea to utilize two turntables simultaneously to create the illusion of non-stop music.
Dance club DJs have long led the way in introducing new sounds in electronic music with pulsating rhythms, white noise, and visual effects such as strobe lighting. Some DJs are so successful in their art that they develop followings as they move from club to club. But lately, DJs have helped to push manipulated dance music into the mainstream – filling stadiums instead of the hidden warehouses of “rave” parties of the 1990s. No longer a countercultural phenomenon, electronic dance music (EDM) has become big business.
Swedish House Mafia – a trio of DJs armed only with turntables and giant speakers. In 2012, as the third-highest-paid DJ act, they raked in $14 million and became the first electronic music group to play New York’s Madison Square Garden. During the opening ceremonies for London’s 2012 Olympic Games, it was the music of Lincoln Barrett, a British DJ by the name High Contrast, that spurred the athletes’ parade.
We now have a whole bunch of different music festivals that are happening around the world for EDM DJ’s! There’s EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) in Las Vegas, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and my favorite of all, Tomorrowland in Belgium, Boom. I would love to be in person and go see Tomorrowland in person. Or better yet play in it! Here in Vancouver, we have many clubs like the Harbour Event Center or the Commodore Ballroom! Once I turn 19, I’m sure I’ll go visit one of them!
– Daniel Hoodikoff