12 awkward dance music moments you can’t un-see

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In the afterglow of this year’s Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, an interview between and I Heart Radio sent ripples of cringe through the internet. Of course, it wasn’t the first time an awkward dance music moment was immortalised for us all to re-play. From live gaffes to uncomfortable TV appearances, we’ve opened the inthemix vaults to remember 12 incidents – with video evidence! – that made us go “Oooof”.


#12 Armin’s army takes on David Guetta

In 2011, Armin van Buuren seemed poised to take the #1 spot in DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll for the fifth year running. So when divisive superstar David Guetta knocked him off the coveted spot – in Armin’s Dutch homeland, no less – the audience at the award ceremony wasn’t exactly pleased. For his part, Armin was all grace as he presented the Frenchman with his award, but that didn’t stop the crowd booing loudly as the accused interloper stepped out onto stage.

“Amazing achievement from Armin,” a clearly awkward Guetta wobbled in his acceptance speech. “This is your home country, so it feels a bit strange…” Meanwhile, the magazine issued a statement soon after the ceremony: “DJ Mag is merely the guardian of the poll. It does not reflect our taste in music.”


#11 Markus Schulz on the couch of cringe

Uploaded to his own YouTube channel with the title When interviews go wrong, there was never any doubt that Markus Schulz’s face-to-face with a journalist who clearly hadn’t done her research would have some face-palm moments. Sure enough, things start to wrong around the three minute mark when the interviewer asks Schulz about “his” track Concrete Angel, which, of course, was actually produced by one .

“But I heard you play it at Escape From Wonderland?” she probes. “I didn’t play at Escape From Wonderland,” an amused Schulz responds. The follow-up question didn’t fare much better, either. “Anything we can look forward to from your set at Ultra?” the hands-on host asked. Turns out Schulz wasn’t playing there, either. “You’ll have to leave this interview online,” he jokes midway through. “No!” she screeches. “I’ll look like an idiot!” Well, yeah.


#10 Itch-E & Scratch-E thank Australia’s ecstasy dealers

(Now, this one might’ve been awkward only for concerned parents, while many more cheered.) When you win an award, it’s common practice to thank your fans, your family, your collaborators and maybe even God. Thanking the purveyors of powerful chemicals isn’t usually on the list, but seminal Australian techno duo Itch-E and Scratch-E cheekily double-dumped that rule when they won the 1995 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) award for Best Dance Release for the sublime Sweetness and Light.

Members Paul Mac and Sherriff Lindo used their acceptance speech to thank “the ecstasy dealers of Australia,” which caused a bit of a media kerfuffle, coming as it did only four days before the tragic ecstasy-related death of schoolgirl Anna Wood. Paul Mac later said that it was, “The best career move I ever made. I got in so much trouble for that, but I don’t care. I’m still proud of it. I meant every word, and I still do.” Will we see Skrillex thanking “molly” at next year’s Grammys? Unlikely.


#9 The amazingly awful trailer for ‘DJ Girl’

“Is this the worst DJ movie ever?” inthemix asked back in 2010, when we unearthed the gold-mine that is the DJ Girl trailer. Yes, this is someone’s idea of dance music culture. Packing facepalm after facepalm into two tantalising minutes, it’s almost a tragedy this teaser never led to the movie getting an official release. We never found out what happened to Dylan ‘the cute record store guy’, Gabe ‘the jealous ex’, Gunther ‘the metro buddy’ or the rest of the well-rounded and cliché-free characters. Oh well. At least you can revisit the trailer and wonder what could’ve been.


#8 DJ Shadow “too future” for the table-service crowd

When you book a peerless innovator like to play your club, you should probably expect that he’s going to play some interesting, perhaps even challenging, music. Apparently Miami superclub Mansion missed the memo, though – the promoter kicked Shadow off the decks mid-set for being “too future.” (Have a listen to the infamous mix below and let us know if you think his mix of future-trap and glitch-hop is too challenging for a club crowd.)

Shadow took to Twitter to respond: “I don’t care if I get kicked out of every rich kid club on the planet. I will never sacrifice my integrity as a DJ…ever.” Shadow isn’t the only one to have been kicked off the decks at Mansion, though – house legend ’s set was also cut short for not being commercial enough.


#7 Disclosure goes ‘unplugged’ at Wembley Arena

A supposedly incriminating photo did the rounds after “the UK’s Number 1 Hit Music Station” Capital FM brought in to perform hit You & Me at their Wembley Arena Summertime Ball. Vocalist Eliza Doolittle was on the mic, belting it out, while the brothers Lawrence stood awkwardly behind a black clothed trolley on which sat their CDJs and mixer, none of which were plugged in (the mixer plug was clearly visible on the floor).

