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Posts tagged “opinion

What Is Rape Culture? Why You Should Care.

I’d been meaning to write a meaty article fully detailing why I am so vehemently anti-slut shaming, anti sexist bullshit, and very viciously feminist. However, before doing so a friend shared an article that much more eloquently summed up what I had wanted to say. In an article entitled ‘What Is Rape Culture’, several Buzzfeed staff members deconstruct and eloquently elucidate the true meaning of ‘rape culture’ and the various components the can be seen in society today.

Many facets of what is covered in this piece are highly applicable to stigma and attitudes present in the attitudes and perceptions at play at major festivals, clubs, raves, and beyond. Recently, one writer of Daily Beat, identified only as ‘Gianna’ wrote about ‘how to be classy‘ and specifically accused the unidentified woman as dressing like a “cheap whore”.  The article from Buzzfeed addresses this kind of ideology directly and succinctly:

“The old metaphor is that women who dress provocatively are the same as homeowners who don’t lock their doors at night. But this argument only further reduces women to objects and asks them to be responsible for preventing their own rape.”-Buzzfeed

In other situations, I’ve found myself offended by some of the content shared by people I consider to be friends. In one such instance, an image of a puppy with the caption jokingly stating that ‘roofies were high in vitamin C’. As someone who has had friends who have been victims of date rape (via drugs) and has direct experience with it, I was incredibly offended. Instead of an apology or a polite resolution, I was met with a “get over it” response typical of rape culture acceptance.

Essentially, I’d been hit with a trigger in the form of a “harmless” rape joke.

“Beneath the debate over whether rape jokes can be funny is the larger question of whether it’s healthy for a society to laugh at the idea of sexual violence.”-Buzzfeed

On a personal aside, I have been that girl. I’ve been the girl who wakes up in an unfamiliar bed with no memory of the night before. I’ve had to scramble terrified into a cab in early hours of the morning frantically texting friends for help to figure out how I got there. I’ve mysteriously lost all memory after only a few drinks, and fearfully wondered if anything had happened against my will while I was compromised. This has happened more than once.  I can tell you, there was nothing funny about it.

Someone reading this might think:

  • “Maybe if you didn’t dress like a whore it wouldn’t have happened.”
  • “Maybe if you didn’t drink so much it wouldn’t have happened.”
  • “Maybe if your friends had taken better care of you / been there it wouldn’t have happened.”
  • “Maybe if you hadn’t stayed out so late it wouldn’t have happened.”

This brings us to what bothers me the most:  we should view rape not as an act brought upon oneself, but as something perpetrated by another.

“Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.”-Shakesville

I’m sick of reading articles about “how to be classy” or why I should “see the humor” in rape jokes.

The articles cited above are well worth the read, ad I highly recommend everyone read them.

The Buzzfeed article can be found here, and the Shakesville piece here.


Opinions Are Like Assholes

When a blogger, any blogger chooses to put a piece of themselves into an editorial piece, you open yourself up to a plethora of opinions.

A while back, one of my pieces addressing a small demographic found within the  ‘club-goer’ community received a split reaction: Some applauded the article for what it was, while others vehemently retaliated. As a blogger, I understand that what I write will incite a reaction; I’d rather you douse me in emotional gasoline and set me ablaze then say nothing.

One acquaintance messaged me privately on Facebook to discuss the dirge of negativity I was met with one fine Saturday morning…weeks if not months after said article was posted:

“U just seem a lil upset about twitter attacks & feeling the need to defend urself. Addressing “scene” type subject matter makes any handle extremely susceptible to twitter haters.”- I am choosing not to disclose this person’s name.

He told me to ignore haters and spent more energy developing my craft and let the talk die down. Many called my article a ‘pack of lies’ and that I was uneducated, inexperienced, and some even called me dumb. Emails sent to my account called me a ‘dirty drug addict’ and a ‘whore’, while massively long tweets called me out for being misinformed for sharing my opinion.

