Disco. Hair metal. Grunge. The latest addition to this tradition of zeitgeisty musical fads doomed to age poorly is EDM. As explained last week to former Sony head honcho Amy Pascal, EDM stands for “electronic dance music,” a subgenre currently enjoying popularity with us #millennials. Random assemblages of letters such as Skrillex and Avicii have stormed festival mainstages with a brash, booming strain of electronica characterized by a gradual build to a “drop,” at which point the music becomes louder and the guy next to you gets beer in your hair. A vibrant subculture has sprung up around EDM, with fans of the movement often flying in to music festivals from around the country to commune with their brothers and sisters in the transcendence of the beat. (In case that wasn’t clear, “commune with their brothers and sisters in the transcendence of the beat” was intended as a euphemism for “taking MDMA”.) People dress like this and this and this.
Deadline reports today that a new EDM-oriented film called We Are Your Friends will put the “bros” back in Warner Bros. when it drops on August 28. The film stars Zac Efron as Cole, a down-on-his-luck DJ struggling to break into Los Angeles’ EDM scene. Cole befriends an experienced DJ named James (played by Wes Bentley, which is weird, but we’re listening), and a mentorship develops between the two. But that bond is threatened when romantic feelings — or as #millennials might call them, #feels — blossom between Cole and Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski of Gone Girl fame and “Blurred Lines” notoriety), James’ girlfriend. A love triangle soon takes shape, and as any disc jockey worth his bath salts knows, a turntable can’t spin a triangular record. God willing, that line will not appear in the final cut of the film.
The reveal of We Are Your Friends’ release date arrives hot on the heels of an announcement for another EDM-tinged picture, Voltage Pictures’ XO. It took studio executives a while, but they’ve finally come around to the realization that there may be gold in them thar EDM hills. How well such a concept will work in practice has yet to be seen. The appeal of EDM lies in its spirit of activity, so the genre may lose some of its followers by demanding they spend 90 minutes parked in a seat instead of flailing wildly to the music. But my words can’t possibly do the experience of attending an EDM concert justice. Feast your eyes on this: