The Null Device

Clubbed to death

It turns out that DJs may not be the rock stars of the new millennium after all; dance music is in steep decline in the UK. Some factors blamed: ravers who got into it during the Acid House Summer of Love/the superclub boom of the 90s getting older (and developing a tolerance to MDMA), the kids of today being into NME Back-To-Basics '70s-Style Rock, and backlash against the cult of the superstar DJ (quite understandable, IMHO). I wonder whether this will affect the content of electronic music magazines; can we expect to see the virtual-analogue synth/groovebox reviews in Future Music displaced by reviews of guitar-performance stompboxes and tutorials on recording live bands?

Meanwhile, a scathing critique of club culture, also in the Graun:

Around the same time the south London superclub The Ministry Of Sound marketed a range of clothing while admitting that anyone who wore those clothes was unlikely to pass the dress code in the club itself. It was as if the DJs and club promoters who "ran" dance music simply assumed that audiences were too befuddled by the drug ecstasy to realise they were being ripped off.
(via Rocknerd)

There are 9 comments on "Clubbed to death":

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com/ Thu Aug 21 09:57:23 2003

I dunno, but given that every man and their dog, MC-303, cracked copy of ACiD, and "Essential Breaks Vol 1" was churning out garage tunes by the crateload, there was a bit of a tulip thing happening as well. Expect Future Music to be shelved sometime next year, to be brought back in 2009 when the Chemical Brothers become pass from daggy nostalgia to cool retro.

Plus rock has stolen all the good ideas back.

Hmm. Maybe I'll echo this comment on VM tomorrow.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Thu Aug 21 10:37:05 2003

That's another thing. The odds of my getting a decent price for my MC-303 before I go overseas have probably plummeted.

Posted by: dj http:// Fri Aug 22 02:01:54 2003

I don't mind some of the music, but the whole worshipping of a guy spinning records and the complete wankery of some clubs has always turned me off. Then again, is that any different to a lot of music or other cultural currencies? Some of the sychophancy shown towards authors makes me puke as well.

I'm probably just a grumpy pseudo-iconoclast who can't step out of denial to worship my betters.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Fri Aug 22 02:13:06 2003

Well, look at the people making dance music. They're hardly the replacement for the dionysiac rock god; they're pigeon-chested geeks who play with machines in their darkened bedsits. So naturally the face of the music isn't the creator but the swaggering wideboy who plays the records. (Insert wanky verbiage about comparing DJs to high priests/shamans/whatever.)

Posted by: dj http:// Fri Aug 22 04:27:47 2003

I thought being a pigeon-chested geek was in for the last few years. I never can get these fashion things right.

Most rock gods are pigeon-chested geeks aren't they?

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Fri Aug 22 04:33:40 2003

Rock stars (and that includes indie/alternative performers) need to have either charisma/animal magnetism or personality (in the case of geeky ones like, say, Jarvis Cocker). I.e., you've got to be a bit of a performer. Which is something that goes with the territory of playing guitar in a band, but not necessarily with clicking sequences into an Atari ST. Hence DJs.

Posted by: dj http:// Fri Aug 22 08:27:57 2003

Or a talking bum like Kylie.

I'm not convinced that saying "Let me see ya moving ya hands out there" and "i wanna hear some noise" requires too much of a personality. Even that's encroaching on the MCs territory. Most of the time is spent nodding the head, isn't it? ;)

Don't get me started on the topic of shite MCing. Banality is a generous adjective.

I get the whole charisma, etc. vs. sitting at a rack of sequencers/drum machines/computer terminal thing, but i find many 'stars' aren't that interesting, most of the personality is supplied by editing suites and pr people, or is simply a paper-thin construction created by someone else.

I guess it's a bit like dj'ing. It's not that there isn't skill, personality or creativity involved, just that the hype usually is several magnitudes greater than the reality.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Fri Aug 22 09:28:39 2003

Most DJs may not have personality, but they do have more of a primal charisma than the people making the music. It's probably one of those atavistic alpha-male things, where people need to follow someone who gives off the vibe of being a leader.

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com/ Fri Aug 22 09:54:49 2003

How did that Smiths song go again?

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