Truffle Shuffle

Posted by Lauren on Wed, Jan 30 2013 11:28:00

What’s going on?

Okay so there has been a fair bit of independent music press over the dance craze that has engulfed underground House nights across London recently and it’s been interesting to read.

Anti Shuffle Facebook page, & Foot Shuffle Wankers on Twitter have videos posted daily of people being filmed shuffling to house music. These include videos of proud shufflers showing their skills outside their driveways at home and a whole brand of people – Shape Cutters Incorporated – who go around filming themselves “cutting shapes” at various London places. The pages post the videos and then its open for discussion. It’s name and shame, then discuss!

It’s been spurring a lot of debate & controversy.

 It’s been hard to read at times. I often feel drained after feeding on so much negativity. But it is also compelling and keeps you glued to the screen scrolling through hundreds of comments reading the arguments are opinions of those FOR and AGAINST the shuffle and its associations.

So what is it about this dance that is getting house music purists so fired up….

A lot of comments from the Anti foot shuffle page paint a picture that it is not solely the dance they're pissed about, but the attitude and clobber that comes with it.

The “Faaarrrk Orrffffs” that are shouted on the dance floors, the pushing each other, the trainers they wear, the cap’s on their barnet’s, The rucksacks they carry, the space they take up on the dance floor and how much mandy they can openly take in one night.

But there are two constantly repeated points on both pages:

Why is there a shuffle dance to house music that makes your legs look like they are about to dislocate from the knees,

And -

What do they know about real house music? How long have they even been into house music.?

Throwback culture

I think there has been some fair points all around and when I was first a witness to people shuffling it was just one or two people doing this crazy 90’s dance on par with the running man. I thought it looked alright. They were having fun, people were watching them, and they were re creating something from back in the day and putting their own spin on it. It reminded me of old skool raving. Everyone going bonkers with their hands in the air (although I’m sure this will probably make a re appearance too!)

The shuffle was re-born. We witnessed it at Crèche at XOYO early 2012 and after then it literally swept through the club scene and didn’t look back

Londoner’s are always watching trends, setting trends and this dance became a growing bandwagon they couldn’t help but jump on. The whole 90’s throw back of rave culture was back. Old skool trainers, bum bags, rucksack’s, patterned leggings, crop tops, Moschino, Versace, denim shorts sorry - knickers.

The language, the shouting of “Farrk Oooorrfff” when a tune drops is a distinct characteristic of “the shuffler”. It’s a “Boooo” of the 2010’s. That happened in Garage back in 2000. It’s nothing that hasn’t happened before. Anyone who ever owned Gucci loafers and a Moschino shirt will know what I’m talking about!  Garage did that already! But it’s the attitude that’s questioned.

I witnessed some Fark Ooorrrffs in a small bar in South East London recently where I was playing. I was pointed at behind the DJ booth and greeted with “Fuck Off” at the top of this guy’s voice. I’d seen it before so wasn’t shocked but others were just looking at this guy, wondering why on earth he was shouting fuck off. But it did create an atmosphere. It did make everyone feel cautious around him. I mean was he ok? Did he need sectioning? It wasn’t clear.

I even tried to change to music, playing some 90’s house classics such as Adeva – Resepct, but it had no effect. This guy was still shuffling and still inflicting his Fuck Off’s to everyone in the room.  I even played one of my all time favourite classics  “Pennies From Heaven” – but this geezer was STILL shuffling. If Id played Chesney Hawkes he would have still shuffled.

I was speaking to a young girl of 20 who had only just started “raving” to house music and she said she just loves the vibe. She loves the shuffle, she loves the way everyone expresses themselves the way they dance and she loves it when people shout, “fuck off “. I got her to explain it she said it’s an expression, it’s about saying” fuck off this it a tune!” Ok then.

Commercial isn’t cool

This trend has happened loads of times through dance music history. I’m not old enough to comment first hand on anything past Hardcore & Jungle days but even disco became so popular that they held a Kill disco rally in America in the late 70’s and burnt all the vinyl they could get their hands on. It was over done, over cooked, everything was “disco-fied”. The record majors brought it mainstream and completely killed it off by making it accessible and commercial. Is this what the house scene is scared off. Another music genre killed off by popular youth culture?

Disco Sucks

How about Hardcore? It was once such an underground scene that became more and more popular with thousands of people gathering for raves in fields such as Fantazia & World Dance. Even I as a kid, barely into my last year of primary school, owned a pair of acid Face DM’s! I listened to Kiss FM when it was a pirate and I was obsessed with acid faces on everything, even though I didn’t really know what it was about. But it was popular, it was in the shops, all my older cousins and sister were all going on about raving. I remember releases such as “Let Me Be Your Fantasy” going into the charts and even asking the DJ at Centre Parcs to play it so I could rave with my 15-year-old cousin.

Rave generation

Jungle & Drum n Bass also had its cross over into mainstream with artists such as Goldie & Roni Size both having chart success. “Original Nuttah” by Shy FX being the most commercial and almost piss taking track of the genre, which had every DJ in uproar, defending the purity of the music scene. DJ Rap received death threats for playing it! What was this nonsense!?  Why are people trying to ruin the scene?

