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Why I like David Guetta, Cascade, Ke$ha and the likes

"It's complicated, it always is - that's just the way it goes" - these are the words Kelly Rowland (of former Destiny's Child fame) kicks off her vocal part with in David Guetta's global smash hit "When Love Takes Over". And the meaning of these words also describe one of the main conflicts Dance artists have to face: either make "cool" music for the underground but don't know how to pay your rent or prostitute yourself by making dance music with mass appeal while losing your street credibility at the same time.
Example? I just posted via twitter that I like Cascada's "Evacuate The Dancefloor" and a few minutes later, I had three "friends" less on Facebook.

To tell you honestly, my first touch with electronic music wasn't Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk, the artists usually quoted in interviews (although I love Kraftwerk!). My first contact with electronic sounds were with what is called Euro Trash: Technotronic, Capella, Corona - to name but a few. If you are too young to remember (or too ashamed of), here's what I mean:

Technotronic - Pump Up The Jam



Capella - U Got 2 Know



Corona - The Rhythm Of The Night



No doubt, my big brother also had a huge impact on me as he was listening to grey imports from the US at that time. Long before these tunes were breaking in Germany (if they ever did), my bro had the 12" vinyls at home and I used to steal them from his locker and listen to Donna Allen, Princess (produced by the infamous Stock/Aitken/Waterman trio who would be writing the tune for the Rickroll meme years later), Todd Terry and many more Black Music/Dance/Funk artists from the USA's east coast or the UK.

Donna Allen - Serious



Royal House (aka Todd Terry) - Can You Party



Princess - Say I'm Your Number One



So when I was 20, back in 1996, I started making music with Len Faki after having tweaked sounds just for myself for a couple of years. I was introduced to illegal Goa parties, listened to Trance (which wasn't pure plastic back then - anyone remember Sven Väth's label Eye-Q?) and then slowly got into Techno by founding the "monoid" imprint together with Len back in 1997.

I felt I needed to move away from the cheesy Eurodance stuff, reduce melodies to a minimum, focus on groove, beats and "crazy" sounds until Len and me developed the "Lexicon" sound on Plastic City. "Lexicon" was a fusion of House and Techno, still not devoted to melodies but more going into a melodic direction as opposed to the sound we released on monoid. "Lexicon" was anticipated as "the german Daft Punk" back then with support from national celebrities such as Markus Kavka of MTV News who sent a raving email to Plastic City, expressing how much he enjoyed our first album "The Lessons".

But it shouldn't be before 2003 when I went back to my roots and discovered "Trance" and melodies again by forming the Soda Inc. project with Babak Shayan. We fused DeepHouse and Trance - never heard before at that time - and there was just one label believing in what we did called Plastic City. At that time, a lot of my buddies wondered if I was crazy because of the Soda Inc. sound just to find out that in 2005 (when the "Full Moon" album was released, it was also featured on a 2004 single on Shayan Music), we were recognized as the german founders of "NeoTrance". As a commenter puts it on below's YT video: "Amazing sound for a track of year 2004. That was a sound of future progressive-tech house we have´╗┐ today IMHO." This comment was made in March 2010, fyi.

Soda Inc. - Full Moon



The following Soda Inc. album titled "Inner Vision" contained our smash hit "Night Fever", a cover version of an old Motown classic with which Kim Wilde proved to be very successful in the 1980ies, too:

Soda Inc. - Night Fever



This is when I discovered that melody and vocal lines aren't cheesy in general. Fuck yeah, people love melodies, people love to sing along (even on cool underground events such as I Love Deep in Budapest, Hungary). Melodies and catchy vocals is what remains in our minds once the music has stopped. Proof? There you go:

Soda Inc. - Night Fever



I Love Deep is surely far from being an event for the broad masses, it's an underground venue with underground people and yet still, they sing along and go crazy as soon as they recognize the tune playing. One could say it's just because we covered a famous tune but it also works with tracks that were 100% from my mind:

Soda Inc. - Cross The Ocean



Soda Inc. - Big Love



So what happened was that I distilled the essence of Pop music and added it to the underground House sound. Soda Inc. lost a lot of fans for doing so, just to gain a whole lotta more fans with the music on "Inner Vision". The very same happened to Hardfloor, kings of Roland's TB-303 when they entered the UK Top10 with an instrumental Acid tune back in the early 1990ies.

