Posts Tagged ‘acid house’

Meet Wayne Shires

By Dan Beaumont

Wayne Shires has been at the forefront of London’s underground queer culture for several decades. From the best acid house warehouse parties in ’89 through to legendary dance floors like Substation, Bar Industria, Crash, Area, The Cock and his current baby East Bloc. He’s also been busy preparing for this weekend’s massive Summer Rites festival. Superstore’s Dan Beaumont caught up with him for a cuppa.

 

Can you please explain the compulsion to throw parties and open venues?

I think it must be some form of masochism. It can be really tortuous but at the same time it can be very euphoric and satisfying and rewarding when you get to that point where you see people enjoying themselves, and you’re the one who’s created it. It’s not a vanity project. I just really enjoy people having a good time. I’ve always liked putting on a party.

You started putting on parties during the acid house era?

The very first party I put on was a Sunday night at what used to be called The Apollo, which was a rent boy bar in Soho, which turned into The Brain run by Sean McLusky [legendary London music promoter- Dan] and later become Trash Palace on Wardour street. I’ve been going to clubs since I was about sixteen – I  met Princess Julia around then. I used to go to Heaven, Subway. Lasers on Green Lanes, Bolts.

I started going out in clubbing London and then I moved to America and had a had a stint there hitting the clubs. When I got back, there were warehouse parties and people were taking ecstasy, but there wasn’t really the music.

We used to go to Ibiza every summer. One year we went to Amnesia, I remember turning round and thinking “who are these people in shorts and smiley T-shirts, and what’s this music they’re dancing to? And they’re all off their heads!”

Wayne in Ibiza

That’s when I met Terry Farley and Danny & Jenni Rampling. Jenni said, “We love you guys, you have to come to our club Shoom when you get back to London.”      

I remember the first time I went to Shoom I wore jeans and a shirt. 

Next week in dungarees and smiley T-shirt?

Dungarees, smiley T-shirst and little round glasses. I dived straight into it – this was ’88.

And the Boys Own parties, East Grinsted – the famous one – the one down on the lake. That party was like the Sex Pistols gig at the 100 club. Everyone says they were there but they weren’t! I was there. I can tell you who was there. We were going to all that and I was then going back into ‘gay world’ and thinking “gays would love this.”

We used to go to a club called Queens on a Sunday afternoon run by Phil Perry and we were like the little gang of gays, about five of us – the token gays – but they adored us. Suddenly I was hanging out with football terrace boys, Chelsea fans, and they were all pilled up and loved up and very accepting. I just thought it would be really good to put on a party where that lot met my lot and we just kind of merged it.

The first party (getting back to your original question!) was a Sunday night at the Apollo. We wanted somewhere on a Sunday and the Apollo really unusually had a 5 o’clock license on a Sunday. This was ‘89. So we did a party there called ‘Eclipse’ that both Phil Perry and Danny Rampling played at plus a budding DJ who used to badger me all the time called Ashley Beedle. I gave him his first gig! 

And then you went on to do warehouse parties?

There was an arts space called The Diorama which is at the back of Regents Park Crescent and it’s a really beautiful hexagonal art space. There would be art happenings there and exhibitions. We hired it. It had ridiculous restrictions like you weren’t allowed to sell alcohol so you had to include it in the ticket price. It only went on til 2AM. When we did the first one there was this old guy who used to be the caretaker and actually lived upstairs in this room with an Alsatian dog.  We were getting the stock in on the first one and he said “oh Red Stripe – my favourite drink” and we went “do you want a case” So we gave him a case.

Later on it got to 2AM and he was by the bar loving it and he said “Just go on.”

So we carried on til six in the morning. We got away with doing those monthly for about two years.

Were they gay parties?

They were mixed. We had Kinky Gerlinky drag queens with Terry Farley, and we merged the whole thing. That’s when we started integrating people like Princess Julia and all those DJs in with the West London house DJs. You’d have drag queens dancing next to Chelsea boys.

Wayne Shires with Leigh Bowery

Was your first foray into venue owning Substation?

I had one before that called Bar Industria which was off Regent Street. Fat Tony did a night called ‘Abba’ on a Tuesday. Linda Evangalista DJing, stuff like that. I went up to her and said “Can I get you a drink?”

She said “Yeah bottle of tequila.”

Are we in the ‘90s now?

Yeah ‘91.

So this is supermodels and glam house?

Basically. George Michael used to come. It was fun. That only lasted a year and then we did Substation. Everything I’ve ever done has been inspired by a two year period when I lived in America. Every reference I have ever used is from that. So Bar Industria was Boy Bar, so it was very light, trophies on the wall, table football, checkerboard vinyl flooring, kind of a boys club. Very municipal, like a working men’s club. So there was that and then we went on to do Substation, which was Stallions before, and then became Ghetto after. We were there for five years. That was kind of Anvil/Mineshaft New York. Oil drums, chain link fencing, gay porn vodeo shoot style.

I remember pop videos being shot there?

Yeah quite a few. 

I was hanging out in New York a lot at the time,  hanging out with Rob di Stefano from Tribal Records  and met Danny Tenaglia through him. I did a party for them down at what become the original XXL venue. Danny used to play Substation when he was in town. It was quite a special time, really.  

Then we did Substation South in Brixton, which was a sort of South London version of the Soho one and you’d get away with a lot more there! That was Queer Nation’s home for many years. And it suited it and was perfect.

And then you invented Vauxhall?

I don’t know if I want to be credited for that right now! Substation moved to a bigger space on Dean Street – high ceilings, 600 capacity, we had it for about two years. When we were in the original venue you could open Monday Tuesday, Wednesday with like a hundred people in and it would look great. But the Dean Street venue needed like four hundred people in it and we couldn’t do that Monday to Thursday. We survived there for about two years. We had a lot of shit from the police. They would turn up and there would be a sea of boys with their shirts off and they would say “Your license says people need to be properly attired, tell them to put their shirts back on.”

I would stand at the door arguing with the police saying “You go and tell ’em to put their shirts back on!”

I got taken to court! Basically one Friday night we got a visit from the club squad. About five of them turned up in trench coats– it was all very bizarre. And they came in and said, “Can we just walk around?”

So we walked through the back way and literally as we turned into the dance floor this guy dropped to his knees and started sucking this other guy off!

I just whacked him round the back of the head and said “Security! Throw them out! And if they have memberships, take it off them!”

We all carried on walking and when we reached reception the police turned around and said “Mr Shires you are not obliged to say anything…”

I was done for running a disorderly house and ended up at the magistrate’s court. My business partner at the time had grief from the police for years. He wasn’t having any of it so he got the best barristers and we got it thrown out.

Substation South was running and Lambeth police had a lot more to deal with and were quite happy that there was a safe place the gays were going and had a different attitude. So I loved Lambeth and I suddenly started working really proactively with Lambeth police and the council.

