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Thread: Why do most electronic dance music producers tend to get worse with age?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredjan View Post
    Have you worked for Goldman Sach's?
    Only a small percentage of people work at Goldman or the other hardcore iBanking/consulting firms. Using them as an example of America as a whole is incorrect.
    There are many negative stereotypes against Americans, and to be fair the last couple of years with the current president haven't helped. It wouldn't be far-fetched to think that Americans are ignorant, xenophobic, or "fucked up" (as you said about America itself). Remember that America has some of the best universities in the world performing cutting-edge research in many fields. Cambridge, Massachusetts has Harvard and MIT! Or go to the West Coast, where they have Stanford, Berkeley, and Caltech. These universities recruit scholars from all around the world.
    So no, I disagree with the ideas that America ruins everything that comes into contact with it, and that it's fucked up.
    What if I have worked for them? Maybe I left because I didn't like the culture aspect of the company. Besides, this whole DJing and turning it into a rock concert is why we got bigroom bullshit which no thanks to america. It's also sending people to an early grave because of this YOLO crap coined by the American culture. America may bring out bright people but it's their corporate culture is what's toxic about it. They ruin everything. I can link you to an interview that shows that these djs don't want to be treated like a rockstar but the very next year, that changed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gagi View Post
    Life.

    It's easy to want to change something when you're young, full of energy and blind enthusiasm. Still in college or looking for a job, have all the time in the world. You have more emotionally fulfilling experiences (socializing, traveling etc) than emotionally draining ones (studying). When you get old, it reverses, and it's increased the more you see it is as a chore. You have to take care of your kids, work 9-5 (or all day long on your music), you have to provide for your family, you socialize less, you spend most of your days on autopilot...

    Basically, you have more responsibilities, very little time for yourself. It's tough, balancing life and success in art.

    Plus, it's no secret we all lose the inner child the older we get. Very few people don't.

    Also, there's the truth of people's expectations and how they only increase. Or how, after a number of your works, expect the same and/or even better.

    Lots of factors, really. This is not just present in artists, it's also in scientists. Most achieved their biggest works before they turned 26. It's the time when you think only about yourself and whatever you do affects only you. But when the bills start coming...
    It's not to do with life but people around you trying to manipulate the sound. The crowd are just to blame too who are not trance fans going to these events so often artists are forced to change their sounds to cater to them. No one has the balls to speak out because they are scared to. What made Trance so wonderful was that it was able to direct that emotions that pure emotion of life and the things you love dearly around you into a track. It was written like a story which is what's lacking in Trance. Most of the newer generations don't even read books let alone have even heard a poem before.No instead,they have those stupid smartphones and are glued to facebook/twitter/instagram or whatever nonesense these guys are feeding them to get to know you.They are heading towards an early grave.
    Last edited by Hyper Drive; 05-27-2018 at 05:57 AM.

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    Always been fascinated at this topic as it appears to be paradoxical... How can artists get worse despite the improvement of technical ability and experience as they age and further their craft? In most professions you get better over time.

    I agree with above sentiments that the responsibilities and pressures of life, which seemingly increase with age, is a big role. Ultimate freedom and content-ness of mind allows for the creation of the best art.

    But there is another less obvious and less understood argument on if there is a 'peak' creativity level or state in the brain, similar to a peak physical age (about 27) for footballers for example. I think it is the same for artists and this plays a role, but it is hard to prove. My mind was like fire between the age of 17-25... very emotional, passionate, learning. Not that I do not feel like this now, but when I was younger it was more dramatic and more turbulent I feel. I think that translates well into creativity as you have lots to draw from.

    p.s not sure how people made this topic about Americans, but I can say whilst living there it was some of the best people/cultures in the world. A fantastic place. Comments above are from inside a bubble.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hensmon View Post
    Always been fascinated at this topic as it appears to be paradoxical... How can artists get worse despite the improvement of technical ability and experience as they age and further their craft? In most professions you get better over time.

    I agree with above sentiments that the responsibilities and pressures of life, which seemingly increase with age, is a big role. Ultimate freedom and content-ness of mind allows for the creation of the best art.

    But there is another less obvious and less understood argument on if there is a 'peak' creativity level or state in the brain, similar to a peak physical age (about 27) for footballers for example. I think it is the same for artists and this plays a role, but it is hard to prove. My mind was like fire between the age of 17-25... very emotional, passionate, learning. Not that I do not feel like this now, but when I was younger it was more dramatic and more turbulent I feel. I think that translates well into creativity as you have lots to draw from.

    p.s not sure how people made this topic about Americans, but I can say whilst living there it was some of the best people/cultures in the world. A fantastic place. Comments above are from inside a bubble.
    Keep thinking that. Maybe have a read of the digital blonde's post. Maybe that'll make you realize the reality. I am not living in my own bubble. I love this style and nothing is going to change that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hensmon View Post
    Always been fascinated at this topic as it appears to be paradoxical... How can artists get worse despite the improvement of technical ability and experience as they age and further their craft? In most professions you get better over time.
    Well thats the thing - they dont get 'worse',they get better technically - but they lose that creative magic that made them what they were in the first place...theres only a handful of producers who still have it,Ferry is one.

