I consider myself lucky to have raved when I did. More dedicated now than ever to being a part of the return. This can be a passing of the torch if we organize.
one of the most amazing things about this present moment is that everything is in flux.
we are able to look back on our lives before this, industrialized first world people anyway, from our bedrooms and kitchen dining room tables, and realize that things will never be the same. this applies to all aspects of life, society, politics, government, careers, and family. many of us will also face the concept of death in a new way.
the opportunity here is that what has occurred is a breakage in linear time. we are in a space that is not the timeline anyone told us we would be in. completely unexpected, and as a result, time shattering.
we don’t know what’s next. that’s the best part. we can only look back, inward, and outward around us. from that we are realizing that the scene was shit, our lives were missing something, and that the essence of that something is a place upon which to build a new scene. that’s my starting point. apply it to whatever matters to you.
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i don’t see a problem if an artist/performer wanted to make money and appeal to large non-informed crowds
artists and listeners with “integrity” will still be around despite the virus or over commercialization of music
that is if basic functions of the economy continue to work which they probably will (the lights stay on)
Thank you sooo much for sharing.
Had the same feelings when RA posted that ‘SOS.’ It just felt like another marketing gimmick. Was really curious to why RA felt that the music scene was more important to save than lives at the moment. Like I love music and club culture, but it’s weird, a bit insensitive, to care about that when people are literally dying. But when they did that post, I think the damage was still not clear.
At then end, I agree with article. The scene is not worth saving. Local scenes don’t exist. Most DJs, including me, talk about small dark clubs but wanna be part of events as they pay way more and all you have to do is show up and play for an hour.
Love everyone’s comments here. Regarding conversations, I thought it was really interesting that when my friend and I went to berlin clubs, we talked a bunch. I’m sure the drugs had a role, but most spaces seemed, while perfect for music and dancing, to cater for sitting around and lounging and talking.
That is something I don’t see in festivals. You just feel anxious about missing the next performance lol. The ones I attended didn’t even have proper seating area.
There is no problem, just thoughts of what is going on.
No one is saying you shouldn’t make money.
As far as I am thinking about this, its about no need to hold on to a scene or the strong borders between music and other things, to “stay real” or that kind of nonsense.
But there is two (or more) directions. Where some people like finding the interesting stuff between borders and others want to test how they can make a living off it.
The one is not any more wrong than the other, but it leads to conflicting interests.
The language used to make money on music these days leans heavily on concepts that started in a less commercial environment . . . and thats how all this scene talk stands out as a bit hypocritical.
Yes, agreed. This was my experience in Berlin as well, and I attribute it to lots of hard work by everybody involved in these clubs as well as a strict door policy. Those types of conversations are the result of a vibe that is grown over years, not “curated” through a list of invites and marketing campaigns.
The scene needs to have a life outside of the Internet, and it does, but what we are really talking about, I feel, is how we perceive what the internet does to conversation, connections and having amazing experiences going out.
Those happen because core people involved work hard. Save our scene is a bad look because it brands the scene, makes it look like a fucking GoFundMe drive, and asks for handouts rather than what the scene might have earned had it been meaningful.
It’s the timing, language, and delivery of it all. This is what happens when one blog represents a scene to most of us, in what should be a diverse blogosphere ecosystem with critics and weirdos and fuckery. Instead it’s sponsored by Ashai Super Dry and Ray Ban. And we’re realizing we eat that shit up nightly. I’m guilty too.
We’re all here to call bullshit, that article distilled it, now we’re telling our stories of why we feel that way.
