San Jose Public Library

Five Books About Dance Music History and Culture You Need to Read

Whether we’re watching documentaries, experiencing life, or talking with others, we are always learning new things. One way to really learn more about the subjects we love is to read, and there is a vast world out there of books related to electronic dance music that will take you on great adventures, teach you how to be a better artist, or tell you more about the community of which we are a part of; all from different perspectives, life experiences, and levels of passion.

One thing is for sure: reading books about electronic dance music will take you on a journey of discovery that will stay with you forever. These are five books in the electronic music genre that you should read if you’re interested in learning more about our culture.

 

The Underground is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America

By Michaelangelo Matos

This book is centered around the relationship between the internet and the electronic dance music genre; specifically how the internet allowed EDM to thrive. Author Matos draws on a large selection of different resources from interviews, mailing lists, message boards, and chat rooms to discuss and discover how EDM was propelled into the forefront of mainstream culture by those who lived in the “underground” of the scene.

“Full of unique insights, lively details, entertaining stories, dozens of photos, and unforgettable misfits and stars—from early break-in parties to Skrillex and Daft Punk—The Underground Is Massive captures this fascinating trend in American pop culture history, a grassroots movement that would help define the future of music and the modern tech world we live in.”

Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music

Author: Matthew Collin

Dance music culture was rooted in the 60s starting from the acid house movement and grew into a more mainstream culture. EDM was used to inspire and perpetuate the power of love, but now that it’s more mainstream, does EDM still have the power to inspire? Raving has become a multi-million dollar enterprise and the raves have gotten larger in scope. Are there people still upholding the ethos of peace, love, unity, and respect?

“In Rave On, Matthew Collin travels the world to experience these unique scenes first-hand, talk to the key players and hear the story of how dance culture went global – and find out if its maverick spirit can survive its own success.”

Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture

Author: Simon Reynolds

Energy Flash offers a comprehensive history of electronic dance music and it’s culture. Starting in Europe and emerging from the techno and house scenes of Detroit and Chicago, EDM was established. Catapulted to popularity by the introduction of party drug Ecstasy, a whole new culture was created.

“A longtime writer on the music beat, Reynolds started watching—and partaking in—the rave scene early on, observing firsthand ecstasy’s sense-heightening and serotonin-surging effects on the music and the scene. In telling the story, Reynolds goes way beyond straight music history, mixing social history, interviews with participants and scene-makers, and his own analysis of the sounds with the names of key places, tracks, groups, scenes, and artists. He delves deep into the panoply of rave-worthy drugs and proper rave attitude and etiquette, exposing a nuanced musical phenomenon.”

Beyond the Dance Floor: Female DJs, Technology, and Electronic Dance Music

Author: Rebekah Farrugia

Rebekah Farrugia studies women who are making dance music all over the world. In this book, she offers a look at gender roles and conceptions as they apply to women and how female artists are breaking down those conceptions. Farrugia also focuses on the relationships between female artists and music technologies such as vinyl and MP3.

“In this volume, Rebekah Farrugia explores a number of important issues, including the politics of identity and representation, the bonds formed by women within the DJ community, and the role female DJs and producers play in this dance music culture as well as in the larger public sphere.”

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey

Author: Bill Brewster

DJs have shaped the way we listen to music from live events to recorded tracks, to production they have created a whole new way to bring music to the masses; this book highlights the history of the Disc Jockey.

“Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton have tracked down the inside story on some of music’s most memorable moments. Focusing on the club DJ, the book gets first-hand accounts of the births of disco,hip-hopp, house, and techno. Visiting legendary clubs like the Peppermint Lounge, Cheetah, the Loft, Sound Factory, and Ministry of Sound, and with interviews with legendary DJs, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is a lively and entertaining account of musical history and some of the most legendary parties of the century.”

Sit back with one of these books, curl up in a nice comfortable blanket, enjoy a big glass of wine and become an authority on all things dance music related from its history to the phenomena that it is today.

Which book are you looking forward to reading?