The Holidays are rapidly approaching with many of us finishing up the last of our gift shopping and travel preparations to see family and friends. For most of us, these are set to a soundtrack of classics like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” “Last Christmas” by Wham!, and–of course–the immortal performances of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole. But what about people who don’t want the old jazzy big band and pop standards? Especially those EDM fans out there that want to get into the Holiday spirit to the BPM of their own drum? Well, thankfully, our friends at Deezer are here to help us better understand the needs of those EDM fans, and how to connect them with the holiday tunes they’ll love.
We sat down with Robin Wilms, who is the Global Dance & Electronic Editor for Deezer, to discuss his role with playlists, how he curates the ultimate EDM playlist for the Holiday season, and his favorite songs that get him in the Holiday spirit.
What is the editor’s role in terms of creating a playlist?
It’s always the editor’s goal to compile a selection of tracks to match the concept and/or the theme. There’s no one “right way” to create a playlist, as every editor has their own approach. I typically like to begin with a concept (the mood, the decade, the moment) and a genre (and sub-genre). Then, I pick one track that embodies that concept, and then build my playlist from there, track-by-track.
When people think Christmas music EDM is far from the first thought. How does your playlist look to challenge that notion and inspire people to get into the Holiday Spirit with the non-traditional sounds of EDM?
My “Chilled Holiday ” playlist is geared towards EDM fans who don’t necessarily want to hear traditional holiday music. I’m not trying to replace classics by Wham! or Whitney Houston. My goal is to create a holiday spirit and mood that our EDM fans want to listen to. It can range from chilled beats while enjoying a holiday meal to instrumental beats as background music. It’s a good compromise for family members who may not necessarily be EDM fans. I’ve tried this at my own family get together with great success!
How would you curate someone’s morning to night on the day of the Office Holiday Party?
There are a couple of tracks that can easily transition from day to night starting from the moment you wake up until your head hits your pillow again. My top picks are:
- Waking up & breakfast: Visible Cloaks – World
- Commute to the office: Art of Noise – Moments In Love
- Morning in the office: Gold Panda – In My Car
- Lunch time!: Kornél Kovács – Rocks
- Afternoon in the office: Marie Davidson – Work It (Soulwax Remix)
- Taxi to Christmas party: Kasper Marott – Sky Dreams
- Christmas party DJ request: DJ Koze – Pick Up
- Afterparty: 808 State – Pacific 707
- Bedtime: Benge – 1975 Moog Polymoog
How does the quick transition from the Holidays to New Years influence your playlists? Or do you curate a mood that can withstand the entire month?
Switching moods from the seasonal holidays to New Year’s doesn’t really affect what goes into the playlist that much. There is usually an increase or a spike for certain playlists as we get closer to the actual holiday. For example, festive and upbeat music tends to get played more frequently in the days and hours leading up to the new year. Editorially, we adapt to this change and offer more dance floor-ready playlists. One track that I know I’ll definitely include for NYE will be Peggy Gou’s ‘Starry Night’. It’s extremely addictive and instantly sets the atmosphere for NYE. Honestly, how can you go wrong with a title like “Starry Night.”
What are some elements that make a great Holiday EDM track? Any particular BPMs, style, genres, or sounds?
When you’re hosting friends or family it makes sense to consider a slower BPM. Uptempo beats and loud vocals can be distracting and even annoying when you’re trying to talk to people. The playlist that I created here include specific synth sounds, melodies, and vocals that are uplifting or positive. I included some recognizable tracks that veer on the pop side, as they can be a good conversation starter as well. It’s the perfect playlist to play if you’re looking for something non-traditional.
If you could choose any song (doesn’t have to be released within the last year) which tracks would make up the ultimate EDM Holiday playlist?
I’m really into Pablo Nouvelle’s album, ‘Atlas Internet Café’ on Armin van Buuren’s sublabel ‘Armada Electronic Elements.’ The album starts out with a clever instrumental track that sets the tone for the entire album. It’s a beautiful album where every single track takes a surprising turn, while maintaining a dreamy and synth-driven bedroom electronica sound, which is both unpredictable and delightful.