    But a lot is to do with pressure to be successful,getting gigs,being on certain labels every year - they just churn it out and become this commercial machine. Maybe they dont have a choice if they want to earn a living from it - but being an 'artist' its just wrong imo,you lose your intentity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magdelayna View Post
    Well thats the thing - they dont get 'worse',they get better technically - but they lose that creative magic that made them what they were in the first place...theres only a handful of producers who still have it,Ferry is one.

    But a lot is to do with pressure to be successful,getting gigs,being on certain labels every year - they just churn it out and become this commercial machine. Maybe they dont have a choice if they want to earn a living from it - but being an 'artist' its just wrong imo,you lose your intentity.
    It's just going to get even more difficult before it gets any easier. People are going to be pushed to the edge before they snap.
    Last edited by Hyper Drive; 06-02-2018 at 13:11 PM.

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    You could phrase this question with literally any genre of music and most fans of said genre would agree with you. "Why do rappers tend to get worse with age?" "Why do punk rockers tend to get worse with age?" "Why do Gothenburg black metal bands tend to get worse with age?"

    Blah blah blah. There is nothing unique to trance about this, nor does it closely track a songwriter's rising or falling fame. People say this all the time even about musicians who have no currency anywhere, in any country's mainstream.

    I'm going to go for the "old/tired/life gets in the way" explanation here. It's the only thread that connects moderately successful semi-mainstream trance producers, rock stars, and--say--Cryptopsy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AstralNilaya View Post
    You could phrase this question with literally any genre of music and most fans of said genre would agree with you. "Why do rappers tend to get worse with age?" "Why do punk rockers tend to get worse with age?" "Why do Gothenburg black metal bands tend to get worse with age?"

    Blah blah blah. There is nothing unique to trance about this, nor does it closely track a songwriter's rising or falling fame. People say this all the time even about musicians who have no currency anywhere, in any country's mainstream.

    I'm going to go for the "old/tired/life gets in the way" explanation here. It's the only thread that connects moderately successful semi-mainstream trance producers, rock stars, and--say--Cryptopsy.
    Do you really buy that shit, seriously? Age is just a number we have been given.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyper Drive View Post
    Do you really buy that shit, seriously? Age is just a number we have been given.

    And yet in every single genre of music, fans tend to think the early stuff is the best more often than not. Bands with a full lineup, one-man bands, duos, trios. Synthesizer players, drummers, guitarists, bass guitarists. Bands from the US, bands from Sweden, bands from Egypt, bands from China. Famous bands, unknown bands, bands that started off unknown and became famous; and one-hit-wonders who faded into obscurity.

    Literally the only thing that connects them all is the increasing passage of time. What does that tell you? Time dims the fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AstralNilaya View Post
    And yet in every single genre of music, fans tend to think the early stuff is the best more often than not. Bands with a full lineup, one-man bands, duos, trios. Synthesizer players, drummers, guitarists, bass guitarists. Bands from the US, bands from Sweden, bands from Egypt, bands from China. Famous bands, unknown bands, bands that started off unknown and became famous; and one-hit-wonders who faded into obscurity.

    Literally the only thing that connects them all is the increasing passage of time. What does that tell you? Time dims the fire.
    Because most of them stop giving a shit.I can tell you that a few of the producers that got better as they aged. Sure a lot of people tend to get worse but not all.

    The Digital Blonde is one of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyper Drive View Post
    Because most of them stop giving a shit.I can tell you that a few of the producers that got better as they aged. Sure a lot of people tend to get worse but not all.

    The Digital Blonde is one of them.
    Wow - you can name an exception. Junkie XL is another one - but he's a proper musician, a true artist. He breathes music and has for years; if he isn't working on music, he's educating people about music. Or cooking. But these people are a rarity, and they dedicate most of their lives to exploring music, learning new things and doing whatever they want to.

    Think about it. If you produce music in one or two genres your entire life, you get out of ideas. Trance in itself has been mostly without fresh ideas for years. Let alone the producers. Things change within the genre, and you have to change, sometimes against your instincts and inspiration, just to stay relevant. Everything is changing, new kids are arriving and with them new sounds, new audiences...you always have to adapt. Because there isn't plenty of audience in such a small genre. And after a while, you hear so much feedback from others that it shapes and focuses your sound, whether you do want to jump on a bandwagon or not. Feedback helps, but too much of it constricts your creativity. You don't try things out, you make what people told you to.

    True artists as Junkie XL just grow up with love for music and make it because of that love. He's done lots of things, made music in lots of genres and still manages to keep his sound fresh, even though it's mostly for the movies nowadays. Even he has generic works for Hollywood, but when he isn't restricted that much he makes brilliant music.

