Looking at the argument through a different scope

The EDM scene is certainly no stranger to deadmau5 Twitter rants—the second he posts anything slightly controversial, all the EDM blogs start covering the imminent disaster. By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the Wildstylez vs. deadmau5 incident yesterday. It’s certainly simmered down now; however, yesterday it escalated into something totally insane.

Here’s a little bit of backstory. In 2010, deadmau5 released a record that became a huge hit called “Some Chords.” The track was a club sensation and became known worldwide relatively fast. Around this time, Wildstylez was in a very experimental phase of his career. He wrote the anthem for the iconic DefQon.1 Festival and put out a solid amount of great tracks.

Skip forward to 2014: Wildstylez releases his anthem to Intents Festival on his new label, Lose Control Music. It turns out that this is a B side to his new track “Straightforward,” which as the angered mau5 pointed out, contained some brief similarities to “Some Chords.” He pointed this out via Twitter, angering Wildstylez fans and causing an all around ruckus. Wildstylez responded with his actual inspiration for the track, which is a classic dance track from Booty Luv.

Comedy band Axis of Awesome also did a piece about the chord progression a year before deadmau5 released “Some Chords.” This should pretty much say everything there is to say about the progression.

Wildstylez held his cool, which is a pretty tough thing to do when someone with deadmau5’s social media reach decides to call you out on his Twitter. His response has become somewhat famous in the hardstyle community.

This sparked the debate of how chord progressions are intellectual property if there is only a finite amount of chord progressions. After all, many worldwide hits recycle the same chord progressions, and there are countless indirect EDM remixes of Canon in D from the 2001-2010 era. If you haven’t heard both tracks, they are linked right here so you can make your own comparison.

There is undoubtedly a similarity; however, it’s obvious that Wildstylez only used the progression for a few seconds before taking his track somewhere else. The biggest source of the controversy was the fact that the chords were played on a similar patch, which is a word producers use to describe virtual instrument presets inside their synthesizers. The problem here was that the patch is just about as simple as a patch can get, being a single saw wave. This sound is popular in pretty much every dance music genre, ranging from house to trance, dubstep, hardstyle, you name it.

As the debate progressed, the Mau5 decided to post a controversial tweet.

This sparked the attention of many hardstyle producers, who instantly jumped onto the debate and started offering their tips and tricks in a somewhat jovial manner. Frontliner sent him his kick tutorial and Headhunterz casually suggested he try the “Blutonium Boy Kick Maker,” which is a parody of ripped hardstyle kicks and how much time they take to make.

On the stream, the Mau5 had some struggles. He was under the eyes of a good majority of professional hardstyle producers who were watching him make classic rookie mistakes in producing the genre. He most notably got flack for his comment about usage of “Vengeance Samples,” a popular sample pack series for most types of EDM. However, when it came to doing a hardstyle kick, it still sounded like a progressive house kick at 150 BPM.

Eventually, deadmau5 closed the project, opened something else, and sent out another tweet.

After this, his Twitter was a nonstop flame war between his fans and the hardstyle community. Eventually, deadmau5 tried to drive the conversation away by asking his followers to send him pictures of their pets, but that didn’t exactly work the way he hoped.

Later that evening, deadmau5 wrote a rare Facebook post about the incident: "dear hardstyle, i dont know what your problem is (actually i do tho) ... but... you do know that if annoyed by anything, im annoyed that my track got pretty much ripped off. im not mad at EVVERY hardstyle artist, like afrojack or sweedish house mafia... im just angry that my musics was stolen  cheer up kids. dont be mad. honestly, i dont care what genre youre into... i dont. i just dont think ripping off someone elses shit and selling is is such an amazing idea. anyway... carry on."

The comments were, once again, a flame war, but the incident was over for the most part. Wildstylez probably gained a few fans from it, may have lost some, but at the end of the day, it’s the music that matters and how unique it is. In my humble opinion, the track has about 15 seconds of a “Some Chords” similarity—the rest is a great and unique Wildstylez production. Sure, I’m a hardstyle guy and I may be biased, but anyone who knows music knows that the chords are just that: chords. Not to mention that there have been several other tracks in the EDM scene with the same progression—perhaps this should have been an issue that was sorted in private. Perhaps not. However, one thing is for sure: Thursday, February 20th, 2014 was a fun day to be a Wildstylez or deadmau5 supporter on Twitter.

Lastly, for your enjoyment, here is deadmau5's attempt at making a hardstyle track. He recently deleted all of his music off SoundCloud, so it is the only track on his SoundCloud account.

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Article contributed by Alan Mandel

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