I mean – it used to be so simple; you could tell straight away what someone was like by their musical taste and, for me back then, dance music came with a stigma. My early '80s experiences of working in a small town record shop gave me this education, exposing me to many different genres and consequently to their typical fans. I could so easily have written a 'Bluffer's Guide' to musical stereotypes based just on our customers. For example: heavy metal enthusiasts were nerdy and more intelligent than they wanted you to think, indie kids were sweet and shy, goths were introvert, Gary Numan fans all looked like Gary Numan and crusties were... unwashed. But it was the dance fans you really had to watch. Anyone who looked at the dance charts for their inspiration, who bought the Street Sounds Electro albums and who preferred Chaka Khan to the Cocteau Twins, was quite likely to be rude, aggressive, glue-sniffing or moronic, or all of these things. It was the dance fans who brought back their recently scratched albums and tried to pass them off as faulty. They were the ones who changed their screaming babies' nappies on the counter and stubbed their fags out on the shop's carpet. I grew to hate dance in its broadest sense just on principle. It was almost impossible to disassociate it from the arseholes who made our lives a misery with their demands for refunds on the Break Machine albums they'd spilt their cans of Tennent's over.
It's only in the relatively recent past that I've managed to shake off this irrational prejudice. Now, with the interim years bringing closure to my record shop dance fan paranoia, I can hear the music differently. Saint Etienne and Apollo 440 first made it more palatable, then others followed and now so much also sounds better retrospectively. What would I rather listen to at this moment – Theme from S'Express, or Song To The Siren? It's a closer call than it's ever been. EDM is getting under my skin and, more to the point, under my feet. Dubstep, uplifting trance, progressive house... oh god, my '80s self would have shuddered. Possibly the creators of some of the albums now gracing our CD racks are shuddering too at the thought that their music is appealing to 50-somethings. Does that mean they've failed? Or is it all different now anyway because it really was our musical roots which inspired them in the first place?
I don't know. But here's a track from the forthcoming Nero album. Now tell me this isn't good!