Category Archives: Social Media

“Figure your own s*** out!”: the words of a DJ of 35 years and counting as poached turned gamekeeper Annabel Ross asks how you put a set together – but is it just a generational thing?

Things aren’t going very well in the world of Annabel Ross. That big exposé of Derrick May was meant to be her admission ticket into the big leagues – only to get beaten to it by Ellie Flynn. Then the pandemic played havoc with her work life and a rubbish 2021 concluded with a nasty bout of the coronavirus.

But I’ve noticed over the past few months that Ross decided to join the gamekeepers by suddenly announcing to the world that she was now a DJ. Which doesn’t say much, because it’s something the world and his cat can do now – but it still takes something special to actually be good at it.

So when Ross tweeted earlier this week that she wanted to know how DJs put their sets together, there was surprise in certain quarters – especially if an email received by this blog yesterday from a career DJ is anything to go by. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he expressed little short of disgust over the question.

He said “Any DJ worth their salt doesn’t ask this. They just practice and practice and find out what works for them. I choose the first track in advance, then I play whatever I think will work next. Other DJs do it other ways and that’s cool. You have to find what works for you, and practice is the only way to find it. Figure your own s*** out!”.

So what problem does he specifically have with the question Ross poses? He replied by saying “It’s just one of those things. Trying to suss out what everyone else is doing is just lazy and looking for a quick answer to something that takes time. Hell, I’ve tried different tactics over the years, but I always come back to the choosing the first track thing.”.

And is this possibly a generational thing? His reply this time is more nuanced, but he says “Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe new generation DJs are happier to talk about it, but that was s*** you didn’t touch when I was starting out. You practiced constantly, you were always looking out for tracks no one else had, and you learned the hard way. I bombed so many f***ing times when I started, but it made me what I am today. I just think trying to find out what everyone else does is lazy.”.

He’s not the only person I’ve seen expressing this opinion – but as is always the way with this blog, you can make your own minds up…

Told you this blog gets read in high places! Carl Craig gets juvenile with “haters gonna hate” claim after post on his new course – and still no reply on why he continues to back a loser like Derrick May…

The beauty of the internet is you never quite know who might be reading what you write. I learnt this many years ago in a previous blogging life when the subject of an article contacted me to thank me for writing something more accurate than was appearing in the press at the time.

I’ve also been contacted by a few people complaining about things I’ve said – for example, Mutya Buena of the Sugababes wasn’t pleased with an article I published asking why she wasn’t more involved in promoting a single. So the idea that the subjects of my posts could be reading them does not generally bother me.

Which means my reaction to finding out Carl Craig has been reading my blog is one of amusement. Take a look at the post I did the other day if you haven’t seen it, then feast your eyes on his Instagram post afterwards…

It’s a nice bit of deflection from Craig, of course. Perhaps he’s making himself feel better by declaring that I somehow must possess some kind of hatred for him or be jealous of his position. It’s a pretty standard response to criticism from people like Craig – a group who aren’t used to being criticised or even mildly questioned.

For the record, I have absolutely zero interest in becoming the next Carl Craig, as he offers on his course. And it’s not just because he wears a do-rag despite having as much hair as a balloon on his head. No, it’s because of the bizarre devotion to Derrick May – my sources in Detroit describe their friendship as “weird on several levels”.

One tells me that “Carl basically thinks he owes his career to Derrick. People didn’t take Carl seriously until Derrick started playing his music, and he thinks he owes him his loyalty because of it.” – and rest assured they aren’t the only one who’ve expressed the same sentiments.

The question of why a winner like Carl Craig continues to back a loser like Derrick May remains to be answered…

Told you it wasn’t just him! This blog has found Danny Rampling a new friend in the form of old ravers Baby D – and their views on the pandemic are almost as crazy as his…

Whatever you choose to call Danny Rampling – the Runny Dumpling, Danny Rambling and other less printable suggestions have been made by others – there’s one thing you can’t deny. He loves being with other people. And given that human beings are traditionally highly sociable creatures, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this.

So it’s in the spirit of bringing people together that I present this post on behalf of the Insta-blocking DJ. This is a person – or possibly a collective of people, no one’s too sure – who Rampling might remember from earlier in his 900 year career in dance music. And like Rampling, this person has also been shamelessly rinsing past glories for present day gain.

Meet Baby D. Yes, the same Baby D who released “Let Me Be Your Fantasy” back in 1992 and possibly the worst cover of 1980 song “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” by the Korgis in the history of music. The band used to consist of singer Dorothy Fearon, Claudio Galdez and MC Nino, otherwise known as Terry Jones.

It’s not entirely clear exactly who runs the band’s Instagram page, but I suspect it to be Fearon – no one else ever seems to make an appearance. And when she’s not relentlessly reminding everyone of the band’s one hit record – which only became so after a resurge in interest two years after it was released – she posts anti-vaxxer propaganda which would make Danny Rampling proud.

Take, for example, this deeply misleading post which implies cancer patients are going without treatment because of the ongoing Covid booster jab programme. Or there’s this post where she even explicitly tags Danny Rampling and weirdly praises him “for stepping up at this critical time for mankind”.

New year, new friendship for you, Danny…

He might block people he doesn’t like these days – but a Muzik Magazine column by Yousef in 2000 showed he once had a much healthier attitude to criticism…

There are some people in the dance music world who start out humble but change over time. They enter a world where they’re constantly travelling around and never get told no to any request. Hence why many of the DJs in the upper echelons of dance music are basically spoiled brats.

