Back in the mid-noughties, one party ruled Sydney’s Kings Cross. It was called Bang Gang, and co-founder Jamie Wirth remembers it well.
“Oh my God, it was wild. It was just fucking mayhem,” Wirth recalls. “There was a bit of dodginess, a lot of smooching, it was pretty horny. It was wild, and colourful, and it was like everyone was partying for their life. But it was also a celebration of this new form of music: it was exciting, and it was coming out every week.”
The Bang Gang Deejays.
That new form of music – a mostly electronic mixed bag of songs released between roughly 2005 and 2011, by artists like Justice, Uffie, Simian Mobile Disco and Erol Alkan – has more recently been dubbed “bloghouse”. But if you don’t know it by that name, or even how it sounded, you probably know what it looked like. Bloghouse was also the era of the celebrity party photographer, Vice Dos and Don’ts, American Apparel disco pants, exquisitely decorated MySpace profiles, Hipster Runoff and Kanye West in shutter shades. If the names Cobra Snake or Cory Kennedy mean anything to you, you were probably there for it. (And if you weren’t, just wait – the aesthetics of this era, dubbed “indie sleaze” by one viral TikTok video, look poised for a comeback.)
Bang Gang Deejays’ in-house label, Bang Gang 12 Inches. Photograph: Bloghouse Artefacts
What unified bloghouse wasn’t a cohesive sound but how you found the music: on music blogs such as GottaDanceDirty, Music for Robots and Fluokids. The rise of home internet meant low-quality MP3s could be disseminated on the fly by artists, creating an ever-growing treasure trove of new tracks, remixes and mash-ups. DJs at parties like Bang Gang would play the week’s best new releases, but you could also just download them for free on to your desktop computer. This marked an important micro-revolution for music.
“It was the first time that music was getting big on the internet instead of at the club, at the record shop or on the radio,” says Lina Abascal, the author of a new book, Never Be Alone Again: How Bloghouse United the Internet and the Dancefloor, which documents that brief but transformative moment.
She wanted to explore how the “perfect storm” of changes – to technology, the internet and the music industry – facilitated bloghouse and other cultural shifts. Abascal views bloghouse – which sonically had “no rules”, and was concerned only with having fun – as a reaction against the self-serious iterations of rock and electronic music that preceded it. Conducted largely away from major labels, by producers who gave their music away for free and bloggers who wrote about it as a passion project, it wasn’t concerned with monetisation. Bloghouse was more than just the songs, Abascal explains; …….