When a railway arch came up in Vauxhall I opened Crash. Which was my version of Tunnel. So that’s the next New York reference.

And that was the first club in Vauxhall?

Yeah you had the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and the Market Tavern, which was a pub in the Nine Elms tower which was great. That was really cool, but it wasn’t a club per se. It was a pub for the traders of Covent Garden Market so it had one of those weird licenses. At one point they used to have an after hours there but you had to buy a bunch of flowers to go in!

Hang on. You were worried about being able to fill Substation in Dean Street so why did you take a massive railway arch in Vauxhall?

Substation South was doing incredibly well and that only held 350/400, it was rammed. Also I knew South London would be a lot more accommodating and Vauxhall was literally on the border – the closest you could get to the West End and the West End was the place to be. Heaven was there, all the gay bars were there. There was nothing East really. I wanted that big superclub! I wanted it to be really underground, I wanted the music to be cutting edge. We were very much into Tribal and Twisted. I was living with Tom Stephan and he was the main DJ from Substsion so it was a platform for his sound. It was all Murk, Tenaglia, it was that whole sound.

Give me one legendary night at Crash. What sticks out in your memory?

Yoko Ono performing.

Wow.

Yeah. I mean getting a phonecall in the office going “Yoko wants to perform in your club but you can’t announce it.”

“Ok.”

It was quite special.

How do you feel about Vauxhall now?

It’s a shame. At one point when I had Crash and we had been open a few years, The Eagle (Horse Meat Disco’s home) had been taken over by Mark Oakley and Paul Wilde. And there was the RVT. So there was a bit of a gay village thing going on. We had meetings with the council to go up to Manchester to see the model of Canal Street. Lambeth were very interested in developing Vauxhall gay village with road signs, we were going to change the name of roads to names with gay references and there was this blossoming idea that we were going to turn it into the gay village. Then other people came into the area with a different game plan. Money driven. The atmosphere changed and it all broke up. At one point it was very ‘us and them’ with a club that opened up. They weren’t particularly nice; they were very spiteful, used dirty tactics and it fell apart. It lost its solidarity. Then I opened Area because I’m a sucker for punishment and I wanted a bigger club.   

So you opened a giant club next door to your other giant club?

When that arch came up next door to my giant arch I thought it’s better for me to open up that giant arch than anyone else. I developed the model – everyone loved Crash and then all the arches were up for grabs. 

So I opened the big club next to the big club, which was a struggle, but programme-wise it kind of worked for a couple of years, but always battling with the people I won’t mention. I made one or two bad business decisions and got involved with the enemy, and the enemy screwed me over. I thought, “I’m out of here.”

It’s a different place now

It is. 

What made you get back on the saddle and start East Bloc?

I’d been a bit battered. I had enjoyed my career and what I had done. A lot of my mates had come East so I moved East. Julia and people were already living here and I bumped into Sean McLusky and he said “There’s a little club on City Road you should check out…”

I went and did a party there and it was just as I was selling Crash. The landlords said, “Do you want to buy it?”

I said, “No, I don’t want to buy a club.”

They said, “Why don’t you take a lease?”

I said, “Alright, I’ll have a go.”

Because I’m a masochist like we said at the beginning

Compared to the stress levels I’ve had in the past East Bloc is a walk in the park. It’s a lovely space to run, the crowd that come are lovely, the promoters are lovely, it’s a pleasure. 

Why do you think clubs like East Bloc are important?

LGBT venues are important because there are so few and it’s really important for people to be themselves. That’s why Dalston Superstore is important. That’s why the Joiners is important. That’s why the George and Dragon is Important. That’s why The Eagle is important. There are thousands of venues in London but what venues can a boy walk in with a beard, covered in glitter, wearing a jockstrap dance on the bar in heels? It’s important we are a safe playground. What I remember growing up is that I loved going out and feeling part of a family. And I think it’s really important to help the legacy of what has come before, to go forward. People in East Bloc, the kids, they will become venue owners when me and you are way long on the tooth to be doing it. I think it’s important to show what is possible. It’s achievable isn’t it?  A lot of people go “Oh my god how do you do this?”

I always thought that owning a venue was something other people did. Then something clicked and I realised it’s achievable. What do you think of the gay scene in London now?

It’s very fractured. You have the Vauxhall ‘good’ people, the bears. Soho is Soho. If a tourist came to London and said “Show me gay London!” and they wanted an overview of the scene I would struggle to find that big club that there used to be – like Heaven used to be. Or Crash was. 

What for you is the ultimate London queer club?

(long pause)

Horse Meat Disco. Has to be. Totally.

Your relationship with Jim Stanton goes back to when you were running The Cock together?

Jim was my assistant! Eve we used to call her – Eve Harrington!

How did The Cock come about?

I was doing Crash, Jim was working in the office and I knew Simon Hobart from Popstarz who had just opened The Ghetto in my old space (The first Substation). Simon had a lesbian night on a Friday that wasn’t working and it kind of reminded me of the East Village. It was a bit alternative. Me and Jim went in there and we were sort of saying “There should be gogo boys in pants like The Cock in New York,”

We were trying to come up with the name and I think it was Jim who said, “Just call it The Cock.”

And I was like “OK.”

We had never worked together creatively on a project before and it just clicked.

Where did the musical identity come from?

That was more Jim. He’s got an incredible music taste. As have I! We’ve both got a very eclectic taste. Jim was very forward in that electro sound. I booked Tasty and Julia, Jim booked the Scissor Sisters. I remember fighting with the Ghetto about the name ‘The Cock.’ There were a lot of gay girls behind the bar and there was a protest before we started. Me and Jim were called in by Simon who told us we had to change the name. They thought we wanted to do a Men Only sex club. 

Was Summer Rites, in its original incarnation, a reaction against Pride?

We got involved with Pride in ’92 when it was Europride. Pride was really exciting then and each year the attendance went up and the sponsorship got bigger and the events got bigger and the budget got bigger. It was free to get in and political and it was great. Very quickly over a five-year period it grew and it became a national thing – you’d have coaches coming from here, there and everywhere. One year we had to turn half of Clapham Common into a coach park. Londoners being Londoners had that kind of slightly snobbish thing going on. So Summer Rites was meant to be a Pride for London. And it was always meant to be representing all the different elements of the London club scene. We were taking all the politics away and we were just having a party for Londoners. A more niche, condensed party without the coaches and all that.

What made you resurrect it three years ago?

Because I’m mental and because I’m a masochist like I said at the beginning! The last one in the ‘90s we were hit by really bad weather. It had been baking all week and it was boiling hot and literally the morning of the day there was a torrential downpour. It has been so dry and it was on a hill so there were rivers coming down. I think we did eight or nine years in the end.

About four years ago I moved to Redchurch Street, Sean McLusky had his offices there and he said “I’m doing this festival called 1234 and you’ve got to come!”

