Monday, 28 December 2009
This seems to be the pick of the bunch today for me..
Downtown Party network pricked my ears with a remix of Acos Koolkas a couple of months ago and I found this gem as well today - big piano riffs and maybe a little epic but definitely doing nice things to my ears. One of my mates commented it was a bit 'wine bar-ish'?? Surely not!
This rather mysterious EP from Tiger & Woods is definitely up my street as well and doesn't seem likely to get a digital release so it may well have to be one of the few vinyl purchases I make very soon. HERE
And finally this little gem from the Mole (has he ever had a bad release?!) I actually got this a couple of weeks ago and played it at Detached - bang on the money with that house/disco groove.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
The weekend is but one day away now and I plan to celebrate the handing in of a bucketload of coursework with one big PARTY! Lots going on in Leeds this weekend but pick of the bunch is COGNOSCO down at The Loft on Friday (formely known as Northern Light) where Alex Niggeman is heading things up.
If you keep your ear to the ground then you may catch wind of the secret after party they are holding where yours truly and Sebastian Budniak will be kicking things off with a smattering of deep house and disco until the early hours of Saturday morning.
Then onto Saturday where there really is only choice - System @ The Mint. Jeff Mills maks a very rare appearance to the city playing on 3 decks 12-3am, then former Basics resident Paul Woolford takes over until the end (probably around 8am!) knocking out some house and techno on home soil for the first time since he left Basics a couple of years ago. Come say hello at the side bar if you happen to be around - I'm quite sure I will be glad to chat to some friendly faces after Friday's soiree!
COGNOSCO HERE - http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?125089
JEFF MILLS HERE - http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?124658
Sunday, 29 November 2009
The legend that is Back to Basics turned 18 last night and I had the good fortune of catching the last few hours there after finishing work with Andy Weatherall and Ralph Lawson leading the charge into the small hours of Sunday morning. Quiet an achievement for a city with a million and one house and techno nights every single weekend. Here is a link to an interview with head honcho Dave Beer, broadcast on BBC Look North last week. Here is to the next 18!
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Thursday, 5 November 2009
I'm playing in the bar this friday at Beaverworks in Leeds for the Detached night where Derrick May and the 65D Mavericks are headlining - it's a massive line up and probably the best thing going on in a wicked weekend in Leeds. It's £15 on the door or £12 guestlist if you follow the link below...
I'm playing at 5am and am going to be trying my hardest to stay relatively sober until that point!
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
I've just finished reading this pretty cool new article on Beatportal that gives a steady introduction to the (dare I say it!) 'Nu-Disco' craze that seems to be taking over the dancefloor at present. Thumbs up to Motor City Drum Ensemble for clocking Metro Area as the 'most classic and bet disco records from 2000 onwards'!
They missed out 'The Revenge' tho!
Monday, 2 November 2009
Friday 4th December 2009
Loft (Ground Floor) [Formerly known as Northern Light]
Cross York St, Leeds, LS2 7EE
ALEX NIGGEMANN (SUPERNATURE/2020 VISION/8BIT)
Paul Kaminski (mono_cult)
David Hulme (Resident)
Dan Hare (Resident)
Marsden (Farmhaus Records)
Luke Benson (Guest)
After the rip-roaring success of our first party at Oracle with Giles Smith, Cognosco returns in December at The Loft with another stellar line-up. There was more than a few tears shed when The Northern Light closed it’s doors two years ago, with many people proclaiming it to be one of the best club venues Leeds had ever seen. After much legal wrangling, cries of joy could be heard echoing around the city when the venue reopened again this autumn and Cognosco quickly stepped up to the challenge of taking the venue back to it’s former glory.
With rising star Alex Niggemann at the helm of the proceedings and support from some of Leeds finest purveyors of house and techno, the low slung ceilings and intimate surroundings of The Loft Basement (formerly The Velvet Underground) promise to make it the perfect venue for Cognosco’s December soiree.
Originally hailing from Dusseldorf, Alex relocated to Berlin in 2005 to study audio engineering and refine his knowledge in the art of music production. The move to the ‘Mecca’ of Techno proved a very successful one for Alex and before long he was DJ’ing in clubs all over Germany and had seen his remix of ‘Booka Shade –Darko’ released on Get Physical. Further releases in 2008 followed on the likes of Sport Club, Meerestief and Micro.fon and it wasn’t long before he was signed to Supernature Records, where his massive ‘Black Rose EP’ was released.
Nick Curly and Gorge immediately recognised Alex’s obvious talent for producing sublime house music and snapped him up for a number of releases and remixes on label of the moment ‘8 Bit Records’. With DJ requests coming in from all angles, a remix of Thomas Schumacher in the pipeline and forthcoming EP’s scheduled for release on Supernature and 2020 Vision over the coming months, Alex is someone pushing all the right buttons in the house and techno scene and it is an absolute pleasure to have him gracing the Cognosco decks in December.
Check it out here for more info - Alex Niggemann @ Cognosco
Tim Sheridan is someone who has never been afraid to try out new ideas and concepts when others around him are beginning to stagnate. It is this forward thinking attitude that has allowed him to remain a man at the top of his game for over twenty years. As founder of Kiss FM in the North, promoter and resident of the aptly named ‘Nastydirtysexmusic’ and ‘Veryveryveryverywrongindeed’ parties and member of both the Utah Saints and The Dope Smugglaz, Tim is someone who has had his fingers in a lot of pies.
After a hiatus of nearly ten years, Tim once again enters the live arena on November 7th when he launches his new four-piece band, The Very Very Wrong Indeed Limited Love Orchestra, at Matter in London. Traffic took ten minutes out of Tim’s busy schedule to find out a bit more about his new band project, his grievances with Johnny Laptop and why wearing a cape is the next best thing to a bottle of Vodka.
• The news of the Very Very Wrong Indeed Limited Love Orchestra has come as a bit of a welcome shock to me! Can you tell me a little bit about the band and how long you have been keeping this a secret from us all?
Haha! It's been a shock to me an' all. I tend to launch into things rather than plot and plan as you seem to get more done when things are in motion rather than fannying about being over-cautious and worrying about being cool. So it kind of all happened in a matter of weeks. It's not been a secret at all, we've been chatting about it quite publically on our forum for about 3 weeks, which is about exactly as long as we've been at it.
There isn't much to tell as it was a fairly simple thing. For, ooh I dunno, about 5 years now my DJ sets have mainly comprised of my own tunes, the rest being stuff off my label. I kind of live in a self-imposed vacuum way, way far away from people, so I don't often hear other people's music. I just found when I lived around music a lot, particularly in Soho, Shoreditch and Ibiza, you end up trying to fit in a bit, whether consciously or not you end up involved in trends. So I tried to kill that by becoming a hermit. Also you get a bit jaded, so when I do get out and hear stuff now it's nice. I'm not kidding about the hermit thing! I moved miles from anyone in Ibiza and the deep north of the UK. Anyway... what I am trying to say is I ended up playing mostly my own stuff when DJing, so it became a simple case of "why not play my stuff live?". I couldn't bear to do that "decks 'n' FX" thing, for my own conscience really, good luck to them that do that. I always used Pioneer gear since it came out in the mid 1990's, so I sort of assumed everyone did "decks and FX". But I wondered what stopped me playing live properly in the first place? As I was a live performer for... Oh Lord, at least from the mid 1980s to 2000. The DJ thing very sneakily took over, as it was a sort of parallel thing that I always did and very subtly became the main event over many, many years. All I am doing really is going back to what I did for ages. So now I mention it... and to be frank I haven't had the time to reflect on it much as this is the first interview or even proper conversation I have had on the subject... it's a no brainer innit? So no, not so much of a shock really. It's no different from maybe a footballer coming back from abroad to play for his home team again or something.
