Now that the festival season has died down, we find ourselves longing for those long nights, dreamy dance parties, thumping bass, and deafening drops. FOMO isn’t a good look on anyone, so we’ve compiled some cult classics and deep documentaries that will fill that electronic music void in your soul.
Now, there are countless documentaries put out by various artists and producers, diving deep into the history or someone’s life story. And we love a good doc, but it’s always fun to mix in a little fantasy. So, here is our list of five films filled with bangers and beats, eccentric personalities, and communities built on PLUR that will see you through to your next festival.
What We Started
The much talked about and widely known documentary takes a stroll down memory lane, looking at popular genres of the past that paved the way for the electronic music we all know (and love) today. The shift from nightclubs hosting live bands to the introduction of discothèques, the doc shows epic clips from legends of disco, like Larry Levan, with commentary by current names including Afrojack, Carl Cox, and Pete Tong. It skims over the death of disco to the introduction of house music through DJs like Chip E and techno through the likes of Jeff Mills.
Lots of attention is paid towards performer extraordinaire, Carl Cox, and teen dream Martin Garrix. Big music industry names weigh in on the controversy of DJs who mix albums versus USB, glorified playlist player DJs who mostly wave their arms in the air. The documentary What We Started is educational, entertaining, and on Netflix. Wins all around.
Avicci: True Stories
Released 6 months before his death, the documentary depicts Avicii (Tim Bergling) and his quick rise to fame. Director Levan Tsikurishvili followed Bergling for over 4 years capturing the behind and in front of the scenes footage that makes up this film. Up close and personal, the film dives into who Bergling really was, the man behind the music. His illustrious career and almost overnight stardom were both awe-inspiring and damaging. We see Bergling’s struggles with both his mental and physical health. Other big names in the industry such as David Guetta, Tiesto, and Chris Martin make cameos.
It is an interesting insight into the life of one of the most respected and famous producers of this generation. A superstar with an aversion to the spotlight, the documentary tells a story of strong character, talent, and the harsh realities of the music industry.
It’s All Gone Pete Tong
Canadian indie film It’s All Gone Pete Tong is a comedic mockumentary(ish) flick about world-renown UK DJ and producer Frankie Wilde. After years of playing insanely loud nightclubs, Wilde loses most of his hearing. Refusing to acknowledge his impairment at first, he continues trying to play gigs, resulting in catastrophic crossfades and provoking boos. After an incident with some feedback, Wilde is knocked unconscious, leaving him permanently deaf.
His hearing being crucial to his success, Wilde proceeds to lose his record deal, manager, and wife. A downward spiral ensues fuelled by depression and drug use. When he meets his next romantic interest who teaches him to read lips, things start looking up again for Wilde.
We Are Your Friends
Regardless of what critics and IMDB say, this flick is a feel-good coming of age film that actually hits some of the darker moments faced in the electronic music community. We Are Your Friends follows Cole Carter (Zac Efron), a college dropout/DJ out looking for a good time with the help of his friends. After a chance meeting with respected DJ, James Reed, Carter is taken under his wing. Classic romantic drama ensues over a girl, drugs are involved, and ODs happen. Friendships are threatened and careers are jeopardized. All the good stuff you would expect to see in a Zac Efron movie.
If you’re nostalgic for summer and responsibility-free college years, this is a good one to tuck in to. Cute commentary from Efron may have the more musically inclined cringing, but it’s all in good fun.
A cult classic, Party Monster follows a small-town kid Michael Alig (Macaulay Caulkin) who gets completely caught up in the club life of 1980s New York City. Completely immersed in the drugs, dancing, music, and celebrity, watching Michael spiral is like a train wreck you can’t take your eyes off. Based on a true story, Party Monster sheds light on the queer and chaotic nightclub scene, the self-destructive behavior of an addict, and the fascinating club kids.
The dark comedy is full of killer tunes and festival costume inspiration. It also shows the effects and downfall of taking a good thing too far and that actions have consequences.
Need more than just a few good flicks to fill that musical void? Check out these electronic music podcasts and fill yourself with musical knowledge.