Hardfloor - Acperience 1



I mean, were they commercial when entering the charts? Hell no, they just did what they always do but at one moment, people just enjoyed what they did. It's a plain, pure Acid track - no more, no less. But indeed, after Hardfloor was breaking in the UK, AcidHouse was known to a way broader audience than it used to be before.

And this insight takes us back to the original intention noted in the headline: why I like David Guetta, Cascade, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and all the likes.

They're all not reinventing the wheel - it hardly can be done. But what these artists do is the opposite of what I used to do with Soda Inc. or my Jon Silva project, for example: rather than introducing "commercial" or poppy elements to the underground, they're taking underground to the commercial market.

Here's another example of melting (ie "stealing") pop with dance in the underground realm - also available as a Pesto FreeBee (direct MP3 link):



David Guetta introduces sounds to the global Top10s that were reserved for the underground before. He's bringing Dance music to the attention of the masses. When was the last time you heard a proggy synth bass line in a Top10 tune? See? What's the huge difference between a Deadmau5 tune and "When Love Takes Over"? There is none, except the vocals (and a great PR department behind). You could say David stole many ideas of former underground tunes - and it's true. But he makes way for Dance music in our charts by releasing tunes as David Guetta feat. XYZ but also by co-producing tunes for the Black Eyed Peas. Who would have thought that the USA would step back from Black Music with 50Cent or Beyoncé in favour of a European-influenced fusion of Club/Dance music spiced up with RnB elements just three years ago? I wasn't, but I Got A Feeling;)

Or let's take Cascada - they're from just around the corner, former german capital "Bonn" - and they borrow a lot of ideas from Lady Gaga (on their album, they also steal from Pryda aka Eric Prydz BIG time). But rather than releasing their plastic trance sound from the past, they adopt to the "Zeitgeist" because Lady Gaga made way for these synth lines, beats and aesthetics. And while we can argue if "Evacuate The Dancefloor"" is something brand new (it's not), it's still a great pop song. Very well written and very well executed by blondie Natalie Horler. Check out the original single version:

Cascada - Evacuate The Dancefloor



And here's the "unplugged" version as performed on german public TV:



You'll surely notice that they just wrote an AMAZING, catchy Pop song and that Natalie doesn't require all the autotune magic - in fact, she's a great singer (hell, it's 7:50am and the show is live!).

So, while I still prefer the deeper House sounds from my buddies (and would never play stuff like Cascada on my gigs), I'm convinced that these artists do our scene a huge favour by introducing synthetic dance music to a broad audience. Decide for yourself: would you like to hear more Nickelback and Green Day (hey, I'm not against guitars - Gossip rings my bell big time!) or would you like to see more Dance stuff in the charts? I for one am very clear about this.

If you like this post, please do not hesitate to share it with your friends - I'd love to discuss things with you!


Why I like David Guetta, Cascade, Ke$ha and the likes

"It's complicated, it always is - that's just the way it goes" - these are the words Kelly Rowland (of former Destiny's Child fame) kicks off her vocal part with in David Guetta's global smash hit "When Love Takes Over". And the meaning of these words also describe one of the main conflicts Dance artists have to face: either make "cool" music for the underground but don't know how to pay your rent or prostitute yourself by making dance music with mass appeal while losing your street credibility at the same time.
Example? I just posted via twitter that I like Cascada's "Evacuate The Dancefloor" and a few minutes later, I had three "friends" less on Facebook.

To tell you honestly, my first touch with electronic music wasn't Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk, the artists usually quoted in interviews (although I love Kraftwerk!). My first contact with electronic sounds were with what is called Euro Trash: Technotronic, Capella, Corona - to name but a few. If you are too young to remember (or too ashamed of), here's what I mean:

Technotronic - Pump Up The Jam



Capella - U Got 2 Know



Corona - The Rhythm Of The Night



No doubt, my big brother also had a huge impact on me as he was listening to grey imports from the US at that time. Long before these tunes were breaking in Germany (if they ever did), my bro had the 12" vinyls at home and I used to steal them from his locker and listen to Donna Allen, Princess (produced by the infamous Stock/Aitken/Waterman trio who would be writing the tune for the Rickroll meme years later), Todd Terry and many more Black Music/Dance/Funk artists from the USA's east coast or the UK.

