On the definition of djent: part one - survey results

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On the definition of djent: survey results

This is part one of our post about the survey 'On the definition of djent'. Read part two here.


From August 19th until September 3rd, we conducted a survey titled 'On the definition of djent'. The goal of this endeavour was to quantify the different opinions and interpretations regarding what the term 'djent' really means.

A total of 605 people participated, which is a lot more than we could have hoped for. Thank you! To encourage participation, we gave away a got-djent.com logo T-shirt and two Uneven Structure T-shirts among all participants. Congratulations to site users xlntdvnt, GandjiaDjient and TGP!

We also wanted to know what some important people in this scene think about the results. A couple of them were glad to share their comments with us. You can find them in part two of this post.

We wish to thank all respondents, the bands who let us use their music clips for the 'djent or not djent' section, and everyone who provided comments. In particular, we'd like to thank Jimmy Rowe from Heavy Blog Is Heavy and Joe DiRusso from The Djent-lemen's Club. If you participated, we hope that answering the survey questions has made you consider what you think djent entails. Now, without further ado, let's have a look at the results!

We've split this post into two parts: the first one, which you are currently reading, features a graphical overview of the results. The second part features a discussion of the comments we received, and the opinions of some important people in the scene. Check it out here.


The results: an overview

The respondents

First, let's have a look at the respondents of the survey. Some of them have witnessed the birth of the djent scene, others are new to it - what they all have in common is that they cared enough to take a survey about it. This means that those who are skeptical or have other qualms about 'djent' are most likely vastly underrepresented. Our last question, regarding the respondents' overall stance towards djent clearly demonstrates this.




Less than 4% indicated that they view djent as something negative. An even smaller fraction has a very negative opinion of djent. This implies that the results should be put into context: under no circumstances can they be understood to represent the opinion of the public.




The djent scene is clearly male-dominated, probably even more so than metal in general (although we do not have numbers to evidence this claim): 96% of the respondents indicated that they are male.




Looking at the age distribution of the respondents, we can see that 80% are 25 or younger: the djent scene is quite young. It's notable that a lot of its popular artists are also 25 or younger. Also note that none of the participants were more than 49 years old.




Djent aficionados mostly live in Europe or North America - together they account for 83% of the responses. Interestingly, the numbers of respondents from Europe and from North America are roughly the same. Note that the only place where djent hasn't really got a foothold yet (apart from Antarctica) is Africa, with only a single respondent.




And finally, we asked some questions about the respondents' relation with djent: are they just listeners, or do they play it as well? 86% of the respondents consider themselves to be musicians, which seems to be a very high number. Not all of these musicians play djent music, but a lot of them do so, and even more write or have tried to write djent music. The vast majority is not signed to a label however, which displays the DIY nature that is often ascribed to the scene.

Djent is...

In the second section of the survey, we asked some questions about what the word 'djent' is understood to mean. Sometimes, the opinions were very divided.




The first question turned out to also be one of the most controversial: is djent a chord? According the original definition of the term, djent is a "heavily palm muted distorted guitar chord which is usually played as but not limited to a 4 string double octave powerchord". Yet the results show that only 39% of respondents agree that djent is a chord (a small majority), and a whopping 36% disagrees! In other words, more than a third of the respondents reject the original definition of djent, and take it to mean something else. This is quite striking: the meaning of the term 'djent' not only seems to have broadened, it has also shifted.

On the other hand, most people seem to agree that djent can refer to a particular guitar playing technique and a particular guitar tone. These two features are also part of the original definition ("heavily palm muted" and "distorted").




There always seems to be a lot of controversy about whether djent constitutes a new subgenre of metal or not. The survey results don't really seem to reflect this - a sizeable majority (58%) thinks that djent is a genre. Even more people (74%) think that djent is a style of music. This is interesting, as the nuances between these two notions ('a genre' vs. 'a style of music') are seemingly very subtle. Perhaps the controversy surrounding the statement "djent is a genre" has lead people to choose their words more carefully. Only 49% of respondents think djent is a scene, which may be a consequence of the negative connotations that the word 'scene' carries nowadays.




An oft-heard adage is that "all djent sounds the same" and everyone is just ripping off each other. Yet djent is clearly not uncreative: only 2% of respondents think this. 47% agree that djent is a useful label for music, and 22% think djent is getting too popular.




