By Jacob Katel
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By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
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By Laurie Charles
Dance music sucks. House music rules. Just ask British rave legend and Viva Music label boss Steve Lawler.
"Dance music is not the same as house music," Lawler told New Times in October. "Yes, it makes you dance — we all know that! But what I have seen happen in America in the last two years is the explosion of commercial pop-electro-dance music. And so many people think it's the same culture, the same scene as what we do with house and techno, and it isn't! It so isn't."
To Lawler's ears, electronic tuneage should be deep, dark, sexy, gritty, even borderline criminal. Which only makes sense, considering the 38-year-old got his start on the party scene as a teenager, promoting and DJing illegal street raves in the shadow of England's M42 Motorway. "Those days were the real meaning of messy," he laughs. "You can't imagine what we used to get up to. I mean, we were having parties underneath a freeway!"
No doubt, Lawler is now an entrenched member of electronic music's elite. But he's still all about those underground sounds. So whenever some crappy, Top 40 chart fodder creeps into his personal space, the man just can't keep himself from telling the truth. "This electro-pop-dance that all the R&B artists are jumping on is the worst music I have ever heard in my whole life — cheap, no soul, no meaning," Lawler says, disgusted. "[It's] only made to make money."