“A passion for music that gradually escalated over time into a controlled obsession”
It has been three years since this blog went online, although its conception goes further back, so I eventually decided it’s about time I shared some thoughts about how it all started, as well as provide a retrospective account of the events that influenced the blog’s thematic basis. At the end of the feature, there is a quick walk-through the blog’s various categories/series and a brief background story behind each one of them.
I have been drawn into electronic music and drum and bass in particular for more than two decades; a passion that gradually escalated over time into a controlled obsession (more on that in a future post). I had always envisaged a platform to express my own views on the music I love, from a perspective that could oscillate between conventional and heretic, however that vision had always been blurry without a clear sense of direction. Of course, I had no ambition to re-invent the wheel; after all, most areas of interest had already been covered by a plethora of high-profile websites and forums, online magazines and music-related blogs.
Having lived in Greece throughout the 90s, thousands of miles away from the main theater of musical developments, the exposure to new music and movements used to come with a slight time lag. The access to information was still in an embryonic state, however a handful of record stores and club promoters, managed against all odds to create a small, but demanding and educated community. Nonetheless, keeping up with the rapidly evolving and mutating music landscape had been a perpetual struggle. A few years later, a move to London for postgraduate studies revived my passion for drum and bass, as I was introduced to a whole new world. And then came along the internet revolution and the social media explosion; the pieces of the drum and bass jigsaw suddenly started to fit.
Fast forward to 2012; after a lot of thought and a great deal of encouragement by a few friends, I finally got over my inherent reservations and decided to start this blog. The title is a paraphrase of the universally known dance anthem by Faithless and is an implicit reference to dj culture in the modern era (I will leave this part open to interpretation). Although the title sounded catchy when I adopted it, i have regretted it in hindsight; I guess it’s too late to change it now.
I had some early material to start with, however I had underestimated how much time, focus and energy is needed to maintain and update a music blog in a consistent and timely fashion, especially in a language other than my mother tongue. Despite a slow start, when I often wondered if I should spend my time elsewhere, over time, the response has been overwhelming and has exceeded my expectations. It has been an educational and creative process, happy and proud moments interchanging with temporary disappointments, but on reflection, those have been lessons learned and have effectively made all the effort worthwhile.
Therefore, I would like to publicly express my gratitude and appreciation to:
- All readers, who have visited my blog, either via social media referrals, search engines or even accidentally,
- All, who have helped with the features, providing input, feedback, exclusive interviews, comments and additional information,
- All the blog’s guests, who have tolerated my obsession and persistence,
- All, who have shared the blog through social media and have supported the blog in any way,
- All, who have encouraged me to carry on,
- Last but not least:
- the curators of the affiliated blogs (Drumtrip, FuturePastZine) for the kind invitation to contribute guest features to their brilliant websites,
- Chris @ BMT Music and Tony @ MJAZZ for their continuous support,
- Lee from Future Engineers, Geoff @ Samurai Music and Graham @ Timeless Recordings for their exclusive interviews,
- Ashley @ Creative Wax for publishing the Creative Wax tribute on the history section of the label’s official site; I am truly honoured.
The list is quite long, from friends to childhood music heroes, acclaimed djs, label owners, artists and iconic figures of the drum & bass circuit, from people I met through this blog, to people I haven’t met yet. I am only grateful to each and every one of you and you all know who you are. This blog has been a labour of love and driven solely by my passion for music. Unfortunately, life circumstances and personal commitments no longer allow me to update my blog as regularly as I would like. I intend to carry on, as long as it doesn’t turn into a compulsion. When that happens, it will be the right time to end the affair.
A quick walk-through the blog’s archive ordered by category/series:
I had already (anonymously) published the first three parts of the series on a friend’s website. This early material kick-started the blog and is essentially an account of five days from the diary of a vinyl and music enthusiast. The timeline is non-linear, with events taking place in Athens and London, spanning a period from 1994 to 2013, when the series concluded. Many parts are auto-biographical; hence all places and dates are accurate. However, a few details have been intentionally twisted (in fact, a slightly different version of the reality), adding a pseudo-romantic tone to the narrative.
The first four parts of the series were published on April 2012. I had already decided that it would be a five-part series; however it took me almost a year to come up with an appropriate closure. The series concluded in February 2013, after a trip to London. The blog’s thematic was already following a different trajectory and it was evident that it was the right time to wrap up the series.
If I had to summarize the abstract theme of the series, consisting of the cloudy recollection of past events and the tendency to romanticize them, memories intertwined with wishful thinking, the invisible boundary between what actually happened and what could have happened, I would choose the opening lyric of the song “Charlotte Sometimes” by The Cure: “All the faces, all the voices blur, change to one face, change to one voice …”
The “Memoirs Of A Vinyl Junkie” had been the primary material to start the blog, however drafts for the next two categories were already in place. The next series entitled “Jump The Q”, is a shortlist of brief questions (some personal, some tricky) looking for equally brief answers, addressed to artists, producers, promoters, djs, friends and affiliates of the blog in general. All features are supplemented with an introductory presentation of my guest, biography as well as recent activities and events.
