Now that anyone with a spare half hour and a bit of nous when it comes to Google can get their hands on Ableton or Fruity Loops or one of the many other Digital Audio Workstations available online, there's a surging wave of bedroom based busybodies taking over the production game. Making music's one (relatively easy these days) thing but getting it out there to the right people is what counts more than ever.
Online music communities are nothing new. Sharing musical ideas and resources has been a method of distribution and discussion since the first forums crawled out of the primordial swamp of hyperspace, but global club crew Classical Trax are doing something new. Embracing a positive, family like approach, the collective — comprised of producers, DJs, label owners, writers and more — focuses on new talent, and more importantly, on relationship building and musical appreciation. It's more of a space to share than self-promote. Breaking down barriers between newbies and veterans, as well as regional and geographical boundaries is the aim of the game.
Classical Trax is, nominally at least, rooted in the idea of "club music", a nebulous term that incorporates everything from Bmore club to Jersey screamers, instrumental grime to ambient weightlessness. The producers and selectors involved are hyper aware of the past, present, and future of club music, in all its forms. Tarquin, a producer signed to Mr Mitch's Gobstopper label, told us that, "by far the best thing about Classical Trax has been discovering music from around the globe." That sense of interconnectedness and communality is key to understanding the Classical Trax approach. Nothing is off limits here.
The collective prides itself on supporting and giving opportunities to producers and artists who don't have a great following as well as those who've garnered a tad more critical attention. With members including the likes of the Lazerpiff crew, DJ Amy Becker (who's about to drop into Teki Latex's Overdrive Infinity this week), Norwegian group Rytmeklubben and guys from the Crazylegs label. Classical Trax is a blatant hub for a huge amount of diverse talent.
I spoke to the man behind the movement, Matt Lutz, aka DJ Rueckert. Lutz is from Pennsylvania which, if I'm honest, isn't the first place I think of when I think of club music. Having been into club music through online mediums such as Hollerboard and Dubstepforum for a long time, he states that he felt something was missing from the music communities already out there saying "I just wanted a new way to try and promote a new way to enjoy dance/club music and do it in a positive way." He also mentioned in a previous interview that, "nothing was positive. Magazines and websites don't do an overall good job in covering the little guys." Matt pitched Classical Trax to a publication he was working for, they liked the idea so he decided to go ahead and start it up. Now with an ample following alongside recognition from the likes of Plastician, it's looking good for the collective.
Claiming to have helped provide a new following for producers Blastah and Tuff Wax's Moslem Priest, more and more young producers are finding themselves drawn to a platform which encourages and showcases their work, beaming it to like minded people across the globe. Lutz goes on to tell me that, "young producers and DJ's (along with writers and fans) are the sole purpose of this group. If we can help push these artists from all over the world and give them an outlet they wouldn't normally have then we are doing our job."
Whether it be for production tips, exclusive tracks or even holding a meet up between producers in the same city, it's a community that prides itself on maintaining a, "hey, we're all in this together, let's help each other out attitude". Classical Trax frequently releases work by its members. As well as uploading podcasts and resident mixes from DJ's, they often hold remix contests where members create a remix of the same track in any genre they prefer. Examples include Rod Lee's "Dance My Pain Away" and a series of Lil B edits, which are then released for free to download from their Soundcloud. Lutz has very kindly put this brand new mix together for us just for this article. That's how caring and sharing Classical Trax is. Check it below:
The members group itself is hidden from the general public in a secret Facebook group, but Matt puts himself out there for people to get in touch with him. He talks about the group selection process saying, "well at first I just picked friends, people who I liked and or respected, but sadly we got some people who got added who were rude and weren't supportive of the movement so from there I had to be smart about it. Now I hand select people unless someone recommends someone." The group's capped at 800 members, so it's unsurprising that there's a wealth of talent within.
Classical Trax is planning on expanding its reach with a new website and blog as well as opening an online shop with more merch for people to support the movement. Matt says he will be 'delving into other avenues', for which the specifics are under wraps for now. He assures that he will continue keep the output from members of the group flowing, and that things will keep growing, and, most importantly, that positivity will remain central to the project. Given its increased visibility in recent months, it's no surprise that the inhabitants of Classical Trax are at the forefront of contemporary club music. Long may they reign.