YouTube House: An Introduction To A Weird Wonderful World (Part 1/2)

by bootsncats

YouTube has become an unexpectedly versatile platform for house heads around the world. This burgeoning scene is supported by some particularly keen selectors who spend countless hours compiling tracks for upload, sometimes alongside custom-edited footage. In an effort to learn more about this exciting corner of the web, we got in touch with a few of the people behind some of our favorite channels. Part one of this two-part article features Petite Douceur and OOUKFunkyOO, who both hail from France and Great Britain respectively. Stay tuned for part 2, where we speak with the owners of Slav and definite party material, two more individuals dedicated to cultivating a new house music aesthetic for the information age.


In a time where music discovery is largely driven by algorithms, it becomes easy to forget that the process used to be entirely determined by individuals. Whether it be a DJ sifting through crates of vinyl at a record store, or a casual consumer picking up a CD he heard about from an infomercial, someone had to put effort into finding new things. 

With the introduction of personalized internet radio services in the mid 2000s, this all changed. Listeners today are no longer subject to the selections of a radio DJ, recommendations from friends, or what they happen to see on TV. Everything is personalized and perfectly catered to listeners’ desires.

This sense of music discovery of the past, a kind of musical game of hide and seek, has largely been lost today. However, lurking in the shadows of the world’s most popular video streaming service, there’s a bustling community of tastemakers redefining the way we experience electronic music. These largely amateur YouTubers spend countless hours combing the internet for quality cuts and cultivate a unique aesthetic that couldn’t really exist anywhere else. Much as fans of the past would tune in to hear a mix from their favorite radio DJ, fans of today can embark on a complete audio-visual journey while listening and watching to a playlist of a particular channel’s uploads. These channels regularly feature artists from the so-called “lo-fi” house scene, many of whom poke fun at the industry by using humorous aliases to identify themselves including “DJ Longdick” and “DJ Seinfeld.” Channels often present such tracks alongside imagery from the VHS era to create an atmosphere of hyperbolic nostalgia for the 80s and 90s, not unlike the so-called “vaporwave” scene of the early 2010s.

A great number of the tracks featured on these channels eventually find their way to a physical release (either tape or vinyl). Producers that were once largely unknown outside of this little corner of the web are now gaining widespread popularity: DJ Boring now hosts a regular show on Rinse FM, and Mall Grab has begun a working relationship with established London-based producer DJ Haus (Unknown to the Unkown, Hot Haus Recs). It’s a community that transcends geographical boundaries and blurs the line between analog and digital; and anyone with an internet connection can be a part of it.

Eager to find out more about this exciting new scene, I reached out to the account owners of some of my favorite YouTube channels serving up fresh new house tunes:


petite_douceur

Petite Douceur

Statistics (as of Mar 2, 2017)

  • Joined August 21, 2013
  • 2,271 Subscribers
  • 289,702 Views
  • 236 Videos

Channel Description

I KNOW ITS BEEN DONE BEFORE
I KNOW ITS BEEN DONE BETTER

Who are you?
My name is Sylvain and I’m 26. Don’t want to reveal my name as I have a full-time job in the healthcare industry.

Where are you located?
I live in Rennes, in France.

What is the purpose of the Petite Douceur channel?
The purpose was to promote young artists by uploading their songs associated with video edits. Back in the days I had lots of free time so I could upload a lot of vids, but nowadays I try and focus more on the quality.

Why did you decide to create this account?
Actually I had an older channel where I uploaded new songs but it got shut down after several copyright strikes. I love YouTube channels, I think it’s the best way to discover new music. Moreover the comments and sharing options allow you to receive quality feedback from the community. I’m a big big fan of Moskalus, OOUKFunkyOO, hurfyd, and other channels. I actually got the idea of putting videos alongside these tracks from Moskalus. He wrote in an interview he liked to make things his way and if an artist asked him to find something too specific, he would have to make it himself. Being a producer myself, I started doing videos for my songs and thought it was a lot of fun so I continued to do the same with other artists. These guys are the originators, I just thought maybe there was a enough room for everyone to play their part.

What would you say are your main sources of new music? Are you usually the one reaching out to artists, or is it the other way around?
I am subscribed to a lot of YouTube channels, like 800 of them; and 95% of them are music related: e.g. video editors, promotion companies, labels, etc. I admire channels who manage to upload like 20 tracks daily with new releases. I must say, without them, I could not know all the music I know today, with my job I can’t dig properly and daily.

