Nathaniel Rathbun, otherwise known as his stage name, Audien, is a 27 year old DJ from Connecticut. There are thousands of DJs in the world who specialize in Electronic Dance Music (EDM), some of the more notable being like fireworks in the night sky: rest in peace Avicii. My passion for EDM music began in my first year in college when I came across a free download from Grammy Award winner, Pretty Lights, from Colorado. I will never forget the moment that I first heard “Hot Like Sauce,” and knew that this was a different kind of music that would change the electronic music industry, and it did. It was pure marketing genius for Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith) to give away his music to download on his website. The exposure eventually brought him to a Grammy Award. I was intrigued by the politics of him giving away his music before he became famous; Pretty Lights set the stage for a very fluid industry in the EDM world.
EDM festivals like the now MTV owned SnowGlobe festival in Lake Tahoe, as well as the infamous Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas have been unique culture carriers for electronic music. There is even an electronic music cruise called “Holy Ship!” that sails from Florida to the Bahamas. I personally think the most incredible festival would be the Electric Love Festival in Austria, where Steve Aoki stated that it was the “most beautiful” place he had ever performed. Hopefully Audien is invited to perform there next year, because I think he deserves to be on that stage.
All of these events have their tragic stories, but they also have brought millions of young people together to enjoy music together. With Audien’s emergence in the past couple of years, I think he brings a fresh air to the EDM genre, and furthermore, perhaps allows for this particular music genre to prove itself as more intersectional than music critics may see it as or have a tendency to pigeonhole. When I first heard “Hot Water,” which was a collaboration between Audien and 3Lau last year, I knew that the music industry had something special on their hands. Audien is continuing to prove himself, and I think his music is worth elevating; personally, while I enjoy Diplo to an extent, I think Audien is much better. It’s clear to me: the future of electronic music has arrived.