1995 called, it says it wants its festival back! Southport Weekender announce Butlins Bognor Regis event for March 2022 – and it’s just as much of a sausage fest as you’d expect…

Festivals are facing a lot of stick right now due to their apparent refusal to book more women for their lineups. Excuses lined up for this have previously included “we’re just honouring bookings cancelled by Covid” and “we can’t find female talent” – as well as the traditional response of taking no notice of what anyone says.

Quite what Southport Weekender’s excuse is for its 2022 event at Butlins Bognor Regis being so male-dominated is unknown. On a lineup with 60-odd acts on it, I counted five women…

In this case, I’m also wondering whether the people who booked this still think it’s 1995. Do they look out the window and think “hey, that new guy running Labour, Tony Blair, he’s gonna go places!”? Perhaps they switch on their Packard Bell 486 computers in the morning and say to themselves “this Internet thing, it’ll never catch on. Says so here in Newsweek“.

At this rate, mocking festivals really could become a daily feature on this blog…

That brings the running total to around 52,000! Paul Van Dyk adds two new versions to “Café Del Mar” by Energy 52 – but who thought this needed yet another remix?

Dance music is a genre which has always been willing to cannibalise itself for a few quid, but the problem is endemic at the moment. So much so that Defected label boss Simon Dunmore was complaining about it on Twitter – before subsequently doing it himself anyway.

One of those records that’s cannibalised more than most is “Café Del Mar” by Energy 52. It first came out on Eye-Q Records in 1993. The first few remixes – such as by the likes of Nalin & Kane – were decent enough, but they kept coming. John 00 Fleming, deadmau5, Tale Of Us and even CamelPhat (under the name Whelan & Di Scala have all had a go, alongside numerous other official and less official reworks.

Paul Van Dyk has now added two new versions to the already extensive pile. I’d say it’s time this tune was left alone now, but honestly? If I had a record which was as popular as this, I’d probably commission new remixes every few years too…

Is it all going Pete Tong for Pete Tong? Departures at BBC Radio 1 have long serving DJ pondering his own future

British DJ Pete Tong must think by this stage he has a job for life. He’s been a staple of Friday nights on BBC Radio 1 now for some 500 years or so and his label FFRR is in safe hands as part of the Warner Records group.

Two different sources have told me, however, that all isn’t well. They tell me that the recent departures of Annie Mac and Diplo from the station have weighed heavily on his mind and that Tongy is wondering exactly when to call it a day.

One also mentioned to me that BBC bosses were not best pleased with the glowing tribute that Tong left on Instagram when DJ Erick Morillo – who had been charged with sexual battery at the time, as well as facing a string of claims from other women – died in September 2020. However, I’ve been unable to find any evidence to corroborate this claim.

Still, Pete Tong is by now 60 years old, worth some $33million and has more than made a mark on the dance music
world. Whether the man himself thinks it’s time to go home with the grandfather clock and spending his days watching the world go by remains to be seen…

Nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (again)

The name Simon Dunmore comes up quite a few times when you search this blog. He’s mentioned a few times both in a critical and favourable manner – hardly surprising for a man with his power and influence in the house music scene.

He currently runs Defected and has done since 1999. Before that, he worked at AM:PM Records and even earlier, Cooltempo. So when he speaks, the scene tends to listen. Here’s what he tweeted this morning..

And for context, here is the current top 10 at the time of writing.

It appears Mr Dunmore is correct. The Fog’s “Been A Long Time” came out in 1993. Siedah Garrett’s song originally came out in 1985 and “Happy People” dates back to 1999.

Elsewhere, Maurice Joshua and Joyce Hurley’s song at number 5 was originally released in 2014, and the number 10 entry is a remake of D-Train’s song from 1982 – and quite a good one, incidentally.

I’m all in favour of remixes, of course. I do plenty of them. But I can’t help but worry the balance in dance music, particularly house, is all wrong at the moment. Barely a week currently goes by when the likes of Easy Street or King Street are releasing remixes of tracks from their archives.

How is new music supposed to thrive with all these remixes around of old records? And why is it always the same old names that seem to be involved? This just makes it even harder for up and coming talent than it already is.

And if you absolutely must remix old records, at least try to do something that hasn’t been done to death already…

Unreleased Frankie Knuckles? You want to click this, don’t you?

Six remixes that Frankie Knuckles did for Electribe 101 back in 1990 are finally due to be released later in the year. Exactly why they were never released at the time – especially given what a hot property Knuckles was in the early 90s – is unknown, but their release is very much welcome.

It makes me wonder just how many remixes and such from that era were never officially released, and why. Another hot property at the time was David Morales. His remixes commanded at least £15,000 a time – but his remixes of “Something Got Me Started” by Simply Red in 1991 never got an official release either, for example.

I do wonder just how much of this unreleased material lies around in record label’s troves of master recordings. I’d just love to know…

Cassette tapes weren’t THAT bad, you know…

I’m a bit behind on my reading at the moment – hence why the article linked is dated January 19th – but I couldn’t resist sharing this one. It’s all about the home taping revolution of the 1980s and how it infuriated the music industry at the time.

I didn’t actually know that Lord Sugar had his finger in this particular pie. Frankly, he could open a shop with all the pies he’s been involved with. But I bet the music industry would happily have home taping back at a stroke with the benefit of hindsight.

The quality of tape deteriorates every single time you use it. It’s slow, but it’s noticeable over a longer period of time. Only so many copies could be made and they would have been much more restricted in how far they could distribute their bootleg tapes. Digital suffers from no such deterioration and the distribution is potentially global, in comparison.

Still, I won’t have a word said against the humble cassette. It’s how I learnt the very basics of DJ mixing. No attempts at those aurally diabolical “mixes” survive in existence, mercifully, but the foundations were laid there…