It’s not the beginning of the end, but maybe as DJ Winston Churchill had it, it is the end of the beginning – The Great Confinement is slowly ending.
For months now most of us are locked in, all of us have lost the chance to socialise, to meet and drink and talk and eat and see music and work out and enjoy things outside the house. But music doesn’t have to stop and The Great Confinement opened up a chance to explore at home, to dig up old favourites and find new pleasures, via House Music.
In this series we have asked: what music is making you happy, and found out that joy is impossible to quantify or confine if you’ve got your music.
As we end, hopefully, the lockdown, we go out with one more set of questions. Today, businessman and DJ, Dan Beaumont.
WHAT ALBUMS OR ARTISTS HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING SINCE BEING CONFINED TO HOME?
To be honest I’ve usually had very little listening time available having a young family and a business to run, so my opportunities to listen to music in a very fraught commute from home to work or while I’m at work writing documents, with music in headphones. But that passion has been reignited a little bit in the last couple months since I haven’t been able to do so many other things.
The one album that I did dig deep for was Kraftwerk, Man Machine. I’ve got quite a lot of vinyl - I don’t know how many would have, but I would hazard a guess that would be in excess of 5000 records and as many MP3s on a hard drive now - so I had to dig deep to try and find that. It was the first record that I ever owned. I must have been in year seven or eight, so it would have been 1986, and it made a very significant impression on me. It was like nothing I’d ever heard before to be honest. So when Florian Schneider died I had to find that record.
I’ve also been listening to a lot of rock, such as Metallica, and I love listening to Iron Maiden. I always tend to up the frequency of rotation of a band that I’m going to see, but of course that got cancelled.
Also I have generally been listening to a lot of funk and soul music the last couple of weeks: I’ve been putting together funk and soul mixes for friends. There’s been a lot of House music. I have to say that the DJing and electronic music side of things has probably taken up the lion’s share of my listening time. I’ve rekindled my love for DJing because I have had more time for that and what I thoroughly enjoyed is people on the other end, really good friends and people I don’t even know, enjoying those mixes and sending me messages to say “love this sound” and “when is the next mix coming out?”
WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING MULTIPLE SPINS?
I’ve been listening to a lot of producer work from Gorgon City and another producer from the UK called Hot Since 82. They are younger guys, probably in their late 20s, who are producing some really lovely big bass/vocal House tracks. Hot Since 82 has just released a new track called Rise, which is beautiful, and only just come out in the last couple of days. Gorgon City have a lot of good releases, they did a good one called All Four Walls a while ago and they’ve just released a new track called House Arrest.
WHAT ALBUM FROM YOUR PAST HAVE YOU REDISCOVERED? WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT?
It’s Man Machine but it’s also Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All. It’s hard to choose one Metallica album – it’s a little bit like someone saying to you what’s your favourite AC/DC album: how on earth do you choose that? – but that album to me has a real rawness to it that I love. I had some speakers on order and they got delivered two months ago, just as we went into lockdown, and they are beasts of things. So I thought I would play Metallica through them straight from vinyl and it sounds incredible. That album is so raw and powerful, the guitars are so heavy, that I don’t think I will never not love that.
They started to become very well produced after that. Even Masters Of Puppets and Ride The Lightning started to get a little more rounded, and … And Justice For All became well produced. But I think there’s a rawness and naïveté in the Kill ‘Em All album that I could go back to because it’s the real Metallica.
HAVE YOU FOUND NEW MUSIC? WHAT’S EXCITED YOU ABOUT IT?
I’ve been really inspired by what a lot of DJs have been doing with live streams from their own homes. It obviously keeps their presence up but it also entertains people on serious lockdown and I’ve found that incredibly interesting just seeing what people have been doing on social media and it’s almost been a window that we have into their own lives that we’ve never had before. Or if we’ve had it, maybe they haven’t been as transparent, or as honest with us.
I’ve found that on a creative level very inspiring. A lot of these producers are able to turn music around quite quickly. You could say they are crunching their creative process but they are producing work which is reflecting the lockdown they are in or what they are feeling.
I buy a lot of music now on Beatport and it’s so easy to find tracks that you’ve never had in your collection before, or couldn’t find back in the day. But through recommendations and the charts on that platform I’ve discovered new groups and producers, Gorgon City is one of them.
WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC TO FLATTEN YOUR (ANXIETY) CURVE?
Music for me has always been a refuge, it’s always helped me escape the day-to-day, which I find relaxing and allows me to reset. Sometimes that’s a band like Metallica or Megadeth or Slayer when I’m going to sleep, which I’m sure a lot of people would find absurd, but that’s helped me to relax. As has down-tempo chillout music.
There’s a very well known DJ called Nick Warren who’s got a label called Soundgarden and they’ve been doing wellness mixes the last couple of weeks which are fantastic. They are the type of music I can have in my headphones while I’m working or writing a document or getting a strategy together for a client because it’s wonderful, calming background music but there’s still a beat to it, a rhythm to it, a personality to it.
I’m sure a lot of your readers experience this, music for me is the ultimate in mindfulness. I don’t need to be colouring in, I don’t need to be in a quiet room meditating, I just need to be listening to music and I’m happy. I can even feel my heartbeat dropping when I do that.
Dan Beaumont is a managing partner of The Royals creative agency, operating in Sydney and Melbourne.