Was this another case of talented producers who can’t actually do anything live? Disclosure were quick to answer the haters, posting on Facebook, “Capital FM made us do this show with a backing track playing but allowed the vocalists to sing…We pleaded with them for weeks and weeks to let us play fully live or at least let us mix but they just weren’t having it. Notice also that we didn’t try and make it look like we were mixing.” Props to the brothers for their protest stance.

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#6 “It’s amazing to me that DJs are now considered superstars”

“I am so intrigued by having you here,” trilled daytime TV host Wendy Williams when trance don sat down on her couch earlier this year. “Trance is a kind of music, and DJ Armin is the king of that,” Williams added for those watching at home, while every second line from the Dutchman’s mouth raises a TV-studio cheer. (Surely the best wave of “woo”s comes when he mentions how good it is to have a working knowledge of tax law.)

It all got particularly weird when talk turned to his earnings. “Being that DJ Armin is the number one DJ in the world means he’s getting number one money,” Williams announces, before she guesses his fee for playing weddings, bar mitzvahs and parties is somewhere in the ball-park of $500,000 to $1,000,000. Armin’s his usual good-natured self for the full five minutes of shiny weirdness.


#5 Steve Angello versus the internet

As says of DJing without headphones: “It’s not that hard.” While that might be true, it is hard to contend with a viral video titled ‘Steve Angello: How To Fake Your Fans’. The outcry began when footage hit YouTube of the don DJing at Dance Valley without headphones, and generally looking pretty nonplussed to be there. YouTube commenters, famed for their reasonable reactions (said nobody, ever) accused Angello of playing a premixed set and just toying with the EQs.

Angello hit back with his own Facebook post, and the sniping rolled on. When asked about the video at the EDMbiz conference in Las Vegas, he reasoned: “It’s not that hard if you know your records, and it’s definitely not hard if you re-edit all your records so you know the exact timing of things.” Still, being marked with the taint of ‘Fake DJ’ is no fun for anyone.


#4 “Markus Schulz is in the house!”

If you were the World’s Most Famous DJ™, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that professional TV presenters could put a face to your name. Which is why deserves a pat on the back for only looking faintly amused when two Mexican awards show hosts introduce him with a hearty, ‘ is in the house!’ Sure, the two DJs do share a Teutonic resemblance (in fact, if you were being unkind you could even say that Tiesto should consider it a compliment). But you have to wonder who was in charge of the auto-cue, if they weren’t even sure which guest was up next…


#3 The Grammys do ‘EDM’, badly

. Chris Brown. Lil Wayne. . The Foo Fighters. If that sounds like a line-up for the collaboration no one wanted, then you’d be right. This was how the Grammys decided to pay tribute to the rise and rise of EDM at their 2012 ceremony. Watch as Guetta bops along to I Can Only Imagine and fiddles with the EQs, while Chris Brown croons and the words ‘worst human alive’ flash over his head (they don’t, but they should). Then comes the stiff Deadmau5/Foo Fighters mash-up (Grohl told MTV that “Deadmau5 is maybe the only EDM artist I know because we did a bunch of festivals over the summer”).

If that sounds cringe-worthy, that’s because it was – watch below if you don’t believe us. The segment was so ham-fisted it even turned chart-friendly trio Swedish House Mafia off the idea of performing at the Grammys. Speaking to inthemix in March this year, Axwell simply put it: “The Grammys would probably feel like a monkey in a cage kind of situation.”


#2 “Where did you fly in from, a party in Kim Kardashian’s vagina?”

has landed, along with the other two people who make up ”: so begins an exceptionally painful interview with Wesley Pentz and his Major Lazer collaborators Jillionaire and Walshy Fire at Lollapalooza this year. Over the course of six minutes, the interviewer tries to joke around with the Major Lazer crew, ends up awkwardly mocking them and digs herself into a deeper hole with each exchange.

The trio, for their part, certainly don’t look happy to be there. But being thrown questions like “Have you ever texted pictures of your privates?”, “Where did you fly in from, a party in Kim Kardashian’s vagina?” and “Who is the most annoying person you’ve worked with in the past two years?” (to which Diplo responds without missing a beat, “Probably you”), you can hardly blame them.


#1 Madonna’s “molly” misdemeanor

Madonna doesn’t stay at the top of the charts for no reason. When the 2012 edition of Ultra Music Festival rolled around, Madge was 53, almost 30 years on from her first release and ready to promo the hell out of her new album MDNA. With EDM blowing up in the States at the time, a special guest appearance during ’s UMF mainstage set must have seemed like the perfect place to jump the bandwagon. So before the superstar DJ took his place, Madonna waltzed on stage to declare her apparently long-standing passion for electronic music (“In my world, the words ‘music’ and ‘dance’ are not separated, OK?”) before asking: “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?”