I went with Julia and we had a great time. He spotted me and said “You should do the Sunday! You should bring back Summer Rites!”

I said, “No. I’m alright thank you.”

But because I live on that street and because he saw me going past his office he would come out and badger me.

You got doorstepped into starting a festival!

I got doorstepped by Sean McLusky into starting Summer Rites. It came back. Three years in Shoreditch Park which have been fun, but parks are too stressful because it can just piss down with rain and you’re screwed. Literally it’s the flip of a coin. You put all that effort and then and you’re sat there looking at the weather report. It’s life-changing if it rains.

If I want to buy you a drink this Saturday where can I find you?

You’ll probably find me in the cabaret room. But the whole venue is amazing. I got introduced to the Tobacco Dock at Winter Pride this year. And it’s undercover but feels outside so it’s amazing. It’s half indoors half outdoors. There’s a lot of daylight, there’s a lot of natural light and some big outdoor spaces. It’s beautiful.  And it doesn’t matter of it’s pissing down with rain! 

Join Wayne at Summer Rites at the Tobacco Dock this Saturday from noon, followed by Bender here at Dalston Superstore as one of the afterparties with special guest Den Haan from 9pm- 4am.

Kid Batchelor

By Hannah Holland

A pioneer of the musical explosion on ‘80s London who DJ’ed at many of the revolutionary clubs of the time, as well as making legendary records… We are honoured to have Kid Batchelor spin in the laser pit at Paris’ Acid Ball this week, and learn a little history along the way…. 

Hi Lawrence aka Kid Batchelor. You were born and bred in Hackney. Must have changed a bit?? What was the music scene like when you first wet your toes?

When I started playing records in the ‘80s the music scene was simply electric. London was a maelstrom of creative activity. I could dazzle you with sparkling anecdotes aplenty from acid house-era London and beyond – if I could remember. A gentleman has no memory. 

I was born in Hackney, my family and I lived in Clissold Park, and I remember growing up near Hoxton. Just some of the changes I have witnessed over the last 20 years… It went from NDC to ultra-trendy enclave, with real estate developers tripping over each other to get a slice of the action.

What happened in ‘Shoho’ circa 1986, it was akin to East Berlin post ’89, meaning a foray into uncharted territory. Artists attracted by large open plan spaces and low rents moved in. It used to be cheap. Now though, property prices are much higher. The greasy spoons have given way to bijou restaurants. We have witnessed this happen to Soho and Shoho, Dalston has been trendier than Chelsea’s heyday for the last few years, but now Hackney has posted the ‘full-up’ sign there too. London venues and its electronic arts are in danger of being priced out of the city. It’s the Manhattanisation of London. 

Today according to a recent report London is officially the most expensive city in the world. From the price of a beer to bus fare to the shoe boxes that people call home. And, of course, rents continue to rise but salaries are staying the same; so what’s a gal/guy, to do?

Overheard as I passed a young couple standing outside an estate agents window in Shadwell this week: Him: “No that’s a garage.” Her: “Oh!”

What turned you onto DJing and where did you start?

My Adventures On The Wheels of Steel, so to speak, corresponds with the dawn of hip hop, which has just turned 40. I heard a set by DJ Cash Money, just from seeing him on the decks scratching to the funk; he’s had me as his love slave since. Forty years on from the first inklings of hip-hop filtered out of DJ Kool Herc’s decks: allowing one song to segue into another, at a Bronx house party in 1973.

Together with Jazzie B, Tony Humphries’ KISS FM MASTERMIX SHOW, and Tom Moulton’s High Fidelity, concepts that single-handedly created a new industry of remixing-producing records with greater dance impact. His super-sonic frequency design went much further than Motown ever did. Tom brought out the “blood and guts”, the things that really count in a song. These relationships played a huge role in my own development as DJ of 30 years standing. 

 Kid Batchelor

I was also hugely interested in disco, which became so ubiquitous it choked on its own backlash, and clouded the minds of suburban fans who forgot that the music had already been a big part of black, Latino, and gay culture for a half-decade. Disco died in 1979, or so they say. In truth, its influence metastasised throughout dance music. House music was disco in the raw. Frankie Knuckles and the other gay African Americans who invented house music began the process of rescuing disco from its own excesses by stripping away the clichés and reconnecting it with its subversive counter-cultural roots. When house music became the dominant popular style in the early 1980’s, first in Chicago then in NYC, San Francisco, LA, and all the other major US cities, before spreading across the country and the world.

Your work has been heavily influenced by New York ‘80s underground music scene, what was your first experiences of the music and the city? Must have been so fresh…

As in London, so New York was a hotbed of energy and ideas i.e. Keith Haring’s immersion in New York’s downtown cultural life; he quickly became a fixture on the New York artistic scene, befriending other artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, as well as many of the most innovative cultural figures of that period e.g. Fab Five Freddy. The role these relationships played in Haring’s development as a public artist and facilitator of group exhibitions and performances was very important, and I just thank god for my late friend Keith Haring who introduced me to Larry Levan at his ‘Party Of Life’ at the Paradise Garage.

Party Of Life flyer by Keith Haring

He knew what the latest records and the dances were; and artists like him went out at night and listened to music and danced a lot, they painted in the daytime that was the whole idea – it was all seen as one. Jean Michel Basquiat too, was an artist whose work symbolised a Cultural Movement, which had at its centre break-dancing, graffiti art and rap music. Through his work, he came to prominence in New York.

The late Dennis Hopper was also a connoisseur, he spoke about Afro-American Pop-Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the following terms: “He has it all. Basquiat used to walk these streets with hundreds of thousands of dollars in shopping bags from his art sales. He enjoyed contradictions, art critics found him confusing. I don’t have any cynicism about him, however, he never said very much in interviews, yet there was a big idea to his art. He stands for a inquest post-modern type of beauty. He does something a lot of painters today want to do, but with theirs it comes out too controlled or twee, with Basquiat it’s alive. He had an incredible natural faculty…”

New York’s late ‘80s and ‘90s Sound Factory, Paradise Garage, Ballroom Culture and acid of Music Box is some of our biggest inspiration for Paris’ Acid Ball. You went to some of these clubs, what was the impact it had on you?

Believe me when I say this, I think it changed my perceptions of what was possible. 

I have always loved radio, especially from the US. Ever since I was a teenager collecting music – I fell in love, from then on the obsession grew and now I’ve been catapulted back, reflecting this knowledge and appreciation of the popular music of my youth. 

How did London and New York compliment each other back then? 

An important factor in making London a global Mecca for electronic arts is its cultural and social diversity (at least as great as New York).

In such a hotbed of energy and ideas, the process of reinvention never sits idle. For gangs of individuals driving such change, this city of 7.8 million people can support niche clubs and intensely-focussed musical style and act as a perfect playground in which to sculpt and grown our reputation as, yes, the artistic capital of the world. It’s like a nappy, the contents has to be changed regularly.

