It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We cannot thank you enough for all your help in making Club G Music’s music library what it was. 2016 is the fifth year of our journey since we started Club G Music, a year that we’ll continue to build the library more than just good electronic music.
THANK YOU for all the kind, supportive, encouraging, generous and just plain lovely comments and messages! Before we get too far in to the year, however, we’d love to remind you of our biggest innovations in 2015.
1 new label launched: G’United
102 Singles/EPs released
16 Albums/Compilations released
60+ Artists from around the world who’s published with Club G Music
CGM’s artist of the year : Guido Hermans (Netherlands) 5/9 EPs which reached charts
CGM’s best release of the year : Firestaterz’s Revolution Album
CGM’s best label of the year : Club G Records
This is just some of the impactful work together we’ve done this year. In 2016 we can do even more, but we need your strong support. Celebrate these successes and help us make communities even better. Another year to live. To banish worry, doubt, and fear. To love, to laugh and to give. Here’s to a wonderful new year and a warm adieu to the old.
A bouquet of wishes comes especially for you and your family, making this new year grand and fragrant, all the way through. Happy New Year!
The CGM Team.
Music comes in many different types and styles ranging from traditional electronic music to world dance, easy listening and bluegrass. Many genres have a rich history or geographical significance, a cult following or music roots that go far beyond the 20th century.
In its early development electronic music was associated almost exclusively with Western art music, but from the late 1960s on the availability of affordable music technology, particularly of synthesisers, meant that music produced using electronic means became increasingly common in the popular domain of rock and pop music, resulting in major electronically based subgenres.
After the definition of MIDI in 1982 and the development of digital audio, the creation of purely electronic sounds and their manipulation became much simpler. As a result synthesizers came to dominate the pop music of the early 1980s. In the late 1980s, dance music records made using only electronic instruments became increasingly popular, resulting in a proliferation of electronic genres, subgenres and scenes.
In the new millennium, as computer technology became even more accessible and music software advanced, interacting with music production technology made it possible to create music that has no relationship to traditional musical performance practices, leading to further developments and rapidly evolving subgenres.
A big thank you to the folks who have already sent in suggestions. We haven’t added them all as some are not easily verified or differentiated from our current list (and we get many electronic music subgenres suggestions that are duplicates), however all the subgenres we can research and confirm as valid or derivatives or existing subgenres, we’ve added and have attributed by way of thanks.
Daft Punk Unchained recently debuted on French TV station Canal+, Daft Punk documentary that has been made in conjunction with BBC Worldwide Productions France.
The documentary features interviews from journalists, collaborators, label executives, managers, and friends of the enigmatic duo who reveal how the duo became the most successful electronic act in history.
We’ve seen the documentary, and despite some dodgy subtitles it’s full of interesting insights about the duo – so here are 10 things that we didn’t know about duo and their music.
1. Before they even started Daft Punk, Daft Punk did a mean line in Sonic Boom covers
Much is written about Darlin’, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s pre-Daft Punk group, which featured Phoenix’s Laurent Brancowitz on guitar and gave rise to the Daft Punk name, via a scathing review in Melody Maker. But they are rarely seen in action.
One of the most revelatory clips dug up by Daft Punk Unchained, an 85-minute documentary about the band that has already aired in France, is live footage of Darlin’ covering How You Satisfy Me, a 90s psych classic from Sonic Boom’s post-Spacemen 3 group Spectrum, with Thomas on bass and vocals and Guy-Man on guitar. They both look about 13, but create a satisfyingly dense garage drone.
In 1993, Darlin’ released two tracks – Cindy So Loud and Darlin’ – on the Shimmies in Super 8 compilation on Stereolab’s Duophonic label. Daniel Dauxerre, Darlin’s manager, explains in the documentary that he believes the Melody Maker review – which claimed the band made “daft punky trash” – brought Darlin’ down from their initial wave of enthusiasm and eventually led to the band’s demise.
2. Thomas Bangalter likes being in control
At the age of 18, Thomas and Guy-Man started going to raves in Paris, discovering Chicago house. It was also, according to Thomas’s friend Serge Nicolas, a time when many people started experimenting with drugs. But not Bangalter.
“Thomas told me one day that he didn’t like [drugs] because when you take an ecstasy, you lose all critical control,” Nicolas says. “From there it was clear. Because if there is one thing that he hates, it is to lose control.”
3. Interest in Daft Punk’s first release was so great, their record label started answering the phone ‘Daft Punk’ to save time.
