10 Documentaries Every EDM Fan Should Watch

Posted at June 14th, 2015 | by Sidhantha Jain | in

Electronic Dance music is occasionally thought to be limited to only sick drops, sensual female vocals, thumping bass, super cool festivals and music videos that vaguely make sense. Surprisingly, that’s actually how most us of relate to the dance community.

Over the past few years, electronic dance music has taken off in popular culture. The transformation from an underground obsession to an unstoppable movement has not happened overnight. Electronic Dance Music’s shift into the mainstream spotlight has opened the up the gates, inviting a broader eye at the genre as a whole.

We have listed 10 must watch EDM documentaries/short films which explore this cultural phenomenon and follow all aspects of the growth of a genre of music that is truly defining today’s generation.

Leave the world Behind

The Swedish House Mafia were at the top of their game when they decided to call it quits. The surprisingly emotional and much celebrated documentary “Leave the World Behind” chronicles the band’s sold out worldwide farewell tour in 2012.  The documentary, directed and edited by Christian Larson and executive-produced by music video pioneer Jonas Akerlund, is formally executed and doesn’t deviate too much from the standard music documentary format. We are taken to 2011, when tensions first started to reach out masses, and concert footage from around the world that more than adequately captures the scope and scale of the ‘One Last Tour’. There’s the sensation, for the trio and for those in the audience steadily gyrating along, that this is the best it’s ever going to get. The documentary should be applauded for its visual boldness and emotional articulatene.

I AM Hardwell

Not many artists apart from Swedish House Mafia can boast about having a full-length documentary produced about them. But Hardwell was fortunate enough to be a part of this Robin Piree’s video project. Over two and a half years in the making, the documentary, ”I AM Hardwell” follows Robert Van De Corput from his time as a rising star to being ranked the #1 DJ in the World. You get the opportunity to see how involved Hardwell is in his own events and productions. The life of a superstar isn’t as easy as it may be made out to be and this film doesn’t try to hide the personal struggles encountered.

Under The Electric Sky

Electric Daisy Carnival is an annual all-EDM festival sprawling, neon-lit wonderland that takes the “carnival” aspect very seriously. The festival becomes bigger and better with each passing year, boasting a number of high profile performers playing on elaborately-themed stages. “Under The Electric Sky,” a documentary about EDC helps you gain a deeper understanding of both what makes the festival such a magnetic destination and why EDM is more than just a music genre. The movie shows you the metamorphic, incredibly positive power of dance music and is thrilling document of the musicians who create these infections beats.

United We Dance

Every March, Ultra Music Festival in Miami kicks off the annual festival circuit, and it never fails to bring in incredible top of line talent, mind blasting setups and a wildly energetic crowd. The 2014 edition of the Ultra Music Festival aftermovie took six months to release and besides being sharply detailed, it takes you on an adventure while capturing the essence of energy and excitement of the festival perfectly! ‘United We Dance’ is much more than just a fifteen minute promotional video, it reminds you what it is that you love about the scene. The interim interviews with the artists add just about the right amount of personal touch.


Moment of Clarity

This 30 minute long documentary really captures the journey of  Zedd from personally setting up the production on the first night to discussing speaking with Skrillex for the first time to reaching out to Hayley Williams and the entire release around ’Stay The Night’ and much more. This movie lets you see a more personal side of Anton Zaslavski aka “Zedd”  showing you not only what nice of a guy he is, but also how hands on he is with the business of him as an artist which is rare to see.

Let’s Make a Spaceship

“Let’s Make A Spaceship”, gives masses  an unprecedented backstage access to one of the most hardworking artists in the EDM scene, Skrillex, as he and his crew built the next chapter in his stage show which took momentum in2014 from Utah. In a partnership with Redbull TV, this documentary delves into the many skills of the dubstep god, that we aren’t used to seeing, especially working on light boards and light shows. It’s perfectly clear from this short movie, how cool and dedicated of a human being Skrillex is and how extensively responsive he is for creating the key ideas behind the madness we see on his tours.

Daft Punk Unchained

Titled as, “Daft Punk Unchained”, the short film is directed by Hervé Martin Delpierre and co-authored by Marina Rozenman. More than fifteen years worth of intimate footage has gone into this piece of gold. Not only that, interviews with Daft Punk collaborators and friends including, Skrillex, Nile Rodgers, Pete Tong, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and more have been included to provide an ‘unmasked’ insight to the Human-Robo’s lifestyle. The highlight of the entire documentary is supposedly the extended interview with their former manager which would provide us with virgin knowledge of the camera shy music icons.

Nothing But The Beat

This Huse Monfaradi directed documentary details the French producer’s career, his rise to fame and the star’s humble side. The movie depicts Guetta as a DJ and producer like any other, someone who paid his dues in the clubs, worked his way up, and happened to be in the right place at the right time. Within its slightly-over-an-hour timeframe, the film touches on three aspects of life: touring, music production, and the trajectory of his career. We learn of his background, working in and listening to the music of gay clubs in his early days, and his ascent, including his parties, to one of the top DJs and most sought-after producers in the world. Just like on David Guetta’s albums, a handful of other artists are part of the exclusive documentary.

It’s all gone Pete Tong

The phrase “It’s all gone Pete Tong” is patois for “It’s all gone wrong,” and is now also the title of a faux documentary about a DJ (not Pete Tong) who goes stone deaf. It presents Frankie’s story in mockumentary form and goes to some effort to blur the line between reality and fiction. It insists Frankie Wilde was an actual disk jockey and interviews real witnesses to his rise and fall. In the 88 minute long film, everything that can go wrong generally does, mostly to surprisingly pleasant effect. The story assumes a more familiar fictive mode as it tracks the sideways adventures of Frankie Wilde, an Ibiza-partying club DJ played with genuine heart and soul by Paul Kaye.

On The Road- From Ultra To Coachella

A while back, Axwell / Ingrosso released a mini-documentary covering their journey to Ultra Music Festival 2015 following the breakup of their super-trio, the Swedish House Mafia. The famed Swedes introduced more new music with live performers, and although the mini film serves as the closing for their spring tour – Coachella was also the beginning of something new. The duo’s return in 2015 has been highlighted by a critically-acclaimed live experience and a handful of hits that prove, as a duo, these two are a pre-eminent force in the progressive game.


How many of these have you watched?

Sidhantha Jain

I love EDM, it loves me back. It pays for my food bills.


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