It’s been a long time coming for Courtney James, but finally, after seven years of traveling the world gathering interviews and party footage both old and new, his Global Groove Network film is ready to be screened. James, a music loving Gen X who found himself immersed in the rave scene some 15 years ago, was inspired to tell his story after going through a tough break up. As he was moving out, he came across an old crate of records that brought him back to the good old party days. It was then that James decided a documentary on the dance music scene was in order, and that he was ready to tell a story.
The film describes James’ story of moving to Toronto in his early 20’s, finding a group of friends who fell in love with dance music the way he did, and experiencing the time of his life with good music, good parties and best friends. James noticed a pattern of identity being built around the music – no matter what genre, what party, or what kind of people, music had a strong influence on the lives of those who listened, and that’s precisely what his documentary aims to expose.
While showcasing his own story, James also hands the mic to various international sensations like DJ Dan, Richie Hawtin, Armin Van Buuren, Steve Angelo and more, while also featuring Toronto favourites like Mark Oliver, who give their own insights and opinions on both the evolution of the scene and the idea of music shaping identity. James got his hands on incredible footage from parties at clubs that don’t exist anymore. The journey back in time is both informative and intriguing for those who may not have been around to experience the rave boom that was the 90s.
Having spent a significant amount of time researching and digging deep into the scene, James has had the opportunity to observe what was against what is. He found that the genuine passion for music, parties and personal connections is still there – people are still smiling, feeling the positive energy and building relationships around the scene, however he questions how authentic the growth of the industry really is. “It’s funny that social media has disconnected us more than anything – when was the last time you had a phone conversation with someone?” Has social media brought us closer together or created a bigger divide? Are we more segregated and impatient? That’s left for you to decide after watching this documentary.
So why is important for us to understand the history of dance music? James insists, “just like with anything else, you need to understand the history in order to move forward and evolve.” In his journey James found the history of dance music in Toronto had not been as well documented as is it should have been, “it blows my mind that I’m the first person in Toronto to bring this to the big screen.” Well, it’s taken a while to get there, but we are certainly happy that it’s been done.
The Global Groove Network film will be making its festival premiere this weekend on June 15, 2013 at NXNE Music and Film Festival in Toronto. Screening in the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema at 9pm, tickets are $10 or part of your festival wristband pass. For those without a pass, check out the EDMTOR Facebook Page for an opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the show.
We’d like to thank Courtney James for taking the time to speak with us about the film and wish him the best of luck with the Global Groove Network!
– Article by Anjali Handa