Over the years, many films regarding the electronic dance scene have come and gone but not many have made an impact. The documentary Global Groove Network is a film that delves deep into not only the creation of electronic music but how those of us who follow it have come to adore it. We’re taken through filmmaker Courtney James’ journey, as we learn about the multifaceted layers of the electronic dance world and how it affect all those it touches.
I had the opportunity to chat with Courtney via e-mail who told me a bit about his documentary and project…
What is the Global Groove Network?
The Global Groove Network is built from the idea that everyone has a soundtrack to their lives.
This network relates to my experiences and the impact that the electronic music culture had on my youth when I first experienced it back in Toronto in the 90s. [The film] also looks at how dance music and it’s tribal tendencies resonate globally with it’s participants and the DJ as an artist and guide to the experience.
What were your hopes when making this film?
When I first started this film journey (7 years ago), I just had an idea and some room on my credit card. I had just come out of a 9 year relationship and I felt like I was starting from scratch. My hopes were to make a film that changed me emotionally and spiritually as well as have impact on an audience with thought provoking material about history, culture, and music. The journey was longer then I anticipated but the end result has been very rewarding and the feedback on the finished film has been amazing!
What was your favourite place to visit (nightlife wise) when making the film? You sure did a lot of travelling. Have you since been able to travel back anywhere?
It’s hard to put a label on what is the best nightlife experience globally because I think it can vary in any destination around the world. But places that should definitely be on people’s radars are Miami’s World Music Conference, Burning Man and Ibiza. To be honest Toronto has some of the best parties in the world. Nothing beats great local DJs in unique settings and Toronto always provides that.
What do you think is so captivating about DJ culture? Why are we so enraptured with DJs? Is their job really that difficult?
The captivating component of DJ culture is it’s communal experience and the positive energy that is created by this type of music. When you dance, it tells it’s story through rhythm and beat as opposed to words. It allows people to connect on a primal level without speaking to one another and the message is always positive. Dance music has always gone in cycles and has happened at times that society needs some positivity. No music genre can really deliver this the way EDM does.
The job can be quite difficult and skillful if you know how to produce music well and you incorporate that into your set. The reality though is knowing how to create a journey.
Raving had a huge scene here in Toronto in the 90s. Can you describe your experiences with it? Do you still partake in it today?
Rave culture back in the 90s represented Generation X’s need to evolve and grow. Electronic music was something fresh and different at the time. The cycle is happening again and as such, Toronto is embracing the culture again.
It was way more political in the 90s because the city was against the culture for a time which lead to the iDANCE rally, which was against politicians who were against raving. Nowadays, it’s a little different but it I still think it represents a positive strength in numbers-type-feel with this generation.
I still partake but not as often. I love it when I do but as you get older you experience everything in a new way and that to me is what’s great. The positivity is still there when I go out, but it’s just different.
Global Groove Network Screens The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Saturday, June 15 @ 9:15pm