Hot Tempered: Jamie Jones Speaks Out
Hot Natured man responds to perceived criticism of chart success.
There can be little argument that dance music has experienced something of a sea change in 2012. No longer in the pop music wilderness, the Top 40 charts, radio and TV have been awash with electro-, dubstep- and trance-influenced pop music. Some artists have credible dance music backgrounds of sorts (Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, Calvin Harris) whilst others have merely re-appropriated stylistic elements, as Rihanna’s penchant for epic trance chords attests.
The result? A rumbling debate among dance music’s chattering classes about dance acts ‘selling out’ and going pop. An inescapable black hole of conjecture which consistently descends into futile attempts to define credibility and authenticity.
This week saw another chapter in the saga as Hot Natured’s latest single, ‘Benediction’, made it into the UK Top 40 singles chart. Perhaps (sub)consciously aware of the dance music community’s suspicion of commercial success, Jamie Jones took to his Facebook page to launch a pre-emptive defence of their underground credentials: “I do understand people’s passion for underground music. I share that passion, and have done for most of my life…”
But has Hot Natured’s music ever been anything else other than underground? Since their inception in 2010, Jamie Jones and Lee Foss’s collaboration has gone from strength to strength, churning out a slew of underground house hits laced with a heavy dose of pop sensibility. Add Ali Love’s vocals into the equation and the pop element is undoubtedly more prominent, but even last year’s summer smash ‘Forward Motion’ is little more than a very catchy dance record.
With increased levels of recognition come increased levels of scrutiny, but cries of ‘sellout’ seem misguided. As Jones himself states, “this [is] in NO way selling out, Selling out is making music that you don’t particularly like purely for money” and no one can accuse the Hot Natured guys of that. ‘Benediction’ simply plots the next step in the same course they’ve always been on. It’s a refinement of their sound rather than a departure from it.
They haven’t taken the route of Calvin Harris, who went from writing tracks like ‘Da Bongos’ to scoring number ones for Rihanna, Dizzee Rascal and Cheryl Cole; and incidentally sits 5 places higher than ‘Benediction’ in this week’s chart with his remix of Florence + The Machine’s ‘Spectrum’.
Surely rather than deriding their success people should celebrate the fact that a small, independent and underground dance label can break into the Top 40? When so many see the charts as homogenised and inherently mainstream it seems strange to complain that something so antithetical makes a slight dent. And it really is little more than a dent; scraping in at number 40, ‘Benediction’ has hardly become a mainstream crossover hit.
The furore says more about people in dance music than the music itself. People define themselves as much by what they’re not as they do by what they are. It’s the classic ‘us and them’ scenario, and when the music starts to blur the line it’s easier to deride it as sellout rather than accept things just aren’t so black and white.
Jamie Jones’s Facebook post in full:
For everyone who was expecting my next collaboration to be with Akon heres the lowdown….:) so interesting to see the differences in opinions over Benediction getting into the top UK top 40. Personally Im very very proud that with the hot natured band project we were able to touch so many people with this record. But I also want to assure people that this in NO way selling out, Selling out is making music that you don’t particularly like purely for money, We just make songs we love (this will never change) and it seems that a lot of people like them, So for us to then turn around and say you cant like my music your not cool enough is ridiculous….
Saying that, I do understand peoples passion for underground music, I share that passion, and have done for most of my life, so I would like to take this chance to let everyone know that i have a brand new more underground label starting next month, which Im very very exited about. watch this space…:) meanwhile its business as usual in the Hot C camp