If You Don't Feel the Urge to Do it, Don't Do It: A Chat With Anwar From Brokntoys (Interview)

  • It's been a long time since I had the chance to work on such an energizing interview that reminded me how writing about music, can be rewarding, how much you can always learn, and be grateful as well when you figure out there’s still someone who continues to keep alive the essential dogma. If you don't know what I mean, you can just turn back on some crucial points of 90's Underground Resistance.

    Why did I almost forget the charm about music writing? Because I personally feel these are learning times for journalism. The reason why you do journalism now has dramatically changed, due to the increase of the business side against that visceral need that drives someone to start to write: spreading culture, diffusing messages, propagating views, only for the simple and genuine need to do it. And yes, you can of course say, this is already taken for granted. But isn't it true that journalism serves to understand our society better? Just like our music landscape.

    It's something that seems to happen to the music scene too. Now more than ever, there’s a lot of people who report a kind of annihilation. People who complain, with an unconstructive attitude, about too many spotlights. But, there’s a different point of view here. Someone who was able to put a positive spin on things, see the bright side! This gives me hope. The hope to not sink in the quicksand of business, of the form without any content.

    It’s precisely for people like Anwar and his work on Brokntoys Records, that we’ve not yet completely ruined our scene favouring the mainstream-game, or just letting what once used to be underground turn into a branded jukebox. Someone who has already seen the game’s rules and decided which side he wants to play on. That’s actually quite rare, isn’t it? Most people were saying it’d be mad to start an Electro-oriented label, while London was overrun by minimal and Tech-House sounds, and then, worked out to be one of the labels being closely watched by the Electro heads.

    This interview deals with the picture of a London wrapped up in an incessant marketing machine as well as a refreshing point of view about the European contemporary scene: “If 18 year olds are exposed to Drexciya instead of some corporate mainstream garbage, well, what’s not to like? Of course, obscurity is alluring, but isn’t the whole point to put the spotlight on the unseen?”

    Concerning the current situation, this is one of the most straight interviews I ever carried out. Thanks Bronktoys, who continue to leave and send messages in bottles for those who know.

    Giulia Scrocchi: Welcome Anwar! London’s scene always makes me so enthusiastic. It is constantly in progress, thanks to its marked multiculturalism. Would you be able to tell me its changes over the years? In matter of music scenes, of course.

    Anwar: Hmmm, every London story is incomplete, as the city is so vast you are irredeemably missing out all the time. So, my point of view is definitely skewed and limited by my own experience. I find the political and music scenes are inextricably linked. Commercially bulldozed by developers, the combination of speculation and media hysteria have created an overregulated and costly environment making it an uphill battle for small promoters to survive.

    It's definitely second to none in terms of diversity and history, but there are not so positive common threads. The standards of living are often off-putting, and the city is a hyper accelerated hotspot constantly attracting and repelling creative types. Fresh and fickle, everything seems transient. As a punter, sometimes you feel like a criminal going through airport security, which it's hardly the ideal setting to enjoy music.

    If you were to believe the incessant marketing machine, we have been living a golden age every year, but my reality has been more lacklustre. There are no doubt great parties, promoters and DJ's who worked really hard against the elements, generally just not in plain sight and by default on a state of flux.
    Over the last 10 years there has also been a mass...Read more!


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