What We Started is a very good music film documenting the history and rise of electronic music.
The documentary centres around the latest mega DJ superstar Martin Garrix, as he prepares for his biggest concert at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival back in 2015, at the tender age of just nineteen.
What We Started has a nice fluid direction in taking you back to the start of the electronic music scene, which started as early as the late sixties. With advances in music and studio equipment technology in the 1970s, electronic music jumped from Detroit and it morphed into the New York disco scene.
With the Studio 54 club hitting the headlines due to the costumes and antics happening in this musicial historical iconic New York club scene, this propelled electronic music even further into the mainstream.
The likes of Village People, Gloria Gaynor, Boney M and Chic were the big hitters of the journey from the 1970s to the 1980s, which saw the advancement of studio computer equipment, most notably the sequencer and the sampler, which gave electronic musicians the means to create music easily and any sound imaginable.
On the otherside of the tracks comes the story of the most world renowned DJ – Britain’s Carl Cox.
He explains his love of the vinyl record that leads him to start DJing as a kid in the mid-70s, which then interweaves with the birth of the Superstar DJ era of the 1990s mostly in the UK and Europe, to the present day.
In America electronic music was very much underground and wasn’t as big as Country and Rock music, which have been the most dominate musicial forms in the United States – Hip-Hop and Rap music had their moments but frizzled out until the late ’90s and grew in the turn of the century like electronic [dance] music.
But now we see a plethora of DJ Superstars, producers and composers, which happen to be in this documentary such as David Guetta, Steve Angello (Swedish House Mafia), AfroJack, Tiësto, Moby, Erick Morillo, Pete Tong, Paul Oakenfold, Usher and even Ed Sheeran all explain about their experiences creating electronic dance music.
David Guetta said sitting next to Steve Angello, with Martin Garrix present, “It took us ten years to get to where we are and it took you [Martin Garrix] just a few years!”
But Martin Garrix did start at a young age, so it did take him ten years to get to the position of producing his own electronic dance music. But the most important factor is that the internet now plays a pivotal role in marketing and advertising new music, which is much more easier than the ‘old’ days where we were shown music videos and interviews of what the ‘big’ record companies wanted you to see, hear and most importantly buy!
The documentary also included interviews and the history from the illegal ‘rave’ gatherings both in the UK and US. These raves were usually in a field and was advertised through pirate radio stations telling ravers a special telephone number as to where the venue was, which included going around the M25 in England, for up to four hours – all in the hope that the police didn’t find these rave gatherings and close them down, with quite a number of ravers arrested.
You see how much fun there was in the old skool days, but then things got heated, especially as the criminal underworld saw a business opportunity in selling drugs at these raves.
Soon the authorities got very heavy handed especially in America, where organisers were taken through the criminal justice system on charges of facilitating the selling and consuming of illegal drugs.
So, instead of waving the white flag of surrender the organisers who wanted to make things work and legally, was to host club nights and eventually purchase clubs of their own, as well as start the biggest electronic dance music festivals such as the Ultra Music Festival – Miami.
The electronic dance music is now worth £5.6 billion ($7.3 billion), according to the IMS Business Report – 2018.