But if you looked at London in the mid ’80s, with its 3am license in the West End only, and compared it to New York (the city that gave us disco and hip hop with clubs like Area, Danceteria, Paradise Garage, The Palladium, CBGB) you might have laughed at the notion that London could supercede New York by the mid ’90s. 

It is easy to locate the parallels and synergies between British and American Pop Art of the 1960’s and ’70s. Clive Baker’s work can feel, despite it’s ‘Britishness’, like a celebration of the popular that we have come to associate with the USA. Such is the power and profile of Warhol, Lichtenstein, Wesselmann et al, that it is easy to forget that the genesis of Pop Art lies not in New York but in London. 

You were DJing at the legendary Soul II Soul party at the Africa Centre. It seemed like a perfect slice of London’s music scene, creating something totally unique. What was your experience of it? What were the big tunes you would play there?

Thirty years ago, Thatcherism was a boom/bust economy; racism was a street reality as well as a nightclub door policy. A tough pressured time, it led to the emergence of one of the most radical club scenes in the world. Thank heavens for the Funki Dreds aka Soul II Soul (SIIS )– a legendary sound system that became a Grammy award winning soul act. Headman Jazzie B took me in as just a Kid (hence my handle) who could rock turntables’ and together we tore club culture apart.

The Funki Dreds

Our music policy was Afro/soul. We hooked up with crews like Wicked Pulse (Soul Kitchen), Family Funktion, Norman Jay and Nellie Hooper’s Bristol Massive (The Wild Bunch/Massive Attack). Jazzie’s music became steeped in seventies James Brown beats and classic revival tunes, whereas I moved forward towards electronica, new sounds, garage and house etc. Although I am still down with the Funki Dreds we never overcame that crucial fissure, me to the future, they to the past. 

The late ’70s and the early ’80s reggae imagery – of painted medallions, fists, sensi plant or leaf, images of the Ethiopian Emperor who died in 1960s and was considered divine by Rastafarians, Zion – a referencing to Jerusalem and the Emperor Haile Salassie is believed to have been Christ incarnate, and so on gave way to ’80s African imagery, long canvases decorated these dance halls like Africa Centre in Covent Garden; so we got musical forms with its own imagery e.g. Soul II Soul, Funki Dred.

I’ve been commissioned to make a radio programme about Soul II Soul, a musical ideology which has remained at the avant-garde of what many describe as an oxymoron, British soul music. Yet in the eighties one man and a group of friends took on that transatlantic cynicism and nullified it in the most revolutionary style imaginable. That man was Jazzie B, and his friends, a bunch of talented singers and performers who had all until then been denied any major form of success. But with Soul II Soul these singers’ names became familiar with millions of lips, as SIIS became the neologism of London and then the world. 

What do you think it was about the UK that embraced the explosion of acid house in1988?!

London has been a hugely successful Mecca for the electronic arts enthusiasts over the last couple of decades, for a variety of reasons… among them: its cultural and social diversity. The development of the one-nighter club format from the early ‘80s, Warehouse parties. Pirate radio. Home-grown UK producers (in the 80s) and pioneering musical genres (Jungle, UK garage, D&B, dubstep). Sound system culture. Gay and polysexual scenes. Its size. And its party people, who made the parties matter in spite of 2am licenses and other restrictions.

In the ’80s, a new sound emerged across London’s dancefloors – a plethora of musical communities and sub communities – house, new beat, garage, techno and balearic beats. This sound exploded right across London and beyond, under the Acid House banner (smiley faces), which conveys the heady days of the Balearic spirit for those who can only dream of having been there.

Give us an insight into your record box gems of the time.

Too many favourites, hundreds in fact, but Will Downing – In My Dreams is one that popped to the head of the queue when I read your question. In half an hour it could be a pet Bas Noir, or a Fast Eddie’s Let’s Go, or some new, young artist from Croydon or Italy. Tough and electronic sounds.

I played all the best tunes during the rise of each genre – electro, rap, funk, house. During the late 1980’s acid house era, I shifted towards a more radical model of uniting art and music technology. 

Your Bang The Party records were some of the first proper UK house cuts to emerge on the scene, how did Bang The Party come about ? 

Dance act Bang The Party (founded 1986), originally a trio including Keith (KCC) Franklin, KCL Project. But then were downed to two, Lesley ‘Bullet’ Lawrence and I. 

Release Your Body, with Derrick May, an acid house fave, was followed by Bang Bang You’re Mine, a garage classic. We also released an album, Back To Prison.

Since those golden times you’ve gone on to be a creative director for London’s best super club Fabric, a regular record player in Europe (particularly Italian Rivera), worked on various TV projects + host a weekly radio show Mi-Soul. What advice would you give to a young Londoner stepping out to play music?!

The single ingredient you’ll need in spades is PASSION. And a lot of LUCK.

Nobody does dedication like James Brown, the minister of super heavy weight funk and social commentator. Here’s his charming point of view …

“Put your hand on the box and feel this,
Lay your hand up there and feel it,
If you got any kind of soul you got to feel it.”
 (James Brown, I Got To Move)

GET the message? This is not for the feckless or faint hearted. What you hold here is a funk bomb, primed to vaporise lethargy. A compound of full-length, full-strength masterfunk. An hour or so of GET UP and go. The jungle groove.

Sadly, in the industry as in life, being the best you can be isn’t necessarily a winning formula. All ironically, in the words of The Last Poets “We started on the corner and ended up in the square”.

Join Kid Batchelor this Saturday for Paris’ Acid Ball at Dalston Superstore 9pm – 3am.

K’Alexi

This Thursday we welcome Chicago legend K’Alexi to Dalston Superstore! Immersed in the then burgeoning house music scene as a pre-teen, he was exposed at an early age to seminal DJs and legendary nightclubs, not to mention a whole range of different genres and styles. For his DJ set here this week he’ll be joining Robert Owens in the laser basement for a real Chicago house love-in…
 
Is it true that you were hanging out with the likes of Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy when you were 12? If so how did this come about?
 
Yes, but mostly Ron, as an older friend he took me under his wing and got me in with him with no I.D and that set me on the path. 
 
As someone who’s experienced quite a few seminal clubs first-hand, if you had a time-machine what dancefloor where and when would you like to go back to?
 
The Musicbox with Ron Hardy, the sound fx of rain as he played an edit of Clouds by Chaka Khan, such a beautiful moment…
 
What’s your one failsafe, timeless record?
 
My Mudusa – K’ Alexi Shelby 

You’re playing alongside Robert Owens this Thursday! Besides him of course, who in your opinion are house music’s most inspiring vocalists?
 
Robert Owens, Byron Stingley, Paris Brightledge , Me, Dajae, Stephanie Cook, Ronna Ray, Jamie Principle, Russoul, Peven Everett, Terisa Griffin, Josh Milan, India plus much more and this is NOT in any order.
 
