December 15th, 2010

  • mwalimu

A variety?

I recently attended Midwest Furfest, which was by and large a very well run convention this year. But one of my few complaints was that the Dead Dog party played more of the same kind of music as the other dances. In previous years this was the one dance I could count on to play something different.

Another convention's website proclaims that "we strive to provide a variety of musical genres". Yet it seems that increasingly at the furry conventions I've attended, the dances consist almost entirely of techno, techno, and more techno. I suppose someone who's well-versed in all the dozens of sub-genres of techno/house/rave/electronica might regard the different DJs as providing plenty of variety, but honestly, I have a hard time regarding that as variety when there are so many popular genres it doesn't cover. There are other genres where I am more familiar with the sub-genres and variations, and I wouldn't claim that drawing from each of those sub-genres without departing from the primary genre represents "a variety" when it doesn't include whole other genres that are of significant interest to the target audience.

If you're going to promise a variety of genres, give us some rock and roll. Give us oldies or classic disco. Lots of places still play this music and people dance to it. I personally would enjoy swing jazz, country, or ballroom, though I'd be the first to admit those genres probably wouldn't attract enough interest to be worth accommodating at a furry convention. But you'd have trouble convincing me that people don't dance to rock and roll. We had a good crowd dancing to it at last year's Dead Dog party, and we had a good crowd dancing to it at Mephit Fur Meet this year.

Some of the problem may be in the selection criteria for DJs. Criteria such as beat-matching while cross-fading may be important in a rave-type mix but it really doesn't fit well with a lot of other genres. If you're going to promise a variety of genres, you need to make sure your methods of evaluating DJs aren't too heavily biased toward what works best in one genre to the detriment of others. One criteria I would consider important but which I don't usually see on furry con dances is ability to handle requests (which includes not only having a decent library to draw from, but being able to tactfully deflect requests that are too personalized to the requester and wouldn't play very well to the room as a whole).

Techno is obviously popular among the furry community, and there's certainly nothing wrong with catering to that popularity. My point is, techno is okay, but nothing but techno is not.

Edit: What I called "techno" throughout the above is, based on the ensuing discussion, more commonly referred to as Electronic Dance Music, or EDM.