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How DJs fell for EDM

Five of this summer’s dance acts reminisce about how they discovered the genre.

 (Photograph: Mel D. Cole)
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Photograph: Mel D. Cole

Bassnectar

 (Photograph: Doug Wojciechowski)
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Photograph: Doug Wojciechowski

Bassnectar

 (Photograph: Mark Owens)
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Photograph: Mark Owens

Kaskade

 (Photograph: Philistine DSGN)
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Photograph: Philistine DSGN

Matthew Dear

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Windish Agency)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Windish Agency

The Rapture, Luke Jenner

Summer’s hottest dance-music acts wax nostalgic about the moment they succumbed to EDM’s charms.—Joshua P. Ferguson 

“September 5, 1995, was an underground gathering called Basics [in San Francisco]. I showed up in a Napalm Death shirt, danced like a lunatic for nine hours, met pretty much every single person in the room.… [I] had never imagined a combination of unbridled power music mixed with such a friendly and energetic social atmosphere. It was life changing.”—Bassnectar, appearing at Lollapalooza

“I knew when I walked into my first warehouse party on McNichols Road in Detroit [in 1998]. DJ T-1000 was on and had about a thousand people dancing and sweating in unison. I left when the sun was out.”—Matthew Dear, appearing at Wavefront

“The time I most fully fell in love with dance music proper was around when I first moved to New York [in June 1999], not in a small way being homeless and living with a DJ who worked at a record store in the Village. A couple historical records helped me, like “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer. Also the Marshall Jefferson section in Last Night a DJ Saved My Life really helped me to buy into the whole dance-music-as-real-music argument.”—Luke Jenner of the Rapture, appearing at North Coast Music Festival

“As a kid growing up in Chicago [in the ’80s], there was a teen club called Medusa’s that played a lot of early house, new wave and electronic music. I was always a music lover, but after going there for the first time and hearing the music at that volume, I knew I wanted to make music for a living.”—Kaskade, appearing at Lollapalooza

“The first time I heard Bloody Beetroots’ “Ill to Destroy” was when my friend played it for me [in 2009] in his beat-up Jeep Cherokee that he named the Eamonator. It was completely breaking down and had busted taillights, but [the song] sounded so good.”—Dillon Francis, appearing at Spring Awakening

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