The recent sad passing of Robert Miles made me realise that there’s a lot missing from much of the music made today in both clubland and in mainstream charts. Robert wrote ‘Children‘ for two reasons: he was affected by seeing photographs of child war victims that his father brought home from a humanitarian mission and secondly to create a track for a calmer ending to end his DJ sets prior to them driving home to reduce the chances of car accident deaths, in an attempt to save lives.
You can feel the soul and spirit in this track, it’s completely like no other and once you understand the story behind this and the feelings he was going through when he wrote it, you understand what Robert was unleashing while writing this. It was his own personal therapy session.
The best music and new genres were always born this way. Some of the best songs have been written off the back of life changing moments, relationship break ups, birth of a child, dark moments or political statements. They are written for that reason and become powerful due to them being completely unique along with striking lyrics or special moments.
When I look in my world, it’s become a business. Many DJs and producers are simply making music to get famous or get bookings. People are looking at the Beatport top 100 and copy and pasting other people’s ideas because it was a potential formula for success. The music then becomes soulless and we get a saturation of the same thing. Painting by numbers. Our ears are awash with triplets, same drops, and Prydz-esq snare rolls, sawtooth leads and meaningless vocals. Hardly anything sounds unique nor different, it’s music fashion, but fashions date and age, a great track will stand the test of time. But when something does sound original, that person will have a deep soulful story why they wrote it, and then the copy and process starts again.
As artists we’re in a fortunate position, we can lock ourselves away from the world and unleash all the good, bad and ugly into a writing process. As a DJ, I do this in my sets and often play completely different sets reflecting what I’m currently going through in my life. When my mum passed away last year, I scared the hell out of Christopher Lawrence by hammering our some really nasty dark fast Techno for an hour out of nowhere when playing out that night, it was really intense, but was also a wonderful stand out moment for the people on the dance floor as both they and Christopher sensed something. It was my moment of dealing with the pain and heartbreaking news that I had got while on tour.
I can reel off many stories I know about certain tracks or political statements that have created original pieces of art, or musicians that rebelled against certain musical movements such as Punk Rock era, its what makes them unique and made their mark in musical history. You feel their soul. Their passion. They were written for a reason, such as Robert Miles – Children and why it’s touched so many of us. For those of you that have only just learned about why it was written, your heart will open more the next time you hear it.
I prefer music that touches my soul, has a feeling and is spiritual. I can see through generic music from a corporate factory, or copied from others and why I feel nothing from it. It’s dishonest, a person hiding behind a hunger for the wrong reasons, I want to feel and see inside that producer’s soul and see / hear what they really like. To me this is more powerful than the money they crave.
I want to give a little inspiration for the next generation of producers and DJ’s, write music from your heart, life experiences and don’t follow the masses, your true sound will then flourish and can be more rewarding in the long run.
For those listening to their favorite DJs and wonder why their sets can often change in feeling from time to time, it will be them offloading in their own therapy session. Go with it and experience a spiritual journey.
– John ’00’ Fleming