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Signs That Rock Will Dominate

Let’s be real: in the recent past, rock music — specifically hard rock, punk, metal, and their many offshoots — has been relatively underground. Sure, huge bands like Guns N’ Roses and Foo Fighters have remained in the public eye their whole career, but even they have felt a level more entrenched than the average rap star or pop singer over the past decade. But while plenty of critics have often made the tired “rock is dead” argument, or wondered if rock will ever “reclaim its throne”, fans and artists within this community have been focusing on what’s important. If rock isn’t the flavor of the week, we’ve realized, then we have to work to make it happen.

Here are some signs of the oncoming arockalypse in 2020…

The MCR Reunion Was The Biggest Piece Of Music News This Year

In 2019, there was no news, so massive and widely commented, that My Chemical Romance announced its return to the scene. Not only fans turned the covers, but artists from all genres of music were grateful and excited. The fact that the band, which was initially regarded as the emo paragon, is returning to rapid universal applause, suggests that rock music is boiling under the surface of everyone’s mind – and now the volcano is erupting.

Modern HIP-HOP Stars Love Goth, Punk, And Metal

For many years, the story that many mainstream publications and critics have offered is what has clouded hip-hop. But this year, it has been proven that the next generation of rappers listened to a lot of music on the basis of a guitropic guitar. Artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Ghostemane, SCARLXRD and the late Juice WRLD publicly share their love for artists such as Marilyn Manson and blink-182. All you have to do is watch Post Malone perform with Ozzy Osbourne to know that whatever the genre, the real recognizes the real.

Everyone’s Talking About MÖTLEY CRÜE

Think about it – it’s 2019, 30 years after Dr. Felgood came out, and all he can talk about is Metley Crewe, the king of metal hair bands. Between their massive Netflix biopsy of The Dirt and the recently announced Tour Stadium, the Sleaze Kings are in the languages ​​of listeners around the world. If you had told the average music fan ten years ago that the Mötley Crüe star would rise by the next decade, they might have laughed. But in 2019, looking at the biggest mainstream metal name to win its throne, one cannot help but hope for the future.

Death Metal Bands Are Underground Superstars Again

For a while, the extreme metal was its own microcosm – either you were trapped in thrash, death and black metal, or you weren’t. But 2019 was a breakthrough year for the extreme met-group. All of the metal stars I wanted to refer to were Gatecreeper, while acts such as Tomb Mold and Blood Incantation rose to the top of many esteemed year-end lists. All this, as well as the excitement surrounding Detclock’s return to the scene, indicates that the ceiling of the metal detector is broken and the monsters appear in the spotlight.

EDM and Dance Festivals in Europe

From established titles such as Tomorrowland and Creamfields to newer entrants such as Untold and Airbeat One, there is absolutely no festival across the continent for EDM fans, big-room house, trance and any other dance music style.

After much deliberation, we have selected ten favorites (not in some order).


Festival Line: The Chainsmokers, Armin Van Buuren, Carl Cox, Above and Beyond, A $ AP ROCKY, Charlotte de Witte, Helena Hauff

The Belgian hippo – still the winner of the game after a decade – is the leading light on the stage of the European Electronic Music Festival. Known for his fascinating production, scenic design, lighting, visuals and overarching mythology, he has become something of a pilgrimage for dance music fans around the world.

Ultra Europe 

Festival Line: Swedish House Mafia, David Guett, DJ Snake, Carl Cox, Armin van Buren, The Chainsmokers, Above & Beyond, Adam Beyer

Arguably the most recognizable global brand of electronic dance music, the European satellite Ultra may not quite fit the overall scale of its American father, but it does not pull any punches when it comes to partying or partying.

Untold Festival

Festival line-up: Robbie Williams, Martin Garrix, Armin van Buren, Sturm, Busta Riems, David Guett, Bastille

As the winner of the Best Main Festival at the 2015 European Festivals, the Romanian dance giant can already boast of true ancestry, even though it is still in its infancy; the festival already welcomes a host of world-class dance music stars, as well as about a quarter of a million fans annually.