“…editorials & scene stuff makes one more susceptible to personal attacks. Sticking to music not as much. It’s just up to u whether u wanna weather that storm. I certainly don’t but that’s why I don’t write.”- I am choosing not to disclose this person’s name.

However, despite all the brute negativity, that opinion I shared rang true with many, and I began seeing an influx of ‘thank you’ and ‘I agree’ messages flowing in. It was a rough morning to be snarled and hissed at for the duration of a day, but when the sun had set and I cracked myself a beer…my little firestorm of a post had generated nearly 300 views. Three. Hundred. In a day.

What I have to say might not always resonate with others, but I’ve decided I’d rather weather a monsoon of hatred if it means what I write strikes others in an emotional and tangible way. This may have been my first ‘Twitter war’ where what I had to say left me vulnerable to countless declarations of both hate and love, but it will most assuredly not be my last!


Perception and Music

I’ve been pretty vocal lately: about the impact Electric Zoo’s cancellation and the effect that mass ‘molly-scare’ is having on our scene and on our community. But I thought today it might be pertinent to touch on something I rarely bring up in editorials: perception.

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I’ve been incredibly blessed to have met several of my favorite DJ’s and producers face-to-face, often making incredible connections and in some rare cases even staying close friends. Without naming any names, some have even come up to me and instantly recognized me at show (yes, ME, a tiny little twittersona in a mask).

While musicality is most of what draws me to a performer, and stage presence often affects how I enjoy the bulk of a performance, interacting directly with a musician of any kind often has a strong lasting effect on how I enjoy their music.

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For example, I was very much still in the discovery period when I first met ‘crunkstep’ DJ Crizzly on my birthday. Having only taken a quick glance at his Soundcloud and curious to hear what it would translate to live, meeting him and his hype man Cool simply added a new dimension to their understanding of their music. Chris himself, though boasting a big sound, is refreshingly down-to-earth and comes somewhat quiet; whereas Cool is brilliantly intellectual, fills a room with energy, and while larger-than-life on stage is incredibly humble off-stage.

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Similarly, meeting some of the New York local DJ’s has proved an incredible experience: having met Tyler Sherritt, Hyperbits, and 1/2 of Live City has added a more personal connection to their sound whenever one of their tracks pops up in their playlist: I understand a bit better how their individuality comes across in their production and arrangement choices.

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Even HUGE inspirational DJ/producers whose tracks have been my support system and my anthems in times of need have managed to add dimension to the tracks I so dearly love. After winning a ticket to see Dash Berlin after EDC NY I somehow managed to see him face-to-face and shake his hand. Though very few words were spoken, and he now wears my ‘Silence in Your Heart’ kandi…I feel that whenever that track comes on, I am even more in love with it and him than ever before.

In rare cases where I met performers whose shows I attended as a discovery experience, I was met with incredible acceptance and kindness: Dirtyphonics stayed behind to sign a poster from their Irreverence tour and took a moment to meet me and thank me for coming. Le Castlevania was even kind enough to offer me water: though his music is aggressive and wholly immersive, the man himself is incredibly shy, yet down to earth.

If you ever have the chance to attend a meet and greet, or even score the rare opportunity to meet the maker of your personal anthem, DO IT. It can add such a rich dimension to your appreciation of their work.

What DJ/Producers have you been blessed to meet? Tell me in the comments 🙂  


Where I Stand on The Electric Zoo Victims; An Apology

Within the first few seconds of receiving news that Sunday of Electric Zoo was cancelled, I was devastated. Distraught initially because I would once again be missing Armin and would not be seeing Vicetone. And like many, I took my fury to Twitter, lashing out angrily to every corner of the internet, blaming irresponsible people for single-handedly ruining my weekend.

That was incredibly selfish, and I’m sorry.