    Age might be a number if you want too look at it superficially. And you certainly do want that, just to prove your point about how the scene is corrupt and artists greedy - which might be true, but that kind of thinking is very one-dimensional. There just can't be a single (cynical) reason. But surely things have happened to you during your life that changed you forever. It seems to me you're not looking for the answer here, but rather seek validation for your single point and outlook on trance.
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    it's just the age we live in.

    something to do with loudness wars/compression i think. trance tracks today just sound bad. not the melody, not the drums. the track itself.

    maybe comparable to CGI vs the real thing in films. even if CGI is more spectacular, it just feels off.

    also, trance artists have mostly appeased the changing crowds, and that has meant much more commercial music. which inevitably has meant less credible music.

    also also, these guys grew up. of course when you are young playing out the music you are passionate about is a dream come true. but when you gotta pay the bills are you gonna continue to grind away to dwindling audiences when the money is going in a different direction?!
    Last edited by rubez; 06-06-2018 at 15:20 PM.

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    Seems like a general consensus here is that the pressures and responsibilities of getting older are the main culprit for the perceived decline in creative output. Less time to cultivate creativity, and a pressure to follow the markets to generate income for things like family.

    But this still doesn't make sense to me. As AstralNilaya pointed out, the phenomenon is wide-spread and all encompassing of music. Possibly every genre of every generation has demonstrated the same downward curve of creative quality as time has increased. No artist seems to escape this. They can still produce high quality music, but is it as high quality as in there 20's? Few names mentioned above like Digital Blonde and Junkie XL... possible rare exceptions to the rule? For me they still make great music, but I would say not as good as in their younger years. Up for debate of course.

    So surely across all these 1000's upon 1000's of artists some MUST have no burden family and/or be financially stable. Think of the many mega artists. Red Hot Chilli Peppers are one of my favourites. They have no pressure of money and therefore no need to follow markets. They can provide everything and anything for their families and take massive hiatuses to give them time to create...yet still they fail to capture what they did from ages 22-30. If the time and pressure factors were the real reason for the downward curve then we would see many many more artists breaking the trend, yet we do not. I am not doubting the roles they play, but there must be something else at play to see such a widespread and consistent pattern emerging over decades, wouldn't you think?

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    I think in any field related to creativity, maturity plays it role as well as advancements in technology. Let me explain my thinking a bit.
    It is natural that over the course of time you become more "safe" and "mature", which also makes you think a bit differently. This is just how life treats you.
    Look at kids for example. Even without any toys, they can come up with games to keep the entertained for days and days. They just take what they can get and make something from it.
    Then give them all the toys in the world and they get bored very fast, because toys do not really give them many abilities to use creativity and learn.
    This process goes until person reaches maturity in mid 20s. I think when it comes to music production, the way how technology has made it so easy to produce or mix or dj has at the same time taken away producers desire to experiment and try new things.
    If we look at trance, then 90s and early 00s were filled with new producers that came out with totally new sound and approach to the style. ATB, Ferry, Tiesto, Armin, PvD, Svenson & Gielen, Markus Schulz, each sounded different, because there were no real preset plugs and tools or rules of how a trance track should sound like and be composed of.
    Things are massively different now. If you want to get with your track anywhere, you need to follow a certain pattern, to "fit in" and get time in radio and dj sets. It is also so easy to start producing, just download a program and you have so many pre-made things that making a track takes you a few days. Now compare it to experimenting and using different instruments and synths that went on in 90s.
    Technology has changed the producers as well. They use their own formula now, give what audiences want and make next track in a few months to keep yourself relevant. There is no urge to be creative, there is need to be safe and be out there to get DJ sets and get invited to "Tomorrowland" or any other festival to be relevant.
    I have noticed it myself as well. I barely read any books now, as I simply cannot find proper time, because I am busy reading the 50 different blogs that i need to read to keep myself up to date with all the "new" stuff that is coming from industry.
    Attention span from audiences has changed as well. "Thriller" was in top 10 albums for entire year after its release. Can you imagine some album coming out now, that would be so relevant for entire year? No, its all about speed of production, number of releases, getting the hits and keeping yourself relevant. That leaves very few chances for creativity.
    Add the age factor and massive number of newcomers to the market, who you have to fight against, and you will find the reason why what you come up with, just does not sound as good as what you produced in your 20s, when entire world was there for the taking.
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    @tep... to your points on the template culture, formulas and technology... I think these are all valid reasons and for sure contributing factors to how music has changed since 2000 (for the worse), but I say these are 'new' variables to the perceived phenomenon, appearing only in the last 2 decades, yet we have seen the age vs artist decline in 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's, possibly even earlier. The role of technology and market saturation had not yet come to fruition yet so it would appear that these are not the primary reasons.

    I think you circling around the idea of becoming more 'safe' and 'mature' is the consistent aspect here, although what does it mean to become more safe of the mind? Very hard to define or put into a measurable logic.

    Excellent note about Michael Jackson, Thriller. I had no idea it was no1 for so long, thats incredible really and 100% agree that such longevity could not be sustained with the current mind-set of the listener.

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