Garage did it too with its vocal driven choppy samples and tracks such as Craig David’s rewind and Miss Dynamites “Boo” both screaming into the charts. The music began to change as MC’s took over and Grime was beginning to be born. The whole scene was in up roar. All the old skool DJ”s set up a council to try and stop these new tracks being played and keep the music as they had known it. But it went ahead regardless.

Major Players

Record companies have always bought into underground markets. That wont change. The underground music scene in any type of genre is where the A&R guys hang out. It’s where the fashion label bosses send skivvy’s to see trends. It’s how Zara have street fashion in their stores a week later. They follow street culture.

BBC radio 1 has brought the underground scene highly mainstream for everyone with Annie Mac & Pete Tong delivering various underground bombs to the masses. With the Essential Mix, everyone from East Everything to Jamie Jones has done a guest show. So how can we expect music to stay underground when it is exposed to literally millions of people?

So what’s happened to the music?

The music over the last 2 years or so has been disco tinged, 80’s synths and heavy baselines, bringing back vintage sounds seem to have brought back a vintage dance.  As Jamie Jones “Hungry For The Power” stormed into the house scene creating a new sound, the catchiness of it and the baseline became almost recognisable anywhere. It became an anthem. It didn’t cross over but it brought a lot of attention to the scene and a particular style of house and made it popular.  A lot of people who knew nothing about house music, suddenly wanted to be a part of it.  I even heard it being played in a branch of Zara. “You’re Everything” by Danny Daze was another roasting success and this droning, low dark synth and baseline sound created a new sub genre in many ways.

At the time it was pioneering, the tempo slowed right down, the sound from the year before that was all about tech suddenly slowed and took a chill pill. It went deep, it went dark and it went old skool.

Deep House, became something else. It became a sub genre all on its own that sounds nothing like Deep house. “Deep House” was now a term being so loosely thrown about that even your granny knows a Hot Creations track.

It became popular. It became a money maker. Brands were born. Events were born. The year of the festival brought the sound to everyone.

I lost count how many times I was asked to play a Julio Bashmore track or a Jamie Jones track by people who didn’t even know what the tracks were called. They just shoved an Iphone in my face with Shazam on it. Have you got this?  

House music goes through these genre changes every time it becomes popular. Producers get bored of the sound and want to pioneer something else so they start producing with a different theme and off it goes again. Minimal to vocal, to baseline to happy, to minimal to vocal….and on…It’s the cycle of music. The cycle of trends.

Everything and every Genre of house has had chart success. But it’s never killed it. There’s been techno in the charts, trance, vocal house, garage, its all been successful. But their genre’s still exist.

New Youth, New blood

I recently watched a documentary on Richie Hawtin and the Detroit techno scene which I found really interesting because talking about the scene and how Richie got involved 20 years ago, brings up the same issues going around today.

Young Richie Hawtin RIchie Hawtin

If we really check what’s happening to this scene, it’s become popular with the young. Where house was more an adult’s scene, the younger generation have suddenly found this affiliation with this once underground sound.

To reference the Richie Hawtin story, he was this skinny white kid who was trying to break into a scene that was already well established with major players. But as Richie started to throw parties and bring all his young friends into the scene and create a buzz, the older DJ’s didn’t like it! They hated Richie. Even when Plastikman was a huge brand they still didn’t except him and all of his peers didn’t respect him. Why? Because he was way too young in their eyes to be a credible DJ and know about music. What could this skinny white kid know about techno when these guys started techno!

To finish off if you haven’t stopped reading yet!

I know I can bang on but it interests me how the club culture works. Because we too are part of it and we too are witnessing this scene change and evolve.

Image goes hand in hand with most popular culture and music, it seems for the house scene they want no association.  Just the music. Just the pure music, just the scene, your own identity, your own take on fashion, your own love of anything UN popular.

The shuffle. It’s youth, it’s a trend and through the popularity of the music and the Rise of “Hungry For The Power” and the rise of that deep 80’s inspired sound, they youth of London have found a new home. A new music. A new Clubbing era.

But you can’t stop youth culture. It breeds, it evolves and it moves on.

Will the shuffle survive? Probably. But it will carve a new scene and the house music scene will continue regardless and they will go their separate ways.

On one hand I too am unhappy when I’m trying to enjoy a night and there are people shouting fuck off’s and pushing each other, gun fingers in the air. It doesn’t represent what house music is about for me. It’s not about a trend or a fashion.

What’s wrong with just a general hand in the air that has sufficed for the last 20 years of house music when a tune drops?

On the other hand I feel we were all young once. We all jumped in someone’s scene once and we don’t actually own anything. It only pushes the music to change and evolve and that’s just the cycle of music.  


Slices — Pioneers of Electronic Music Vol. 1: Richie Hawtin

BBC4 – The Joy Of Disco

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life – Bill Brewster

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