The series title is obviously a dull wordplay, inspired by a true story/misadventure, that took place outside “The End” club in London, and went on to become a private joke. To cut a long story short, a desperate attempt by a couple of cheeky lads to circumvent a long queue shortly before the “one out – one in” mode and the cinematic outcome seconds later.
The questionnaire is intentionally designed to be simple (silly and entertaining at times) rather than thought-provoking and doesn’t substitute an interview. The general idea is to discover a few personal details – from their favourite drink to the worst live performance they’ve witnessed – about people, whose work I admire and respect. In chronological order, the following friends, djs and artists have been kind enough to disrupt their busy schedules and “jump the q”, sharing personal trivia with the blog:
Undisputedly, this has been the series that defined the course of the blog, changed my perception in terms of research and writing style and introduced the blog to wider audiences. The objective is an ambitious attempt to shed light on the contribution of artists and labels, which have profoundly influenced my musical taste.
The title was inspired while listening to the eponymous album by Hidden Agenda and naturally “Whatever happened to … Hidden Agenda?” has been the first edition of the series. In order to accomplish a certain level of accuracy, fill in the gaps and demonstrate a representative overview that would reflect their musical contribution and activity, I decided to contact directly the people involved and ensure their blessing and approval before proceeding. Of course, all this would have been impossible without their direct input, so I would like to thank everyone for their time, insight and willingness to help. After all, it is their story and should be told their way. Although it is written in a narrative form, several parts are excerpts from informal discussions and quotes. The final version of every installment has been reviewed and approved prior to being published and this is the usual practice for the whole series.
The only exception to the above guideline has been the first feature. I had managed to track down Jason from Hidden Agenda, who kindly gave me the green light to start the feature, however I lost contact with him half-way through the process. I was so discontent with the final result compared to the next installments that I decided to re-write it from scratch. For the history, the updated version, turned out to be the most-viewed feature of the blog until today.
By the second installment, I had ended up with a provisional structure, which typically comprises of four sections: history, discography highlights, recent activities and epilogue. Despite the obvious deficiencies, clichés and repetitive patterns, I have diligently tried to be as elaborate as possible, intentionally omitting confidential or unverified and ambiguous information. I have occasionally revisited some of the features for minor edits; however the constant update of every feature is beyond my purpose. Since the time of writing, things have changed (for instance Creative Wax has re-launched, Voyager is active again recording drum and bass and so on), so the line of accuracy has to be drawn at the time of first publishing.
The particular category has been dormant for about a year, mainly due to the time-consuming nature of the features, in conjunction with my limited spare time during the last year. New features are in the making and old drafts are being revisited, so hopefully the new installments will be online soon.
At this point, I would like to express my gratitude to the following people, who have helped with the particular series, for without their input, endorsement and feedback, the whole endeavour would be a collage of sparse, incoherent information and would add no value to their musical heritage.
Jason (for Hidden Agenda), Ashley and Tony (for Creative Wax), Caroline (for Partisan Recordings), Danny (for Endemic Void), Pete (for Voyager), Tim and James (for Essence Of Aura), John (for Foul Play) and Alex & Graham (for Mouly & Lucida)
As the title implies, the “Count To Ten” series is a top-10 countdown featuring the finest musical moments of favourite artists and labels. The selection criteria are solely based on my own perspective, mood and sympathies. From classics to neglected b-sides and rarities, in strict chronological order, the series is a mosaic of the most appreciated pieces of music. Starting with Timeless Recordings, future installments may include a mini-mix with the tracklisting in question.
Although the series title is rather generic, the concept was inspired by a picture of a film reel and the title must have been borrowed from the eponymous track by DRS & Enei, one of the highlights of the Fabriclive 62nd volume compiled by Kasra.
Browsing through my record collection, I can recall when and where I bought each one of my records; however the reason behind every purchase has been different. Although they all have a sentimental value, I have records that I would not part with for any amount of money, records that I still wonder what was I thinking when I bought them, records that were given to me as a gift (and wonder, in a couple of cases, what were they thinking when they bought them) and records I wish they had my name on the sleeve and the credits; hence the series title.
More interested in the background story, the samples and the general idea behind a track, rather than an actual review (it has already been done and in most cases articulated better than I possibly could), I am selecting for each issue records from my collection; records that I am personally attached with and bring back fond memories. In fact, all are tracks I wish I had written. The series will be extended to non-drum & bass material in the future.
A generic category, created to nest all features that do not fall into the rest of the categories. Under this “tree” you may find exclusive interviews, my guest contributions to other blogs, reviews, wordpress re-blogs and articles about all things drum and bass.