There were multiple factors in the cancellation of Electric Zoo, the most prominent and most reported being the two deaths due to drug overdoses. However these were not the only problems present at the festival itself. As I go on to list these issues I want to make it VERY VERY CLEAR that I am of the opinion that it was in NO WAY Made Event of the Electric Zoo 2013 officials’ fault for these problems:

  • Security was not sufficient.
  • Medical staff, while available did not check surrounding areas for fallen ravers.
  • Certain volunteers / staff not only endorsed frequent ‘molly’ use, there was an incidence of a ‘we want molly’ tip sign at one water station.
For example, why these two were not immediately ejected from the premises for endorsing illegal drug use is FAR beyond me (found by @RJM_PLUR)

For example, why these two were not immediately ejected from the premises for endorsing illegal drug use is FAR beyond me (found by @RJM_PLUR)

 

  • Certain ‘rented’ security staff was not only discourteous, they made unwanted flirtatious advances on female ravers such as myself.
  • Apparel promoting drugs use was permitted at the event, only contributing to the ‘hype’ of drug use.
  • Excessive shoving and general misconduct from attendees exacerbated already dehydrated ravers, only adding tension to already negative situations of crowding and overheating.
  • Songs about ‘Molly’ including Tyga’s ‘Molly’ and Cedric Gervais’ hit song were dropped, only adding to unnecessary hype of the drug

Again, none of these are Made Event of Electric Zoo’s fault. It is important to note that in 2012 Electric Zoo had no deaths. As pop stars and rappers have begun to bolster the hype of drug use and wild partying, our festivals are getting inundated with unsafe expectations that tons of drugs and drinking are required to make the EDM scene enjoyable…encouraging newcomers to create their own ‘Project X‘ at shows like EDC and EZOO instead of simply coming to enjoy the music.

Spoiler Alert; You Don’t Need Drugs To Enjoy EDM

DJ’s such as Bassnectar and Brillz have released official statements about the situation, pleading with their fanbase to be safe and take accountability for their actions. Videos such as the the vimeo clip featuring major acts like Kaskade, Tommie Sunshine, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak have been circulated begging those who do partake in substances to be extremely careful of their actions.


Actions such as taking “6 hits of molly”, leaving a friend by themselves if you know that they are intoxicated or impaired, and buying illegal substances from someone you’ve never met without testing it are just a few examples of unnecessary risks that were taken and contributed to the deaths of these two young individuals. Preventable actions.

While some have made the argument that shutting down the zoo because the poor decisions of 6 people should not affect thousands who have shelled out hundreds of dollars to enjoy their favorite musicians, its important to understand that the decision was ultimately Mayor Bloomberg‘s. While it angered many, like myself it was a wake-up call: if we do not tackle this problem head-on more and more EDM events will be cancelled, banned, and characterized as ‘death fests’, ‘drug sprees’, and ravers like you and me will be labelled ‘drug addicts’. While you can’t convince major news networks to undo the damage they are doing by stigmatizing us with each and every false depiction of all ravers being drug abusers who yell ‘popped a molly I’m sweating’ every 2.5 seconds, what you can do it this:

  • Don’t buy anything endorsing ‘molly’, ‘mdma’, or drugs of any kind
  • Demand that your favorite DJ’s stop the endorsement of drug usage of any kind
  • Demand tracks promoting ‘molly’ and other hard drugs be removed from their set lists; Heck, even walk out as soon as they come on
  • Demand harsher security that ACTUALLY checks for drugs THOROUGHLY

If purging molly from our shows means we can continue to have our major festivals and enjoy our favorite acts free of stigma and death, I say let’s do it. Who’s with me?


Kandi Kids vs. Club Scene: What Real Ravers Are

Something that has been irritating me for a considerable amount of time is the concept that all EDM events are ‘raves’, that all that listen to EDM as ‘ravers’, and that ‘PLUR’ can be mindlessly spewed and even defecated on with alterations like ‘PLURNT’ and ‘PLUR Bitch!’

