Jeff Mills on the Value of Electronic Music

Probably the most known DJ and producer of the world, Jeff Mills, posted a message on his Facebook account reflecting on how music, like any type of art, is subject to interpretation and personal taste. Having dedicated over three decades to electronic music, he’s sure that it isn’t for everyone.

Owner of his own label – Axis – and having explored other artistic disciplines, Mills encourages young artists to keep on working hard, to take the criticism and use it as an incentive to improve.
Electronic music allows a limitless self-expression, says Mills, and that’s why he believes this industry should be taken good care of.

Read his full message right below:


Please allow me to get right to the vital point of this commentary.

From my professional opinion, Electronic Music, in comparison to other genres, it isn’t an array of boring or mundane musical works as some people suggest. The notion that it’s a genre that has “ran its course” due to the over dependence on technology is unproven too. Yes, anyone can search to find music they don’t like or care for, but this can be said in any other genre of music, and in any art form. Keep this mind, in this genre, people are able to express themselves in anyway, any level for any reason they choose and in music, there isn’t such a thing as “right” or “wrong”, “good or bad”. Things are as they are – that’s it. If you are one that whole heartedly disagree, then maybe Electronic Music is for you. Maybe what your searching for is happening in another genre. It makes little sense wasting your time when you don’t have to. Now, there are artists in Electronic Music that are learning this industry, the art form, how to be a musician and artist as they go forward. This isn’t unusual and the idea of knowing everything from the start is unrealistic. Only the artists can design their careers, not the public. To any artist that feels that most criticism towards their work is harsh and unwarranted, I say to them this. “The only way to shut them down is to get better at what you do”. If you call yourself a musician, make a lot of music. If a DJ, master the art of programming music. If you don’t know how, watch and study.

Here are 10 points I think we should note:

1. It’s just so easy and can be even fun to magnify happenings in this industry. I suggest an occasional reframe from the urge to trivialize artists and what they say or are doing. Instead, look at what they’ve done. Actions speak much louder than words.

2. Start talking about music. Not in terms of right or wrong, but rather, what was/is the artist trying to say. If you have difficulties understanding meaning, ask them.

3. The modern music “industry” is still relatively new. Not even 100 years old. Like with anything, if it isn’t taken care of, there is no reason to believe that it won’t vanish or change to the point of becoming something else. Take real care of what you love.

4. There is the “music industry” and then there is “artistry”. It’s not often that both can be mastered at the same time. For some, it can take a while to fully understand both sides. Without always passing judgement, just watch and listen.

5. Sometimes the public can be wrong. Unless everyone is automatically born with a deep knowledge of music, it’s possible for large groups of people to under and over estimate. It’s only in time that the real truth emerges. So just because you believe something doesn’t necessarily make it true or a fact. Be careful what you read. Strengthen and update your filter.

6. Music is not about being perfect. And if you think that your taste and perception is, then consider this: When you hear music, it’s only a percentage of what the producer is trying to say. That, they’re true and complete feelings are usually never completely extracted and translated down into accurate notes and chords. There is a lot of compromising going on in the process. Some musicians never get it right so how can it be assumed that what you’re hearing is perfect(?)

7. Though the music industry still struggles in certain areas, it’s important to remember that it will be the “music” that people will remember most. Not the festival, not the video, not review or critique. A musician’s contribution, measured as how important to the genre, will be the most important aspect we’ll recognize.

8. Mixing music together doesn’t make anyone that does it a DJ. Knowing how to handle people takes a special skill that involves atmospheric perception, time- management, good judgement and most importantly, the reality that you’ll never ever make everyone happy.

9. No matter what they say, there is no such thing as the best DJ or artist. It’s just created to get your money.

10. And lastly, anyone that has decided to be an artist or a musician has decided that they want to give the world and culture something. Yes, they might also want to be rich and famous, but there are other quicker ways to be that. Appreciating something for what it is, not always for what it should be can felt in more ways than you probably imagine »
Have a wonderful holiday season. Safe travels

Yours truly,
Jeff Mills