The electronic dance music conference called EDMBiz in Las Vegas saved its star wattage for the end, when KCRW's Jason Bentley led an artist panel featuring several of the biggest names in dance music, some of whom are headlining the Electric Daisy Carnival this weekend. Kaskade, Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia, Richie Hawtin, Above & Beyond and Rebecca & Fiona all dished on their introductions to dance music, the burdens of so much money and expectations sloshing around the scene and how new attention is affecting the genre's artistry.
"As an American kid, growing up I always thought this music was a European thing," said Ryan Raddon, who performs as Kaskade. "Every EDC now, I still think: 'I can't believe how many people are here.' "
Hawtin, a decades-long electronic music veteran under several aliases (including the avant-garde minimalist Plastikman), was enthusiastic about the career potential all the interest in EDM affords. But as an artist, he maintains profound reservations about the music going massive, and that skepticism added a welcome bit of edge to a weekend that so far had been almost uniformly positive about the genre's future.
"It shouldn't go to the masses," he said."I remember going into [Detroit's] Music Institute growing up and just standing with my eyes closed. It wasn't a shared experience -- it was more that, sonically, this was what I was looking for, and there were people around me who identified with that as well."