From the beginning of dance music culture as we know it there has been a shift in consciousness, it started for me in a seaside town where hundreds of societies castaways gathered on a Saturday night to rave. At this point in time, there was no internet or soulless selfies of DJ’s and music producers. This point in time was unique and exciting for myself and a group of friends who had been listening to pirate radio and heard acts like the Shamen, LFO and Ezee Posse feat Mc Kinky a new movement in dance was born and it was here to stay, we had been listening to music from the U.S called Acid house and from this a British invasion of the sound began. We found ourselves in fields and under bridges with a massive sound system courtesy of Desert Storm and felt alive with the tribalism and friendliness of the people who attended. The free party movement was unique and different to the clubs we would frequent, it was alive and felt like it was sticking its fingers up to the establishment just as the punks had done before us. We found ways of having our own parties in washed up towns and places no one had bothered with for years, the owners welcomed our ideas and let us party and unite.
The music was raw and full of energy and none of us would drink and share the driving to arrive in these place, sometimes we would take a bus to a party and to experience the traveling with others who were just as excited was energy shared. When I reflect on this time in dance culture it was tribalistic and free from the day to day Thaturite system, just like a meditative experience shared and unified. Dance music has always had this appeal but now it has become so driven by money it’s calling to us older generations seems to have lapsed and the identity of the culture has changed dramatically. Now there are young artists who are making waves in the culture and have a much brighter outlook on events and it’s driven by a change in consciousness once more. Sober Socials, cacao ceremonies, yoga and ecstatic dance have been introduced to festivals and events globally and not just Burning Man or Boom, DJ’s have taken onboard a healthy lifestyle and welcome the change.
Free party originators Spiral Tribe are running events called Dharma Techno in France where you meditate in silence for 4 days and then the music is introduced by 69DB (one of the original members and DJ’s)
Artist like Surgeon and Roman Flugel are using yoga to help them through their busy schedule of playing constantly and with great success. The wellness collective has made a stamp on modern day living and has transmuted elements of dance music culture and it can only get bigger, better and become more relative to the next generation of DJ’s and producers.
It seems like the fight this time around is not with the establishment but with the mind and body to release stress and tension from the outer world we reside in. They say everything goes round in circles and this time around it has taken elements from the 60’s 70’s, 80’s and 90’s cultures and mixed it up with ancient traditions to form this new and exciting movement in dance music. As clubs start to lose their licenses due to misuse of drink and drugs and more and more people are waking up to a new world, it seems the love for dance music is getting stronger and once again the platform will change in which we receive it.
Being someone who has been through all the colourful elements of dance culture it seems to me this is the right time to follow and be apart of this unique wave of conscious clubbing and embrace and support the change. A room full of people who are at one with the music and share the same identity (we are all one) feels like it did in the very beginning and its times like this we become unified again.
I was asked to play at Morning Gloryville (Leeds) a few years ago and was apprehensive at first because it was in the morning and I was a DJ by night but it was a unique and quite a fascinating experience to play to a room full of people who were eating raw vegan breakfast, dressed up and full of energy before the working day ahead. I will say it was a cliche and felt commercial at first glance but the people were united and happy to share the experience and the organizers were truly beautiful people, using the franchise to give the people of Leeds something different, drink and drug-free. This is just the beginning of this cultural movement and as more minds and bodies embrace the concept of change in dance music we will see events, festivals and clubs move on from the past identity.
The underground has already moved on and the music is more experimental than ever, as we see the new breed of culture vultures embark onto the dance floors around the work thanks to youtube videos and Facebook live. Technology has become our norm and we share videos and music like we have never done before but something is amiss and its the social revolution created 30 years ago in dance music and now is the time for the change.