Follow TV Tropes


Freaky Electronic Music

Go To
"Watch me obliterate Tokyo with my secret weapon — DJ Play will summon up demons!"
Gōji Rokkaku, Jet Set Radio

The main characters are in a very bad place. They are surrounded by dozens of mooks, The Ace is down, and they are out of Applied Phlebotinum. Suddenly...

Oh, Crap!... Do you hear that ominous bass drop? There is no more doubt: the Big Bad is coming.

Basically, this is when Electronic Music is associated with the villains. Historically, it comes from several factors. First of all, this trope is the natural evolution of the association of Evil and Rock'n Roll in public consciousness: it's popular (so it's dumb), it's loud and unartistic. In other words it is bad music, so it is logical that it should be associated with bad guys, right? Then, Rock & Roll and all his punk and metallic siblings (the previous musical scapegoats) progressively lost their "rebellious" vibe throughout the years, and the use of this genre for the villains' Leitmotifs mostly appears as a Dead Horse Trope.


In effect, the electro soundtrack gives to the villain an overwhelming aura, while the association of extremely sharp and low noises also gives to its presence an uncanny feeling of disharmony. Because of the rift between the electro fans and haters, the music could at the same time make the bad guy look awesome and badass or an unbearable and tasteless Scrappy, turning the character into a Base-Breaking Character.

Despite the "Evil Electro" name, the trope does not only apply to Hip-Hop inspired electronic music. As a villain theme, the main characteristic is that it must be scary in some way, which is usually done by the aggressiveness of the beats. All Electronic Music does not necessarily work well for a villainous leitmotif:

The trope also has its own little Sub-Trope: the Deadly DJ. After all, what could be more evil than the guy who creates Freaky Electronic Music? This Musical Assassin (who doubles as a Dreadful Musician for some) will often be portrayed as a cocky clubber, flamboyant but lazy (because Electronic Music has the bad reputation of being "easy to make"; the use of samples is often considered a "theft" showing how unimaginative they are) and wasting all their money — that they earned thanks to all the sheeple who bought their crappy music, remember? — in extravagant parties.

It also allows to include Evil Electronic Music in a more diegetic way, wherein the heroes have to use the Power of Rock (ironically enough) in order to defeat the DJ in a Battle of the Bands and prove that "real" music will always win over their engineered and soulless noises. Obviously, their own composition will serve as Battle Theme Music, or it could be a fitting Boss Remix.note 

Outside of the army of bodyguards and corrupted people in his pocket, the Deadly DJ's favorite weapons usually are the Dubstep Gun and Sharp Vinyl Discs. A usual representation of the Deadly DJ is an Expy of Daft Punk or deadmau5 and their eccentric helmets, or Lady Gaga and her no-less eccentric outfits and hairstyle for a female variant.

Electronic music is also the theme of most Killer Robots, malevolent AIs and other Mechanical Abominations. When the metallic creature appears and its electronic tune starts playing, it feels like if the distorted noises were coming directly from it, almost like if that amalgamate of codes and circuitry was screaming its rage and its pain at the face of mankind. It would be poetic, if it wasn't simultaneously trying to disintegrate your face with some deadly lasers. Similarly, Industrial is often and fittingly enough the soundtrack of Eternal Engines and Nightmarish Factories, the violent slams of the presses marking the beat.

Visually, it is often represented by distorted Tron Lines, Epileptic Flashing Lights and rainbow-colored volume bars — all of this potentially attacking the target with Hard Light.

Compare Cyber Punk Is Techno when its Black And Grey characters have electronic leitmotifs, Creepy Jazz Music for the Jazz equivalent of this trope, Rotten Rock & Roll for the Rock equivalent of the trope, and Rock Me, Asmodeus! when rock music is associated with the Devil himself. No direct relation with Psycho Electro, though electricity is often an Elemental Power associated with this kind of villains. May overlap with Circus Synths, in Creepy Circus Music.

One final note: if you didn't get it, a lot of this intro is written with Sarcasm Mode on. Of course, Electronic Music is not "soulless", "unartistic" and "evil", everything is a matter of personal taste. Thus, No Real Life Examples, Please! This page has no vocation of listing all the electronic music that you hate, no matter how terrible you think it sounds and how douchey their creators could be.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Wicked + The Divine:
    • Woden has a character design clearly modeled after the Daft Punk members and is also one of the most morally reprehensible Jerkass characters in the series.
    • Inverted by his “nemesis”, Dionysus, who is the in-universe divine equivalent of a DJ with Hive Mind / Mind Control powers...and is totally a Nice Guy to the Nth degree. He just wants people to be happy! His debut issue even features a visual beat with mood-based color shifts.

