So as every year, the International Dance Music Awards nominations were announced this morning and I wanted to see how the nominations panned out. My oh my was it a shock! I’ve got a few things to say, but I promise, I’ll try and not be a hater. 😉
Going through the categories and their nominations some usual names stood out: Armin Van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Above & Beyond, David *shudder* Guetta, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Hardwell and such. Okay, fair enough, you knew that these names always turn up in the nominations. Here’s where it gets interesting though – before I go ahead, however, I am not trying to hate or patronize some of the nominees, I’m merely stating an opinion – so as I was saying, I saw that Martin Garrix was nominated. For a 17 year old who suddenly burst onto the scene with his now very famous track “Animals” it’s a big feat. But this is something that I found even more interesting. I had spoken to Garrix in December, and he told me that he had been producing well before Animals became such a huge hit. Obviously, he followed a mantra and that managed to get him not only onto the DJ Mag rankings, but secure IDMA nominations as well. It is a big deal of course – but honestly, the track does not have that much of a wow factor. I’m not here to diss Garrix and his work but getting to the point – the IDMA panel got it grossly wrong this time.
If you nominate a track such as “Animals” in the best Electro/Progressive House (And it doesn’t even come under the Prog House banner.. I’m sure the real DJs of this genre are cringing right now) – how do you put the DJ behind the production as the best TRANCE DJ? Or did the panel get so confused with the genres that they put whoever they wanted in whichever category? Electro/Progressive House/Trance may derive influences from each other, but it certainly does not mean you overlap the producers/DJs into those categories – unless they’ve actually produced under those different genres.
The entire Trance category was a bit of a mish-mash this time around. Pointed out by a friend of mine Jeffrey Bron who summed it up perfectly: “W&W play big room electro house, Mat Zo produces experimental progressive, Dash Berlin plays top 40 hits, Gareth is more of EDM Pop.. Martin Garrix has one major hit to his name. The only 3 are Armin, A&B and Markus who are etching towards progressive trance – there’s a 3/8 representation of true trance in there..”.
Some of the nominations were pretty alright, but here’s where I almost lost the plot. I was browsing through the Best EDM/POP DJ nominations and fair enough, Calvin Harris Avicii, Guetta are fair nominations and we know that this is their music but since WHEN did Paul Van Dyk and Eric Prydz become POP DJS? How is this even a plausible, reasonable nomination? The shock upon reading those two names really made me wonder – was the IDMA panel high or stoned or have they NO sense of genres that they’ve put some of the most prolific DJs in a category that is a complete opposite of what they actually produce? It is a complete shock to my system to see the extremities in the nominations – to the point that there are some producers/DJs who work so hard to produce quality music and have made it on a large scale still be given a miss in the nominations? Or is it just about those “DROPS” that everyone seems to love and want to ‘raise their hands to’?
America prides itself in having a colossal dance music scene with some of the biggest festivals in the world – EDC, Electric Zoo, Ultra, the newly launched TomorrowWorld – but this is what it is all about. Bigger, better, headliners that are part of the Top 20 rankings. Some friends of mine that have attended Ultra always come back with the same view: “The main stages are always packed to capacity. Everyone’s jumping and got their hands in the air.. When you go to a stage that has the likes of Carl Cox and friends, it’s not even half as packed but the people who are present there, want to experience something different, and you won’t see hands in the air and everyone waiting for the almighty ‘drop’, but they want to go on a journey. This is what dance music should be about. Not the same formula that will guarantee you a top 10 hit.” Is that what it’s all about? Churning out the same sounds in a different melody which will guarantee you a rank and a nomination?
If DJ Mag was absolutely disregarded in terms of ranking – IDMA is losing it’s credibility in terms of Awards. Especially after the nominations this year. Either some of the categories should be disregarded entirely, or the panel needs to really do proper research before sending out the nominations. Plus it doesn’t help that the new age ‘EDM’ listeners are a little unsure of the categorisation of the different genres/styles of dance. And it isn’t their fault. It is nominations like this that confuse people entirely.
So to sum up – the IDMAs are a pure joke in some aspects and it sort of insults some of the artists as well as the genres and styles of dance music. I hope, and sincerely wish that the panel gets it right, and the people are smart enough to cast their votes for the people that actually belong to the category in it’s true essence. Or else, this is just another version of DJ Mag and it’s dubious ranking system.