Electronic dance music (EDM) has recently gained a great deal of popularity all around the world in line with the emergence of numerous labels and DJs. Although the genre has been spanning across since the late 1980s as the key genre of night clubs; it has never accomplished such vogue.

The percussive music genres largely branch from production methods of disco, techno, house and trance. However, in recent times there have been various sub-divisions and adaptations of club music which are at rift with mainstream music.

Every DJ has a different skill set and a unique preference of what the crowd needs and what they can deliver. Electronic music was originally created for night clubs, parties and raves, but due to its rapidly increasing popularity, it has made its way into many categories of mainstream music.

Pakistan has not been left behind when it comes to the growing recognition of electronic dance music. At present there are many amateur and professional DJs across the country and thousands waiting for more gigs.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, there are those who are yet to even recognise the talents and skills a DJ acquires. For them a DJ is someone who plays music at a wedding ceremony. What sound engineering involves and the value of audio-skills are beyond their interpretation.

Karachi, in comparison to other cities in Pakistan, has been witness to a paramount of discotheques and night life. However, recently Lahore and Islamabad have stepped up their game with various event management companies hosting club nights and parties, attracting many people from surrounding areas such as Multan and Faisalabad to come to the cities for eventful nights out with friends.

Roughly 10 years ago, Karachi hosted some of the best parties with very small intervals. Their frequency has slumped due to a large amount of substance abusers and security threats that come from the rising culture of private guards and weapon possession.

“The older days were awesome! There were few people who were really passionate about this form of art and entertainment, it was difficult but amazing nonetheless as it was so unique for Pakistan,”

says Faisal Baig, one of the most famed DJs in the country.

“The scene did not die out; it was affected by the situation in the country. The Karachi scene fizzled out as the city became more and more dangerous. Lahore has a good scene now with new people diving in, technology has made it possible for more people to try spinning and producing but mostly they keep it at a hobby level. EDM artists cannot sustain themselves on local gigs alone, and that’s why the professional scene just does not pick up, ” he claims.

Many struggling musicians of Pakistan are already trying to overcome this ordeal including artists involved in other genres of music. In comparison to the mainstream music, the audiences for electronic music are still diminutive in number, but there are still many people who are trying to revive the community and its events in the country.

Akin to this, a forum under the name of Pakistan DJ network (PDN) hosted an event for various artists to showcase their skills.

Hira Tareen performing live at the PDN Karachi meet up. — Courtesy Photo

The event started with a meeting of PDNs members, hosted by Hira Tareen and Ali Safina (the founding members of PDN) that held discussions about goals, plans and challenges faced by DJs in Pakistan along with narrowing down of solutions to overcome obstacles and reach their desired apex.

“We are taking small steps to come together and collaborate on various projects. The initial goals have already been achieved, the next goals are to possibly have a Lahore meet up and perform at more live gigs collectively,”

said Tareen.

“Due to the current political situation and limitations in the country and not being able to perform live as much as we'd like, another thing we hope to do is to use alternatives to still get our talent and music out there. As an organization when we put together events ourselves, we are committed to providing our talent with a drug free and safe environment where the music is at the forefront and the listeners who are there come with an open mind to explore new genres of electronic music.”

The meet-up then opened up to “DJs Play for DJs” which incorporated performances consisting of 30 minute sets showcasing their skills and talents in their particular genres.

In Lahore, similar efforts are being made with event management teams hosting large music festivals and inviting foreign artists like Sander Klienenberg to pump it up.

“Initially it was tough. Recession had hit, the market was saturated and I didn't have much help. It took me quite a while to figure it out. But now, with the grace of God, the feedback is phenomenal,” Fahad Rehman, the art director at a Lahore based event management company FCCM, said.

“Hiring foreign artists have proven to be a very lucrative and viable business model. People are willing to pay top dollar for quality entertainment,”

he added.

This trend initially was accustomed to Karachi and paled for some time but quickly gained pace with major gigs of grand artists like Anthony Pappa and Jimmy Van M.

Jimmy Van M performing live in Karachi. — Courtesy Photo

Though there are potential problems arising from such trends, Baid highlighted saying, “As great as it is for international artists to come here, I think it takes away a lot from the local talent. Promoters just don’t see the locals as crowd pullers so it becomes a loop and the local artist doesn’t rise.”

He further added that, “Commendable that they get international artists but it has to be balanced better. In the earlier days I'd play a minimum of seven hours a night and really be able to take the crowd along; now you have to fight for a two hour slot.”

Music festivals around the globe take place on such a grand scale with a massive audience adding up to 30,000 people and more. Perhaps Pakistan will witness its share too, and surely they too are in hope for such escapades, especially with the current situation in the country.

