Techno in the 2010s Techno in the 2010s

Techno in the 2010s

By Jamie Lee

Techno in the 2010s Techno in the 2010s

Over the past 10 years, the very way we listen to music has completely shifted. So has the way we receive and seek out music, with the prosperity of streaming in favor of physical mixtapes, CDs, and stores. This technological advancement was supplemented by the truly uncharted territories of music that international DJs and MCs were actively discovering. The 2000s really set the foundation for the music boom of the 2010s, and as we enter the 2020s, reflecting on the techno music of the past decade proves just how successful the genre and its subgenres have become.

As the production value of techno music increased, experimentation across platforms like Soundcloud and Bandcamp became even more rampant than before. The grime subgenre, which includes elements of garage and jungle, and the success thereof, is really credited to Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, two British MCs. Massive grime markets appeared internationally, including China, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.

Charlotte de Witte

The mid 2010s saw the emergence of a number of successful female DJs, including Amelie Lens, Charlotte de Witte (who originally played under the artist name "Raving George" because this name disguised that she was a girl. She did not want to be judged by her appearance, but by her DJ skills), and the reemergence of Paula Temple. However, by 2014, only 18 percent of electronic music labels had women signed to them, reports XLR8R.  The increase of awareness within the genre led to the creation of art collectives and other platforms for aspiring femme and queer artists.

It is easy to view digital maximalism as the dominant story of the 2010s, with the incredible popularity of EDM headliners like Skrillex and Deadmau5 crossing over into the mainstream, with their versions of bright electronic music. However, more recently, ambient techno, hard industrial and trance have gained attention. Acid has made a massive comeback in the late 2010s, with acts like 999999999. In the early 2010s, dubstep and drumstep grew exponentially in the United Kingdom, where the subgenres originated. Dubstep had started to splinter off into more electronic-based sounds; harder styles were more popular in the United States and Australia, thanks in part to the success of massive, multi-day music festivals like Defqon 1. Festival culture would take over the public’s understanding of “techno,” falsely understanding it as EDM and expensive, big-stage productions.

magnetic Magazine

Will Lynch of Resident Advisor called 2019 the year of “business techno,” a now-popular term coined to describe the direction the genre is taking. Zak Khutoretsky, better known as DSV1, reflected on the existence of festivals, and claimed that they’re “jeopardizing club culture.” As a DJ who came up in the nineties, DVS1 is protective of the origin and soul of the techno scene. “If you can take the DJ off the stage and put a rock band in place, I think you did it wrong,” he said. “Because that was the whole difference of going to the DJ environment, was it wasn’t a bunch of people staring at a stage with a bunch of bright lights staring at them…it’s become that. And it shouldn’t be that.”

The condemnation of so-called “Big Room” scenes, multi-million-dollar festivals, global superstar DJs making six figures per performance, and an overall “mainstream” nature of the genre has led to a split in philosophy between techno lovers. Is the business boom of the industry truly a betrayal of the genre’s roots? Some, like techno radio host Scuba, say the term “business techno” is invented by “people who are jealous of other people for making more money than them.” But others agree with DSV1, arguing that the steep ticket prices and lack of accessibility to DJs defeats the entire foundation of techno music as a concept.

 

Regal

Musicians across the entire music industry are starting to push back against unaffordable events for their fans, like The 1975 frontman Matty Healy, who criticized ticketed meet and greets for “monetizing human connection.” The techno genre is at a crossroads, even further separating from the “dirty word” EDM, forced to decide whether the capitalization of electronic music has gone too far or was simply inevitable. However, the future of techno is still just as limitless as it has ever been, aided by the Internet and a strong sense of community underground. The 2020s will decide what’s next, but one thing we know for sure is the show will go on.

References

Daly, Rhian (2019). “Matty Healy speaks out against charging fans for meet and greets.” NME. 

https://www.nme.com/news/music/matty-healy-speaks-charging-fans-meet-and-greets-2467761.

Davies, Sam (2020). “2010-2020: The Moments that Defined the Decade in Electronic Music.” XLR8R.
https://xlr8r.com/features/2010-2020-the-moments-that-defined-the-decade-in-electronic-music/.

Haidari, Niloufar (2019). “What the hell is business techno?” MixMag. https://mixmag.net/feature/what-the-hell-is-business-techno.

Hulyer, Jake (2019). “Eight Artists Pushing the Ambient Edges of Techno.” Bandcamp Daily.
https://daily.bandcamp.com/lists/ambient-techno-list.

Lee, Steph (2019). “2010-19: Albums of the Decade.” Resident Advisor. https://www.residentadvisor.net/features/3588.

Reynolds, Simon (2019). “The Rise of Conceptronica.” Pitchfork. https://pitchfork.com/features/article/2010s-rise-of-conceptronica-electronic-music/

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