This was done at the weekend when it was nice and sunny outside. Instead of trying to milk a goat, catch a leprechaun, make friends with my neighbours, learn the flute or anything else so exciting. Instead I popped open the skylights and the first fresh air of the year entered the loft…
I’m not sure exactly where this mix fits in the world. I’d like to think I could pull off a morning slot on a sunny terrace somewhere, but I think they’re becoming increasingly the kind of mixes that only elderly folk will like ;-)
Midtown 120 Intro – DJ Sprinkes
Mystery of Nazereth – Marco Bernardi
Twighlight (Layo and Bushwacka mix) – Unkle
Light Through The Veins (Ewan Pearsons Downtown Lights Mix) – Jon Hopkins
Poisson Pilote – Rone
Amish Kid (Sasse Remix) – Phonogenic
Lovelee Dae (Tanner Ross & KiloWatts Remix) – Blaze
Inner 8 (Dexters DXR Mix) – Alton Miller
Roman – Trickski
Ellelli (Kalabrese Remix) – Madioko N Rafika
Guinea Pig (DJ Kozes Vocal Variation Remix) – Ben Watt
Song for Marie and Elise (Aeroplane Remix) – Lullabies in the Dark
This track just totally floored me. It’s a remix of In for the Kill by La Roux which has been done over by dubstep star Skream.
It’s just huge. When it kicks in just after the 4 minute mark it’d be better with a donk on it, obviously ;-) but apart from that it’s a masterful remix. It takes a nice, but unremarkable, original and turns it into something epic.
I would have embedded the original, but Universal have diasabled embedding so I can’t. If you want to make the effort you can go to YouTube and hear the original.
I was convinced that it was a spoof. As if there’d be a genre called Donk. Everything is wrong about the video. The knowing subtitles over subtle Northern Accents. The presenter’s slight grin when he’s chatting to folk. The funnily named shops. Everything. There’s no way I’m falling for a prank like that. It reminds me heavily of the episode of Brass Eye where they whang on about Cake (the made up drug). And all the characters and the interviews look like they could be setups or clever edits.
So the I popped out and went round to Curtis’ house and showed it to him. And he (and his son Max) both went “oh yeah, Put a Donk on it”. So much for the fake thing then. And once again I’m behind the curve.
Here are the real Blackout Crew with their real hit Put A Donk On It. With a real 4 million views on YouTube. Holy crap!
So at this point it becomes clear that Donk is no joke. And the donkumentary (sorry) is also no joke. So I watch part 2, and part 3 and part 4 and part 5. Back to back. Mouth agape. Unable to pick my jaw up off the trackpad. It’s fucking incredible. So many amazing moments. So many brilliant lines. So many stunning characters. The films do have a touch of that Vice maggy sneeriness (to be honest, you’d really struggle not to given some of the situations). Having said that it’s a bloody amazing bit of documentary footage and well worth the 20 minutes or so it’d take to watch the whole lot.
It’s an amazing tour of an incredible, almost unbelievable scene that’s rooted in a chunk of the North of England. Although there’s undoubtedly Donk mutations elsewhere. To be honest it’s pretty close to a lot of the hard-dance scene in a lot of ways – fashion, sound, people, drugs. Trakky-wearing gurners with glo-sticks have always existed at ‘that’ end of dance music. But you can’t ignore Donk – it’s just got such an awesome name.
Interesting dress code mutations too…
There’s a full article about it in Vice Land. Which, if you can’t be bothered to watch the videos (shame on you) is a decent summary of what goes on in the video series. But nothing can quite deliver the faces of Donk quite like seeing them moving and gurning – with blue WKD stained tongues :-p
What smacked me between the eyes is really how naive I am to things that go on outside London and Brighton. Sure I’ve been to ‘hard dance’ things and danced amongst the day-glo-mong-puppets in my time. And tried in vain to keep up with music that’s twice as fast as my heart. But it’s always been a passing toe-in-the-water at a festival or something like that. I’ve never been and lived the Donk.
I sit in endless meetings where people pretend to understand ‘the young people’. But they only really view it through a really tiny window. A window where the view extends just outside the central line. So the best you’ll get is someone who’s really bloody ‘on it’ because they went to a Dubstep night, once, for 10 minutes, until they felt a bit sick. Or someone will drop Dizzee Rascal, yet again, into a presentation, because it’s a shorthand for urban and street (but not too urban and street).
One day I want to see Donk in a segmentation. Please let it happen. Please. Fuck it. I might even take my next Keynote presentation and ‘Put Some Donk on it’.
Want to hear a bit more Donk?
Here’s what happens when you Put Some Donk on the Ting Tings.
And don’t worry all you London-based marketing agencies – Dizzee’s been Donked too. Imagine that – it’s a north-south Donk mash-up. Stick that in your presso and feel the client Kudos.
This is where my Donk journey ended for today. If you want to carry on there’s plenty of Donk out there, just get searching.
