It’s time to talk about the unsung hero of the electronic music scene; the underground. If you are not familiar with the term “underground”, it may seem broad and confusing. To break it down; the “underground” is made up of artists who are not considered mainstream or headliners. They have a smaller following than the big artists and are, realistically, playing at a club near you! If you’re still a bit confused, think of big festival lineups; the undercard, or the names that are much smaller, are typically underground artists. So let’s get into the 5 reasons why the underground is the backbone of the electronic music scene!
1. Every artist gets their start in the underground
No artist in the Electronic Music scene was just born into stardom. Every producer, big or small, all got their start in the underground. Playing in basements, small clubs/ bars, and the OG warehouse throwdowns. No matter the artist, they all get their start in the underground. Artists like Daft Punk, Avicii, CloZee, GRiZ, REZZ, and countless others all came up that way. No one becomes a star overnight; everyone has their own background, but they all include playing small venues for just a handful of people at one point. Who knows… the next big artist might be playing in your city this weekend!
2. Majority of the music that is put out comes from the underground
Sure, big artists drop singles, EPs, and Albums every now and then. But the underground saturated with artists who are constantly pumping out new songs and remixes. Why is that? Because these producers are hungry for it. They are grinding day and night to improve their musical abilities so that one day one of their tunes may catch your attention.
3. The underground is where the scene was born
Let us not forget that the underground is the origin of the electronic music scene. Electronic music has not been around for ages like a handful of other genres have. The electronic scene was born of the underground, rooted in rebellion and going against what the idea of “normal” is. The scene was underground for a reason: it was not popular when it began and it took a while for it to gain some traction. Remember what you used to hear people say about electronic music? Things like, “That sounds like video game sounds”, or, “That’s not music” … But look at it now!
For a brief history lesson, raves started popping up in Europe in the mid-80s. These events were not publicized and very few people actually attended them. But these raves had their roots in the growing techno and house music scenes. Toward the late 80s and early 90s, raves found their way to the US and have been evolving ever since. From illegal warehouse raves with about 25 attendees to sold-out arena shows just a few decades later, the electronic music scene has come a long way!
4. Majority of lineups are stacked with underground artists
A vast majority of the shows, raves, and festivals that happen are packed with underground talent. Of course, when you’re going to an event you mainly focus on the headliner(s), but that only makes for one or a few of the sets. The rest are all of the smaller, hungrier artists. And in my personal experience, some of the best sets I have seen have been from artists I didn’t know before seeing them. I have discovered hundreds of new artists that I still listen to regularly all because I stumbled upon their set at a festival or saw them opening for whatever headliner I was focused on seeing. The underground is the best way to further immerse yourself into the world of EDM.
5. It is the best place to find new music and up-and-coming artists
The underground has artists releasing new music on a daily basis! If they are an independent artist or signed to a small record label, there is no lack of new releases for every sub-genre of electronic music. And these artists… These artists are the ones who are some of the hardest working. Constantly trying to improve their skills and abilities and expand their range as a musician. All for the love of music, and of course to hopefully have one of their tunes catch your attention and make you move! While these artists may not be the biggest names out there right now, the next big thing, festival headliners and artists you will have on repeat are all sitting in the underground waiting for their chance to show you what they got.
To rehash it all: Every artist that ever is or was got their start in the underground. After all, the underground is where this incredible scene came to life. It is where the majority of the music lives and it has a virtually non-stop output of fresh tunes from incredible new and underappreciated talent. And now that festivals and shows are coming back, do yourself a favor and hit the smaller stages to find some amazing artists that you would otherwise regret missing out on.
Long Live the Music. Long Live the Underground.