After a week full of new product announcements from the DJ industry heavyweights, we decided everyone could use a break from companies trying to sell new shiny merchandise. We’ve rounded up seven of our favorite documentaries (new and old) that we think are important for producers and DJs alike to watch and enjoy – watch them all right now after the jump!
THE CHEMICAL GENERATION
One of the most prominent cultures that expanded around a certain type of music was the Acid House movement in the UK. There are a number of documentaries on Acid House, but this one not only relates the story of the music and the DJs in the UK underground, but also explores the rising club scene in Ibiza and the mind-altering substance (MDMA) that made a large part of the movement possible. Keep an eye out for clips in the Hacienda as well as interviews with household names like Paul Oakenfold.
1988 AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY ON SAMPLING
For a Australian TV station to do a documentary on sampling in 1988 is pretty great – but for them to include interviews with Prince Paul, Will and Jazzy Jeff, Tom Petty, Russell Simmons, and more – is incredible. It’s a pretty good primer on how contriversial sampling was at the time, especially for our younger readers! Hard to believe that in most countries around the world, nearly twenty four years later, there are still no sensible laws that encourage and properly accomodate this style of sampling.
Some things change, while others stay the same – this is perhaps one of the coolest documentary experiments on sampling wizardry out there – Dublab sends acclaimed beatcrafters Ras G, Nobody, Daedelus, and J. Rocc into thrift stores to purchase just five records to make brand new tracks out of. Getting to watch and hear their process in such a seemingly intimate way is not only highly entertaining, but also incredibly valuable.
IMAGINARY LANDSCAPES – BRIAN ENO
Any experienced or aspiring electronic music producer can learn a lot from ambient composer Brian Eno’s incredible ability to craft magnificent musical creations out of pure inspiration. This forty minute documentary offers a chance to relate to this auteur and learn about how he views his creative process – great stuff!
FLYING LOTUS – FLY FIRST
Shifting gears quite a bit to a more recently-famous electronic producer and live performer, Pitchfork’s mini-documentary on the LA-based genre-transcending beatmaker Flying Lotus does an incredible job of capturing a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a touring artist in the modern festival circuit (this was shot just a few months ago).
BAD BOY BILL @ 1989 DMC
Less of a documentary and more of a pure classic clip from DJ history in the making, I was encouraged to seek out this incredible performance after a comment on my article last week on DJ name drops:
“I come from mid 80s House …and it’s funny to me that this article has to explain what was obvious then. I guess the younger generation need coaching. Remember Bad Boy Bill scratching his drops ?” – Luiz Fueggo
It had been a while since I’d seen this performance, but it’s more than worth watching to see just how incredible and performative the championships have always been. Be sure to watch all the way to the end on this one for his lewd and hilarious finale.
HOW CLUBBING CHANGED THE WORLD
This is a very recent documentary taking a macro view of clubbing (from a UK perspective) and exploring how it has become the giant commodity and industry that it is today. Apparently this has made pretty regular rounds on the BBC in the UK, so it might not be anything new to some of you, but we would absolutely be remiss in not putting it on this list! Hosted by actor/DJ Idris Elba, you might have heard of (we hope) some of the DJs who make appearances in this one: David Guetta, Armand van Helden, Pete Tong, and Skream.
Have any awesome (free to watch online, not well-known like Scratch or Maestro) documentaries about DJs and producers or the culture that surrounds them that you want to share? Link them in the comments below and we’ll add them to this article with credit to you!