It’s rare to watch something like The Grammys and get a chill of inspiration. Sure, they can be fun and star-studded, full of cool or lame performances and at the very least be something to bitch about on Twitter, but rarely in recent times has there been a moment that felt like it really mattered. Sunday night, watching Daft Punk take home award after award wasn’t just a beautiful thing to watch as a fan or a great moment for dance music, it was an amazing moment for music.
In that moment Daft Punk proved that in the day and age of disposable, cynical pop music, there is still room, if not a need, for creativity and originality on a main stream level. Daft Punk made a statement with this record both musically and culturally and then stood by that and won. In doing so they proved that any dream and idea is worth standing by. I relished in seeing so many musical icons in one room cheering and dancing for the robot heroes we always knew we had. What a rewarding moment! And then that hug they gave each other when they won Album of the Year…
I am a fan of dance music, but I don’t consider myself a dance music fan. I work with a lot of DJs, but don’t consider what I do part of EDM. If anything I can say myself and IHEARTCOMIX has played a role in fostering a scene in LA and nationwide that helped grow and introduce dance music to the masses, yet our focus has always been on good music, not good dance music. This was my favorite part of Daft Punk’s recent record and success.
I eagerly anticipated ‘Random Access Memories’ and was both shocked and pleasantly surprised by the gift they gave us in the production and release of that record. The message they pushed and risk they took in creating an album that defied expectations and broke pretty much every conventional rule only re-enforced why I love them. They did what the monster of the EDM boom totally threw out the window: Putting the focus on the music.
I knew whatever EDM was changing into was beginning down a bad direction when a few years ago I watched the Black Eyed Peas play during the Super Bowl Half Time show. I jokingly made a tweet at the time apologizing for whatever role I had played leading to that moment. That performance, in my opinion, was a joke and personified everything that I hate about EDM culture and the main stream consumption of it. I never would have imagined a dance version of ‘I Had The Time Of My Life’, but it happened at the fucking Super Bowl and it made me throw up a little. Seriously and sincerely I am so fucking sorry for that happening!
Then there is Daft Punk and what they’ve accomplished. There is no greater pinnacle in the dance world than Daft Punk. Now there is no greater pinnacle in the MUSIC world than Daft Punk. There is no other artist on the planet with roots in the EDM world that had the power to pull an entire culture back from the brink when it was so close to falling over. We had never been closer to hell than the Black Eyed Peas Super Bowl performance, so THANK YOU Daft Punk for being classy and validating a scene that desperately needed something real to come out of it. You’ve proven the difference between being successful and being a success.
‘Random Access Memories’ represents everything I’ve always loved and cherished about the music (and dance) scene. It celebrates multi generations and genres of music at the same time while still being true to what the artist’s core principle and sound are. By bringing artists like Paul Williams, Geogio Morodor and Nile Rodgers together with folks like Todd Edwards, Julian Casablancas and Pharrel they accomplished something no else could: changed the trajectory of main stream music. They challenged every paradigm and sound and did it brilliantly.
From an underground perspective, from the view of running a small business, from being part of dance culture (and it not being that old), from being a fan of music in general, that win, that effect, validates every single idea you and I have fought for. We are building something great and our heroes grabbed the flag and ran it right up the top of the hill and staked our claim. This proves all the work, right. Their win is a win for all of us.
I hope you take this moment of triumph as the inspiration you need to boldly follow that idea you’ve always had. I know I am. There’s been any number of opportunity throughout the year to sell out IHEARTCOMIX to the EDM conglomerate, but I’ve always known we are capable of so much more than that, and better yet, on our own terms. I JUST WATCHED MY HEROES DO THAT EXACT SAME THING. Why would any of us have any reason to think we are not capable of this now? The world is ours for the taking, so let’s do just that! No parents. No rules. Just you, me and anything we can dream of.
Thank You, Daft Punk. Thank you for giving life back to music.