Posts Tagged ‘90s’

Hifi Sean In NYC

By Hifi Sean

Many Glaswegians like myself have a big thing for NYC. I grew up, along with many of my friends, influenced by the sound of the bands that came from there like The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Blondie, Suicide, and Talking Heads. So during the early ‘90s I basically spent most of my time in USA after the success we had with The Soup Dragons over there.

DIVINE

That success includes the top 20 hit single Divine Thing, which yes, for the record was influenced by John Waters and his movies, in fact we even spoke to John back then about shooting a video for the follow up Pleasure, which we were all excited about, but Serial Mom had just been released and really took off, so sadly he had to put it on the back burner and time was against us. That is still my biggest regret that it slipped away. So instead off we went to a ‘50s trashy hotel called Madonna Inn just north of San Francisco, in good ole Russ Meyer fashion.

Most of this period was spent with me living on and off in New York, East Village to be exact. It was crazy and hedonistic times, I saw and experienced things that have influenced me and still cherish many of the memories and the people I met there and then.

Limelight, Disco 2000, Sound Factory, Club USA, The Roxy, Save The Robots, Jacqui 60’s, they were all clubs I frequented. I wasn’t even gay then, but let’s just say the groundwork had been laid out in front of me for my coming out in 2001!

SOUND FACTORY PUNCH

I loved the freedom and the outrageous fun attitude, in fact first time I ever went to Sound Factory I was ushered into a room and offered some punch from the infamous punch bowl laced with E! The next 6-8 hours was a musical journey via Junior Vasquez, which introduced me to something that opened up my mind to new exciting avenues of sound and beats… which still to this day is imbedded in my psyche.

I was in The Roxy when the DJ (I can’t remember who) played the first ever play of Vogue by Madonna, and people stood in awe as he announced it over the system and they cheered as it played. That’s something I have never heard or seen in a club ever again.

CLUB KIDS

Also happening at the same time was the whole ‘Club Kids’ phenomena. It was interesting to watch it grow as we had just left a rave-tastic UK 89/90 and here we were in NYC 90/91 and watching the same chaos and freedom happening there but primarily focused on the gay scene, which took that vibe deep to heart. I actually met Michael Alig and supposedly I met Angel too (as he was host for many of his parties). I hung around a lot of drag queens too as my closest friend at the time Lavinia Co-Op used to take me to clubs; many a time I found myself pushing a huge balloon dress into and out of NYC cabs as we headed out into nightlife. Lavinia is on the cover of the last Soups album dressed as a poodle walked by a Wall St gentleman banker…. as you do. 

Soup Dragons - Hydrophonic

BUFFALO GALS GO ROUND THE OUTSIDE

Everywhere in NYC you saw the influence of club land coming out onto the streets through fashion and attitude which to be honest NYC has always been about. When we made the video for Divine Thing with director Nick Egan, who I got on-board as I loved his video for Buffalo Gals by Malcolm McLaren (another homage to NYC) and we went round the city’s clubland and got some of the club kids and party people to appear in a kind of homage to downtown NYC. We shot it in a disused warehouse in the Meat Packing district overnight, watching trans* hookers on corners pick up truckers delivering the meat to the stores that morning.

It’s funny, as I write this out now, I think to myself, wow how gay was I for a straight boy?! I just loved it all, the chaos, the hedonism; put it this way I wasn’t singing “I’m free to do what I want” on every bloody radio in the USA for nothing… 

Don’t be afraid of your freedom… indeed.

Little did we know how that video was about to explode, MTV went crazy for it and it was the most played video of that year on that channel and ended up being nominated for a MTV Video Award. 

Crazy thing is, I was told afterwards how ground-breaking it was, as people like Connie Girl were the first drag artists to be given daytime rotation on T.V in the USA which, back in early 90’s, was nowhere near as open minded as it is now. Funny that it was shot like Nick shot Buffalo Gals, totally about the streets, the nightlife, guerilla style and all just edited together afterwards, nothing pre-fashioned or contrived, just honest to good love of life at that period, and to me it captures a perfect moment of what NYC was all about then. 

UP YOURS

So what has this got to do with Up Yours you’re asking?

Well myself and Severino have a big mutual love for NYC, we’ve both DJ’ed there a lot over the years and our last two singles London and Devil were released on the great underground house label Get Up Recordings that’s ran by DJs Christy Love and W. Jeremy Pelser from House of Stank, who’ve ran many a great party in the big apple. 

Not to mention, our video for London is a homage to everything cool about London/NYC. Yes the city has changed and cleaned up a lot over the years. Yes a lot of the big parties closed down due to the crystal meth epidemic within the gay scene and people just staying home at sex parties rather than heading out to cruise and have a dance.

But in the last four to five years lots of great thing are happening again and a whole new underground of great artists, DJs and parties are bubbling away and NYC has got that great buzz again that everyone thought it had lost… but we knew it would get back again.

