Wolfgang Gartner Disses EDM: ‘I’m Still Making Dance Music’
And now that he’s left Ultra Records to put out music on his own imprint, Kindergarten Records, his independent spirit is coming out in the thoughts he shares in a new interview with Billboard. Here are some of the highlights:
On what led him to change his sound:
“I don’t know if I realized until last year that the current musical phenomenon that dominates the Beatport dance charts just started going downhill.”
“Before I was Wolfgang Gartner, I used to make sampled disco house, funky house, Chicago house, and I switched over around the time that dance music started to become commercially viable again, with the transition to digital music around 2007 and 2008.
“I’m still making dance music. EDM is not EDM anymore. It’s just electronic music, but it’s not dance music. It’s like people hanging over guardrails pumping their fists. That’s not dancing.”
On whether he felt Ultra pressured him to make a certain sound:
“I did feel that a part of me was trying to be safe and continue to produce the sound I feel I kind of spearheaded and championed. I was in a groove doing my thing, and at the time I didn’t realize I was in this little bubble, but now when I look back on the last six months to a year of music that I put out on Ultra — it’s good music to play in my sets, but I wondered if I’d look back on it in ten years and say ‘these were timeless’ or ‘these were just cool dance tracks.’ And it was the latter. They were just cool dance tracks, and that wasn’t enough anymore.”
On what’s happening with electro house:
“The problem is what people want at a festival, and the fact that DJs are trying so hard to get those main stage and closing spots, so they want to play sure-shots, clichés and formulas that people recognize.
“Part of the problem is the dance music audience, part of the problem are the DJs who are training these fans, and another part is the music being made by producers geared towards this festival-oriented big business system that dance music has become, especially over the past two years with the corporatization that has happened.”