The return of hooks, melody and fun to underground house music (thank fook) over the last year, poses one big question to me…
Did methedrone save dance music?
People can refute all they like, and i certainly don’t buy into the argument that you need drugs to go clubbing far from it, but it would be a fool who said dancemusic/ clubbing wasn’t inexplicably linked with recreational drug culture. History, and not just the last 40 years, is littered with stories of the toxic twins of music and drugs shaping each others paths for as long as time has been known. People want to have a good time, people want to get loaded music and drugs, are one and each other.
The last 5 years or so, western clubbing has been largely in grip of ketamine. It’s mangled, semi-anaesthetic state taking people to a whole new dimension, where the smallest thing can be so dramatic. In parallel, clubbing has been overrun with the ‘minimal’ sound.
I chose never to say music is bad, and like to look for the good within a style. that said some ‘minimal techno’ is amazing, it has soul, groove and amazing production. However, with all good things there are people that copy it but dont quite know what they’re doing. The result is recycle bin fodder. I would honestly put 80% of minimal in that category. Bland, does nothing, goes no where, creates no atmosphere.
I think the high use of ketmine throughout Europe, both drove and fueled its rise and popularity. As critical mass was reached many people believed to enjoy it and did, merely because their ‘peers’ did, so the cool factor and status associated with enjoying ‘minimal’ became the result.
The clubs i grew up going to – Riverside, Sugar Shack, The Arena, Rockshots et all … they were fun places. Places of mystic and decedance. The music took you on a journey and soundtracked a whole other world of exploration. When Digweed, Oakenfold, David Holmes, Weatheral and co took the decks, things happened. They worked the crowed, building tensions up, stringing you along and them bam. The crowed went crazy.
Breaks did it for a while, tech house did it, progressive did it… minimal …pah
Anyways back to the question… or maybe as I write I assure myself even more… last year a new drug landed, one that you could buy from headshops in the high street. People beamed and hugged each other, laughed they’re ass off and danced like wild loonatics. They had major time fun! It reminded me of E, and how people were on that, the atmosphere and the good times. In response a track which doesnt change or build isn’t going to be tolerated on a drug demanding euphoria… DJ’s soon notice the tracks getting the big responses, and voila. The tracks with the hook, the simple house melodies become the biggest tracks of the night, and the train is in motion.
As I stare down the barrell of the new decades first summer, I’m excited to see how the journey goes. Disco and old skool hookie house is massively on the rise. If Tensnake’s ‘Coma Cat’ isn’t a massive smash in both club and pop charts I’ll kiss myself. disco nights name checking Ron Hardy and co are springing up, and I even saw a post between two clubnights I’ll not mention bitching about who had been playing proper house first…
The fact is people want to have fun, and when I make music I hope to facilitate that, melody in whatever form is essential to that in music otherwise its just a backing track. I just wish people didn’t have to pigeon hole and we could have a range of styles over a night. A DJ that played just good music. Claud Von Stroke emboddies that to me at the moment. A recent set of his at Back to Basics and he was dropping alsorts, even some liquid drum n bass!! top man.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the people who championed minimal react, will it still roll on? will Berlin’s crown fall? will trance and progressive be next to rise again?
I’m enjoying making simply hooky house, good grooves but aimed squarely at getting some party times going, something the girls dance to, something uplifting but not cheesey,… I’ve dubbed it ‘Wonderbra house’ … for some obvious reasons. We all want more bounce to the ounce folks ;p