Deadmau5 Comes Out as a Non-Drug-User. Is EDM Sobering Up?
This week, one of the biggest stars in EDM -- Deadmau5 -- chastised one of the biggest pop stars of all time -- Madonna -- for using drug lingo (specifically the phrase "Has anyone seen Molly?") on stage at this year's Ultra Music Festival. And he didn't do it in a small way either, indulging in a full-on, glorious Twitter rant that included the phrase: " Does anyone else feel like we're witnessing events in a parallel universe here? Since when does the dance guy tell the old pop lady off for glamorizing drugs?
This is, to say the least, a glorious development, given the fact that dance music has been synonymous with drug use since it was invented (Acid House, anyone?). And as Deadmau5's Twitter page blew up with people pointing out that Madonna was referencing a song from her new album, he righteously held firm: " ." So is EDM no longer held back by the heavy specter of illegal stimulants? Has dance culture really changed its attitude towards drugs?
A lot of the people Tweeting Deadmau5 on Monday certainly don't think so... which only aggravated him further: "So you're telling me my fan base is entirely comprised of pill popping kids? Sorry, I respect my craft more than that," he hit back at one. "OF COURSE im going to get the "but your fans..." argument, yup, weak. But i dont showboat it to new EDM fans on fucking stage. irresponisble [sic]," to another. And then went on: "...at the end of the day, its a slap in the face. associating a potentially harmful substance to the work and passion we put in to make art."
As the day went on, Deadmau5's stance softened a little. At one point, he conceded: "im not advocating AGAINST anything. im advocating responsibility." And though that looks like lame back-peddling on the surface, it's actually a position he has vocally held for years.
In September 2010, Deadmau5 wrote a blog post titled "stuffs you may or may not have known," in which he said:
Drugs don't really do anything for me. I've never bothered to indulge in that lifestyle, but on the same note, i am not anti-drug. I have enough respect for humans to let them make their own choices, whether they seem stupid to me or not. The type of people i CANT stand tho, are those who impose lifestyle choices onto others... THATS something i hate right there. I don't think theres anything more annoying in society than people who feel the need to force their idea of an ideal lifestyle onto someone else. Thats just cheap. I wont elaborate, but, you get the idea.
Looks like he finally got the chance to elaborate on Monday.
Deadmau5's stance may keep him on the fence to some degree, and it may not be a radical viewpoint, but it's to be applauded when any high profile dance music makers come out as non-drug users. The long-held idea that everyone involved in dance music is dropping pills every five minutes not only normalizes drug use for young fans, it makes it seem almost mandatory. But Deadmau5 isn't the only artist making moves to challenge that perception.
Last year, DJs Kaskade, A-Trak, Tommie Sunshine, Steve Aoki, Z-Trip, and Apl.de.ap. of the Black Eyed Peas (sorry about that last guy) made a video warning of the dangers of ecstasy. And rather than taking a stuffy old "Don't do it" stance, they simply provided advice on how to stay safe under the influence:
Truthfully, telling people "drugs are bad" has been done so much over the years, it's now bypassed being a cliche and transformed itself into an ongoing Southpark joke. Giving people advice on the best ways to stay safe while using illegal substances, and making it clear to young people that loving EDM and taking drugs aren't mutually exclusive, aren't to be undervalued. Has dance culture's attitude towards drugs truly changed? Probably not yet -- not enough probably. But the more artists like Deadmau5 open up the conversation and publicly offer views that don't fall in line with the old school, the more likely that is to change.
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