Donna Allen - Serious



Royal House (aka Todd Terry) - Can You Party



Princess - Say I'm Your Number One



So when I was 20, back in 1996, I started making music with Len Faki after having tweaked sounds just for myself for a couple of years. I was introduced to illegal Goa parties, listened to Trance (which wasn't pure plastic back then - anyone remember Sven Väth's label Eye-Q?) and then slowly got into Techno by founding the "monoid" imprint together with Len back in 1997.

I felt I needed to move away from the cheesy Eurodance stuff, reduce melodies to a minimum, focus on groove, beats and "crazy" sounds until Len and me developed the "Lexicon" sound on Plastic City. "Lexicon" was a fusion of House and Techno, still not devoted to melodies but more going into a melodic direction as opposed to the sound we released on monoid. "Lexicon" was anticipated as "the german Daft Punk" back then with support from national celebrities such as Markus Kavka of MTV News who sent a raving email to Plastic City, expressing how much he enjoyed our first album "The Lessons".

But it shouldn't be before 2003 when I went back to my roots and discovered "Trance" and melodies again by forming the Soda Inc. project with Babak Shayan. We fused DeepHouse and Trance - never heard before at that time - and there was just one label believing in what we did called Plastic City. At that time, a lot of my buddies wondered if I was crazy because of the Soda Inc. sound just to find out that in 2005 (when the "Full Moon" album was released, it was also featured on a 2004 single on Shayan Music), we were recognized as the german founders of "NeoTrance". As a commenter puts it on below's YT video: "Amazing sound for a track of year 2004. That was a sound of future progressive-tech house we have´╗┐ today IMHO." This comment was made in March 2010, fyi.

Soda Inc. - Full Moon



The following Soda Inc. album titled "Inner Vision" contained our smash hit "Night Fever", a cover version of an old Motown classic with which Kim Wilde proved to be very successful in the 1980ies, too:

Soda Inc. - Night Fever



This is when I discovered that melody and vocal lines aren't cheesy in general. Fuck yeah, people love melodies, people love to sing along (even on cool underground events such as I Love Deep in Budapest, Hungary). Melodies and catchy vocals is what remains in our minds once the music has stopped. Proof? There you go:

Soda Inc. - Night Fever



I Love Deep is surely far from being an event for the broad masses, it's an underground venue with underground people and yet still, they sing along and go crazy as soon as they recognize the tune playing. One could say it's just because we covered a famous tune but it also works with tracks that were 100% from my mind:

Soda Inc. - Cross The Ocean



Soda Inc. - Big Love



So what happened was that I distilled the essence of Pop music and added it to the underground House sound. Soda Inc. lost a lot of fans for doing so, just to gain a whole lotta more fans with the music on "Inner Vision". The very same happened to Hardfloor, kings of Roland's TB-303 when they entered the UK Top10 with an instrumental Acid tune back in the early 1990ies.

Hardfloor - Acperience 1



I mean, were they commercial when entering the charts? Hell no, they just did what they always do but at one moment, people just enjoyed what they did. It's a plain, pure Acid track - no more, no less. But indeed, after Hardfloor was breaking in the UK, AcidHouse was known to a way broader audience than it used to be before.

And this insight takes us back to the original intention noted in the headline: why I like David Guetta, Cascade, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and all the likes.

They're all not reinventing the wheel - it hardly can be done. But what these artists do is the opposite of what I used to do with Soda Inc. or my Jon Silva project, for example: rather than introducing "commercial" or poppy elements to the underground, they're taking underground to the commercial market.

