Henry Johnstone, Sydney - Australia - on 21/9/11
The music industry is undergoing a huge transitional period, and it seems that everyone is simultaneously struggling and striving to come to terms with it. Australian live music is under threat, American citizens are being fined huge amounts of money for illegally downloading music, and once niche genres like dubstep are now becoming mainstream and being added to the dictionary. The times, they are a changin'.
The flux is particularly prevalent in dance music, with many DJs and producers clearly having a lot preying on their minds. In this article we hear from some of the most respected artists in the game like Sasha, Mary Anne Hobbs, Ewan Pearson, and the soon to be touring Australia, Mr Mike Simonetti, on issues surrounding mp3 culture, underground vs mainstream and the shifting nature of the electronic sphere. It's not all furrowed brows, though - there's a couple of slightly off-topic and amusing anecdotes to be had too.
"New music is appearing and disappearing too quickly, such is the nature of the digital medium. I mean, do you really have time these days to fall in love with a new record… to really appreciate it?"
Craig Richards on digital music saturation.
"It’s just that music is my whole life, and now it’s become a soundtrack to something else, a lifestyle thing. People are aware of music, but they don’t love it as much."
Morgan Geist on ipod and mp3 culture.
"Maybe I'm jealous of the younger kids, because everything is right here [Taps on computer]. I had to bust my fucking ass to find records. Even before me, dudes had to bust their asses, going back to Mancuso. I'm on my knees when I should be working, at a record store, digging under a table, looking for records. And now everything's on YouTube. I didn't wake up one day and go to a house music blog and listen to house music. There's nothing wrong with that [though]: I go to African music blogs all the time and get hipped to African shit."
Mike Simonetti on kids having it easy.
"There is just this awful, insidious way that the mainstream just consumes you, that it’s possible to sit there and let it consume you whole. I love people who have the courage to push against the tide of that."
Mary Anne Hobbs on the mainstream.
"There's one thing that really has changed in the music scene and that's the way we exist. 15 years ago, we fought for our music. We didn't care about having our pictures taken, or being in magazines. Some people did, but it was not the done thing—it was all about being faceless, letting the music do the talking. That was one of the great things about techno music. Now it's all about what I look like, who I am, how I dress, how rock and roll I am and how stupid I can be."
Laurent Garnier on image.
"It always drives me crazy that people think dance culture started in the UK in the late 80s with rave...it's bollocks. That just brought ecstasy onto the scene, but there's a massive underground dance culture that you can trace all the way back to the 60s."
Greg Wilson on origins.
"There's nothing less sexy than the recent past."
Matmos on trends.
"I've never been homophobic, so it's not an issue. I've had my cock sucked in a bathroom by a drag queen though. People always say 'How do you know you wouldn't like it if you've never tried it?'. Well I tried it out, gave it my best shot, and it was fucking horrible."
DJ Harvey on trying new things.
"It is important to remember that scarcity is a source of value, and that you can only really care about a small amount of stuff. We are finite, limited creatures. We have these amazing machines that allow us to process huge amounts of information but how are we ever going to appreciate it?"
Ewan Pearson also on digital music saturation.
Sasha on drugs.
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