Is Greed Killing the Dance Industry?

‘Greed is good.’ Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gecko famously said, in the ruthless 80s classic film of a generation lost to the money machine. ‘Wall Street’ celebrated the power and abuse of the status of money.

Any fool knows that the dance music industry is full of those that crave power, money and fame. The shining lights of the stadiums call to the disenfranchised and lonely who wish to make their mark on this unsuspecting world.
Modern dance music is so much different to when I was a young wide eyed raver in the 90s. I came straight out of the new summer of love listening to The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses who were for me the beginning of a whole movement of guitars and beats, which acts like the Chemical Brothers took on board.
Dance music was more than a way of life, it was a call to a new inspired way which had no rules and no dogma, or so I naively thought back then. It seems I was wrong.

Modern dance music has now a new name and its name is EDM. A brand, a marketing tool and the death of dance for me. The reason it was named EDM is so that Americans could be targeted by big brand DJs, Americans who apparently couldn’t be arsed to trawl through all the different genres. All I ever knew was jungle and techno and to be honest if it was good I would’ve danced to it whatever it was called.

I didn’t go out in high heels and fake tan. I went out in trainers with a spare hoody stuffed in a backpack so I had something warm and dry to put on my steaming body after 5 hours of intense dancing and sweating. I didn’t give a rats ass who the DJ was nor did I pay an extreme amount of money to get in.
I’m not here to relive my youth though. Times change but one thing I’ve noticed is that the human animal stays the same, no matter what. The fat get fatter and the humble get trodden on.
Look at those big fat DJs. They own their own corporations. They are branded to the max and quite often they pay their way to the top of charts like Beatport. Or so I’ve heard.
They control it all, but their day will fall like all the rest before them because I believe that there is no soul in what they do. They are just like Gordon Gecko in ‘Wall Street’. As far as I can see they care not for music, nor, if they’re truly honest do they give a toss about their fans otherwise why would they charge hideous amounts of money to play? How much money do you really need?

I’ll be 100% frank here. I’ve written and performed some of the biggest trance vocals ever and I have been right royally shafted by the small time crook record labels, the big time music publishers and the producers themselves. I’m not saying every single instance or every single person but in general, I have been stolen from, disrespected and treated like a whore for hire. Excuse me if I sound extreme but if you would like to know the real inside story of dance then I’m afraid that this is it.

I have a brain and a soul and a heart. None of that means diddly-squat in the industry. I was once told to stop being so poetic when I wrote. How can you be too poetic?! Surely music is poetry. I’ve been told to dumb my lyrics down so that the European market would ‘get’ it. Can you imagine someone saying that to Kate Bush or Bob Dylan? Can you imagine the response? Music is art and art is poetry and all together it is an expression of our existence, of our souls, of our understanding and if we dumb that down then where are we?

If an artist receives no recompense for their work they will still continue no matter what, but how will they survive?
EDM has nearly killed me. It has attempted to rape me of my voice and my beliefs that there is a better way, that we as humans must evolve past the predatory stage of human eat dog and human eat human.

Dance is ancient. It comes from watching the stars turn in the heavens and watching the dreams within. It tunes the body into the frequencies of the land and the galaxies as they move throughout the universes in one cosmic dance.

It is not £50 into a club where they charge £10 for a simple hydrating bottle of water. It’s not the worship of the Superstar DJ who plays the tracks that his team of writers have penned especially for him which have been carefully marketed to appeal to the saccharine sweet illusion of free love, free expression and wide eyed innocence.

It is not the top of the charts nor is it a business plan and a big shot solicitor ready to help snare another hopeful in an unjust contract.

I know all this has been heard before but this is my call. I have a voice and I will not be trodden down into the dirt. If we accept mediocrity then life is banal and meaningless and all we will get are reruns of The X Factor tuned straight into the chips in our brains.
I want true art, not McMarketing.

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Benya with Shanokee – Sanctuary

This is a track I did with Ben Bording aka Benya called Sanctuary.
The release date is 1st July 2013 on Beatport.
It’s on Adrian Raz Recordings.
I’m looking forward to the remixes.
Here is a sneaky peek.


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Death and Life

According to Carlos Castaneda death stalks us on our left-hand side. Death is not the end, merely a transition. I’ve lost a very dear friend recently so have been thinking about this a lot. It’s hard not to when it’s staring you in the face. My sense of loss has been immense but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will see him again. It’s like he’s gone on holiday. We are more than the flesh. Our essence is pure light. So I wore this brooch on the left arm of my jacket at my launch performance at The Black Box in Belfast last night. Strangely I was the calmest and most mellow I’ve ever been before a gig. Changing times are all around us.

971889_10151420998877651_718211572_nPicture Caroline Hughes

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No Yield by Shanokee

This is the full version. The radio edit is available to buy from  iTunes

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Shanokee at The Black Box

We are super excited to finally bring the live show to Belfast. This has been a long hard road to get to this point. Everything has been self financed and if you would like to support Shanokee then please go to the Black Box website http://www.blackboxbelfast.com/event.aspx?e=2282 and buy a ticket! Thank you!

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No Yield

The video for my new track No Yield is currently being filmed. We hope to have it live as soon as is physically possible. Edit edit edit!Fire

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Home 2013

It’s been a long road since I first wrote the words and melody for ‘Home’. I remember the frustration I experienced during the writing, searching for the perfect hook while being stared at by Phil Johnston and Gleave Dobbin who then left me to it while they went out to Tesco to get supplies for lunch. The second they went out the door it came to me and I knew instantly that something magical had happened. You can’t force it, it must be allowed to flow naturally.
The words came from a dream that I had had where I was running down a country road in half-light, running so fast that I was flying. The words have meaning and I think that this is why they resonate.
Everyone who heard ‘Home’ knew that we had something special and it went on to become a classic dance track but now I have revisited it writing my own music around my melody and also incorporating the verses that I wrote for it many moons ago.
It’s something that I’ve been toying with for a long time but it was too painful for me. Now, however, I am in a new bright present and can finally claim ownership over my past.
The video for my version of ‘Home’ really captures my journey with this little song. It’s haunting, simple and a taste of what is to come.

 

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