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Steve Ison
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Steve Ison

10/20/2015 5:10:12 PM ---- Updated 10/20/2015 5:16:28 PM

The DJs coming
Interesting experience playing live with my band The Strangest Feeling the other month that sums up the utter mediocrity imo of so much modern culture...

.A little pub gig with 2 other really uplifting.creative/interesting bands doing original music..Only about 30 people there-but a lovely communal energy and everyone seemed to be really digging the music..
Before we took to the stage,the promoter told us we had to get our equipment off the stage FAST the moment we finished our allotted half hour set 'cos 'The DJs coming'..

The moment we finished to rapturous applause,we were beckoned by the promoter again to get our equipment off stage fast -so we did as instructed -unable to bask in the bit of glory as our little reward for playing a set people loved..15 minutes later the DJ arrives..Quickly sets up his stuff and starts playing music i later found out is called 'Deep House'...The exact same beat with a few (seemingly ) random atonal synth squiggles added on..No vocals..No melodies..No harmonic changes..Nothing but box square programmed beat,big booming one note bass n atonal random squiggle..The place fills up and is soon packed to bursting with 20 somethings dancing to this while the dj pumped his fist in the air a few times -obviously in recognition of his own genius..

All the different band members got paid £5 each for their efforts writing n performing their own music filled with humanity n echos of heaven to help open up peoples imagination -the dj got about £300 i think for playing music made by robots

As a snapshot of the ridiculous vacuity of modern life,its kinda perfect lol

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Father Time

10/20/2015 5:15:45 PM

It is hard to not get frustrated with the times. I'm cutting out most of my social media cause I'm just fed up with folks.

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Bryon Tosoff

10/20/2015 6:19:35 PM

We know your abilities and quality of music you perform Steve, this is indeed a sign of the times. It is happening here. my brother of the BlueVoodoo gave their final appearance as a full band a few months ago at a blue frog performance centre and studio. large crowd well received. He announced that there is not enough opportunties to support a full band anymore (so he put this one on as a farewell concert in appreciation of all the fans in the area) so him and Rick do some duos, but I think that is not going to be going as much in the past, he is now working with a country band, which seems to be better then the blues and rock thing, a lot of cover bands, and tons of the Dj thing. it is indeed unfortunate you and others are not appreciated as you should be......


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10/20/2015 7:32:09 PM ---- Updated 10/20/2015 7:33:59 PM

Hi Steve ,Scott, Bryon

Sign of the times. the Robotic beats thing is just the beginning-Humanity is basically being reprogrammed to follow- not lead..Education is dumbing down kids, instead of teaching them to think for themselves..Sad for the next generations

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Chris Hance

10/21/2015 8:32:35 AM

This is nothing new Steve, ten years ago I used to play a blues jam for a local music shop in a local nightclub,
The jam band had to be finished and tidied up by 11:30, and then a DJ would take over, playing chart songs remixed with generic house beats,
The band used to get a couple of beers per song played whilst the DJ got a three figure sum. Mince huh...

I don't bother about it though, in the past,(late nineties early noughties) I played plenty solo gigs as "Data Thieves" with two synths and a PC, but at least I programmed the beats and cut the samples myself and did as much live playing as possible, and got paid decent money.

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Shoe City Sound

10/21/2015 9:07:41 AM

Chris, glad you bring up that all important difference between faux DJ's and real electronica performance. Programming and creating samples plus playing the keys to call up the sounds and possibly adding vocals too is being a real live human musician in my book, and takes heart and talent like any other form of music. The instruments are just different. And this a totally different genre from techno/house music. There are some wonderful artists that make music this way - Raul Ramirez, Echophlekz, 480East - lots of others ...

I say faux DJ above because, even though I'm not a fan of house music I know it to be something way different than a DJ type guy arriving last moment and throwing some equipment on stage and pumping his fist in the air like the one at Steve's gig. The real DJ's play venues with elaborate light and sound systems and they taylor the beats, etc live to the mood of the crowd in the room to keep them dancing. It's supposed to be hypnotic in a good way. And it's definitely creative, not canned.

So too bad that happened - I was all into the ambience of the pub venue and appreciative audience and drinks and Steve's band all before that clown showed up.

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10/21/2015 10:22:56 AM

Yeah, the live venue is at such a sad state right now due to the elevation of the DJ to headliner proportions. From a club owners perspective, a good DJ is worth his weight in gold. My wife and I go out dancing once a month and when we get to a place where the DJ is not very good. We leave and head for another spot. We like a DJ that mixes it up with several genres. People love to dance to the EDM beat a lot but the most popular genre in the club is Hip-Hop because it is a lot easier to dance to a slower beat. But a great DJ will have several sets of music that include Pop, Latin, R&B, Hip-Hop and EDM. I have noticed that certain songs totally defy the norm. Pharrell's "Happy" song is a sure fire dance floor filler. But I noticed that certain cultures come to the club to dance mainly to their favorite stuff. A good DJ will get to their stuff through out the night. But the real party seems to start when he goes into his Hip-Hop set. At least, that is the way it is at the clubs here in the Cali. Bay Area.