• It has become something of a trend in recent years for a number of British electronic music producers and DJ’s to temporarily put the turntables to one side and try their hand at incorporating the talents they have honed in electronic music into a live band setting. Ralph Lawson with the 2020 Sound System, Adam Freeland with his band Freeland and Atomic Hooligan are examples that instantly spring to mind. Do you think it is a natural progression for DJ’s? Are they sick of playing other peoples records or do you think there might be some childhood aspirations creeping back through?
Dunno about a trend. I would say considering the huge amount of DJs around lately it's very much a minority if not a rarity. As I said it's perhaps more the other way around. I'm just returning to my main occupation. I have to embarrass myself and say I've not seen any of those chaps you mention perform in the flesh. Are they 100% live? I really don't know sorry. I'd have to see them from the side of the stage. "Live" to me is playing the stuff with nothing pre-recorded. Musicians playing the parts or at worst, building the loops in front of you.
It might be a natural progression for DJs who are sick of playing other people's tunes but that has not been the case for me. Maybe subconsciously I am sick of playing my own tunes hahaha! I started as a live performer and had a ten year gap so it's a bit different for me. In a what... twenty six year career? Shit. But yeah... I was a musician first, then a producer. DJ’ing is what we did in the 80s for laughs. Something we never got paid for. God I mean people used to dance with each other and they didn't even LOOK at the DJ when I started. Sometimes we played in a different room! Anyway... I am dating myself badly now!
• And what was your inspiration to start the Very Very Wrong Indeed Limited Love Orchestra? Inspiration?
I think and I don't want it to sound negative but I was becoming a bit sick of Johnny Laptops hahaha! Both booking them as well as seeing them. Being a promoter as well as a performer I was finding acts billed as live were asking for more money but not really bringing anything to the table that justified the price or the description "live". Know what I mean? For me, and it's my own opinion only, you don't have to agree... but "Live" has to have musicianship, some skill that is a bit "above and beyond" what most can achieve and ultimately... I think unless it can go terribly, awfully tits-up at any moment... unless every single beat is a risk... then it's not what I consider live. I think the Musician's Union agrees hahaha!
• I read on the press release that the other band members that make up the Limited Love Orchestra all came from the Leeds College of Music. Can you tell me a bit more about the other guys involved? Were you all friends before the band came together?
No. It's work, to be brutally frank. The thing about bands from my experience is that if you work with friends you always end up at that "musical differences" point. Which is industry code for "hating each other's fucking guts" hahaha! I was very determined about it. I wanted the best people I could get, set up within a very professional framework. I have been on the other end too. So I very much sympathise with the musician. You end up deep in the "favour bank". Knee deep in real debt and overdrawn in the favour department. You get taken advantage of really... and end up playing for chips and a pint for so-called-mates. I'd like to give you a romantic tale about getting the chaps together but there isn't one. I want to deliver the best sound I can and for those involved to get treated properly and respect their skills. So I went to the best I could. The LCM is actually a really very highly respected school. I say that 'cos I am a bit of a stranger to Leeds having been away for so long and I had no idea it even existed! But it is one of the top places in Europe I understand. But I didn't hang around outside like an old perv or something hahaha! I sort of stumbled across musicians through work and ... God I have to 'fess up here... at Jazz gigs. There! I've said it. I go to Jazz gigs! I go to Classical gigs too while we are getting things off the old chest hahaha! In a nutshell you have to be at the top of your game to play the same groove like a metronome for hours on end. Only musicians who are, let's be frank, a bit overqualified for the job... only they can play electronic music live. By that I mean have the skills to go shoulder to shoulder with machines. You've seen Terminator. They don't get tired, the shiny bastards!
The other lads are all really top blokes. I have a "no tossers" environmental workplace policy hahahaha! Craig West is a really young fella I ended up doing some studio work with and it made sense to involve him as he is young, which is very important, as I am not! He is acquainted with my music and he is a total machine in terms of being a qualified Apple Mac teacher and all round super boffin. Plays Piano too.
Emlyn Vaughn on Bass was recommended when our original Bass man had to pull out. I sneaked out to Dirty Disco to check out his band "The Evil Mambo Band" who were playing outside at the last Kerbcrawler gig in Leeds. I saw him surrounded by technology which was a great start and he not only plays acoustic upright Bass, which I needed, but he has a 6 string electric which has very low notes that a normal 4 string can't reach. There is a lot of Sub-Bass in most modern music but particularly in my stuff. So I was sold on him immediately by his set-up, before I even listened.
Rob Lavers is probably the most hardcore member, meaning he is a real top pro. He is a highly sought-after Jazz player and based in Paris. He plays Alto and Soprano Sax. Flute too. However we often get him to sound like a synth and he really understands the odd-ball element. I said to the lads two main things by way of explanation ; firstly that "no fish is too strange for my aquarium" and "I hope you are good at counting, 'cos you will need comfy shoes and sandwiches for some of the long groove sections" hahaha!
We are fully digital like. It's not been easy. But everything goes in to a computer... actually it's 3 computers! And then it comes out as just two little output leads at the back. I really had to go back to school with all the tech stuff.
• Some of our older readers may recollect that this isn’t the first time you’ve entered the live band arena. You had a remarkable amount of success with your band ‘The Dope Smugglaz’ in the late nineties up until the turn of the century; you even scored a number 1 hit and appeared on Top of the Pops! Are you aiming for a similar crossover appeal with the VVWI Orchestra?
Oh dear! "some of our older readers!" is it?! hahaha! So we won't even mention The Utah Saints then!? I also played in quite a few Acid Jazz bands and with Jerry Dammers so... I dunno, Dope Smugglaz was just a small part of things really. Certainly deliberately designed for that thing. To crossover. In fact it was made for the charts quite deliberately.
• Can we expect to see you sitting pretty at Number 1 come Christmas time then?
I'll be brief on this one. No. I can't see a ten minute long monologue about circus freaks fucking each other being on telly before the watershed at Christmas hahaha! Oh dear no.
• Matter in London is perhaps the most talked about club in the UK this year and you launch the band there in a couple of weeks time. Is it possible for someone with such an illustrious career in dance music to still get butterflies over such an event?
Oh fucking hell yes! I've been having a three-week long cardiac ever since I got the proper musicians on board. I can play... but I've not done it for about ten years! So I have to stand on stage in front of 2000 people in between top session players and step up to the plate. So I have been basically practicing every day. You know that bit in "Rocky" where he is beating the meat? Hahahaha! Not knocking one out! But whacking sides of beef in preparation for the bout? Well I am a bit like that but practicing scales on a bit of frozen chicken in the garage. It's not every day a band that has never performed in public gets to debut like this, so I imagine some readers will be curious. Essentially I went to and spoke to the guys at Matter, some of whom are old mates from Fabric when I think about it. I asked them if we could play and obviously there was bound to be an element of "why on earth would we book that?!" Hahaha! Naturally.
However I sort of explained that they had booked me enough times as a DJ, and in terms of music it would not be that different. If they could book me to play my own tunes then why not to play them live? So full credit to them for accepting us and giving us this unique opportunity. I think one of the many reasons Matter is so successful and talked about is that they would do something like this. It's a credit to the character of Will, the boss, and testament to the ethos of the Fabric family in general. All round good eggs!
• What would you recommend to get over any pre-gig nerves?
I do have a plan to eradicate the pre gig nerves, which by the way started weeks ago. Basically I can't drink, as the playing of drums and doing vocals at the same time is 100% about physical co-ordination. So I just can't have any Dutch Courage at all. So the plan is to come onstage in a full length opera cape. You just can't be scared of anything in a cape. Ask Darth Vader, Jack The Ripper, Florence Nightingale.... I mean in his later years Elvis always came onstage in a Cape. Say no more! Hahaha!
