Bricks, Clocks & Sake: Dance Music Merchandise

Words by: Peter Adkins
Posted: 2/8/12 7:45

Bricks, Clocks & Sake: Dance Music MerchandiseHead down to Richie Hawtin’s weekly ENTER. night at Space Ibiza this summer and you’ll be treated to more than the usual roster of guest DJs spinning ear blistering techno. That’s because in addition to the audible delicacies, the M-nus boss is also offering his own brand of hand-crafted premium sake. Coining the venture ENTER.sake, Richie is dedicating an entire room in Space to the Japanese liquor, with a specially-trained bar team offering variations and cocktails of the drink. With that in mind, and the taste of sake on my tongue, I look back over the best and worst merchandise that our dance-music heroes have tried to sell us over the years.

Free Grooverider T-Shirt
It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ does it? Nonetheless, when drum & bass legend Raymond ‘Grooverider’ Bingham was arrested by Dubai airport officials for having traces of cannabis on his person in 2007, the dance-music community pulled together and … used his incarceration as an opportunity to sell t-shirts. Classy.

Club DJ App by Bob Sinclar
Ever wished you could be the infamous filter-house DJ Bob Sinclar? Well now, thanks to a slightly bizarre smartphone app you can be. Sort of. A cross between a hyper-active 16-bit Gameboy game and a piece of early music production software, the app is a great way to… actual we’re not sure what the purpose of it is.

Mr Scruff ‘Trouser Jazz’ Jigsaw
Is there a better way to listen to one of Mr Skruff’s  eclectic and soulful records than by completing a 36-piece jigsaw puzzle? This piece of merchandise from 2002 was both enjoyable and educational: the completed image was a comic-strip attempting to explain exactly what the genre ‘trouser jazz’ is. We’re not joking.

Paul Oakenfold ‘Carbon Sixty One’ T-Shirt
The renowned, Las Vegas based producer designed  a tee for the Carbon Sixty One brand back in 2008. It’s bold, headache-inducing colours “a design which encapsulated some of things I’ve seen and done in music” stated Oakenfold at the time. Quite. And at only £50.00 the t-shirts also reflect the premium you have to pay to experience his music  these days too.

The Haçienda’s Bricks
When the landmark Manchurian club eventually folded in 1997, having nearly bankrupted New Order several times, fans were invited to come and buy chunks of the building itself.  And for the small price of £10.00 you could actually purchase one of the building’s bricks. No doubt there’s a warm feeling knowing that you’ve contributed to Peter Hook’s retirement fund, but what do you do with the thing once you get it home?

Daft Punk Cuff Links
You know how it is: you’re getting ready for a posh black-tie event and you need that finishing touch to complete your look. Well thankfully some bright spark has come up with the solution, slightly creepy-looking cuff links designed to look like Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s robotic heads. The downside? They’re custom made and only one pair is known to exist.

The Ministry Of Sound Bomber Jacket
Whilst we could have dedicated this entire article to the rubbish that MoS have attempted to sell to the public over the years (from lollipops to mp3 players to aftershave), the bomber jacket is the most iconic of all their tat. Once the coolest clobber in clubland, the padded and puffed-up coats, embossed with the MoS logo, haven’t aged particularly well. In fact, nowadays the only place you’re likely to see one is on the back of a fairground worker or going for naively hopeful prices on eBay.

Moby Pop-Up Frisbee
These nylon frisbees were released as a promotional aide during Moby’s rather dull musical patch in the early 00s. The bland hues of blue and shapeless form of the Frisbee no doubt designed to appeal to the tasteless demographic who liked the advert-ready strains of Moby’s music during that period.

Pacha Crash Helmet
Adorned with a looming decal of the club brand’s infamous cherry logo, this peaked helmet is the perfect addition to your outfit as you and your mates dart around San Antonio Town on rented scooters. Plus, as a safety-approved crash helmet, you’re less likely to be obtain a serious head injury when you eventually fall off.

M-NUS Beach Towels
Yes, sake is not Richie Hawtin’s first foray into dreaming up merchandise to sell to his fans.  This minimal take on beach towels (plain white with an embossed M-nus logo) was put into production in 2006 and snapped up by the imprint’s faithful. The idea behind it being that you were reminded of your favourite minimal techno tune as you chaffed yourself dry after a dip in the ocean (or at least, that’s what we could gather). 

Nicolas Jaar’s The Prism
Not satisfied with putting his music out on such dull formats such as CD or vinyl, the New York house upstart decided that a self-playing aluminium cube was what his  music deserved. Although, in fairness, who cares what shape or size the music comes as long as it works. Which these didn’t always do…

Perfecto Travelling Alarm Clock
The second Paul Oakenfold associated entry in the list, this lightweight LCD-screen travel clock came in either lime-green or orange  with the Perfecto logo stylishly splashed across the front. Reports that it work you up with Oakenfold’s remix of ‘Another Day’ remain unconfirmed.

The Smiley Face Acid House Badge
In the true acid house spirit, the Smiley Face badge wasn’t the product of a record label or club or artist, but instead the fruits of an entire generation of music lovers infused with a DIY approach to music and parties. You didn’t buy a Smiley Face badge – you made one!

Justice Coke-Cola
The ubiquitous French duo tried their hand at redesigning the classic Coke bottle back in 2009. The result was as odd as it was tacky to be honest: a gaudy red shell exterior with a painted zip exposing a interior, which was also red.  The bottle was given a glitzy launch party and sold exclusively in European clubs. For about two weeks.


Roberto Capuano
Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson