Why Trance Is Slowly Killing Itself
Disclaimer: The following is an editorial. That means it contains an opinion which may or may not be different than your own. If you are uncomfortable with others disagreeing with you, then perhaps you may simply want to stop here and form a dictatorship. However, if you are comfortable with disagreement, then by all means, please do read on.
“It's funny how you are literally the only person mentioned in this article that's made anything CLOSE to actual trance in the last year.” – Facebook comment in response to a producer posting an EDM.com trance article in which he was featured.
You, sir, are killing the trance scene.
You are not alone, of course. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of people like you. People who claim that [song] or [artist] isn’t “real” trance, that you somehow know exactly what “real” trance is, that your version of trance is somehow better than someone else’s version.
This phrase, “this isn’t actual trance”, appears in countless places. It shows up in YouTube comments, Facebook comments, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, basically anywhere someone can express an opinion on the internet. Whenever an artist makes a song lower than 138 beats-per-minute, this phrase inevitably pops up. The commenters likely think that they are helping out the scene, that they are keeping it from losing its “soul,” that they are holding a torch out in order to stave off the incoming tides of “commercialized” sounds and electro/house influences. However, not only are they completely and totally failing at this, but they are making it unattractive to be a trance producer or DJ, not to mention making it unattractive to be a member of the trance scene.
What DJ would want to be a performer in a scene where every song s/he plays is scrutinized upon whether or not it is “real” trance, and then berated time and again by so-called “trance purists” who decide it isn’t? What producer would want to create music in a genre filled with people who stifle creativity and don’t allow innovation? How can the genre be expected to grow when it is forced to remain in basically the same form as it was 15 years ago? It is no wonder trance is constantly labeled as dead or dying.
This saddens me, because nothing in the world is like trance music. There are so many different flavors—one for everybody!—yet they are all connected by the same basic element: emotion. Let us not forget that as individual people, we all experience emotion differently, and what sounds emotional to one person may not to another person. It may even sound boring! This is the beauty of trance. To take that away is to take the soul of it.
Trouse, uplifting, tech, progressive, hard, goa, etc. are all the same in my eyes. Do I like them all equally? Not necessarily, though there are certainly songs in every sub-genre that I very much enjoy listening to...But do I respect them all equally? Definitely.
But remember: as a fan of trance music, you are an ambassador to the genre. If you want people to enjoy the music, to love it and cherish it just as you and I do, then don’t yell about how what they’re loving isn’t “real trance.” Do what the smart DJs do and show them a song that’s similar to their chosen song but is a little closer to what you prefer. You would be amazed at how far you can take someone down the road of music discovery with that method.
Don’t kill trance. Make it grow.
Cover photo credit: Dash Berlin World