This Wednesday (17th January), I’ll have the pleasure of interviewing journalist and author Matthew Collin on stage at Rough Trade Bristol (7pm, free entry). We’ll be discussing his new book, Rave On, and the wider topic of global dance music culture in 2018.
As many of you may know, Collin’s first book on dance music, Altered State, is widely considered – correctly, in my opinion – to be one of the essential tomes on acid house and rave culture in the UK. It was published in 1997, at a point when dance music had become big business in the UK, but was still a niche pursuit in many places of the world.
Two decades on, dance music is a sprawling, multi-billion dollar global industry. Like Collin, I’ve seen this change develop at close quarters, with new scenes emerging and the adoption of the culture by the giants of the entertainment industry. Yet for all of the commercialization in certain territories, you will still find thrilling underground movements in the most unlikely of places, not to mention outposts of electronic music culture still wedded to the loved-up, counterculture ethos that thrived during Britain’s first dance music boom.
It’s these contrasting developments that form the basis of Rave On. Part reportage, part dance music history and part cultural analysis, it sees Collin updating the story of Detroit’s techno pioneers, chronicling Berlin’s rise to “global techno Mecca” status (a perfect example of culture providing a new purpose for a previously broken city), hanging out with free party lunatics in France, exploring the curious tale of Israel’s love affair with psyrance, and heading to places where dance music is now big business (Dubai, Shanghai and, of course, Las Vegas). It’s a fantastic, thought-provoking book that should be essential reading for anyone who loves dance music culture.
I’ll be exploring some of the issues raised with Matthew and digging deeper into some of his adventures on Wednesday night. Naturally, there will also be an opportunity for audience members to ask questions, and once we’ve finished Matthew will be signing copies of the book.
For more details, check out the event page on the Rough Trade website here.