Why do you still do it ?
 
It’s so deep within me at this point I couldn’t stop even if I wanted too…
 
What would you be doing if you weren’t making or playing music?
 
I’m a creative person by heart, so I think photography. I love being behind or in front of the camera.
 
What’s next for K’Alexi?
 
I’m revamping my label K Klassik and it’s doing well. We’ve got mixes for some of dance musics best known, and soon to be known. We came together for me doing a mix on my song The Dancer… with vocals by me!

 
We’re really lucky that Chicago house is still important and still revered in dance music… having been there from the start, why do you think it’s so enduring?
 
The pure history of it rings out and goes way pass 4 on the floor. And as much as the world tries to name other places as the birth place we all know the truth… Chicago baby.
 
Join K’Alexi this Thursday 24th October at Robert Owens Live At Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 2.30am.

Terry Farley’s Acid Rain Launch Party

Tomorrow night sees Terry Farley join us once more both for Society’s Farr Festival Warm Up and for the launch of his new Acid Rain compilation! And ahead of the party we’re giving away a pair of tickets to Farr Festival, which takes place just outside of London in Hertfordshire over the weekend 19-21st July, AND a copy of Terry’s new release!

“It was 25 years ago in 1988 when the Acid House sound created a musical revolution in the UK following the success of London’s Shoom and Hedonism, whilst, at the same time, Manchester was kick starting the movement in the North of England with the Hacienda’s Hot and Nude nights. Acid House continued its corrosive effect on the late 80’s party crowd with new clubs opening up almost every month throughout 1988 – R.I.P., Spectrum, Zoo, The Trip, Apocalypse Now, Legends, the State, Rage, Sunrise to name a few.

By the summer of 1988 aka ‘the second summer of love’, Acid House was something of a national sensation in the UK with the political establishment seeing the movement as a threat to law and order and the tabloid press vilifying the movement and its main symbol, the smiley face.

But what exactly was Acid House?

Internationally renowned DJ and House expert, Terry Farley has painstakingly compiled 5 CD’s which trace the movement’s beginnings and the incredible 6 years when this underground music from Chicago dominated the UK dance floors and spread throughout the world. To accompany this furious aural assault is a 32 page booklet written and curated by Miles Simpson, founder of the influential House Music blog, ‘Beyond the Stars’, interrogator of legendary DJ’s and all-round House expert. Plus, of course, pages of scans, flyers and key photos from the period from the Terry Farley archives.”

Terry Farley Presents: Acid Rain

For your chance to win a copy of the 5-CD compilation Terry Farley Presents: Acid Rain and a pair of tickets to Farr Festival just email the correct answer to hello@dalstonsuperstore.com by 10am Thursday 27th June with the email subject “ACID RAIN/FARR FESTIVAL COMPETITION”.

*Only the winning entrant will be contacted.

What was the summer of 1988 also known as?

a. The second summer of love

b. Another summer of rain

c. The winter of discontent

Terry joins Society’s extra special resident and all-round genuine legend Robert Owens, Thunder’s Miles Simpson, Damon Martin, Jake Manders, Josh Caffe and the Society DJs here at Dalston Superstore for Society’s Farr Festival Warm-Up tomorrow night from 9pm.

Jamie Blanco

Tonight sees London house producer and DJ Jamie Blanco joins us at Society Presents Robert Owens. Currently releasing much hyped records on the ultra mysterious London Housing Trust label and one-half of atmospheric electronic outfit Figures; Jamie is an ideal person for a lesson in all things H.O.U.S.E. We caught up with him ahead of the party to find out what inspires him and what’s lurking in the depths of his record collection…

How did you come to release on the mysterious London Housing Trust label?

I could tell ya but I’d have to kill ya.

What’s your most loved piece of hardware?

My Roland Juno 60. I don’t think I’ve made a track that it doesn’t feature in.

Who are your house heroes?

Francois Kervorkin is someone I have massive respect for as a DJ and a producer. When I first started going out, I’d have to say the likes of X Press 2, Kahuna Brothers or even MAW gave me some of my favourite wide eyed dance floor experiences.        

What was the best DJ set you’ve danced to recently?

Figures played a live gig last Saturday after which a load of us piled back to my mate Chris Stoker’s. Parts of his standard 12 hour mega mix from then on could answer that question, maybe not the five minutes of chiming Chinese water bells though. Other than that Ben ‘Gatto Fritto’ Williams anywhere I’ve seen him play recently. 

What do you like, and equally what do you loathe, about London’s house music scene?

Love: the atmosphere when everyone’s enjoying the music and having a good old dance.
Loathe: the atmosphere when everyone is there to just stand around in those bennies.

Personal favourite Chicago house gem?

Jump St Man – B-Cause is an amazing track, you either dance or chill to it.

Or Da Posse – In The Heat Of The Night (Acid Mix) always gets everyone moving.

What influences your live outfit Figures?

James and I wanted to make something of a slower tempo and more atmospheric than the house music we were both producing when we met, so we started Figures with the idea of bring others in to guest on tracks, hence the name. Other than that, whatever biscuits he turns up to the studio with as we drink a lot of tea.  

What’s the best new music (of any genre) you’ve discovered lately?

I think I’d need some ID’s from last Sunday morning to answer that.

What outside of music creatively inspires you?

All the features on David Attenborough recently.

And finally, be honest, what is the most unexpected record in your collection?

I have Toxic by Britney Spears on 12″, Great track. Would that be classed as unexpected…?

Join Jamie Blanco tonight at Society Presents Robert Owens at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 2:30am.

Neville Watson

DJ and producer, former label and record store owner, occasional KiNK cohort and purveyor of deep, raw and jacking house, the illustrious Neville Watson joins us for the upcoming Big Thursday which will kick off the long bank holiday weekend in style. He’ll be deep down in the laser basement for Disco Bloodbath’s 6th Birthday with Bloodbath residents Ben Pistor and Damon Martin, whilst upstairs Shay Malt and Nick G takeover the top bar for raucous party times. 
 
Ahead of what is sure to be a totally mental party, we caught up with Neville to find out more about his rave past, what Myspace means to him, creative muses and more…
 
If you could go back to any dancefloor you’ve ever danced on, where would you want to be dancing?
 
Checkpoint Charlie at the After Dark club in Reading, 1994-2004. I walked in to that club as a punter and would eventually become a resident but in all that time the energy on that dancefloor never let up. A Jamaican social club down a dark alley with a thumping sound system and 300 baying lunatics. Magic.
 
It’s pretty well-documented that you met your frequent co-collaborator KiNK via the now mostly irrelevant Myspace. What do you think exists now in terms of social media to connect artists in the way you guys did and is it as important nowadays?
 
It is just as important, and it’s a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can reach out to pretty much anyone instantly, a curse because it makes it that much more difficult to let things build slowly and get more of a lasting foothold. To be honest I quite miss MySpace; it felt a bit more anarchic and a little less micro managed. I’m fairly active on Facebook but I’ll be glad when something else comes along. Soundcloud is also massively important to what I do and is a real godsend. 
 
