Electronic dance music (EDM) is also known by other names such as dance music, club music, house music, and more recently, trap music. Tons of variations and sub-genres have evolved out of EDM over the last 40 years. Early EDM was called Dub or hip hop. Dub came out of Jamaican reggae music and introduced special effects like reverb and delay to make a unique sound mix. Even disco music is an early form of EDM. The point is, EDM makes you want to get up and dance. It’s often played in clubs by DJs who mix sounds and sound effects together with mixing boards. Even tech giant Elon Musk released his own EDM track according to the BBC.
The electrifying, heart-pumping tunes make fantastic movie soundtracks, not to mention the music industry itself provides a lot of great plot lines for feature films. This makes EDM enthusiasts and movie buffs fast friends. If you are looking for a movie-related gift for a friend who loves house music, here is a brief list of the best EDM movies to date. You can find even more great movie buff gifts ideas in this article from Giftwits as well.
We Are Your Friends (2015)
This movie about an aspiring DJ played by Zac Efron gives a fictional behind the scenes look at what it takes to rise to fame in the world of EDM. The wild ride is fueled with music, drugs, and sex while both a love triangle and a budding career are set up. This movie also stars Wes Bentley and Emily Ratajkowski. Despite its weak theatrical release, it’s now hailed as a timepiece movie for millennials and will probably become a cult classic among that crew, especially those that love dance music. Buy this movie as a gift and include a copy of the thumping soundtrack as a bonus.
Daft Punk Unchained (2015)
Daft Punk is a French Grammy Award-winning EDM band that is probably the most recognizable name in the business, even in the US. This documentary details their career which started in the early 1990s. It uses rare archive footage and personal interviews. While it chronicles the life and work of members Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, it also contains interviews from their closest collaborators like Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, and Michel Gondry. The document was created entirely from previously recorded film and no new scenes containing Daft Punk were included. Their hit song “Get Lucky” helped them achieve international fame and awards, including 5 Grammy Awards. They have also done many amazing collaborations including a song with The Weeknd a few years ago.
Berlin Calling (2008)
A DJ that tours clubs around the world with his girlfriend and manager but ultimately lands in a psychiatric clinic after overdosing on narcotics. It shows struggles in Berlin following Hitler’s “final solution.” The film is ripe with techno clubs and a great soundtrack. Ecstasy puts him into a psychotic break which puts his career and relationships in trouble.
If you love EDM music festivals then this movie will be right up your alley. It’s about six people attending an electronic dance music festival and who are all struggling in some way until their paths collide. The visuals in the movie are amazing and really bring the festival scene to life. It carries all the EDM cliches such as the bro-tank crowd, the slutty girls, the druggies, and the straight-edge (absolutely no drugs or alcohol) just to name a few. It’s both a comedy and a drama with something for everyone. If you’ve never been to a festival and want to see what one is like, this is a pretty good example.
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2016)
Forbes Magazine recently did a write up on the highest-paid DJs in the industry and the hard-working Steve Aoki was in the top five (along with The Chainsmokers, Calvin Harris, Diplo, and Marshmello). They reported that Aoki makes six-figures a night when he performs. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead is a Netflix documentary about one of the most talented DJs the world has ever known. His story is exhilarating and at times heartbreaking in the time leading up to his biggest show to date. He talks about this childhood, his issues with his father, and more.
Party Monster (2003)
According to Kate Huber at NJGamblingFun, “For a bit of a throw-back, check out this clubbing movie starring Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green. It’s a biographical drama about party promoter and “king of the club kids” Michael Alig. Alig started out as a social outcast but found his groove in the club scene. He rose to fame but drugs ultimately tore him apart and ended in murder and prison time. The film got mainly negative reviews when it was first released but has become a cult classic over time. Roger Ebert even conceded that Culkin’s performance was fearless.”
24 Hour Party People (2002)
This British comedy-drama details Manchester’s popular music scene between 1976 and 1992. It starts out with punk rock but later evolves into the rave and DJ culture of the 1980s. The plot centers around a newspaper reporter that follows and reports on the music scene and news of the time. Although it’s a fictional movie, it is based loosely on real events which can be seen throughout the movie. The “fourth-wall” is frequently broken in a stylized fashion that brings a level of personalization to the film.
Human Traffic (1999)
This 90s movie is a mixture of music, romance, and club culture in Brittan and stars John Simm and Danny Dyer. The tale of five close friends who explore their relationships and personal demons during ecstasy and music filed weekend. It includes plenty of backdrop of techno raves for the EDM lovers out there. It is interesting to note that the UK version and the US version of the movie are pretty different so if you are a purist try to find the original version.