For live venues we go to San Francisco which has a plethora of choices. Those venues do allow dancing but most people come to listen and appreciate the artists. I suggest that bands should cater more to these kinds of venues where they will be appreciated a lot more by the club owners and the patrons.

Also, don't underestimate the technical prowess involved with creating EDM music. It is not as easy as you may think. I released an EDM CD earlier this year and from a technical stand point, producing it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The transitions, synth frills and beat manipulation was quite a challenge. My label has requested that I do another one next year as it did marginally well in Europe. I may be up to the task. But we'll see.

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10/21/2015 11:21:11 AM

What a sad state of affairs, I'm not sure who's the most to blame, the promoters, the DJs or the punters

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Noah Spaceship

10/21/2015 12:20:47 PM

I worked as the sound engineer at a popular dive for nearly ten years.

- The Djs vs the bands -

The club scene has always been about the droning fuck beat. It keeps the drinks flowing.

It's shit like that tempers the indie scene and hardens the original indie.

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Bryon Tosoff

10/21/2015 12:40:38 PM

Fred is correct. it is about the way deep thudding bass drone clomping around. but there ae some groups I have seen that do the whole thing with keyboard players , samples guitars everything slopped together. so we evolve and devolve. and find a happy median

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Steve Ison

10/25/2015 8:02:05 AM ---- Updated 10/25/2015 8:03:41 AM

Cheers for the comments folks
Thanx for the kind words Bryon :)

Chris,Delores..Gotta make it clear i wasn't dissing electronic music here..I know there's creativity/songwriting/humanity/invention/individual spirit in that just like 'guitar' based music

This stuff seemed so completely devoid of creative spirit tho -box square programmed,utterly formulaic n lifeless..It was shocking to me so many seemed so into it..

Robot music by the Borg for assimilation....

The deep irony of it being called DEEP house -when its as shallow,mindless n surface as a puddle o piss outside a club at 4am...

the droning fuck beat indeed haha
You gotta laugh else you'd cry...

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Shoe City Sound

10/25/2015 8:05:38 AM

Well said, Steve. I completely get the situation you were in that night and I agree. That kind of mind numbing crap is really awful on so many levels.

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Richard Scotti

10/25/2015 6:06:04 PM

As society gets dumber and dumber, the gene pool changes. Humans are producing
humans with lower standards and they pass those genes on to their children and so on and so on. Unless there is some kind of peaceful cultural revolution, all will be lost and the robots will be in charge. Steve has the right metaphor. The Borg (political and corporate power) will assimilate us and destroy our individuality if we believe the lie that resistance is futile. Resistance is NOT futile!!!! It's our only hope!

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10/26/2015 8:29:11 PM

I am not as pessimistic about it all as you folks are. You see, I remember this thing they used to call "Disco". It was the hottest thing for several years and it practically ran all of the live bands out of town. A lot of the kind of comments written here were heard frequently. But guess what? As big as Disco got, it eventually died so badly that people held disco record burn outs where they all stood around disco record camp fires. EDM, Deep house or whatever is only another disco waiting its turn to burn out.

My theory is that people are like sheep. A whole bunch of them need someone to tell them something is good. If you package that something with a night out dancing with friends, they will buy it every single time. Yet, how many of these songs do you see on the billboard charts? My answer is very few. The reason is because they were club hits but nobody could stomach listening to that shit in their car on the way to work. By examining history we have often been able to predict the future a lot more accurately. I suggest that we hold out hope that the human spirit, which tends to crave nurturing through organic music, will return to the root of all musical stimulation. I believe that the live experience will never totally die. It will wane at times but it will also be revived as it has been done in the past. The beat in the club gets left there. But when live artists perform the people buy the CD and take them home to listen at their leisure.

I applaud technology, robotics and computer technology because it has all made my life easier. I also applaud Deep House music because I know that it has a momentary purpose. But it will never become anything more than a night out with friends. Just a reason for youngsters to hang out and do whatever the current fad dance craze is. But just like disco. It's days are numbered. The sheep always come back home. They just need a shepherd to push them in the right direction. This whole universe is all about being in a circle. Everything goes around and comes back. The old becomes the new and then it becomes old again. Fashion, trends, music etc., it's all the same. But people quickly get bored with shit. Next? Could be any one or all of us that rides the next resurgent bullet train to mass musical acceptance. I know, I know, I am a disgusting optimist. Sorry about that. But I am what I am. I believe in miracles and I believe that the glass is half full.

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