Being heralded as the face of an international movement must be kinda tough. Such is the perilous-but-also-probably-effing-awesome position that Michael Cox, known to many more as MikeQ finds himself in.
Increasingly being dubbed reigning king of the HA, soundtrack to the international vogue / ballroom / house scene by such folks as Vanity Fair and XLR8R, MikeQ’s debut release on Fade To Mind is another landmark in a year that’s held many.
Fresh off tearing up Tokyo alongside Koppi Mizrahi, (who’s hugely responsible for the emergence of the scene in Japan) and a relentlessly powerful Mixpak FM 90 minute vogue mix filled with track names like “10,000 Screaming Faggots” and “Gurk That Shit”, the Fade To Mind release can be seen as an introduction of sorts to ballroom beats, featuring collaborations with legends Jay Karan and Vjuan Allure, and remixes by rising young stars of the Jersey Club scene Nadus and DJ Sliink.
But vogue’s reputation for primarily soundtracking clubs where queer, transgendered folks of all ethnicities went to dance brings up lots of issues about representation, and more personally, fears about the vogue sound being co-opted without recognition or support for the scene that birthed it.
This year saw Boddika and Joy O sampling Robbie Tronco’s “Walk For Me” into the much sought after “Swims”, but not before Tronco threatened them with a lawsuit for unauthorized sampling. Because this release is still listed as forthcoming on Swamp81, it appears this has been resolved, but the original implication was that Tronco did not take kindly to his source material being reworked.
Also gaining popularity is a selection of what’s been dubbed by some as ‘hetero-HA’- music that takes on the vogue vernacular without giving any other part of the gendered or social environment surrounding the creation of the scene much thought.
So to clarify, maybe it’s not MikeQ who’s in a perilous position, but dance music’s relationship with mining scenes for their authenticity and then repeating the idea in progessively less interesting rehashes. I’m not suggesting that MikeQ invented vogue, but of course, neither did Madonna.
Anyway, even if you think the social/political/sexual politics behind genres is fucking boring, all you really need to hear is the infectious scat improvisation of Kevin JZ Prodigy on “Feels Like” to understand why this is hot. Further showcasing the energy behind the music, this video of MikeQ and Kevin JZ Prodigy live at the Fade To Mind LA release party is just madness.
Below, “NuCunt” stretches out Kevin’s vocal words into a splice-and-dice snare workout that’s sure to work some reverberating magic on pansexual dancefloors ‘cross the nation.
Most important tho – The new MikeQ EP is out on Fade To Mind NOW on iTunes. GRAB IT!