What is Mod music?

In Crowd box set

In Crowd box set

It’s almost impossible to give a definite answer about what ‘Mod music’ is in the modern era.

Originally, mod was about modern jazz (listened to by the modernists), but as we entered the 1960s, it was R&B, soul and Jamaican ska – the music of choice for the clubs of the day, augmented by the beat bands of the day who often re-interpreted the imported soul grooves, creating the beat group sound of the mid-60s.

But that’s not the end of the story. When the mod revival emerged in 1979, the kids of the day formed their own bands, fusing the sound of the original 60s bands with punk sound and energy of the day, creating a scene that mixed modern-era bands with classic/vintage grooves. Essentially, it’s the same today, although the popularity of the revival sound has waned, replaced by new mod bands taking influence directly from the 60s (particularly from the 60s garage scene) and from the modern-day indie scene. It’s what you might call a ‘melting pot’. You can check out some of the new mod bands on this site.

If that’s not confusing enough, a number of bands (on labels like Acid Jazz and Freestyle) are mixing a modern-day sound with vintage soul/funk grooves, giving an old sound a new lease of life.

But much of that is on record or live. In the clubs, it’s still original vinyl and original tunes – R&B, soul, ska, beat and garage in varying amounts. That’s unlikely to change for the forseeable future.