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I’m sorry, but Kandi kids aren’t necessarily the club crowd and the club crowd isn’t necessarily the ‘kandi-kid’ crowd that is celebrated on instagram. EDMsnob wrote a fantastic piece explaining the rich history of those wearing kandi, so I don’t feel the need to go into depth (especially since I’m a much newer face in that arena). But I will say is this:

Of the many people I’ve come across that tweet things tagged with ‘#PLUR’ and initiate projects that claim to be  ‘PLUR’ and hock product with the false pretense that they are truly ‘ravers’, I have found that a startling few are who they claim to be. Very seldom do you meet someone whose Twitter handle or association precedes them, and find a genuine representation of what ‘ravers’ truly are.

After spending a night unwinding with some of the very first people to ever recognize me as ‘Ragehound’, I took a minute to look back on all the hard work I’ve put into taking the time to connect with anyone who has every reached out to me. Some have been incredible: they have accepted me with open arms, made me feel like a family member, and given me a sense of acceptance that no one ever could previously in my life. Some have taken time out of their day to come and meet with me, to teach me how to use a perler board, how to make a cuff, even gotten me a water and helped me to the front row my first time seeing a certain DJ. Some have held my hand and sung along to my favorite lyrics and cried with me when ‘that moment’ of a festival when it ends and the ‘comedown’ effect sets in full force. Some have stayed with me when I’ve stupidly tested my limits with drugs and alcohol and gotten too out of control and made sure I got home safe.

These kandi-clad people have been more of a family to me than my own at times, and that is why I get livid when their lifestyle is equated to a joke.

I view those who hock PLUR as a marketing tool as a joke. I also look at those who have begged and pleaded me to tweet their crap, promote their shitty venues, and support their jaded causes which wind up just being another marketing tool as jokers as well. Nonetheless I tweeted, I facebooked, I supported and championed them because that’s the person I am. I suppose what irked me in some cases, was when it came time when I needed that same favor, some magically found it ‘not feasible’ or suddenly ‘just didn’t have the time’.

What I largely discovered, was that these were the people who didn’t arrive at festivals with kandi they’d spent hours and hours making especially for people they knew and loved. These were not the people who sometimes went as far as to coordinate with their friends to match costumes, made sure everyone was hydrated, or took the time to explain subtleties of the music to newcomers who had seen a trailer for a festival on Youtube and yearned to experience an EDM festival for themselves. Instead, these were the people who wrote condescending articles in response to kandi kids, who scoffed and laughed at articles like my own explaining the connection between PLUR and charity, and who would leave comments like this on pictures of girls dressed for raves:

 

And these people are largely the ‘club’ crowd: the crowd that goes to ‘fine establishments’ to enjoy bottle service, listen to a carefully curated selection of ‘techno’ that they feel is far superior to the ‘drop heavy’ sets one hears at festivals (which I can respect), and views the ‘raver’ crowd as a mass of drug-addicted youngsters too jaded to understand what real music is. These are the people who will belittle you for the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and wave their smug sense of entitlement about like a magic wand. They will tell you the ‘kandi kids’ are awful, tell you how they yearn for when no one knew about Tiesto or Hardwell, and when EDC wasn’t a neon parade of girls in underwear. They probably won’t let you get to the front of the stage, or offer you water. They may instead sneer at you with your parched mouth, thinking you ‘popped a molly and you are sweating’, and as a result think of you as some colorful insect pestering them.

So when individuals such as this tweet about ‘PLUR’ and wave their smug sense of self-importance at others while trying to call themselves ‘ravers’, I get frustrated. These were the individuals  pouring beers from the VIP balcony onto shuffling ravers below at Pacha during Tyler Sherritt’s set (oh don’t worry, I saw you bunch of fools and I’ll return the favor). These were the assholes who elbowed a girl in the face next to me at Zedd when she tried to edge in front of a taller person to see.

These people aren’t ‘ravers’. They don’t preach ‘PLUR’, and probably can’t tell you where it originated. Don’t call them ravers; it’s an insult to those of us who are.

Thank you,

~The Hound


My Distaste For Country Music in .gifs

Everyone has at least one thing they cannot stand above all other things.

