Country Dubstep and EmoEDM: Big Gigantic proves that with a little innovation, dance parties can always get better

By on December 6, 2017


I spend far too much time wondering why there isn’t a country music/dubstep act dominating the charts. I acknowledge that’s a weird thing to think about, especially more than once, but I can’t help it: it’s one of those things that seems so obvious to me I can’t actually understand why someone smarter and with more resources than me hasn’t taken it all the way to the bank. Like, add some drops in-between all those rap drum patterns you’re already ripping off and cash in. You could even call it twostep — yes, I realize that 2-step garage is already a genre, but we’re going to relabel that one truestep — for extra laughs.

I just want more interesting sounds in music. It’s not that all pop music sounds the same, it’s just that pop music takes things that are interesting and then squeezes as much blood from the stone as it can get. It’s a real shame too, because until pop music became so streamlined, there was plenty of room for outsiders to get their random burst of fame by being catchy while being different.

“Mambo No. 5” was a hit song in 1999 for crying out loud. It’s not that Lou Bega couldn’t have a hit in 2017, it’s just more likely that today someone would have heard “Mambo No. 5” before it was a chart hit, put some pop gloss on it and handed it to Robin Thicke first. Anything that’s vaguely cool gets coopted, processed and spread out between four or five artists for a few months until the next thing comes around.

And so I return to my dreams of twostep, of banjos and breakdowns, of songs more interesting than what Avicii tried on True, bless his heart. Yes, I can dig deep into the genres of the world, and find interesting bands you’ve never heard about, like Deafcult and Jlin, but it’s nice to have stuff that’s interesting that might also get played at the grocery store. EDM could be that great musical melting pot.

Consider trap music. Yes, mixing dance music and hip-hop is one of the most obvious things in the world, but that doesn’t change the fact that, for a while at least, it seemed like anybody with a Serato was throwing trap songs into their sets because that’s what the masses wanted. Yes, it was a bit overdone, but it was fun, and it meant what festival lineups weren’t just made up of white dudes with silly hair, which is always a plus.

Jazz also plays surprisingly well with dance music. Nothing makes me happier than going to see a dance music act and there being a sax player involved. There’s nothing wrong with the robotic beats of most dance music, but I’ve always found that live instrumentation takes sets to a whole different level. Adding a human element to your average dance party almost always makes things better.

Colorado’s Big Gigantic, over at the Pink Garter Dec. 6, prove my point. Their songs are already bangers, but live drums and the occasional sax solo make them one of the can’t miss shows of the month. Yes, it would be enjoyable if it was just two guys and some laptops, but prerecorded drums never feel as good in your chest as live drums.

Put on Big Gigantic’s “Good Time Rolls” for an example of what I mean about dance music’s melting pot potential. There’s a lot going on there, and hopefully there are some more interesting sonic experiments going on in bedrooms across the nation. With technology making it easier to produce music than even, I’m keeping music fingers crossed that it’ll only be a matter of time before we start getting all matter of EDM crossover genres. Whether that manifests as some sort of faux-Nine Inch Nails industrialstep or someone finally gets a deathstep (death metal meets dubstep) song on the charts, I’m just hoping there’s someone out there willing to upset the balance a little bit.

What I don’t hope for is more emoEDM. You laugh, but what else what you call that Chainsmokers/Halsey song no one could escape last year? Call me a hypocrite if you must, but as much as I love new sounds, I don’t need the worst pre-breakup Blink-182 record stripmined and resold to me in a less interesting package. Hell, even Halsey admits she’s kind of sick of it, and it’s the reason she toured arenas this year.

But trust me on this country music/dubstep thing. If Dee Jay Silver can tour the country barely remixing country songs into something vaguely dancy, anything is possible. Twostep is just too good a name not to use. PJH

Big Gigantic graces the stage at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Pink Garter in Jackson. Tickets start at $36.

About Cory Garcia

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