Own Group Preference within the scene

I often liken the International Underground Club scene to La Cosa Nostra.”
(roughly translated as “this thing of ours.”)
aka The NYC Italian Mob. Which of course is a branch of the O.G. Sicilian Mafia. Well, actually the “scene” is more like kindergarten. Or elementary school. But specifically speaking, the touring DJ/Live Act/Producer/Promoter aspect(s) function a bit like the “Mob.” For better or for worse.

Unspoken hierarchies, own group preference,” and glass ceilings all exist . In abundance. However, these factors are not at all uncommon when groups of people are to be found congregating, working, playing, or reality-escaping” in any industry, society, and or scene.

Yes. As I sip my coffee and write this; the dark specter of “own group preference” also known as “in group bias” is clearly the “umbrella” category the other two fall under. As the hierarchies and glass ceilings are mere results of the root cause.

In group favoritism” bias, and or preference has been studied extensively. And unfortunately for those who fall outside the safe confines of any social group(ing) of humans, it is a trait that is as intrinsic as having two nostrils or red blood.

Meaning that is is inescapable. It is inalterable. Therefore, I’ve never been one to dwell too much on that which I cannot change.
Instead, I look for the ways and means by which I can circumvent the proverbial roadblocks.

Lone Wolves

Notwithstanding, the nature of this (music) business my contemporaries and I find ourselves in is that which is of a social nature. We are in a “people” business. As ultimately, we are all in the business of making people happy. And there is most definitely strength in numbers. Thus even I, the lone-wolf extraordinaire among lone-wolves may seek to form social alliances from time to time.

In the case of today’s blog topic, I sought to create a situation by which I might release a record or few on a label whose unique discography I truly admire. A European label that I was wholly unaware of until my first international tour back in 2012. This was also a bucket-list type of accomplishment I had hoped to achieve.
But in this case, releasing on that particular label will never happen. As I’ve completely moved on. And even if the opportunity to do so presented itself, I would now respectfully decline. As the demo submission and subsequent rejection (although respectfully polite in its execution) was the direct catalytic motivation for me to create “Building 7” as a vehicle solely for the release of my own work.
Lemons turned to lemonade” style.
Yet rewinding back before “Building 7” was even conceived, I was (to use “Mafia jargon) an “Associate.” Meaning that my name is moderately known within the scene. To the point that even those who are not familiar with my work have likely heard my name in passing. So in the case of being an Associate, I function as an independent hustler. Getting in where I fit in. And doing my own thing within the greater community of “connected and made” “Mob Families” within our scene.

Big Ears

Constant elevation causes expansion” – Rakim (from “I Know You Got Soul” – by Eric B. and Rakim)

As a “Dance Music” DJ and Producer, my interests vary quite widely. I play and produce everything (House, Techno, Broken Beat, Jungle/Drum & Bass, Ambient, Hip Hop, Trap & Drill Music, etc). Even if most of the scene (as it were), have never heard examples. All good things in due time, right?
At any rate, I’ve been told quite a few times by many people that one of the things that seems to set me apart regarding Black U.S. DJ/Producers is my openness to embracing European sounds/vibes/aesthetics and hybridizing them in a refreshing way. I always say “if it’s good, it’s good.”

“House is a feeling.” Right? And before there were the hundreds of sub-genres we have today, even Techno itself was considered House Music. So as a life-long (literal) student of music (of all kinds); I have what in Jazz circles are called “Big Ears.” Meaning that I listen to and appreciate everything (if it’s good, and or a quality example of the given genre it falls into).

From “Associate” to “Made Man”

This is a friend of mine. That means you’re a connected guy” – Lefty (Donnie Brasco)

With regard to my work, the concepts and titles are always rooted in real life. As all great works of art are. And I as an artist seek to create timeless work like the greats before me. Works that will hold a universal appeal due to the fact that they are relatable by many. Embodying the entirety of the “human experience” in such a way that the work is felt deeply by the beholder. Eliciting a felt sense of understanding that the creator(s) thereof have both lived and experienced life in a way that is instantly familiar.

