I am sitting here in awe contemplating where this journey has taken me. The journey began way back in the early 80's. The music was different then as it is different now and continues to evolve. Over time I ended up with a taste for Deep House music.
I appreciate all genres and styles but always come back to deep and moody melodies with snippets of tunes originating from artists such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis and a myriad of other ambient and atmospheric artists lurking beneath the sound of the deep.
A very good friend of mine, Paul from Chugg Radio once told me that outstanding music has "separation" where each instrument has its place, every sound has its purpose and above all it has that "Chugg" creating a unique feeling.
Throughout my DJing career I've always played with a passion and a goal to ensure all present have a memorable experience. I've played with percentages holding this basic club rule tucked away in my back pocket that will work for me in years to come. I have always worked in clubs believing in three things that made it all happen for me, the club and the paying customer. They are the bar, the door and the DJ. Break one of these links and it would all come tumbling down. Whether it happened overnight or in a year the persistence paid off. DJing was more than a passion for me. I was passionate about the business side as well as the task at hand in creating a vibe which was rewarded by the reaction of the crowd, acknowledgement and financial gain for all involved.
However the personal downside was a lack of education in protecting ones ears in the skilful art of DJing. I spent 18 years hammering away with perpetual beats week in week out. Now I often wonder what would have been if only I had someone in a similar situation warn me about the dangers of long term exposure to loud sounds leading to Tinnitus. It is quite sad to hear a doctor advise you that you can't play anymore. "It's All Gone Pete Tong" (watch a trailer here) may have been funny to some but I can tell you first hand that it isn't. To all fellow DJs reading this article you have an opportunity to become aware of this condition and protect your hearing with the use of earplugs between gigs, ensure you have annual hearing check ups and learn to relax your ears regularly. I can hear you saying "I have a need to listen to my music loud, to get a feel for the track, ..." but I can talk from personal experience. Been there, done that and I've paid the price for it.
Without going on about it for much longer, the cat is now out of the bag. I have Tinnitus, yet I followed my dream and was fortunate enough to get feedback and support from a true workhorse and ambassador of the Deep House movement ... Jon Silva. He liked what he heard and here we are with Deep Reflection.
Hope you all enjoy the ride !
Today, we have the great pleasure and feel truly honoured to present you a piece by the queen of our darkness, a true 1980ies icon whose status lasts to this very day, a woman that shaped my big brother's music taste as well as mine, a lovely human being I had the chance to meet and chat with after a great concert here in Cologne - ladies and gentlemen, please make some noise for the one and only Anne Clark!
Sitting here on a bright and chilly November morning. A big steaming mug of tea and the dawn of a new day and a new project for me.
Music has always been a passion for me. All kinds of music. All ways. Always.
Language and words too. An (astrological, so I am told!) need to communicate!
The two are inextricably linked for me.
Words and music.
Music is the vessel that can carry us, all of us, any of us, to a higher plain.
Words can kill or cure us. Sometimes just one word is enough.
It’s that simple.
I have dabbled with every kind of music over the past 30 or so years. Well, my whole life in fact. The endless possibilities. A treasure box full of jewels, a child in a candy store!
I love the rough, raw scratchiness of a solo cello or violin. The butterflies-in-the-stomach swell of massed strings. The soaring purity of an oboe note. The primal, ancient earthiness of a drum beat. The beauty of a piano or guitar melody. All the human expression of love and joy and pain in the single voice of a singer. The challenge of a jazz ensemble! The madness of sampling old-style years ago with a cassette player somehow hooked up to the TV or radio. A microphone hand-held in the air as a thousand migrating geese fly in formation overhead…I love and lose myself in it all.
And…..the endless possibilities of “electronic” music.
Don’t ask me if it’s Techno, Electro, Industrial, Minimal, Maximal, Deep, Light, House, Garage or Lounge, EBM, IDM, Rap or Hip-Hop…
All I want to know is, does it make me feel. Does it make me feel something I have never felt before?
Since I was a child I have often wondered what it would be like to see a totally new colour. And I mean new. I don’t mean a different shade of blue or red or yellow or silver or black. I mean a colour that has never been seen before. It drives me almost crazy just to think about it!
I assume however that it is not and never will be a possibility…..something to do with spectrums and light waves and limitations of the human eye.
Yet, although our hearing has frequency limitations, it seems that from what is basically just a handful of notes, we can endlessly create new sounds, new music.
It is truly amazing when you really think about it!