    Films — Animation 
  • Inverted in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks in which dubstep enthusiast Vinyl Scratch is the one saving the day by helping the Mane Seven defeat the Dazzlings and their hypnotic siren chants with her Rockin' Convertible (although the actual song used to defeat them is more pop than electro).
  • Slightly downplayed in Wreck-It Ralph: the theme for Hero's Duty is a dubstep piece composed by Skrillex himself. It is not associated with an evil character in particular (as it can be seen as both the theme for Sergeant Calhoun and the Cy-Bugs), but it is clearly supposed to evoke violence and fear (as Ralph feels throughout his "game session") especially when compared to AKB48's Sugar Rush.
  • Although Home has a rather lighthearted electro-pop soundtrack (which is no surprise, considering that Rihanna voices the female lead), the Big Bad has a contrasting and stressing drum'n'bass leitmotif.
  • In The Angry Birds Movie, the pigs distract the birds to steal their eggs by throwing a huge party with Daft Piggy (helmet and all) at the turntable.
  • In Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, inside the Instrument of Destruction is sheet music, that, when played, mind controls the Kraken into destroying everything. In attempt to have the Kraken kill all monsters, Abraham Van Helsing plays an EDM rendition of this song. He comes very close to succeeding.
  • In Sahara, the Disney Acid Sequence where Eva is hypnotized by the Big Bad, Omar, features electronic dance music accompanied by eerie, Arabian-style female vocals.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the third season of Arrow, Chase became the DJ of Verdant (after saving a lame night with "Turn Down for What") and the love interest of Thea, only to be revealed later as a member of the League of Assassins sent to kill her.
  • The Mandalorian: The Elite Mecha Mook Dark Troopers are accompanied by a dubstep track.
  • Inverted in Sense8 where Riley and Will first link to each other when Riley is DJing. The song that plays in the background is an uplifitng Trance song with lyrics where the singer vows to be there for a friend in distress.

    Theme Parks 
  • Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream had the "Death Jockey" — an evil DJ that kills his victims with earsplitting music and burning lights - as the "Icon" of the event in 2007.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Zigzagged in the Yellow Trailer of RWBY: Second tier bad guy Junior is the boss of a club with electronic music playing in the background, provided by a mook wearing a deadmau5-esque bear mask. It's later taken over by the heroine's theme, "I Burn", which is also electronic.

    Web Comics 
  • Noisemaster from Cucumber Quest is a villain who terrorizes the Melody Kingdom. Fittingly, in contrast to the kingdom's orchestra motif, he has the mannerisms of a rowdy DJ. His lair and weapons are covered in lights like those on a DJ's sound equipment.

    Web Videos 
  • Epic Rap Battles of History: in "Mozart vs Skrillex", although the battle is pretty even in terms of quality and overall meanness, at one point Mozart calls Skrillex a "lonely little troll [knowing] how to press a spacebar", tying with the whole "easy to make Electronic Music" bad rep. Note that Skrillex is a fair player, as he played his own part at Youtube Comedy Week.
  • Warhammer 40,000's Noise Marines are Sense Freaks who get off on (and harm enemies by) producing hideous sounds at ear-splitting volumes, so naturally the fandom likes to claim dubstep is their music of choice.

    Western Animation 
  • Emperor Awesome from Wander over Yonder is an insatiable party shark who parties so hard that he literally destroys planets, usually with his leitmotif "Let's Get Awesome". He also acts as a foil for Lord Hater and his Rotten Rock & Roll theme, and both of them also act as foils for the titular Wander and his acoustic banjo.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Mane Attraction": a Lady Gaga expy called "The Countess" is about to perform at Ponyville, but by the end of the episode she fires her mean agent and drops the Countess act to finally make "true" music.
  • In an episode of American Dad!, the bad guy of the week is a deadmau5 expy called DJ Iron Monkey who secretly enslaves whales while publicly claiming to be a Nature Lover.
  • The Bikini Sisters from the 2016 The Powerpuff Girls reboot have trance music playing when they appear, very reminiscent of what you could hear on a Fashion Show.
    • Allegro is a panda who brainwashes everyone to make them happy. His own diabetes-inducing world is a giant rave party. On a nice touch, the rave music progressively turns into dubstep the more Allegro's physical body is damaged.
    • When Blossom accidentally releases a bunch of partying ghost in the episode Puffdora's Box, their party is managed by two Daft Punk expies.
  • In Class of the Titans, Pan uses evil techno to mind-control the patrons of his eco-rave, until the heroes shut him down and stop what made him evil.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • In the second episode, when Jack has just arrived in Aku's future, he goes to a futuristic Bad-Guy Bar. The heavy Drum and Bass music playing in this new, hostile environment is playing loud enough to make Jack's ears pulse.
    • In the episode "Jack and the Rave", a demon known as "DJ Stylbator" uses electronic music to brainwash young kids into violent vandals loyal to Aku. The show seemed to literally treat the music itself as evil, with Jack telling all the newly liberated kids to never dance to this kind of music again. This was completely ignored for Season 5, as we revisit the same rave and there's nothing sinister about it at all. The young girl Jack saved on the original episode is now the DJ, using their eternal party of electronic music to keep alive the memory of Jack. It's very heartwarming.
  • Soundwave in Transformers: Prime and Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) is accompanied by dubstep music, mostly to compensate and contrast his creepy mute status and make him even more threatening by its mere presence.
  • Steven Universe: To emphasize the alien nature of the Diamonds, their leitmotif is heavy synthesizer beats.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Deadly DJ, Evil Electro, Evil Electronic Music



Inside the Instrument of Destruction is sheet music, that, when played, mind controls the Kraken into destroying everything. In attempt to have the Kraken kill all monsters, Abraham Van Helsing plays an EDM rendition of this song. He comes very close to succeeding.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / FreakyElectronicMusic

Media sources:

Main / FreakyElectronicMusic