• Where is next on the tour list?
Again... I've really not thought that far ahead. The idea is that this one gig at Matter will be recorded and used like a trailer for a film if you like. I use that comparison rather than use the word "demo" as only the film industry spends so much on a trailer. We plan to film and record it and use that to put together a tour for next year. As it stands it is the only gig. Our first... and who knows... maybe our last! Christ I've jinxed it now!
• So would it be fair to imagine that there are plans for an album in the pipeline?
Ah you see you are assuming again that I've thought that far ahead! Bzzzz! No! Sorry. All that and more it is fair to imagine absolutely... but honestly? Not thought about it at all. I have blisters and backache to worry about. 90% of the stuff we are playing is already released on VVWI records. So that is a consideration for the future but it would be nice to get the chaps recording some new, original Limited Love Orchestra stuff for sure. Eventually I'd like to hang up my tattered DJ Cape and go full time in the new Cape if it's possible. I don't really put mixes out, as I like people who pay money to see me DJ to be getting something not easily available... as with this I think I'd like to keep it live for a bit... to encourage not just everyone out there but ourselves in the band to enjoy the live thing and keep it special.
• A lot of electronic music producers tend to go through a number of styles they perhaps are not normally renowned for when producing an album. For instance, watching Andrew Weatherall under his Two Lone Swordsmen guise for the first time was a real departure from what I had come to expect from his DJ performances and not at all what I had imagined I would be listening to. Will you be incorporating lots of different genres into the band’s album or can we look forward to the similar sorts of sounds that what we would see you playing in a club setting?
Well I'd have to say first and foremost that making a record and playing records are totally different things. I don't expect a producer to make a record for home listening that resembles a track made specifically for dancing. I guess for us it is the opposite. We get confused that people can't get their head around the fact that when you DJ you are doing a specific job of making people dance. As a Producer the whole world of music is open to you really. I understand that some DJs-stroke-producers are sort of a one-stop-shop. They make records for DJs and dancefloors and the two are sides of a single coin. Some of us have many hats for as many heads. I have made Radio Jingles in the past... music for TV and much more leftfield projects.
I will go out on a limb and suggest this issue of perception is one that I don't share and understand less. Why should your DJing be connected to your productions or vice-versa? Wevvers is a pioneer in the studio and I think what we are talking about here is ability. Lesser artists than him are only capable of one hat. He is able to make more extreme and interesting music than just DJ tools. So he does. I don't understand why that is odd? I think that the job of DJing is very clear. But it is also restrictive by definition. For example you can't make people dance by straying outside of expectations; when they are expecting 4/4 of a certain tempo, you can't play Trip Hop or 3/4 at a House venue. Not if you want people to dance! And that is your job! To make people dance and tread the line of doing that, but in a new and interesting manner but it must be said... within a restricted zone. Well you could do 3/4 if you want to bring back the waltz hahaha! I might do that. Anyway, sorry. I digress. We are performing my music live, so it's certainly danceable. The tracks have already been released for DJs and used for that purpose. We are operating within that area... but at the odder end of the pool. The live element will add to that... er... danceability? Is that a word? but we hope to add a melodic dimension as well as make it a fatter, wider sound. Plus there is the car crash factor. Come see us explode in a massive spastic fuck up hahaha!
• Comparisons are inevitably going to be drawn to the 2020 Sound System because of the affiliations you share with the city of Leeds and Back to Basics, as well as your reputations for playing good quality house music. Have you had a chat with or received any advice from Ralph Lawson on the formation of your new band? Do you hope to achieve success on the same kind of level that the 2020 Sound System has enjoyed?
It's not totally fair on either Ralph or us to do that but it is perhaps likely to be said. To be honest I've spent the past 20 odd years mainly in London and abroad so perhaps that is your perception from being based in Leeds. I have less connection than you think perhaps, or let's say I have many other strong and long connections in Ibiza and London as well as Leeds, which is still my favourite party town in the UK I must say.
I was playing live on stage, at Basics for example, long ago. We did New Years Eve at Basics at Mint in what... 1999? As a live band. Ralph was very complimentary I recall, which was kind of him. We've been mates a long time. Ever since he came to work for us at Kiss FM in fact. When was that? 1996?
I'd like to, at this early stage, say our influence is far more like The Bays. Not only are they a fully live electronic act, maybe the only one that I know of... I also played in a band with their drummer, the amazing Andy Gangadeen. So if I had to say we were compared to any act it would be them. Although to be fair we are, like the 2020 lads, more inclined towards the dancefloor than The Bays. We do have Jazz players but we are all about the funk! The Bays improvise on the hoof and it can meander. We are very prepared and rehearsing like mad. Ideally we want it to be so you can't tell when a DJ ends and we begin. "Ideally" he says!
I chatted with Ralph at his Birthday recently as it happens and mentioned it to him. I have a pic of him when he was a nipper playing the drums in his room in a lovely jumper! hahaha! So we were chatting about drumming and stuff and I mentioned the band but no... I didn't seek any advice, Ralph is aware that this is my 4th electronic live act or something. It's weird but... I suppose I'd better get used to it, in Leeds anyway. I can't speak for Ralph but people often ask me if I am pissed off about there being loads of afterhours now... considering in the past my afterhours were often the only ones in a town. I'm always like "why!?" I didn't invent the afterhours! I'm positive Ralph doesn't claim authorship of electronic bands. That's what I mean by it being a bit unfair. Anyway! Your "older readers" may have heard of other live electronic bands hahaha! Now if we could be compared to Kraftwerk! That would be ace if not highly unlikely. I'd be dead honoured to be compared to Ralph and the 2020 chaps though. Truly.
• Can we expect to see you grabbing a microphone during your live performances? If not, do you have any guest vocalists lined up for the shows?
I've done all the vocals and instruments on the recordings so yeah. On our forum they were taking the piss that I'd be a one-man band with a bass drum strapped to my back and bells on my knob end and that! I learned early doors to delegate on this thing. I was going to play both the Piano and Drums and do the vocals but the pressure was too much! There is a rich heritage of drummer-singers. Karen Carpenter, Don Henley... er... Sheila E... hahaha! Phil Collins! Oh dear! Brilliant! Ignore all that actually. It is actually quite rare though. Something to do with using all four limbs. Mind you... Bach could improvise four part harmonies on a pedal organ when he was spunk or something equally precocious hahaha! A monkey could do what I do! DJs have no idea how hard music can be I suppose. Your average classical musician is a fucking Ninja compared to playing two bits of plastic together. Anyway... it's all about the Monkey not the Organ Grinder in our band hahaha!
• If you could be in any band for a week past and present (other than the Limited Love Orchestra, obviously!), whom would you choose? And which member would you most like to be?
Oh actually that is really easy. I'd be Maurice White in Earth Wind and Fire. Ah right! There is a drummer-singer! And he was the bandleader and songwriter. Mind you I was obsessed with Stuart Copeland from The Police. I copied him terribly! Mind you I couldn't be in the same room as Stink... I mean Sting! It would have been funny to be in James Brown's band I reckon. I'd quite like to have been one of those in-house session fellas for Motown Records. Like Uriel Jones or Benny Benjamin. To have been a fly on the wall for some of those sessions must've been really something. Never mind playing with so many weirdos and legends on so many ace tunes. Many like, in one take you know? But I suppose bottom line is if I was in Earth, Wind and Fire I'd get not only to wear a cape but to be a proper Alien Space Egyptian, which was their look. What's not to like about that? Yeah... although we'd have to rename it Earth, Wind, Fire and Timmy. Which would totally ruin it! Hahahaha!
