Article | Onlythebeat

10 Must See Electronic Dance Music Documentaries

Today I have taken some time out to review some electronic dance music films and there is really some amazing stuff out there.  Here are ten documentaries that you should take the time to watch in no specific order (instead of watching Family Guy on Netflix).

1) The Drop: The EDM Culture Explosion

I would like to start this list off with a movie that has not been released yet. The Drop: The EDM Culture Explosion is set to be released at some point in 2014, and is all about what we are witnessing in the industry today. This movie is about the EDM takeover in the past couple years from festival season to mainstream music crossovers in popular culture. This film features everyone from Hardwell to Moby to Krewella to Avicii and was debuted at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. Here is a link to the website for the film: The Drop

2) Pump Up The Volume

This documentary series does a great job at telling the story of house music in Chicago and how the cultural explosion took over from underground to pop music.  It also features how house music took over clubs, fashion shows, and parties around the world.

3) The Chemical Generation

Narrator Boy George walks you through the acid house scene in the UK and the need for freedom to get rid of inhibitions.  This film also questions whether or not the acid house scene would have blown up the way it did without ecstasy.  What do you think?

4) Maestro: The History of House Music & NYC Club Culture

Maestro focuses on the club scene in New York City and how it helped propel house music to how popular it is today, featuring iconic discotheques like The Loft, The Paradise Garage and The Continental Bath. There's definitely a big focus on the transition from disco to garage to house music.  “Family that had only one rule, to love thy brother.”

5) Limelight

This film is based on the Limelight club in New York City and its owner Peter Gatien.  This is one of the most historic clubs for creating new music and sounds in the 80’s from hip hop, to techno, to house.


This documentary focuses on the creation of techno music in Detroit, where there was a huge following and popularity in the underground community. It features all-star artists like Richie Hawtin and Carl Craig and subjects range from the genre's cultural history to personal artist struggles behind the music.

7) Moog

Many of you probably won't have anything come to mind when you hear the name Dr. Robert Moog. This is a very interesting film about Moog, the inventor of the synthesizer, the machine that is able to imitate instruments and create new sounds electronically.  Without Moog's invention, electronic music as we know it may never have sounded this way.

8) This Ain’t Chicago: UK House According to the Artists That Lived It

House may have been bred in Chicago back in the day, but the Brits took a stab at it too, which of course worked out quite well for them. This film is about the transition of house from the United States to across the pond in the United Kingdom in the 1980’s by Richard Sen.

9) It’s All Gone Pete Tong

If you are looking for more of a feature movie, this is the one for you.  This film is about the DJ Frankie Wilde, who was partially deaf and ended up losing all hearing.  He was well known for playing in Ibiza before disappearing from the scene.  This awesome film won 11 awards total including Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Definitely a must-see.

10) Better Living Through Circuitry

This film was released in 1999 and features the rave scene across the United States in the 1990’s.  It won the silver jury award at the Chicago Underground Film Festival for Best Documentary. Directed by Jon Riess and featuring Moby, The Crystal Method, and BT.


Idris Elba’s How Clubbing Changed the World

Sit back and strap in. Get ready for 2 hours of how clubbing changed the world. This is a must watch for anyone who claims to be a true EDM fan. Also, I’d like to take a moment to recognize the fact that House music was born in the USA.

Have you seen any of these documentaries? Which one is your favorite?