It’s hard to explain to those who do not idolise electronic music but there is a feeling that a certain beat can elevate that is like no other. It brings people together from all walks of life and you are under one roof with one thing in common. A repetition in the beat draws you in and you fall under the hypnotic spell of the electro sound. When you think about the dance music scene itself, it tends to automatically steer one’s thoughts to the UK, Europe and the US but over the past few years there has been some strong contenders coming from the land down under.
Australia has not only seen the progression of pioneers pushing us to the next level with enigmatic festivals, international acts and enticing venues – we also have a long list of crazily talented artists coming out of the electro woodwork. Australia and the world over has witnessed the scene vastly becoming a more talked about genre. Now, don’t get me wrong there is definitely still an underground hub and a number of sub-genre’s to the scene but we are noticing the term ‘electro’ popping up more frequently. George Nicholas from Seekae said “there has been a lot of growth in recent years. I don’t think this is confined to Australia alone it seems like electronic and club music is taking off and reaching the mainstream everywhere.” We all know that scene’s come and go and sub-genres are formed then take different avenues and new followings are created. It’s a circle of life effect in the music world (so to speak) and right now it’s reaching an impressive peak in terms of growth and flow.
It’s important to take a step back from the creative realm to observe and appreciate what has been going on of late. As a country much younger, the creative stream lends itself to a fresh and unique take and gives us the ability to push forward in terms of sound. Albeit, a similar perspective to the rest of the electro world – we do have some great new things in the mix. Elliot Giakalis, curator of Strawberry Fields said “all the big acts are coming from Australia, just the other day Chet Faker was on fucking Ellen DeGeneres. It’s weird that it has happened in 24 months but it’s happened. I was looking at the top Spotify tracks around the States and RÜFÜS was in 3 or 4 states and in Ohio 2 of the most listened to tracks – the fact that its reaching Ohio is kind of saying something.” Our music is making a point and we are being taken seriously as musical masterminds in a cutthroat industry.
This time is inspiring for the Australian electronic music scene and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon. Talking with a number of industry professionals from varied areas puts into perspective the strength and innovation that is pushing the scene to new heights. When looking at newer companies that are popping up in order to generate something well-established and diverse you can’t look past Astral People, a Sydney based Artist management company who began their work in 2010/11. Their insight into building on something that had begun to flourish has really taken off and has allowed them to branch into other fields including their own independent festival. Tom Huggett from Astral People said “When I was touring the US with Wave Racer last March/April everywhere we went, everybody would not stop talking about the Australian scene, we were really quite surprised to see how interested your average music fan on the other side of the world were in what we were doing and representing,” says Huggett.
When we look back at the growth over the past twenty years there has been significant change in defining ourselves on the dance music spectrum. One of the great pioneers for electro, Steve Ward has had his fair share of time in the scene – playing at, running his own record label (Chameleon Recordings) and being encompassed in festivals and gigs throughout the years. “I have seen many different styles of music and event promoters rise to popularity and then disappear. I have also seen Australia’s whole underground music scene completely shrivel up and nearly completely die, as it lost all its local heroes and clubbers which weren’t interested in supporting a weekly scene,” says Ward. With the surge and added credibility of the electro scene at the moment we are undertaking a significant amount of revival on top of everything else. Ward explains that he has “witnessed a rebirth of a rave scene which died in many illegal warehouses and event halls over 10 years ago, begin to grow again around a thriving underground music scene which is happening right now.”
Although we can’t compare ourselves to the UK, Europe and the US as we are at a very different phase in our electro lives, Australia has undertaken the creative process in what it means to really be a part of the scene. Reshaping and redefining ourselves has stirred up a strong following. We need to keep building on this to heighten ourselves within the music culture ensuring the progression and future of dance music on an international scale.
To read my original post from Spook Magazine please click here.