Nervous are getting a lot of publicity at the moment. The various interviews – and given this is the dance music press we’re talking about, I use the term in the loosest possible sense – pose questions about how did they choose remixers for their bumper 30th anniversary package, a bit about the history of the label and so on.
They even managed to get free publicity courtesy of the BBC – and even though they’re funded by the British public through the licence fee, the questions there were just as supine. Not one media organisation decided, whilst talking to label boss Michael Weiss, to ask him about his record label’s advertising strategy online.
That strategy – and this word is also used very loosely – appears to be to use pictures of ladies wearing next to no clothes and even when they are, the clothes usually have little to no link to the label. Such as this one which appeared on the Nervous Records’ Instagram account yesterday…
I still find it incredibly strange that The Blessed Madonna – normally so outspoken and taking no prisoners – dropped her feminist credentials and refused to question him about it. But one question which remains unanswered at the moment is, who is actually responsible for advertising over at Nervous?
A source in New York reliably informs me that Weiss is not responsible. Other than that, it’s a little unclear at the moment who is. Nervous aren’t saying…
Back in the 1980s, there was a female producer and remixer called Yvonne Turner. You might not have heard of her – I only discovered her existence around three years ago – but she played a crucial role in the development of house music dubs.
Were it not for her pioneering work in the formative days of house music, the likes of Masters At Work would have been laughed out of the room when they created that dubby mix of Debbie Gibson’s “One Step Ahead” in 1990. The result of MK cutting up vocals for his dubs would have been the scratching of heads. Polite reaction would have “that’s nice, but when does she start singing?”.
However, being a woman in what remains a giant men’s club is a thankless task. Her role in her own productions and remixes was frequently downplayed – infact, she was sometimes written out of the story altogether. And the appalling treatment of women in the music industry goes on – only a few weeks ago, I published a few short stories from an anonymous female DJ of many years.
So when James Blake released an album and his girlfriend Jameela Jamil was credited as a producer on it, many were quick to dismiss…
Depressing, but not the least bit surprising. Indeed, it’s only the very real threat of libel proceedings which deter me from publishing some of the horrendous stories of sexism and whitewashing which I get sent. If the extent of what one particular gentleman whose name keeps popping up was to emerge, his career would probably come crashing down.
So the whitewashing of women out of music continues. Unless they’re singing or dancing, no one seems to believe it happened – and even then, the armchair critics aren’t short of spite to spout…
When festivals and clubland went into a sort of forced hiatus last year, a lot of soul searching started to take place. This isn’t something which comes easily to the people who run the scene. They’re so fixated on whatever’s coming up next that the idea of reflection is practically anaethema to them. So when people started to notice that festivals in particular were filled with rich, white men, they promised to change.
The promise to change, of course, meant as much as a promise from a violent husband to his battered wife, worried she’s about to leave him. He has no intention of following through with his empty words – and the festival bosses are exactly the same. As I wrote recently, the rich white men are the ones paying their bills right now – and neither has any intention of moving aside for anyone.
I wrote recently about the Isle of Wight Festival 2022 and pointed out almost no women were on the bill. And now, Annabel Ross – a journalist who helped bring allegations of sexual abuse by Derrick May to a wider audience – has been “crunching the numbers”, as she puts it, over the Electric Daisy Festival, due to take place in Las Vegas later this month. It’s worth reading her four-tweet thread on the subject for context. She doesn’t hold back…
I just crunched the numbers on the Electric Daisy Carnival lineup so that you don't have to. By my count, 285 artists are appearing over the three day event. Of those 285, 23 are women, 9 are Black and 15 are NBPOC (non-Black people of colour). pic.twitter.com/aZYcQWEaCG
She’s right, though. 285 acts, 23 women and just 24 acts who aren’t white. For a scene which was founded largely by black gay men in the likes of Chicago and Detroit, that is an utterly depressing indictment of where things are today.
