How Electronic Pop Gained My Respect

By Sherlock Shi, First Year Psychology Student

The other day, I was talking with another friend who happens to study classical music. He did not find my interest in electronic pop music very entertaining: or at least that’s what I sensed. My interest in electronic pop music comes from a long way back – usually this kind of story goes back to someone’s childhood, starting with the sentence “a long time ago”, but I will save you some time today and begin my story from high school instead.

Photo by Edward Eyer on

You see, my high school was very different from what you would call an international school in Beijing. It lacked international students, a full English environment and student accommodation that most international schools in Beijing have. But one thing it did right was inviting my band to its famous “Rock Fest”. Young and wild teenagers like the bunch in my band loved to play pop rock in front of people, we loved to share that fast-beating music to the under-aged or the elders who were invited by the student committee for some stupid reasons they had made up (seriously, why would you want an 80-year-old papa listening to screams and shout?). Anyhow, we ended up winning the second place of the “Rock Fest” through the song “Superhero by the Script”. It wasn’t a surprise considering we rehearsed that song for two months, but what happened later was a shocker.

Our band broke into pieces after 11th grade: one went to learn computer science; another just quit the band because he felt guilty not accompanying his girlfriend for most of the high school time; and the last one went to another band for unknown reasons. As for me, I went to learn music production for the rest of high school.

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Electronic music was not my thing before the band split up. I thought it was rather dull compared to the “rock n roll” spirit. Yet, the sense of beat embedded within the electronic music drew me in. I started to learn music production on Youtube. Everyone familiar with music production knows a kind of application called DAW – Digital Audio Workstation. My first choice of DAW was Fruitty Loop, and I would say it isn’t a user-friendly DAW considering I’m working with Ableton now. I was working very hard to produce my first song as I wanted to make a good impression, but sadly, it didn’t catch many people’s eye. “It is old-fashioned, out of style” said one of my friends who was listening to ‘The End of The World’ by Skeeter Davis. Later that year, however, I published my first album “Talkin’ To Me”, which made a wave in the school. It was also the first time I tried to produce a deep house track. As for now, I’m producing another future bass track – you can try emailing me to have a peek at the demo, but don’t get your hopes too high!

Back to the serious topic of electronic pop music. It includes a broad genre of music across the spectrum, all the way from disco houses like Calvin Harris’s Giant to Brostep like Skrillex’s Scary Monster and Nice Sprites, and I love all of them proudly. Modern music like EDM wants more on sound creation rather than complicated chord transitions in classical music. What kind of music you listen is your decision to make after all – but for now, electronic pop music should be treated with respect like any other genre of music. Let no one disregard you just because you eat EDM for breakfast, lunch and dinner, young music producers!

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