I Wish That House Music…

This is a guest contribution by Izn, who caught my attention with his fantastic YouTube channel chock full of live remix routines. Thanks, Izn!

Some of my best memories: playing house music as the sun set over festivalgoers in the beautiful Canadian wilderness. Vibing with thousands to sounds of Luciano, Jamie Jones and Derrick Carter at a UK festival.

There is something about house music that causes some sort of spark to go off inside. Something that causes this music to resonate strongly with people, something that gives it so much substance and soul.

And I’ll be the first to admit that it is difficult to put in words why this music has so much meaning.

Often people will say, “house music is a feeling”; although vague, I sincerely believe that this is the best way to articulate why this genre of music holds such a special place in the hearts of millions.

Like a lot of aspiring electronic artists, over the last few months I’ve been in the studio for several hours every day, finishing off my EP, making DJ routines and gigging consistently. Basically investing a pretty serious amount of time into DJing and house music.

So you can imagine how it feels when someone comes up to me at a gig and says, “can you stop playing techno, I don’t know how to dance to this”.

Like every DJ who deals with this, I have an internal knee jerk. “You have no idea how much work I put into this and you have no idea what this music means to me!”

Of course I would never say these things to the requestor, they would not understand and it is probably unfair of me to expect them to.  For people outside the scene or fandom of house music it can often be difficult to see why this music is important and why making this music a worthwhile pursuit.

Hip hop listeners often face the same challenge when someone has negative preconceived notions of their genre. But, all the have to do is get someone to listen to one album by Common or The Roots to show that hip hop has themes of knowledge and social awareness.

Living somewhere where house music is not popular, I have found that has not been as easy doing this with house. People often do not understand that this music has importance beyond simply being dance music. It can be therapeutic, can promote a feeling of spirituality and has been known to be political. However to those unfamiliar with the music and the culture, it comes off as simple repetitive beats (fondly known as “ootz ootz ootz”).

After the “techno” disliking requestor left, for a moment I thought the following: why do I even care? It does not really matter if they don’t listen to house. Would it make their life better in any conceivable way?

A friend of mine who was standing next to me interrupted my thoughts with the following comment about the requestor:

“I wish that house music made these people feel the way it makes us feel.”

It suddenly hit me; this person is missing out on one of the most amazing feelings I have ever experienced. That feeling you had when you first heard your favorite house record and were just blown away. They are never going to know what its like to have Jamie Jones or Steve Lawler take over their world for a few hours.

Bringing this feeling to others is why house music is important and why it has substance. It is why it is a worthwhile pursuit.

I have friends whom I have literally nothing in common with besides the fact that house music triggers some sort of excitement inside us. And I suppose that’s really where the substance and meaning comes from in this genre.

House is about triggering feelings and taking people on a journey. It’s about creating emotional ups and downs. It is about spreading positivity by elevating the mood of others for a period of time, allowing them to escape from day to day problems. One of the most meaningful parts of DJing is that it lets you pass on that feeling you get when you hear an infectiously hot record for the first time.

So next time someone tells you they want you to stop playing techno, don’t get upset. Feel bad that they are missing out on something truly special.

But also understand that as a DJ, you are in a unique position where you have the ability to spread this special feeling to others.