For centuries human beings have longed for a sense of mystery in their entertainment. For it is mystery that is the basis of suspense, dramatic irony, cliff-hangers and plenty of other plot devices on which producers of such material have relied to spice up their books, movies, and even music.
Integrating mystery into music obviously isn’t the same as writing a mystery novel. Books and movies would be pointless (at least the first time around) if everyone was aware of what was coming next. On the other hand, while a song’s various sections can be surprising in form, the song isn’t ruined because someone told you that there’s a drop or a guitar solo coming up.
The only real way to associate true mystery with music is to attach it to the person making the music, which is what Marshmello has done better than pretty much everyone.
I don’t know what it is about that goofy looking helmet shaped like a smore-topping, but it galvanized a significant following; “Mello Gang” as they are commonly known.
When you consider Marshmello’s music, it is certainly well-produced and creative, but that is something you can say about dozens of producers who haven’t sold out two nights at the Shrine in LA with the third on the way. Keep in mind there was only supposed to be one, but two more were added by popular demand.
What really separates Marshmello apart from the rest of the scene is the sense of mystery surrounding him (or her). I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve seen speculating his true identity, and when Tiësto trolled everyone at EDC this year the internet reacted in a similar fashion to the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones.
In truth, whoever actually dons that helmet is nothing sort of a genius.
One thing that has become an issue as a result of the furthered relationship between technology and music is the association one’s personal life with their art.
From my point of view, it seemed like more people cared about Calvin Harris’s relationship with Taylor Swift than the music he was making, and the number of people who disregard the music of artists like Deadmau5 and Diplo because of what they’ve tweeted is truly depressing.
We’d like to believe that our favorite artists are all wonderful people, and even though that’s not always the case, such things shouldn’t effect our reception of their art because, frankly, their personal life is none of our business. The internet has just made it seem that way to make a profit.
By removing his (or her) identity from his artist persona, Marshmello has negated this effect entirely. Other than the stories surrounding his (or her) identity, not a single comment can be made about Marshmello as a person.
In reality, Marshmello could be dozens of people all taking turns at various gigs, one of which could easily be Tiësto or Rezz or anyone else. The possibilities are endless, but rather than waste time over-analyzing music and DJ sets, people show up to a Marshmello concert with nothing on their mind but music, and that’s the way it should be.