“Donk” is the sound you get when you whack a drainpipe with a table tennis paddle. Somehow that sound worked its way onto an early ’90s keyboard, which was employed by certain dance music producers like Ultrabeat as the pulse for their burgeoning new form of hard dance: bounce.
Basically a slightly slower, extra buoyant form of happy hardcore, it had limited resonance, except oddly, amongst a cluster of cities in the north west of England. Amidst this axis of donk-satellites – namely Bolton, Wigan, Burnley, Blackpool – the sound has grown and evolved.
Nowadays it’s ruled by MCs, who affect an Eminem-meets-speed-garage-esque flow, and renamed donk, the sound finally started puncturing the mainstream with the emergence of its first ever boy band, Blackout Crew.
I spent a week traveling around the northwest with Blackout and some of donk’s main ambassadors for a documentary VBS.TV made about the culture. Whatever your feelings about the music – which amounts to having your every face orifice infiltrated by a Black & Decker drill – it’s a cottage industry culture the likes of which you’ll probably never see again.
Up there the ilk of Blackout are megastars, and the scene they’re emerging from is amazing, sobering, tragic, hilarious and everything in between. It’s worth a watch. View it here.