Posts Tagged ‘clubbing’

I’ve been an mixed genre producer for several years now but currently about 75% of the projects I’m working on are electroswing. There’s something incredibly special about this genre, both to listen to and to make… here’s why

So Danceable

Swing music was made for dancing, its hard for me to listen to it and not start moving. In electroswing, the other genres it’s being combined add an extra level of energy. The overall effect is creating a style of music that is irresistable to dance to. And the great thing is there are so many styles of dance that work well with it: swing, quickstep, shuffling, charleston, club dancing, rock and roll or just your best flapper impression…  anyone can get their groove on. A friend of mine recently observed at a gig: ‘There were ravers in the middle and swing dancers around the outside but everyone was dancing together’.

Creative Freedom

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Compared to other genres ES is very light on rules, there’s no set BPM, no set beat, no established convention on what instruments you have to use, anything goes! (note to self, I need to make a remix of Anything Goes). People produce ES that is almost entirely swing with a hint of modern production added while others make primarily electronic music combined creatively with swing. With the latter, I’ve heard ES inspired by (or based on) almost every major electronic genre: House, DnB, Electro (obvs), Dubstep, Techno, Dancehall even things like Trance and commercial EDM. Providing it fits the overall aesthetic and uses some relevant samples or instruments you can justifiably call it electroswing. This makes it a real joy to produce in as this freedom of expression allows you try out combinations of sounds and techniques you’d never otherwise think of. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that genre conventions stifle creativity but I would say that it is a lot easier to be lazy in your productions when you already know how aspects of your tracks have to sound to be considered part of that genre.

Plays well with others

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Because ES can be based on so many different styles of music and be played at many different tempos it mixes well with a whole range of other genres. Glitch hop, funk, rap, big band and latin house work particularly well but if you feel out the crowd you could drop a massive electro-house track, an acoustic rock number or something really leftfield. You could probably make anything work if you gave it enough thought. This encourages really creative DJing and means that the crowd can be genuinely surprised, which is much less likely to happen during a 2 hour long single genre set.

Sample away!

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A lot of people have commented recently about how intellectual property law has become completely ridiculous. Some corporations (ahem ahem Disney) have tried to change copyright law to allow them to have perpetual rights to their properties. This is an insane approach as it completely shuts down some major creative avenues: homage, remixes, retellings all become potentially problematic legally. Fortunately they have not managed to extend this far enough back to affect a lot of swing, big band, jazz and other pre 1940s music. Maybe its just me who cares about making music completely legally (or rather without the chance that some gung ho record label will decide to try to sue over something that is clearly being used in a creatively altered fashion) but I really appreciate the sheer volume of source material freely available to use.

Broad appeal

One of the great things about electroswing is that it is really approachable. When I’ve played some of my friends and relatives a heavy electrotrash, dubstep or DnB track, their response has  been ‘that’s just noise’, when some people hear a house or trance track all they hear is the pounding kick. I’ve yet to play someone ES and get an overtly negative response anything like that. I mean I might start them off with something fairly swing heavy like Parov Stellar or Caravan palace but even the tracks which are heavily inspired by the genres above get a much better reception. It might be something about the sounds of real instruments or the familiarity of the swing samples that makes it easier to get into. I think this is reflected in the group that turn up to ES events, you usually find people of all ages and backgrounds (not to mention an amazing selection of outfits), and that creates a really welcoming atmosphere.

Retrofuturism

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Part of the reason I love electroswing is the same reason that I love steampunk… they take some of the best bits of the past, the present and our imagined futures to create something glorious. I love the imagination of these hybrid genres but I think that they are part of a bigger trend. We have unprecedented choice when it comes to music (and media in general), you could load up your computer with all the best music from the past 100 years, or listen to it online. We are no longer bound by whatever the radio is playing or we’d managed to collect as physical media. This has meant that in a sense we have moved on from the strong creative fashions and trends of the past. People can listen to, watch or play almost anything that is current and anything that is from the past. The last few years has seen an explosion in old acts reforming, retro inspired culture and classics being rereleased. Likewise modern technology has given us almost unlimited creative freedom to combine these things. I think that this has definitely helped to bring electroswing to the fore in the last couple of years.

