Another day, another row in the world of garage music in the UK. This blog had a horrible feeling that the excellent news of Traxsource awarding garage its own category was only going to provide a temporary break to the schism which seems to permeate the genre.
Most of the older DJs don’t appear to want to support the newer breed of producers who are starting to come up. There are notable exceptions, yet far too many seem to be willing to rinse the records which they were rinsing back in 1997. The newer breed have noticed this, and are getting together to make their own records and put on their own events – excluding those who excluded them.
And then there’s the perennial problem which this blog complains about frequently – the lack of decent music to play, particularly vocal records. Only that isn’t necessarily the problem. The reason garage tracks in the 90s are still well-known today is that DJs really threw their weight behind them and played them for months, sometimes playing alternative mixes to keep people interested. Then again, people had little choice in the days when a vinyl record cost £6 a time, did they?
There are excellent records being made now which are up there with the classics – better in some cases. Yet in the current climate, they are almost certainly destined to go nowhere. How can they possibly advance in a scene where the older DJs refuse to support it at all, and the newer DJs are so fixated with playing new music that they won’t play something more than once?
I’ve believed for many years that garage could be a huge genre if the different branches within it stopped fighting and started embracing each other’s work. Garage house DJs who play the sort of stuff designed to get the ladies dancing shouldn’t fear sticking a 2-step record into their sets, for instance. Or someone who plays more heavy, bassline-focused tracks need not worry about a negative reaction to something lighter and more mellow.
Please let 2022 finally be the year when things start to happen. The influence of garage is clear in a lot of pop tunes, and is making them money. I see no reason why garage producers shouldn’t be able to earn their slice of a very lucrative pie…