Utopian dancefloor: the Paradise Garage in the 1980s
Why dance music needs to stand up to hate and confront the trolls that are visible in our scene
In seven days we have suffered two events from the polar extremes of terror. Far right and Nazi inspired attacks in Charlottesville and Isis inspired attacks in Barcelona have pushed us to the edge. The world seems to be teetering even closer to chaos, so what do we do? In generations past, people took to the streets. In 2017 we take to social media.
For DJs and dance music artists commenting on times like these, it is often an opportunity to see just how far the roots of the alt right have penetrated into the liberal confines of our scene.
While on the whole, dance music fans are liberally minded, vocal advocates of hate are still clearly visible on social media. Artists are frequently on Twitter to stick to music. And posting anti Trump sentiments are often met with despicable comments by trolling “fans.” Many DJs report that the after effect of speaking out can often been seen by falling numbers of followers on Twitter or Facebook.
It is our belief that it is up to everyone from DJs and promoters to make a stand against hate. This is a war of words and a war of ideas and staying silent allows the trolls to win.
And words, it is apparent, are not enough.
We commend those DJs who are mobilising to assist the protest movements with acts of solidarity everywhere.
Dubfire promised to donate fees from his Barcelona show this week to victims of the attack. The DJ was in town on the day of the attack and witnessed the white van’s horrifying assault.
I was just riding my bike to the right of the Ramblas when a large white van came racing down the promenade plowing into everyone...in shock— Dubfire (@dubfire) August 17, 2017
And in the not-so-United States, Maceo Plex is rallying local promoters to put on a free unity show in Charlottesville and artists like Mode Selektor are already pledging support.
Let's do a free party in Charlottesville to promote & dance for unity & equality, and fight those @realDonaldTrump supporting neo nazi's.— Maceo Plex (@MaceoPlex) August 14, 2017
I'm down...— modeselektor 🏳️🌈 (@modeselektor) August 14, 2017
Dance music at its heart is a bastion of liberalism. At the roots of house music are songs like Joe Smooth’s ‘Promised Land’ or Aly Us ‘Follow Me’ that preach a utopian vision of a united world that is inclusive not divisive and built on love not hate. At its source are clubs like the Paradise Garage that encouraged a utopian microcosm on its dancefloor that demonstrated how the rest of the world could be.
Rather than turn away from the trolls or dance with our eyes closed to the horrors, we need more than ever to confront those ideologies that directly oppose our own and support DJs, protests or parties that seek to make a stand against hate.
Dubfire’s statement in full:
“Yesterday I was an eyewitness to the senseless terrorist attack on innocent victims along Las Ramblas in the beautiful city of Barcelona which I love very much. I am still in shock and trying to process what I saw. Sadly such attacks have become a “new normal” in our society. That being said, we cannot allow these cowardly acts of violence to disrupt our daily lives, stripping away our freedoms, because that is precisely what their goal is.
Therefore, after careful consideration and discussion with my friends, colleagues and internal team, I have decided NOT to cancel my gig tonight at @thelightoffbarcelona in Barcelona. We WILL NOT give into fear but will unite through music and the celebration of friendship. I will also be donating my entire fee to a charity that will care for the victims and relatives of this tragedy. I hope that it helps in some way.”