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Hard Up North

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Friday, 15 February 2008
A new study of musical tastes by British regions has revealed that Scottish fans like dance music over twice as fast as Londoners, with Manchester and Liverpool clubbers also favouring scarily fast beats.

Uncut magazine analysed sales data and music played at clubs throughout the UK discovering that Scottish people preferred music at 190bpm, Liverpool and Manchester 150bpm and Londoner's a sedate 80bpm.

'If you live in London, you may be labouring under the misapprehension that happy hardcore, the fast-tempoed dance music style famed for its euphoric vocals and sentimental lyrics, died a death in the late 1990s,' the Guardian reported this week.

'So it may surprise you to learn that today, happy hardcore, a little older, a little trancier, remains one of the biggest-selling musical genres in the record stores of Scotland,' the newspaper added.

London based hard dance/ techno hero D.A.V.E. The Drummer was singularly unimpressed, however, telling Skrufff 'What about down in Devon- Or Wales- There are loads of hard dance events down here and Milton Keynes is full of happy hardcore events. I think they're just following magazine articles and general guesswork.'

Hard Dance Awards organiser and heavyweight hard house DJ Ed Real also singled out Wales, the South West and the Midlands as key territories telling Skrufff 'If you substitute 'the North' for 'regionally' then the Guardian piece is pretty correct'.

Real said the overall scene is thriving after a couple of 'tough' years though agreed that the genre remains unappreciated and misunderstood by outsiders.

'The music and the clubbers are brash and unashamed and that might be viewed by the establishment as crass in some respects,' he suggested.

'However, it's always the hard dance arena which is the first one to fill up at festivals and this speaks volumes. Young British clubbers are some of the most enthusiastic and energetic and they've always loved it hard,' he enthused.

D.A.V.E. The Drummer (Henry Cullen) was blunter in his assessment, suggesting critics attack the genre 'because it's formulaic and it all sounds the same to the untrained ear.'

'Most people just think it's music to take drugs to and that's true to a certain extent, but the scene is passionate just as any other is and it's organized too,' said Henry.

'It's not so much about taking drugs and getting smashed any more, it's more about the music and dancing and just having fun and letting your hair down. It's not poncey or cool and that's alright by me,' he laughed.

Henry also disputed that northerners are harder than anyone else pointing out 'I've been in loads of city centres up north and they can get pretty crazy at the weekend, but what about Leicester Square in London: now THAT'S crazy!'

'And the only fight I've ever witnessed at a gig of mine was in New Cross in South London which is a rough old area if ever there was one. So I don't know really, I think it's all about the same.'

Ed Real also downplayed aggression amongst hard music fans in general, saying 'Hard dance clubs are generally very friendly places and you're more likely to get hugged to death than attacked.'

'The nature of the music and the atmosphere generally doesn't attract the trouble makers as it goes against their mentality. That doesn't mean that hard dance clubbers can't hold their own if necessary though,' he cautioned.
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