Dance music can be a fickle mistress. One minute your favourite scene is so cutting-edge it has to be kept out of reach of children, the next it’s been discarded like last year’s electroclash. This can lead to an overwhelming desire to stay one step ahead of the crowd, seeking out the most obscure Chilean techno or Polish post-dubstep and then ditching it before it makes the inevitable appearance on a mobile phone advert. But it also means it’s tempting to disown the music that’s closest to your heart when it’s no longer deemed to be the Next Big Thing.
While it’s understandable that your favourite DJs may not stick to the same sound for their whole careers - no one blames Zinc for dropping drum’n’bass in favour of house, or Fergie for heading for the stadium lights of EDM - as fans it’s important stay in touch with our roots. Just as overpaid psychiatrists and dubious self-help books tell you to connect with your inner child, so clubbers should never lose touch with their younger raving-self. The best DJs know this instinctively, showcasing an almost superhuman ability to drop a forgotten classic in such a way that the whole dancefloor rediscovers their love of it in a collective musical epiphany.
After all, it’s our earliest dance purchases that can take us back to our formative years. That mid-nineties trip hop mix may sound dated compared to James Blake’s latest offering, but it evokes a summer of blunted bliss the likes of which you’ll never see again. And it’s only a matter of time before a new generation of clubbers discover that the cheeky basslines and heavyweight beats of the early noughties breaks scene is the ultimate warm-up for a night of unadulterated hedonism.
We all have our guilty pleasures languishing at the bottom of the CD rack or conveniently mislabelled on our hard drive, but you can be sure that given enough time the turntables of fashion will spin them back into relevancy. Only a few years ago, sticking on your copy of ‘Ministry of Sound presents Garage Classics’ at a house party was likely to get the room smirking rather than skanking. But ever since the 2-step revival, clubbers have been falling over themselves to persuade you they’ve still got that signed copy of Wookie’s debut LP. Or consider southern-fried US hip hop, considered by many this side of the Atlantic to be a bit of joke before HudMo, Lunice & co repackaged it as the trendy trap soundtrack to a night out in Dalston.
So if you’re debating whether to bin that stack of big beat compilations or pawn your handbag house anthology, think again. It might just turn out to be the Next Big Thing.