Most people do not see djent as a trend or a fad. A majority of 59% thinks djent is music for musicians - this result agrees with the fact that 86% of respondents indicated that they are musicians. Most djent fans also consider it to be their favourite kind of music (57%).




Djent is sometimes called the heir of nu metal. 58% disagrees with this. Another common claim is that djent bands all rip off Meshuggah, but most people seem to disagree with this as well. It is interesting however that this statement has more support (19%) than the one about djent being uncreative (2%).

Djent or not djent

In the next section, we asked you to listen to a number of 10 second clips, taken from songs by a variety of artists. Many of these artists are typically considered to play djent, but some aren't. We asked you to indicate whether you consider what you heard in these clips 'djenty' or not. The respondents were explicitly asked not to judge the bands as a whole, but only what they heard in these short clips.

This means that these results do not say anything about whether these bands should be considered djent or not - they only apply to these 10 second clips, and not to the bands as a whole. Despite this, we do have the impression that the results are skewed by the fact that a lot of respondents recognised some of the bands.

We ordered the clips according to the percentage of respondents that considered them djent. We'll start with the least 'djenty' clips:




Scar Symmetry - Mechanical Soul Cybernetics (00:21)


Mechina - Non Serviam (01:35)


Kryn - New Disease (02:45)


In-Quest - Mind over Matter (00:25)


Note that even the clip from Scar Symmetry's 'Mechanical Soul Cybernetics' is still considered djent by 17% of respondents.




Fall in Archaea - The Messenger (00:02)


Misery Signals - A Certain Death (01:15)


Black Sheep Wall - Modest Machine (00:30)


Eryn Non Dae. - The Decline and the Fall (04:45)


From Misery signals's 'A Certain Death' onwards, the opinions seem to be very divided, with the 'djent' and 'not djent' camps being roughly equal. Misery Signals typically aren't considered part of the djent scene, but 39% of respondents seem to agree that their music (or at least this song) has some characteristics of it.




No Consequence - Age of Fear (01:18)


Logical Terror - Unfilled (00:17)


The Arusha Accord - Dead To Me (00:02)


The Interbeing - Fields of Grey (02:30)


The clip from Logical Terror's 'Unfilled' was apparently the hardest one to categorise: 16% of respondents indicated that they weren't sure. A clearly defined majority include The Arusha Accord's tech metal and The Interbeing's modern metal in their definition of djent.




Gianluca Ferro - Accelerating Future (00:36)


SikTh - Bland Street Bloom (01:20)


Jakub Żytecki - Journey Through The Hidden Gardens Part One (01:02)


Architects - Early Grave (00:02)


SikTh's 'Bland Street Bloom' is djent according to 56% of respondents, despite the controversy about whether or not the band played djent. The first riff of Architects's 'Early Grave', arguably the only djent to be found in their entire discography, seems to have most people convinced nevertheless.




Elitist - Caves (01:32)


Rooks - Amache (00:15)


Angel Vivaldi - A Martian Winter (00:35)


Structures - Transitions (00:03)


Elitist's, Rooks's and Structures's clips represent the metalcore side of djent, which is sometimes looked down upon. Nevertheless, a convincing majority considers them to play djent.




TesseracT - Nascent (01:15)


Volumes - Through The Trees (00:06)


Periphery - Ow My Feelings (02:47)


And then finally, among the most djenty clips we find Periphery's and TesseracT's, which probably doesn't surprise anyone. The clip from Volumes's 'Through The Trees' is considered the 2nd most djenty, which further confirms that metalcore plays a significant role in the djent scene. Interestingly, a non-negligible 5% of respondents do not consider Periphery's clip to sound djenty, despite the fact that it features the "heavily palm-muted distorted power chords" from the term's original definition.

Overall, people seem to have a pretty clear idea about what they consider djent when they hear it, with the 'Not sure' option never exceeding 16%.

Statements

In the fourth section, we asked you whether you agreed or disagreed with a number of statements.




60% of respondents think that djent has transcended its original definition - 21% think that the original definition is the only valid one. Syncopation, polyrhythms and polymeters clearly are very important characteristics of djent, with only 7% opposing this notion.




