Documentaries on Club Culture You Should Watch

In addition to our regular features on DnB, electronic music, and related news pieces and features, we’ve prepared a list of highly-rated and educational television series and documentaries that track the growth of club as a culture and the evolution of electronic music and its numerous genres.

A documentary series spread across three seasons depicting the culture and nightlife of various cities, films with interviews of renowned DJs and music producers, and a short film on what it means to be a DJ are all included.

Shun’s Odyssey (2022)

Shun’, the titular character, is a Japanese call center employee in Hanoi who leads a boring life. He falls asleep and begins a journey that leads him to Phú Quốc Odyssey, a New Year’s Eve festival held on the southern Vietnamese island of Phú Quốc in Vietnam.

‘Shun’s Odyssey’ is shot in Hanoi with cast members from the Vietnam electronic music scene. The sixteen-minute short film aims to highlight and unite the country’s diverse musical acts. 

Shuntaro Arakawa plays the lead character with drag queen collective Genderfunk, and DJ Marco Yanes play supporting cast members in the short film. Doner Beat Records produced the soundtrack, which is their first in a film.

Click Here to check out the blooper reel.

Modulations – History of Electronic Music (1998)

‘Modulations’, a 1998 feature-length documentary, showcases the time period when artists and newer technology collaborated to create and advance electronic music. This documentary follows the evolution of electronic music as one of the twentieth century’s most significant developments. It also traces back to the roots of electronic music and provides context for understanding today’s electronic music. Numerous interviews, in-studio footage, and live performances are also included in the film.

The documentary features DJ and producer Mixmaster Morris, the inventor of the first commercial synthesizer – late Robert Moog, producer and musician Money Mark, DJ, rapper, and producer Afrika Bambaataa, songwriter/singer Moby, and a plethora of electronic, house, techno, and breakbeat artists.

A soundtrack album and a book ‘Modulations A History of Electronic Music’ by freelance music journalist Peter Shapiro were released alongside the film.

Clubbing Is Culture (2021)

Labeled as “Clubbing is Culture. Because it is”, the producers depict clubbing for what it was – a culture in this 21-minute short film. This production’s thought process was inspired by the elimination of dance spaces and the consequences of living through a pandemic. Set in Ireland, it features some of the most iconic former clubbing venues in Dublin.

Former Dublin mayor Hazel Chu, Irish journalist Una Mullally, ThisIsPopBaby theatre director Philly McMahon, DJ Mona-Lxsa, and Designer, model, and DJ John Mangru all appear in the documentary.

Scratch (2001)

‘Scratch’ is a feature-length documentary film about hip-hop DJing, also known as turntablism, that was released in 2001. The film delves into the invention of scratching and beat juggling and gives an account of the arrival of turntablism. In 2001, the documentary received its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It was also nominated for a Spirit Award in 2002 for ‘Best Documentary Feature’.

Documentary filmmaker Doug Pray serves as the director for the film. He was also an executive producer, writer, and editor of ‘The Defiant Ones’ (2017), a four-part docu-series about the careers of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Hip-hop DJ Grand Wizzard Theodore, turntablist Michael Schwartz better known as Mix Master Mike, DJ and turntablists group the X-Ecutioners, rapper, and producer Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Jazzy Jay, and DJ Krush are among the many names that appear in the documentary.

‘Scratch’ is listed at number four on Vulture’s 50 Best Music Documentaries of All Time.

Better Days: The Story of UK Rave (2021)

Currently streaming on Amazon Music’s official youtube channel is ‘Better Days: The Story of UK Rave’. Released in May 2021, the documentary tells the story of the club and rave culture in the United Kingdom during the last thirty years. It covers everything from the early beginnings of illegal parties, almost shutting down in the late 1980s due to the stigma around its music, challenges during the lockdown, and its future.

Interviews with English electronic music duo Prospa, DJ Sherelle, Paul Hartnoll of techno and house group Orbital, artist Dance System, musician TSHA, composer and producer Afrodeutsche, and others have their say in the documentary.

Inspire The Night (2015)

‘Inspire The Night’ is a documentary series on nightlife, club culture, music, art, dance, activism, and lifestyle in various parts of the United States and in the seasons ahead, other parts of the world. It features a diverse group of clubgoers, DJs, club hosts, and artists sharing insights and experiences of club culture. Its first season features cities of New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Detroit, and Miami.

Day Zero Festival in Tulum, Mexico, businessman James Goldstein’s Club James in Miami, Batekoo – a group working to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ and black communities in Brazil and the Nüshu Workshop – a community that provides a launching pad for female musicians, producers, DJs, and artists – are just a few of the stories told in seasons two and three.

Watch Inspire The Night on the Redbull app HERE

The Sound of Belgium (2021)

‘The Sound of Belgium’ delves into the history of Belgium’s electronic dance music. The documentary takes you on a journey through the history of music and dance in Belgium, from ballroom dance to cold electronic to new beat to Belgian house and techno. It showcases techno and electronic music’s progress through the years, becoming more than just a party, but a culture. 

Filmmaker Jozef Devillé directed the documentary film and it is narrated by John Flanders. The film had its world premiere in Ghent, Belgium, at the Flanders International Film Festival. Considered one of the founding fathers of the electronic music scene in Belgium DJ and producer, Sven Van Hees, musician, and producer Jo Casters, record producer and musician Herman Gillis, electronic music producer and remixer CJ Bolland, and many renowned names in Belgium’s techno and electronic music industry are featured in the film.

WE CALL IT TECHNO! (2008)

‘We Call It Techno!’ is a documentary about techno and club culture in Germany. It captures the birth of the German techno scene through multiple interviews, unreleased films, and archive material. It also focuses on the evolution of this genre of music in Germany from 1988 to 1993, particularly in the cities of Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Munich. The documentary also includes footage taken during the first Love Parade in 1989 held in Berlin, which led to the rise of a movement and techno parade.

Maren Sextro and Holger Wick direct the film. Interviews are conducted with electronic artist Harald Blüchel also known as Cosmic Baby, DJ and electronic music producer Mijk van Dijk, music journalist Jürgen Laarmann, musician and record producer Mark Reeder, DJ and electronic music producer Sven Väth, and many others.

Sound of Berlin Documentary (2018)

Sticking with Germany’s, ‘Sound of Berlin’ is next on our list. The one-hour documentary film explores Berlin’s electronic, techno, drum-n-bass, and breakbeat scenes. The documentary also dives into how Berlin shaped techno culture in the late 1980s. Also included visuals of old music and dance venues such as bunkers, old deserted buildings, and underground stations and details about one of the first techno radio shows.

Techno DJ and producers Tassilo Ippenberger, Thomas Benedix of Pan-Pot, DJ Juan Atkins, Techno DJ, musician and record label operator Dr. Motte, DJ and producer Nela, and Berlin-based club Tresor owner Dimitri Hegemann feature in the documentary. DJ and music producer Marc Houle provides the soundtrack in the documentary film.

Watch ‘Sound of Berlin’ on Amazon Prime HERE

WHY WE DJ (2017)

‘Why We DJ’ is an insightful documentary that explores and reveals the realities of being a professional DJ. It explores the factors that motivate people to pursue a career as a DJ as well as the toll that rigorous touring can take on both physical and mental health. The film also includes accounts of the highs and lows that DJs face on a daily basis, when new ideas for new sounds come in, how the jobs of DJing and recording producing are fused together, and the life stories of various DJs.

The short film features interviews with DJs such as house and techno record producer Carl Cox, DJ Luciano, record producer Seth Troxler, record label owner Erick Morillo, remixer B.Traits, and Pete Tong MBE.

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