If not at events, where do we meet now to sustain our community?

Often people associate Germany, my home country, with electronic music. However, I grew up in a more rural part in the Southwest of Germany near the French border where there are not many opportunities to develop oneself artistically.

When I moved to Manchester over two years ago, one of my missions was to develop my skills as an electronic music producer and to connect with like-minded people.

I studied at the School of Electronic Music and started going to club nights, such as Kiss Me Again and Bollox. I started producing and performing under my stage name Industries. I was drawn to the idea of community and people operating in a DIY ethos that is based on the principle of necessity. Whenever I needed help with my productions, I could ask my friends from the School of Electronic Music. Over time and through being out and about I have met a couple of producers and DJs in the scene who became friends and some even collaborators. In each case, building a friendship and community has always been more important than a product that might come out of a collaboration.

One thing that we all have in common is that we are juggling different responsibilities: some have multiple (part-time) jobs, some are freelancers (and might have a part-time job), some have family, some are still in education. With the coronavirus crisis, the event industry is struggling hard and many friends of mine have lost a lot of work and money. But if not at events, where do we meet now to sustain our community and support each other in this difficult situation? Here are a few examples of how electronic music lovers have used the world wide web to connect with one another, share their passion and help others out.

  • Many clubs, record labels, producers and DJs started live streaming to audiences at home.
  • I really enjoyed Defected Records streaming live from Ministry of Sound via Facebook.
  • In Berlin promoters, clubs and artists have created the world’s largest virtual club #UnitedWeStream streaming daily from different night clubs in Berlin.
  • Some companies and producers started giving away freebies for music production: Legowelt offers a Quasimidi Sirius sample pack based on a German digital synthesizer from 1998, on Synthtopia you can download free modular synthesizers, Korg has made the iKaossilator available as app for iPhone and iPad
  • German ambient artist Hainbach put his very own sample pack Isolated Loops on Bandcamp and you can pay what you want.
  • Bandcamp weaved all their fees for one day so that 100% of the income went straight to the artists, which came to over $4,300,000 in total
  • There is a free Sound Production in Ableton Live for Musicians and Artists online course on Class Central for anyone who wants to start or step up their game in using this Digital Audio Workstation that could be described as the industry standard.
  • In one Facebook group I am in, one of Manchester’s finest DJ collective uploaded unreleased demos from their upcoming EP to keep us dancing while being at home
  • Limbo Radio, arguably Manchester’s best underground radio station where I have played a few times, moved from their studio space and asked associated producers and DJs if to record sets form home to keep the music going.
  • I am also part of one Facebook group that has the mission to save the scene – here people are actively naming problems the current situation causes, needs that we have and what we demand the government to provide in response.

All the above examples show that, despite the electronic music scene being in a very precarious situation, members of the scene ranging from software companies, labels, promoters, club owners to producers and DJs come together in digital spaces to connect, share music, software, ideas, and have constructive discussions on how to move forward to ensure our future. I know that things are not easy now, but I also feel excited for the future and all the good things to come out of this situation!

Image Credits:Volker Schütz https://volkerschuetz.de and Rob Conroy.

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