The career of former Capital Dustin Penner seemingly ended in 2014. In 18 games for the Washington Capitals that spring, Penner scored just 1 goal and 2 assists. No teams came a-nibbling during free agency, so it seemed the end for Penner: 9 seasons, 2 Cups, retired at age 32.
Not so much. Penner has begun a second life as a DJ of electronic dance music, a.k.a. EDM, an initialism that definitely won’t be confusing to hockey fans. DJ Pendemic (as he’s known on Soundcloud) began posting mixes and tracks earlier this year. In that time, Penner’s online presence has transitioned from internalized misogyny and hockey chirps to iffy grammar and promotions for his DJ gigs.
As for the music itself, I really can’t say. I don’t know much about EDM. But I do know someone who does. My friend Mo Gadalla has excellent taste in music. I asked him to listen to Pendemic and tell me all about it.
Mo with Dr. Aileen O’Hearn (Peter’s girlfriend), and Matthew (a dog)
Peter Hassett, RMNB: Mo, are you a hockey fan, and were you familiar with Dustin Penner?
Moheb Gadalla, actual EDM fan: Yes, I am a hockey fan, sort of, but I wasn’t familiar with Dustin Penner until you told me about him a few days ago.
RMNB: But you are a fan of EDM (electronic dance music), right? I don’t know much about it, but I understand you’re, like, wayyyyy into it.
Mo: Definitely. I would say that it’s my favorite style of music. I’m always listening to it.
RMNB: When someone reads this, how will they know you’re a legit EDM fan? Say something only a hardcore EDM fan would say.
Mo: There is an important difference between EDM music and EDM concerts. Some people think that EDM is just about the music, but it’s not. It’s also about about the experience of the performance– not just the tunes themselves. The people, the lights, the visuals, the movement.
RMNB: I’m gonna pretend like I understood that and move on to Dustin Penner, a.k.a. Pendemic. You listened to his stuff this week. First impressions?
Mo: First thought: He is another average DJ who’s trying to make it out there.
RMNB: Uh oh.
Mo: I didn’t like him so much at first, especially his first few tracks on Soundcloud. A good DJ comes up with his or her own music and makes good mixes; Pendemic mostly takes popular tracks and tweaks them. For example, he took a London Grammar track and pumped up the beat– kind of like you’re listening to a mix on the radio with a bunch of songs stitched together.
RMNB: Oh, so he’s not composing anything new? He’s just jamming together existing stuff? Like a party DJ? I mean, I can do that. You’ve heard my party playlist on Spotify.
Mo: Anyone can do that. Pendemic posted sets from his nights out when he DJs. He doesn’t have that many tracks yet, but he doesn’t have much that I haven’t heard before. The bigger problem is that the mixes are over an hour. No one wants to listen to a set that long.
RMNB: Is there anything you liked about his stuff? Did anything grab you?
Mo: His recent tracks were better. They’re pretty good, they weren’t stuff I had heard before.
RMNB: Original compositions?
Those tracks were sort of progressive house, which is the EDM sub-genre I like the most. Most of the rest of his work is closer to trance, which is repetitive melodic tunes. When you go over an hour of mixing that stuff together, eventually your head will pop.
Mo: It’s just too much noise. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe others can handle listening to the thump of trance or dubstep music for over an hour.
RMNB: Those people never get headaches. So I take it you’re not gonna become a huge Pendemic fan.
Mo: I didn’t hit the Follow button.
RMNB: Ha. Well, I don’t want to end on a downer. Would you recommend some good EDM for our readers?
Mo: Max Bett. His music is refreshing.
RMNB: And less head-poundy?
Mo: Definitely less head-poundy.
What do you make of Dustin Penner’s music? Listen and let us know in comments.
This interview has been slightly edited for clarity.
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