It’s hard to escape the feeling that the dance music world has been utterly colonised…
After five months of running Amateur’s House, I like to think that I have some idea of what I’m doing. There have been a couple of hiccups in that time, but I remain of the opinion this has been a sharp learning curve yet also one of the better ones in my life.
However, a good idea is a good idea. And one of my readers threw this suggestion in my direction after reading on BBC News about Iona Fyle, a Scottish singer who revealed she was offered help to get a gig – in exchange for sex. The story was as depressing as it was entirely unsurprising.
A while ago, this reader – who is a female DJ – told me a few stories about her experiences. It was all in confidence – but she’s now given me clearance to publish those stories, with any names redacted. There’s three in total and what follows are her own words – the only edits are to remove names and correct the odd spelling mistake…
Such a lot of orgy-bargy!
Yeah, I’ve been asked for sex to get a gig before. The one I remember most was around 2005. This guy worked for ****** at the time and it was an open secret within the industry that he had, shall we say, peculiar proclivities. Nothing illegal, just stuff most people would think was weird.
We arranged a meeting at a nice restaurant over lunch to talk about some shows that were coming up at ******. He was very polite, asked all the right questions and came across as really professional.
Then he mentions he can get me extra work if I agree to come along with him to a party he’s going to on Friday night. When I asked what kind of party it was, he said it was most likely going to be an orgy. I made my excuses and left…
Is this REALLY a photoshoot?
When I was starting out in the 1990s, I’d just arrived in London and didn’t have much money. I’d been advised to get press shots, but there was no way I could afford the prices I was being quoted. So I looked in local papers and found an advert for a photographer who was just starting out. He was cheap, so I booked him.
He invited me to this house in Peckham and explained he’d done some work in the dance music industry before. So he knew what they were looking for. The photos started quite formal. I’d gone down there in a cute little dress, but things soon changed.
Before you know it, he was taking pictures of me in my underwear, covering up my boobs with my arms. I assumed this guy knew what he was doing, so went along with it. Anyway, he went into another room afterwards to make a phone call whilst I got dressed.
I overheard the phone call and was horrified to hear that he wanted to sign me up as a prostitute! I took the film out of the camera and left quietly before anyone noticed. Funny looking back now, but f***ing scary at the time!
Was he having a bleeding laugh?
I’ll tell you about the ridiculous one, though. It was in the late 90s and I was starting to make a name for myself. After finishing a gig one night, a promoter came to see me. He told me he had some work lined up and gave me an address where we could discuss things.
So I went to the address about two days later and found out it was his house. Anyway, I went in and he was very professional. There was a woman in the house too, who turned out to be his wife – so at least I knew he wasn’t likely to try anything naughty.
After talking for a while about dates for gigs, money and all that, he turns round and tells me does need me to do him a favour. He then hands me this key and asks me to go round his house and bleed all the radiators. Easily the weirdest thing I’ve ever been asked to do for a gig! But I bet he hope no one ever finds out about the gimp outfit I saw in his bedroom…
Things really should have advanced further in the plugin world than the likes of Perky Percussion Percolator by now. Released in 2005, this was a VST that showed a picture of cartoon breasts – and the further you dragged the hearts away from the nipples, the more delay you could add to your production.
I assure you that I am not making this up. And it gets worse. You’d imagine that in this more enlightened era, things would have changed now, right?
You’d be wrong. Meet the Nani Distortion Plugin by WX Audio. The purpose of the plugin is simple – to add distortion to instruments or entire songs. And from what I understood, it actually does this job extremely well.
Which makes the following gimmick all the more baffling. I don’t know whether lockdown is getting to the manufacturer’s heads, but the plugin includes an anime model on the right hand side of the window. As you might have guessed – in typical anime style, she has a rather generously proportioned chest.
As you turn up the drive knob on the drive and the distortion increases, the jumper of the anime model is torn off and her breasts start jiggling along to the music. Yes, it’s a little bit Eurotrash*, isn’t it?