While often an increase in popularity is associated with a reduction in quality, I actually think that in electroswing’s case it has just created a broader range of interpretation and styles. That’s not to say that there aren’t some really lazy tracks out there but actually, there are very few lazy tracks which are popular with ES listeners, it’s the interesting stuff that keeps people hooked. If that spirit continues I’m sure it will remain one of the most exciting and vibrant musical styles.

Love and Peace, D

 

 

At this moment, Fabric, one of the best known, respected and loved clubs in London has a very uncertain future. While I find this deeply upsetting on a personal level (I have so many happy memories of nights spend there), it is unfortunately part of a much bigger problem. The UK has lost half of all of its clubs in the last 10 years. This has happened for a variety of reasons but the pattern is clear… and if we don’t act now to protect existing clubs and encourage new ones, we might lose them for good

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If you haven’t already signed the save Fabric petition, please do it here

Worldwide shift in electronic music

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One of the strange things about club closures is that, in the UK and worldwide, electronic music is more popular than ever. The clubbing scene has always been tightly bound to these genres of music, so surely having more fans should mean more club punters? Unfortunately in reality it has not worked out this way. A lot of new fans are too young to get into a club. Even if they could, they may not want to anyway, electronic music is played in homes, cars and everywhere else. The idea that the club is the natural home for those genres is no longer as strong. There are obviously tons of fans who are old enough though but a lot of them would rather go to a festival to see big ‘superstar DJs’ playing to 1000s rather than a more intimate venue. Clearly a lot of new fans are still interested in clubbing. When I go out nowadays, there are still plenty of young ‘uns but it is way more mixed in age than it ever used to be

Also nightlife itself has evolved, there are many pop up raves in unusual places, DJ bars, sober morning parties etc. which are very cool but again take away a lot of traditional club business. We might see club closure as a particularly UK based problem, but I hear reports from all over the world that a lot of traditional venues are being shut

Change in licensing laws

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Over the last 10 years, it has become easier than ever to get alcohol after 11 PM. Late opening bars and pubs have become increasingly common. Once again, this is something I really appreciate but it does take a lot of business away from clubs. Back when I started clubbing, people would often move on to a club at 11 pm because it was the only option for continuing the night, nowadays you have options. Bars often have DJs and dancefloors so even if you wanted to dance, you could be well catered for without actually going to a club (but always stay well clear of those ‘music too loud to talk/no room to dance’ bars, those places are the worst). This has probably made the clubbing experience better as there are less people there who only want to get completely lashed but it has still meant that the clubs themselves have taken another economic hit

The rise of tinder

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Just like the “I’m only here to get plastered” crowd, the “I’m only here to pull” bunch used to be a regular part of the scene. People who didn’t care about the music or about the dancing or even about the alcohol. They just wanted to get busy and the club was the best place to meet people for a fleeting dalliance. Nowadays, there are definitely easier ways of finding a squeeze, almost all technology based. Once again, I think that the absence of those people has made the club experience much nicer, but again less punters means less profit.

Drug policy

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I could  write a whole post on the absurdity of the ‘war on drugs’ and the broad range of social harm that it has caused. However in the case of clubs, drug policy is applied in a particularly unproductive way, often used as stick to keep them in line. Many clubs have had their license revoked on the basis of people taking drugs there. I still remember when Home was shut ostensibly because their door policy was too lax (but everyone knew that it was because they were being very vocal about not being given a late license). Fabric now faces closure because 2 people have died while on drugs there, there is no evidence that they bought the drugs there and Fabric’s door policy is generally considered ‘gold standard’. Still, I would imagine 1000s of people take illegal drugs there every month, without incident. Inevitably, many are suggesting that the answer is stronger door checks with police (including sniffer dogs) outside. This is the worst possible way of dealing with the problem. Rather than trying to stop people taking drugs (which never works), we should be focused on preventing drug deaths.