Join Hifi Sean and Severino for Up Yours this Saturday 31st May at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Billie Ray Martin Speaks

This Saturday famed German singer Billie Ray Martin joins us for Body Talk! Known for her avant-garde style and her stint providing vocals for S’Express and as the lead singer of Electribe 101, Billie is a former London resident whose now based in Berlin. Ahead of the party we caught up with her to find out all about witnessing the birth of London house in the ’90s, growing up in her native Hamburg, what music she’s playing out these days and more…

Your hometown of Hamburg is well known for its influential music scene and culture. How much of this would you say played a part in your own upbringing and the development of your personal taste?

A large part. It used to be a very soulful town, before the same gentrification took over that’s fucking up the rest of our towns. My family were music lovers so I grew up with radio music. That was a bigger influence than the town itself but the town and its atmosphere was definitely an influence. The biggest influence Hamburg has to this day and has always had is on my lyrics. I am from the red light district of St.Pauly so I grew up with transvestites, transsexuals, hookers and people in between all the genders you can imagine. My family looked like transvestites with their lashes and beehives and eyeliner… so to this day I write about characters that are kind of indefinable. 

You’ve also lived in London, New York and now Berlin, all during what could be considered their key times within dance music… where’s next?

Stuck in Berlin for a few years yet I guess. Not really my kind of place but… I don’t know where else to go without a big budget to live on. 

What are your overall memories of London’s house music scene in the early ’90s? Was it a golden time, or does it just come out that way in the retelling?

 It was definitely the golden time for me. Right place, right time. The excitement from seeing this music grow from 50 people at Heaven looking sceptical, to hundreds of people dancing in a matter of a few months, and being and becoming an integral part of this was a highlight of my life. We also felt like it was a world community as each week, you would get African house songs coming out and songs released from all kinds of countries, so we felt like we were all pulling the same string. There was a sense of community.

Electribe 101 only produced the one album and a fine album at that, why didn’t you stay together and what are the chances of Electribe 101 ever getting back together? 

We were dropped by the record company and we are not getting back together. We recorded a second album but then we were dropped by Phonogram.

How did you come to sample Julian Jonah’s Jealousy And Lies for Electribe 101’s first single Talking With Myself?

It’s no sample. We re-created it. I turned up to the studio with Julian’s single and said: do that. So we copied the whole thing. Shameful really. Julian was so kind and said he loved it. He is one of the underrated people who should get recognition.

Of course the song I had written was just written by me and it fitted onto the Julian Jonah thing.

Which record are you most proud of and why?

The one I’m about to release, which is a cover of David Bowie’s After All. Also my songs Dead Again and The Opiates album I did with Robert Solheim. And The Opiates remix album. 

What has life taught you thus far?

I am proud and grateful for every minute and proud and grateful for the person I am today. I have come further than I could have ever imagined and it is about to start getting good. My story is not the exception. So, life has taught me to better watch out because we are taken care of by the universe if we only care to see it. 

Don’t complain. Get on with it. 

Considering your famously eclectic taste and diverse range of styles, this could be a difficult question… if you had a time machine, which dancefloor would you like to go back in time to, anywhere/anywhen?

Some ‘60s beat gathering.

When was the last time that you cried?

I cry buckets every day. It’s part of me releasing the tears I should have cried all my life and never did. So I cry at every opportunity now. 

With current UK artists like Tom Demac included in amongst S’Express and artists local to you like Soulphiction all included in your most recent RA chart, how would you decribe your current style of DJing?

I tend to say it’s old school influenced house with an indie feel. I like people who complain or tell it how it is on dance tracks vocally rather than the usual dance stuff. I play only few vocals but they tend to sort of have an indie feel.

Which artists of today are you currently turned on to?

Boonlorm, FKA Twigs, Nina Persson… so many to mention. 

Love or Money?

Money. 

Only kidding. 

Billie Ray Martin plays Body Talk

Join Billie Ray Martin this Saturday 15th February for Body Talk at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Sonique

This Friday ’90s dance popstar Sonique joins us for Club Lesley! With the private view for new photography exhibit Dyke Of Our Time taking place just before the party, it’s looking set to be a big one. We caught up with the lovely Sonique to find out what she’s been up to since her chart-topping days…

You’re a born Londoner- what aspects of the city’s diverse music scene has had the biggest impact on the music you make?

I love the  fact that London is really cosmopolitan and eclectic and covers so many different kinds of musical styles.

What’s your best clubbing memory from when you used to join S’Express’s Mark Moore and DJ Judge Jules at their gigs?

One time – before I even started DJing – I was with Judge Jules in a club and he needed a toilet break… then the record ran out and he had not come back so I had to choose and put on the next track.

So many good memories of Mark Moore… he bought me my first mixer!

You were resident DJ at Manumission during its super hedonistic period in the late ’90s… how do you feel about having been part of such a important (and notorious) time in Ibiza’s dance music legacy?

I miss it a lot – everyone was so free and happy then and we could play what we wanted – Ibiza is too controlled now.

Are there any tracks from your sets back then that you’ll be playing out at Club Lesley on Friday?

Oh yes but you will have to come down to find out which ones…

How do you feel about the current resurgence of ’90s fashion?

