As EDM festival Electric Daisy Carnival holds a virtual event on gaming platform Roblox, is there a lesson here for other areas in dance music?

I started secondary school back in 1996. The structure here was very different to primary school – lessons now were delivered at set times each day and different teachers did different subjects. Hence why I met a lot of new teachers very quickly.

One that always sticks in my mind is my Information Technology teacher. A man who waxed lyrical about the potential of video calling and the internet. Remember, this was a very different world to the one we’re in now. No Twitter, no Facebook, and some ISPs still charged you per minute to go online.

But this man had an answer for everything. If you told him video calling equipment was rubbish, he’d simply tell you the technology hadn’t caught up with the idea yet. If you told him the internet was too slow, he’d give you the same answer. As much as I wanted to believe he was right, this voice in my mind doubted him.

And it turns out he was absolutely right. We now make video calls with our phones, and it doesn’t even cost us a penny. I just wonder what he’d make of the news Electric Daisy Carnival held a virtual event on the giant gaming platform that is Roblox – probably the next logical step.

Perhaps there’s a lesson here for other genres. Like the newly reinvigorated garage house movement, for example. The original UK scene came about thanks to those innovative Sunday parties in London around 1997 – before this, no one had thought to hold regular parties on a Sunday.

The Roblox audience is absolutely colossal. By holding a virtual party on Roblox, you could expose a new, potentially massive audience to the genre – and they might well like it. Before you know it, you’ve got people showing an interest in attending the in-person events – which there potentially have to be more of to accommodate the new demand.

And there’s a big difference this time around. In the late 90s, you had to be in London or the south east of England to properly get involved. Not anymore. The audience these days is global. The old barriers are gone – and any genre clever enough to take advantage of new innovations could thrive.

Your audience can’t support you if they don’t even know you exist…

Victory! The garage house crew shall have their rightful place at the Traxsource table after campaign spearheaded by Danny J Lewis for a genre category of their own…

Oh what a difference just a few years can make. Around three or four years ago, the garage house sound started to emerge from London and quickly spread. The best of the genre paid homage to the house and garage of days gone by, yet wasn’t afraid to push the envelope with new ideas.

Around two years back, a campaign started to get Traxsource to give garage house its own category. It didn’t happen. According to a source who’s closely associated with Traxsource, the campaign failed because the scene came across as disjointed and the music was poorly defined.

The garage house crew didn’t give up. They regrouped and went back to the drawing board. And this week, Danny J Lewis started a new campaign to get garage house recognised in its own right as a category on Traxsource. I reported on the campaign on Tuesday afternoon.

A little over 48 hours later, I’m very pleased to report – well, see for yourself!

And what a glorious sight it is indeed. The compromise appears to have been to call the category “garage” instead. As long-time producer Grant Nelson said on Tuesday, “it could service everything from garage house to speed garage and other new school 4×4 UK garage and also what is classed as classic garage from back in the day”.

Posting on the renamed Traxsource Garage group on Facebook, Danny J Lewis celebrated the news saying “This is truly a chance for our scene to grow and an opportunity for so many of you to develop your sound in a safe place. I encourage all of you to push your capabilities, support your peers and turn this thing into something massive for us all. There are so many people who have contributed in both big and small ways but each have made a difference. Let’s make this a landmark moment and totally maximise on the opportunity.”.

Credit too, of course, must go to Marc Cotterell – the boss at Plastik People. His Essential Garage weekly chart, published every Monday, started giving the scene the attention it deserved and frankly, needed in order to develop and grow.

There are, of course, many other names worthy of a mention. Expect a longer article about this over the weekend…

The garage house crew, led by Danny J Lewis, want their (rightful) place at the Traxsource table – but is there are any chance infighting within the scene could stop first?

The garage house movement is having another one of its “stand up and be counted” moments. Admittedly, most of these in the past have just resulted in shouts of “sit down”, but there are few people who defend their craft more.

This blog is sometimes accused of having some kind of problem with the garage house movement. Not guilty. I happen to think the combination of tougher beats and lighter melodies can be a real winner. Garage and house have influenced many an other genre over the years, so I see no reason why a sound which fuses the two together cannot.

