How big can dance get? The superstars speak

Jason Bentley, moderator: How important was it for you guys to maintain your label as an identity?

Tony McGuinness, Above & Beyond: It’s interesting, ‘cause I don’t think anything we’ve done has had a five year plan. We’ve just kind of accidentally started out as team of three people, and that turned out to be a great idea. We started our label just as the major labels were stopping signing dance music.

For an awful lot of our fans, they feel very passionate about the label. They’ll have the label logo tattooed on their back, and I think it’s unlikely they’d have a picture of me tattooed on their back.

Tony, Above & Beyond: “I can’t imagine anyone with a tattoo saying ‘EDM’ on their arm. That’s why we need sub-genres.”

Jason Bentley, moderator: I think everyone on this panel was drawn to this music through its sense of community. I’d like a few of you to describe that first place, the first club scene, where you felt like you found a family. Richie, I’m curious about that for you.

Richie Hawtin: I was living in Windsor, Canada, just over the border from Detroit. It was a small town and I was one of the weird alternative kids wearing black. After a while, we wanted to find people we connected to. That took me to Detroit. I found my way eventually to a nightclub called Majestic where there was a DJ called Blake Baxter playing. It was ‘87, ‘88. I don’t know if it was the whole ‘peace love unity’ thing with everyone hugging. It wasn’t like that.

I remember going into the Music Institute where Derrick May played and it was a dark room with huge speakers. Everyone was kind of into their own thing. I still don’t believe electronic music is for everybody – I think it’s obtuse and left of centre, and that’s what I felt in that family in that moment. We’ve got something special and it’s not for everybody.

Jason Bentley, moderator: What drives a 16-year-old to go from Windsor to Detroit to find this underground space?

Richie Hawtin: Well, there were a lot of kids from Windsor who definitely would not go over to Detroit. Some parents wouldn’t let them. This was a couple of years after Detroit was the murder capital of America. You’re in a small town and you look across the river to this big city that looks like Gotham: scary, dangerous, cool, futuristic. And it was just attractive. I found deeper, weirder music there and made new friends. I stumbled upon Derrick, Kevin [Saunderson] and those guys as they were just starting to break, and found myself in the middle of a revolution.

I was really into the Sex Pistols and the punk movement, and I read about all the things that happened in ‘79, Harrow Road and all that. And I would go to the Music Institute and think, man, I might be in the middle of a new thing like punk. We’re sitting here now 25 years later, there’s a whole industry and money flying around, but we’ve just been doing what felt right all those years. There’s no book, no charts, no game-plan, no exit strategy.

Jason Bentley, moderator: Rebecca & Fiona, tell us about your scene where you came up back in Sweden?

Rebecca: We started off having our own club. We weren’t DJing at that point. We were bringing our friends there to play, and everybody sucked so bad and their music was so lame and cheesy. We were like, “We want heavier music!” Then we started DJing ourselves, digging for new music. Then we found ourselves in our own little community.

Comments arrow left

jonsermon said on the 20th Jun, 2012

Great read, is the whole show / article avilable somewhere ?


cizza said on the 20th Jun, 2012

Moar like this, less like Paris Hilton. Thanks ITM.


JackT said on the 20th Jun, 2012

Hey Jonsermon, this is the whole panel from start to finish, I transcribed it from there so I don't think it's anywhere else.


stuieb said on the 21st Jun, 2012

Another fantastic article from ITM. As much as SHM gets grief, Angello had some interesting things to say


daverh said on the 21st Jun, 2012

Rebecca & Fiona are goooood.


JackT said on the 21st Jun, 2012

Like, in this discussion or just generally Dave?


WLVRN said on the 21st Jun, 2012

yah, great that scene is finally all happening & all that, but what with current GOP "War on Women" etc. in usa, didn't anyone take umbrage (i know i did) that the edc gig guide/performer pages (even on day b4/day of) listed (out of a HUGE number of performers on main page,& not only covering headline acts, but entire line-up) a tiny % of Femmez advertized for carnival, a WAY too disproportionate figure considering the AMAZING Talents of so VERY MANY Woman in the actual Genres, very disappointing to see such a purportedly "modern" & "forward thinking" sector of the musical demographic displaying such patriarchaic and totally "victorian empire" misogyny. >:(

Ben Royal

Ben Royal said on the 22nd Jun, 2012

Whats that image on page 3 from?!? Thats one of the most epic stages Ive ever seen!!


Ethereal1 said on the 22nd Jun, 2012

@Ben Royal - thats the EDC stage in Vegas


JackT said on the 22nd Jun, 2012

Yep, it's the stage that was used as the trance arena, Group Therapy, ASOT, etc.

Dr Ranga

Dr Ranga said on the 23rd Jun, 2012

@WLVRN, you just went full retard.


SANDSHREW said on the 25th Jun, 2012



Aditboy said on the 28th Jun, 2012

"Maybe you should drop the %u2018D%u2019 and just talk about electronic music. Not everything we%u2019re doing is danceable. Perhaps that %u2018D%u2019 tightens the spectrum too much. Maybe it should be just %u2018EM%u2019."

I 100% agree. I think the 'D' confines electronic music and forces artists expectations to make it 'party music' rather than doing it just for the sake of music


raymo009 said on the 20th Jul, 2012

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