On the roof of a warehouse party somewhere near dawn I had an epiphany. Watching the messiness unravel as the sun rose, I realised we were all chasing things that weren't real, and destroying ourselves in the process. It started me on a journey across the world to find a new way. I found it, and I got bored. This is the story of what happened next.
I get bored easily. If I’m going to listen to a whole set of the same artist, it needs be good, or I’ll get bored. That’s why I love a good DJ, the ability to keep things fresh and engaging, while gently leading the listener on a trip through a huge range of music (if they do it properly that is). Growing up in the 90s in London I was witness to some masters of the art, and enjoyed many a mind-expanding journey through strobe-lit forests of flailing limbs, brimming with sweat and love.
I had some great times, and met some amazing people, but I got bored. Bored of the drugs, the predictable highs and godawful lows. Bored of the cigarette breaks and slurred conversations, spilled drinks and sticky floors. Bored of the judgemental fashionistas. Bored of crawling through broken glass and spent balloons blurrily grasping for the next rail… or maybe that was just me, anyway, I was over it.
Thing is, I still loved dance music, and I still wanted to dance, so I stumbled into sober dance events. I went on some deep journeys, met some amazing people, but I got bored. Bored of being told what to do on the dance floor. Bored of the earnest pseudo-spiritual superiority. Bored of feeling judged in a 'non-judgemental space'… or maybe that was just me, anyway, I was over it.
I decided to start my own. I knew now that people didn’t need to be on drugs, or told what to do. I'd seen that people who weren’t on drugs didn’t want to dance to the same tempo for hours at a time. After many iterations I discovered what worked was a crazy variety of new and classic tracks, riding a balance of freshness and familiarity, activating the same yummy brain chemicals the drugs did anyway. One night I watched the movie Fight Club with my wife and, inspired by the renegade underground movement, she suggested calling it 'Dance Club'.
While I had so much fun putting the music together for these events, it became clear that it was physically impossible to mix the variety of music I enjoyed, while still being able to dance to it at the same time. I experimented with creating 'blends' - 10 minute chunks of multilayered music that smoothly transitioned from one vibe to another. These pieces were designed to be played together without needing to be mixed, creating a modular set which was able to change direction with the crowd, but still remain tight and diverse enough to keep them moving.
Of course, I got bored. Not of the music, of the business side of it. I had some incredible nights, met some amazing people, but I got bored. Bored of the continual admin. Bored of the incessant ‘content creation’. Bored of thinking about Facebook marketing algorithms. Bored of writing ‘engaging copy’. Bored of setting up and packing down a sound system at each event. Bored of feeling pressure to do what I love to a deadline… maybe that was just me, anyway, I was over it.
So much love, care, excitement and work went into putting these blends together. This was the art at the heart of this thing. Thousands of hours sourcing, editing and weaving the maddest, most beautifully badass tracks into a form that could be slotted together and reformed on the fly. I wanted each piece to stand alone or work together, to be able to be mixed in by a DJ, but also easily mesh when put into a media player, so that anyone could seize the means of production and put on a Dance Club event anywhere in the world.
Here they are, every one of them so far. Push the sofa out the way and do it in your headphones, throw one on at the club, or head out to the bush with a stezza and kick up the dust. It’s up to you, I just recommend you use the instructions below in order to have a really good time.
Each blend is free to download in the format of your choice. Full track listings are also available if you click the heading on the player.
Who knows, when I’ve made some more and the time feels right, the Dance Club portal might open up once more for another event. In the meantime, turn the lights down low, pump up the volume, and let go.
1 - Try not to play two blends of the same level next to each other
2 - If you can, set the crossfade function on your player to 2 or 3 seconds
3 - Commit to dancing through it all - no skipping. Trust that if it gets difficult, it will change.