We felt it was time to to take a look at our industry and debate if political affiliations and correctness is putting a strain on our scene.
To understand the current situation, we first need to talk about clubs and what the current clubbing blueprint looks like.
THE EXCLUSIVE SCENE (CLUBS WITH A DOOR POLICY)
Berghain is regarded as the best club in the world and has a strict door policy so we’ll use them as an example. For those who are unaware, clubs that employ door pickers are usually different to normal clubs.
The door picker is the gatekeeper between you and your ticket to musical paradise.
You can’t buy a ticket here, it’s about forming an orderly queue. To get in, you simply have to be the person the picker is looking for. The picker understands the club’s ideology perfectly and chooses people in accordance with that. So that does beg the question, is clubbing really inclusive?
To understand Berghain’s ethos, it’s roots stem from the Ostgut club, which used to host the private male-only fetish night “Snax”. Osgut eventually began opening doors it’s regular party goers and hosting different nights – which quickly lead to it becoming a permanent figure in Berlin’s techno subculture. So anything goes at Berghain.
Berlin has long been dance music’s epicentre and has sparked a resurgence in door picking.
And maybe that’s due to the nature of the scene in Berlin, because not every dance music fan potentially wants to witness groups of men fucking in a club or have opportunities to enter in to random sexual acts with them either. So according to Berghain’s door picker, if those kind of things bother you, then you don’t belong in the club. We’re 100% on-board with that btw.
So when house music legend Felix Da Housecat was famously refused entry, perhaps the door staff felt he held prejudices too? Yes you read that right, Felix Da Housecat was refused entry from Berghain! Understandably he wasn’t best pleased when he took to Twitter to vent his rage – asserting Berhain were racist and ignoring the core values of dance music. TBH we think it’s pretty unbelievable that a guy like him wasn’t allowed in, but maybe he didn’t apply for the guest list and simply turned up at the door? http://www.factmag.com/2015/02/21/felix-da-housecat-denied-entry-berghain-unleashes-rant-twitter/
The Inclusive Scene (Events, festivals, ibiza clubs…)
When you buy a ticket to a big event, a club in Ibiza, or a festival – you don’t get judged. They just let you in because you’ve paid. Unless you’re too smashed. That’s why bigger events have grown much more in popularity. And who wants to be judged against a criteria when they’re just going out to have a good time; being made to waste time queuing for hours to be told they don’t make the grade?! We feel that’s elitist bullshit.
So as we see it there are two kinds of scenes today: the exclusive scene and the inclusive scene.
The History of Dance Music
If we retrace dance music’s roots, the scene began at The Warehouse in Chicago’s Southside in 1977, which gave birth to House Music and its name. The Warehouse broke the barriers of race and sexual preference and was in part targeted at the gay community. Clubs previously had been designed to segregate races, so what the The Warehouse and house music did was revolutionary.
The Warehouse brought everyone together: blacks, whites, hispanics, gays, straights…it was all about the music.
Clubs like these were safe spaces for people to express themselves and not live in fear that they were going to get beat up for being the wrong race or gay…
The Issues Today
If we fast forward to the world today and some parts of the world has become more inclusive than they were. Whilst racism and homophobia is on the decrease in Europe, the problem is still pretty bad in America. We admit that problems still exist everywhere though.
Modern clubbers and indeed artists face a different kind of fear these days in dance music on the internet. And that’s what will happen if we don’t share the same views as everyone else?
The rise of people expressing their political views in dance music today (2017) is in part to do to rise of Donald Trump! Throughout his election campaign; Trump consistently blasted political correctness, blaming it for an extraordinary range of ills. And now partly because of Trump, it all seems we’re all fighting a battle amongst ourselves to defend our freedoms and opinions, which has created a vicious circle.
And it’s got so bad now that’s it almost got to the stage where if you support Trump, you’re viewed fascist and there’s no place for you in dance music anymore – which again doesn’t make our scene very inclusive.
And we think branding someone a fascist, for not supporting a fascist agenda is a tad hypocritical. Yet many people don’t recognise the hypocrisy. Do you?
So who is controlling the agenda in dance music?
By definition; political correctness means agreeing that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people. It’s a verbal form of gentrification – a space largely owned and policed by the middle classes (but not limited to).
And the punishment for this is being outed on the internet and your career destroyed.
So if we consider the recent ‘kerfuffle’ with the ‘Konstantin’ scandal, where he was exposed for his assertion that female DJs are ‘over-promoted’ (sic) and are often worse than male DJs (sic). This was in a private conversation btw! He then went on to advise that women need to become more masculine to succeed in the industry (sic). And whilst we don’t agree with his views, we can say that dance music has certainly always been male dominated. In fact one of the industry’s key strategies for a long while has been to encourage more female artists in to this scene, which in turn corroborates his views there could be more chances available for talented women right now. Click here to see DJ’s Mag’s article this year about women in dance music.
So why exactly did Konstantin’s opinion lead to him getting kicked out the industry?
Well the story was spun by the usual suspects (Pulse and Resident Advisor) who specialise in naming and shaming stories, that deliver huge amounts of traffic for their websites. Nobody better understands how to enforce the political correctness narrative than these guys. In fact, Mixmag couldn’t even help itself in taking a pop in the end when it saw how much traffic it was bringing in. When the press is against you in this industry, you’re done.
Last week Pulse Radio tried go one better and take the political correctness debate to a whole new level, this time branding Funk D’Void ‘alt-right’ because he had produced merchandise for the Proud Boys. Guilty or not, by giving him no chance to defend himself before they published the article, they played the role of the judge, jury and executioner without a trial. We felt this was unfair, so we gave him an opportunity to tell his side of the story.
We did this because we felt the scene was heading into dangerous territory (which is what inspired us to write this article)
DJ’s have long caught on to how calling out people on social media can increase their publicity; yet in the same breath they’re disrespecting and ignoring the causes they have claimed to hold so dear, which makes them a tad fake and attention seeking.
Schadenfreude is big business on the internet and people love to witness people getting taken down.
The press has long been reporting on social media spats and they’ve released they can stir the same controversy too, which is why we see more stories of this nature happening in the news.
We’re heading in to very dangerous territory when the press is being given the power to judge somebody as guilty before giving them the chance to tell their side of the story.
Either we accept that music should be for all and accept others for our differences, yet respectfully disagree with their opinions. The inclusive scene.
We continue to police a politically correct ideology, that forces us to all to conform to the same points of view that routinely destroys people for kicks. This same ideology that also includes branding anyone who agrees with some of the things Donald Trump says is a fascist. The exclusive scene.
Instead of promoting division, we need to begin promoting the original values of house music, which is tolerance and being accepting everyone without prejudice. We need to remove the politics and hate that’s invading our scene and use it unite people, before we start making it exclusive.
Dance music is for everyone. Let’s make it about fun and escapism again.