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The Chainsmokers and Barclay Crenshaw: Expanding Electronic and Pop Music

dude squinting

The diverse world of music is now inhabited by producers with a pair of headphones and a computer as their main instruments. Not that that’s a bad thing. Instead of a guitar, a laptop with a torrented digital audio workstation is the new stereotypical introduction to electronic music. The barrier for entry is now much smaller for those who want to make music electronically.

However, that doesn’t mean admired musicians today are less capable of playing instruments or singing. It fact, it’s quite the opposite. Musicians are constantly reinventing music and pushing the envelope. To do that takes an evolving skill set and recognition of the works of the past. If you’re involved in the world of electronic music, it’s critical to be familiar with these two musical entities, although they may seem incredibly different.

The Chainsmokers

Who can say they predicted the explosive popularity of Roses by The Chainsmokers back in the nineties? While it’s possible to look back, we can’t accurately predict what the future of music holds. Love them or hate them, their appreciation and incorporation of EDM, indie, and hip-hop elements is certainly admirable. The Chainsmokers have said that Pharrell Williams, Drake, Diplo, and Deadmau5 are some of their music idols. The expert state of mind, practice, and also the work that they and their idols put in allows them to triumph.

“Some people say there’s nothing new under the sun. I still think that there’s room to create, you know. And intuition doesn’t necessarily come from under this sun. It comes from within” – Pharrell Williams

In this production video and interview regarding Roses, it is apparent that The Chainsmokers are not just one-hit-wonders stringing together sample packs. They take what they do very seriously and are thoughtful, sophisticated composers.

The Chainsmokers give a great deal of information about their music in this video

The Chainsmokers and other modern music has bred syntheses of EDM, hip-hop, rock, jazz, blues, noise, house, dubstep, and pretty much every other genre. However, it’s not like artists are quickly appropriating genres. The effort that all these musicians put in speaks for itself and success doesn’t typically come overnight. Barclay Crenshaw, for instance, has expressed his familiarity and interest in hip-hop since a young age. 

Barclay Crenshaw

Crenshaw used his diversified musical interests, skill, fervor, and knowledge to get where he is now. Crenshaw is primarily known for his club music bangers and his famous label dirtybird. He’s also known for his explorations into hip-hop in recent productions, as well at his live shows. However, he’s been incorporating different genres and styles throughout his career, furthering his vision and approach of communicating with music. 

A poster for the recent Barclay show at Holocene

Crenshaw’s efforts with dirtybird has proved the incredible influence of electronic music today. The label’s hit song Jack by Breach (2013) was recently on the popular dramatic Netflix show from this year, The OA. It’s clear that electronic music’s obvious emotional impact has been popularly realized.

If you want to hear more of these artists and associations, there’s a lot more out there than what we’ve supplied here. Check out the Barclay Crenshaw and The Chainsmokers‘ websites to listen to some of their new tunes if you haven’t heard them already! Also, the dirtybird SoundCloud page is great to check out as well.

These sentiments also don’t serve to discredit those who have had major successes with a sample-pack-frankenstein-song that #1’ed Beatport or iTunes (we’re looking at you, Big Room House). Approaches of simplicity and minimalism are more popularly appreciated and considered by listeners. We are learning as a planet to be inclined at times to listen with our hearts, not our minds.

The Chainsmokers and Barclay Crenshaw are just two of the innumerable entities involved in creating the new forms of ever-developing popular music. What artists do you recognize as seriously pushing the envelope of electronic music?

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