After a week in the northwest immersed in donk culture, it was impossible to deny that it’s the bottom-feeder of the already bottomed-out dance-music food chain. It’s parochial, drug-centred, racist, sexist and violent, and that’s what makes it so, well, special. For all its flaws, donk perfectly mirrors the generation of kids and the society that created it: totally and hopelessly fucked, in every sense of the word.
But there’s something else in there too. Sure it’s built around escapism and getting fucked out of your mind on pills and cheap booze. And it’s pretty much the soundtrack to getting the living pulp kicked out of you. But at least they’re making something that’s theirs. Doing something together. Sharing in a scene that they own. Something they love.
Oh crap. I can feel it coming on. A silent-flash-Donk-rave at Doncaster Station. Life is for sharing after all.
So when teenagers land in front of him for blasting their car stereos or otherwise disturbing the peace in this small northern Colorado city, Sacco informs them that they will spend a Friday evening in his courtroom listening to music — of his choosing.
So what kind of thing do they get subjected to:
Young people in Fort Lupton know that if they’re caught, they’re in for a night that could begin with the “Barney” theme song, move on to an opera selection and end with Boy George’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.”
“If you see a cop car, turn your volume down,” said Gehrig, a convenience store clerk.
It’s not changed their behaviour fundamentally. But it works as a kind of deterrent. All they need to do is automate the whole thing: if you get busted (by the robot ears around town) your stereo automatically gets taken over for 24 hours by Judge.fm
There’s lots that us try-hard webby / advertising folk can learn from these young ladies about how to ‘do’ social networks and audience engagement.
I hate myself for even writing about this stuff in ‘those’ terms. The words ‘audience engagement’ give me a strange bile-y sensation in the back of my throat. In both of these cases I’d chow down on a family bucket of Kentucky Fried Hat if someone had set out with a cyncial objective of how to engage audiences. What makes this stuff good is that you can tell this is what they enjoy doing. It’s what they love. You get the sense they’d be doing it whether they were flogging 10 records or 10 million records.
And that’s the stuff you can’t fake. Well not without expensive directors and decent actors and catering trucks and heavy editing.
Both of them have amazing videos on YouTube. They both feel totally natural. They don’t give a hoot that their clips aren’t 100% perfect. And they feel like we’ve been given a real window into their musical world. Their videos have got music and talent at the core, but the edges are the bits that give you personality, quirkiness and ultimately likability.
I’ll start with Little Boots, because she’s got a Tenori-On and can play it better than anyone else I’ve ever seen, check this Hot Chip cover, make sure you wait for the vocals to start.
It feels so accessible (like she’s used the same kind of camera, computer and mic that lots of us have) yet the talent and quality shine through.
She takes suggestions for her Funtime cover versions via MySpace (or YouTube). And manages to go far and wide with what she delivers. Including her take on Happy Hardcore anthem ‘Heart of Gold’…
I’m also a big fan of the fact that she uses the supporting YouTube text really well. So many people hardly even bother. And it makes a difference. It properly helps to cement the whole story and rams it home that this isn’t a YouTube channel that’s being looked after by a label-monkey. For example:
this is a song i’d long forgotten about till recently… i’ve been getting back to my blackpool roots a bit lately, spent much of my teen years listening to bonkers compilations 1 through 5 so here is a classic… heart of gold… such a sad song when you think about it!!! i’m not sure how well know it is to the rest of the world but anyways…. sorry the tenorion isn’t loud enough but didn’t wanna wake my housemates up! my fav bit is where it rhymes ‘just’ with ‘justify’ in the same line. genius.
Enough Little Boots hype. On to Imogen Heap. Her vBlog as she calls it, is totally different. She rambles on and on and on and comes across as totally loopy most of the time. But through all the insanity you can’t help but smell brilliance and a sincere passion for the music and what she does.
I’ve got a feeling she’s the kind of person who might annoy some people with her slightly dithery-middle-class-niceness. But I find it quite charming, in 10 minute chunks at least.
What I especially like about is that she’s been leaking out bits and bobs of her new album. But it’s literally playing fragments of songs as they’re in development (when you get to about 3 mins in you’ll see what I mean), so there’s no way that pirates can rip it off, but it gets the work out there in a really nice way. And from looking at all the comments you can see how much anticipation the clips are managing to build.
Keep it real – be yourself. There is no template for this stuff so don’t try and create the thing that you’re ‘supposed to do’ on YouTube.
Get the audience involved in what you’re doing
Imperfection is OK (actually much better than OK, it’s good, it’s human, it’s real)
Use all the tools out there – and use them with each other, use them for things they’re good at
Give away free stuff when you ask people to sign up for something
All things we’ve all heard before. But nice to see a couple of decent ‘case studies’ out there. Yuk. There goes the bile-y taste again. They’re not bloody case studies, they’re people doing awesome stuff. Well done ladies. Sorry for tainting your good names with marketing gobshite.