How big can dance get? The superstars speak
Wed 20th Jun, 2012 Featuresin
I'd be the first one dancing and the last one out of the club. Between '94 and '98 in London, there was an explosion in the underground. It seems like a stage in the process that's maybe been missed in the States.
There's this bit in the middle between the underground and the big business that seems to have been missed here: long queues outside clubs, all interested in what was a very underground scene. We'd dress up. I remember a club called Malibu Stacey where a guy called Toni Tambourine would police the line and say, “Take a good hard look at yourself. If you don't look fabulous, you're not getting in!” And people would actually walk out the queue and go home.
There was an explosion in what was quite a subversive scene, and it was all about the people who turned out on a Saturday night. It was that sense of community that impressed itself on me: I'm still friends with people I've met at dark, dingy nightclubs off my tits.
Jono Grant, Above & Beyond: I think that touches on one of the biggest shifts I've seen in my time in the industry. Then, it was more about what the night was, it was more a Godskitchen or Gatecrasher night. Now it's more about the artist, that's the draw.
Kaskade: Similar to Richie, growing up in the U.S., it was very 'alternative'. One of my friend's older sisters had a license and we'd heard of this club Medusas in Chicago. So we hitched a ride. This is 1985. It was an interesting blend of industrial music – Wax Trax! Records was really big, Ministry, Revolting Cocks – blended with acid house. Going into that room for the first time with a couple of thousand kids was fascinating. I felt very at home. I don't think I missed a Saturday after that.
Audience question: When do you think we can get rid of all the terms and the world will realise it's just music?
Tony McGuiness, Above & Beyond: Are you advocating losing the 'E' and the 'D' now, and we'll just go with 'M'? [Laughter]
Steve Angello: I think the press just needs a term to refer to. If Rolling Stone writes an article on Steve Angello DJing, they won't understand what I do, 'cause a rock guy doesn't DJ. They just need something to identify us.
Audience question: Do you think that major labels will never understand the grassroots culture that EDM is about? As we've seen with Above & Beyond, they understand the culture, and their label has been successful enough for them to have their own stage at EDC. Do you think the major labels will be able to understand what you've been doing for 20-plus years?
Steve Angello: No. They won't get it. It's a business, you know? It's like anything that becomes big and corporate. If the figures are right, business is good. EDM is popular right now. Every major label calls me every single day. People are trying to buy my label. But at the end of the day, without the people behind the labels with the passion, they can't exist.
These majors don't know my fans, they don't know the language, they don't know the crowds. It's like designers, it's like cars: anything that's coming up, when the big guys see it, they get scared and they buy it. That's what it is. As long as we're being creative and passionate about it, it's all good.