Don’t get me wrong though – this is not an argument for bad production being the only way forward – the deeper point is that now everyone has the ability to make a good clean mixdown, you need to find another way to stand out as a producer. Lo-fi interest is one way; working around a particular set of reference points (for example, the way Untold used classic grime sounds for a while) and reworking them with your own twist is another. Or it could be finding some unusual studio techniques and developing those: spend £100 on a Rode NT1 and record yourself making percussive noises with the pots and pans in your kitchen, for example, or buy an old VHS tape machine and run some sounds through that. Maybe even pick up an old sampler and see if that adds some sonic weirdness.
Basically, anything but ‘standard and clean’. Cos it is getting boring.