Assembling the Underground: Scale, Value, and Visibility in Dublin’s DIY Music Scene
The underground music scene in Dublin that I’ve been researching both draws from and contributes to a translocal ‘underground’ that is simultaneously a community, a set of ethics, a network, and a body of musical texts and practices. This paper examines the tension between underground ethics, which privilege local, DIY, independent production only accessible to those in the know, and the fact that these scenes can be understood as manifestations of a translocal ‘underground’ structure that has unique but recognisable blueprints in cities around the world. In contexts like Dublin, local scenes are not simply passive replications in miniature of these structures; rather, they diversify and feedback into these larger frameworks. Performances are open spaces with a high probability of productive contamination – particularly when they move outside the realm of live experience and enter into mediated forms of circulation, even on a small scale. Using video footage and interviews gathered through field research carried out over the past five years, I examine this idea through the analysis of both live and mediated musical performances. The Dublin scene, far from being isolated or nostalgic, contributes to a radical and far-reaching ‘underground place’ for people to be somewhere musically together.
Jaime Jones is a lecturer at University College Dublin, where she teaches courses on ethnomusicology, Indian music, popular music, and music and religion. The research that grew out of her PhD (University of Chicago) examines affective publics and Hindu devotional music in Western India. She is currently working on the monograph Music and Devotion in India for the Routledge Focus series. Jaime also works with punk and underground rock communities in Dublin, investigating issues of place, network, and self-curation. She served as Chair of ICTM Ireland, and she is co-founder of the National Concert Hall Gamelan Orchestra in Dublin