All posts by Amateur At Play

Editor-in-chief at Amateur’s House.

Here’s One They Made Earlier: one of the lesser appreciated highlights of a VERY lengthy list of remixes from the Roger Sanchez archive…

These days, you can commission as many remixes as you like of a song. It all depends on how much money you’ve got to spend – there’s room these days for hundreds of different remixes, if you wanted them. Sales or streams inevitably drop off after the first two or three, but it’s still possible.

But in the pre-internet days, this was impossible to do. When pressing music onto vinyl, you only physically had so much room to fit music onto – so every single version mattered. And it was perfectly normal to have releases where every mix offered something different. One example is the 1994 release of “Love Me Right” by JD Braithwaite.

The package contains remixes by Junior Vasquez and a particularly strong dub from Todd Edwards early in his career. But for some reason, the Roger Sanchez remix of this never gets the attention it should.

And I just can’t understand why. Those chords which come in after around 90 seconds definitely grab my attention – it all feels quite church-like after that…

Er, you do realise you sell MP3s, right? Traxsource show rare fail in their social media marketing by posting pictures from an Aussie producer whose first love seems to be vinyl…

You might not be aware of this, but Traxsource was set up by two gentlemen called Marc Pomeroy and Brian Tappert. They started the site in 2004 and are still at the helm today – but the history of the two men goes back much further than their 18 years at Traxsource.

They’ve known each other since at least 1993 – the two men used to form a duo called Jazz-N-Groove. Between 1993 and around 2001, they became well known in the house music scene for their remixes – Kim English, Crystal Waters and Jocelyn Brown are just three of the names whom they’ve been asked to stick their signature sound to. They also provided Defected with their first ever release – “Can’t Get Enough” under their Soulsearcher alias.

So the two gentlemen will be well versed in vinyl – it’s what they would have known and worked with during the 1990s. And many who started out in that era still have an understandable love of wax – but there’s a time and a place for everything.

And the Traxsource social media pages are probably not the best place to express that affection…

Traxsource was founded specifically in 2004 to provide a solution to a problem – vinyl sales were down, and DJs could not acquire digital copies of many records legally. Hence why Traxsource was created as a legal alternative to piracy. You could pay and be guaranteed top quality files or go to the pirate sites and get a dodgy vinyl rip – that was the choice.

But vinyl has never been in the Traxsource plan. So to showcase these turntables and plants – as easy on the eye as these pictures admittedly are – through their official accounts just seems downright weird to me…

Do they want to be on the wrong side of history? The dance music press are slagging off the Metaverse – but it’s going to be part of the future, whether they like it or not…

Last week, this blog ran an article about Pioneer getting into the remote DJing game – where people can collaborate with each other on a DJ set and never actually meet. I mentioned it was likely we would see more of this from the Metaverse and that DJs needed to seriously think about its implications.

I happen to think all this is part of the future. I don’t think the technology is entirely there for all the possibilities, but I believe anyone who tries to pretend this isn’t coming soon is deluding themselves. The truth is there could be large swathes of the next generation coming into dance music who have never stepped foot in a nightclub – and maybe even have no desire to.

That in itself poses very difficult questions for the scene. Togetherness and unity in dance music was traditionally formed on the dancefloor and record shops. The second of those is gone due to the rise of digital technology – and if nightclubs don’t work out their next move, they could be heading the same direction.

A serious music press would be interested in discussing this subject. Yet I see very little taking place – so far, the most Mixmag can conjure up is an article dismissing one such event as “the worst rave of all time”. They also seem to conflate it with other issues, such as NFTs and cryptocurrency.

Yes, some of the events held online are going to be rubbish – in much the same way some nightclub excursions will be. But no one dismisses all nightclubs because they had a bad experience at one, because that would be ridiculous. Yet here are Mixmag hinting at precisely this.

In the early 2000s, the world discovered the internet couldn’t be stopped. And it still can’t now – we are where we are. The rise of working from home also raises interesting questions in this regard. Will people basically become hermits doing most of their social interaction in a virtual world, or will there be an offline backlash where people go out more often as a result?

These are important questions which deserve to be debated. I will, of course, do what I can to help thrash out the arguments – but one person talking isn’t a debate, it’s a monologue…

That’s yet another thing this country’s short of! As figures show Britain has lost 3000 nightclubs in 11 years, the Comical Ali dance press shows little sign of asking what’s going on…

Whatever has happened to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland over the past few years? We’ve been short of all kinds of things – lorry drivers, Covid tests, petrol, and evem ginger nut biscuits at one point after flooding in the north of England. And now, yet another thing has to be added to the seemingly endangered list.

That thing is, apparently, nightclubs. Some number crunchers have been examining figures from the Office of National Statistics and have worked out their numbers are in freefall. In 2010, 10,040 nightclubs were registered across the UK. At the last count, that number was down to 6,985. That’s 3,055 nightclubs which have disappeared in that period – a drop of 36%.

There’s little doubt that’s grim – and I’d be surprised if this figure doesn’t fall further. This blog has been contacted by a number of clubs who say their financial situations are dire, to say the least. But the end of the report contains this line, which has been clutched onto for dear life by the music press…

“With 6,985 registered clubs in 2021, from a high of 10,040 in 2010, it’s entirely possible that the UK will soon have less than 5,000 clubs, especially if COVID disruptions continue and capacities do not reach their maximum potential in the years ahead.”

No evidence is explicitly presented to back up this strong claim – although if current trends continued, the number would be reached by 2028. Which would be terrible news for the culture and a damning indictment of the country which was the first to truly fall in love with dance music.