You’ve had Kim Ann Foxman guest on a track of yours and KiNK- are there any other vocalists currently on your wishlist to work with?

There isn’t really anyone particularly famous that I have a burning desire to work with but I’m always on the lookout for someone with a unique voice and interesting take on lyrics, and it’s much harder than it seems. One of the best vocals I’ve heard on a house track in the last few years is Lakuti’s on Portable’s Deeper Love.  There is someone I’m about to approach but I’m keeping it under wraps for the moment.

What can we see of your own music in the next few months?

The single One Four Green gets a re-release on Teng Records with new mixes from Deep Space Orchestra, Perseus Trax and Johnny Aux. A remix for your very own Dan Beaumont forthcoming on Disco Bloodbath. My main focus right now is the release of my album, Songs To Elevate Pure Hearts which comes out on Crème Organization in May.

What one piece of hardware, maybe not necessarily your favourite, could you not make music without?
 
If we’re talking absolute necessity, then as a machine I guess it would be my Mac. Sorry, I know that’s not very sexy but it’s the truth. I love my machines but if they all broke down tomorrow (I don’t really want to think about that) then I could still make shitty, faux “deep” house in the box. 
 
You were for a long time, the muse of your brother, the photographer Gavin Watson… who would you say was your own creative muse?

My wife, Stephanie. Without doubt. 

What is your favourite photo from the book you did with your brother, Raving ’89?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. There are so many good ones in there. It would either be the guy with “Go!” printed on his t-shirt, he looks like he’s been fired out of a canon and splatted into a patio door. Which pretty much sums up how it felt back then. 

Gavin Watson image from Raving '89

Or the one on page 108-109, it’s like some weird renaissance tryptych. Everyone in it looks completely disconnected from the other, and the weird ghostly floating head floating above that guy’s shoulder just pips it for me. We were surprised when doing the book how much of a dark vibe the pictures had, in our heads the memories of that time are really positive and uplifting but some of the pictures are almost Dante-esque.

Gavin Watson image from Raving '89

What’s your best moment or hijink from that era that you can remember and that wasn’t captured on camera?
 
My favourite moment will always be the local football team moment, there is a picture from it in the book but not of the best part. For those who don’t have the book, my friend’s were in the local pub team and they went straight from a party to the game; all high as kites. Basically they were in no fit state to be upright, let alone play football. The rest of us pulled up in the car beside the pitch, got out and started dancing to the stereo, summoned one of our friend’s in the team from the pitch to come over and make a jazz cigarette. Which he gladly did, abandoning the game. But my enduring memory is of my friend, Stuart, in goal doing the acid house goalie dance (feet spread out hands out in front) and watching the ball just go sailing past his head in to the back of the net. Much to the distress of his team mates who’d all had a good night’s sleep, and the utter bemusement of the other team. 
 
What were the first and last records released on your now sadly defunct record label Mighty Atom and what do they mean to you?

Good grief, you know about that label? I didn’t think anyone was taking any notice! The first one was Mono Tracks – Gabes Groove and the last one was Lovejuice – Acid Love. What do they mean to me? I’m not sure. Obviously they represent a particular time in my life but I’m not a particularly sentimental person, so once I put something to bed I’m pretty much done with it. That said we did put out some great records on there and I still play a few of them out on occasion. 

Taking into account the fact Mighty Atom was also a record store, what are your current fave record stores having previously had your own?

In the real world Phonica in the West End, Hardwax in Berlin and Alan’s Records in…. actually I’m not telling you where that is, you’ll have to find out yourself. Online, Juno for the customer and speed of light service. 

What one track prompted your first ever rave epiphany?
 
Reese & Santonio – Bounce Your Body To The Box
 
 
Join Neville for Disco Bloodbath’s 6th Birthday on Thursday 28th March here at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4:30am

RUFUS&Bambi’s Acid Rain Mix

Rex The Dog cohort RUFUS&Bambi has dropped this exclusive mix on us ahead of Friday’s party. It’s an acid house/303 special so she’s pulled out all the stops with some full on acid madness…

TRACKLISTING

Aiello – Sabrer (Hannulelauri warehouse remix)

Samoyed – Klondike Rush

Legowelt – Danger In The Air

Liddell Townsell – As Acid Turns

SCS – Model Specific

Larry Heard – The Sun Can’t Compare

Simian Mobile Disco – Breaking Times

DJ Sprinkles – Grand Central Part 1

Omar S & Ob Ignitt – Wayne Country Hill Cops

Join us at Breed this Friday 7th December from 9pm – 3am with Rex The Dog and RUFUS&Bambi.

Photo credit: www.eleonoracecchini.com

Terry Farley

It was really only a matter of time before the dual juggernaut of Farley & Heller made an appearance at Paris’ Acid Ball. Individually and separately they have both been hugely influential and integral parts of the British dance music scene for many years. We caught up with one half of the duo, Terry Farley, a man who’s definitely no stranger to Dalston Superstore to ask him all about his early Boys Own raves, classic stories from the acid house heyday, Ibiza then and now, and more…

As a born Londoner, what/where is your favourite London hotspot?

I love markets – up the lane (Portobello), Roman Road in the ‘80s was, as they used to say, “ream”, Columbia Road and of course nowadays Broadway market.

What’s the best party you’ve been to so far this year?

Harvey I reckon, closely followed by some nights at East Bloc (especially our Boys Own party).

Why do you think people have been so passionate for so long about house music?

The intense link between the music and the best days (nights) of your life. The chemical reaction as well stays in the subconscious, so as soon as you (well me haha) hears a 4×4 Chicago beat a small rush starts around your toes…  likely story.

What is your favourite record that you own?

It changes by the week but today it’s…

Big London club record when kids actually danced together ‘hustle’ style. Tomorrow it will be some reggae record – I’m fickle.

There’s a great story about being inspired to take your first ever E after seeing Danny Rampling for the first time and he dancing to George Kranz Din Daa Daa. How much impact do you think that moment had on your life?

That was at the Rockley Sands weekender run by Nicky Holloway – it was on the cusp of change when the crowd split between the black music purists and the kids who had been to Ibiza and took gear. Danny was doing his Amnesia style dance and Chris Butler and Johnny Walker had sat inside the huge bass bins. Sitting inside speakers was a early Acid House thing. Pics of said Weekender can be laughed at here at faithfanzine.com

Speaking of ways you met people… how did you meet Pete Heller?

He warmed up for Danny at Shoom, played guitar over Danny’s set as well.

If you could climb in a time-machine and go back to any dance floor any era any location, where and when would be setting the dial to?