Anyone here promote and care to share their opinion?
i think any discussion of saving the scene is worthless without talking about saving ourselves, those who created and sustain the scene, and any talk about saving ourselves without thinking outside of the boundaries of this scene alone is equally as worthless.
the average electronic musician and electronic music fan suffering during this crisis is likely suffering the same things effecting all the proletariat right now: being shut out from paychecks from already precarious, already underpaid jobs, which lead to struggles with paying immorally high prices of rent, healthcare, food, and other needs, with no wide social welfare to help. ur local dj at ur club is probs not just making money from the musical work, the music work might just be a “side-hustle” outside of their “real job” of grocery bagging / app-based taxiing / burger flipping / whatever else, regardless of how the emotional response the artist and audience gets from the act of twisting knobs and pulling levers to make wiggly air come out of electrical pumping cones feels substantially more real then any Big Mac or rideshare can ever be. and im willing to bet their fellow coworkers feel the same anger and sadness at this perverse economy too, weither or not they listened to the new EP on Dekmantel yet
saving the scene? nah man. too narrasistic, too selfish. save ourselves. save humanity. get politically involved in promoting and securing a democratic socialist world that mandates all folks get the unalienable rights of healthcare, food, shelter, and democracy, so more people have the freedom, with no economic stress, to make more artworks of wiggly air, and to wiggle around with other consumers of wiggly air. and u know what? i think we can do it. i think we can actually do it.
fuck this is a good thread! I want to respond to everything.
@quadrant I do tend to agree with you that if people want to do commercial stuff, they should. I’m not alarmist about EDM or big room or whatever, because I came from that. But I do want to think about the types of events that I personally would like to see, and they are definitely NOT generally superclubs or festivals. It is concerning to see my favorite artists just doing shit clubs and shit festivals that I do not want to attend.
Completely agree with this @nickecks and @spceboi. It is definitely based on decades of cultivation. When I visited I realized just how FAR behind other majors cities were. Anyone interested has to read Tobias Rapp’s Lost and Sound. It’s almost a sociological document of why berlin is the way it is.
to be clear though, whatever your thoughts are on millenial’s interpersonal skills, the quoted scenario is still happening. I know it. I had that feeling like 3 months ago in my small regional city. Just because a certain (large) segment of this scene is commercializing does not mean people are not getting together and getting weird and having those eyes closed moments. I don’t think that particular fire can be put out.
yes, i experience it often too when I go to events that have been running for 20+ years and have a email based invite system telling the time and place of the event less than 24 hours before it begins. very special communities need to be protected by layers of vetting. this is my church, my spiritual place, my sacrament, and it only happens a few times a year because I’m not able to fuck off the way i used to in my younger years. But where I’m headed is creating something like this on my own. And for that to happen, I have to explore intentions and decide what factors contribute to empty, vacant, lifeless dance floors and side rooms like what we’ve been seeing for the past 5 years.
when it comes to door policy and building an audience which ultimately becomes a scene, its not only about who is cool and who isn’t, who can hold their shit and who can’t, but its about who actually contributes to the vibe, the dance and the night. the issue I have is that there is now a lack of space for people who are new to the scene, ie. people who need to learn to do the above things (learn how to hold their shit, be cool, contribute) to do so because of the lack of human interaction through small talk and kind, thoughtful exchanges about music, life and whatever else. PLUR represents this ethic, but it has been commodified. It all gets eaten up by the vultures.
I also want to clarify, my thoughts on interpersonal skills are not only directed at millennials. they’re directed at everyone who goes out, from 18 to 80. this isn’t a generation gap issue, to me. this is what happens when hypercapitalism replaces healthy social conversational ecosystems with chat and text based exchanges. what I look to do in this space is to express what it will take to create healthy scenes above ground so that new faces can be welcomed not merely as spectators, income, and social media influencers but ultimately as participants, co-creators, community members with contributions, art and insights that build a strong and healthy community of peace, love, unity and respect. and deepen into the underground and carry the torch for the next gen.
In doing this we can care for ourselves, each other, and create a space for solutions. A forum is a digital space to do the same, but it is a digital simulacrum of what should also be occurring face to face, a human right most of us have suddenly lost. When we get it back, there is ample opportunity to create in the wake of many aspects of the scene dying. People will play big rooms, sell out warehouses, pull $100k off a night again. That’s amazing, I hope they do. But how we get there AND have strong social bonds that allow us to rethink the ways we interact with potentially world-destroying technologies and ideologies is why I’m here.
