One of the best shows I ever attended in Nashville was Jamie xx at Marathon Music Works, “way back” in 2015. In Colour had just come out, and popcaan was officially on the map. From a much broader view, In Colour also managed to make house music a little more palatable for the non-warehouse crowd. I’ll admit, if it weren’t for Jamie xx and In Colour, I might have never found Four Tet or NF or Fennesz or Nicolas Jaar (and later, Against All Logic).
Granted, those aren’t the deepest of house much cuts, but nevertheless, they’re now part of my musical atmosphere. Unfortunately, my introduction to “true” house music via the inroad that is Jamie xx at Marathon in 2015 isn’t necessarily the same for Nashville as a whole. I’d reckon that at the time, a good portion of that Jamie xx crowd was there through the merits of The xx or even due to the fact that In Colour featured a single with Young Thug, who at the time was one of the hottest rappers working (with all due respect to Future) in 2015.
What I’m trying to say is that Jamie xx show in 2015 did not necessarily spark the same instantaneous vigor for house music in the greater Nashville show going audience as it did for myself. That’s okay, though. This won’t be a sermon on the mount in service of house and avant garde electronic music in Nashville, but rather, a moment in time taken to acknowledge that while Nashville’s house and avant garde electronic scene is here, and it is thriving.
For those who yearn for organic mixing across the spectrum of sound that is most avant garde electronic music, there are plenty of groups, factions, and consortiums across town that aim to supply. There are the big names - Jamie Lidell - and even some unique stand alone characters - Mason Self, DK the Drummer, the Hyasynth House collective - all of whom cover that spectrum of various approaches to sound in the avant garde, but the outcome of their endeavors tend to be more project based that experiential (and that is intended to be received in the best of ways, for the record).
But that still leaves the void of Nashville that is the full fledged “for the people” collective. Hyasynth House plays a significant role on both sides of the for the artist/for the people stance, but realistically, you’d be hard pressed to find a residency where those who are illiterate when it comes to live production, but want to express their own distinct pleasure in interacting with the music as much as those who make it.
That is, until now.
There are a handful in the world of avant garde electronic and house music who are actually actively pursuing and accommodating that community. The Nashville House Syndicate has operated in the margins of Nashville for some time now, putting on various party series championing Nashville’s underground electronic scene.
Events from “For Those Who Knoe” and most recently, “NHS Goes 420,” have seen NHS make inroads in endorsing electronic music in and around Nashville. That’s not easy feat, but when you find locations around town that present an “in the know” vibe all the while being expressly inclusive, there’s bound to be success. Plus, it’s just fun as hell to vibe out and dance to house and electronic music.
The most recent installment of NHS’ event series - NHS Goes 420 - featured a whole slew of electronic artists both local and not-so including Body Copy, Adisyn, 4niq, Black light Smoke, Yabe, Aaron Monty, and Nicolas Latiff. If you had even a remote interest in anything electronic or avant garde, you would have found something. That’s the beauty of house and electronic music, it’s diversity. There is literally something for everyone, which leaves it primed as the next movement to “blow up” in Nashville. Forget about waiting for another Jamie xx to come through town. NHS has something special happening in Nashville’s backyard, and it’s only going to get bigger. Don’t get left behind.