Now a new wave of acts from Northern Ireland are taking over the British dance scene – this time with electronic music.
The new sounds are rooted in folk music as well as club bangers. Many names will be unfamiliar, unlike higher-profile act - Bicep of Belfast, who have had millions of streams on YouTube.
The electronic music scene in Northern Ireland is massively having a moment. It’s become a hotspot for producers, DJs and festivals in the past four to five years. Everybody is getting behind it.
Music in NI is thriving. Collectives and labels are bringing like-minded people together and they are forming communities to react to what’s going on politically. It’s definitely a very inspiring time.
Young people are enacting change, and the arts scene is reflecting this. Music is offering a sense of community and escapism.
There are a lot of exciting things happening in NI right now and it’s 100% related to the political climate. Friendships and communities are being built on the dance floor to fight against heated issues within the communities.
Other members of the public think the energy is partly due to licensing laws. Unlike the 24-hour club cultures in London, Berlin and Amsterdam, many venues are forced to close early. We have to finish between 1.00am and 3.00am in NI so there is no time to waste. The night always ends on an absolute high. It is also amazing to leave everyone wanting more. The scene is attracting international attention. Spanish dance music empire Elrow is currently expanding into the country, and a sell-out festival, such as Belfast’s AVA, is making it a touring destination, with local acts benefiting.
Big breakthroughs DJs, like Scotland’s Denis Sulta and Australian Mall Grab, are touring here. The push for new movement in this music sector may be a result of the local talent pushing through the ranks. It comes down to new joints opening up and existing night club renovations that inspire ideas for open-minded platforms and a choice of parties to go to. Its also extremely important to rebrand when necessary to keep up with the ever changing habits of dance music goers.
Social media and music-streaming platforms have helped connect artists and attract new fans. Since the development of computer software, new music no longer takes years and years to come up and artists don’t have to leave NI in order to become successful. Northern Irish artists are benefiting from the fact that you don’t need expensive equipment or a record company to disseminate your work, you can do it yourself.
Ultimately though, the success is down to the Northern Irish culture: characteristics, personality and humour.
People from here go pretty full on in every aspect and they do it in a joyful way. It’s great craic so it is.