As Faith fanzine attempt to justify their interview with Carl Cox – as one their founders criticises his appearance at a Saudi Arabia festival – doesn’t this prove the irrelevance of the printed press?

Last night, I published an article criticising Faith fanzine for running an interview with Carl Cox whilst at the same time, one of their founders is criticising his appearance at a Saudi government backed festival. And it hasn’t gone down entirely well – much to the surprise of no one.

Let’s get to Faith fanzine’s defence first. They haven’t said anything directly to me, but they did like a comment pointing out the interview with Cox and everything associated with it would have been done before the MDL Beast Soundstorm revelations. And on Instagram, they responded to a user by pointing out “the interview was done in the summer and went to print early last week”.

They seem to be arguing they’ve been backed into a corner and had no other choice. Which I sympathise with – but only to an extent. You see, this is a classic case of the print media showing itself to be an irrelevance.

By Faith’s own admission, this interview was recorded during the summer. I would take that to mean July or August. It’s now late November. That interview could be over four months old. With each passing day, the risk of that interview being superseded by events increased. And that’s exactly what’s happened here.

I sympathise a little with Faith fanzine – but the blunt truth is that print magazines in dance music are a throwback to a long gone era. Yes, some of the print magazines of the 1990s were brilliant – but they existed in a time with a slower news cycle and no alternative to print. Nowadays, this kind of content belongs online.

And don’t take my word for it. Look over at Mixmag. They last published a printed edition in April 2020. They said they’d be back in 2021. It’s now nearing December and the print magazine has now been resting as long as the money in Father Ted’s bank account. The online operation has had money spent on it – although sadly not on staffing it with proper journalists.

Whilst I feel a little bit sorry for Faith fanzine and Terry Farley – who comes out of this looking especially foolish – I think they’ve just proven their magazine is a relic of a bygone era…

The double standards of Faith: Defected backed fanzine plug Carl Cox T-shirts on Instagram – whilst creator Terry Farley attacks Saudi festival Soundstorm… where Cox himself is playing!

It doesn’t take long for people to reveal their true selves – in this day and age, it’s simply a question of knowing exactly where to look. But even by the duplicitous standards of dance music, this one takes quite some beating.

Last week, a furore started bubbling up online about MDL Beast Soundstorm. I’ve been covering it on Sunday, Monday and today – and will be coming back to the subject again, be in no doubt. I’m far from alone – and the latest to join in is Terry Farley.

In years gone by, he used to spend his time doing remixes with Pete Heller and counting his bank balance. These days, he spends a fair amount of time on the Faith fanzine – relaunched during the first lockdown of 2020 after a hiatus of some eight years, backed by Defected. The label has not yet responded to my email asking how the relationship works.

Well, Terry Farley is one of the founders of the original magazine. And he’s involved in this incarnation too. He certainly isn’t happy about Soundstorm, saying this on Facebook…

Very forthright. I like it. I agree with it. So why is Faith fanzine, which he works for, promoting Carl Cox T-shirts?

And look whose name appears in the list – none other than Farley himself. Can he seriously not see how this makes him look?

Is there ANYONE left in dance music with principles, part two: a closer look at the human rights injustices in Saudi Arabia, which begs the question – why would any DJ agree to play MDL Beast Soundstorm?

Yesterday, I wrote about something which has started bubbling up over the last few days – the lineup of the MDL Beast Soundstorm festival in Saudi Arabia next month. I posed the question of whether any of these DJs care about anything but money – and on this Monday morning, I return to the subject.

Today, I’m going to go into some more detail about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and I shall be mentioning specific DJs for this purpose. This blog makes no apology for doing so – a few DJs being made to feel uncomfortable is of little significance compared to aforementioned DJs, from a scene founded on love and respect for all, taking money from a country which shows none to those to whom it disapproves.

For starters, one DJ on this list is gay – his name will remain confidential. He is receiving $40,000 for his appearance in a country where same-sex intercourse is illegal and same-sex relationships are not recognised in law. Given his personal circumstances and dance music’s history, isn’t this a very dubious decision?

Questions must also be asked of Nicole Moudaber – who is more open about her sexuality. She left Lebanon due to police persecution at her parties, largely attended by the gay community. At the time, Lebanon was under Syrian control and they strongly disapproved of homosexuality. So what the hell is she now doing associating with a regime where being gay can potentially get you killed?

As for Grooverider, he might want to be careful what he packs in his bag. In 2007, the DJ – real name Raymond Bingham – was arrested in Dubai for being in possession of 2 grams of cannabis. He was sent to prison for 4 years in February 2008, but pardoned and released just over six months later. In an interview, he claimed to have “forgotten the spliff. It was a small amount. Back home I would not even get prosecuted.”.

