The history of EDM has remained conflicted and controversial. The truth is no one can truly say where it originated because so many different facets of it were growing all over the globe at the same time. Every genre from Disco to Dub, has had a hand in the growth of Electronic Dance Music. I’m just hoping that this festival will take the opportunity to educate the fan base on how important Jamaica was in the genre’s development. It’s a shockingly, unknown fact that the country has been entangled in EDM since the late 40s. Kingston DJ Kamal Bankay has said:
“I’m not sure if EDM DJs really understand that some of the one-liners they shout out, like ‘gal jump up’ or ‘wine your body gal,’ come from Jamaica’s deejay/selector culture,”
In Jamaica, ‘Sound Systems’ originally referred to when DJs would throw block parties and street shows to debut new music and make some money. It was usually an open-air set out of a truck with a generator that included little more than a single spin-table and a huge speaker. DJs would usually play reggae and popular American R&B hits. ‘System’ music was unique in that DJs would play the original songs, but would also play their own remixes live, something unusual for that time. Sound Systems became a music sub-culture, had a huge influence on music of the 50s and led to the development of both Ska and Dub.
‘Dub’ originated as a sub-genre of reggae somewhere between the 60s and 70s. The genre consists of creating instrumental remixes of popular songs. DJs would take hits, clear out the vocals, heighten the percussion, and sometimes ‘toast’ or rap over the instrumental. This style had an emphasis on the beat and the basslines. Kingston native, King Tubby was a sound engineer credited with producing the first Dub record in 1971, Carl Patterson’s Psalm of Dub. As a child, he would record songs off of the radio so he could return home and remix them. Using of one of the first mixing and recording methods, he helped engineer the future of this genre we love so much.
Without Dub you wouldn’t have the Dubstep you know. You wouldn’t have Drum & Bass, or Brostep, or much like it. Debate about the hand Jamaica had in the creation of the music. What is not up for debate is the direct influence it’s had, even in today’s EDM. Between Diplo, Skrillex and many others, there are successful musicians all over the genre who would not have the hits they’ve had without Jamaica. Listen to Zeds Dead’s and Dancehall star Mavado’s “Undah Yuh Skirt” or “Bonfire” by Knife Party. Debate who started what, but there’s no denying the influence it’s had.
The thought of such well-publicized, mainstream festival in Jamaica is exciting. Don’t get it twisted- it’s not as if this is the first EDM festival to be had there at all, but having a well-known line-up like this is admittedly a big deal. Jamaica will get to be remembered by this scene as more than just the background for a Major Lazer music video. Joining Tiesto and Bassnectar will be King Jammy, Audien and AlunaGeorge, just to name a few. If the talented, eclectic line-up or beautiful island setting is not enough to get your mouth watering maybe the chance to be immersed in a historical EDM kingdom will be enough. Pre-sale tickets go on sale Nov. 17, and can be purchased online at http://www.paradiselostjamaica.com/tickets.php