Airbeat One Festival

2019 Festival Line: Armin Van Buren, The Chainsmokers, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Vini Vici, Steve Aoki, Oliver Heldens

Each year, the theme defines the design of the main stage of gargantuan and the explosive demonstration of lights, lasers and pyrotechnics that compliment the line, tarnished with dance musical royalty. It used to be Ancient Rome, Inca and Asia, but in 2019 the festival will see the green, white and saffron bands of India for a special Indian themed edition.

Sounds That Define Modern Music

Chances are, you’ve heard many of these sounds countless times. Whether it’s the garbled chatter snipped from Masters at Work’s ‘The Ha Dance’ or the distorted TR-808 kick of Musical Mob’s ‘Pulse X’, these samples and synthesizer bleeps make up the architecture of modern dance music and are littered throughout SoundCloud and YouTube, often well outside of the genres, they emerged from.

There have always been examples of samples jumping genre boundaries, but in the last few years many of these sounds have experienced heavy use outside of their original context. Many of the oldest examples featured here were almost exclusively used within their original scene for decades, but the effect of the internet has widened the appeal of genre hallmarks.

Simply exposing more people to different types of music has resulted the diversifying of sound palettes within genres and the creation of new ones. And the influence of Jersey Club, with its emphasis on chops and cuts over traditionally composed musical elements, has encouraged a trend in sparser, sample-heavy tracks in the 2010s.

The ‘Ha’ Chant / Crash

This ubiquitous voice loop is often referred to as “Ha”, a reference to its use in the classic house composition of “Dance Ha” by Kenny Gonzalez and Louis Vega, also Masters at Work. The scandium itself is an example of Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd (black) shouting artificial African words in the 1983 comedy Shopping Places, and has long been a mainstay in post-1990s trendy tunes and contemporary soundtracks ballrooms palette.

The Eski Click / Clink / Stomp

The angular, low-biting “Eski” Willy sounds (shortening the Eskimos because the sounds were so cold) have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity over the past few years, fueled by a new interest in dirt. Unable to be from an old Nintendo Ice game, samples can actually be found in the factory pre-installed banks of the popular E-mu series of audio modules.

The Bed Squeak

While it may be difficult to determine the exact origin of the everyday sound effects, the “ri-ri” raincoat – which sits alongside drip swatches, “cocky” singing and Rye Rye vocal cuts in just about every production of SoundCloud Jersey – is not the case.

Trillville’s “Some Cut”, a real dirty southern heater made by none other than Lil John, opens with a familiar loop for making babies.

The ‘Witch Doktor’ Woo / The Yell

This popular exclamation, often associated with Arman Van Helden’s “The Witch Doctor,” is actually the powerful voice of Loleatti Holloway in her hit “Crash Goes Love.” The cry drew Gelden (and countless others) from the mix of “Yell Apella”. Despite the widespread use of this sample, it is hardly the only Holloway experience when its voice is “borrowed.” The black box hit of the Italian Black House used Holloway’s “Love Sensitivity” chapel, not counting it, and to add insult to injury, a French model named Catherine Quinole was hired to synchronize it live. As the track was recorded internationally, Holloway felt cheated and forgotten.

Popular Styles in Electronic Music

Dance music is about the beat—no one denies it. Beyond the beat, electronic dance music has, over the last decade or so, also been about the BPM and the occasional mixing of genres, as when Diplo embraced trap and moombahton. But as the major commercial wave of EDM has rolled back a bit, other sounds in the broader electronic genre have begun to get more attention.

Some of these sounds being heard in 2019 come from more recent underground scenes. Others that have existed in other niche genres for a while, or even had their heyday in other decades. And while house and its sub-genres arguably remain the most popular styles of today’s EMD production, below, we take a look at a few artists who are helping to define this year’s exciting array of electronic dance music sounds.