That said, the lack of evidence for this statement isn’t stopping the dance music press from going predictably apocalyptic. Perhaps they could explore questions such as why so many have closed, and what is making the UK such as unfriendly place to set up a nightclub. Unless I’m very much mistaken, that’s their job – and as much as I try, I’m only one guy.

Another one to file into the “keeping an eye on it” category…

So what ARE they basing their decisions on, if not the evidence? Welsh government forced to admit it has no idea how many cases of Covid originate from nightclubs

We all know what the state of play has been for the past two years. When Covid hit the UK in March 2020, the whole country went into lockdown. Nightclubs were closed, just like almost everything else did at the time. Given that we knew next to nothing about Covid and how it was spreading, this wasn’t a great surprise.

But whilst the likes of clothes shops and hairdressers got to open up again later, nightclubs remained shut until last summer. England was the only part of the UK not to shut them again in response to Omicron, and I’ve been deeply suspicious of this decision – how were Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland coming to a different conclusion to England on almost identical evidence?

Well, a gentleman called Tom Fletcher decided he wanted to know more about what his local government in Wales were basing their decisions on – and he sent off a Freedom of Information request down to Cardiff. How many Covid cases originate from nightclubs? It’s a fair question and you’d imagine they’d have a good idea, right?

Not exactly…

So “this information is not available” – there it is in black and white. The Welsh government has literally no idea how many people have caught Covid-19 after attending nightclubs. Which begs a question – exactly what were they basing their decision to close an entire industry on, if not the evidence on the ground?

It looks more and more to me like they were working on assumptions – such as that the virus could spread more in a space where people were closer together. And whilst this presumption isn’t entirely wrong, it doesn’t take into account things like ventilation in nightclubs.

I’ll be continuing to keep a close eye on this one…

Could this be the strangest excuse ever for cancelling an event? House II House scrap plans for a live feed of a warm-up show citing “male menopausal behaviour”…

The dance music world is a strange place. If it was just about the music, it would be alright – but more often than not, things like money and individual egos start to get involved. Still, I can’t complain too much – it gives me a heap of content to write about.

Anyway, someone sent me this late on Friday and I thought it was worth sharing – because it’s one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen for a while. In recent years, events have normally been called off due to either government imposed Covid-19 restrictions which stop them taking place – or the inability to get insurance in case of this happening.

In more normal times, reasons for events being pulled include issues with the venue, a major act being unable to make it to the show or something similar. They don’t normally include “male menopausal behaviour”. And yet that’s precisely what happened when a live stream of a House II House was scrapped just hours before it was due to start…

Curiously enough, Friday was the same day which Adele announced she was cancelling her Las Vegas gigs – just hours before she was due on stage and after people travelled from all over the world to see her. Still, at least the House II House crew spared us the ordeal of a whining, self-pitying video…

Could you bring back David Bowie from the dead as a hologram? Just another of the prospects that the Metaverse could soon bring us – and anyone making music today should worry…

These days, it seems the best time to make money from your music is if you’re very old – or even better, already dead. Such a sentence might well sound ridiculous on the face of it, but a quick look at the trends in the music business today confirms it.

Look at the number of publishing companies and record labels buying the rights to decade old music – in house music, even the likes of Defected are doing it. Look at the amount of music being streamed online that’s called catalogue material. And look at the number of vinyl LP reissues of material from many years ago.

The investment is all going into old music, at the expense of new material. We’re now seeing an entire industry which seems determined to destroy itself – exactly what happens when all the old music has been milked dry and there are no new cash cows in the pipeline? The Honest Broker covered all this in a lot of detail recently.

But one particular section of this post intrigued me – and this was the bit about deepfakes and holograms. This is yet another possibility that the Metaverse offers. Never got to see the likes of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury in concert when they were alive? Through virtual reality, a realistic experience could be created.

The fact someone’s dead has never stopped the music industry from trying to make a profit out of them. Whenever a popular artist passes away, the vinyl reissues or Best Of compilations are never far away. Software could now monitor footage from concerts filmed whilst they were alive and replicate it very successfully. Deepfake technology means this could be even more lifelike.

Anyone who never saw Freddie Mercury in concert might well get very excited at this prospect – not to mention anyone who owns the rights to his music in any form. But for new musicians, this could be yet another hammer blow. Not only would they have to compete on streaming platforms, they’ll also have to compete with their hologram concerts too.

Isn’t it time a serious conversation was had about the possibilities of the Metaverse? This blog certainly thinks so…

As Daft Punk’s album Homework celebrates it’s 25th birthday, spare me the bother of joining the hysteria surrounding the French duo…

The whole dance music world seems to come out in a bizarre display of idolatry whenever Daft Punk are mentioned. The French duo, consisting of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, were together from 1993 until February last year.

And for reason unknown, the dance music press seems to eulogise them. It appears that doing their job of trying to find a new album destined to be tomorrow’s classic is too much hard work – hence one reason why this band gets promoted hard. Anyone holding a dissenting opinion would never get their opinion into the hallowed pages of Mixmag, for example.

Their split last year wasn’t exactly sadly received by this blog at the time. And nearly a year later, I still feel much the same way. Like many, I was a fan of Daft Punk’s music in the 90s and early 2000s – but their later output beared almost no resemblance to it. And I don’t think they offered anything particularly distinctive during this period.

To be fair, Homework is a good album. I did have a copy of it in the past, and I readily admit I enjoyed it. However, some of the responses are just bizarre – including the curious claim that Daft Punk had roots in Chicago. The two men were actually born in Paris and certainly cite Chicago artists like Paul Johnson as inspiration – but the idea this means the band has roots in the city is plainly absurd.

And whilst I have no problem in celebrating an album’s birthday, I do pose one question. Which album being released in 2022 will we still be listening to come 2047? I only have to do another 25 years of blogging to find that out…