While tragic, deaths from common club drugs are actually pretty rare (or at least far rarer than alcohol related deaths). They usually down to either toxic impurities in the drugs or a higher potency than expected (causing users to take higher doses than they were expecting). If someone buys drugs then they are likely to take them at some point, whether they are allowed into a club with them or not. So if people do go to a club we should see this as an opportunity rather than a problem. Don’t add extra security and confiscate them, rather let them in and have testing stations that can assess both strength and purity and provide advice on safe amounts to take, levels of hydration etc. Don’t create a situation where people fear the bouncers and the police and so down their whole night’s supply when they see them and overdose. Sometimes people will even refuse to see the club medics because they fear getting in trouble, this is a climate that creates poor outcomes. Ultimately legalisation, regulation and taxation would be the best way to clean up the supply. Until them a liberalisation of the way we police drugs could effect an immediate improvement in the risks, almost every club death is preventable if we are open minded about how to tackle them

Rising rent

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London is becoming a little bit absurd in this respect, there is almost nowhere that is safe from rampant gentrification. There are even some parts which have become quite like ghost towns as the only people who can afford to buy a home there are investors who have no desire to live there or even rent the property out. I don’t think all gentrification is bad, but when it prices everyone out, it has gone too far. Running a club is expensive and the rising rent has been the final nail in some of their economic coffins. Even worse than that, many landlords have not even given them the option to continue renting the space and have sold up to property developers for a tidy profit. Turns out some people would rather get a quick buck over owning a piece of cultural heritage.

Nimbyism

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These are the most frustrating reasons why clubs close down: disputes over soundproofing, drunken revellers at closing time or litter on the pavement. There are many NIMBY reasons people give for why their local venue is a menace. Sometimes they really do have a point but closing the venue seems a very heavyhanded way of dealing with them. Every other possible avenue should be exhausted before that is even on the table as a possibility.

Shortsightedness

So if there are still plenty of places to go on a Friday night and get your groove on, should we even care about all the club closures? Do we need them anymore?

I truly believe the answer is yes. Music has been one of the greatest exports from the UK in the last 100 years and clubs have been a vital part of that. They have offered one of the purest forms of escapism for generations of party goers looking to listen to great music, dance with friends and forget their weekly woes. Festivals, bars and house parties are all fun but nothing quite compares to a club night.

That is a very personal argument though, and maybe not everyone shares my passion but everyone should still care about these places. Clubs are not the only thing being closed – many live music venues, theatres, pubs, independent cinemas and other venues have also been suffering recently. These are intrisically part of our cultural heritage, they are part of what make our country great. With everyone that goes we are losing a battle in a slow war of attrition that will turn our cities into beige blandscapes with no life and no flavour.

What to do

It is clear that we need to take action to protect our clubs. But what actually can be done? I feel we need some drastic action, firstly with a protection scheme similar to listed buildings to make it harder to redevelop culturally important space into soulless office blocks or high end investment residences. Secondly we should encourage the development of more clubs, other venues and new forms of nightlife. In London, the arrival of the night tube should be a huge boon for this and development should be encouraged along these lines. The way we tackle drug-taking in clubs should be radically altered.

This sort of change takes time, for now, the most important thing would be to make it easier to appeal licensing decisions so that a council cannot just hand a venue a death sentence. If Fabric’s license is revoked then it will be a deeply upsetting day for clubbers all across the country and the world. If we don’t act soon though, it will not be the last… not by a long shot

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect

Dataphiles

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I’m very excited to announce the launch of my new Clothing line. Perfect for clubbing, chilling and generally expressing your love for the world. The whole range of T-shirts, caps, totes and hoodies (in a multitude of colours) is available at http://dataphiles.dizzyjam.com

Also as an added bonus all purchases come with 3 free Dataphiles tracks from across all of my releases 🙂

I’m obviously modelling the Dataphiles logo one above. Here are the other designs in high def

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Bad Ass text watermarked

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I’m arranging a photoshoot at the moment so expect some more pics after. Also I’ve got a few more designs I’d like to make, so watch out for those too.

In the meantime don’t forget to check here to get your very own.

Love and Peace

D

 

Big love to all the awesome people I met at SW4 today. If you didn’t watch Faithless’ set through spectral glasses you were doing something wrong 😉

PLUR, D

   
   

I love spectral glasses. I’ve been taking them along to clubs for years because of the way they can instantly make even the dullest looking club lights into a sea of wonderful morphing colour.