I really like it – I can just pick something out of my closet to wear!

What are you currently working on besides DJing?

I am producing a lot of new tracks in my studio with various different collaborators – the latest one I have completed is with the Greek producer and DJ – Johnny Gerontakis.

Check it out – it is called Carry On by JG vs Sonique.

You’re obviously a strong lady, from living by yourself at 16, to recently overcoming breast cancer. What motto do you live your life by?

“Live each day as if it were your last.”

You’ve played or performed at a few Prides, including Bristol and Jo’Burg; what do you attribute your popularity in the LGBT community to?

I have no idea but I feel blessed to have such support!

What one record changed your life and why?

Donna Summer – I Feel Love – the first record I ever bought and an amazing song.

Join Sonique at Club Lesley this Friday 19th April from 9pm – 3am at Dalston Superstore.

PS.

Tonight sees some of east London’s most notorious party starters under one roof: Borja Peña, Josh Caffe, Joe Robots, Bisoux and Cathal. That’s right, it’s time for Banjee Boy Realness Vs PS! The banjee boys take the basement whilst upstairs it will be pure sex from PS. We caught up with PS promoters Cathal and Bisoux ahead of tonight’s madness to talk tape cassettes, posters, art, music and more..

What is the music policy at PS?

Our own special blend of deep bitch house, dutty dance, sleazy BASSlines, vocal high points and smart hooks. Always fresh, fun , filthy and ready for the bump & grind.

And how has this, in any way, been influenced by the music you grew up on?

Cathal: Growing up in my house there was always music playing. My dad played The Police and Pet Shop Boys, my mum played Prince and Muddy Waters and my sister had Junior Vasquez and The Shamen on a loop. Subsequently I love vocals, a strong sexy rhythm and a beat that makes you want to move. Also, I’m northern and we like a dance tune.

Bisoux: I grew up in a house of Radio 4 and vinyl – Bob Marley, Rip Rig + Panic, The Ramones, Dire Straits and The Beatles. Pop was always an illicit contraband. One of my mum’s boyfriends sneaked me a Kylie album tape when I was six which was super exciting, I still remember the tape box, she looked like a naughty princess. Even with such an eclectic sound around me it was always the bad girl pop that I hankered for and I think the combination of the two has definitely shaped my taste for exotic beats with a sexy vocal. Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to listen to an instrumental but it’s always bass + voice + beat + sex that gets me.

What was your most favourite/worn out tape cassette of the ’90s?

C: I have all these mixtape cassettes I made between the age of 8 -11 years old, so through 1990 to 1993, with my best friend/next door neighbour Michelle. They’re basically tapes and tapes of us interviewing each other and introducing all our favourite dance tunes of the time. My favourite tape was a ‘show’ we did called ‘ Rave 92!’ which was a Parks and Wilson gig at Arc in Leeds I had taped off the radio live late at night which we then talked over at random intervals. So it’s a toss up between this and Madonna’s Erotica album.

B: Funnily enough I was also a chart mixtape queen but my most worn and still treasured tape of the ’90s has to be the Snap! album, The Madman’s Return. Hands down I thought I was the coolest shit when I put that on my walkman.

PS: is it a crazy homo art installation or debauched party that shocks the nation?

Both. Is there a difference? LOL.

We hear your posters often end up in unusual places. Where’s the best place you’ve ever randomly spotted one?

In joint first place would have to be a certain famous Tate director seen carefully peeling and rolling up a poster at one of our do’s in Vogue Fabrics and the time Cathal saw one up on the wall of a random shag in Berlin.

How did PS originate?

Above McDonalds in Kentish Town, it started as an ideal, a magazine, a movement that could override the title GAY and become something much more. Art, music, sex, film all coming together in our own special brand of homoculture for both boys and girls. Even though that was only about seven years ago, there was nothing really outside of GAYLAND at that time, the divide was so strong and whilst we enjoyed both sides of it, there was nothing for homos like us that wasn’t defined by our sexuality, but more by our cultural tastes. PS. can be a secret, an afterthought, or just the truth of what you really mean. It made sense to bring it all together in a party package, we wanted to bring a celebration experience that you wouldn’t forget for a while!

And what might be the next step of the party’s evolution?

To go international we’d say. Spread the love.

Do you think they’ll be much crossover or way in which you’ll compliment each other with the basement party, Banjee Boy Realness?

We had Borja guest at our last party which turned into a massive deep house love-in and we’ve always had an affinity with Josh’s style, we go way back in and out of the clubs. Joe we’ve recently discovered through sharing the bill at SOS, and love his sounds. Whilst there will of course be a bit of healthy upstairs/downstairs competition at the end of the day we all appreciate each other’s taste and are really looking forward to partying with each other – ultimately blending our respective styles into one mahoosive funtimes club. I’d say we’re gonna see dirty grinding, walking vogue face and lots and lots of sweat. Mmmmmm.

PS…..?

We love you x

Join Cathal and Bisoux for Banjee Boy Realness Vs PS tonight Friday 22nd February from 9pm – 4am.