1975: a true golden age of London clubbing. Punk was starting but without a name, American black dance music was at its innovative and raw best and the standard of dancing in west end clubs was amazing. It was also a time when shop culture was important, you found out what/where and whom at places like ACME, Sex, Johnson and Johnson, Swanky Modes…

What one thing will you always love about Ibiza and what one thing do you wish had never changed?

Putting the roofs on totally fucked things, what was unique and magical turned into normality – a crazy normality but the specialness was lost.

What do I still love…? The fact I’m struggling here tells me something. 

If acid house geese and jackin’ cows sum up the Boys Own outdoor parties of the past, what might sum up Boys Own 2013?

Barbour coats and ketamine haha!  

You and Pete Heller will be playing the Shoom 25th Anniversary… will you be playing old favourites or new bangers?

Both, but that’s how we play anyway. So much new music by new producers harks back to the early ‘90s so music no longer sounds old or new just good or bad.

You’re no stranger to the Superstore basement! What do you like about playing here?

It reminds me of our clubs used to be in the ‘70s and mid ‘80s, mixture of people, intense atmosphere that is not reliant on drug consumption and I dig the way the staff at the club seem part of a community, part of the night and not a opposing enemy like at bigger venues.

You have a long-standing association with London’s gay scene. Why do you think this is?

When I was a kid THE best west end clubs were either gay or black so if you wanted to be part of that elite side of the soul scene you had to leave any preconceptions at home. I just love a good party and a great crowd, and London’s gay scene has produced so many of my faves over the decades.

What’s your favourite current house night?

I’m working most Saturdays but the ones I’ve enjoyed playing at this year was Guy Williams’ party at East Bloc, Society at DSS on a Thursday with Robert Owens.  I also love playing the basement at East Village. If I can hang out, I’m a long-term fan of the secretsundaze crew and I really love the Loft over west down Scrubs Lane.

What do you think has given your career the longevity you’ve enjoyed?

I’m rubbish at anything else. 

And finally, who’s been the most interesting or difficult person you’ve ever interviewed for your own site Faith Fanzine?

Miles got told off by Frankie Knuckles after I had hooked up a Skype interview for Faith haha. The best ones are the older DJs who have stuff to say who have lived the life so to speak: Derrick Carter, Lil Louis, Frankie (eventually)…  young European deep house DJs want to talk about plug-ins.

 

Rhythm Connection w/ Terry Farley by Rhythm Connection on Mixcloud

 

 Terry Farley plays Paris’ Acid Ball with Pete Heller as Farley & Heller on Saturday 3rd November at Dalston Superstore with Hannah Holland, Dan Beaumont and DJ Squeaky from 9pm – 3am.

Light Year

This Saturday Sydney’s Light Year swoops into town as part of his European tour that has so far stopped at Barcelona, Paris, and Leipzig amongst others, finally finishing right here in Dalston.

And we’ve got a very special prize to give away! To win guestlist to see Light Year play this Saturday at Body Talk AND get your hands on one of these amazing tshirts, email hello@dalstonsuperstore.com with the subject “I heart Light Year” by 2pm tomorrow – Friday 19th October 2012 – and answer the following question correctly…

(only winning entrants will be contacted)

How does Light Year describe his latest mix?

a. Church techno

b. Wigwam techno

c. Sausage-fest techno

Light Year Tshirt

Formerly a duo, now a solo act, we caught up with the acid house obsessed remaining member of Light Year, Jordan, to find out how the amazing video for his massive hit Moderation came out, what personally gets him raving and what we can expect from his set at Superstore for Body Talk – We Are 3

You’ve been touring like mental this year- where’s been your favourite touch-down so far?

Yeah this year has been busy with tours. Europe and USA twice and Mexico for the first time, and Canada too. I also played HARD Fest in L.A., which was one of the biggest crowds I have played in front of, a really intense energy so much fun.

I feel like Europeans tend to connect more with the music I personally love to play. I tend to have to change my sets throughout the USA depending on the crowd, which always keeps me on my toes but Europeans let me do whatever I want most of the time.

Which producers or contemporaries of yours do think are making particularly innovative dance music at the moment?

When it comes to dance music recently I have loved Mr. G’s new album ‘State of Flux’. I’ve been playing three or four tracks from it in some of my sets. I just love the energy of that warehouse vibe. Jimmy Edgar is another, his album was cool but I feel his production work since has really gone to the next level.

And who would be the dream artist to remix your own work?

Matthew Dear in his Audion guise. That would be all time.

Your love of acid house is evident in your music and most notably in the Moderation video- is it something you wished you’d experienced first-hand first time round?

Absolutely. I love the feel and rawness of that music. The limitations of one drum machine and one synth truly created some real classic records, and that’s what I like most- the simplicity. Also the parties and the original explosion of rave/warehouse parties would have been so exciting to be a part of. I think there is a real resurgence in that type of vibe at the moment too, which is cool.

The video is amazing, and so eye-catching. Any idea where the footage is from? You can’t watch it without wanting to go dance in a field…

Ha thanks, that was the desired effect. I was searching “’90s rave” on YouTube one night and I saw all that crazy footage. I didn’t really think that anyone had used it in a film clip before. I sent the footage and idea to a friend and it took about two weeks but it came together really well. 

We read that you in between all the acid house, Chicago sounds and whatnot, you also really like hip hop. What kind of influence do you think this has had on your work in dance music?

When I was young it was all I listened to, exclusively, literally nothing else. It was only later once I got a bit tired of it that I started exploring more electronic music. I have noticed that there is always a ghetto style break and heavy use of classic drum machine sounds in my tracks which is probably a direct influence from all the hip hop I used to listen to. I love to sample and most hip hop is built around samples so there is a certain feel I think it can give a song, from a whole loop to just cut up drums, that is warm and classic sounding.

How dramatically would you say your working dynamic has changed since going solo as Light Year?

The main change is I don’t work directly with another person all the time. But Mikey (Jensen Interceptor) and I still send each other our demos and give each other feedback on stuff. I have a solid network of people that I send ideas and rough demos too. It generally takes me a session to come up with an idea and then I like to send it around to people/friends just to get feedback and extra ideas. I find that this helps with actually finishing tracks.

How did you come to remake DV8 for Strictly Rhythm?

A good friend of mine Danny (Wax Motif) was putting together a compilation on behalf of Strictly Rhythm and asked me to be apart of it. The idea was to go through the Strictly back catalogues and choose a track to remix/remake or edit. I had a lot of fun working on that remix and I like the way it turned out.

EDM’s global march aside, dance music… okay good dance music… still seems relatively underground in Australia. Do you ever feel tempted to decamp to Europe?

Absolutely. I’m currently tossing up whether to live in LA, London or Berlin next year. Haven’t decided yet though.

You called your mix for Ransom Note “sausage-fest techno”. What other genres can we expect to hear played at Dalston Superstore?

