Electro Soul's Place in EDM
Ever since Colorado’s own Derek Vincent Smith changed the game with his unique style of electro hip hop soul under the self-titled name, Pretty Lights, there has been a gradual increase in interest in the creation of electronic soul music. With the help of artist Sound Tribe Sector Nine, Pretty Lights was able to explode out of Colorado and gain popularity on the national festival scale. His sound at that point was unlike anything else heard before, combining samples and vocal riffs from a wide variety of musical influences allowing him to create some of the most intimate tracks around. This laid the path out perfectly for other artists who also had a similar interest in taste. Nowadays, the electronic scene is flooded with such talent; and Colorado seems to be the hot bed for new arising electronic soul producers. Artists such as Michal Menert, Papa Skunk, Late Night Radio, Krooked Drivers, and Bass Physics are just a few of the many immensely talented producers to arise from this glorious state. With that being said, Colorado is not the only place where electro soul producers are being found. Established artists such as Griz and Gramatik are also murdering the game as we speak, as their influences were brought from Detroit, Michigan and Slovenia to New York City respectively.
Now this is not to say that Derek Vincent Smith was the forefather of electronic soul, but he must be given a lot of credit due to the fact that his tracks were the ones that spread the electro soul genre across the country. Taking up Your Precious Time, Filling up the City Skies, and Passing By Behind Your Eyes are all perfect examples of the kind of sound that electronic soul music tries to capture. When listening to these individual albums, one can clearly hear the progression this artist is making with each new piece of sound he creates, and it really helps to display the depth and intimacy associated with this kind of music. These three albums have been some of the most well-known electro-soul complications our society has seen, and provide the perfect underlying basis for all electronic soul music.
Other electro soul artists are able to create their own new unique sounds overlapping newly created samples to make for a sound that has never been heard before. The glorious thing about the electronic soul genre is that there are no limitations as to where it might go. As opposed to other genres such as trap and dubstep, electro soul attempts to move away from the repetitive beat and branches into a whole other world of musical inspiration using old school hip hop beats and classic vinyl samples. Incorporating a wide range of tempos, this combination of completely separate yet both highly acclaimed musical sounds makes for some of the most creative and influential flow of music unlike anything our world has ever heard.
It is virtually impossible to tell where the electronic music scene is headed in the next couple years. Our generation is increasingly putting such a negative connotation on the festival and electronic dance music scene, that change is not very distant. Big name festivals such as Ultra, or Electric Daisy Carnival are seemingly becoming spawning grounds for frat bros and kandi kids. The drug usage these kinds of fans are promoting is simply unacceptable, and something needs to be changed. That is why transformational festivals such as Electric Forest, Shambala, Wakarusa, and Sonic Bloom are so important to our generation’s future. It is no surprise that electro soul music is one of, if not the predominant theme at these festivals, as the positive vibes and emotions associated with these sounds are the strongest in the musical scene. A huge part of the electro soul movement is centered around the idea of “show love spread love”, and this music truly has the ability to reach out and help others come to understand this motto. The followers of electro soul are mainly at the shows for the intimacy of the music, not to just go crazy with no idea of who’s actually performing on stage. Electro soul is bringing back the old school rock and roll vibe that our past generations were so very well known for. I predict that electro soul will only continue to exponentially expand with time, and watching the way electronic music is turning out to appear on the main stream scale, we need a sudden change in identity before electronic music is stigmatized by negative stereotypes forever.
Written By: Cooper Turley