Written by Charlie Chill
What Does Miami Sound Like?
When you think about the 305, what style of music comes to mind?
To some, it may be booty shakin’ Miami bass and to others, it may be the pop hits of Pitbull.
To many of us, it is electronic dance music. Not just any electronic or dance music, but the four on the floor beats of house and techno. Miami is a city that never stops dancing. House and techno are more popular than ever, especially in Miami and its dance clubs [read: facilities lol].
Before moving on, it is worth noting the current state of most music: the top selling songs are not usually the most creative tracks. Most music follows a formula because it sells, and artists conform to standards while repeating ideas throughout most music charts. This takes away the soul of the music, and ends up making everything sound dull and repetitive.
Is this at the fault of the producers, or the consumers?
Humans crave anything they can recognize. People choose music they are more familiar with, and the music industry exploits this by marketing the same style of tunes to generate revenue. This system is rigged throughout all genres as a way to manipulate the minds of listeners to consume endlessly…and we hear the same music, over and over again.
What does any of this have to do with music in Miami? It can be summed up in two phrases: “tech house” and “Tulum vibes”…
Tech house has become a joke…with the same bass lines and drum formulas, IT ALL SOUNDS THE SAME. There are indeed certain record labels pushing the boundaries on how music is produced and released (such as Dirtybird, Desert Hearts, & Slothacid; just to name a few); but the Beatport Top 10 chart for tech house goes to show that most DJs are buying up and playing tracks that sound pretty much the same.
As far as “Tulum vibes”, this is a phrase that has circulated around to describe music events featuring jungle/tribal-percussive-slowed down-house beats, guests dressed in Panama hat-rose tinted glasses-white linen outfits, and way too many DJs. Some of the DJs even have the audacity to ask [or demand] officially booked artists if they can play a quick 30-minute set at the peak hour of the night!
Mindful partygoers in the Miami music scene (many from within the industry) seem to have a shared opinion: there is an unquestionable overconsumption of the same styles of music. These sub-genres are simply trendy and marketable, at the cost of becoming repetitive and oversaturated to those paying attention. The music is lovable for sure, but becomes meaningless when it’s all you hear each weekend at different venues.
At what point does the direction shift?
There comes a time when the people get tired of the same old $#!+, and the Space [*wink*] opens up for some radical change in the way we contemplate and listen to music. By becoming aware of the music we consume, we can become much more mindful of what is given to our ears.
With so many DJs trying to make it in the scene, it is inevitable that the music played is mediocre (to say the LEAST). Miami has so much wonderful and genuinely original talent to offer at some amazing venues with remarkable sound systems. By sophisticating our music taste with a curious mind, an eager ear, and proper dancing shoes…the possibilities are endless.
The main incentive to going out should not be bottomless consumption, constant mindless stimulation, or getting wasted beyond comprehension. The focus should be on art and culture. Artists (especially not from Miami) should CONTRIBUTE to the culture of Miami. Listeners may then be guided to form new perspectives, instead of just popping bottles at a table behind the DJ booth. This will in turn inspire musical artists to keep on creating new waves of journeys through sound, while keeping things fresh and fantastic for all.
There is infinite potential in Miami and its music scene, both “mainstream” and “underground”; and much of it is seemingly untapped. We can surely always do better, especially in regards to what music we accept, listen to, and party to. We can advocate for newfound originality and genuine creativity, while leaving behind the unimaginative. Together, we can blend art with culture and make the sensational scene we know and love better and better each and every night we go out.
May we always look to consume the finer things, and never settle for less.
Much love Miami.