Is there anything worse than that one person at the house party that’s unloading their “knowledge” of House and Techno without actually having much of a knowledge at all? When they’ve mentioned Alan Fitzpatrick one too many times for you to finally fly off the handle about how they’re completely inaccurate and that their ‘love’ for House and Techno won’t last a fraction longer than Russell Brand and Katy Perry did.
When has your defence of the music you love gone too far? Is there a complete divide between pre-existing fans and members of the Dance music community and those that are just starting to get into it?
We’ve all seen the roast sessions in the comment sections when someone posts underneath a classic House or Techno track, posted by someone who’s discovered it for the first time, and not realised that it’s steadfast in diehard listeners’ diets. We’ve all had to put up with the supposed expert at pre-drinks and we’ve rolled our eyes to heaven when someone throws on ‘Voicemail’ like it’s a hidden gem. Like a lot of things, there are certain aspects that the well-established take for granted. ‘The Bells’, ‘Never Grow Old’ and not to mention ‘Jalek’ have etched out repetitive caverns in fans’ skulls due to new listeners’ craving to be accepted, despite only being interested for a matter of months.
With all that being said, are these reactions the exact reason that the problems exist in the first place? It’s often said that the young Irish public’s passion for House and Techno is entirely encouraging, but it’s also noted that a whole lot of the new school don’t have a clue. We’ve all heard the well-known and overplayed songs before. Even though it’s annoying when someone claims they’ve ‘discovered’ it, it doesn’t mean they’re more naïve than someone who’s heard it before. It’s an over-the-top response giving out about their apparent stupidity, and only widens the gap between the new and old listener.
Peoples’ frustration at newcomers’ naïvety is totally understandable, but at the same stage when there’s an atmosphere of “you either know it or you don’t”, people will pretend to know it all in order to fit into a fresh scene. Fans of House and Techno in Ireland fake it ’til they make it and that’s a product of the environment already in place. It can be said that in terms of discussing the music fans aren’t totally at ease until they’ve had enough time to figure out the unwritten dos and don’ts, and nooks and crannies of the expansive genres that are currently en vogue. The most common misconception about club and dance culture is that it’s ‘anti-social’, despite the fact that it actually brings people together to dance with each other. As a community of fans and appreciators though, are we really an accepting community, or one that’s subtly based on a hierarchy of knowledge?
That’s not to say that those who are already highly established shouldn’t be well respected, but that the consistent pressure on newcomers to not commit obvious slip-ups and reveal their music taste to be a façade stems from prior examples of people trying and failing to do the same. At the moment, we’re in the midst of something really unique that’ll be looked back on as a prime era for fans of Dance music, and the fact that this particular issue could be in any way outlined as a problem is a measure of how impressive and positive the scene is. Instead of listing off plenty of reasons why Ireland’s club and Dance landscape is excellent just look down your newsfeed or walk by your local club to see the posters for the next big act.
Plenty of us (including myself) have stuck the knife in a bit too deep, pointing out people’s ‘obvious’ faults from our educated perspective. Correcting someone on the shortcomings of their perceived music intelligence is in itself as wrong as whoever was spewing about Drumcode being the best Techno out there. The blame is equal on both sides and the solution equally so. If we were all a bit more accepting of people who are admittedly new and fresh on the scene, then the underlying hostility would cease to exist. A simple push in the right direction, away from the stereotypical entry-level tracks and artists, into more niche or hard to find artists that people may prefer is so much more beneficial than saying they don’t know what they’re on about.
Dance music constantly fights against misunderstanding from the uneducated outside world, so why can’t it combat similar miscommunication within its own circles. If the scene is as all-encompassing as it tries to lead people to believe then why doesn’t it have a more open armed policy to the naïve new listener?
What do you think? Should dance music be a ‘hush-hush’, invites only club to preserve the sanctity of certain tracks and genres? Or should it be welcoming and inviting, like the lyrics of so many classic house tracks?
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Words by Cóilí Collins
Photos by Omar O Reilly