And for me, the genre known as “electronic” music is that treasure trove full of jewels, the candy store full of colours, textures, tastes and flavours.
The possibilities with sound, unlike colour it seems, are endless……
Anne Clark, November 2010
PAST & FUTURE TENSE – Chapter One, a reinterpreted retrospective of the music and words of Anne Clark is released on After Hours Productions through Believe Digital on 10th November 2010. We'll follow up on that one in short.
House music is a passion most of us have it in the blood, usually the House DJ and producer starts off hearing electronic music at an early age and gets infected by grooves and interesting sounds. This leads to them wanting to know how it’s all done and most DJs end up in some form of training on software and hardware in studios and computer production suites. Some just dabble in it and release the first things they ever make and continue along that trend throughout their careers with no formal training or musical knowledge/skills.
It all starts with an obsession for buying new tunes and being at the forefront of the fashion show that is new House music releases. The club scene thrives off imports and new tracks flying about the globe from the thousands of artists and labels.
Here we arrive at the phenomenon of the superstar DJs who play these new signed and unsigned tracks they are sent for free, and labels and artists clamber over each other to get reviews and plays from the heavy hitters. Dark rooms the world over set the scenes for what is cool and what is not cool in the House music genres, and this drives many artists and labels to flow in particular directions based on these trends.
Here in lies the problem.
It seems an unlikely idea that music would be fashionable and artists would be fashionable as opposed to music just being great but it happens and is happening right now. Somehow certain artists and labels can get away with murder releasing anything that the everyday clubber considers to be the current trend, and it will fly off shelves and download stores like its about to run out of stock.
This for many experienced music producers is unfathomable because when they listen to music in their knowledgeable ears and training they understand the complexity and production skills of real House music. So it can be rather perplexing to them when they hear a track made from samples alone with a few FX and not a shred of musical composition added to it, yet somehow it’s blowing the charts up and being played by every DJ on the planet. It is as if music no longer mattered and appreciation of actual composition and musical talent was no longer required. This leads to the next problem.
There are certain DJs and producers who somehow think when they’re being charted and played by the fashionistas of the scene that they have somehow made it and earned the respect of the scene. The reality of it is that they have only succeeded in becoming a fashion icon of the scene, and everyone knows fashion trends come and go quicker than a punter in a brothel. The side effect of this is the artists or the labels gain a level of elitism that can be noted in their interactions with lesser mortals.
The trick in this music scene is not only longevity and dedication but its also being nice to people, because if you're not nice to people and are problematic to those who are going to outlive you in the scene you have a big problem. Longevity is not something that happens over night like a few beat port top ten hits, longevity requires study and sweat. Now most long time artists in the scene you will notice evolve and improve their skill sets. The main players tend to end up becoming more involved in their trade and learn more about production and musical composition, as well as playing musical instruments also they tend to be really nice people to communicate with. This is the level of technical abilities that are worthy of elitism and respect, it is very rare a newcomer arrives on the scene with all these skill sets in tact but when they do it's easily observed.
So we finally get to the core of this post.
The Frankenstein’s monster of the ego
There are so many artists who can be seen complaining about this or that, and expecting to paid this or that, or to be treat like this or that. It becomes somewhat tiresome for people to have to deal with this repeatedly as it’s the evil twin of the fashion side of the scene. From speaking to many artists and label owners the common complaint I hear is how much throw away material there is in the scene, a lack of musical skill and a lack of sincere communication. If you have got this far into the post you should sit and think about that because while you are thinking about approaching XYZ labels, bear in mind a lot of them talk about this kind of thing in the background to one another. Do you really want to be the person they are talking about? The one they don’t want to work with? The one they see as a fashion accessory?
It all boils down to the following
Take some time on thinking what you put into the scene and what you get out of it, because the House music scene has been around 30 years now and is not going anywhere anytime soon. If you plan on making a career from this it is well advised to take your time in your efforts and plan ahead for what you want to get. Do you just want to be a fashionable DJ no one is going to remember in ten years time as the scene evolves and casts off its old rags? Or do you want to be one of those long time personalities who everyone admires and respects for their efforts in the scene?
It’s easy to just bang a few tracks out and stand up in the spotlight for five minutes; any of us can do that. It's not so easy to forge a personal connection to your music and peers that actually means something in the long span of time. Be nice, get involved with people in the scene, keep the ego in check and don’t just think you have made it and demand respect. Respect is given and you will know when you get there, most of us are still working towards getting there ourselves.