The European electronic dance music scene has always been fresh, vibrant, innovative, and always looking forward, even in uncertain times such as the past year of the pandemic. Countries such as Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom set the benchmark around the world for the industry and are continuing to impress with constant new artists, styles, grooves and events. When these locations are mentioned in relation to the music events industry, you may think of large scale, almost mainstream weekend-long festivals, big room house and techno tracks and well-known world-famous DJs, but regarding the fresh Deep Minimal House scene, it is only just starting.
With its stronghold based in Europe but growing rapidly nonetheless, many young and bright artists have been taking this sound worldwide where it has received a huge welcome and embrace in places far and wide such as South America and Australasia, but it still retains its seniority and a home in Europe all year round with countless label showcases and takeovers in huge clubbing cities like London and Amsterdam to name but a few. The genre is a very interesting and unique take on deep house music with many traits of the classic house sound being evident within each production but still holding its own as a new and different style. The beats that producers are cooking up in their studios are lush chord driven grooves with warm soulful pads, punchy basslines, swung drums and plenty of nostalgic vocals to bring it all together which have, and continue to have a massive impact on the listener and audiences alike and it is why this scene has been on the rise within the past few years.
In my opinion, the Dutch scene has become so influential and is the driving force behind the growth of the scene in other countries such as Germany, UK and in Ireland where this sound is on the rise. Dutch imprints such as PIV records, founded and established by also Dutch DJ / Producer and Strafwerk resident Prunk have really pushed the brand forward with its high energy and driving releases, label parties, its roster of respected and talented artists such as DJOKO, M –High, Jesse Maas, Aron Volta and through its in-house A&R person who is none other than a leading and massively influential figure within the scene, Chris Stussy, who has also recently dropped his new record label ‘Upthestuss’, who so far have released three massive EPs from artists Fabe, East End Dubs & Janaret. PIV Records have continued to push and grow within the last year, releasing tons of new music, label livestreams and recently announced PIV Open Air Manchester in July, and the stage takeover alongside huge brands such as Paradise and Glitterbox at We Are FSTVL in September.
With the emergence of these labels and brands within mainland Europe, its continuous spread has travelled to and influenced many artists in Ireland and particularly in my home city of Dublin where the sound of deep minimal is not very well known or much recognized yet but there are some promising established artists and many newcomers who are leading the way for others to follow. Ireland has always been slow to react and adapt to current trends relating to a lot more than music, but with the deep minimal house scene, it is catching on and it is great to see, not just for myself as a huge fan of the sound, but for the injection of something new which is greatly needed.
I spoke with Dublin DJ / Producer Andrew Azara who is proudly flying the Irish flag as he continues to impress with his take on this unique sound, releasing on countless European based house labels such as Swerve Digital, Domus Music, Rendr Records and his latest release on the Metafloor Records ‘Dawn VA’ with his track ‘ATHINA’. I asked Andrew about the scene in general and how he sees it growing over time, he says “My take on the scene now is a strong one, producers have been knuckling down over the past 12 months during the pandemic, honing their craft and sound. Looking forward over the next few months to a year, it is looking promising, you will see up and coming artists shine through and current industry heavies experimenting a lot. The future is bright for house music!”
I also spoke with Dublin based producer Wez Baldwin who has also continued to shine through with his quality cuts that have been picked up by the likes of Rawsome, Swerve Digital and Whoyostro, Wez added that “It's a fantastic opportunity to release on great labels such as Rawsome, Swerve Digital and Whoyostro. Anyone that I have met who are involved in the Minimal / Deep Tech scene are top class and always willing to share their tips and tricks on producing and mixing. It is a great environment to be a part of where everyone has the same goal of becoming a better producer and will help one another along the way”. Various collectives and groups In Dublin have been putting on events and livestreams showcasing the sound both pre-pandemic and during the pandemic such as Omni Events, Resound Dublin and Tommy Sessions, but one collective and recently turned independent record label has been leading the way forward. Foundations Dublin has been growing since its conception in 2019 with various club nights and live streams showcasing what the minimal sound has to offer. I spoke with Jack Murphy of Foundations Dublin to find out more about this new label. “I started Foundations back in 2019 not knowing where it would go but I wanted to help to push the minimal sound in Ireland. The sound is huge in other countries and we are looking to bring that hype here with the startup of our label, which will give Irish producers a platform to showcase their talent and to show that we can all grow together, that’s the main goal. Our first release is a track by myself called ‘Burnin’ and we have received a great reaction to the launch, so we are using that momentum to keep it going! We have a stacked schedule of new upcoming releases from some great names which we are very excited to share!