What makes someone a hack? A hack purports to be something he's not. It's a person who holds himself above others on false grounds. The entertainment industry is full of them, and tons of people get into the music industry for the wrong reasons.
We can't help ourselves from feeling that a highly paid musician should probably, we don't know, give a shit. If you just want to be an entertainer, that's cool, just say so. Afrojack said he just wants to be a pop star. And he is! That's being upfront with yourself and others. But there are tons of people in this game who just suck. They're in it for ego. They may or may not actually contribute anything but a face.
Here are EDM's five biggest hacks.
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This fresh-faced Tiësto protégé is sweeping the charts and topping the lineups of every major festival in the world. He started DJing at the age of 12 (what?) and got signed to his first record label a year later (calling shenanigans). His music is critically meh, but worse things have been released. He's a nice enough guy, so what makes us say he's a hack? We had the chance to interview the kid before one of his sets at Story Miami, and we asked the rather basic question, "What was the hardest thing you faced on your road to success?" Unbelievably, he couldn't think of a single hardship. Not one obstacle came to mind. What are you, Hardwell? A fucking robot? Are you a human being at all? Did someone in a suit just find you and think, "He's got a good face for
billboards Times Square, let's sign him and make some money"? Since no one is perfect, the only reasonable explanation is you're not emotionally invested in music at all. Or you're scared of being honest because your handlers run your life. In either case, you're just a tool.
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This guy is great at running a label. Dim Mak was a leading tastemaker of the early 2000s indie explosion. Aoki and crew released material from such incredible artists as Bloc Party, Klaxons, Fischerspooner, the Von Bondies, Battles, MSTRKRFT, the Blood Brothers. That's a great lineup. Suddenly, he decided to come out of the shadows and start DJing. Why? We also interviewed Steve back in 2010 and asked what inspired him to go from label head to active musical participant. Dude actually admitted, and we paraphrase slightly, "I was throwing Dim Mak parties, and I saw that the DJ was getting all the attention, and I was like, 'This is my party. I should be getting the attention.' So I started DJing -- of course, a love for the music and craft followed with that." OH, NICE SAVE, DOUCHE CAPTAIN. We can tell how much you love the craft by the attention to fucking detail. You really killed it by adding those screams to "Warp." Go. Away.
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This is probably the saddest tale in all of EDM history. Diplo was the fucking man. He was the bright future of cross-genre mixing, the champion of the sound pushers, the badass who put together "Paper Planes." He brought light to the darkest regions of the world and introduced us to some of the funkiest sounds the ghettos of anywhere have to offer. He was a real authentic icon. Now what does he do? Produce really tired-ass mixes for BBC Radio 1, follow trends like some kind of slave, and talk shit about his own friends on Twitter. What a fucking slag, right? We want to love Diplo so freakin' bad, but like Sick Boy says in Trainspotting: "It's not bad, but it's not great either, is it? And in your heart, you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just shit." He wasn't always a hack, but because he now seems to put money-making opportunities ahead of artistic expression, we have to say he's become one.
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We met David Guetta when we heard he was moving to Edgewater. He seemed like a nice enough guy, even though we waited around an hour and 15 minutes for him to bother showing up. We talked about how cool Wynwood is, how it makes him think of Europe, and then we asked about the work he was putting in on his next album. But you know what happens when you ask David Guetta about his new album? He smiles and has literally nothing to say. We're not saying Guetta is totally worthless; we're just saying we have no reason to believe he works on his own albums. Or he was instructed not to talk about music at all, which is completely ridiculous because he's supposedly a musician. Call us crazy, but we feel like people who care even 20 percent about their work would have at least two minutes of things they'd like to say about it. After four minutes of discussing Miami's hottest neighborhood, we were told the interview was over. So what else are we supposed to think?
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There's a pattern forming here. If we interview artists and they say (a) dumb shit that sounds totally rehearsed and sterile, or (b) have nothing to say at all, we figure they are faking it. Carnage fits right in. We actually really like his Bang! EP. We were so excited when that came out. Then he was all "trap is dead," and we were like "OK." But he still plays a bunch of trap in his sets, so whatever. We were stoked to interview him before a local appearance, but we were extremely disappointed when his answer to everything was "It's whatever." He didn't even have anything nice to say about his own mom, who bought his first production equipment and encouraged him to follow "his dreams" of being a DJ-producer. He didn't know what barbacoa was or that it was on the Chipotle menu, so why does he always talk about Chipotle? Either he was really high or he just really sucks. Ugh.
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