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SACHI: What Is Club Culture Missing And How Do We Revive It?

16 October 2023 | 1:30 pm | SACHI

"Over the years we’ve been privileged to experience this culture that is our livelihood in many corners of the globe ... as contributors on the stage and as participants off the stage."


SACHI (Supplied/Canva)

As producers, performers, DJs, and above all fans and active participants, club culture has been at the centre of both of our lives since we started releasing our first music as SACHI in 2014. 

Early raves and electronic shows that we frequented in our hometown of Auckland, New Zealand in the early 2010s laid the foundation of context and fed the inspiration for what would end up becoming a project we’ve been working on for almost ten years.

Over a decade later, the passion persists. Over the years we’ve been privileged to experience this culture that is our livelihood in many corners of the globe, from Stockholm to Sydney, Los Angeles to Berlin, from both sides of the scene - as contributors on the stage and as participants off the stage.

Catherine Rossi of the Museum of Youth Culture writes:

The origins of club culture are as murky as the memories of a night out itself, whether spent in a sweaty nightclub, an abandoned warehouse or at an open air raves. Its ancestors lie in the ballrooms and dancehalls of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which blossomed into the jazz clubs, record hops, disc sessions and discothèques in the 1940s and 1950s youth culture explosion. By the 1970s discos had spread across many parts of the world, and DJs provided the soundtracks for dance floors in cities from New York to London, Johannesburg to Hong Kong. Contemporary club culture though is really a product of the 1980s and 1990s, when clubbing became a mainstay of youth culture and broke into mainstream consciousness, assuming both transgressive and corporate traits.

From a wide perspective, global club culture seems as thriving as ever in 2023, although the fact that each era has had succinct societal catalysts that have moulded it, as well as obstacles that have challenged it, makes it hard to directly compare them. 

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Furthermore, local geography plays a huge part in the specific difficulties and stimulations that club communities face across the world - so we’ve kept our thoughts as broad and transferable as possible.

We’ll explore aspects of contemporary club culture as we see it from our unique shared perspective, and where we think changes could be made to lift up a culture that provides us all with so much love, connection and purpose.

Promotion of Diversity and Inclusivity, Fostering of Community and Connection

  • Encourage diverse lineups with artists from various backgrounds and genres.

  • Create safe spaces for everyone.

  • Encourage genuine connections by organizing smaller, intimate events that prioritize community over mass attendance.

  • Promote collaboration among artists, fostering a sense of unity within the music community.

Since we started our band, a philosophy that has remained consistent is the importance of providing audiences experiences that are as rich, gratifying and inspiring as the shows and parties that have provided us with experiences of these levels. 

Increasingly we have found that rooms filled with people from all walks of life are the rooms where these experiences are most commonly found.

It is crucial for the culture that anyone can come into a space and feel welcomed and respected, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, so as to negate the vehemently needless poisons of prejudice or bigotry.

Furthermore, the promotion of and being receptive to lineups with a diversity of sound and genre is so important. Showcasing the wide range of artist’s perspectives makes for a much more enriching experience for an audience.

Support artists in experimenting with their music and exploring creative boundaries

  • Provide platforms for musicians to showcase their craft without commercial constraints.

  • Establish mentorship programs to support emerging artists and DJs.

  • Create platforms for artists to receive constructive feedback and encouragement, promoting growth and innovation.

The commodification of music has meant that many artists, ourselves included, experience pressure to conform or remain constant artistically throughout their careers. 

Experimentation is not only key to innovation but also to the fulfillment and well-being of our artists.

Breakthroughs in music that can go on to benefit society and wider culture come not from dormant repetition, but encouragement of bold evolution. It’s so important that we put trust in our most loved artists, and reinforce our excitement for their growth, coming along for the ride with them.

Encouraging a constant dialogue between ‘established’ artists and artists who are at the start of their journey can be done through mentorship and collaborative workshops, which leads to a more meaningful community of contributors.

Minimising Technological Distractions

Foster an environment where people are encouraged to be present in the moment, enhancing communal experiences.

Implement no-phone or sticker-over-the-camera policies where possible, to encourage direct engagement with the music and fellow club-goers.

Just as the internet has vastly shifted so much of the human experience, so too has it altered club culture. The internet makes music discovery and consumption more accessible than it ever has been, as well as democratizing music distribution for artists and connecting promoters, DJs and ravers, but on the same hand, it has challenged club culture in many ways, like audience burnout through overstimulation. 

In a time where the attention economy profits from our attention, we have to act with concerted effort to foster real moments of connection within our club communities, moments that were so integral to the blossoming of the culture in the late 20th century. 

Promote Education and Awareness, Celebrate Cultural Heritage and Facilitate Cross-Cultural Exchanges

  • Incorporate music education elements such as workshops, talks, and documentaries within club events.

  • Deepen the audience's understanding of the historical and cultural significance of the music, fostering respect for its origins.

  • Highlight the contributions of artists from different cultural backgrounds, fostering a sense of pride and inclusivity within the community.

  • Organize international collaborations and exchange programs between artists from different countries and cultures, to promote understanding and appreciation of global music traditions.

The most gratifying experiences within club culture are only made deeper by understanding its long and storied history, as well as the wide range of voices who contribute to it. We can learn so much from the ones who came before us, and help move the culture forward into the future with learned foundations.

Artists in residence and exchange programs bring tangible fresh perspective, inspiration and context into local scenes. 

Embrace Sustainability, Advocate for Policy Changes

  • Implement eco-friendly practices in events and festivals, reducing the environmental impact.

  • Inspire attendees to adopt sustainable habits in their daily lives through the example set by the club scene.

  • Advocate for policies that financially support the arts, music education, and cultural preservation.

  • Collaborate with local governments and organizations to create fiscally accessible spaces for the club culture scene to occupy.

Incorporating ecologically ethical practices into events in the club community only strengthens the value of our scene in the eyes of policymakers and decision-makers.

Encouraging these decision makers in our local communities to implement policies such as rent control in central city locations, subsidies for club owners and promoters, and artist allowances to lower the barriers of entry (which are currently so high in many cities around the world) for the people who establish the spaces that we experience club culture in.

Although club culture continues to proliferate the mainstream, it faces vast obstacles.

So many iconic venues around the world have been forced to close in past years, facing financial difficulties during the COVID pandemic, as well as changing social behaviours in youth culture and aggressive legislative efforts.

Although it is as easy as it ever has been for artists and DJs to share their work and find an audience, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to make a basic living from their art. 

It seems now more than ever, the collective community needs to connect in more real and meaningful ways - something that club culture has always provided, in its beautifully open-minded and epicurean ways. We have hope that in the coming years, we all can nurture it so that future generations can enjoy it as much as we have.