Allright fuck it, heres a shot at something ive been trying to get out for years now.
Think of it this way. There used to be an underground. It was invite only. You knew someone, called someone or called a number. Lots of olders (not elders) will wax poetic about how good it all used to be before it went to shit. Theyre not in it anymore, not making money, not involved so theyre welcome to their opinions but honestly, fuck em. I’m a millienial by the way.
My cousin used to get a cassette tape which would have a phone number on it. I would play the tape endlessly but she called the number, got an address, hopped into a van with 5 of her girlfriends and drive to a strip mall. There would be an office in a vacant retailer’s space. They would walk up, assure the guys working there that they weren’t cops, buy tickets, and receive their location. Then they would drive out, full of excitement, to the event. Rave for 24-72 hours. Repeat a month or so later.
I heard these stories and at 12 years old wanted nothing more than to be a kandy kid. My cousin gave me tapes and made me bracelets. I didn’t get to my first rave until 16 and it was quite different. By the time I came around no more hotlines and strip malls, just warehouses in the desert and flyers. And it was fucking amazing.
As I kept going more and more I began to differentiate between scenes, drum n bass, psytrance, house, techno, progressive, etc. There used to be a uniform, a culture associated in the same way that BBoys who wore Kangols and Addidas could identify. All of these kids were fucking intimidating to me and I was straight up scared of going to these events. I got jumped, robbed, fucked, drunk, rolled and all kinds of other things. It was amazing.
Then, the internet. First it was the disappearance of flyers that I noticed. As Facebook came online I realized that less events came to me through a flyer or a friend telling me and more came to me in my inbox. But the fucking good ones, those were the ones that came the good old fashioned way. And I learned, over time, that this was the difference between the above ground and the underground.
I’ve watched social media infiltrate the underground, which used to be funded by drugs, rich kids and predatory promoters who made their money in the corporate world. Now it’s still funded by all of those things but fed through a drip feed of IG, Facebook, YouTube, RA, or whatever brand sponsors them.
Now I admit the game had to change, but it was once a fact that the best events were never advertised. From 2010 onwards what has slowly happened, in my opinion, is that people have lost their ability to share stories about their peak experiences in life in a space outside of the Internet. I used to tell my stories at bars, in living rooms, and in smoking sections. Now I tell them here, and in hundred other tiny internet boxes that feed my dopamine receptors with blue circle notifications in reward.
So, the underground, and by proxy the above ground events that feed it, had to go online. Otherwise nobody would show up. Nobody knows how to keep things off the internet, and hasn’t known how to do so since 2010. This is a reality of life, and as such a reality of the scenes some of us inhabit. This is why Berghain, De School and others have begun to put stickers on your phones. You literally cant help yourself from doing these things. Next step is the Faraday Cage Club. Gimme 10 years.
There are still underground events. People are still raving face and having peak experiences. The issue, in my opinion, is that the quality of those events does not match the quantity offered. And the network that could come from going to one quality event and linking into a community of like minded people who potentially could become friends, lovers and allies is lost when we give our stories away to socials so easily rather than take the time to tell them to each other, or in some cases learn or re-learn how to do so. That’s what this moment is showing me.
The reason I’m telling this story is to try and thread a sense of history and tell what it is about the cultivation of in real life experiences and events that are not data. That are not photos. That are not videos. That are not posts. That are not something to add to your “story” or tag for a friend or promote for a free ticket to the next one. Some of us have forgotten, some never knew. The issue right now is that many people need to continue to make a living doing what they love, playing music, promoting shows, running labels, releasing tunes. And suddenly EVERYTHING is online, NOTHING is in real life. We are frozen in a moment in which many physical spaces and places will die. Many people in the music biz will be in a really tight spot.