It’s always healthy to have a lot going on around you for people to vent and channel their energy in a frivolous way. Possibly, we will too witness a time where there is awareness and appreciation for this form of art and amongst numerous hobbyists, the true talents will rise.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (25)

February 13, 2013 11:41 am
February 13, 2013 11:39 am
Also please dont point out gigs, parties or producers that have not been mentioned in the article because its impossible that a particular person has perfect knowledge of what is going on in the EDM scene across the country; but events are still happening regardless of who hears about them.
February 13, 2013 11:29 am
Great article Shameen! Glad someone is giving us the attention that we deserve.
rah rah
February 13, 2013 5:35 pm
ps i'll be in karachi in march/april can someone tell me of any good shows or events during that time. Would like to check out the khi scene.
rah rah
February 13, 2013 3:29 pm
All, The issue with electronic music is the drug related activity that comes along with it. For a Muslim country it is always tough for any type of music to flourish but this type of music has an especially difficult time. The other thing is security! No one will come to an event if it is not safe and late at night. So i suggest a couple of things living in America but grew up in Karachi. Work on having events earlier in the day for now. So that the parents are not worried about where the kids are going. Have a lot of good security precautions in place and the event at a safe location. Of course have a lot of local talent that will build the scene greatly but u need a good famous headliner to pull crowds. Just make it safe enough so no one dies please cuz then Pakistan will never see this amazing scene flourish.
Syed Rizvi
February 13, 2013 6:07 am
Why does then the media focus on Burqa and beard only, when so many fine things are going on in Pakistan? These are as good as I have seen here in the west.
Saad (@saad_durrani)
February 13, 2013 7:15 am
WOW! What a run-of-the-mill article. No mention of local talents like Shaun Ansari getting signed. No talk of Talal Qureshi's success! No mention of Orla Feeney's gig in Lahore. Not a single word for Affan Baray. It seemed that it was made to write for a section of talent which jumped into this bandwagon.
Saad (@saad_durrani)
February 13, 2013 7:19 am
One of the news channel tried to cover Sander Kleininberg (forget the spelling there). In the end, it was covered as 'all booze and dope—a threat to Pakistan's Islamic ideology'.
February 13, 2013 7:27 am
This is against islam
Zaki Khalid (@zakikhalidtx)
February 13, 2013 7:58 am
Why no mention of the talented and acclaimed young Shaun Ansari? (https://soundcloud.com/shaunansari)
February 13, 2013 8:16 am
Meanwhile in Sao Paulo :D www.youtube.com/watch?v=FitWIdM-dtM
Noor Khan
February 13, 2013 8:24 am
its good to see that DJing is gaining momentum but mostly people dont know about EDM because of shitty indian songs all over the country and also there are no such institutes which teaches music production or djing that's another obstacle
February 13, 2013 8:26 am
Actually Im really into this stuff too but i havent heard of the Orla Feeney gig either, and i know Talal but the other 2 names you mentioned i havent heard of. So it might not be as much about that in particular as a general scape. Even Anna Kiss has come to Lahore and so have a few other foreign artists...its probably the first article of its kind so give them some time. :)
February 13, 2013 8:28 am
Actually Im really into this stuff too but i havent heard of the Orla Feeney gig either, and i know Talal but the other 2 names you mentioned i havent heard of. So it might not be as much about that in particular as a general scape. Even Anna Kiss has come to Lahore and so have a few other foreign artists…its probably the first article of its kind so give them some time. :)
February 13, 2013 8:54 am
No. You are against Islam.
Jawab Do
February 13, 2013 9:35 am
I agree. These people are marassi.
Secular no more
February 13, 2013 6:36 pm
guys who want to enjoy and do things that are unislamic can get out of the Islamic republic of Pakistan and go to some Secular country...this is UNISLAMIC
February 13, 2013 8:18 pm
Qureshi bhai you are right. Against islamic values. They should not do these things. That`s all wrong and women and men are intermingling with each other as they are husband wife. May Allah guide us all.
February 13, 2013 10:06 pm
Electronic music is so popular because most of it is free on the internet with some exceptions. Although it does help that there more people making good music than before.
February 13, 2013 11:06 pm
Would love to hear the likes of David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Afrojack and Swedish House Mafia performing in Pakistan. Just imagine.
February 14, 2013 3:52 am
Well, there you go .....
rah rah
February 14, 2013 7:43 pm
rah rah
February 14, 2013 7:40 pm
that would be sick!
February 14, 2013 4:51 am
This is all unislamic and sharia students will put n end to it.
February 14, 2013 4:54 am
Pakistanis living in Britain and America will bring an end to all this unislamic stuff in Pakistan. All Pakistanis living outside want sharia law, but native pakistanis are drinking alcohol, partying and not participating in jihad. How strange!
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