Where do people go to find music?

Tuesday 11th June 2013 | jim

Clubs like Plastic People and their night FWD, or old raves like DMZ used to be the place people would go to hear the newest songs being played out for the first time. These small clubs were not about looking good or putting sparklers in your champagne, it was all about the actual music.

Plastic People is a tiny little dark box of a room with speakers far more suited to a larger club, there are no lights so people don’t care if your wearing the newest Nike airs, it just about the music. At these nights DJs and producers would bring along their newest tracks to play for the very first time. Has this all changed now? The newest songs can now be heard for the first time right from the comfort of your living room.

Pirate radio stations like Rinse and the introduction of media platforms like boiler room have become the go to places to hear the newest songs dropped for the first time.

From the comfort of your sofa, away from clubs people are being introduced to the newest songs, leaving clubs for people who know the songs and want to go dance. It seems though that these kinds of nights are ending. There is no real equivalent place to go listen to music with a bunch of others who are so in tune with the music. These tiny little nights that had a fixed, and dependable, crowd had a slight air of exclusivity, and it seems that these have been changed for huge parties like Warehouse Project or Bugged Out Weekender. The nights have become mini festivals in them selves and nearly always require tickets to be bought in advance. Are all these people as in tune with the music, and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the others tunes these producers have created? Even actual festivals are increasing; there are so many festivals to choose from now, every year there seem to even more. These festivals are packed with a multitude of DJs, live bands and ridiculous venues. But have these big nights and festivals completely destroyed the underground music scene? The place where people go to discover new music is no longer clubs like Plastic People. People scan a huge number of blogs or tune into boiler room to watch someone dropping new tracks while a bunch of pretentious and vacuous looking hipsters move around in the background. Even groups like Eton Messy have created a new niche in the market for ‘YouTubers’ to create YouTube blogs to release new songs on.


But this doesn’t mean that the underground music scene has ended. There are still a huge number of underground dance nights in tiny little clubs. But maybe now the actual clubbing experience has changed. People don’t go to stand around the DJ booth and nod manically as a new song gets released. The clubs are still exclusive and only people in the know find out about them, but they are more welcoming. It is now more about the clubbing experience; it’s more about the dancing and ‘having fun’. Collectives like Standard Place, Numbers or Nightslugz all run their own nights, playing the newest songs, but it’s no longer a purely musical experience where people look down on you for not knowing the song. Even looking at the actual music scene there has been an introduction again of music for dancing. The era of depressing and very underground dub step seems to be coming to an end, and more euphoric and uplifting disco and UKG seems to be having a resurgence, even classics like Whitney are being dropped into the sets of the most underground of DJs, and hopefully this is for the best. Even though you still get a few people going to clubs looking to cause trouble but maybe the happy music is going to bring the happy people back to the clubs too. 


Written by Jim Roberts