A friend of mine in the music scene posted an interesting Instagram post the other day.
She was lamenting the contradictions of working as an internationally touring techno producer and live act during the climate crisis. She’d worked incredibly hard to get to the point where she and her co-producer are playing in front of thousands of people across Europe, hopping from festival to festival with some of the biggest names in the scene.
Yet, she can’t ignore what is happening to our environment during the unfolding climate crisis, and chronically unsustainable impact that the festival scene can have on our fragile planet.
Excessive air travel, festival waste, and the cost of production (including some pretty nasty stuff in the mining of rare materials for making sound-systems and lasers) all undeniably have a cost to the environment, not to mention the travel of thousands of people to remote places in search of escapist hedonism.
It’s a hard one to reconcile, especially in the world of globally touring artists and the international culture of dance music. Even as a small time Australian DJ, I sometimes feel a bit guilty in catching a flight down to Melbourne or Brisbane for a gig; my own contribution to the problem.
So what is dance music to do?
It’s not exactly the same to beam up a hologram of a DJ, streaming a set to a gig – that personal connection with the audience just can’t be replicated (and human connection is one of the things that makes a good dance party so special).
Maybe the answer is a complete slowdown – as with the rest of our lives. Maybe we don’t need to see the same internationals fly to Australia every year. Maybe it should be more of a special occasion to have these huge gigs, or not expect a DJ to play a full European circuit over a summer, with more regionalised and localised scenes.
Eitherway, as we feel the impacts of the climate crisis get worse, everything will be affected by it – dance music included.
That said, onto lighter, less troublesome things.
The biggest gig this month of course is Escape Ferocity’s next warehouse party with Germany’s Extrawelt delighting the senses with some live techno at an “industrial location” on Saturday, 28 September. This crew have thrown some legendary parties with maximum vibes, and this will be no exception. Tickets are on sale now – one to tell your grandkids about.
A few choice gigs at Mr Wolf over the next few months – this weekend on 20 September, the man behind a heap of bass house bangers, Riton (UK) is on his Australian tour – give that one a look.
And this one’s pretty sweet – in 2003 the biggest thing in dance music was breaks, and for Australia that meant Kid Kenobi. He’s still carrying the breaks torch and has been playing some huge parties around the country, and will be at Mr Wolf on Saturday, 18 October with the Headz Are Rolling crew, and some fine locals including Dubdeckerbuss, Fourthstate, Boomtze, and Rascal & Tidy.
Later in the year my crew, Department of Late Nights, will be back at Wolf as well; we’ve got one of Melbourne’s finest in Steve Ward coming up to spin some tasty techno, with Department residents B-tham and Fourthstate, plus T:mo on support. Friday, 1 November is the date to circle. Get amongst it!
Fiction have now opened their upstairs space with the new bar Fact (fitting name). Most of the time it will be RnB and hip-hop, but keep an eye on their page for special events.
Coming up this month, Sydney’s Sunset Bros will showcase their blend of hi-NRG trance and techno on Friday, 20 September, while house music heads will want to check out Kormak on Friday, 27 September. He’s recently signed to Defected Records so grooves are definitely assured.
And Leikeli47 will make her first appearance in Canberra, so if you dig some out of the box left-field hip-hop you’ll want to be on the dancefloor come Friday, 4 October.
You can take your pick at alternative hotspot Sideway, but my recommendations would be: Liquid Sunshine Sound System and Cultura Clandestino for the 2XX DJ Mixtape party on Friday, 20 September – plenty of bass music and afrobeats to be had!
Boxcutter is back with their first party in about two years on Saturday, 21 September, featuring Genesis Owusu, C.Frim, Umami, Jane, and Blanket.
Saturday, 28 September is Pickle’s 4th birthday – expect rare cuts from Geo, Trm b, and FB Perimeter.
Continuing all things Sideway, UK producers Assembly Code will be joined by Mia Sørlie, Silkwerm, and Ekzander for some brain-bending electronica for a special Sunday, 13 October show, while grime and UK garage fans better be at It’s a London Thing on Saturday, 19 October.
Finally, make sure you take Friday off work or uni in order to bug out on the Thursday, 24 October as Monkey Marc is bringing his Vital Sound album launch show to Canberra the night before.
If you dig your heavier rave music, Hard Attack have a Defqon1 tribute party at Boardwalk in Belconnen to honour the former festival with a stack of locals, while Melbourne’s Lockdown will be at Cube on Sunday, 6 October.
Plenty to choose from. So may your dancing feet be merry, and your carbon footprint light.