The Limited Love Orchestra performs their debut live on the main stage of Matter, The Millenium Dome, London on Saturday the 7th November with Trentmoller and support. VVWI Recordings also takes over Matter on 28th November with Blackstrobe, Vitalic, Guido Scheider and VVWI DJs.
Get involved in their forum at : http://vvwi.forumotion.com/
check out Jazz Master Rob Lavers at : http://roblavers.co.uk/
Read the full article on Trafficmag.org HERE
Monday, 19 October 2009
I thought I would post some of the old articles/interviews I did for traffic magazine in 2008, in the days when it was paper based before the swish new website was launched earlier this year. Articles include a review of Booka Shade live at Insomnia, a quick chat with Surgeon about his forthcoming gig in Leeds and an ace interview with Daz Quayle which I was pretty pleased about!
Silver Club is the brainchild of techno and electronica producers DNCN, Marc Ashken and Tommy Walker III. The trio have combined to form a live band with a fresh new sound that may come as a little surprise for fans of their individual outputs. Traffic takes five minutes to catch up with them and find out what they have been up to.
Right guys; who are you and what do you do?
Tommy: I'm Tommy Walker III and I play the bass guitar.
Duncan: I’m Duncan Edward Jones (aka DNCN) and I sing and play guitar and do some beats and synths and other stuff!
Marc: And I’m Marc Ashken and I control all the synths and beats and do some backing vocals too.
How long have the band been together?
Tommy: We’ve been together for around six months. Our first gig was in June but the material has been in development for a little bit longer.
Comparisons of the band with the likes of Depeche Mode, Beck, New Order and David Bowie have already been bandied about – that is quite an accolade! How would you describe the sound of SilverClub?
Marc: Nice, I didnt even know about the Bowie reference - We'll have to get the eye shadow out!
Tommy: Someone on Myspace told us we were like 'true Northern electronic soul'.
How many gigs have you played and how have you been received?
Duncan: It’s something like nine or ten shows now, and the crowd have been pretty enthusiastic for sure. It’s good to see the kids dance!
Tommy: We just played 4 gigs in a row for ‘In the city’ which is a big industry convention which happens each year in Manchester. That was pretty hectic! It was also nice to play the Academy with Sisters of Transisters.
And what type of crowds are you attracting at these gigs?
Duncan: It’s been kind of a mixed crowd although it is good to see some of the techno kids there as sometimes there appears to be a weird shyness about band crowds to cut loose and dance. If the crowd from the clubs are there then they are more likely to dance it seems.
Tommy: I'd like to see a few grannies in the crowd. And I want to hear mothers talk about us in supermarkets.
Duncan: Yeah that would be sweet! Nattering about Silverclub while getting their smart price orange juice and OK! magazine!
Tommy: Our PR person is hammering all the retirement homes right now.
The sound of Silverclub is a marked difference from the minimal, techno and electro beats the three of you have released individually on labels such as Leftroom, Dust Science and Rottenrow. What brought about the shift in style? Are the techno productions going to take a backseat for the moment?
Marc: Yes and No. Obviously I’m working on the band a lot more at the moment so my techno output has slowed down a bit; but at the same time I have got a few remixes and an EP due in the near future. After that though there is not so much as an individual until my second album.
Tommy: This project certainly gives us an outlet for a different kind of thing, but at the same time I've been doing band stuff on and off for years so its no big change of direction for me. I’m sure our solo careers will continue, but as Marc says, there is only so much time in the day!
Duncan: I’m still keeping it on with the techno.
I notice that Marc and Duncan provide the vocals on the bands releases. I didn’t even know you guys could sing! What is the history behind these secret vocal talents?
Marc: Practising in the shower… and the swimming pool.
Tommy: When someone holds a gun to your head and tells you to sing you can learn pretty quick.
Marc: I sung a bit on my solo album and it kind of developed from there.
Tommy: I’ve not opened my mouth yet but I can't promise that will continue
No school choir, singing lessons or embarassing stories about your singing career from a younger age then?
Marc: Nope – I didn’t sing at all as a kid. My voice seems to be eternally breaking!
Tommy: My only previous experience was hymns in assembly. I used to like singing 'The Lords Dance'.
‘Crash This Car’ is your first single, due out on Leftroom records in the very near future. Tell us a bit more about the release package.
Duncan: For our first single we have guest vocals from our friend Lois Winstone,and remixes from former Warp electro dude Jimmy Edgar and Leftroom’s own Matt Tolfrey alongside Marc Ashken.
Marc: Yeah that remix comes under our new guise of T.A.S.H, which has had support from Laurent Garnier, Dubfire, James Holden, Nic Fanculli, Lee Burridge, Simon Baker, Seth Troxler and Ryan Crosson. It’s quite different from the other T.A.S.H stuff but that’s where we were on the day so we went with it.
What are Silverclubs plans for the upcoming months? Many more gig and releases planned? Have you got an album in the pipeline?
Tommy: We’ll probably get another single out in January and we’ve got something like two albums worth of material so we need to get one out as soon as possible.
Duncan: Well there’s enough tracks for a triple album if we were so inclined but that might be just a bit 70’s!
Tommy: We need to do EVERY festival next year.
Duncan: We're just putting some dates together at the moment
Anything else you would like to add?
Marc: No poll tax!
Duncan: Down with Thatcher!
‘Crash This Car’ is released digitally on Monday November 3rd.
Surgeon is certainly no stranger to these parts and makes a very welcome visit back to the city of Leeds at the end of June with a live set alongside Regis as the British Murder Boys at Detached. One of the most important figures in the UK techno scene, Surgeon has been at the top of his game for well over ten years; a time which has seen him hold down a three year residency at the infamous Tresor club in Berlin, find the time to manage two fantastic record labels in the shape of Counter Balance and Dynamic Tension and produce a discography that makes the bible look like a short story. Countless releases and remixes on revered techno labels such as Harthouse, Warp, Peacefrog and Music Man have cemented his place as a luminary in his field and as the years have passed by Surgeons sound has also developed to incorporate more and more less conventional techno sounds to create a powerful and intense listening experience. Never one to shy away from technological developments; his live sets incorporates the latest advancements in sound production and his collaborations with Regis have produced a performance which is as much visually assaulting as it is on the eardrums. Traffic caught up with Surgeon to cast a glimpse into the mind of a British Murder Boy.
Most people would file your productions in the techno department but in reality they blur the boundaries between many other genres including IDM, electronica, dubstep and glitch. How did the move away from the more conventional techno sound come about?
Surgeon: I've always worn my influences on my sleeve. Since the very beginning my music has contained many other elements than just 'straight techno'. I've always thought of techno as the vessel or carrier wave to transmit other elements.
The first, most obvious move from conventional techno in my own productions was my first LP for Tresor, Basictonalvocabulary released
Your remix CV reads quite differently to the average dance music producer with remixes for bands such as Mogwai, Faust and Coil. You cite these bands as heavy influences on your musical tastes so it must have been a real honour to get the opportunity. How did it all come about?
Surgeon: I've always found it much more interesting and fun to remix music outside 'straight techno'; it’s a way to create new hybrids. The
remixes came about just by being asked to do them and I accepted
because I thought they would be interesting and fun!
Is there a difference to your set up when playing by yourself or as the British Murder Boys? What equipment do you use when playing live? Do you ever play a conventional DJ set anymore?
