This topic has been popping up a lot this year, maybe because I’m more involved with the music scene or it is just a growing issue. I shall be talking about uk garage particularly, however not restrained to the genre. I would like to express that these are my own views and of those who have been mentioned.
Music is love. Love what you do. Play what you love.
The subject came about when people talked about wanting to change the name of the new style of garage, in order to re-introduce it to more people who would accept it. The term “new garage” often turns people off the idea. Going to “garage” events, people not in the music scene expect and want old school, and the others want to hear the new music.. where is the middle ground? It is still the same genre so I don’t believe the name is the issue, there already is “nu skool” and “future garage” but at the end of the day it is all garage, just a more evolved take on the style.
“The fact we are talking like this shows we need change and we are willing to work towards a way forward for Garage as a whole. There are enough djs/ radio shows/ to bring old/ new/ whatever to listeners, we just need unity and a united vision, not division“ DJ Emma Champion.
But evolution of music is natural right? Music is always changing, people are always learning and new talent emerging every day. Then why are there still the stereotypes of genres? Music is an expression, in this instance the new style of uk garage has come a long way since the last decade, but then why do people still associate garage as being old. Is society open to change? People need to consciously understand that there are always new things out their and genres will constantly grow and change and should not be labelled as one particular thing.
So how does it all work? All areas have links that effect each other and this works for everything including the music industry.. Producers/Artists create pieces from their own influences and loves, the media promote music to the audience, the audience will listen to what they like, the “hot” producers/artists will be booked and promoted more, the others get less acknowledgement, the media won’t promote them, the audience concludes that their music is “old”, and the vicious cycle continues.. leaving the talent to keep rising but no one wanting to pay attention to their views.
“I may be in line at the grocery store and hear something I like. I will pull out the phone and Shazam it to sort which tune it is. I am ALWAYS searching for new stuff.” The Sassy Yank.
Growth of technology where do people go to hear music? The evolution has passed through vinyls to cassettes to CDs to MP3s, and now in this day and age, YouTube. Doing a quick survey, 6/10 people listen to the good old radio for new music, and the others go to music sites, predominately Youtube or Soundcloud. Music promotion has also evolved and it’s all about gaining that first airplay on radios, filling up all the social networking sites and uploading to Youtube and Soundcloud.
“People follow trend setters and originality is decreasing.” Christopher (Permanent St8).
Commercialism DJ’s complain about only old tracks being played on majority of uk garage radio shows. But is this because it is what society wants to hear? This goes back to the topic of the genuineness of music and it’s listeners. It isn’t on a small scale any more, people are generally listening to the same thing that’s on the popular radio and TV channels just because it is “hot right now”.
Taken from Mobo.com. “The appeal of UKG is that it knows not to take itself too seriously. While it was once on the outside looking in, trying to prove itself as a set of feelings and sounds – having to be serious and headstrong to some extent – it didn’t have to sacrifice the fun to push on through. And this is what’s great about today’s generation, the parallel stars.” Read More
Taken from Helium.com. “The question of how commercialism has hurt the music industry is more than a little bit misguided. The music industry is commercialism. Maybe that’s somewhat cynical. That does not mean it is an untrue statement. The music industry is run by people that truly do not care about music. Executives of record abels, program directors of radio stations, and anyone else who is “in charge” of the music industry care less about music than they do about selling advertising and merchandise.” Read More
Taken from an online discussion. “It does damage the variety of music that makes it’s way into our record collection since bands that are loved by a minority don’t get the fame or money they often deserve, and they are often forced to give up. And while commercial music is created to be enjoyed by as many people as possible, it is not being created out of simple enjoyment for music.” Read More
Taken from Last.FM. “I work in a (commercial) record store, and everytime I see new CD’s coming in. And when Korn turns into POP-Korn*, Nelly Furtado trades her musical identity and the beautiful original (sad) use of her voice and still make happy songs to make some sort of pussycatdoll-music, and when Richard Ashcroft makes a Robbie Williams-pop CD when The Verve had so much potential, then I ask myself… is commercialism killing music?” Read More
Solution? Whether it is society, commercialisation or DJs and producers, something needs to be done. There are already radio shows which promote new music, and dozens of various events.. but they are all aiming at specific people who make an effort to listen to the new music. We need to be thinking on a much broader scale and let the nation and the world realise that music is more than their labels. We need to work together, intervene and just really grab people’s attention. There will always be a trend, unfortunately, but I think somewhere along the lines people have got stuck into these same ideas and don’t appreciate music as a genuine heartfelt piece of art.
