In 2021, it seems as though dance music movies are all the rage, with several documentaries being made about some of the biggest stars in the scene. With Hollywood A-Listers like Zac Efron and Emily Rajatkowski taking centre stage in 2015’s ‘We Are You Friends’, complete with Tchami-influenced soundtrack, dance music movies have never been more popular. Here, We Rave You take a look at 10 of the best dance music docu-movies ever made…
10. Daft Punk Unchained
Two of the most influential artists in the rise of dance music as we know it today, the likes of Kanye West and Pharrell Williams offer their insight into the legendary, Daft Punk. The film encapsulates the impact the GRAMMY-winning French duo had on the electronic scene, and all from under a pair of plastic helmets, in days when gimmick acts like Marshmello had not yet been conceived.
9. Under The Electric Sky
Growing to become one of the biggest dance festivals in the world, the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas is a true behemoth of the EDM events scene. This movie focuses on the obsessive perfectionism of founder Pasquale Rotella, the importance of the EDC fans (aka the ‘headliners’), and insight from industry legends like Tiesto, who discuss what it means to perform at the neon visual-spectacular.
8. Carl Cox: Space Is The Place
When the iconic Balearic super-club Space closed down in summer 2016, the doors slammed shut on not just a huge part of Ibiza‘s nightlife legacy, but also on the career of techno giant Carl Cox, who had enjoyed almost two decades at the Playa Den Bossa venue as a headlining resident DJ. ‘Space is the Place’ follows Carl’s journey through a highly emotional final season at the legendary club.
7. I AM Hardwell
For young Robbert van de Corput from Breda, Netherlands, the other children from school would be playing sports in the streets, whilst the teen-Robbert would fiddle with sound levels in his bedroom studio. Of course, the Dutch star would go on to become Hardwell, the 2013 and 2014 #1 DJ in the world, a global superstar fuelled by his lifelong journey to become the very best.
6. Take One
When Swedish producers Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso joined forces in their native Stockholm, few could have ever imagined the impact they would have on dance music, as iconic anthems like ‘One’ were born. This movie – one of two made on the SHM trio – follows their rise, and rockstar antics during Miami Music Week 2009, leading Steve Angello to echo the now infamous line:
“She’s like, “I’m Paris Hilton!”… I don’t give a f**k!”
5. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
Few DJs in world music have a more strenuous touring schedule than American EDM megastar, Steve Aoki. This 2016 Netflix documentary follows the ‘Boneless‘ producer’s crazy lifestyle as he travels the world, popping champagne bottles, cake-throwing, and stage-surfing his way (in an inflatable lifeboat) through every continent on earth. In Steve’s case, never has a movie title been more appropriate.
4. Giving Up The Day Job
British trance trio Above & Beyond have accomplished it all. From selling out New York’s Madison Square Garden venue in seconds, to completing a 20,000 attendance at their home venue of the O2 Arena. So in a bid to challenge themselves, the group decided to perform a series of very special acoustic live shows at the Hollywood Bowl, complete with orchestras, live instruments, and emotional vocalists. A thing of beauty, for a thing called love.
3. What We Started
Between 2010 and 2014, the entire EDM scene boomed in a way that was 100 times bigger than anybody could have ever expected. Debuting the movie during Miami Music Week this year, ‘What We Started’ looks at the old; vinyl legend Carl Cox, and the new; Dutch dance-pop heart-throb Martin Garrix, who was booked to play the main-stage of Ultra Music Festival on the back of his success with ‘Animals’ – A fascinating contrast into a genre which is now one of the biggest in the world. This… is what we started.
2. Leave The World Behind
Labelled by many publications as one of the best movies ever made, every story has a rise, and a fall. For Swedish House Mafia, tensions were at an all time high when the band called it quits in 2012. Following the group on their One Last Tour, from the MK Bowl gig, to their final performance at Ultra 2013, the movie gives fans an insight into the real reasons behind the split. and why the group felt that the time was right to go their separate ways. Perhaps we can expect future movies highlighting their 2018 reunion.
1. True Stories
Following Avicii‘s death in April 2018, re-watching the incredible ‘True Stories‘ now gives fans a real insight into the struggles endured by Tim Bergling, who battled health issues, and mental anxiety during his meteoric rise. Deeply haunting and melancholic, the moment when the Swede’s then-manager Ash Pournouri says that he is going to work Tim so hard that ‘he’ll drop dead’ now seems horrifically poignant.