Joey G on the Infiltration of Pop in Clubland

Every month, DJ, TV host and man-about-town Joey G takes time off his busy schedule to share his thought on the dance music scene in and out of Malaysia. This month he fends of a chart attack of the dancefloors…. 

Text Joey G

I have to start saying that I am getting a bit confused about what music genres are becoming these days. I’m sure that if you tune into any one of your favourite radio stations, you’d know exactly what I’m talking about. Within the past year, we music fans have had our ears bashed in countless times with dance-infused pop and hip hop tracks from the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Akon, Kelly Rowland, Kid Cudi, Pitbull, Lady Gaga and many more.

This sudden outbreak of cheesy club tracks seems to be the latest trend among pop artists, while the latest trend among our favourite superstar DJs seems to be the complete opposite. One DJ in particular would be everybody’s favourite trance maestro Tiësto. His recent musical direction seems to be that of Top 40 music. His latest single features Nelly Furtado on vocals, though unfortunately she is not featured in the music video, which is probably a good thing for her because I must say I find it quite cheesy.

In 2009, American rapper Pitbull shot to fame when he released his 3rd single ‘Hotel Room Service’ from his latest album Rebelution. This track became an instant club hit, highly due to the horn sample taken from ‘Push The Feeling’ by the British house music group Nightcrawlers. The original track was released in 1992 and went on to become on of the most recognisable dance music anthems ever. Pitbull then comes along and drops some hip hop vocals and bam…another hit!

Booka Shade, the German electro house duo responsible for the massively popular dance hit ‘Body Language’, allowed Will.i.am to take a sample of the track for his song ‘Get Your Money’ for his album Songs About Girls. After hearing his version of this beautiful dance music track, I was completely turned off and the original never sounded the same again.

This mix-up of pop, hip hop and dance music is having a bit of an effect on the local club scene as we see clubs opting to change their playlist to what is heard on the radio and seen on TV, thus breeding a new kind of partygoer. I am not saying this is wrong; the music a club plays determines the clientele and ultimately certain clientele spend more time than others. But what is happening is the true forms of club music and clubbing culture are slowly fading out. I have witnessed this first hand at some of my recent gigs in KL and around Asia. In Bangladesh, I received over 50 requests for David Guetta and Akon’s ‘Sexy B!tch’; one guy even looked like he wanted to punch me because I said no. In Taiwan, the requests were flooding in for David Guetta’and Kid Cudi’s ‘Memories’, and even here in KL some of the best club nights are those that feature all these Top 40 hits.

Sadly, I am not sure what the fate of house music is in Kuala Lumpur as we see more and more hip hop and ‘Mambo Jambo’ club nights taking over. I guess you could call this the inevitable as we lack all components that allow dance music culture to thrive. In some parts of the world, house music is still the #1 music of choice and if presented properly, can be seen as sophisticated and trendy.

Thankfully though, KL still has a bunch of devoted individuals and crews that are dedicated to making sure that quality house music can still be heard in its truest form. Crews such as OMP Entertainment, Love International, Turn It Up! and Deep House Society are the last of the dying breed of house DJs, producers and promoters who remain true to form in providing the city with some rocking events that feature some of the finest house music DJs in the world.

I’d like to send major props out to the following people for keeping true in music: Da Funkie Junkie, Azran, Victor G, Shazan, Funk K, Zaskar, Bob Haziq, Haze, Glynn Tandy, Gabriel, Jose, Bernie, Gregoire, Shazz, Leonard T, Nicky C and all the other hardworking house music DJs in KL.

I say it’s time to bring back the good old days of house music and keep the spirit of house alive. And if you’re one of the people who say “I don’t listen to it”, try breaking out of mainstream pop and exploring your individual music tastes. You never know; you might actually like it.

Check out the home of Joey G at www.joeyghazlan.com.