What others are saying
“The reason it is not underground anymore goes way deeper, it’s because people just follow fashion these days, not much is underground these days! As mainstream music goes downhill in general, youth are not used to quality underground sounds. Everything is too easy these days, people used to spend all day in record shops, now they want 5 million tunes on their iPod in 5 mins without any effort made, that’s why the underground has gone. Nowadays people don’t even wanna pay £2 quid for a tune. I play old and new and my only stipulation is that it is GOOD. 100% just good music, not just cos it’s new or cos it’s old. Old skool will never die no matter how much the new skool wishes it would. It’s only the djs and producers that can move it forward.” DJ Emma Champion.
“It’s Particularly hard as artists who enjoy experimenting with different sounds, as everyone wants to label u” Soneni and The soul.
“I think lack of decent production killed the scene off. House (especially Deep House) is killing it at the minute because it is excellent quality club music. A LOT of new garage being made is not even worthy of radio play let alone clubs. There is a couple of producers who are producing quality music but you can’t build back a scene with 1 or 2 producers!! Make club bangers and get it back into the clubs.” DJ Smiffy P.
“I like the exposure social media provides to artists, makes it easier to reach audiences that would have been more difficult to reach previously. I am pleased to see growth in the amount of producers, it is nice to see more UKG coming out. Still requires searching but its def getting better I think. I definitely feel there is a difference in the sound of old garage vs new garage but speaking from an outsider yet insiders perspective I think that is a lot of people just not wanting to accept change.which is not abnormal from normal life really. You can’t have UKG come back and have it sound exactly the same as before as that was a different time in history. There have been updates in music applications etc so the sounds of course are going to be different and you have had other music styles change through the years so people are drawing from within themselves, their experiences etc. I of course am at a disadvantage since I am fairly new to the garage scene. It just isn’t possible for it to be like it was as it was a different era in history. But having said all that there is a lot of really good new garage music and I feel that a lot of the new garage has the potential to be more crossover music then say some of the older garage, though my fav will ALWAYS be 2 step old school.” The Sassy Yank.
“Old skool garage all the way can’t be beat. Have to keep a close eye on my cds. I’m just a garage fan big on my old skool” Toni.
“But wouldn’t the producers want to have their music heard?” Squidge.
“I think general society is open to change, but they see ‘garage’ as an era of music that happened, not as a genre like djs, and avid listeners understand. Remember that house and garage in the UK stemmed from other ‘genres’ yet.. we don’t clamour for them like we do garage. Why? because of our fond memories associated with garage. In my opinion people need to stop trying to resurrect something that isn’t dead. Music doesn’t die, it just gets older, if the garage scene will once again become the focus of the UK music industry it will happen naturally…last time around ‘deep house’ tracks e.g. strictly rhythm, cloud9 etc preceeded garage. Deep house is prominent now. I consider myself a listener first, then a DJ because hearing the music and enjoying it is my first buzz, then I get to play it (work with it) But then I just love good music. like I can’t stick my fugees or chakademus album on cos it’s ‘old’ !! farce – exercising of egos. I’ll never play music because it’s ‘new’..” Eamonn James.
“White labels, test presses, 3 copies of a track and that was it! That was underground and exclusive!” DJ Kristal.
“People these days that use to be into UK garage think it is dead or do not wish to listen to any new stuff or give it a chance because they cannot move on from the bad associations it once had. The sound has changed a lot over the last 5 years or more and it is slowly becoming the sound it once was. Not everything is going to be liked by everyone but that would have still been the case nearly 20 years when it first began but because people hear a couple of tracks on an album they believe that it is the only sound of UK garage around and just dismiss it. I find it hard to believe that it is completely dead when I’m constantly hearing it on pirates and podcasts still. What makes me really laugh is that for example Sunship remixes a track, Kiss fm playlist it and then people really love it but have no real idea what genre it is.” Rascal Soundzone. Read More
“Think that’s this ego thing people keep throwing around. it’s more the “sound” people are trying to put across rather than genres. Egos can get left at the door, all or nothing.” Rudeboibrand.
“Old garage = sick but alot of the same tracks has been rinsed far too much over last 15 years. New garage hasn’t been given a chance properly coz youngsters are still hearing oldskool tracks mainly. Many youngsters growing up into loads of types of bass music now where as I grew up on jungle & garage they’re growing up on that. Is it underground anymore ?? U say it is but u got DJ Fresh, Skrillex in the charts, dubstep & d&b list goes on educating youngsters. Underground scene was underground until mp3 took over vinyl u went to be educated now u go on YouTube. People associate garage as old because that’s what it is to younger generation just like Barry whites music is to me. I agree labelling garage as old is no different from labelling Motown music as old people still love it tho. Thing is I do love garage the fact it isn’t moving fwd irritates me alot. For me that’s a clear sign it should stay as it is. Defo I don’t believe it’s anyone’s fault at all, sometimes trying to changes something with a strong foundation don’t work. There’s so many genres, sub genres to choose from now it’s like a dj feast, even with meetings nothing has been resolved, will it ever?? Not so sure” DJ Zenn.