Rinse & Repeat
Engaging, topical, musical discussions in the abyss of Facebook groups are few and far between. But, last night one topic encouraged just that. Promoters, club-goers and other music enthusiasts approached the question as to whether or not certain artists are getting too much club time on these shores at the expense of the lesser knows. Should we do more to bring debut acts to the ever increasing number of clubs and promotions in Dublin, Belfast, Galway, Derry, etc.?
Ejeca, Bicep and Dusky, among others, had been suggested subjects to the ‘rinse and repeat formula’ up and down the country. Some felt this was the fault of promoters, lacking imagination. Others claimed it was for promoters’ financial gain. Having experienced all aspects of clubbing culture, from being a punter, to having begun a promotion, I appreciate how it feels from both sides and so here’s my two cents.
Electronic music has undoubtedly pushed its way to the foreground of the Irish music scene in recent years, and with that comes massive benefits as well as its drawbacks. Go back ten years, and techno, for instance, was very much an underground scene in Ireland (being from the North, my experiences will be largely of Belfast and so others will indeed have different opinions). One correlation with a scene being ‘underground’ is that it is only those who went looking for it, found what it was they were looking for, good techno music. With an underground scene, crowds will never be as great in number as one associated with popular culture, and consequently the money involved is significantly less. With less money, this attracted fewer promoters, fewer DJs, in turn, keeping the scene underground. What promoters there were could afford to take more risks with whom they booked with their event having established a brand, a name for itself in the underground circuit.
Flip this on its head, and while there have been various reasons for the seismic shift of electronic music into the fore, this has brought with it more money encouraging clubs, promotions and festivals to flood the scene, with it bringing more money making it a much more competitive arena as one person put it, ‘cheapening the scene’. While there is a degree of truth in this, diluting the once unique underground experience associated with techno, it has enabled this genre of music in which we love to be exposed to a greater number, leading to the discovery of more seriously talented individuals who may otherwise have remained undiscovered.
With more money involved, DJs are entitled to ask for greater remuneration for their services and rightly so, but this has a direct knock-on effect on promoters. Having run my own promotion, I am aware of the financial risk associated with a single party. As a punter, you tend to forget about costs beyond your swall, cigs, other vices and what you eventually pay on the door, but a promoter’s outgoings before anyone has bought a single ticket is extensive: the acts’ fee, equipment, transport, accommodation, food, beer, the promotional materials, insurance, security, the list goes on. As with any industry, an established brand has a degree of comfort in knowing that their name alone and reliability in throwing banging parties will attract numbers, allowing them to take risks in terms of who they book. But that brand took time to build and so deserves to be in that position. For new promotions, monetary risk is associated with every event, largely due to the uncertainty surrounding ‘Who the fuck is going to show up?’ I’ve suffered that gut wrenching moment, when a below par crowd turns up to an event because I made a risky booking, knowing I have to fork out for any expenses. Furthermore, not only has my pocket taken a beating, but so too has the reputation of the brand I am trying to build. I am not the first promoter to have experienced this, and won’t be the last. But understand that while many of us involved in promotion don’t do it for the money (though there are some), it is a key ingredient in throwing bigger and better parties, and being able to take those risks, booking that relatively unheard of 19 year old from Naples and hoping people have enough faith in the promotion to come along, in the knowledge it’s going to be a fierce night.
The scene is growing, and it means we all have to approach it from a different perspective. And while Bicep and Ejeca are a go to for the ‘rinse and repeat formula’, they are local lads who we should be keen to support. As was mentioned last night, “If they are good enough, they should bring a new experience every time.” If not, feck it. It’s still better than sitting in.
What I listened to while rambling about the above:
Minimal Violence – Now! [Lobster Theremin]
Sleeparchive – Letter of Resignation [Float Records]
Biogen – Borealis [трип]
Rave Tapes Vol001 – N-Joi – Mindflux (Myler Remix) [DSNT]
Paranoid London – Eating Glue [Paranoid London Records]
Andres – Moments in Life [Mahogani Music]
British Murder Boys – Learn Your Lesson [Counterbalance]
Blawan – Vibe Decorium [R&S Records]
Drvg Culture – (I Don’t Want To Die In) James Franco’s House [Perc Trax]
Marquis Hawkes – Doornroosje [Aus Music]
Dan Shake – Claudia’s Trip [Shake Records]
Jeorme Hill – Donkey Bite [Don’t]