Saudi Arabia are similarly strict when it comes to the use of illegal drugs – there are a few other DJs on this list which could therefore encounter this problem. And if they wish to drink alcohol on their flights over, forget it. The country has a strict ban on alcohol – and if customs suspect you’ve been drinking when you arrive in the country, you could face being arrested.

Their riders could make for interesting reading, if the authorities were to come across them – not entirely inconceivable in a state like Saudi Arabia. For example, items like pornographic magazines, which one seedy high-profile DJ seems to have on his rider, are strictly banned.

After self-declared baron of techno Dave Clarke posted about this event last week, his followers expressed particular disappointment about Jeff Mills agreeing to go. Mills himself responded with this defiant comment…

His defence appears to be that someone in that audience could be inspired to bring about social change after listening to the likes of himself, David Guetta or Carl Cox playing music. Anyone trying to bring about change in Saudi Arabia tends to get tortured, if not killed. The delusion of Jeff Mills is well and truly off the scale.

And finally – for now, anyway – let’s consider Carl Cox. This is a man who believes in freedom of expression and responds graciously to criticism. It’s a shame Saudi Arabia doesn’t. In 2018, a journalist called Jamal Khashoggi was lured to a consulate building on false pretences where he was murdered and subsequently dismembered. Investigators later found out many in the team sent to kill him had links to Mohammed bin Salman – the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

With the exception of Mills, every single DJ in this list is currently staying silent over the controversy. And one other question remains – did anyone who got the invite to go to this Saudi Arabian propaganda gig have the courage to turn it down?

It turns out at least one did. Frankie Bones, a house and techno DJ from dance’s earliest days, revealed he was offered $10,000 to do it – admitting he could “use the cash”, but that “my own sanity is more important”. Nice to know that at least one DJ in the upper echelons has some principles…

Ultra Music Festival announce their lineup for 2022 – and yet again, it’s like reading the menu at McDonald’s… it’s always the same no matter where you go!

Another day, another festival announces its lineup. Or at least the first phase of the lineup – telling people everything they’re actually paying for in a ticket expensive enough to buy a small country with is out of fashion these days. This week, the Ultra Music Festival announced their biggest names for their 2022 festival, due to take place from March 25-27th.

As ever, the list contains the same old names. Carl Cox, CamelPhat, inventor of house music (according to ABC News, anyway) David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Nina Kraviz and some trumpet calling himself Timmy Trumpet all appear. It’s basically a business techno list with a few names like Carl Cox thrown in to add a little credibility.

Indeed, the more I think about it, the more I think that these festivals are a lot like the fast food chain McDonald’s. Most of the big festivals now have almost the same lineups. If you break through into the higher echelons of this world, you could make a living doing nothing but sets at festivals – you’re pretty much guaranteed work year after year.

The lineups hardly ever change, much like the menus of McDonald’s. Which begs the question – if DJs were items on a McDonald’s menu, what would they be and why? Well, Carl Cox is clearly the Big Mac. He’s been around for far longer than any of the others and generally speaking, he still delivers.

David Guetta has to be the Double Cheeseburger, if only for the amount of Camembert he manages to squeeze into every set. Gareth Emery is like a McFlurry, in the sense you wonder whether he used to be bigger in the past. And the aforementioned Timmy Trumpet must surely be the equivalent of the Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal.

As for the token fish item on the menu, the Filet-o-Fish which sits on menus feeling all full of itself with a gargantuan sense of entitlement? Well, there’s a joke to crack here about CamelPhat – but this blog is happy enough for you to make it…

Texas promises $10k to anyone who shops a woman seeking an abortion attacks – isn’t it time DJs from the dance music world made their disapproval clear to see, or do they care more about their bank balances?

Anyone who cares about women’s rights should be extremely concerned about what’s happening in Texas right now. With the support of the US Supreme Court, the southern state has made abortion illegal in all circumstances. And if you think that’s bad, it gets worse.

If you find out about a woman who’s planning on having a now-illegal abortion in the state, or you find someone who is aiding a pregnant woman in a quest to obtain one – you can grass them up to the authorities and get a cash reward of $10,000.

Whenever things like this happen, DJs tend to immediately jump into the “I’m not involved in politics, I’m just a DJ who’s doing a job” camp. It’s how Danny Rampling and wife Ilona apparently managed to persuade themselves to do a gig in the human rights abusing Dubai.

Carl Cox is due to play in Austin and Houston in the state on October 14th and 15th. DJ Sneak is due in Houston on September 11th – just days from now. Paul Oakenfold will be in Texas on October 7th and 8th. Sasha and John Digweed are in Austin on September 17th. MK will be there on October 23rd.

A much longer list of who’s playing and where in Texas over the next few months is at EDM Train. Given this is a scene which was founded on the basis of respect for all, the fact all these shows are still taking place is morally repugnant.

