Dance music all-stars Diplo, A-Trak, and Skrillex are the newest Billboard Magazine cover stars and, as much as the power of print has waned in recent years, it’s gratifying to see three of EDM’s finest getting such major attention from a well-respected mag. The cover story – written by Billboard‘s Kerri Mason – is noteworthy in that it treats the artists and scene with the respect and seriousness they deserve. Rather than focusing on “raves” and drawing tired connections to drug use, the piece captures the personality and unique appeal of each artist, while paying homage to the way they’re changing the game. Mason sums it up best:
[The DJs] also share a philosophy — a self-driven spirit that’s part individualistic artist, part entrepreneur. Their rallying cries are as antithetical to the purist underground that birthed them as they are to the traditional industry: Mainstream acceptance is gratifying, not demeaning. Sales don’t matter; give it away. If it’s dope, put it out. Pop music can be cool. The best marketing is free. And most important: Do it yourself. Every last bit of it.
For his part, Skrillex’s focus is absolute. “Artists sometimes will change because of the response. I would never do that. But I’m always trying to do things better, make things sound better, and then outdo myself in my own eyes. I want to build upon what I already have and do it naturally, and try not to think about it,” he says. “This music is for everyone. If you don’t like it, then go find something else you like. And if you like it, enjoy it, and just let it do what it does.”
Longtime EDM fans may be averse to the new attention being paid to the genre but, as Skrillex notes, the change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. More fans means more touring and more music – and the artists we love gaining even more influence (Diplo executive-producing Snoop Dogg’s next album – say what?!). The article may have called 2011 the year of the DJ, but we predict that 2012 will, thankfully, bring more of the same.
Click past the break for a video of the Billboard cover shoot with Diplo, A-Trak & Skrillex.