When it comes to being a successful producer or DJ in today’s EDM scene, stage presence and branding are more important now than ever before. I saw Zhu at Coachella in 2016, and it was one of the most stunning productions I’ve ever experienced. Dark, mysterious, groovy, and downright beautiful at times – my ideal set for any club, rave or nighttime festival. Tchami and RL Grime are two other performances from that weekend that will stick with me for the rest of my days.
The problem with performances like this is that if any part of it is goofy or out of alignment with the seriousness of the act, it will discredit the entire brand. There are so many DJs out there that play heavy, dark music that it can be nearly impossible for some artists to craft a brand identity that’s a bit dorkier but still aligns with their music.
One of the best remedies to this situation is to make lighter, more upbeat music and then just do whatever weird, goofy things you like to do without worrying about what it does to your image. Confidence Man is a band of four “indie-rock people making dance-pop music”, and they said in a recent interview with British music publication NME that, “there’s not enough dork in dance music these days”.
If you watch any of their music videos or live performances, it’s easy to see that they have no problem dishing up the dorkiness. Their strange outfits and wacky dance moves make for an incredibly interesting performance that allows fans to feel free to express themselves as well.
“I’m not a particularly good dancer, but when I get up on stage I just kind of do my own thing….People just love that and they find it really freeing”. – Janet Planet
I remember going to my first show and feeling unsure of how to dance at first. I felt pretty awkward as I swayed back and forth to the music, not really knowing what to do with my hands and feet. After a while I realized that nobody is paying any attention to how I’m dancing, and even if they were, there is most likely someone out there who is dancing more outlandishly than me.
Even now there’s always a warm up period needed at the beginning of the night where I get comfortable in my own skin and begin the process of letting loose. When the coolest person in the room (whoever is on stage) is dancing like no one’s watching, it makes it that much easier for the fans to do the same.
So, do we need more dork in dance music? I believe we do. We already have artists like Dillon Francis, Getter, Spock and Phantoms who incorporate a lot of goofy humor and weird stuff into their branding. Then there’s acts like Steve Aoki and Dada Life who really focus on throwing a party at their shows and making sure everyone has a fun time.
But none of these names scream “dorky” quite as much as Confidence Man. Seeing them bust their moves out on stage without a care in the world is fun and refreshingly human, which is something that can easily get lost behind the lights and smoke of today’s big productions.
Who are some of your favorite dorky artists? Do you think dance music needs more dorks? Let us know in the comments!
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