With the right songs and the right marketing, I think it could go far. Which is why I was highly amused to see that the garage house crowd are once again making moves at getting Traxsource to officially recognise them – by giving them their own genre category on the website. Previous attempts have been rebuffed – a source at Traxsource tells me “the consensus was it was under developed and poorly defined when they last looked at the question”.

Danny J Lewis – a blog favourite, coincidentally – posted about this on the public Traxsource Garage House group on Facebook. He points out that “those of us whose music gets put into soulful house are losing any opportunity of gaining traction because it’s a purist genre where we are simply not accepted” and that garage house doesn’t really fit into anything else.

Legendary producer Grant Nelson, in the meantime, mentions that “it could service everything from garage house to speed garage and other new school 4×4 UK garage and also what it classed as classic garage from back in the day”.

Do I think it needs to happen? Most definitely, yes. Will it happen? My take on it is Traxsource are a business. They’re going to want a business case for making this change. A scene which presents itself as professional and having lots of good music in it stands a pretty decent chance of getting its own category.

Which is why those of you who are engaged in infighting might want to seriously think about what you’re doing. If you really love garage house, put your egos aside and work together…

Ever wondered why the garage house movement ended up going nowhere? Legendary producer Tommy Musto helped explain it – decades it before it happened…

In 1997, the speed garage movement was getting underway in the UK. The scene developed from Sunday club parties which took place near the Ministry of Sound in London – there were only so many times you could play Todd Edwards dubs at 130bpm, so new records were soon required.

Things went well for the first year or two, then the UK garage scene started to eat itself alive. The majors got involved and so did the gangs at the parties. Since then, garage in the UK has never exactly taken off again – and its most recent incarnation was garage house. Again, this never took off in the way it could have.

As this blog has mentioned in the past, the scene is absolutely rife with infighting – “my toddler would be absolutely embarrassed if they saw how petty some of them are”, said one source to me recently. They could do worse than listen to this piece of sage advice Tommy Musto – one of the names behind garage when it emerged in the USA in the early 1990s – which he dished out in September 1997

No one ever learns the lessons of the past anymore, do they?

Is it just the Detroit techno lot who spend their entire time squabbling? No, the garage house lot in London do as well – as an insider tells of “festering wounds” and dirty tactics “being used to undermine others”…

Back around 1996 or so, something called The Sunday Scene started in London. The idea was to essentially squeeze in one more party before Monday made its dreaded call once more. As the name suggests, these parties took place on a Sunday and the music initially consisted of lots of Masters At Work dubs played at around 130bpm.

Todd Edwards dubs were also especially popular as they could be speeded up and the chopped up vocal samples would still sound like, well, chopped up vocal samples. However, more music was needed – and amidst this backdrop, the UK’s own garage movement was born. Names such as 187 Lockdown, Tuff Jam and Dillon & Dickins dominated. As the next few years went on, the music left its more soulful roots and become more bass-heavy.

Eventually, the scene started to implode from around 2001 onwards due to an increased association with violence within the scene. People were going to parties where UK garage was being played in the likes of Birmingham and London and being shot. The infighting within the scene inevitably followed.

A few years ago, a new movement rose out of the UK called garage house. The movement suffered problems from day one – the music was never particularly clearly defined and there was a complete lack of any vocal songs. In addition to that, this scene was particularly cliquey. Despite my attempts to support the scene, I was categorically rebuffed by several record labels in the gene. They simply didn’t want to know – plus ça change, eh?

Last week, D3ep Radio Network favourite James Lee announced that he would not be playing at The Garage House again – when asked why by Grant Nelson, a man who’s done a few things in this genre over the years, he simply cited “politics”. And yesterday, DJ Lindsey Ward mentioned on Facebook that people have “been slandering me” and “I feel I might be calling out a few names on here”.

So, why on earth is the garage house scene tearing itself apart at the moment? I’ll be coming back to this issue once I’ve had time to look into it more thoroughly. But for now, I shall simply quote a source (with their permission, of course!) close to the movement who has a few thoughts on the matter.

He simply said “Yeah, I find all this a bit weird as well. I think it’s because of the weird situation we’ve all been in for the past year. A lot of wounds were appearing before the first lockdown happened, and they’ve kinda been left there to fester for a while. Now that clubs are open again, everyone’s fighting for every booking they can f***ing get. Lots of dirty tactics being used too, like trying to undermine other people’s sets. It’s really unedifying”.

Hard to disagree…