Exactly what happened with Yousef Zaher, who just uses his first name for DJ purposes, isn’t as clear. Sources whom I’ve spoken to over the past few months describe to me a man who, in the words of one, is “determined and one of life’s grafters – but also doesn’t settle for anything less than exactly what he wants”.

He also doesn’t appear to like it when anyone disagrees with him – as I discovered back in September after noticing he’d blocked this blog’s Twitter account. I personally think a veteran of house music like him should be able to take a bit of flak, but he clearly cannot.

But he wasn’t always like this. The Muzik Magazine bot tweeted out page 15 of the March 2000 issue earlier this week. In it was a column by a much younger Yousef – and just look at what he had to say…

So when did Yousef become so touchy and thin-skinned? Sadly, I doubt the answer to this particular question exists in a column written by the man himself…

Still no love lost between the two men! Glasgow Underground’s Kevin McKay releases a slightly tweaked “Sing It Back” cover after clearance from BMG – just don’t expect Mousse T to put it in any DJ charts…

Late last Friday, a Twitter spat broke out between Mousse T and Kevin McKay of Glasgow Underground. This blog originally planned to publish the story on Sunday, but held back until Monday to allow everyone the opportunity to respond – so allow me to sum things up briefly.

Mousse T was on his computer going through his latest promos when he came across “Sing It Back” by Kevin McKay. The “Original Feel Love Mix” name raised an eyebrow, as Mousse T remixed “Sing It Back” by Moloko in 1999 and called it the Feel Love Mix. On listening to it, he discovered it was a cover of his remix.

He didn’t like it and called it out on Twitter. Not long afterwards, BMG complained about the cover being unauthorised and it was taken down – I have no idea whether the two events are connected, McKay says yes and Mousse T says no. The two had it out on Twitter and that seemed to be that.

Except it wasn’t. McKay got in touch with this blog earlier this week to tell me he’d made a few changes to the track and it now has BMG’s approval to be released – and guess what? It’s out today…

My thoughts? It’s not the greatest song in the world by a long shot – but given McKay’s statement to this blog on Monday describing it as a “party banger”, I don’t seriously think that was the aim. I think it does what it does perfectly well – and I suspect that the publicity around Mousse T not liking it might help a bit too.

Traxsource and Beatport have it now, and so do several other places, no doubt. Go and play it before they try to close the clubs again…

Noticed your fans don’t like your decision, have you? Jeff Mills deletes his SECOND defence on MDL Beast Soundstorm attendance – oh, if only a naughty blogger had taken a screenshot…

For people who work in quite a technology focused genre of music, DJs and such show a considerable amount of ignorance sometimes. Take Jeff Mills, for example. He became known as “The Wizard” due to his incredible skills on turntables in 1980s Detroit.

Yet when it comes to at least one aspect of computing, he apparently remains entirely ignorant. You see, he posted a second defence of his decision to go to the Saudi Arabia government funded event MDL Beast Soundstorm later this month. The first was deleted by Dave Clarke, when he scrubbed his thread from the imternet for reasons unclear.

Mills deleted his defence from his Facebook page a few hours ago. He seems to think if he deletes it, it never existed – and no one will be able to read the whole sorry mess again. Wouldn’t it be a terrible shame, therefore, if someone – like a blogger with a penchant for asking awkward questions – had taken screenshots of the whole thing?

Well, I’m more than happy to help. I’ve split it into four pictures to make it easier to read, but not one single word has been changed. Here’s the defence Mills now wants to pretend he never made in its full glory…

It comes across as even worse after a second read, doesn’t it?

As Traxsource release their 2021 In Review graphics to artists to tell them how they did on the site this year, are they relevant in the dance music scene today – or just a pointless vanity badge?

It’s that time of year once more. The dance music scene is mostly winding down now for the winter. Clubs may well remain open – at least where Covid restrictions permit it – but as Christmas approaches, many producers retreat back into their studios to start making what they hope will be next year’s hits.

And naturally, it’s also the time of year when Traxsource release their Year In Review graphics for the DJs, producers, singers, labels and everything between on the site. These little badges basically contain information like how many charts the entity in question has has their music featured on, the number of top 100 entries and so on.

In the interests of transparency, here’s mine. Not too bad seeing I’ve only released a handful of things this year…

Anyway, one question I see asked every single year is why anybody should care about this information. It’s nothing more than a vanity badge that producers can stick on their social media pages, right? It doesn’t have any effect on how many gigs you’ll get in the future or how many labels will come knocking on the door, no?

Speaking as someone who has released music for five years – and I’d never say never to returning – my view is they are important. A great paradox exists in the music industry for me – despite the fact we live in a digital age, finding out how many streams or downloads or whatever a song has had remains stubbornly difficult. So I welcome any kind of information like this that Traxsource can provide.

It’s also difficult to keep going at times when you’re making music. Sometimes, you get periods where the ideas don’t come as freely as they usually do – and things like this can result in disillusionment. So knowing that there are DJs and other people out in the world listening to and playing your music is a useful thing to help push through those difficult times.

Yes, some people clearly use these as vanity badges. The square size of the photo makes it perfect for sharing on the likes of Instagram – but so what if they do use it as a vanity badge? In a world where thousands of new songs appear every day, let them have their moment to be proud of what they’ve achieved.

There isn’t much else to keep you going sometimes, trust me…

Breaking up is so hard to do, isn’t it, Patricia? Nyaera rose from the Transmat ashes earlier this year – but Derrick May’s ex-manager forgot to scrub the YouTube channel’s grubby history…

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…