So what began to happen around 2005 that caused us all to jump on the internet and begin to lose our social skills? Perhaps it was the fact that we subconsciously knew that social bonds were crumbling around us, that the early 2000s were a peak moment of prosperity, and that surely this was the next best thing. We ballooned scenes and events and parties up, up, and up into what we have today. And now the balloon deflates and we decide if we want to play it over again or create something that we’ve only heard stories about. A scene that means something to us 20 years from now, that changes the way we look at our past, our reality, and our many, many futures.
So, the way forward? Parts of the scene aren’t worth saving. Other parts are more important than ever to save and fund, immediately. It’s up to us to create a nuanced discussion as to what those parts are, why, and to ideally convince others of our opinion. This is what a healthy active forum / debate / exchange would look like. But I havent seen those in years, so not holding my breath. Open for messages, replys and quotes tho. Fuck this was a rant, I don’t think i even got to the bottom of what I wanted to, but feels good nonetheless. Ideally someone invites exchange and questions what i wrote above…
What do you think is worth saving? What should die? What could happen next?
the point i was attempting to make in my first reply to your comment was not to describe this as strictly a millennial-related issue or a “this is the problem with the youth today” issue. I happen to be one of those youth. It is a technology addiction, lack of social experience, hiding in the chat rather than talking to your neighbor issue which I feel can happen to anyone in the modern world today. Young or Old. Boomer or Gen Z.
Sadly I have not experienced the underground parties or anything other than few of the clubs I been to in Berlin. But I do agree with your sentiment. While I don’t want to be yelling at clouds, at thing the internet is changing a lot of things without us realizing.
Now, a lot of people go to events for the pics. I’ve been to many shitty events where the pictures made them look so fun and edgy.
Though I have to say that without the internet I would have not reached most of the underground music that we love. Things were so local that unless you lived in a place where there was a scene, you were out of luck. While I appreciate the locality of thins, I am thankful that things spill over now and people have access to all arts. Though things definitely get completely lost in translation.
For example, I feel techno outside of a proper club, right type of people, right atmosphere, doesn’t really make sense. Like it is good music, no disagreement there. But it’s meant to be more than that. The music is one element of that experience. That’s way festivals will never give us the same experience a good club would even though they bring the same artists.
yeah exactly, its like a filter / funnel from shit to better and better events if you keep doing your research online, following artists and going to blogs. eventually you find your style, figure out where the good events are and then find your epic experiences.
this used to happen because you went to one random event because someone at a shitty event told you “you know, if you like _________ and you really wanna have a good time, go to _________” then maybe you went, loved it , kept going, then ran into them and boom 6 months later you were scene friends. or maybe you hated it, and were like damn that sucked that persons taste was shit, but now had a better sense of what you did and didn’t like.
right now we are following algorithms instead of people we talk to. we’re following the herd rather than making up opinions and we have no ability to be critical online so we are silent more often than speak our minds.
its good to have the internet, and we choose to navigate it for commerce, social value and art. we can and should do all of these things offiline as well, maybe more so after all of this Covid shit storm to restitch our social bonds and realities. this is going to last for a bit and people are going to come out with all kinds of mental health issues, poverty issues, and isolation OCD tendencies. A strong scene can help people heal themselves.
we can choose to rewire our scenes so that above ground events can be of better quality in building social scenes and communities in real life. then our shows, weeklys, monthlys, festivals and undergrounds can be more of a core bond between us and strengthen, support and nourish our needs for a good fucking party or whatever else we want to create. its a blank slate, really.
I feel like everything i have written has been conveyed in a historical tunnel of what the scene HAS BEEN and I am waiting for the engagement of people willing to share their history and together we can push forth what the scene COULD BE. But with out exchange and conversation ( that used to happen in person, but now is relegated to online platforms) that is impossible, I’m just off on a rant which is either celebrated or ignored. the ecosystem is devoid of contributors.
thats not to minimize or set aside anyone here’s contribution thus far. im appreciative that there is some exchange still happening and for the ability to open what could become a deeper conversation about what makes scenes meaninful to us.
maybe that’s a good question, what made a scene a scene to you? how would you describe a scene, in both physical and interweb versions?
