Featuring names like Major Lazer, Diplo, Skrillex, Cashmere Cat, and CL, it’s hard to think of another event that has the same star power as the upcoming Mad Decent Hong Kong party on Saturday, December 12th. The funny thing is that a few short years ago, only DJs and hardcore fans of dance music would have known their names. Fast forward to 2015, and Major Lazer’s song “Lean On” has nearly 1,000,000,000 views on YouTube. Has the world started to catch up?
The party derives its name from the Mad Decent record label that was founded by Diplo in 2005. Showcasing a broad variety of sounds and producers, Mad Decent started off as an underground label, but has since gained mainstream notoriety.
“The Mad Decent Block Party,” as it is known in the U.S., provides Diplo a stage to showcase his multiple side projects and his deep roster of artists. As the global popularity of dance music grows, the reach of the event continues to expand.
Here’s the trailer for the Hong Kong party:
In addition to putting out amazing music, Diplo has grown a powerful audience through savvy use of social media. There are few DJs with as much online clout, and Diplo continues to spawn memes across platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.
The Mad Decent party won’t be your garden variety EDM event with DJs jumping up and down and twisting knobs all night to the same expected crescendos. Diplo, Skrillex, and Cashmere Cat are all former underground DJs and continue to be innovative producers. Diplo in particular has been a major trendsetter in dance music for well over a decade. He has consistently introduced new sounds to dancefloors, promoting obscure genres such as Brazil’s Baile Funk to international audiences.
Skrillex / Jack Ü
Skrillex has had a lengthy career in music, and was formerly both a pioneer and a poster boy of the Dubstep dance movement. Over the last few years he has continued to evolve in new directions and reach wider audiences. Through the Jack Ü project (which consists of Skrillex and Diplo,) the two have recorded with a number of high-profile guests from the Pop world including Justin Bieber.
Cashmere Cat – first time performing in H.K.!
Thanks to the Internet, Cashmere Cat went from being a little known Norwegian turntablist to an in-demand producer, after audiences discovered his talent for creating lush, melodic instrumentals. His sophisticated sound quickly brought Pop groups knocking on his door and he has since relocated to New York.
Check out the Ludacris song produced by Cashmere Cat!
None of these guys are the kind of slick, manufactured artists that are typical of today’s EDM scene. Attending the Mad Decent music event you should expect to hear and see something beyond what has become the standard festival fare.
The original Major Lazer was a side-project made up of Diplo and British producer Switch. The new incarnation is a loose-knit group comprised of Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire from the collective Black Chiney. The Major Lazer sound actually resembles the frenetic energy of Black Chiney, a Miami-based Reggae soundsystem famous for mixtapes featuring mashup beats with top Dancehall artists supplying vocals.
The latest Major Lazer release includes elements of Dancehall and Soca, along with other international beats over a constant stream of big-name guests. Major Lazer’s videos, (which may be the prevailing way in which people both discover and consume their music,) are a constant bizarre party and a melting pot of multi-cultural influences. From the videos, the Major Lazer crew looks and sounds fun.
People aren’t single-genre fans anymore!
Major Lazer’s style is more reflective of the new world we live in, where people are less likely to be fans of a single genre of music (i.e. either Rock or Hip Hop,) and more whimsical in their musical tastes. (In the past people identified themselves as just into Rock or House or Hip Hop and often eschewed other genres completely.) Today’s music lovers are way more open minded and promiscuous.
Dance music isn’t treated as a small niche
As the music industry has changed from an emphasis on albums to singles, dance music has thrived and gained wider play and exposure. What used to be confined to clubs in major cities now is at the fingertips of anyone with Internet access.
The line between DJs and Pop stars is now blurred
With the rise of EDM culture both in the U.S. and internationally, the power of dance music has let itself be known. As music has grown beyond clubs and morphed into massive festivals, DJs have become just as influential (and bankable) a commodity as Pop stars.
With almost a billion views on YouTube, Major Lazer’s success is proof that there’s no longer a rigid distinction between dance acts and Pop music anymore.
CL from 2NE1
Adding CL from the K-Pop group 2NE1 may seem like a surprise to a few, but it’s actually a smart move on several levels. First, it’s a match musically, as both Diplo and Skrillex have recently produced tracks for her. (Skrillex’s “Dirty Vibe” in 2014, and Diplo’s “Doctor Pepper” in 2015.) Diplo has a long history of creating tracks for K-Pop artists including with her YG label mates G Dragon and T.O.P.
The second reason why it’s a smart move is that it brings in an additional audience. CL has performed several times in Hong Kong, as well as attended events, and there’s always a large turnout.
Initially part of the line-up, Dillon Francis announced that he will be canceling all of his tour dates in Asia.
DJ Revolution gains visibility in 2015
The event organizer DJ Revolution had a big year in 2015, putting on numerous large-scale parties including the EDM fest Don’t Let Daddy Know and placing high-profile DJs in clubs around Hong Kong. The crew, along with the related Sigma Productions have been doing a good job of bringing the excitement of the American EDM scene direct to Hong Kong.
Mad Decent Hong Kong
Saturday, December 12th, 2015
From 5pm to 11pm
Asiaworld Expo, Hall 10 (take the Airport Express train* to the final stop, just after the airport)
Tickets available at hkticketing.com
*Special $57 HKD same-day return fares on Airport Express are available to AsiaWorld Expo at Hong Kong Station and Kowloon Station on December 12th