The Mirror ARCHIVES: Oct 21-27.2004 Vol. 20 No. 18
Night Life 2004
Lip-synchronicity • Teamtendo at MEG • New nightlife locales • Stéphane Cocke • Wet & Hard • Ukula
Montreal's House of Sins likes it Wet & Hard
by RAF KATIGBAK
It's cheesy, sterile, predictable, lame and topped off with an excess of wah-wah guitar.
While this may sound like a review for Lenny Kravitz's latest blight on music, I'm actually talking about adult-film music. Traditionally, porn music isn't really known as an effective mood enhancer. Sure, every now and then, retro fetish labels like Germany's Diggler Records unearth some long-lost '70s psych-funk softcore soundtrack classic by folks like German composers Peter Thomas and Gerhard Heinz.
For the most part, though, today's porno soundtracks have long since departed from the charming sleazy-listening days of old. You only need to pop in the latest copy of Hairy Pooper and the Sorcerer's Bone to hear what I mean - cheap canned production doomed to forever loop a sterile slow-funk all-in-one musical preset, probably designated on the keyboard as "slow jamz."
But there is hope. If a small, tight-knit and expanding crew of DJs across the globe have their way, their own brand of high-energy sex music will spread like KY Jelly on the asses of the masses. Ladies and gentleman, the new sound of sex, the new sound of clubbing: Wet & Hard.
Sonic sex workout
Described simply as "music to fuck to" by its creator and chief purveyor, Hungarian DJ Corvin Dalek, Wet & Hard is club music with roots in the groove of house, the percussion of tribal and the drive of techno. Add to that killer, melodic basslines, layers of sound effects and often highly sexual vocal samples slipping and sliding over top.
What began in 1999 as a post-rave reaction, in the backroom clubs of Eastern European fetish clubs, to the repetitive nature of commercial trance has since become a global movement with a label (Flesh), some regular club nights and DJs in South America, Ireland, Poland, Germany, the U.S. and now Canada who pledge allegiance to the sonic sex workout. Considered by fans to be the sound of the next generation of clubgoers, and dismissed as a fad by critics (many of whom profess that it "just sounds like tech-house"), one thing's for sure - Wet & Hard parties are over the top, oozing with sex and absolutely huge across the pond. Perhaps the most exciting thing is, it's coming this way.
Meet Montreal's House of Sins crew (www.houseofsins.net). Since last March, DJs B. Weiser, Lady Melodie, Dantazz and photographer Ange Noir have spread the gospel of Wet & Hard by hosting three major events in Montreal, the latest being last September at Gravity. "When we started," explains Lady Melodie, who a year and a half ago converted from deep-house DJ to spinning mostly Wet & Hard, "we went softly. We didn't want to slap people in the face. The event was called First Contact, so we had a lingerie fashion show and some erotic dancing. But at every event, we want to be a little more daring and push the boundaries. Now we're associated with Concept XXX, the biggest porn production house in Canada, so we can get little bit more expressive. At our last event we had female-couple erotic shows with a strap-on."
Slip into something more comfortable
While most people's idea of expression may not necessarily involve two girls working a fully-adjustable Schlongmaster 2000, House of Sins co-founder DJ Dantazz insists that there is something deeper to be discovered in the Wet & Hard event's openly sexual ethos. "We try to break all taboos about sex, sensuality and eroticism. We're trying to turn these events into GTs [get-togethers], so that these likeminded people can create links and friendships around the same musical passion."
Wait a second. Rewind. I know what you're asking - how is it possible to create meaningful social links around Wet & Hard tracks like Eivan Major's "Cocksucca," whose breakdown features the sound of a guy getting his knob polished? How can they take this music so seriously? Well, the short answer is, they don't. Not too seriously, at least. "Okay, so first it's about sex, but in a funny way," explains Lady Melodie.
"It's very funny," agrees Dantazz, "C'est big, c'est gros. You know? You'd never say things like that, but the way they put it is very entertaining."
With five years of Wet & Hard DJing behind him, Sacramento's DJ Pat is considered a veteran of the fledgling U.S. scene. "The whole point of the movement is to make people feel comfortable with sex and, more importantly, make them feel more comfortable with their own bodies and their own sexuality. The freedom to do whatever you want is far more intoxicating than any drug could ever be. So at these events there are no rules. Nobody cares how you dress, how to do your hair, how to behave, and nobody is telling you how to think. It's about being sexy, and sexy is different things to different people. You end up with the whole spectrum, from freaks in leather to people in their work clothes, and nobody cares."
For DJ Pat, it's not just a music style, it's a statement against the exploitation of the underground dance community and the current pervasion of what he calls "TV trance."
"First and foremost to me, Wet & Hard is a big ‘fuck you' to the commercial forces that have corrupted electronic music. One of the greatest things about it is that you won't find any Wet & Hard videos on TV, you won't hear the music at Wal-Mart, and you won't see a bunch of Wet & Hard DJs getting paid $100,000 a night to play the same set that they played last week."
Clearly, Wet & Hard parties are about the shared experience, but that's not to say it's for everyone - given the presence of explicit adult entertainment, especially not anyone under 18. "It's a mature sound. It's electronic, but the groove and complexity fits the 28- to 45-year-old set," continues Dantazz. "For some younger people, it's not really their bag. At that age you're not discovering this kind of behaviour, you're more into drinking alcohol and having fun. As we always say, Wet & Hard is not just a party, it's a lifestyle. The attitude, the way to think, it's a very friendly, peaceful movement. It promotes openmindedness. There's no open sex going on in the crowd, I mean, maybe in the bathroom but hey, that's like any club."
With upcoming events scheduled just in time for Christmas and another for Valentine's Day, the future of Wet & Hard in Montreal looks promising. "I think the scene won't be mature for another two years," says Dantazz optimistically, "until people start reading about it, or checking out Web sites to see what goes on in Europe. Right now the crowds are coming curious, and almost all of those who came the first time came back for the last party, and they've brought friends. Some people are dressing pretty daring, but it's not crazy like Budapest yet. It'll take a few more parties, but we're getting there."
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