Talk: House Music of Horrors

Local dance scene pushers and independent PR collective, Deck Time Stories, wonder why despite being the first genre to infiltrate the local dance scene in the mid ’90s, house ain’t receiving the kind of recognition it deserves.

Text Deck Time Stories

Image Heineken

The house music scene has evolved to be one of the most diverse electronic dance music genres. From its inception in the mid ’80s, house music has evolved from its origins of Chicago house sounds to various eclectic ones to date. Over the years, we’ve seen it branched out into various sub genres which include deep house, electro house, French house, tech house, progressive house, Dutch house and more.

The scene has progressed so much that now you will find new heroes that are dominating the dancefloors. Over the last few years the world has seen Laidback Luke, Afrojack, Sidney Samson and DJ Chuckie churn out their own versions of house music into what we know collectively as Dutch house. And then you’ve got the Swedish House Mafia which consists of Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso blasting out big room sounds. Following their footsteps are young guns in the likes of Avicii, Alesso, AN21 and more. While these guys wow the scene with their new sounds, house music pioneers like Derrick Carter, Green Velvet, Dennis Ferrer and John Digweed are still making waves in outdoor festivals and club events all over the world but unfortunately, it’s not the case here in Malaysia.

Despite the fact that house music was the first genre to penetrate our dance scene in the mid ’90s and ruled the scene throughout much of its early beginnings, it has somehow fallen out of favour within the community in the past six years or so. It is a problematic situation where event promoters can’t even consider bringing the biggest names in house music down to KL for the simple fact that they are more expensive than trance DJs. Bringing them down for a show would be quite a big risk as the audience for it, has declined. It has come to a point where even legendary names such as Sasha fail to pack up a club.

Why aren’t our Malaysian clubbers getting on the bandwagon of a scene that’s getting so much love everywhere else around the world? Can we blame the mainstream culture that is a favourite amongst our youth? Way back then, Backroom played a lot of mainstream house tunes but everyone still went crazy over the music. The problem could stem from the fact that the MTV generation won’t listen to anything that isn’t commercially successful and it definitely shows how narrow our kids are. Our neighbours Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia are more tolerant to many different genres compared to us. House music giants such as Gui Boratto and Luciano will more often than not pack up a venue in these other countries whereas in Malaysia, it won’t be any time soon until the day we see them grace our local decks.

Despite having almost 20 years of dance music history, our scene isn’t as evolved as it is in playgrounds such as Ibiza. Clubbers over there listen to the DJs to actually learn what their music is all about. Here in our backyard, most clubbers are spoiled and want to be constantly entertained to their own liking and even have the cheek to request songs from DJs during their sets.

The uprising of trance music back in 2003 could also be a contributing factor in the downfall of the house music scene. Back then, the top three DJs on the DJ Mag Top 100 Poll included house DJs and it slowly moved to the era of trance. Trance DJs have been dominating DJ Mag’s Poll for the last eight years and it is evident with Armin van Buuren sitting at the top spot for four consecutive years, Paul van Dyk two consecutive years before Armin, and Tiesto had his moment sitting at the top spot for three years running before Paul took over the reign.

The time for house music to shine might not be now but we’re more than happy that our local house heroes aren’t about to give up hope just yet. All we’ve got to do is show them support whenever we can. We also believe the media should play a part in making house trendy again in Malaysia. More articles on the scene should be featured and more quality house music tunes should be played on the radio.

The house scene might’ve be in a slump for the past few years but rest assured, these dedicated artists will continue their journey in the quest of bringing house music back to its glory days.