Eddy Says

Eddy Says: Hurrah! The underground has become the overground – let us rejoice!

By | Published on Thursday 13 June 2013

Eddy Temple-Morris

This week Disclosure are number one in the UK album chart, a position already held this year by Rudimental, while Duke Dumont spent two weeks at number one in the singles chart back in April. What do these artist have in common? Two years ago they were considered underground artists, certainly not pop. In his latest CMU column, Eddy Temple-Morris celebrates the prevalence of great dance music in the mainstream.

For personal, but entirely lovely reasons, I’ve been listening to a lot of CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) these past several months. More specifically to Capital Radio (South Coast). Capital is not a station I’d normally listen to, for obvious reasons, other than in a shop, or maybe a minicab that couldn’t pick up Smooth or Magic because of a knackered aerial, but the experience has been such a revelation that I thought I’d share it with you, because it has very interesting ramifications in our dance music world.

I could talk about their effortlessly brilliant weekend breakfast show presenter all day long, but she’s actually irrelevant to all this… it’s the music that’s shocked me the most. When I first tuned in, I was ready to smash my head against the wall until my eyes bled, faced with an unassailable wall of Pitbull and ‘X-Factor’ bed-wetters. And yes, they were there, but as I toyed with the pack of Swan Vesta matches, ready to ignite the petrol I’d doused myself with… it wasn’t a wall at all, and it was totally assailable, digestible even, because these tunes were mitigated, tempered, made so much easier to swallow, by song after song by artists championed on shows like ‘The Remix’ and ‘X-posure’ on Xfm.

There I was expecting to be hit by a pop-turd tsunami, and I didn’t even get a garden fence. It was more of a shit-sandwich. A musical dangleberry followed by a humdinger, then more excretion followed by yet more excellence. I could not believe my ears. At some points I could have been – artist-wise – listening to my own show a year or two ago: Disclosure, Rudimental, Duke Dumont, AlunaGeorge, Ellie Goulding and Daft Punk.

I was absolutely floored by all this. There was tune after tune of the likes John Kennedy and I had championed before they crossed over, and more to the point, tunes I was playing at the time too, and am playing now, that were and are also being played on the biggest pop music radio station in the UK.

This is a fascinating state of affairs. Of course everything is cyclical. I’ve heard countless journos and bloggers moaning about rock music being dead in the water in recent times, but the wheel will turn and rock will have its day again. However, right now, the dance music underground has blossomed and become the overground. It’s a joyous thing, and we should celebrate it, and make the most of it as we go through this summer.

I then heard this dazzlingly original and funny breakfast DJ talk up the Capital Radio Summer Ball, an event I’d normally have as much interest in as the launch of the new Nissan Micra, a seminar for urine-drinkers, or a Muse fan convention, but as she bobbed and weaved around the more predictable bookings like host Justin Timberlake (“my new work mate – I’m so going to the Christmas party with him” lol) she ended up making ME actually – and ridiculously – picture myself at this children’s gig by enthusing, entirely naturally about the dizzy array of wonderful new music that would appear: Rudimental, AlunaGeorge, Disclosure.

Just stop and think about this for a second… take it all in. Rudimental – an utterly brilliant and eclectic mix of euphoric drum n bass, deep house and soulful hip hop, who’ve just released a startling album that I’ve been playing on my Xfm show. AlunaGeorge – a fantastically distinctive nu trip hop and leftfield electronica act I’ve loved since we were on the same bill together last year, who put on a mesmeric live show. And Disclosure – two staggeringly talented youthful siblings making the most brilliant deep house and nu garage that’s adored by everyone from me to Zane, from John Kennedy to Pete Tong. It’s just astonishing.

It made me think back to the last time the ever turning pop culture wheel was at this riveting point. Probably the ‘summer of love’ as they called it, when Radio One discovered Ibiza and the anthem of the summer was the irresistible ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ by Stardust. Remember that summer? When all the students had big beat hangovers and Derek Dahlarge disappeared in the maelstrom of Manumission in Ibiza, when Mark Jones was still taking drugs and one of the Radio 1 DJs forgot to turn up to do their show because they’d been up all night on liquid ecstasy. James Lavelle was at his zenith of coolness and the cutting edge crossed over and became mainstream?

Historically, fascinatingly, there’s a dotted line from then till now that has Daft Punk and their mates at each end of it, but that’s a whole other essay right there about the cultural importance of ‘baguette beat’ in the rich and colourful tapestry of UK electronic music.

But I digress.

Don’t worry, there’s still a cutting edge, and rock/indie fans, fear not, your time will come again, as I’ve no doubt that in a year, or two, or however long it takes, Capital Radio will reflect the tastes of young people that have discovered the next wave of skinny jeaned, mucky Converse All Star-sporting, fag chugging, messy haired musical pied-pipers, the next Strokes, the next Vaccines and the next Arctic Monkeys, but until that inevitable moment, let’s just enjoy this while it lasts. Let’s lose ourselves to dance, lose our self-control, let’s fall in love, and let’s dance like nobody’s watching.

Have a wonderful summer. I know I will.

X eddy

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