Libertarian. Enjoys politics, technology, music, food and drink.
Over the past half-decade, the makeup of the UK house and techno scene has changed significantly. When I started getting into electronic music around 2007, the techno and house scene was entirely alien to me. I started going to the Mulletover event nights, which happened once a month in London.
DJs and producers such as Matt Tolfrey, Damian Lazarus, Sebo K, Jamie Jones, Anja Schneider and Nima Gorji dominated the lineups and the sets of events. The warehouse-vibe was still comparatively fresh and for a good couple of years, there was a sound.
The Berghain sound and scene influenced the music production and style in London. London’s house scene was very minimal – dark, sparse, minimal. Vocals were almost nowhere to be found. Where vocal samples had been used, they were so chopped up and bastardised, you could barely make sense of the words anyway. Almost all of the music was synthesised. There were no guitars or orchestral instruments; it was all synth-led.
The music was unreservedly dark.
And that’s the way it was for a good couple of years. That’s how we liked it.
When I started going clubbing and listening to the music at home, it was 2007/2008. The first signs of the recession had begun in the US, but the UK was still doing okay – at least compared to the years that followed.
It provided a stark contrast to the clubbing scene. In January 2008, unemployment had fallen for 15 consecutive months. For those same 15 months, the house scene was eerily dark and confined to warehouses. The idea of afternoon or beach parties – though they happened – seemed alien to me, as this was very much music to hear in a club.
As unemployment shot up for the following three years, the music changed too.
With other music, as recessions roam, the music kicks off against the establishment. The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Smiths – all were born out of an age of unemployment and recession. They fought back with music and sang for the angry, downtrodden, or generally unhappy.
House music around 2010, on the other hand, did the opposite.
I remember hearing Jamie Jones’ ‘Ruckus’ and Mic Newman’s ‘Sizzled Sally’ and being utterly shocked. Balearic guitars and pianos filled songs by Jamie Jones, who just a year prior had put out ‘Don’t You Remember The Future?’ – a tech-house album that I have now forgotten almost entirely.
And the music continued to change. Miami and LA and Croatia started to influence things more so than Germany did.
The music now is so much brighter and warmer. The tech influences from five years ago have almost disappeared in much of the music I hear now. Now it feels more natural to listen to house music with the sun shining, than it does at 3am in a dirty warehouse.
I find it interesting that unlike other music genres, the recession has brought out the happier and brighter side of house music. Perhaps, there’s something naturally escapist about electronic music – and when things get worse in life, it’s better to conjure a happy sound than it is dancing to nine-minute long German minimal techno.