Surgeon: When we play as British Murder Boys we sync our setups together. Our setups change all the time and incorporate different instruments and devices. I last played using a conventional DJ setup at the end of 2001; I'm having way too much fun using the technology I do to go back to that. I would never say that every DJ has to play the way I do, there are just more choices these days. In fact, it's still really rare for me to play with other DJs who don't play vinyl.
The stage presence you create when playing as the British Murder Boys really is something to behold; it sticks to fingers up to the people who say a live set looks like someone checking their e-mails. Is this something you and Regis intentionally set out to create or has it just flowed naturally as your live sets developed? How important do you feel it is to interact with the crowd?
Surgeon: It's something that occurs very naturally. There's a unique energy when we perform together, quite mischievous and on the edge of total chaos. We always said that if we'd gone to school together we would have been separated, if they'd let us sit together, we would have caused too much trouble.
Connection with the crowd is vital; otherwise we might as well be playing on our own at home.
The House of God is synonymous with the Birmingham dance music scene and has been recognised as the longest running techno night in the UK. How does it feel to be involved in something with such a long running reputation and what does the future hold for the event? How does playing at the House of God rank now compared to the early days?
Surgeon: My involvement with House of God is one of the things I'm most proud
of. At the moment we're just doing a couple of events each year.
We're all a lot older than when we started it back in 1993!
You have appeared in Leeds quite a few times over the years at nights past and present such as Superconductor, The Darkside and Room 237. You’re also credited as being the last DJ to ever play at the Orbit. What has been your favourite gig in Leeds and how do you enjoy playing in the city?
Surgeon: My favourite gigs are always in the UK, there's always a much more personal, closer connection with the crowd. I really enjoyed the Room 237 gig, playing after Rob Hall and Sleep Archive worked really well and the soundsystem was great that night. Another really great night I remember playing in Leeds was at Northern Lights in 2005 on the Squarepusher tour.
You’ll be back in Leeds at the end of June playing as the British Murder Boys at Detached. What do you know about the night and are you
looking forward to it?
Surgeon: We know for sure it will be a good one!
What can we look forward to in the rest of 2008 from Surgeon and the British Murder Boys?
Surgeon: More from Britain's best loved absurdist space rock duo!
Think the Plump DJ’s meets DJ Yoda and you wouldn’t be far off from Addictive TV. An English DVJ duo combine an array of iconic movie samples manipulated in ways you wouldn’t think possible with some seriously groovy breakbeat to create a full on audio visual delight with the focus firmly on the party.
Voted number VJ’s twice in the world in 2004 and 2006 by DJ Mag, Addictive TV were the first group to officially remix a Hollywood film when they transformed Antonio Banderas film ‘Take the Lead’ into a musical and visual dance track. Further blockbuster remixes included them scratching Samuel L Jackson to bits for a top dollar drum and bass take on ‘Snakes on a Plane’ and recently Robert Downey Jnr. got the Addictive TV treatment when they transformed ‘The Iron Man’ into a ravey breakbeat stormer.
Grandmaster Flash, Jeff Mills and Kraftwerk head honcho Karl Bartos all think they are the business and with two shows at Glastonbury this year and appearances in over 40 different countries it seems conclusive that the rest of the world agree. Traffic gets five minutes to catch up with the pair and switches on to Addictive TV.
Welcome Addictive TV – Give us a quick run down on who you are and what do you do.
Graham: Well, we're producers and audiovisual artists, think DJs but with added pictures. AV is a kind of cross over between, and joining of I guess, DJing and VJing and that's our thing really. To us, the whole visuals thing is really a natural progression of remix culture.
Tolly: And when me and Graham perform, we use DVD turntables - Pioneer’s DVJ:1000s, which in fact we helped in the testing and development of for Pioneer five or six years ago now. DVD turntables are a huge leap forward for acts like ourselves - allowing us to use DVDs in the same way a traditional DJ would use vinyl or CD. What we play though is very different from a standard DJ though, it’s all breakbeat oriented remixes that we create ourselves from all kinds of films and music videos. Everything from a breaks-ska remix of Laurel & Hardy or Blondie Vs The Doors, to our mad reworkings of cult 60’s films like The Italian Job or Get Carter.
How did the move into blurring the line between movies and music come about? Were you producing tracks before the visual element came along or vice versa?
Graham: Both in many ways. Long before now, I was a VJ for many years - doing visuals in clubs and at festivals, but yeah we’ve been remixing films and creating audio/visual remixes of tracks for years. It was actually our bootleg movie cut-ups that landed us work for Hollywood in the first place. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of remixing a film. I mean people have been sampling films for years, particularly in the audio world, but artists generally never took an entire film and remixed it, keeping some form of narrative and building the actual beats and melody from just one film, completely sampled to the max.
Tolly: Yeah, personally I’ve been writing music since I was a kid, I was taught piano from the age of 5. And before doing what we’re doing now, I used to compose scores for theatre and for TV, which is how I first met Graham, as I wrote music for Transambient, the trippy late night visuals series that he was producing for Channel 4 back in the late 90’s.
Over the past couple of years you’ve become really involved in producing dance remixes of blockbuster movies. Where did the opportunity to do this come from?
Tolly: Well, it was back in 2006 and a really switched on marketing guy at New Line Cinema, the studio behind The Lord of the Rings, had seen some of our work and they simply asked if we were up for doing something similar for a promotional campaign for the Antonio Banderas film Take The Lead. It was all a bit of shot in the dark at the time but the fact our remix then won an advertising industry award proved something!
Graham: Yeah, it was kind of like a big experiment for them and they didn't really know what they were going to get. It was a completely new idea that no Hollywood studio had ever tried before - an advert made from audiovisually sampling and remixing an entire film. Fantastically, they gave us total creative freedom to sample and cut the movie up, and we were given over five hours of un-edited footage. They loved it, and now it's been downloaded over a million times across the web, and it led directly to us making the US network trailers for that Samuel L Jackson movie Snakes On a Plane - which is another whole story! But it’s great that other big studios like, say Paramount, have seen this and taken the initiative to approach us and embrace this too.
What are the most important elements when selecting a movie to use as part of your work?
Graham: Like any DJ or producer looking for great audio samples, what we look for has to sound good but also for us has to look good too. So a film ideally needs a lot of percussive sounds and, say, snappy dialogue, but the dream is when films include scenes of people playing musical instruments or singing, that makes it much easier. But with film remixing particularly, there’s the added complication of finding shots that also help explain the narrative and essence of the story but making sure they also work musically too!
Tolly: Yeah, thinking in two mediums at once can get complicated! It’s something we’ve had to work out how to do from first principles to achieve exactly what we want. It’s not easy to describe, but it’s kind of a cross between film-making and composing, the difference with us though is that we don’t separate out the process for audio and video - we treat them as part of just one thing, and hopefully that shows in the end results. What you see is what you hear and vice versa.
I was watching your music videos on the net and found them to be totally engrossing. At times it was hard to focus on what was going on in front of my eyes and ears at the same time and can imagine the experience would only be more intense in a club setting! How do you work the live shows between the two of you and what equipment forms the basis of your performance?
Graham: Yeah, in a club setting with huge screens, the energy of both music and film completely combined can be really intense; we played in an giant IMAX once too – that’s was mind-blowing for the audience. As a good example, when there’s a breakdown in the music which then, say, slowly builds back up into a heart-thumping dramatic crescendo, we’ll build that musical composition with a very specific dramatic sequence within the film remix, making full use of the dramatic power of the images. This simply creates ‘a dance music audio/visual experience’, for want of a better phrase, that music on it’s own simply can’t do.
