TF Archives

Waxdreams - A documentary by the Kamen Brothers

Author: michelle pirovich
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Throughout history, marketing and advertising executives have always tried to dictate to us what's cool and what's not. From the clothes we wear, the softdrink we choose and the music we listen to. Tables of long pony tailed men in shiny suits delve deep into the human psyche and come out with campaigns and strategies that will make us all hip. Fortunately they are always a couple of years behind what's going on, so it gives those who were there from the beginning the chance to enjoy its pleasures without the invasion of corporate propaganda.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last two years pop culture today is all about the dj and dance music. Every corporation is jumping on the dj culture bandwagon, doesn't matter if you're driving a car, drinking some juice or a cartoon character in Walt Disneys' latest flick, headphones are attached to your head, and turntables to your fingers, cos that's what djs and people who love electronic music do, they have headphones and turntables surgically fused to their body parts.

As with most popular fads the ones who were there at its instigation cringe in deplorable horror at the events unfolding before their eyes. Dreaming of the good old days, 'cos its never as good as it was 'back in the day,' and paying out on anyone who jumps on the bandwagon. We get precious and deservedly so, the dance scene - and I am talking fondly of Melbourne's - has a true and unmistakable essence to it. Very rarely do you come across a community of people who are as passionate as they are about dance music. Where else would you find a bunch of under 30 year olds who would volunteer their time to do their bit for magazines, and websites. All to ensure that the heart of the dance scene is upheld and for the best part left alone by the evil empires trying to make their next billion.

'Waxdreams' is a creation by two very wise and resourceful young men, the Kamen Brothers. Together they have created a mocko/docko about; 1. The commercialisation and corporatisation of the dance scene and 2. The angst ridden journey of a bedroom dj trying to make it from beyond his bed.

The film swaps between interviews and satirical drama very well. Prominent music industry peoples including Phil K, Phil Voodoo, Nick Dunshea and Phil White express their opinions on the dance music explosion into the mainstream, how its changed what its ruined, and even how it has improved the scene for some to grow and turn their passions into more than just a hobby. The big time corporates are represented by the Holden Barina Marketing Team to give their insight into how it all works, and how successful it has been.

Then there is Michael played by Edward Hassal, bedroom dj, we watch his story unfold as he hangs out at his fave Melbourne club dreaming of the day when adoring chuppa chup sucking female fans are screaming at his feet. We follow him as he spends all his pocket money on vinyl and waits for that elusive gig.

The serious angle of this film is that dance culture is being usurped by 'big business'. This is something that we hear often and don't really do anything about. If we look at modern underground culture, for example the Rave scene. It has always had an anti-capitalist flavour. When Ravers first started they weren't just thumbing their noses at their parents they were rebelling in part against the 'Big Business Machine'. Ironically the music would never have existed if it wasn't for the 'machine' pushing the technology to create the beats in the first place.

The Kamen brothers see the process as circular. DJs are cool, which makes kids want to DJ, which creates a marketing opportunity, which makes it prominent in pop-culture, which makes DJs cool.

This explains the process but does it explain the result- The modern marketing machine has now learnt to quickly infiltrate movements and pastimes and eventually claim them as their own. They make it cooler to a wider audience and then they use the po