In April 1994, Glasgow techno label Soma released Daft Punk’s first 12in single, The New Wave, after a meeting in Paris engineered by Nicolas. “For such quiet guys, this music came over the system, it was like: Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!” Stuart McMillan, of label co-founders Slam, recounts.
Such was the impact of the record – a very youthful Thomas can be seen in the film delighting in 15,000 sales – that Richard Brown, label manager of Soma at the time, stopped answering the phone with “Hello, Soma Records,” and started answering “Hello, Daft Punk”. “There were so many calls coming in,” McMillan says. “The momentum at that point really built so quickly.”
4. Thomas’s father helped shape their career
It is widely known that Thomas Bangalter’s father is Daniel Vangarde, a disco-era French songwriter and producer, responsible for Ottawan’s DISCO. Perhaps less known is the influence he had in shaping Daft Punk’s career. “He [Daniel] helped them to make decisions,” explains journalist Pascal Bertin, in the documentary. “He helped them to understand clearly what people were proposing.”
“He was [the] perfect person to give advice to a group doing dance music, made in France, sung in English and aimed at the whole world,” Antoine Ressaussière, a friend of the band, adds.
5. Thomas is something of an early adopter, Guy-Man is more mystical
Discussing the duo’s creative roles, Eric Chédeville, who works with Guy-Man as Le Knight Club, says that Thomas is “the machine genius”.
“He told me once around the time of the first album that he reads the instruction books for all his machines once a month,” he says.
“Thomas was one of the first people to have a Mac in France,” adds journalist Jean-Daniel Beauvallet, “which allowed him to get working on music and images by computer very, very early.”
“Thomas also finds melodies that are brilliant,” Chédeville says, “he really has a very good sense of ‘the hit’. Guy-Man is more mystical. He wants just one thing, not two. And until he finds it, everything else is shit.”
6. Daft Punk premiered their debut album to Virgin execs on a ghetto blaster
In September 1996, the band signed to Virgin Records in a deal unlike others in the industry, according to the band’s then manager Pedro Winter, giving them total control over their music and imagery.
Their ambivalent attitude to major label norms was underlined when they chose to give Virgin executives their first listen of debut album Homework in Thomas’s small, crammed studio.
“We went to listen to the album at Thomas’s house, in his little studio. We came with the team from Virgin London and some of the French team,” says Maya Masseboeuf, former artistic director of Virgin France. “It was great: a little studio with things everywhere. And we listened to the album on a ghetto blaster. We were really impressed. It was hit after hit.”
7. The band’s third album Human After All was recorded in just two weeks
The narrative around Human After All, the band’s poorly-received third album, was that it was recorded in six weeks in a bid to get back to the band’s roots. But the documentary suggests this was actually closer to two.
“Human After All was maybe made in 12 days. But that was the concept of the record, which is looking back at those rock or garage records,” Bangalter told Radio 1’s Pete Tong in 2013, in a clip used in the documentary.
“Human After All, we are really human: OK so we’re going to record an album in two weeks and see what happens,” Pedro Winter adds.
8. They considered packing in the robots around 2006
Well, maybe. The band have never talked about this and they only appear in this documentary via old interview clips. But Pedro Winter – who knows them as well as almost anyone – believes the final scene of their 2006 film Electroma, in which the two Daft Punk robots self-destruct, was telling.
“Maybe they put into images something they wanted to say, that Daft Punk will end,” Winter says. “The thought occurred to me. I thought, ‘OK, we’re going to end the robot masks and they’re going to come in the office tomorrow with a new idea where they show their faces.’ I think they thought about it.”
“We all thought the end of Electroma, when both the robots self-destruct, that that was the end of the robots,” says Tony Gardner, the designer who helped to create Daft Punk’s signature helmets.
9. The band’s live pyramid was a secret even to their manager
In 2005, the Coachella festival offered Daft Punk $250,000 to perform. They said no. The following year, Coachella upped its offer to $300,000 and got their band.
Their performance – which took place inside a giant LED-festooned pyramid – would go down in history as one of the most important in dance music history, helping to feed the EDM explosion in the US and putting the band right back at the top of the dance music tree.
But so secretive were their preparations that even Winter didn’t know what they were planning for much of the time, seeing his first audio-only rehearsal just days before the Coachella performance. “I wasn’t allowed to see the lights yet,” he jokes.
10. A Random Access Memories engineer drove the album’s master tapes from LA to Maine
The recording of Random Access Memories took place over four years in one of LA’s top studios, Henson Studio B, at a reported cost of $1m. So when they finished recording and the album needed mastering, they didn’t want to just pop it in the post. Instead, Peter Franco, one of four engineers to work on the album, got in a car with Daft Punk crew member Sam Cooper to drive the tapes from LA to Portland, Maine.
