EDM catches a lot of flak, much of which is well-deserved. It is a genre of excess, produced by excessive musicians in order to be consumed by people with excessive taste. EDM is so large and monolithic that it wound up consuming — insofar as terminology — an entire format in its wake: All EDM is electronic dance music, but not all electronic dance music is EDM.
Like an immense planet orbited by smaller celestial bodies, EDM’s sheer size and scale (both culturally and financially) has attracted its fair share of “big” personalities. Although not commanding the same fascination as a Kanye West or Zayn Malik in the public eye, the Twitter rants of deadmau5 and the romantic woes of Calvin Harris have generated a sizable amount of tabloid fodder over the years.
Generik carries the potential to become one such personality. Through a potent combination of infectious positivity and Billboard-ready numbers, the Australian DJ and producer is one hit away from a major pop breakthrough, a far cry from 2010, when he really didn't see much of a future for himself as a DJ.
“Before the whole EDM world really blew up, I didn’t really think you could actually make a living out of DJing,” Generik says. “Now you can, and it’s amazing.”
Speaking to Generik, AKA Tyson O’Brien, it’s easy to get swept up in his enthusiasm for his craft. O’Brien is so friendly, so disarming, that even the most ardent practitioner of the underground might be rendered susceptible to EDM’s hegemonic force. While many are content to write the genre off as the cynical, detached work of pop scientists operating in a secluded laboratory, Generik provides living proof that there remains a human touch behind the bass drop, however buried in the mix it might be. Generik chalks his happy-go-lucky attitude up to innate characteristics (“I think that’s the good thing about Australians
— we’re pretty relaxed characters; we don’t really take ourselves too seriously”) and time spent with established Australian electronic acts like Cut Copy and the Presets in his younger days.
“I used to see those guys playing, like, 100-person venues on a Thursday night with my friends, and we’d get drunk and go talk to them and then all of a sudden we’d hang out with them for a bit,” Generik reminisces. “The way that they would let me and a number of 19- and 18-year-old kids come hang out with them and just talk about music and stuff was really cool and really inspiring.”
In the years since,Generik has channeled that inspiration into his production and live sets. According to him, neither his original songs nor his mixes are as effortless as he makes them appear.
“As much fun as I love to have… there does come a time when you need to be serious and you can’t get drunk on a Monday night,” Generik says of his growth as a professional musician. “It’s not just a matter of banging something out for the fun of it — a lot of time and effort goes into the songs that I make… I just hope that people can understand and appreciate what does go in.”
On Saturday, Generik will be bringing the fruits of his labors to LIV, a venue well suited for his party maestro persona. Asked what his greatest ambition for the upcoming set is, he offers an answer that may very well reverberate in the annals of LIV history.
“Yeah, I’m gonna try and get [LIV co-owner and Miami socialite] David Grutman naked in the booth,” he spills. Despite later admitting that he’d settle for “shirtless,” Generik remains adamant that “everyone in Miami will want to see that.”
We already know Generik is the life of the party and a more than capable DJ. Come Saturday, we’ll also learn if he’s a man of his word. Your move, Grutman.
Generik. 11 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at LIV, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-4680; livnightclub.com. Tickets cost $60 via flavorus.com.