1. The return of lush, melodic production

In a lot of the electronic dance music of the last decade-plus, the emphasis has been more on the beat and the bass than anything, and on creating sonic mayhem, whether it’s a mainstream act like Skrillex or someone more experimental like Oneohtrix Point Never. And if the results aren’t bombastic, then they might be something like the minimalist techno coming out of Berlin, which largely eschews melody. But a look back at Jamie Principle and Frankie Knuckles iconic house track “Your Love” also shows the value of a great melodic hook in creating a lasting dance record, but also a song that can get people moving on the dance floor.

2. Afrobeat influence

Like the Gqom genre aesthetic, Afrobeat has been around for a while. A blend of hip-hop, funky house, and local African music from London (via Africa diaspora), Ghana, and Nigeria, Afrobeat had originally been fairly limited to parts of the African continent and the UK, but it’s catching fire internationally. British-Ghanian artist Mista Silva’s “Murda” is a great example of the Afrobeats vibe, which sounds almost like a more rhythmically and sonically diverse musical cousin of Reggaeton.

3. Trance lives again

Originating in the UK and Germany in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before devolving into self-parody, trance is by no means fashionable. The Field might have released a sliced and diced variant of trance back in the late 2000s, but it’s not as if people are clamoring for the sound. And yet, Tale of Us recently dropped an amazing remix of “Cafe del Mar,” an iconic trance track produced by Energy 52.

4. Experimental dance

Both house and techno are four decades old now, so a big part of keeping these genres and their various offshoots fresh, is experimentation. In 2019, plenty of artists are doing just that, whether it’s finding refreshing sounds and textures, or collapsing genres to find new forms of expression.

Take the track “Oral Couture.” An industrial bassline throbs rhythmically until a crystalline synthesizer arpeggio enters the mix. While a lot of artists might quickly drop the beat, JASSS lets this mixture unfold like a music cue from a science fiction or horror film, and brings the beat in around the 2-minute mark. It’s a masterful approach to dancefloor sounds, and really seems like the electronic dance music that permeate the clubs of the future.

Analyzing This Year’s Key Trends

From the grittiest basement to the most polished party palace, we love clubs! Say what you want about five-day festivals with hundreds of headliners vying for your attention, the heart and soul of dance music is its club scene. That’s where the music comes to life; where people are squeezed in tight, dancing together in front of the best soundsystems on earth, sharing magical, communal moments, and making new friends and memories that can last a lifetime. 

The USA claims the most entries for one nation for the second year, with 12 clubs making it into the poll — that’s actually three less than last year, perhaps in part due to a slight decline in Las Vegas’ club scene. Sin City’s clubs again drop places and superstar DJs such as Calvin Harris have announced dates in Ibiza this summer after several years of near Nevada exclusivity.

But where Las Vegas’s dominance has waned, other scenes are on the rise. Clubs from an incredible 36 nations appear in the chart this year, up on last year’s 31. This change has been most noticeable in Latin America; though still dominated by the Brazilian scene (which drops from six to five entrants), there are two new countries from in the region this year: Chile and Argentina. Other newcomers are based in Ireland, Lebanon and Vietnam, demonstrating how global the poll has become.

Europe is still top in terms of continental clubbing (48 clubs overall), although down two entrants on 2018. The continent boasts a whopping 27 clubs rising up the poll, plus two new entries and three non-movers. Ibiza still can’t seem to make up its mind, with three up and three down. Now only a brace of White Isle venues have made it into the top 10, and for the first time in nine years, no Ibizan club is in the top two.

t’s all change in the UK and Germany, as both see new top-rated clubs in this year’s poll — each of them also entering the top 10 for the first time. In line with this the Asian club scene has continued to blow up this year, as represented by the region landing the most new entrants in the poll. In fact, 75% of charted Asian clubs are new or have risen places, indicating the continent’s flourishing popularity. 