Tolly: For our live shows, I mostly handle the audio and Graham the video - but having said that I’m sending him video anyway and he’s sending me audio too! So it’s all complete crossover. Gear wise, these days we use a combination of laptop and 3 DVD turntables - the Pioneer DVJ-1000’s, plus an audio mixer with MIDI (like a Pioneer DJM-1000 or 800) that can control our video mixer, that’s also been modified to also take audio - so as an AV mixer it enables us to cut and scratch audio and video at the same time. The laptop runs VJammPro which is audiovisual triggering software, so contains banks of AV samples.
Graham: But that’s the club or music festival set-up. We also perform more on the art tip, with what we call ‘live cinema’ projects, and when we perform our show “The Eye of the Pilot”, like at film or arts festivals, we also have a second laptop running Ableton Live with a MIDI controller, three audio mixers and our guitarist Alex with his specially built fretless seven-string guitars! It’s a very rehearsed project, much like any band.
Is it exclusively your own material in your shows or do you drop tracks by other producers as well when playing live?
Graham: No, we only play our material in our shows. We’ve occasionally played the odd sample made by friends of ours, but no it’s pretty much exclusively our own created material. I think that’s because we’re more like a strange hybrid between a band or electronic act and a DJ, meaning that despite the fact that our shows are breakbeat driven and danceable for a couple of hours, like a DJ, we’re an act in that the material is our own - whether remixes or original compositions. And when people come to see us, they expect, like any act or band, to hear - and see in our case - their favourite tracks from us.
The path you’ve trodden as Addictive TV over the past couple of years has taken you to all corners of the globe and offered you the chance to play gigs in places that perhaps wouldn’t get offered to the typical dance music band. You have appeared at a very broad and wide variety of events, ranging from a rock festival in Texas, all out stompathons in Barcelona and Amsterdam, through to more artistic and film orientated events and exhibitions in Paris and Shanghai. Which type of gigs do you enjoy most and why?
Tolly: Yeah, travelling can be very tiring and playing gigs all over the planet is exactly what you'd expect it to be - sometimes amazing and other times really shit. Often you rarely get enough time to actually see places properly or get much of an insight into local culture - but we do usually try and stay a day or two extra in some places when we can and hook up with local artists and so on. It’s great that we’ve been able to play in places like China, India, Brazil - and even Bhutan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, places you might not otherwise get to visit.
Graham: But to answer your question about which type of gigs we prefer, the answer has to be both, in many respects no different to artists or DJs like Jeff Mills or Richie Hawtin who cross the same divide. Audiences go for different reasons, clubland and the more – as you put it – “artistic and film oriented events” are they're two different animals. In other words, clubs and art spaces, VJing and playing audiovisual sets, has to be treated slightly differently. It's not rocket science. Club and music festival audiences are out for a good time and want more “up-for-it” sets, art audiences tend to want something they can think about more. For example, our current live-cinema project “The Eye of the Pilot” we’ve only ever performed in cinemas, museums and art centres - it’s not right for a club, it’s much more of a sit down performance. Having said that though, a lot of what we do is created so it can be watched quite intently, and so works in a cinema space as well as in passing, like as part of a club set. So there is cross-over.
Visuals are becoming more and more important in clubland every day with VJ’s becoming almost as regular as DJ’s at big dance nights and previously ‘music only’ DJ’s such as James Zabiela and Sander Kleinenberg continuing to explore the ground between audio and visual performances. Obviously this is a positive thing; How far do you think the audiovisual experience can go and what other avenues can it explore in the media?
Graham: I think there are many new avenues to explore but quite what they all are is a little difficult to say. As with a lot of new things, where they go and how they spread depends on loads of variables, most of which are unknown right now. In the case of AV, technological advances in software and hardware are critical to its development. And there’s a plethora of cultural trends which always shape art forms - and these are notoriously difficult to predict or even categorise! There’s definitely a few trends appearing though, you can see how audio/visual remix culture is certainly now influencing mainstream television - particularly advertising and music videos. I think its influence will get stronger in those areas and then also be felt in other fields from film-making to computer games. It’ll also figure much more on the web as data transfer speeds go up and web based video is everywhere, as seems to be happening now.
Tolly: Lots of theatrical performances now use video as a part of what they do, quite a lot of traditional artists, who come from a fine art background, are turning to motion graphics now too.
Graham: Yeah, I've seen street theatre and even opera using video, and I also know of people working with projected light graffiti for live performances. If those are just a few current trends, who knows where it will end up. Hopefully everywhere!
You were recently in China promoting ‘Sportive’; your art in sport audio visual presentation to tie in with the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. How did it go down with all that’s currently going on surrounding the Games?
Graham: It was great, we were performing at the opening of the Adidas “Sport in Art” event in Shanghai before the whole exhibition then went on tour to places like Nanjing and Beijing. Bear in mind this was right at the end of 2007, well before any of the political issues began to flare up around Tibet and the whole torch fiasco, so there was no trouble in that respect.
Tolly: The event though was held outside in the grounds of the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Shanghai, something they hadn’t done before; and just as we started it did only take five minutes before the police turned up and tried to shut it down, but the organisers did have all the correct paperwork, so all was cool. But it was great being part of that exhibition, there were some fantastic pieces of work there from all over the world, and we were really privileged to be the only UK artists chosen to take part.
Graham: We were actually commissioned direct by Adidas to create Sportive, as opposed to anyone directly from the Olympic organising committees or the Chinese government I should point out, so our involvement was slightly tangential in that respect. I mean in theory, sport and politics shouldn’t mix too much, but unfortunately in the real world they do and some think the that Western artists should boycott working in China. But I don’t really agree, I think we actually need cultural engagement and artists shouldn’t be afraid to do work that’s going to be seen in China. An artist might not agree with a country’s government or their policies, but does that mean their citizen’s should be denied access to culture from elsewhere? It’s easy for people to jump onto a ‘politically cool’ bandwagon, whilst not thinking about their Chinese-made clothes, watching their TV, using their laptop and mobile phone that have all been made in China! In fact most governments around the world do questionable things, the British government included, but you never hear of artists saying because of the Iraq war they won't play in the UK or the USA. I think some people need to be careful of double standards. Right, I’ll get off my soap-box now!
What's next in the pipeline for Addictive TV?
Graham: Believe it or not, next up is another project to do with the Olympics!! But this time for live television. It’s an interactive experiment remixing the Olympics live for Austrian broadcaster ORF, who are boldly going where no TV channel has gone before! So we’ll be capturing moments as they happen, looping them, scratching them and mixing them with music, audio and video effects, and audio/visual tracks we’ve created from the Olympics archive they gave us. Right now we’re cutting breakbeat AV loops from table tennis, weight-lifting and beach-volleyball…! So we’re off to Vienna, to the studios and transmission suites at ORF.
Tolly: Then after that it’s another movie remix for Hollywood! Things aren’t all signed off yet, so sadly we can’t talk about it - but the film has a big fan base waiting for this movie already!
Graham: And more on the art tip, we’re working on our new live cinema project ‘Sampling the Culture’ about the isolated Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, which this earlier this year became the World’s newest democracy as it happens! It’s a very closed off country that not many people have ever been allowed to go to, let alone film there. They only allowed television seven years ago and most of the country still has no electricity. We spent time there last year, filming traditional musicians and ancient dance rituals in a monastery with Buddhist monks in the mountains. We also shot monks playing volleyball and completely stoned cows eating wild marijuana that just grew everywhere on the mountain sides...! Absolutely incredible place. It’s a slow burner this project and taking time to create… so check back with us in a year!
Tolly: And with gigs, we’re doing a huge outdoor gig in Liverpool for the European Capital of Culture celebrations, at the Mersey Tunnel - that’s in October. And we’ve got dates coming up in Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Poland, Switzerland and best of all New Years Eve in India!
