Music

Feature: And The Beat Goes On – Cardiff and Underground Dance

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It is truly remarkable that in a matter of years, Cardiff’s electronic music community has grown from one or two niche club nights, to a plethora of burgeoning events, each with their own sounds and styles, comfortably putting it as one of the most interesting in the country. The scope of size and breadth of the venues facilitating this kind of music is, also, remarkable. You have the large-capacity venues and spaces; the love-or-hate student appeal of Solus, Revolution, Glam and Soda Bar nights, but there are also smaller venues focusing on more experimental and forward-facing acts – places such as Clwb Ifor Bach, the criminally-underrated Undertone and Ten Feet Tall, the dark and enigmatic Vaults and of course the ever-present Buffalo Bar.

Each of these venues are recognisable and known via their own promotional nights; Catapult Presents and The Vaults, Signature and Pirate Radio for Buffalo, FAO for Clwb and so on. This premise is far from unique; in fact, you would be hard pressed to find a club in a major UK city without it’s respective club night, it very much goes with the territory. What is unique is that in such a small region such a spread of musical talents are being showcased, with each venue supporting each other in the pursuit of breathing new life into not just Cardiff’s music scene, but into Wales’ as a whole.

One Cardiff-savvy act that knows only to well the state of the city’s music scene is the house/ electronic duo Bodhi, who have seen it grow steadily in recent times. “The Cardiff scene has grown in strength over the years,” explain the pair. “We are seeing more nights popping up, hosting some pretty big names in the electronic music scene. Certainly, when we meet other DJs, they regard Cardiff as an enjoyable place to come play!” However, the want for a club night where the inclusion of many genres of music in one place is available is an interesting one; “I think one of the things [we] would like to see more of is mixed line ups on nights out. It would be good to get some more diverse line ups where you can get your dose of disco, house, and techno in one sitting”. It seems certain, then, that even though the city’s adventurousness concerning its club nights is growing, there is still room for improvement; perhaps a move towards what London, Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham are already showcasing, with nights where a multitude of different sounds and styles is not just welcomed, but encouraged.

An excellent example of the up and coming promotional talent being launched in the city is the electronic music collective Boulevard, who have already shown great promise putting on events featuring Crown Duels, Taches, Panda, Felon and xxxy, rising to the challenge faced taking one of Cardiff’s smaller venues (The Full Moon) and using every inch of it’s club night potential. On the growth in Cardiff, Boulevard’s Dom Eden seems hopeful. “The popularity and success of acts over the last years has really made a big impact on all house/electronic nights. Scenes change, but Cardiff’s a diverse city with some top promoters involved, there’s rarely a week there’s not at least one night that has got people excited, whatever you are into”. What’s also mentioned is the supportive community, how anyone can feel welcome putting on event; ”It seems many of us compete for the same acts, dates and venues, but there’s a good friendship between most of the promoters in Cardiff… It’s a really friendly place to be promoting at the moment, we’ve met so many people since we started the night who support and attend our events in which we are more than happy return the favour.”

It seems then that there is a healthy respect for each other amongst all the promoters and club owners in Cardiff’s burgeoning music scene; growth is seen as a all-encompassing thing, that everyone and every night should advance and evolve as one, displaying a greater array of talent and creativity every time. It is this element that makes Cardiff one of the most exciting new development areas for eclectic electronic music in the UK; watch this space!

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