Many of the titles thereof have even entered the realm of being prophetic in some way.
An early example would be the track “Transcend” from my first ever solo EP Interdimensional Transit on Hakim Murphy‘s Machining Dreams label. A record that once sold for the outrageously exorbitant price of two-hundred euros on discogs.
In the case of “Transcend” in particular, one need look no further than the previous blog post whereby “Building 7” was officially introduced to the world. Transcendence of one’s own self was the theme thereof.

Referring back to today’s theme, which is the “Techno Mafia.” I had at one time hoped to release material on one of Europe’s most revered underground club music record labels. In this mind-state, I’d written an EP I felt would be a perfect fit and had been “sitting on it.” Waiting until the opportunity to submit the music thereto presented itself.
But as I was patiently biding my time, An artist who is most certainly a “Made Man” within this particular Mob Family” (if not a full Capo), reached out to me personally to request submissions for their own label.
And being that I have a deep admiration for all the individual artists associated with this particular Mob Family, I felt that releasing music with this certain “Capo” was the move to be made. Especially considering that we had once shared the same booking agent. And already knew one another (somewhat).

The record I released on the Capo’s label is now held in high regard (despite having the misfortune of being “swallowed up and memory-holed” by the “Rona” back in early 2020).
So after submitting what will be my follow up EP for this particular label, I humbly requested that the Capo please make an introduction to the “Mob Boss” of the family in question on my behalf.
(please refer back to #1 herein)

And in this case, I would be referred to as a “friend of mine” (his). And not a “friend of ours” (theirs).

Eventually, all that stuff took place. To no avail of course. Or there would be no need for me to be writing this post today. Nor would “Building 7” ever have become a thing. Thus I was never “Made” into a “Soldier” of this particular Mob Family. Instead, I went Renegade Insaneon someE.B.K.” (everybody Killer) to use Chicago Gang terminology.
In this case, it means that I choose to be unaffiliated. And have started my own set instead of joining someone else’s. Although with that said, I am not adverse to cliquing up with another likeminded set/crew.

Same as it ever was,” yeah?

When one door closes another door opens.” – Alexander Graham Bell
But only if we look past the perceived closed door of lost opportunity. As the full phrase goes as follows…..
“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

So yeah… This is how the idea to name a project the “Techno Mafia” came about. And at the time, I was not yet aware that I was not the first Producer to be inspired to name a record thusly. Shoutout Butane. I can only imagine the turn of events that inspired their choice to do so.
As regarding this scene, it was likely not due to a happy story. (laughs legit out loud).

“Building 7 Short Film Company”

“Building 7” is not only a record label. It is an “audio-visual media” company.
The visual aspect being that of the Film Noir genre. A personal favorite since way back.
And being the true fan of the culture I am, one cannot mention underground club music visuals/videos without giving props to “the29nov” Films. Some exquisitely inspiring work yo. No doubt!

This being the case (along with being truly unaffiliated), necessity dictated that I create my own visuals company to cater not only to the needs of my new label. But also for other like-minded artists and labels who fancy my work and would like me to create short films to accompany their music as well.

The first two works of “Building 7 Film Noir” are presented here below.
I put just as much work into creating these films as I do the music they accompany. If not more. As I am still teaching myself to fully utilize the powerful software I create these films with. And as with all of my other Autodidactic pursuits, I enjoy the process of learning a whole new discipline thoroughly.

Side AA – “Techno Mafia” – Amir Alexander

Side BB – “Sleep Banger” – Amir Alexander

*(As I come to what will be the end of this particular post, the thought occurs to me that I should definitely make the next post be an explanation of how I came to name the second track of this EP “Sleep Banger.” As its story is just as interesting. But until then next time, peace).*

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