…Gino Soccio! Mister Soccio, if ever you read this, please contact me, I’d love to talk with the purpose of writing an interview or simply to chew the fat on the state of the industry, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on that. Thank you!
The man composed some of the biggest classics of early electronic music and has been an influence on countless musicians, even Giorgio Moroder copied him!
But first and foremost, he was a visionnary (and a Montrealer!).
Just listen to these and read what follows.
War Dance (1977, under the name Kebekelektrik)
The Visitors (Instrumental version) (1978)
Dancer (1979) – classic moments, oft-sampled at -3:15, pay attention!
Breaking Artifical Barriers
by Gino Soccio
With the practical elimination of the word “disco” from the industry’s vocabulary, and the new-found recognition of dance music, new artists are being introduced to new audiences. Once specialty chart toppers such as the Dazz Band and the Gap Band are now seen at the top of pop, dance and black charts.
We are beginning to see new wave acts like Human League, Haircut 100 and Soft Cell achieve dance as well as pop recognition. And bands formerly pegged as “punk”, like the Clash, Gang Of Four and Bow Wow Wow, are scoring higher in dance circles than in pop chart numbers.
All this indicates a breaking down of the useless barriers that kept artists from getting maximum exposure, pigeonholing them into unnecessary classifications of music. Thanks to the trend toward de-categorization, whole new areas of musical crossovers are now being developed.
When disco first took off, we were living in a fantasy world. People were treating the music like it was the new Beatles, about to revolutionize a sleepy industry. This led to a serious backlash; artists were labeled with a tag that became inflexible.
Early disco artists like Giorgio Moroder and I predicted the current trend of Euro-techno-pop dance songs, and as early as 1979 incorporated it into our music.
I watched the scene change in my hometown of Quebec, and throughout Europe, where deejays have generally been more liberal in mixing r&b with dance, techno-pop, punk and rock.
But DJs in the States were more conservative in their tastes, and it has taken them longer to open up to this style of crossover.
Today, it is no longer unusual for a good song to go top 10 in pop, dance and r&b simultaneously. However, this change did not take place overnight. It took a year of persistence to get Soft Cell off the ground. It is a change that has been evolving. One of the first fusion hits was “Pop Musik” by M.
Most of these rock acts did their homework by watching the club movement grow. Their techniques for the use of drums and synthesizers were developed on the dance floor. It was a sound rock artists knew little about before.
The new rock-dance clubs are an extension of the disco experience. The ideal situation would be to get both markets to agree, and to get the consumer of black music to buy rock music acts like the Bus Boys, Soft Cell and Human League. In urban markets, these acts broke on black radio stations.
If you can get a record that crosses over all the charts, you have a real seller. Just as punk, when it began, was a musical style thought too abrasive and attractive to a marginal audience, so disco had to undergo a fusion before it could grow. Combining its sounds with rock and r&b influences pleased a more varied audience.
Some artists, initially short-changed by pigeonholing, could win recognition today if they had a second chance. After all, it is the industry that is more likely to put a label on the music and artist than the consumer. He has his say by buying or not buying the record.
It’s about time radio began picking up on more dance-oriented music. By eliminating the misleading disco label, the way has been opened for a Rick James, Patrice Rushen or Change to chart across the boards.
The acceptance earned by the first few hits is an indication that the barriers are falling. But the process is still too filtered, too slow. There’s still a lot of good music that needs to be played. At least it’s a start.
(Billboard, September 18, 1982)
Notice that date. Some things change very slowly apparently! Much of what he wrote is still valid today, 27 years later.