Finally – Chances out of ten for seeing an Addictive TV remix of Hollyoaks?
Tolly: It’d have to be the signed one on Sunday mornings!
Graham: EastEnders and Heroes are ahead in the queue though I’m afraid - and then there’s Ray Mears too, and Bruce Parry and his umpteen episodes of Tribe! …and The Queen’s speech.
Tolly: But then again, if Channel 4 asked us… :o) …lol
Check out the all new Traffic Magazine website at www.trafficmag.org
I thought I would post some of the old articles/interviews I did for traffic magazine in 2008, in the days when it was paper based before the swish new website was launched earlier this year. Articles include a review of Booka Shade live at Insomnia, a quick chat with Surgeon about his forthcoming gig in Leeds and an ace interview with Daz Quayle which I was pretty pleased about!
It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Winding down with a post work can of beer after a tiresome shift serving cheap alcopops to students at an r’n’b event, me and a friend were partaking in a semi-civilised rant on how Booka Shade’s ‘Body Language’ had been savagely taken apart and had a rather tasteless vocal slapped on top of it, which the DJ had then played alongside the best of 50 Cent and Beyonce at the aforementioned night. To alleviate our woes somewhat, we pulled ‘Booka Shade – Live at Puckelpop’ from its DVD case and kicked back on a sofa whilst listening to the dulcet beats provided from their ‘Movements’ tour in 2006. Enthralled by their buoyant stage presence and the vibrant energy of the crowd, “I’d love to see Booka Shade live” was the general consensus between us.
Walking towards University on a wind swept September morning only a couple of days later, a large, bold poster jumped out at me from the advertising boards - ‘Insomnia presents Booka Shade Live at Leeds University’. I couldn’t believe my luck.
Fast forward around a month and I’m stood in a packed out Stylus, the crowd suitably poised for Booka Shade after an impressive warm up from the Insomnia residents. Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger take to the stage just after half past twelve, and play around with a quick dubstep intro for around thirty seconds before launching into Mandarine Girl for their opening song. For anyone who has not yet had the pleasure of witnessing the Booka Shade live experience, this is as close to watching a ‘real band’ as you are likely to come from two electronic music producers. Shunning the laptop and midi controller set up of a number of live dance acts, Arno takes control of a full sized midi-synced drum kit, while Walter stands at the helm of a wide array of different synths, everything tied together through a laptop running Abelton Live.
As well as the music that Booka Shade provided being absolutely brilliant, the visual element of watching two guys bounce around to their songs as much as anyone on the dancefloor really served to hype the crowd up into a frenzy. The energy levels both in the music and on the dancefloor never dropped once throughout their live show and a chorus of screams erupted every time they dropped classic tracks such as ‘Oh Superman’ and ‘In White Rooms’. As the performance lasted only an hour, Booka Shade continued to drop dancefloor bomb after dancefloor bomb, the music remaining at a constant crescendo. Some have criticised Booka Shade’s new album ‘The Sun and The Neon Light’ for being a little different to previous incarnations and not containing as many floor fillers as before, but the newer material fitted perfectly into the show tonight and was as equally well received as some of the older tracks.
Arno introduced their first ‘last’ song over his microphone, a rendition of ‘Put Put Put’, which was the first ever Get Physical release, produced by Mandy. Although a fine record in its own right, surely this wasn’t to be the last record of the night? Body Language, of course? Sure enough, after briefly disappearing off the stage, Arno and Walter took up their positions once again and the opening basslines of ‘Body Language’ filtered through the Stylus soundystem. A sea of outstretched arms pointed towards the ceiling, and as the volume was dropped just before the bassline kicked back in, the whole of Stylus hummed the chorus in unison as Arno orchestrated the sing-along on stage. Everyone was quite literally dripping in sweat by this point and I’d lost count how many times my feet had been trampled on but at times like this it seems to add to the experience and no-one in the audience seemed the slightest bit bothered. Booka Shade appeared back on stage on for one final encore and the crowd bounced around one last time as they finished off the show with a track from their new album.
With what seemed like every other person in the building, as soon as the live performance had ended we headed for the smoking area where we had to actually queue up to have a cigarette! After satisfying our nicotine pangs we headed into Pulse, where DJ’s from the Gouranga club night were knocking out some pretty decent house, minimal and electro. We got up to leave Stylus just before the allotted 4am finish time and the dancefloor in the main room was still absolutely rammed, which is a cracking effort for a school night.
My only major gripes with the night where that the system didn’t really sound loud enough if you were stood anywhere but at the front of the stage, but with an area the size of Stylus I guess that’s always going to be some kind of problem, especially in a University venue that’s unlikely to have the funds to spend on something like a Funktion One system. Also towards the end of the night in Stylus there was some rather dubious sounding fidget/wonky house being played which didn’t really seem fitting considering what music had gone on before but I guess that’s more down to my personal preference so I can’t lambast them too badly. Booka Shade were fantastic though; I’m a massive fan of their music and the way they interact with the crowd guarantees a real good time for everyone on the dancefloor. A very welcome addition to an already hectic weekend in Leeds.
Daz Quayle’s musical CV as a DJ, producer and record label owner all spin a very similar tale. As both an individual and alongside Carl Finlow, Daz has released records on labels of the ilk of Modern Love, Klang Electronik and Touchin’ Bass, under pseudonyms such as Il-ek-tro, Scarletron and Black Labs. As a resident at Haywire and Superconductor, he has played alongside so many of the producers whose music he so tirelessly champions. With his own SCSI-AV imprint, Daz has quietly but confidently gone about putting out some of the freshest electro and experimental music around at the moment. Never a limelight hogger, if anyone in the scene can ever claim to be in it simply ‘for the music’, Daz Quayle is that person.
You started off the label SCSI-AV in 1998 and its reputation for putting out some of the best underground electro music still holds firm today. What got you listening to this type of music in the first place?
Daz: I started listening to early Hip Hop in ‘79 when the Sugarhill Gang released Rappers Delight. I was seven and it turned my world upside down. The Breakdancing/ B boy phenomenon had just really started kicking off and Hip hop was in its earliest stages taking influences from Kraftwerk giving the electro edge and Parliament and Funkadelic etc. with the funk edge. I was totally fascinated by this 'future music' and the whole B-boy culture. In the early 80's I used to listen to a UK Hip Hop DJ called Mike Allen. Mike used to play all the early electro such as Newcleus, Captain Rock, Afrika Bambaata and all those groundbreaking records that were around at the time - I got into breaking and it spiraled from there!
It seems the majority of UK clubbers want to go out and listen to 4/4 music. Why do you feel this is and do you think electro will ever have its turn in the limelight in the same way that minimal and electro house have been pushed to the forefront over the past few years?
Daz: I think the majority of UK clubbers don't give a shit what they listen to! Before I started SCSI I played a lot more techno until nobody was really pushing it anymore. Mills had started losing his edge and started doing Purpose Maker, UK techno artists such as Stasis, Kirk Degorgio, and Steve Bicknell were recording less and less and electro at that time had so much more variety. At that point the electro and techno fans had been spoiled by Drexciya who crossed the 2 genres perfectly, using 4/4 beats with mad electro sequences and sick strings that made you think of Kraftwerk and Bambaata but pushed it so much further while making it really heavy. I think we've seen a reverse situation over the past couple of years where the electro producers have run out of ideas and people are listening to techno again. It's just the usual 10 year cycle you see with any genre of music, things get boring and stale, they mutate, another genre takes and sub genres take over until the cycle comes around again. I think it's healthy, there were too many weak electro labels that were saturating the scene and it's killed it! It will come full circle again and people will start listening to Dopplereffekt records in several years and it will sound fresh to the next generation!
