Money feeds egos, not hearts and minds after all. The hungry hearts followed a journey that took them along the ‘hardcore continuum’, chasing ever-evolving new genres from the ashes of the last. It’s a simple formula: as a new scene comes through the underground it initially offers affiliates a counter-position to mainstream culture, and membership to a secret tribe. The more successful that scene becomes and the more popular it becomes, the more people it must eventually appease in order to sustain its popularity.
Inevitably it becomes diluted in substance or diverted along a disconnected tangent. This alienates many of those initially attracted to it, who, more often than not, move on to find something else (I’ve been there myself a few times). What’s left of that sub-genre is mostly a self-plagarising echo of its former glory. There might be some room left for refinement here and there, or occasionally hybridisation with other sub-genres, but otherwise, it goes on to recycle its own ideas, switching parts interchangeably in a seemingly arbitrary and often self-congratulatory way. Those new to a scene, who haven’t been around that merry-go-round a few times already, might hear the music with fresh ears – but it can’t offer the opportunity for a wider group to experience something truly new and exciting.
Sadly, dance music is full of lazy egos. Just look at how the dregs of celebrity flock to pose in the DJ booths of high-end clubs all over the world. DJs press play on CDJs, effortlessly beat-match with software while waving champagne flutes at a gawping crowd. It’s bollocks. That’s not what raving was ever about. It was the counter-culture, the very opposition to that kind of pretentious bullshit. Don’t support that nonsense. Support DIY culture, free parties, non-commercial events, alternative festivals – anything that’s driven by enthusiastic people making a real effort to pursue unity over fragmentation. DJs and producers: we need more focus on creating new chapters in the hardcore continuum and less on raising social media stats. With Brexit on our doorstep and a certified psychopath leading the ‘free world’ further into fragmented isolationism, never before have we been in greater need of a sense of integrated community. It’s time for dance culture to step up as a uniting force once again.