Talking about dance music and specifically electronic dance music, there is no denying that the past decade from 2010 leading up to 2020 has been an extremely formative and crucial one.
Some call it the ‘Golden Age’ for the industry and that honestly wouldn’t be wrong to say. A decade that brought EDM out from the underground and multiplied its fanbase to reach the masses, can truly be called a memorable one in shaping the industry.
As artists grew to make their music more relatable, the producers of events and festivals began to multiply the sizes of these events to accommodate the swiftly growing fanbases. With music being the universal language and bringing everyone together, some artists more then others had a hand to play in shaping this change.
While work from some of the biggest game-changers like Daft Punk, David Guetta and Tiesto began well before this decade, for this piece we are going to focus on a few acts in no specific order who helped evolve the soundscapes of EDM from 2010-2020.
If we didn’t start this list with paying an ode to the man himself after probably one of THE most played EDM songs ever, “Levels” it wouldn’t feel right. Breaking onto the scene with this masterpiece in 2011, the late Avicii went on to play some of the most iconic festivals over the world and release a plethora of music by way of his albums and EP’s.
If there was any track that was to be awarded the largest sing-along which every single person in every audience knew the lyrics to, it would go to SHM for their 2012 earworm “Don’t You Worry Child.” While individually Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso are tastemakers in their own right, the trio together is a combination we doubt any supergroup will top.
Speaking about shaping the sounds of a decade we couldn’t help but bring in AvB. While he has been around way longer than this decade influencing the sounds of generations, this decade, in particular, saw him explore sounds we hadn’t expected of him before. From the epic Grammy-nominated “This Is What It Feels Like” in 2014 to his new album Balance which dropped earlier this year which showed him embracing many a genre while staying close to his Trance roots.
If there was a single person who could be held responsible for taking and growing dubstep to what it blew up into being, we’d say it’d be Skrillex. With his Bangarang EP in the early part of the decade, Skrillex announced his arrival into the industry and that he was here to stay. Also undoubtedly one of the most versatile producers out there, Skrillex has also produced for Justin Bieber with Diplo as Jack Ü and also continues to collaborate with Boys Noize as Dog Blood.
Prydz under his many aliases has transformed what is expected of live shows. With his audio-visual spectaculars like his series of EPIC and HOLO shows, the man has raised the bar and how! With some groundbreaking music over the years with tracks such as “Opus” which came around in 2015, the man who dawns multiple hats has evolved the soundscape and deserves all the credit he can for it.
Known as the undefeated king of Big Room, when Hardwell announced earlier last year that he was taking a break from touring and was going to focus on producing the news came as a shock. While we expected him back in 2019, the wait still continues to experience that electric energy back on stage. But looking back at the decade he ruled the big room wave without a doubt with his 2012 hit “Call Me A Spaceman” and many more.
Back in 2013, when a very young Garrix broke onto the scene out of nowhere with his infectious hit “Animals” the industry pitched him as a potential one-hit-wonder. But as the years passed Garrix was determined to hold his ground and oh boy did he do that. With many a hit that followed in the years to come he also crept and rose extremely fast on the DJ Mag listings.
Bringing into the industry a sound we had never expected to be mainstream popular, Kygo became an instant star with his first release of “Firestone” in 2014. Making his downtempo melodic sounds the norm and a bunch of famous remixes with the same feel, Kygo grew to become a mainstay not just on playlists but on festival mainstages for his stellar live performances.
Responsible for probably some of the biggest Pop-EDM collaborations from the early times in this decade, Calvin Harris was definitely one we couldn’t skip on this list. From Rihanna to Ellie Goulding, his tracks have featured some of the best voices. Some tracks which will never get old include his 2011 hit with Rihanna “We Found Love” and the epic “Under Control” with Alesso in 2013.
Love them or hate them, this duo has had a journey over the decade which was kickstarted by their viral and relateable 2014 single “#Selfie” and only gone upwards from there. While they have transitioned to more live performances and large scale productions, the duo has paved their way into the industry and made their impact felt even years after with hits like “Closer” and many more.
She has been a force of goodness and driven positive changes since this decade began and longer. Leading not just with her music but as a leading force in encouraging and empowering women in music and also fought for social change and does a lot of charity work. Coming onto the scene as an artist midway in the decade, she started her time in the industry as a 90’s raver.
With her musical tastes and sounds being diverse, Kraviz has no one sound. She has gone from Trance to Breakbeat and then on to Ghetto-House. Making a name for herself in this male-driven industry over the years has been a result of sheer perseverance and hard work.
When we think of Diplo and the first thing that comes to mind is man or machine? One of the most active artists on the scene with all his supergroups, we never go long without new Diplo music in some form. Think Major Lazer, Jack Ü, or the most recent LSD, and Silk City, Diplo has worked with the whos who of the industry and brought to us some of the most defining hits of the decade. From “Lean On” and “Where Are Ü Now” he’s been part of some of the biggest hits around.
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