They’re meant to represent a scene with such heavily political roots, yet somehow believe they’re laughably above politics when travelling out to such places to collect fat pay cheques.

Back in May, this blog published an article about over 600 musicians publicly declaring they would not perform in Israel, citing the never-ending conflict with Palestine. Yet so far on this issue, there’s nothing. Not a single peep.

Is there a certain level of suffered that must take place before DJs start thinking more about their morals and less about their bank balances? If so, I’m wondering how much more Texas has to do to cross that threshold…

He must use the same map as Judge Jules does! Carl Cox announces tour of UK with only one Scotland date – and none at all in Wales or Northern Ireland…

Sigh. I do wish that DJs would learn a bit about basic geography. The full name of the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It has four countries inside it – England is the biggest, Scotland is to the north, Wales is to the west and Northern Ireland is a short flight or ferry across the Irish Sea.

See? It’s not that hard to explain, and even easier to understand. Yet DJs – who spend an inordinate amount of their time travelling between different countries somehow seem not to manage to pick up any geographical knowledge on their journeys.

Carl Cox, of all people, should know a bit about countries of the world by now. This is, remember, the man who undertook three different gigs on New Year’s Eve 1999 so that he could welcome in the year 2000 as many times – and be paid an obscene amount of money for doing so.

Having all your dates in England, then slapping up one Scottish date at the end of the list does not make it a tour of the UK. I’m well aware that Covid restrictions being lifted earlier in England than elsewhere in Britain have something to do with it – but don’t call things something they’re not.

You really should throw away that map Judge Jules got you, Carl…

Learning to live with the virus or rich (mostly) white men wanting to get back to making lots of money – what’s REALLY motivating the guests behind the “Co-Existing With Covid” show?

Over the past week or so, I’ve seen this programme being promoted quite heavily on social media. Which is ironic, because the show itself is much longer than anything normally being pushed on the networks – 93 minutes long, to be precise. There are shorter films out there!

The programme is hosted on the International Music Summit channel on YouTube and is called “Part 1: Co-Existing With Covid”. More episodes are due to follow in the future.

I just hope they have better names – the inclusion of the word “co-existing” makes my heart sink a little bit. During this pandemic, this phrase has depressingly been hijacked by people who really want to say “I want to get back to doing what I want, I don’t really care if more people get sick”.

Last night, I decided to actually watch the programme – possibly so that you don’t have to. But as much as I’d like to write a scathing review, I really cannot. The debate on the show is actually quite good. Whilst there isn’t exactly much in the way of disagreement going on here,  this might not be a bad thing for once.

And seeing the likes of Carl Cox, Yousef and Pete Tong all talking to each other here is quite unique. These three between them have well over a century of experience of DJing – and their perspectives on matters are undoubtedly interesting.

But one thought did come to mind before I watched the programme – and even afterwards, it continued to linger. These are three very rich men. Carl Cox is reportedly worth $18million. Pete Tong is even richer, being worth around $30million.

Yousef’s net worth is harder to calculate, but his business interests elsewhere suggest he’s got quite a bit of money behind him too. I cannot shake the feeling that these DJs just want to get back to work and make lots more money.

In a way, I don’t blame them. Being a DJ at the higher echelons isn’t cheap. The bigger DJs don’t just employ a manager, they employ a whole team of people to keep the show on the road. The DJ might well be hoovering in a truly ridiculous fee, but chances are they’re not keeping a large chunk of it for themselves. But I don’t think any of this makes them qualified to comment on how we “co-exist” with a virus which can still be dangerous.

And as for Michael Kill of the Night Time Industries Association? Let’s just say I’ve made my distaste at this organisation clear in the past…

As Carl Cox gets behind the Covid-19 vaccine programme, where is the leadership from other DJs at the top of their game on this issue?

Leadership is something desperately lacking in the night life world. There are few out there speaking out on behalf of this, aside from the likes of the awful Sacha Lord. This is one reason why the Government got away with treating nightclubs with contempt during the pandemic.

It seems to me the only way to get night life open safely is to get the Covid vaccine. This is important to reduce your own chances of catching the virus and to protect that minority who cannot currently receive it. Is it perfect? No. Do we have any other solution right now? Also no.

Amidst this lack of leadership, I think DJs should stand up and be counted. It takes courage to face down anti-vaxxers, but it must be done. People like Danny Rampling and Osunlade are engaging in dangerous, irresponsible behaviour and should be held to account for it. It’s the likes of them which feed a culture where taking a pill with unknown ingredients inside is normal, but taking a vaccine with a full list of ingredients is a bad idea.

Which is why I’m delighted to see Carl Cox showing how it should be done. Yesterday, he appeared in a video for the official YouTube account of the NHS. Amidst a plan to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs next month in England, his intervention is very sensible indeed.

Now let’s see some leadership from the younger generation too…