There are many things I dislike but can tolerate to a semi-acceptable level (sweaty rude people, screaming children, and the word ‘moist’ being 3 of those things). However there is one quintessential kryptonite that makes me wretch, gag, and hiss menacingly at for years. I am able to accept most things and grin and bear even the most unsavory situations…but honestly country music isn’t one of them.

Ever since my family inhabited the behemoth state of Texas and I was subjected to hours of Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks something about the genre on the whole has given my ears the equivalent of intense indigestion. I don’t know whether its the excessive ‘plinky plinky’ noises in the old hokey country songs or the deep (and usually dreary) vocal warbles of the older male singers that set me on edge…or if its the lyrics which are usually a cheese fest (god, love, or otherwise, country music has more cheese than France).

For some reason it doesn’t seem to matter what country song comes on be it Blake Shelton or Taylor Swift, I will immediately get the same feeling one gets when about to vomit violently from a vicious whiskey hangover. Of all the songs that infest that infernal genre, one song stands alone as the ultimate hellspawn to my ears.

Though it technically might not count as a ‘country song’, ‘Wagon Wheel’ has been the single most traumatizing of stupid catchy ‘wheels on the bus’ level infectious songs I have ever had the displeasure of hearing (I actually despise all of Bob Dylan’s work). When in college EVERY HIPSTER AND THEIR MOTHER used it as the ‘pre party’ song before hitting the bars, and often would break into the main chorus drunkenly through the night.

My entire varsity sports team would sing it ON EVERY ROAD TRIP.

Karaoke bar suitors would use it as their trump card mistakenly thinking the whiney falsetto lines would magically drop my pants.

Teachers would hum it on the way to class.

Acapella groups on campus would do ‘super awesome’ (not super awesome at all) renditions of it with unnecessary harmonies.

It was the ‘It’s a Small World’ of my existence.

When I discovered EDM, I thought my days of irritating corny country lyrics, dreary country singing, and ‘Deliverance’ mind-jogging guitar picking were over. And then Avicii’s Ultra set happened.

And then recently his new track leaked. So in terms of Avicii’s future releases, if they continue to contain that hideous twangy cheese-riddled abomination known as ‘Country’…..well then. I’m done.


Buying Followers in the EDM Scene; Who’s Faking It?

In the age of social media being used as a primary tool of marketing, a measure of true ‘influence’ within a space more now than ever, brands, companies, and celebrities utilize the sheer size of their fan base as a way to assert dominance in the industry and amongst their peers. That being said, it should surprise no one that some of these major success stories are not 100% the ‘social media strategies’ we are told constantly by the media, but in fact ‘fronts’ created by a phenomenon known as ‘buying followers’.

Buying Influence, Tanking Credibility

You may have noticed my constant mention of ‘buying followers’ lately on Twitter and how I think it invalidates the credibility of those who utilize it to get ahead (Not to be confused with ‘promoting tweets’ or ‘promoting handles’). But to take a step back, how does one exactly ‘buy’ followers?  In 2012 Fast Company released an article exposing the practice of ‘buying followers’, and  highlighting tools such as StatusPeople and Klout as measurement systems that help determine influence as a measure of ‘active follower’ interaction; separating the inactive fake ‘bought’ followers from active genuine fans. According to Fast Company, on websites such as buytwitterfollowers.org, as many as 5,000 ‘fake’ followers  on Twitter can be bought for as little as $77, while on sites like usocial.net a massive 4,000 Facebook followers goes for an approximated $617. What does a ‘fake’ follower look like? Blogger Zach Bussey describes these mindless bots as a ‘jumble of letters.

So Who’s ‘Fronting’?

So this got me thinking, how many of my beloved producers, DJs, and EDM anon handles are big fat fakers? If we use the tools mentioned by Fast Company, we might be able to do ‘background checks’ on followers and see exactly whose audience in engaged…and whose in comprised on mindless zombie accounts.

