House music was built on a sampling culture. This isn’t an especially controversial statement – even in house music’s early days, sample packs were a thing, albeit on far more dodgy legal ground than today. You didn’t even need a professional studio to get started, as this video from Australian producer CTick64 demonstrates.
So Ears To The House is bemused by the online reaction to a new release by British techno producer Mark Broom. The man himself created an edit for his sets of “I’m Alone Until You Show Me”. You might recall that particular song was released back in 2000 on Dust Traxx by Paul Johnson, and that it samples George Benson’s “Turn Your Love Around”.
He’s now put it online on Bandcamp – a site whom we’re surprised still hasn’t taken action to stop the sale of such edits. Now, it doesn’t look like Broom has just lifted Johnson’s work, put a techno friendly kick drum on top and called it his work – his edit is around three minutes shorter than Johnson’s version, and it also features other samples from the George Benson release.
Nonetheless, we’ve seen a few people claiming Broom is trying to make money out of Johnson – who died in hospital from Covid-19 complications back in August 2021. This is a slightly odd claim to make given the track is listed as a free download, but shows how some quarters get quite irritated by what they perceive as someone stepping on the toes of a more underground artist.
But in Broom’s defence, we’re finding ourselves a bit baffled by the fuss. Yes, Broom might be using Johnson’s name to push a few more downloads – but was everything really done by the book for the original release? Were George Benson, his record label and various people all compensated financially due to Johnson’s use of the original sample?
Traditionally when this is the case, the credits on the vinyl sleeve would say so. Words like “used with permission” or an acknowledgement of the sample would appear – something absent on the Dust Traxx vinyl sleeves we checked. The songwriters of “Turn Your Love Around” – Bill Champlin, Jay Graydon and Steve Lukather – would also be mentioned. But the Dust Traxx sleeve only says “written and produced by Paul Johnson”.
It could just as easily be said Paul Johnson was using George Benson’s music to further his own career. But if you’re going to use that argument, anyone who’s ever sampled anyone – legally or not – could be accused of the same thing. Taken to its extremes, you could even claim producers who use sample packs are guilty too – where do you draw the line?
As fans of the original, we’re not especially fans of Mark Broom’s edit – but some people who hear his version will stumble across the Paul Johnson version too. They might even like it – they might even search for more of his music and come across more like it. Before you know it, that techno fan could be a house head. And is that really such a bad thing?