Which artists are really doing it for you right now?
Daz: I'm not really listening to many dancefloor releases at the moment, I rarely buy records as there's not much out there that I like! If I'm playing now I'm pulling out stuff I haven't played for a long time which is weird to me as a lot of people who go out have never heard a lot of early Detroit Techno and Chicago House records. Not the best example but people bang on about Richie Hawtin but have only heard closer or his later projects and it's criminal! Whenever I play Substance Abuse or even Plastikman I get punters and even DJ's asking what the record is but they are (apparently) Hawtin fans! The same can be said for many other current 'big' artists. I listen to such a variety of stuff at the moment, new and old. The best new project I've heard recently is Dem dyke stare, I don't think this project will be released until later in the year but it's the sickest shit I've heard for a long time. I've also been listening to various noise/experimental artists such as LCEDP and Shinjuku Thief, Hip Hop artists like Sensational and Clipse plus I'm always interested to hear what more 'commercial' artists are up to like Portishead and Radiohead. I just like people who spend time on their shit and do something a little different; it could be Folk, Classical, Electronica, Noise, Hip Hop or whatever. I'd say that Martes by Murcof is probably the best album I've heard in recent years but it really depends on my mood because it changes from minute to minute!
The term ‘Electro’ is overly misused to describe 4/4 music aimed at the more commercial end of the dance spectrum. Andrea Parker was once quoted in an interview saying she wanted to punch Fischerspooner for corrupting the use of the term electro music! Does the fact that the media, clubbers and even promoters constantly get it wrong annoy you?
Daz: Haha - I've had this conversation with Parker so many times! That was actually misquoted, she said she would prefer to poke her eyes out with a knitting needle instead of listening to Fischerspooner, although a punch in the face is also a pretty good idea! I've always had massive issues with the UK music press, 99% of them don't have a clue and they'll word shit up because it's popular and they 'think' they should be into it.
On the point of genres, It makes me feel violently sick to hear the term 'Electro House', I've heard electro house records and they have zero elements of electro and very limited elements of house! These boys just sample records, destroy them and then hijack two perfectly respectable genres and destroy it all! What's wrong with writing your own basslines? Since electro house was born, I've had so many emails from desperado's who make electro house sending links to demo's. They're so thick that they must just look up electro and house labels and spam everyone with the same monotonous shit! Yeah, it does annoy me because these wankers just steal ideas from people who've put years from hard work in, sell the music as their own and take all the credit with no skill whatsoever! I could go on for a while about this one!
Room 237 is the one night really pushing electronica and electro in the city and you play down there quite regularly now. How are you enjoying it and how do your DJ sets differ from what you would put out for release?
Daz: I think Marcus who runs room 237 is a great promoter; He always makes sure the sound system is good and the DJ setup is spot on! This is always the main priority with Room 237 which is a breath of fresh air! My DJ sets have always differed from what I release - I rarely play SCSI records out because I've done my bit releasing them and it's nicer to hear other people play them cause it shows that people like them. I love electronic music and many aspects, I used to love playing main slots in techno clubs and banging it out but I really like playing early now. It's probably because I'm past my sell by date haha! I like playing early because I like playing records that I like listening to at home, starting off with really sparse records and building up to the main act. It's nice to play to people coming into a club to get a drink and then getting the bastards on the dancefloor!I I've never really been one for playing to a crowd or been bothered what anyone thinks of my set, I'm selfish and I play records I love and want to hear, if anyone else likes it, it's a bonus!
As a resident you were heavily involved with Superconductors 5 year reign in the city and it was a big disappointment to me that they stopped putting on parties. As well as showcasing a lot of the older ‘big’ techno DJ’s they brought a lot of electro acts to Leeds that would otherwise be rarely seen such as Andrea Parker, Claro Intelecto and Transparent Sound. What happened and how you feel about it?
Daz: I think their downfall was putting Transparent Sound on to be honest haha! No I think it went tits up when I started playing there! I wasn't involved in SC from the start, I'd play at their birthday parties or NYE parties but quite soon after I started as a resident they booked Jeff Mills and had to put it on at Mission due to the interest. Mills turned up and had lost his records and couldn't play so 1200 people were left with a bad taste in their mouth and it never really came back from that. It was the worst DJ they ever booked who could have lost his records at the airport. He had been paid a massive amount in advance and I'm not sure if he got his full fee but he was paid an astronomical amount. For promoters of that size, shit like that can wipe you out and they kept hold for as long as they could but no longer had the budget to book the names that would restore the faith in the night! It's a real shame because it was the first proper techno night Leeds had seen since the Orbit and people were begging for it!
What does the future hold for Daz Quayle as a producer, record label owner and DJ?
Daz: I've been so busy with other projects that SCSI has been really quiet, it's not a great time to be releasing electro and I don't have time to put into at the moment! I know that sounds defeatist but after doing something for 10 years you need a break. I'm working on a noise project called Broken Bone with Tony Snowden who's a very old mate of mine, well he's younger than me but he's my longest standing friend! I got to the point where I was really bored with going to clubs and listening to dancefloor records but still wanted to get out and have a laugh. The only electro I still really loved was Bitstream and Ultradyne as they were still pushing the boundaries but I wanted to push it further and Tony came to me with the project and we started working together! We have a record due out in the next few months called 'Coma'. I'm working on several really interesting projects which are taking up most of my time but they'll surface when they surface! SCSI will be back when I have time and DJ'ing isn't my priority right now, I left my records in the back of a cab the last time I played at Room 237 which had a lot of very personal records in there so the very thought of DJ’ing at the moment is distressing! If anyone happens to find a bag of records with 2 bottles of rum inside and some Sennheiser HD25's let me know because I'll pay a lot of money to get those back!
I know I've gone on far too long already but one thing I'd like to add is that DJ's who play downloaded music need to stop calling themselves DJ's and start buying music! People don't go into record shops anymore and grab hold of shit that actually means something to them. Apart from Andrea Parker, DJ miles (From Modern love's Pendle Coven) and Surgeon nobody ever plays anything that makes me want to listen. The music industry is so fucked because music is so disposable and those who are talented can't afford to make it because all the labels are so fucked so the quality is really low. Anyone who plays an MP3 out should be shot!
Check out the all new Traffic Magazine website at www.trafficmag.org
Friday, 16 October 2009
My newest mix, recorded last weekend full of Stella and Jagermeister. Out with the technical wizardy (ha!) of my previous ableton effort, and back in with the 1210's, CDJ's and a mixer.
LISTEN ON SOUNDCLOUD HERE
More dubby disco delights from the basement....
Recorded Live From 'The Friday Night Club' - 09/10/2009
1. Stratus - Footprints (Eskimo)
2. Mark E - Holy Jungle (Golf Channel)
3. Prins Thomas - Mammut (Full Pup)
4. Soul Clap - Michael Goes To Heaven (Wolf + Lamb)
5. Mark E - Codsall Juniors (Endless Flight)
6. Hot Toddy - I Need Love (Eskimo)
7. The Revenge & Craig Smith - The Soul Part II (Delusions Of Grandeur)
8. Nick Chaconda & Anthony Mansfield - Burning Heat (Hector Works)
9. Tele Music - Music Robot / Unabombers remix (DJ History)
10. Eddie C - Let Your Mind Be Free (Jisco)
11. Acos Koolkas - Separation Point / Downtown Party Network Remix (Brown Eyed Boyz)
12. Soul Clap - Conscious (Wolf + Lamb)
13. Ilija Rudman - Dance Disorder (Bearfunk)
14. Naum Gabo - Volgograd (Eskimo)
15. Messalina - Take Me To Mudbone (Lucci Capri Edit) (Messalina)