This weekend, L.A.-based DJ Fei-Fei Wang performed at Armin Van Buuren's trance party at the Beyond Wonderland rave. Within hours of her set, her Facebook wall was plastered with personal attacks. People were calling her a “dirty whore” and saying things like “Someone take a shotgun to Fei-Fei.” Why? The DJ, dubbed the “bad girl of EDM,” had played dubstep and other music that wasn't trance during her set.
We talked with Wang — who has a masters in film production from USC and has been a DJ for over ten years — to get her take.
What sparked the controversy this weekend?
Beyond Wonderland includes all kinds of music. This particular one, Armin was hosting his A State of Trance party. I did play trance, along with dubstep, moombahton, and a little hip hop [listen to her full set]. My style is very diverse and all the people there were totally into it. I'm a DJ; I play to the crowd.
So who were the people writing all the hateful stuff?
The show was broadcast on his site. Millions of Armin fans tuned in and they were the most upset. It's a huge party, and I was honored to be included. They were waiting for trance. I come on and take 'em for a ride. My set was unexpected, yes, but I didn't think I was gonna be receiving death threats on my Facebook. That's harsh.
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Tiesto called you “the bad girl of EDM,” and you're known for busting stereotypes. Is not sticking to the script your style?
I used to produce tech trance, and all my last few release have been dubstep. I'm sure Armin knows. They were like, “Tell me about your new style,” and I said something about doing away with genre, period. After my set that night [in an interview], he said, “Describe your style,” and I said, “Good music is good music. I play whatever the fuck I wanna play,” and we both laughed! I don't think he was surprised, he knows what music I play. Why is it a slap in the face [to these angry fans]? I was just being me. And I applaud Armin for bring me to the party.
Do you think trance is dead?
Trance in the traditional sense is not the same. It's different now. Music is literally one hot mess. Everything is influenced by everything. It's all crossing over. Dubstep DJs play moombahton, trance DJs play tech house — one of the exciting things we have going on is the melding. Artists are not scared to express their creativity. It's really inspiring.
Does dubstep get a bad rep?
I don't think so. It's huge right now. People like to label genres. Arguing about what's real dubstep, why is there a need to do that? There are lots of different styles and plenty of other producers and styles to listen to. People love to complain. You can have a thousand people who are so into it, and the five people who hate it will speak the loudest.
So you weren't intentionally trying to drum up controversy?
I wasn't trying to intentionally. No, I wasn't! I was just doing what I do. To even get to play at this was such an honor and afterwards I was like, what is going on? I guess the response is good. They either loved it or hated it, but I took them on a crazy ride. Even after the event, after Armin was done playing, I went to his trailer and thanked him and he was cool. He wasn't like, “OH MY GOD YOU PLAYED DUBSTEP.”
How do you respond to those comments claiming no “self-respecting” DJ would go in and play a non-trance set at a trance show?
As a performer, I think the number one thing is you have to set the mood and get the party started. Get the crowd pumped. It's an Insomniac event, not an intimate club of 500. I've been DJing for over 10 years, in every kind of venue. Insomniac crowds are known for wanting to go and get their minds blown. Everyone was into it. And that's what a DJ does. Get them into it and take them on a journey. You'll be hearing nine hours of trance music. Why not start off with a different flavor?
More photos of Fei-Fei below.