What does all of this mean? Well, first and foremost — the global club scene is as strong as ever. Where some clubs fall, brand new ones take up the baton, sometimes in places you never knew had an electronic music scene. 

All over the world, DJs and ravers are coming together to party and spread the love — often in the face of challenging economic and social climates  — and that’s all we ever hoped for. 

Dance Revolution: What Was Changed?

For one night only, legendary nightclub fabric will be transformed into an exclusive exhibition detailing the rise of Club Cultures across Europe over the last 50 years. 150 rare photographs will be curated and displayed for a fleeting four hours. What makes this event so unique is the union of club cultures across numerous countries in one singular space. You will find souvenirs from the underground club scenes of Spain, Berlin, London and Paris immaculately displayed within the confines of Britain’s club capital. Launching as the first time these movements will be studied and celebrated as ‘one whole inter-connected history’, it’s set to celebrate the unusual nature of fringe cultures cross-pollinating across borders. No matter what politics or language dominates your country, you can be sure that repression and depression will breed factions of disillusioned youth, hopeful of a better future.

All youth subcultures burn fires that are fuelled by inequality and frustration with the way things are. They find solace amongst likeminded peers, alienated by parents and parliament. Many counter-cultures actively seek change and repeal through protest, subversive dress, art, and sometimes-physical violence. Club subcultures are no exception, but rather than actively opposing, they sought refuge, escape and ecstasy. Their rebellion came in the form of disco, dance, and drugs. Their contribution to overall society, arts and youth cultures are just as impactful as the somewhat overly advocated Punk scene. Though club culture can be determined as a mainstream and commercialized sector to some, its roots are very much embedded in a DIY, defiant beginning of marginalized peoples: people coming together for the greater love of music. It can be dissected into as many numbers of factions and variations as the genre of electronic dance music itself can be. You can build a timeline and a map across Europe, to trace the burgeoning beat from the earliest dance clubs, to its sweaty peak in the early 1990’s. As a brilliant article on the BBC put’s it, it’s near impossible to explain and demonstrate the history of a culture so complicated in just a few words. But here we try to look at the ‘maturing’ of clubbing, from “dance halls, jazz joints, discotheques, fields and, of course, The Haçienda.” All of which will be covered vastly in the Club Culture exhibition, so if you’re keen to know more, make sure to check it out.

Before the 1960’s, teenagers didn’t exist. You were either a child or an adult. Young replicas of your parents. You go would go to dancehalls- not clubs- like them, you would dress like them, and you would act like them. But that all changed, when the arrival of The Twist, Garage Rock, Reggae, Ye Ye and Jazz music hit the scene. Mini skirts, beehives and Go-Go boots: aka the Youthquake. Smoke-filled underground clubs began to open across prominent cities for bored teens to congregate. By the time the 1970’s were in full swing, youth groups had shattered into further niche groups- subculture was full throttle. Northern Soul spread in casinos and nightclubs in the UK; early DJing that lead to Hip Hop began to emerge in the states, and thanks to Saturday Night Live, a Disco craze took hold over the world. The use of electronic sounds progressed into Synth-pop in the UK and Krautrock in Germany.

Then in 1980, the music we most associate with ‘clubbing’ today began to develop in Chicago. House music started to crop up in gay, black clubs and managed to spread to the UK with Detroit Techno. This combined with electronically experimental bands like Throbbing Gristle built the foundations of the acid house scene. It grew predominately in Manchester- similar to the industrially-depressed Detroit- and found it’s home in the now-world-renowned Hacienda nightclub. Opened by the founders of The Factory, bands like the Happy Mondays helped defined the drug-fuelled, hedonistic practice of rave culture. Lesser-mentioned movements like the La Movida Madrileña in Spain surfaced after the death tyrant Francisco Franco’s in 1975 and took inspiration from New Wave and New Romantics. The quest for hedonism, innovation and artistic freedom took center stage.

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