Before we start with today’s business, I must offer my most profuse apologies for yesterday’s unexpected absence. I found myself much busier than on a normal Saturday and simply ended up running out of time to post anything. Normal service resumes here and now…
One of those who was mentioned was Booker T, real name Gary Booker. He’s been in dance music for nearly 30 years and his remix credits are extensive – Quincy Jones, Gabrielle, Camille Douglas, All Saints, The Brand New Heavies, Angie Stone and Sounds Of Blackness are just some of the names in it.
He’s now been nominated for a Grammy for his remix of “Back To Life” – although this isn’t the first time he’s reworked the group’s music. Booker previously produced remixes of “Pressure Dome” and “I Don’t Care” back in the 1990s. But sure enough, it hasn’t taken long for the promoters and managers booking him to notice.
Take a look at this flyer for an event taking place in a few days time…
Notice the words “Grammy nominated remixer producer”? It’s hard not to. Expect to see a lot of this over the next few weeks. Whether it helps sell any more tickets is difficult to establish.
But an industry source tells me that Booker could now capitalise on his good fortune – and this applies whether he goes on to win or not. According to my source, “Booker T can now command more money for remixes. This kind of thing can open a lot of doors, winner or otherwise. And yeah, he could probably raise his DJ fees – if the phone starts ringing more than it used to, it might be the only way he can make it more manageable”.
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…
With there being no less than 52 acts currently billed to appear, a total of 11 hours between 2pm and 1am and 4 rooms available for use, no one can really feign surprise at the fact the set times for this weekend’s Dance For Stevie event are rather short. Indeed, the majority of those DJing will only be doing so for 30 minutes.
And the only notable exceptions to this rule appear to be the likes of David Morales – now bunion-free, by the way – who is presumably flying into the UK to do a 90 minute set. DJ Spen and Terry Hunter are on the same bill and receive an hour each. Oddly enough for someone who writes a blog about dance music, clubbing isn’t really my thing – but I’d absolutely love to be there on Sunday. But such is life.
However, spare a thought today for poor old Booker T. Well, maybe not so much old. He previously pulled out of the Beautiful People festival in August claiming that a 30 minute set showed a lack of respect for him – and made sure everyone knew exactly what he thought in the process…
Years ago, a night out would consist of seeing a small number of DJs. In the early days of house music, you might typically have just two or three DJs on the whole evening – and occasionally just the one, doing a set which could last over 12 hours.
Not these days. Which is why Booker T was indignant a few weeks ago when he found out that his spot at the Beautiful People Festival – in the Mi-Soul Radio arena – was just 30 minutes long. The final listings for the day had not been announced at the time, and Beautiful People Festival refused to comment when I contacted them.
Well, they’ve now been made available, and here they are…
I notice there isn’t a single 30 minute set in there. Several of them are 45 minutes long – so what happened here? Were the lineups rejigged after Booker T pulled out or were 30 minute sets never in the plan for this year?
It’s the great irony of the age we live in. As human beings, we now have more methods and means of communication than we’ve ever had in our history. Yet it still appears that people aren’t talking to one another.
What else could explain this one? Last weekend, Booker T went online to complain about his treatment by the forthcoming Beautiful People Festival, due to take place on September 4th in London. He said he wasn’t happy about doing a 30 minute set for what appeared to be an event organised by Mi-Soul Radio, where he hosts a show.
In that case, someone should probably tell the Beautiful People Festival themselves about his non-appearance. Their own website still lists him on the lineup…
Update – I’ve been asked to point out that promoter Alex Lowes was not responsible for booking Booker for the festival – something he mentions himself in the comments section underneath Booker’s post. It appears to be part of a Mi-Soul Radio event. Exactly who is responsible remains unclear.
If you’re from the UK and you’re into house music, chances are you could well have heard of Booker T, one of many production and remix aliases of Gary Booker. I first came across him around 1997 – over the years, he’s remixed All Saints, Soul II Soul, Craig David, Jennifer Lopez, Sounds Of Blackness, Moloko and heaps more.
His schedule is picking up again as the pandemic starts to recede – but there’s one gig which you won’t be seeing Booker T at anytime soon. And that’s the Beautiful People Festival – it used to be known as the Southport Weekender – on September 4th. He’s pulled out, citing two reasons.
In what he referred to as a “rant” on Facebook, he said “I don’t do 30 minute sets. My name is so small on the flyer, I need a magnifying glass to see my name”. He then proceeded to talk about the “brand” he’d created and the sizeable amount of work he’d done for house music in the UK.
The comments section was filled with friends and colleagues giving support. For example, Mike Delgado told him “You put in the work brother. Don’t settle for nothing less.” and Brian Pope said “You… helped put where you live and country on the map when it comes to dance music from the late 80’s until now.”.
The flyer which Booker took issue with appears to be this one. Blink and you’ll miss it…
It begs a few questions – are all of the DJs in the third list being fobbed off with 30 minute sets? Quite how a DJ is supposed to make their mark in such a short amount of time is a mystery. And how long are the sets for the DJs in the other two lists?
Beautiful People Festival have not responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.