 In the beginning, when I had more time, I was the one reaching out to the artists. It was always nice to see them enjoying my videos, even if they had no idea who I was when I first asked for their permission. Now, I mostly upload my songs or requests for videos from tracks I like. And it’s a hell of a pleasure to receive upcoming releases or free download codes for things that still aren’t available to the public.

Are there any particular subgenres you would say you favor when deciding what to upload?

The only rule is I have is to like the song. Considering what I have uploaded so far, I am mostly contacted by lo-fi house artists or techno producers, sometimes ambient. But I love lo-fi hip-hop too and I am not opposed to any particular genre.

One of my favorite things about your channel is how you incorporate video clips along with all of your audio uploads. Do you source these videos yourself? If so, how do you decide what type of video might “pair” best with a particular track?
Yes, I sometimes spend an afternoon on YouTube or other video services to find footage. Sometimes it’s short experimental films, sometimes it’s sports videos (I like them), sometimes it’s just amateur work… I make a playlist with all of them. And then when I receive a song I want to upload, I check what kind of feeling I get from the song and which footage would fit best. Sometimes, I receive criticisms that I don’t cut the images in rhythm with the audio parts. It’s true, I don’t consider myself a filmmaker or anything near that, I just want to create an atmosphere around the song you’re listening using imagery as a tool. I often remind people that the most important thing is the sound and not the images; but images can sometimes catch the imagination and improve the experience.

Do you produce or DJ yourself?
Yes. Started making music a few years ago with my first alias Nuck Chorris. Got a bunch of hip-hop remixes that got attention. Then I assumed the Petite Douceur alias to focus on chillwave/house music. My song Korean Mood is out on a 12″ on Vielspass, and I’ve got a full EP out on Ringard’s label Dance Around 88. But with those two aliases on one Soundcloud account, and with the other on the YouTube channel it all got confused. So I decided to start all over with a new project, it’s called DJ Psychiatre and my first tape got released on House Plants Records.

Do you have any experience in music promotion outside of YouTube?
Absolutely none.

Do you run any other channels, or have you run others in the past?
As I said, I had another Petite Douceur channel before, where I uploaded gems from guys like Jon Hopkins and James Holden, but that got shut down due to copyright infringements.

What do you think this “YouTube scene,” so to speak, offers that isn’t possible on other platforms (e.g. Soundcloud)?
It’s easier to share YouTube videos than Soundcloud links. Tracks usually gets more hits on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter this way. I also believe that there are more active users over at YouTube, meaning there are more diggers because there are more songs. If you search a label name over on Soundcloud, you will often only get snippets of tracks, whereas on YouTube you will have full songs. YouTube works much better as a community when you simply want to share songs with other music lovers: channels like Slav, HATE, and hurfyd are a big part of this. Soundcloud is perfect for music producers, you have real-time fast feedback for your productions, but if you just want to share and retweet songs, there’s no real discussion or community like there is on YouTube.

Have you run into any intellectual property/copyright problems with your uploads or samples contained in your uploads? If so how typically deal with these concerns?
With this new channel, I have not run into any copyright infringement issues with the audio files because 95% of the time, I have the permission to upload. The other 5% are just some other tracks I enjoy and want to share with everyone. Sometimes, I have had to note that the video footage is copyrighted, but the only problem then is that I can’t monetize the video. As long as I don’t monetize any videos, I don’t expect any problems.


Where do you think house music will be in 10 years? Do you think the genre is headed in a positive direction?
I think there will always be some subgenres that will be more trendy than others, it really depends on the time period you’re in. If we look backwards, we had real house, tech house, French touch, deep house, acid house, lo-fi house, and a whole lot more. I won’t be surprised if one of these subgenres comes back massively in the near future. It’s always about building something new upon a foundation we already have. Look at what’s happening in the techno scene: big room techno is getting criticized, and now we’re seeing drum’n’bass, jungle, and neo-trance coming back onto the scene. Lo-fi house has always existed, it got recognition from the audience in the past, and now it’s starting to become annoying for some people so it will eventually move along. I believe there is good in anything, it just has to be done the right way in the right moment.


 ooukfunky_background

OOUKFunkyOO

Statistics (As of Mar 31, 2017)

