Earlier this week, Steve Angello sat down with Megan Buerger from Billboard to discuss his thoughts on dance music. In the interview, Angello discusses his debut solo album and why he feels that EDM needs to be taken seriously again.
Angello tells her that leaving his EDM family and starting his own label made him rethink the way he wanted to approach his material, apparently wanting to make something that will leave a lasting impression on the world:
“I’m trying to make a piece of art that I’ll be able to look back on in 10 years and say, I’m f—ing proud of that,” he says. “I don’t want to look back and say, ‘Remember when we did that? I can’t believe the kids bought into it.’”
He goes on to talk about his record label, Size, and how he enjoys that it’s small and independent, stating that, “On a creative level, it lets me push Size wherever I want to push it, and we’re going wide”. His record label doesn’t just sign dance music artists, but they’re signing artists that are, “musically closer to, say, James Blake” due to the fact that Angello feels, “the direction of dance music right now isn’t very appealing”.
Angello continues to discuss his distaste of the current state of electronic music:
“[i]t’s safe. The attitude is like, ‘We’re making great money, let’s milk it.’ That bothers me. I grew up in a music-loving family that listened to Stevie Wonder, Barry White, Nas, and Jay Z, real storytellers. We’re not telling stories in dance music, we’re using the same sounds over and over again because they’re easy to make and they keep the focus of the fans.”
He talks about how these “real storytellers” need to take time and reinvent themselves and he’s doing just that with his new album, Wild Youth.
With such strong critiques of current EDM, we wonder if he desires to come back and steer it in the right direction. Angello remarks:
“I’ve done this too long to f— up now. I’m going on 17 years in this business, and this scene is bigger than ever, but it’s also less impressive. I’ve watched the Ultra stream and was shaking my head, you know? I expect more… I want to be sitting there with my eyes wide open, saying, ‘Whoa, what is this record, what’s he playing? I’ve never heard this before,’ and so on. It’s not happening.”
Angello goes on further about how dance music is a joke these days:
“I can’t tell the difference between a dance record and a Selena Gomez song. It’s a phase, sure, but someone needs to usher us out of it. This career doesn’t have to be a joke. We need to be able to take it seriously again.”