We are witnessing an unprecedented migration from rural to urban areas. In a few decades, we will most likely be living in megacities, isolated from nature. And thinking of the aesthetic of electronic music, very likely the first things that come to mind are city life, dark clubs, fast living and copious use of technology. On the first glimpse, nature wouldn't seem to be a significant part of it at all.
But think deeper: we're not isolated by any means - nature is both all around us, even in the cities, and deep within us. We are nature. And many, many successful artists either use nature as their main source of inspiration, or have a close relationship to it as they seek for balance and creative stimulation away from the endless circuit of screens and DJ booths. And in the end, after their journey, these creative heroes will bring back their interpretation and concept of nature in their works on our dance floors, screens, and speakers.
In order to play in harmony with nature, first, we need to learn to listen. Whether you tune in to the universe’s smallest particle or its largest galaxy, you’ll discover that the whole world communicates through sound or vibration. Many artists will say it’s very grounding to turn these sounds into music. Some artists will claim to have the best musical ideas and magical moments with their audiences when they felt a strong connection with their surroundings during their outdoor sets in natural settings. Others take an interest in the biological or physical sciences and the patterns they find there. Work that reflects nature helps us to become aware and present, and maybe even helps us understand the world more directly and intuitively.
In this panel, we talk to DJs, music producers, and VJs about how they study and observe nature, how they use it in all its forms and transformations in their artistic processes and creations. These ideas take endless forms because nature provides us with such a vast wealth of inspiring phenomena. But what does it mean to be in truly connected with nature as an artist? Does it take a lot of practice to reconnect, or does it – pun intended – come naturally? And what exactly do you need to do in practical terms to make that connection?
Image by Rafael Dimiioniatis: Heleen Blanken @ Draaimolen Festival