In such a sharp short space of time the changes in dance music culture and production have moved so quickly that what could have taken 30 years to complete has probably happened in 10. In a small city like ours with the help of broadband and the availability of information to us about other producers, Dj’s, Club promoters and software we are dragged into the future regularly by clips from YouTube Internet radio shows adverts and Soundcloud mixes that signal that we are now truly inside a dreamscape from a Japanese manga scene.
Just think of the possibility of two spacemen dropping a completely tech house Dance based soundtrack in 85 would in reality be a little strange, Vangelis knew that Kraftwerk were at it already but the world over wasn’t really, it was only coming to grips with the revolt of Hip Hop post Punk and Disco and that was only 20 odd years ago when you think it through.
Yes you can depend on some things remaining the same and that’s change and even here in Dublin the landscape has now a harder more mashed sound, predominantly in tight basement spaces covered in dressed up weird throw backs to every sub culture from those same Punk boy Mods up to skate and goth girls, funnily enough fed on a steady diet of classic clips covered in a vocorder glitch with electronic beats. The 80’s never left but became harder faster younger stronger. If Dublin is a microcosm of the world it’s unrecognizable from the Dublin of the late eighties, a complete culture drop, from Snake bites to Cocaine strawberries and Mohitos.
Thankfully I remember in early 1990 Martin Clarke a friend of mine from Cabra told me about a place on Dame street called Sides and I’d heard through other friends of this place but Martin and his good friend Heller where willing to bring me down, they’d been before with the boys from Dunard Paddy Foran and most notably Jay Mono who was a 6 foot lunatic for dubby electronic house, we were all due a trip into the city and this was the night, I’d heard of Johnny Moy, Liam Dollard, Spud, and Billy Scurry later as mainstays in this club, but my first introduction was through a lesser know hero Liam Fitzpatrick – he was a seminal character whose attention to detail when mixing was flawless I became very good friends with Liam later on when he took up residency in the Kitchen, we travelled around the country to gigs chewing fat and now still sells antique prints from his small shop on Patrick street Dublin 8.
Fog came up the stairs that night mixed with a scent of petunia oil which seemed to be popular then with local girls, those stairs down to the lower floor took a while but it didn’t matter it was an elite feeling getting into this club in the first place, this was our Paradise Garage this was our Tresor but darker slower on the edge of extacy’s grip, Black and heavy we couldn’t see anything except a flash here and there, people everywhere, levels off the floor and the Dj box was elevated at the top of a set of stairs to the left overlooking everyone, Tall Ivan held the floor with his signature shuffle amidst Gary Clails ‘Human Nature’ Lost by Gonzo on perfecto, Testone on Network and the big Jay Mono classic Up an Atom by Holy Ghost Inc. I braved those stairs up to Liam who didn’t take kindly to requests and tentatively I asked for Orbitals ‘Chime’ and he said yes, making my night and forming a long term memory I’ll not forget -that break in the centre, the blackness and the loss on the floor of my teens and the future of my Dj life. You have memories of times that stay solid with you and form your early opinions of everything, this was one exalting memory. Much much later I became friends with Martin McCann who was the lead singer in Sack another groundbreaking Dublin outfit now playing Pantibar and pictured above in the Basebar which did a transportation trick on me two nights ago back to those early heady days..it had turned out that Martin was the original sides Dj and now he is in a world away, sound wise from his then punk leftfield excursions so different and fresh from Liam Fitzpatricks initial ideas that inspired a generation of Dublin Dj’s – Martin now kills it with heavy layered house that should be the staple of Dublins gay music scene, a real progression in the history of things instead of that rubbish Minogue Glee remix culture, i learned over the years that some things change for the worse, some don’t. At least we can try as Dj’s to carve a memory that is worth keeping, something
to stand up and live for.