The importance of a metallic guitar tone is also clear. A majority of 58% finds that too many bands get pigeonholed as djent nowadays. Meshuggah are a djent band according to 53% of respondents. 22% think they are not. This is probably because they are often considered to be 'above' it.




The majority of respondents agrees that an artist's opinion of djent should not affect whether or not their music is to be considered djent. This is interesting, seeing as some bands that are considered djent oppose being labeled as such.

'Djent' definitely does not need a better name: only 8% of respondents think so, 67% are fine with it. An often heard stance among opponents of djent is that "the word sounds stupid" - but clearly, most people don't think so, or they just don't care. Most people also agree that record labels and media should embrace djent.




One of the most interesting results of this survey is that everyone seems to be in agreement that other people have got it wrong: 80% of respondents indicated that they believe many people have no clue what djent is. This is in stark contrast to the fact that most people seem to be in favour of a broad interpretation.

A lot of people don't have a clear opinion about whether djent has changed the music industry, although a majority of respondents believe that it has. Most of them indicated that the term 'djent' has helped them discover music they enjoy. Funnily enough, 82% of respondents found that the term 'djent' has been useful for them in this way, but only 47% indicated that djent is a useful label for music (see earlier).




The term 'djent' is often the cause of animosity and heated debates, but as it seems many people agree that the negative stance of some bands and musicians towards djent is unwarranted.

The term 'djent'

In the last section of the survey, we asked a couple of questions about the word 'djent'.




To the best of our knowledge, the term 'djent' was originally coined by Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah. Most people seem to agree, but quite a few of them think it was actually Misha Mansoor who came up with it. This is probably because he can be credited with popularising the term.




Djent is pronounced like 'gent' in 'gentleman' by most people: the 'd' is silent. A minority pronounces the 'd' separately. One respondent suggested that it is pronounced "exactly how it's spelled".

Conclusion

As a whole, the results of the survey confirm that the term 'djent' has quite a broad definition nowadays, and that there is no general consensus about what it entails precisely. The only things people clearly agree on are that 'djent' does not need a better name, that it helps them discover good music, that it is definitely not uncreative and that many people don't know what it is.

The remarks we received show that people have strong opinions about this issue: quite a few of them wrote entire essays about what they think djent entails. Feedback about the survey itself was also generally positive, which we appreciated! Some people reported problems with playing back the sound clips, for which we apologise.

Part two features a more in-depth discussion of the comments we received, and some comments and insights from a few people who have played an important role in the djent scene. Finally, we also share the answers of some musicians and people from the industry!



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Comments

You do know Thall is already a word right? It's not made up like "pwn" lol" "djent" and the rest of the internet words kids use these days. I can see i'm dealing with children here so I won't bother asking, I can figure it out. But honestly I think Thall is better then djent because of the sound djent guitars make. If it wasn't already a word, Thall would've worked better... "imo"

I took a little chunk out of my time to write out the definition of Thall for you, and it is as follows : *ahem*, Thall

THALL!!!

Well what about "Thall" then? I've seen it used in several different ways, could anyone care to explain that as well?

THALL day bro.

Thall

thall.

Thall.

We already did, here's the results:

cool. now please make a survey on the definition of thall.

This is really cool, I think it's just technical death metal with a digital guitar... First we had acoustic, then electric now digital (djent) guitar. It's interesting how dubstep has similar bass and it emerged around the same time

Metalcore djent is frowned upon because it comes from boybands since it's clean vocals can please a wider audience, this is exactly what black metal bands and some bands like Meshuggah seek to prevent by having such harsh vocals all the time. That, and making their songs 6+ minutes long each time keeps them from appearing on the radio

I agree that djent is a new style of music. It correlates to an entirely new way of composing heavy music and has nearly deleted the negative connotation that "if its heavy, it must be depressing, uninteresting, or unintelligent." Thanks Meshuggah for your existentialist approach to song composition and riff structure, and thanks to periphery for making it positive and fun.

awesome job with the survey guys. Just another reason why I love this site

that's great Smile

SO SHALL IT BE WRITTEN, SO SHALL IT BE DONE Tongue

About time this was published. Awesome job guys.

Yeah...this is a cool site. I missed the survey. But that the site creators care enough about djent, is as cool as f*ck!