‘Underground’ is a term that is thrown around frequently with little justice to its origins and influences that have made it the most innovative movement for electronic music in recent years. It has had a highly positive impact both socially and culturally, breaking down barriers of the construction of ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class identity. There are many examples of demoting prejudice with regard to social identities in music, but none bare more resilience than the movements of New York house, Chicago house, Detroit techno, and Acid house and rave in the UK. Moving forward to now, electronic music as a scene and lifestyle is more open minded and culturally diverse than ever, expressing unity and uniqueness. London in particular has embraced an individual scene that is exclusive and represents such a high level of cultural exchange. Electronic music is captivating and is loved and shared on a vast global scale – for London to capture this and build a devoted community and melting pot for a constantly growing genre of music is truly inspiring.
It is clear by attending any of the vibrant parties that the city has to offer, which are never the same in terms of their crowds, that London has become one of the most welcoming places for people to dance and express themselves. For the most part, it is absent of violence because groups of people unite for one reason, and one reason only, which is the music. It is such a powerful tool that brings people together and eliminates any boundaries that might have been set. The UK and London in some cases have been labelled in the past as having a reputation for social violence, which has been predominantly fuelled by alcohol. This particular reputation however is non-existent at underground parties which display friendly and warm crowd integration in both small and large venues. Not to mention that it is one of the only environments where the DJ on some occasions integrates and communicates with the crowd as a member of the party, rather than significantly staying behind the decks, which epitomizes how relaxed and approachable this particular scene is.
One of the prime reasons that underground music events are so special is through crowd control, and the selective process that aims to keep a ‘good vibe’ at each party. Some events in London have built their reputations through their ability to control each person that comes through the door, which has a knock-on effect towards the overall atmosphere and personality of each event. This process has become commonplace in the industry, because it is such an effective way to manage the masses wishing to attend some of the most cutting edge parties London has to offer.
There are many elements that constitute to the success of the underground electronic music scene in London including the promoters, venue and most importantly, the DJs. But one aspect that often gets overlooked is the people that keep the party swinging, keep on going and keep on smiling, which is the crowd. They are the first thing, and last thing that you see upon entering and leaving a party, and they are the people that can make a party extra special…
By Sam Quilter