Monday, 28 April 2014

The 3 Questions - Jack's take

Keen observers among you will have noticed that the blog has undergone what I understand is termed a 're-branding'. This was mostly prompted by my previous posts in which I asked a number of movers and shakers in the vintage remix (I'll explain in a little while) scene around the world for their answers to the following questions:

Is electroswing 'proper' dance music?
What does the future of the scene look like?
Is it a fad or can it claim to be a bona-fide dance music genre?

You can see the responses I got here, there, and over there. I strongly recommend that you have a read if you have not yet done so - it really is fascinating stuff.

Anyway, I promised that I would give my personal take on the questions, but upon reflection I have decided it is more interesting to have a look at what the responses were and try to learn something from that.

The first thing that becomes obvious is that 'electroswing' is not a popular term. As Mike from Dutty Moonshine put it "electroswing is a stupid fucking name". (Sorry old chap, it is too good a quote not to use again.) His view is echoed by several other interviewees, with greater or lesser eloquence. They argue that the phrase may once have been a useful description of the nascent sound, when it was largely house-based and swing-based, but that it no longer does justice to the variety that has arisen over the last couple of years. I have racked my brains to try to come up with a snappy alternative, but I struggle to improve upon Vintage Remix, as suggested by Nick Hollywood, Chris Tofu and others. Hence the re-branding. I confess that I still don't find that term totally helpful, as it excludes those artists who are not remixing vintage sounds, but are making, as it were, original modern vintage music - Electric Swing Circus, Elle and the Pocket Belles, Lamuzegueule, and so on. Nonetheless, it seems to be the best we have for now. Perhaps you have a better term - suggestions in the comments please.

Turning to the second question, the consensus seems to be that we are on the cusp or brink of seeing electro-swing, SORRY, vintage remix really hit the big time, but that it could go either way. Tallulah Goodtimes (among others) notes the sudden proliferation of vintage remix tunes being used in TV adverts. One could also point out that The Correspondents are playing main stages at festivals this summer, and that Boomtown has an entire district given over to the sound. As Kaptin is Dead, Mayor of Boomtown, points out, it may be for the best that Vintage Remix remain just below the radar of the masses, lest we be overrun with ghastly Gramophondzie crap. The final part, which dealt with the USA and Canada, may turn out to be the most important part here.

So far as the final question goes, I get the feeling that all of those who responded to the questions I posed have a genuine love for the music. That has to be a good thing. I can't think of anyone in the scene (OK, maybe a couple of people) who has the sort of cynical approach that would spell the end for the genre. The fact is that these guys love making this music, and as DJ Dodgy-Style put it, it will continue to evolve "until [they] run out of tunes to bootleg." As long as they keep making great music, people will want to see them play live and will want to dance, and the whole thing will self-perpetuate. It may be a fad, but it will be a prolonged one.

There was one other view put forward that I thought was worthy of note here, and that was from Richard Shawcross (aka C@ in the H@) on the subject of genres. He said: "If I had to define it under a broad umbrella genre, I would in fact call it Jazz, not Dance music". I am not convinced that I agree with him there, except in a very broad sense, but it certainly made me listen to his music in a new way.