  • Joined August 26, 2010
  • 40,642 Subscribers
  • 13,086,614 Views
  • 1824 Videos

Who are you?
My name is Cheal

Where are you located?
Hertfordshire UK/London

What is the purpose of the OOUKFunkyOO channel?
Group together interesting electronic artists/tracks into one place and push the culture alongside everywhere else doing the same things… basically just do my bit for the community

Why did you decide to create this channel?
Originally I wanted to get more UK Funky music but realised that I wouldn’t have a chance unless i was a DJ or artist within the scene, so I thought maybe if I created a hub for that sort of content then this music would come my way… which sort of worked, but branched out into a lot of other genres too

What would you say are your main sources of new music? Are you usually the one reaching out to artists, or is it the other way around?
In the past I was mostly reaching out to people, now it’s probably the other way around; a lot of the stuff I upload is just from the people I speak to each day now.. So they’ll just fire it through Facebook like “yo lemme know what you think of this” or “my label’s releasing this, wanna do a feature?” etc… but equally I’ll still be hunting out music myself each day, because if you rely too much on whats dumped in your lap, you’ll never get a full scope of the great stuff going on at any time.


Are there any particular subgenres you would say you favor when deciding what to upload?
Genre wise I’m pretty easy… but there are definitely themes or vibes that I favor, I’m a big fan of gothic romanticism in unexpected places and I’m a big fan of things that go a little bit weird, not to say I will enjoy anything if it’s weird, but there’s a certain type of oddity that might not draw in a big follower reaction, but is special to me and so I must include it haha. Likewise I’m not the biggest fan of disco, so if I upload something that even touches on that, I must think it’s incredibly good.

One of my favorite things about your channel is how you incorporate video clips along with all of you audio uploads. Do you source these videos yourself? If so, how do you decide what type of video might “pair” best with a particular track?
Bwoon/Demuja/House of Altr all make their own videos… I do everything else. To find the best footage for the tracks, I just roll up a few smokes and listen to the track on repeat whilst going through lots of different footage with a loose idea in my mind, then when something clicks, I try to cut it together… if it’s not working, I’ll do something else ’til it falls together easily.

Do you produce or DJ yourself?
A little bit of both, but neither to a professional level and I have no desire to be either, a few of my friends through the channel have heard my stuff, I submitted “mixes” to Trudges.

Splitless Artefacts series & Interstates ’12Mins’ mixes, I have more things at the ready to submit to friends’ projects like these & may do something of my own in the future.

Do you have any experience in music promotion outside of YouTube?
None at all, I had friends at uni that did this sort of thing, but it was never me.

Do you run any other channels, or have you run others in the past?
There are a few other channels out there which I made, the only other one even possibly worth mentioning is OOBreakcoreOO, the original plan was to make a bunch of different ones to rep the various genres I liked but as the main channel started to grow, it became impractical to try to continue down this route.

What do you think this “YouTube scene,” so to speak, offers that isn’t possible on other platforms (e.g. Soundcloud)?
Yeah, I do see a sort of community with it all, I never noticed this with Soundcloud which feels more impersonal by comparison. It’s a nice feeling and I’m happy to be part of it.

Have you run into any intellectual property/copyright problems with your uploads or samples contained in your uploads? If so, how do you typically deal with these concerns?
Honestly not really, I guess I’ve been pretty lucky, the music is always uploaded with permission and I’ve got reasonably lucky with the footage I use… There was a big incident with the channel being removed and a lot of people were wondering about that, this was due to a strike put on some audio that I was asked to upload many years ago, so even that wasn’t really a concern in this regard.

Where do you think house music will be in 10 years? Do you think the genres is headed in a positive direction?
No idea, there’s a lot of debate as to “is this house, is this a hybrid, does this genre constitute as an offshoot of ____” y’kno? And whilst I understand the need to categorize, it’s not so important. I think house music will still be going strong in 100 years let alone 10, but I can’t presume what it might sound like then, or at least what sounds people will be willing to group in with it. 

While this is a great introduction, there’s still more that needs to be explored. In part two of this article, We’ll be speaking with two more channel owners that we’ve been following: definite party material  and Slav. Happy digging!

UPDATE: In a previous version of this article, I had cited improper channel statistics for OOUKFunkyOO. These numbers have been updated accordingly.