Here's another example of melting (ie "stealing") pop with dance in the underground realm - also available as a Pesto FreeBee (direct MP3 link):



David Guetta introduces sounds to the global Top10s that were reserved for the underground before. He's bringing Dance music to the attention of the masses. When was the last time you heard a proggy synth bass line in a Top10 tune? See? What's the huge difference between a Deadmau5 tune and "When Love Takes Over"? There is none, except the vocals (and a great PR department behind). You could say David stole many ideas of former underground tunes - and it's true. But he makes way for Dance music in our charts by releasing tunes as David Guetta feat. XYZ but also by co-producing tunes for the Black Eyed Peas. Who would have thought that the USA would step back from Black Music with 50Cent or Beyoncé in favour of a European-influenced fusion of Club/Dance music spiced up with RnB elements just three years ago? I wasn't, but I Got A Feeling;)

Or let's take Cascada - they're from just around the corner, former german capital "Bonn" - and they borrow a lot of ideas from Lady Gaga (on their album, they also steal from Pryda aka Eric Prydz BIG time). But rather than releasing their plastic trance sound from the past, they adopt to the "Zeitgeist" because Lady Gaga made way for these synth lines, beats and aesthetics. And while we can argue if "Evacuate The Dancefloor"" is something brand new (it's not), it's still a great pop song. Very well written and very well executed by blondie Natalie Horler. Check out the original single version:

Cascada - Evacuate The Dancefloor



And here's the "unplugged" version as performed on german public TV:



You'll surely notice that they just wrote an AMAZING, catchy Pop song and that Natalie doesn't require all the autotune magic - in fact, she's a great singer (hell, it's 7:50am and the show is live!).

So, while I still prefer the deeper House sounds from my buddies (and would never play stuff like Cascada on my gigs), I'm convinced that these artists do our scene a huge favour by introducing synthetic dance music to a broad audience. Decide for yourself: would you like to hear more Nickelback and Green Day (hey, I'm not against guitars - Gossip rings my bell big time!) or would you like to see more Dance stuff in the charts? I for one am very clear about this.

If you like this post, please do not hesitate to share it with your friends - I'd love to discuss things with you!


Selected links #005 - special edition "social networking"

http://myspace.com/pestomusic - Pesto Music myspace profile
http://myspace.com/jonsilvager - my music profile
http://myspace.com/pestojonsilva - my private profile
http://last.fm/user/pestomusic - what we listen to
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515759576 - oh yes, we're on Facebook too - like once a month or so;)
http://twitter.com/pestomusic - one of the latest hypes probably, we'll explain in brief what we use it for
http://youtube.com/pestomusic - Pesto TV
http://play.fm/label/pestomusic - our profile on play.fm, DJ mixes to be added soon (no, really now!)

Selected links #005 - special edition "social networking"

http://myspace.com/pestomusic - Pesto Music myspace profile
http://myspace.com/jonsilvager - my music profile
http://myspace.com/pestojonsilva - my private profile
http://last.fm/user/pestomusic - what we listen to
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515759576 - oh yes, we're on Facebook too - like once a month or so;)
http://twitter.com/pestomusic - one of the latest hypes probably, we'll explain in brief what we use it for
http://youtube.com/pestomusic - Pesto TV
http://play.fm/label/pestomusic - our profile on play.fm, DJ mixes to be added soon (no, really now!)

Share This! [update]

sharethis_reflect
In order to make your visit on pesto.de even more enjoyable, we are introducing a few changes.

First of all, we stripped off the code to make the pages load quicker. You will surely notice that even on slower connections, the page now loads way snappier. As a result, we don't have the tag cloud anymore but only few visitors were using this feature.

We also got rid of the advertisement. Although the number of visitors implies that at least the hosting costs could be covered, the number of clicks on the ads was too low to justify cluttering the page. In the end, we wouldn't click on "Buy the best Trance & Techno records here" either. ;)

The third item is an additional feature called "ShareThis™" which makes it easier for you to share news on pesto.de with your friends. You can use this to post our content on your social networks such as Myspace and Facebook, you can easily add the news to your bookmark service such as del.icio.us or post it to your blog . "ShareThis™" also allows you to send news items via email or even SMS. So now you can express your excitement about a new release or a great PestoMix by sending your friends a message. Neat, innit?

[update: if you click on the "ShareThis™" button below, you will only be able to send a link to this page, but not the specific news item. Workaround: clicking on "Permalink" below the headline opens only that very news item, enabling you to include a link pointing directly to the respective post rather than the whole news page.]

You can try the feature by clicking below.