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(not that I think Koko is a dull venue, it’s one of my favourites in London, but the sign looks so damn cool in rainbow vision)

It was only logical that when I was thinking of what I should have as my first piece of official Dataphiles merch that these instantly came to mind. As I’m still promoting Steampunk Cybercrunk I went for a cogs ‘n lasers design. A lot of the diffraction specs you can buy online have quite umm ‘bright’ designs, and I wanted to make something a little sleeker and more club appropriate

glasses design - Copy

Also apart from taking your night out to the next level and making you night bus ride home beautiful, they also fit over any mobile phone or compact camera lens to let you take #spectralselfies. Or make your own #spectralwalk like this one

They’re available here on eBay, and I’m shipping them worldwide. If you’re in London though, keep an eye on my twitter and facebook feeds, you might be able to grab some free ones while I’m out and about.

Before-After

I also realise that some people may have come here because you’ve got a pair of glasses yourself or met someone wearing them… If so welcome, its lovely to have you here, you can stream all of my tracks for free (and use the discount code from the glasses) here

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect –

Dataphiles

PS, if you want a bulk order of glasses, so you and all your friends can have an awesome night out, drop us an email at contact@dataphilesmusic.com

Summer is a fantastic time to go out, get some vitamin D and enjoy a chilled glass of liquor. It’s also when the majority of the best festivals, concerts and club nights are. This can lead to some, umm rather sweaty situations. So if you want to bosh all the way through the warmer months without losing your cool, its best to come prepared. Here are my favourite ways of doing so…

LED writer fan

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A hand held fan might seem like a bit of a pedestrian entry in a post about cool ways of staying cool but this is a fan like no other. It uses persistence of vision to create messages that seemingly float in mid-air and its programmable on the go. This makes it a really handy way of communicating when the music is louder than Brian Blessed stubbing all 10 toes at once (or expressing your love for the DJ, that girl/guy across the dancefloor, life etc.) . This kind of makes it the ultimate accesory for a hot club…. keeping you cool, providing glow and saving your poor vocal chords from having to shout ‘what did you just say?’ into your friends ear 10 times in a row. Which is why its also in my post about the best clubbing accesories for under £10 . Oh and in case you were wondering they’re pretty effective at being fans too 😉 Available at shops like Tiger or online

Menoscarf

Meno scarf

Counter-intuitive as it seems to use a scarf to cool down, these really do work. They are essentially a closed pouch of material filled with the water absorbing granules that you can buy to keep your hanging baskets looking green. The net effect is when you run one of these under water for a minute or so, they will absorb many times their own volume in water and release it slowly over the next couple of hours. This evaporates while it is released and cools the scarf down in the process. They are designed and marketed for women going through hot flushes, but I promise you they work just as effectively on sweaty ravers (and I’m sure there must be at least some overlap in that Venn diagram). If it gets a bit warm just flip it over or run it under some more water. No batteries required and very reusable. Unlike some of the other items on the list, it would also take an incredibly arse-y bouncer to say you couldn’t bring this in somewhere (especially if you bring it dry). They’re available for £5-10 on Amazon (and there are also several equivalents), or if you don’t like the available patterns and you’re a dab hand with a needle and thread, you could always try making your own

Magicool

MC and fan

One of those ideas that’s so simple, its amazing it took them so long to come up with it. Essentially just water (with a little alcohol added to help it evaporate) in an aerosol can. You spray it in your face (which takes a little getting used to) and it instantly forms a cool cloud of mist around you. There are two small downsides, firstly from a festival/club perspective, some bouncers might take one look at it at take it straight off you, I’m not entirely sure why … probably because it violates their policy on bringing your own booze in. This makes the second issue, the (quite frankly mad) cost, a bit of a sting. Its bad enough to spend £2.50 upwards on a can of water but having it taken off you would make it even worse. There are often deals on it if you hunt around which definitely helps or alternatively there are some similar but significantly cheaper options. My favourites are the pump action spray bottle and the (hilarious looking) sprayfan. Both of which provide a similar effect but with the added bonus of being completely reusable which is better for your wallet and the environment

Menthol talc

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Have you ever chewed of a piece of airwaves gum and thought ‘Mmm, I wish my nether regions could experience the same minty coolness’? Just me then, I guess. Even assuming you haven’t, menthol talc is great way of staying cool in the summer … it combines the drying and freshening effects of talc, with a cool menthol thrum that lasts a good few minutes. Its not hugely popular in the UK, so you may need to get it off the internet e.g. gold bond at amazon (or if you’re in Holland, you can buy the excellent Etos version pictured above). It is however well worth hunting some down for some instant relief. If you do want to take some to a club or festival though, its probably wise to take the whole container though … bouncers seem to have this inexplicable hatred of people bringing unidentified white powders with them