Been lurking and this is a great thread!! I’m really intrigued by a lot of what @nickecks is saying, although I’ve probably had a vastly different experience. I’m a (younger?) millennial too and I grew up in a place far outside the berlin-london-ny axis that was being talked about (still haven’t been anywhere near those places lol). But for me it was punk shows at a tiny, out-of-the-way bar that gave me the feeling that you’ve been describing. Funny thing is though, we all had the internet and all these events were advertised online. I guess it’s just that no one cared? One factor is probably that we were all too young and real bad at promotion - we were doing this stuff for friends and friends of friends. But I think in a way that’s the essence of it too. It was great cos the only people that showed were your friends or people you met at similar shows. No one ever really made money, but the door got split between the bands and everyone got maybe $20 and most of us were happy with that Anyway, I don’t know what I’m trying to say really. Just wanted to add my context to the pile lol. I guess a question I have is what do you want out of a scene? I feel like there’s always ulterior motives behind why people get involved with scenes and that’s fine, but I think having some idea of what you’re looking for is good. Personally, I’m at a point where I don’t know anymore. I got involved in the scene I described previously because I wanted (somewhat laughably) to make a career out of music. But it was only when a friend from that scene passed away a few years ago and the bar they ran shut down that I realized how special that moment was and how much joy those people and those events brought me. They really got me through a lot. But now that doesn’t really exist anymore and I’m in a different city and don’t know too many people and trying to reframe what I want out of being involved in a scene (and music, generally). But maybe you don’t know until you find it and maybe you don’t know what you got til it’s gone?
EDIT: @weirdoslam preach! Only just saw that comment and, as someone who’s worked in hospitality for the last million years while trying to do music on the side, it could not be more true. There’s people behind all of these things - from musician to promoter to raver - and how they’re doing is the most important thing. Hope everyone on here is doing ok!
For sure! That’s a really important quote and something I’m gonna be thinking about a lot. I’ve been re-reading andrew dubber’s book lately and, even though it’s a little old now, what he’s saying has a lot of truth to it. The internet is a tool for communication in the same way music is, in the same way a tape with a phone number on it can be. It’s not about what the medium is, it’s about what you’re trying to communicate and how you use the medium to get your point across.
Funny thing is though, we all had the internet and all these events were advertised online**. I guess it’s just that no one cared?** One factor is probably that we were all too young and real bad at promotion - we were doing this stuff for friends and friends of friends. But I think in a way that’s the essence of it too. It was great cos the only people that showed were your friends or people you met at similar shows.
This is my experience too. I helped with an event here locally, with a semi-famous “legacy” DJ and basically nobody showed up except for our friends and friends of friends, despite an RA listing, instagram and FB ads etc.
@nickecks That is why I’m a little bit hesitant about statements like “right now we are following algorithms instead of people we talk to. we’re following the herd rather than making up opinions”. In the case of my local scene, the ONLY people that are coming out are friends and word of mouth types. And these are mostly people 18-25. In the case of my local scene, the algorithm isn’t helping for jack shit Somehow the internet really isn’t working (maybe too much noise on the web? or maybe because FB requires boosted ads and is basically pay to play?) and we all concluded that word of mouth promotion and a tight inner circle is really the only way to do a good party.
This may not be the situation in a major city. However on the other hand, in Berlin and London you have a sitatuation where there are SO MANY parties that internet ads and RA listings are buried amongst hundreds. So, you’re back to going to parties based on who you know, your intuitions, your friend group, etc. E.g. in Berlin, the masses will try Berghain/Tresor/etc but everyone else settles into the smaller clubs and bars based on word of mouth and interest.
As far as what the scene SHOULD be, I can definitely concur with this sentiment – pictures or videos of the rave suck and have REALLY negative effects. I feel like it turns events into a backdrop for instagram, and despite my thoughts here I have been really tempted to tag myself in photos or whatever to show what cool subcultural shit I did Friday night. I hate that. Fuck rave portraits.
It’s difficult from a promotional standpoint cause I know photos are useful tools to drum up interest, but it feels like a net negative to me.