So who cares if you ‘fake it to make it?’…as it turns out, a lot of people do

“Turns out, buying followers is probably the worst kept secret in all of social media — and it has a potential for a nasty and public backlash.” Lauren Hockenson, The Next Web

When it was recently alleged that DJ Bl3nd bought his Facebook fanbase, it set off a backlash of negativity.  In a heated exchange of Twitter, Diplo and DJ Bl3nd traded choice words (and later blows) as to whether Dj Bl3nd’s astoundingly (and suspiciously) high follow count on Facebook  (~3 million) was a loving fanbase….or a purchased front.

So to test the validity of Diplo’s accusations, I ran the most thorough check of his Twitter (I realize it was his Facebook under fire, but I operate primarily on Twitter) on as many recognized validation sites as I could muster. Now, we must take into account that ‘bot’ accounts affect everyone, and that someone with between 1-5% fake followers is probably in the clear (or possibly has been targeted by those obnoxious ‘teamfollowback’ drones) and that being said, I think it’s fair to establish that at least 70% of your followers should be active of ‘good’ followers as according to StatusPeople’s ‘faker’ test (honestly, in school anything less than a 70 is failing, so why not apply it here?). In terms of ‘inactive’ followers, while some listing might appear to be in the red (more than 10%) having up to 30% inactive users is completely normal, and may reflect that some of your followers may be less-active twitter users (made an account, followed you, forgot, barely tweet…it happens). The number to really keep an eye on, and the comparison of ‘fake‘ to ‘good‘.

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What I discovered was that after utilizing suggestions from as many the various credible tech news resources, Diplo may have some validity in his claim…but isn’t exempt from it either.  Both he and DJ Bl3nd are reported to have more than 20% ‘fake’ followers, and less than 60% ‘good’ and active followers. While this seems a bit harsh to jump and assume either of these people are buying up followers, I did come upon some accounts with much more obvious implications. After digging around some more, a put together a small sampling of some handles who appear to buy followers, and some who probably don’t*:

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UpandComers

 

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(I left Diplo in there just for comparison) 

I’d like to say for the record, that I have the utmost respect for all the producers, DJs, and anons listed….and I realize that these results more than likely reflect poor decisions by their PR agencies / management. I still love and respect your music, drive, and passion; truly.

*All results are not 100% conclusive, and are merely meant to shed some insight into which accounts ACTUALLY have active followers.  I cannot speak 100% conclusively if these ‘fake’ followers were bought or not (only if they might have been). 

 It is important to note that these tools are publicly available, free, and gauge the activity and inactivity of your followers. Go check it out for yourselves.

 

Sources:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3000359/buying-twitter-followers-beware-statuspeople-service-exposes-social-medias-black-market

http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2012/12/15/fake-followers-an-easy-game-but-not-worth-the-risk/

http://www.edmsauce.com/2013/04/17/diplo-and-dj-bl3nd-exchange-words-over-social-media-followers/

http://zumic.com/2013/04/18/diplo-instigates-fight-with-dj-bl3nd-at-ims-engage-conference/

http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/how-to-tell-if-someone-has-a-fake-follower-count_b14898

http://agbeat.com/social-media/twit/


Skrillex’s ‘Leaving’ EP: One Opinion

I recently gave Skrillex’s new EP a full 24 hours to marinate: I listened to it various times throughout the day, spent time focusing on each track on its own, and I’ll be honest I’m still not sure when I’m hearing.

  • The first track, ‘The Reason’ is somewhat promising…but unlike most of Skrillex’s work which I can clearly recognize…this track struck me as a bit murky for an otherwise highly recognizable DJ.
  • ‘Scary Bolly Dub’ appeared to just be a hyped Scary Monsters edit with some odd transitions.
  • The final track (and most vexing) was Leaving, a ‘future grunge’ offering which while a good ‘come down’ track for my rolling puppies…was the murkiest of the three…and left me feeling very confused. What I’m hoping, is if this is Skrillex’s next step to forging a new identity I can only hope he commits to it fully to help these track out of their muddled beginnings into the club-bangers his current set of hits have.

See what you think: