I like to try and learn something new every single day. Those lessons vary from brilliant insights which I can rely on until the day I die to utterly useless information which stays in my head despite having no use for it whatsoever. And yesterday’s lesson is admittedly somewhere in the middle.
Whilst a number of DJs based Stateside were tucking into their Thanksgiving dinners yesterday, I noticed something of a trend. An awful lot of the big names in the house music world love their meat! And I can’t help but wonder why.
Take Simon Dunmore, for example. The boss at Defected appears to have a gargantuan appetite for things which used to say “moo”. Or DJ Sneak, and his notorious BBQs – he’s pictured above examining his chopper. Or perhaps David Morales, who was photographed yesterday in Chicago tucking into a big steak – and posted a video where he spent a lot of time looking at his meat.
Elsewhere, Roger Sanchez spent his Thanksgiving with family and friends, with long-time girlfriend Kristen Knight having cooked a feast. Yes, yesterday might have been a special day, but posts and stories of DJs about to eat steaks and chickens are something I see a lot more of than I ever expected.
It seems that to get ahead in house music, you’ve got to love your meat. The ultimate irony in a scene so frequently accused of being a sausagefest…
Some years ago, a special episode of The Apprentice went out in the UK. It was a special edition filled with so-called celebrities. They were tasked with putting together an event aimed at raising as much money as possible for charity. And they were explicitly expected to lean in on their celebrity contacts to help make the event happen.
Rebekah Teasdale, the founder of the beleaguered #ForTheMusic movement against the sexual harassment and assault of women, doesn’t appear to have seen this episode. And if she did, she clearly learnt nothing from it – which is how I find myself feeling after Rebekah’s “huge announcement” today, to use her own words.
A short video? So far as ideas go, this isn’t a bad one – but nor is it one of those which captures the imagination. And as for the €10,000 apparently needed to produce it, I just have one question. Why are the public being asked to pay for this?
Rebekah is a very well connected DJ. She knows a lot of people, from fellow DJs to promoters to managers to journalists – and the accounts I’ve been given suggest to me she’s a person who’s quite grounded and sensible – a nice contrast from some of the creeps and cranks I hear about. So I cannot for the life of me understand why Rebekah hasn’t decided to lean in on those connections and to start telling people to put their money where their mouth is.
And that surely must start with herself. My understanding is that her fee is typically in the high four-figure range, sometimes going up to five figures. She could quite easily afford to donate €2000 to give the campaign a big start – but her name doesn’t appear anywhere near this list, which only has €745 in it at the time of writing.
Earlier this year, mysterious things started happening within the Transmat Agency. All the artists on the roster – with the sole exception of Derrick himself – left suddenly. No explanation was ever provided for this mass exodus. And May himself also found himself without a manager, again with no warning.
Then changes started happening on social media. The website and Instagram page were suddenly rebranded and scrubbed clean of any mentions of Transmat or Derrick May. The new name was Nyaera Agency – with “nya” presumably meaning new. It came with the sort of new logo you only get from paying a bunch of whippersnappers who think they’re being artistic far too much money.
None of this was ever elucidated. No one involved even made the slightest attempt to elaborate on what was going on – and even my investigations haven’t been entirely successful. The only thing that’s definitely certain is that Patricia Altisent ceased to be Derrick May’s manager sometime during this period and she took all of Transmat’s artists with her. Rumours that this was her “price” have never been substantiated.
The majority of Nyaera’s social media platforms are old Transmat ones, but with new signs over the doors. It’s a bit like what happened with Gerald Ratner’s jewellery shops in Britain in the 1990s after he unfavourably compared one of their products to a 99p prawn sandwich – only less successful.
Shiny, overpriced new branding might well be all over the place, but a bit of digging around reveals the real grubby history of the place. Such as on Nyaera’s YouTube channel, which forgot to make changes to their About section…
At the time of writing, the channel has 25 subscribers and the last video was uploaded on May 18th – over six months ago. You’d almost get the impression things aren’t going very well…
There’s stupid, there’s really stupid and then there’s a special level of stupid only reserved for particularly dim-witted individuals. And the individual in this story well and truly belongs in the third category – although he’s far from the first to try this illogical, moronic nonsense in recent years.
Over in Manchester, the Night & Day café – which helped launch the careers of the likes of the Arctic Monkeys – has received a noise abatement notice from Manchester City Council. Why’s that? Because a resident who lives very nearby has made a complaint that the café – which produces a certain amount of noise due to it being a venue where music is played and performed – is too noisy and should turn the volume down.
From the moment the complaint was received, suspicions were abound that the complainant was an idiot. The person in question obviously isn’t familar with Abraham Lincoln’s claim that it’s “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt” – he’s made the terribly unwise decision to give an interview to the Manchester Evening News.
In it, he claims he moved to the area knowing that Night & Day was nearby and that he’s spent £17,000 on insultating his house – those morons who glue themselves to the M25 stopping ambulances from getting sick patients to hospital will be very pleased. But he then claims Night & Day aren’t keeping to the terms of their licence, saying the club nights are the trouble.
A petition has been launched by people who are almost as stupid as the complainant. If they seriously believe that a petition has any legal effect, they’d be sorely mistaken. In reality, Night & Day now has to either appeal against the notice or accept its terms for the duration.
If they don’t, a £20,000 fine could be arriving in the post…
One story that’s been bubbling away in the background over the past year or so is the #BrokenRecord campaign. The mission behind this crusade sounds like a simple one – streaming doesn’t pay artists properly, and they want that remedied. This blog wholeheartedly supports such an idea.
This campaign has decided to go down the legal route – but not the traditional legal one of suing people. No, they want changes made to the law to ensure everyone involved in the making of music is compensated fairly by streaming services. In a week where Four Tet revealed Domino Records had removed his music from such services as a petty response to a legal dispute, it seems especially relevant.
But there’s one group which have remained mysteriously silent over all this – and that’s the major labels. Whilst Baron Grainge might just be excused on the grounds he’s too busy counting his money, where everyone else is remains a source of absolute bafflement. They’re not usually shy about making their views known, so what’s happening?
Could it be the threat of an anti-competition inquiry which is leaving the labels unusually reticent? A source from within one of the majors tells me that they’re feeling “relaxed” about the bill. He explains “It’s a private members bill on a Friday. Most MPs will have long gone home for the weekend by then. Unless Boris and his pals get behind it, this won’t get very far.”.
2021 has been an eventful year for A Guy Called Gerald – real name Gerald Simpson – in more than one way. It’s been the year he revealed to the world he’s never been paid a penny for the success of 1988 single “Voodoo Ray”, or anything else which he put out on Liverpool’s Rham! Records in the early 90s.
At the same time, he made allegations that a man called Barry Lancaster Smith was illegally making money out of his productions – this case is currently in the hands of solicitors. Weirdly, the new Rham! Records couldn’t get hold of him to pay royalties due, but had no issue knowing where to send a legal threat due to “harassment”.
Since then, a question often aimed at Simpson is whether he’s going to release some new music. After all, he frequently posts footage from his studio where he’s creating new material, but none of it ever appears in the stores. Why not?
Simpson has replied in a Facebook post, saying he feels he can’t. Elaborating, he says “over 30 years of commercial exploitation… has left me feeling empty”. He also cites he doesn’t think he needs the validation from anyone. But one comment has me both simultaneously scratching my head and wanting to shake his hand.
And it’s where he says “There are a few titles on Bandcamp but only if you want to support the strangest profession to exist under the sun”. Whilst I couldn’t agree more with the music business being a strange one – one that provides me with no end of material to write about – it suggests we might never see another A Guy Called Gerald release again.
So the Grammy Awards have released the full list of nominations for their show, currently due to take place on January 31st next year. Their official website claims to have 86 different categories – reading through them gives the impression the actual number is 4000 and the show will be around three weeks long.
Thankfully, I’ve waded through the list so you don’t have to. And some of the names in it aren’t exactly encouraging. David Guetta, who likes remixing patriotic songs for human rights abusing regimes, is nominated for Best Dance / Electronic Recording with Afrojack. Tïesto is also nominated despite everything he’s produced in the last few years being crap.
All, however, is not entirely lost. Because digging deeper into the nominations list provides some hope. Ten City – who currently consist of Marshall Jefferson and Byron Stingily – have had their album “Judgement” nominated in the Best Dance / Electronic Album category. And in a genre as notoriously rubbish at creating albums as house, this is no mean feat.
Praise also goes to Booker T – real name Gary Booker – who has been nominated in the Best Remixed Recording category. His dub of Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life” came out during the spring. I wasn’t particularly a fan at first, but it turned out to be one of those remixes which grew on me. Black Coffee also gets his first ever nomination – a fact that I found quite surprising.
All in all, I can’t help but wonder if this bizarre variety of artists is reflective of an increasing chasm in dance music between the more intelligent, sophisticated sound from the likes of Ten City – and the gorgonzola being churned out by the David Guetta factory…
It’s safe to say the pandemic hasn’t exactly been good news for Resident Advisor. When it first hit, they were reduced to asking people not to ask for refunds on tickets – an act which was as much to save everyone else’s skin as their own. Staff were furloughed and put on reduced hours, and that’s just the ones they decided they just couldn’t keep on.
A bailout from Arts Council England for some £750,000 came in October, followed by a raft of changes in staff. A number of new writers being recruited, but the most notable news was new editor-in-chief Whitney Wei being appointed.
But one aspect of Resident Advisor that I somehow haven’t looked at yet is the ticketing side of the business. So let’s correct this glaring error right now – by having a look at good old Companies House to see what’s been going on. And it turns out the company was doing rather well.
As of 31st December 2019, Resident Advisor Tickets Ltd had £1,597,161 of net assets. This compares pretty well to 2018, when they had net assets of £1,319,607. Which isn’t bad going for a company which basically just takes a cut of tickets of other people’s events. But these are pre-pandemic figures, remember.
The 2020 figures should be available in early January, and rest assured I’ll be going back to have a good look at them. But what does the future hold? A source close to Resident Advisor informs me that ticket sales in 2021 have “held steady” and management reportedly describe the growth in sales as “encouraging”. They also told me “Strong growth will push sales to something closer to pre-pandemic levels during 2022.”.
So the future remains bright for at least one side of the Resident Advisor business. Now, if the editors could inject some fun, personality and interesting content onto the website, they might be onto something…