Bladeless fan

Bladless fan

It might be the second fan on the list, but there is a good reason to consider bringing one of these to a club over your common-or-garden variety fan. Especially if you’re a girl (or guy) with long flowing locks of hair. Trust me, if you’ve ever tried to disentangle a friend from a handheld fan at 4 in the morning after you’ve both been drinking since 4 that afternoon, its not an experience you’d hugely want to repeat. Also, as an added bonus, there is a sponge at the back which can be soaked and frozen to provide what they (somewhat optimistically) describe as an ‘air conditioning effect’. If you can befriend a kind member of bar staff to do this for you, it does make a difference. I will say they are quite large for a portable fan but if you’re the sort of person who drunkenly enjoys putting your face into stuff, then this is probably the one for you. Cheapest on Aliexpress, but it can take a while so I’d order from Ebay if you need it urgently

The MacGuyver approach

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All of the approaches listed above do require some forward planning, so what do you do if you’re already at the event and you’re feeling hotter than a vindaloo. Probably best to improvise than boil alive, so what’s the best approach out there. First and foremost, get to a tap or other water source to start cooling down. The blood vessels in your wrists and neck (and groin for that matter) are very close to the surface and hence a good target for cooling off. Start by wetting the whole of your head and neck and then leave the cool water running over your wrists. I guarentee you’ll feel better after a few minutes.

If you actually want to follow in the footsteps of the mulleted hero though, you really need to make something. Get hold of some fabric e.g. a thin scarf, torn collar of T shirt, bandana etc. and use it in a similar way to the menoscarf above. For maximum chillage wet it, swing it above your head a couple of times so that its nice and frosty and apply it to the neck or wrists. Even better fill it with ice, but make sure that you wash the booze off it first. If you’re really feeling boiling, you can also do this with your top (although, if you’re a girl and you’re wearing a white top, this may not be advisable). Once you’ve got yourself wet, you need to dry out again … one of the fringe benefits of the smoking ban is that clubs now have to let you outside (which was a very rare occurance back in the old days) so go out and let the breeze help cool you off. If you can get hold of a large piece of paper (a poster would be ideal) you can turn it into a massive concertina fan to help along with the process NB If the poster you take is A0 size, you may need someone else to fan you… Pharoah style

Of course a real Macguyver approach would involve breaking into the DJ booth to steal some dry ice, reverse engineering a fridge into an A/C unit or perhaps using a strong endothermic reaction between common household substances. While these are all viable options, there are some issues. By the time that they are ready a) you’d probably be much hotter than before you started and b) the event would be over. Oh and c) playing with household chemicals is as likely to horrifically maim you as creating a nice cooling effect. Anyway, I digress…

Love, Peace and a chilled out summer to all,

D

May the mix be with you – DJ yoda

Posted: November 30, 2009 in Random
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I went to the newly refurbished Plan B last night. Its new stripped down decor give’s it a fabric like feel, except for the fact that its actually pretty small. Having said that it does give that crowded moshy feel that you don’t get if there’s room to swing a cat … if you’re into the whole cat swinging thing

The music however was immense, especially DJ Yoda‘s cut up crazy stylings. I boshed so hard I think I may have screwed my back. Let’s face it, when else are you going to hear the Hawaii 5-0 theme in the middle of a mash-up.

Love and Peace

Dataphiles

Mr Scruff at Koko

Posted: May 25, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Mr Scruff 1

I went to Mr Scruff’s residency at Koko on Saturday and it was immense. You’ve got to respect anyone who can pull off a 6 hour set with such technical prowess. When that set blends seamlessly between genres, and builds from gentle funkiness as you come in to massive energy that just makes you have to dance for the last 2 hours, it just blows your mind.

Also you’ve got to love Koko, I used to live there when it was still the Camden Palais. Its like you’ve wandered into a scene from some post apocalyptic film involving an abandoned theatre … brilliant.

Bottom line is, if you’re in London in 6 weeks time, Go! You won’t regret it.

Love and Peace

Dataphiles