“Very classy there Madonna,” an on-point wrote on his Facebook the following day. “’HUR DUR HAS ANYONE SEEN MOLLY???’ Such a great message for the young music lovers at ultra. Quite the f’n philanthropist. But hey, at least yer HIP AND TRENDY! Fucking can’t smack my head hard enough right now.”

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  • ITMForeverTheSame

    Never mind the fact that Madonna was making DANCE music in its original forms long before Kuntmau5 and whoever wrote this turd of an article were even born. In The Mix, please take a seat in this giant stadium full of them.

    • JackT

      Have you watched the video? Would’ve been awkward even from the most relevant act in dance music.

    • Glenn Gustafson

      Madonna was an original act but she was not doing “DANCE music in its original forms”…geez, ITMFTS…human beings have been dancing to music before there was written language…and most CERTAINLY before Madonna or you or I were born. There is evidence that humans have danced since the dawn of time. Yeah…I wonder who played the records?

  • https://twitter.com/EdLuvables Ed Luvables

    Avicii playing country at Ultra was way more awkward than the Madonna thing.

  • Jim

    Why isn’t Paris Hilton trying to DJ on here??

  • Megan Arctic Spunfox

    fucking madonna, she’s old enough to be my mom. show some class.

    • Glenn Gustafson

      Megan…gee…show some maturity here, Megan…Madonna has never been a rock and roll star…she is, however, one of the most successful artists ever to put her soul on display by recording her true feelings and self and giving those recordings to the public. I have never been a fan of anything about her but her ability to succeed at anything/everything she tries to do. Think about that, Megan…no easy trick for anyone.
      One more thing, Megan. The world does NOT belong to you. Not yet. Wait a few years. By the time it does, there will be twerps like you are now criticizing superstars because they are older than 19. And by the way, Megan…I am your mother’s lover. Was gonna tell you about it after we broke it to your Dad…but since you’re being such a w(b)itch tonight, I will have break the promise I gave your mom. And Megan…it is possible…we will have to check the DNA…I may be your father. Or it may be one of several other guys I know. Just get ready for the news.

  • Glenn Gustafson

    Dance music is different from era to era. I was a child during the boogie-woogie days and reached puberty about the time Chuck Berry and some of the other rhythm & blues artists gave boogie woogie and rhythm & blues a new sound…a new beat…and a new attitude.
    The first artists who seemed to get the nation’s attention were some older guys who were actually a big band pretending to be doing something they thought up…Bill Hailey and the Comets were a boogiewoogie/big band music group who recorded “Rock Around the Clock” and it got a lot of attention because it was in a movie aimed at young audiences…Glenn Ford Starred. This movie was Sidney Poitier’s movie debut. The song used the magic word that radio dj’s had been using…”rock” when talking about great new music.
    About the same time…Elvis Presley, who was already a country music star recorded a couple of songs that became huge hits and they became what has come to be known as “crossover” hits. And Elvis became the “first” R& R superstar.
    Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan’s show and because he was the first of this genre to appear nationally on tv he often gets the credit for inventing the sound. But he was singing country music for a couple of years before this happened…some of his early stuff you heard on the Grand Ole Opry…yeah…that is where E got his start. Oh…he was already a star with big sales in the Country Music biz. The term rock and roll is said to have come from a New York DJ named Alan Freed. forgive me for the history lesson. I was there when it started and I have been a fan of much of what has been labeled Rock ever since.
    Had a bad time in the 70′s when Disco seemed to dominate music…it was dance music…no more…no less…just great music that encouraged one to get up and dance. I like to dance, but that music never got my attention…it all sounded alike to me…and a bunch of it sounded like re-done stuff from the 30′s and 40′s.
    Rock and Roll is not that kind of experience.
    Rock and Roll is not supposed to make one want to dance.
    Rock and Roll is supposed to get your attention and make your mind-body-soul too busy to think about moving your feet. It makes you feel alive inside.
    Rock and Roll is the music that makes your soul get excited along with your genitals. When your basic sex drive is activated one does not think about jumping around on a dance floor but think about being close to the one you love. Yeah…you can’t dance to this stuff…not supposed to do but one kind of dance to this music…in that respect the good R&R is very much akin to the great old R&B songs…geez…Clovers…Five Satins…Ruth Brown…Fats Domino…and bless his soul, Johnny Ace…and so many others who absolutely pushed us in the right direction.
    Even the loud, exciting, head-banging genre of Rock and Roll is not the property of a single generation. One of the old anthems said it: “Rock and Roll will never die!”
    Now I am getting offline…gonna listen to some old 70′s stuff from the Moody Blues. Their stuff was never R&R either…but it was great stuff. Rock and Roll Music is my choice of music.
    Music is whatever stuff, whatever artist, whatever sound that moves your soul. Have a good one.
    …and ROCK ON!