Why should you vote in the Drum&BassArena Awards?

Why should you vote in the Drum&BassArena Awards?

The Drum&BassArena Awards: Every year the same old backlash and all the moaning Michaels and Marys make their thoughts known, so let’s discuss this again…

Music awards are bullshit. We totally get it.

No artist feels comfortable asking for votes. Art and creativity are very personal expressions that are appreciated by personal interpretation, they should not be defined in such rigid rankings. The results will never reflect what you voted for or even like because everyone’s tastes are as unique as a fingerprint.

All of this is true. But that’s not why the Drum&BassArena Awards exist.

This isn’t about who comes first, second or third. This isn’t about who makes it through to the nomination stages. The Drum&BassArena Awards are about fans from every corner of the world having a chance to take part in something bigger than their own persy Twitter or Facebook feed. This is about taking part in the only global people-powered D&B survey that exists. And it exists because we all love the music.

This is about the music and your relationship with it. 

Showing your appreciation for your favourite artist or tune or label or event is an absolute buzz mate. Not just slapping down any old name that comes to mind, or the most recent banger that’s scorched your trousers. This is about sitting down and actually making time in your hectic demanding life to think about the music you properly love.

Because you do love D&B, right? You probably wouldn’t have read this far if you don’t…

When else do you get a chance to just contemplate all the tunes you’ve gone batshit for in the dance this year? All the DJs who’ve torn your face off. All the dubs you’ve been waiting to get your paws on. All the dancefloors you’ve pulled weird faces to total strangers to this year and got nothing but smiles or weird faces back in return.

If you’re a serious music fan then voting is a deep and cathartic process. It’s a moment to look back over your sets, your playlists, your downloads, your records, however you consume music, and reflect on the fact we’ve had another exceptional and exciting year at 170BPM. It’s about chatting with friends in real life or online in groups of like minded souls who live thousands of miles away and you’re probably never going to meet them face to face but you’ve made friends with them because you share the same appreciation for a specific form of D&B with.

Yes, picking one specific winner is hard. It’s impossible. It’s unfair. But that’s the very nature of any type of awards in any art form, any creative sector. It’s a worthwhile payoff for the much larger en mass celebration of the music that the Drum&BassArena Awards are established to be… And what it is every year when many of the scene’s characters unite on the night and take a moment to appreciate where the scene is at and how many incredibly talented minds there are in the genre right now and how many unique strains and hybrids of jungle and drum & bass there are today.

With so much music and so many talents around it’s even more important to vote now.

Even if you know you’re going to be one of a small amount of people who vote in a particular category then that’s a fulfilling act in itself. A middle fingered salute to the larger acts. You know you’re not playing the same rules as those who respond to savvy label marketing plans pleading for votes, you’ve made your own decision. You’ve had your say and that’s what this is about.

Look back over the nominations lists for the last few years of awards and you’ll see that there’s always an underdog, a rank outsider in most categories… Suddenly they’re up against the big boys in round two. That’s great exposure to any upcoming or less high profiled act, release or brand. This is likely to happen more and more as new artists and labels emerge and add the wider, ever growing scene. Which makes it even more important for everyone to vote and pledge their love.

Because this really is a public vote.

We can’t stress this enough. It’s not rigged. No one pays us to win. It’s genuinely voted for by the public. It’s an absolute minefield to manage and organise because of this but it’s the only way an awards campaign can take place fairly.

That’s why Noisia won Best Live Act when they didn’t even have a live show. It’s why Coppa was voted Best New Comer even though he’d been around for over a decade. It’s why the same winners happen year on year in certain categories. If you want to try and influence that or dilute the pure volume of votes the big winners have, vote for what you love. Every recorded vote makes a difference.

There will be a moment one year when everything changes…

In 2012 Mefjus won best newcomer, three years later he won Best Album. In 2010 Camo & Krooked won Best Newcomer DJ, last year they won Best Album, Best Track, Best Producer and came second place in Best DJ. Things change. Even the awards ceremony itself is going to change hugely this year. Be part of that change, influence that change. Awards are bullshit but only if you focus on the negatives…

No artist feels comfortable asking for votes but if they’ve got a loyal following (and drum & bass is f**king awesome for its loyal followings) and turn it into something fun and talk to their fans then no one will ever blame them for reaching out and asking support in a very crowded, competitive market.

Art and creativity are very personal expressions that should not be defined in such rigid rankings. Absolutely. But in the context of drum & bass, art and creativity also melts your face and makes you miss your last train or flight home and important commitments the next day. This is a competitive game from dubplate culture to mixdown techniques. No art shouldn’t be rated so rigidly. But art was never meant to be double dropped or defy production dynamics either.

The results will never reflect what you voted for because everyone’s tastes are as unique as a fingerprint… But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about the genre, the music, the culture, the fact that all of us, regardless of our particular favourite style in D&B, are part of something that’s bigger than our own persy Twitter or Facebook feed. This is about taking part in the only global people powered D&B survey that exists. And it exists because we all love the music.



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Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.