“Four years in the studio, it was crazy. So at the end when we finished mixing, there was no way we were going to let the master tapes leave our sight. So we started another journey,” Franco says. “If the tapes were lost, I think I would change my name, become a scuba diving instructor in Costa Rica. Each tape is unique and each mix is unique. There’s only one of them and they existed in that trunk of the car.”
American commercial radio has been dogged for decades by limiting beliefs about its target market’s attention span, but Pete Tong isn’t buying it.
“When you look at what intelligent television channels are doing, creating these incredibly deep series from Breaking Bad to House of Cards, that couldn’t happen in the UK,” said the BBC Radio 1 host. “That’s actually happened in America, where there’s supposedly so much short-termism and conservativism, so why can’t we do that with radio? There must be a place for it, it’s just a case of finding the right fit.”
Clear Channel Entertainment and SFX Entertainment believe they’ve found just that. Their respective subsidiaries, Premiere Networks and Beatport, today announced the launch of The Evolution Beatport Show with Pete Tong. The announcement, provided exclusively to Billboard, reflects a significant expansion of Tong’s existing Evolution program, which launched in May 2013 and currently broadcasts weekly on more than 80 stations nationwide, as well as iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s digital radio service.
The rebranded program will now feature an expanded two-hour format, as well as exclusive content, breaking music news and releases, DJ chart updates and top dance tracks from Beatport. Tong will continue to present his essential new tune of the week and feature guest mixes from a diverse blend of artists.
“Beatport being known as a DJ store where people go to find out what DJs are playing, it’s a little bit of a locker room,” said Clark Warner, Beatport’s executive creative director. “That has evolved over the last ten years and the fans are right there with them too, watching what they’re listening to and buying, which turns into our sales charts. I think this partnership is one of the more meaningful moves we’ve ever made, and it really speaks to the programming power of Beatport.”
The program’s global Beatport chart ties-ins are intended to broaden the program’s depth and breadth and provide an insightful ear to the ground for dance fans and DJs alike.
“The charts are very fluid, which is why the show will have a very interesting impact,” said Warner. “It’s one reason why people spend a lot of time on our site watching that turnover. It’s similar to a DJ set with what’s hot, what’s shaking the dance floor, and what’s going to make things change. The beauty of the charts and our partnership with Pete and Clear Channel is having all of these things also marry up with what’s happening at events to reflect what’s happening with the music one layer deeper.”
At its core, the partnership reflects a collective acknowledgment of each party’s unique strengths. Coming from an A&R background, Tong hailed Beatport’s scientific chart data as a “fascinating” wide-angle industry lens through which larger trends can be identified. In turn, Warner praised Tong as a crucial and credible tastemaker and a natural choice to captain the show.
The initiative’s cause is clearly close to Tong’s heart. The veteran host recalled recording American radio programs in New York hotel rooms during his early years to gain a sense for the format’s unique pitfalls and potential. While American television has evolved to provide the more highbrow content he cited, Tong has yet to see a corresponding shift in the country’s commercial radio approach.
“American radio differs from Radio 1 because its mission is not new music, its mission is to keep the biggest audience all the time and play them what they want,” said Tong. “Radio 1 is a public service institution specifically there to capture the youth market and champion new music, so that’s why its such a unique institution.”
A self-described “Trojan horse” who entered American commercial radio after reinventing his role at BBC Radio 1, Tong embraces the challenges of trying to shift long-standing Top 40 trends.
“I always say American radio sounds f–king amazing for the first 15 minutes,” said Tong. “But … you hear the same 15 minutes every four hours and that’s my frustration with it. My desire is ‘let’s get out of that kind of safe zone, let’s take them on a journey.’ I believe the American public has more intelligence and more savvy than to be so short term that they’re gonna hit a button every time they’re uncomfortable.”
Tong believes the partnership may have arrived at “exactly the right time” to facilitate electronic dance music’s forward development in the US market. Similar to his ‘90s role bringing UK club hits to the masses at Radio 1, he envisions using the new Evolution program to introduce the greater American public to the “next layer down” from the most commercial EDM that currently dominates airwaves.
“I never wanted to be on the radio in America to do the simplest thing. It’s not really my gig to be the lowest common denominator,” said Tong. “I’m not preaching to be a messiah of EDM, because the hits of the scene have been on American radio for a long time. My fit is more ‘where can we use that platform to start to take some chances and break some new music and new ground?’”