I play a lot of different stuff but it all falls under house & techno I guess. I’m loving this ‘warehouse’ type sound at the moment so I’ll be playing plenty of that. It also depends on the crowd and where they let me go. I’m really excited for the show though; I’ve heard amazing things. 

 

Light Year Euro Mix R$N XCLSV by Theransomnote on Mixcloud

 

 

Light Year plays Body Talk – We Are 3 this Saturday 20th October 2012 from 9pm – 4am with Jeffrey Hinton, Rokk, Tristan Reed and Charlie Bones.

Perseus Traxx

Next week we welcome Perseus Traxx to join us in the Superstore lazer basement for our monthly Chicago house and acid infused Thursday night Society. Self-described as a man who makes “Machine Music using old hardware”, Perseus Traxx’s rich analogue sounds and early house influences make him an ideal act to sit on the same bill as Society’s legendary resident Robert Owens. We caught up with him to shoot the breeze about Greek legends, hardware and music that makes you smile…
 

 

What is it about the legendary Greek figure of Perseus that you empathise with enough to name yourself after him… beyond the obvious association of house artists named after mythical Greek characters?

Possibly his persistence and integrity, I’m unsure. He was put on the spot when asked what gift he would present to the King. Everyone said a horse was fitting, but he said nothing less than the head of Medusa. Next day he was ordered by the King to get the head of Medusa, otherwise the King would take Perseus’s mother. An impossible task, he had help from the Gods, but the King raped his mother. So he exacted revenge by turning the King to stone. He also gave away the Kingdom rather than rule in place of the King he had just killed. The films don’t tell this story, and even in ancient mythology there are two slightly different versions. I like the idea that he was kitted up by the Gods to perform an otherwise impossible feat, a mortal using the tools of the immortals. But that doesn’t really answer the question I’m afraid….

Do you think you could take Medusa in a fight like your namesake did?

Medusa was HOT but she lost her looks!! She was the only mortal of the three Gorgons, but I’d probably need the same amount of help defeating her, so Athena would need to show up and hold the polished shield. I’d also need the cap of invisibility to get away, and some trainers that make me fly. As the ancient Greek Gods seem to have retired, I think I’d be pretty much up the creek on this one. 

You’re pretty vocal about your love of analogue and basic equipment and hardware. What’s your most loved and most used tool you utilise in your productions?

That’s quite tricky as I use everything equally, the MPC and the desk and effects units always get used, as does the Juno Alpha 1 and the MKS-50 (rack-mounted Alpha Juno). As a rule I write music to record with a mind to performing it, and so I use what I’m able to take out with me. Maybe one or two bits stay at home, but that’s it. I think though, the Juno’s are my favourite….

Why do you feel the need to have quite so many aliases?

It’s not a need as such. There have been different things for different moods. The recent stuff is Perseus, but appropriate sounds go with appropriate names. Nite Vision isn’t just me, N&N Tracks (Neville and Nigel) isn’t just me and Sir Leon Greg is all about edits and jams, so is an anagram (edit) of my own name. Underneath, it’s still me; the names are more about reference points for other people, which is why the first question was a bit tricky.

What one track has had the biggest influence on the music you produce as Perseus Traxx?

I don’t think there can be just one track. 

Why is jazz awesome?

I like the moods, it lets my brain unfold and helps me relax and drift. I don’t listen to nearly as much as I should. Quite often I’m locked into what I’m doing and don’t get a chance to relax and listen to other things. I suppose the speed at which my brain races means I feel I have to be occupied to prevent thinking to much about things that otherwise may trouble me.

What do you think of DJs who don’t go to record stores?

I have no problem with that. There isn’t one in York so I can’t go but I can’t really afford much vinyl at the moment. I don’t have a problem with buying online. It’s a shame though; the decline in record sales (despite the recent upwards bump) has meant the closure of record shops all over the world. Though enthusiasts can still get music, a community is lost. Digging in crates and second hand shops has been lost to the “idea” of what the majority thinks it is be a DJ. This is evidenced by the rise of mediocrity and celebrity. The masses buy into it. That’s fine, it doesn’t effect me as I don’t go to those clubs or buy that music. Being a DJ is about searching for tracks, as much as playing, so whether it’s about going to a record shop or tracking down and buying online it doesn’t matter, it’s all about the obsession. This is what differentiates DJ’s from people who are just spoon-fed what they will listen to and buy, and are happy to just accept that.

What’s your favourite track of your own you’ve done?

I’m not too certain. They all have special resonance for me, and different memories and qualities. There are also 100 or more that are unreleased and some of those mean a lot to me too. It’s like asking a parent to choose their favourite child.

If you *had* to rid the world of one musical genre, in your opinion, what could humanity afford to lose?

Not sure if it has a true genre, but we could all do without the soulless, polished dirge the $wedi$h Hou$e Ma££ia and their ilk “produce” – oh I mentioned being spoon fed before didn’t I…..

What was the last piece of music you listened to that made you outright grin?

I was at a friend’s place the other week and she pulled out a copy of the edits of Don’t Take It by Armando Gallop. It’s the Thomos Edit that I particularly like and was on the Lets Pet Puppies label, which was made up of re-edits of unreleased recordings from back in the day. I don’t have a copy unfortunately and with the lowest price on Discogs being £20 it seems I’m unlikely to get one any time soon which is a cruel cruel shame! I particularly like the Sharvette’s voice on this. It’s just drums, subtle acid, some effects, and her voice. I love it. She sounds like the same person who did the intro of Drexciya’s Bubble Metropolis where a female voice announces, “This is Drexciyan Cruiser Control, bubble 1, to Lardossen cruiser 8-203X, please decrease your speed to 1.788.4 kilobahn, thank you, Lardossen cruiser 8-203X please use extra caution as you pass the aqua construction site on the side of the aquabahn, I repeat, proceed with caution.” I guess that’s the best reference point in terms of the sound of the vocal, though the content and context are very different.

What can we expect from your set at Society?

I haven’t planned a set as such, though I do have some nice bits, old and new, waiting to get played and am eagerly awaiting the postman’s arrival with some new releases. There will definitely be some Legowelt / Chicago Shags in there, maybe some disco. I’ll just have to see how it all goes….

Perseus Traxx plays Society Presents: Robert Owens next Thursday 27th September from 9pm – 2:30am and has a new split EP with Aroy Dee out now on Photic Fields called Hope.

Thunder

If you’ve been frequenting dark basements round these parts lately you may have noticed the unmistakable sounds of Thunder. A quarterly party with an extremely selective music policy, Thunder has so far welcomed Sven Weisemann, Patrice Scott and Neville Watson into the fold for their dedicated crowd. A collaboration between a trio of seasoned London music heads Miles Simpson, Rick Hopkins and Joseph Apted, the next party is happening this Friday up the road at the Waiting Room. We spoke to them about things that go bump in the night…  

Tell us about your introduction to house music – what clubs and records got you hooked?

Rick: Me personally, I got sucked in by the sounds of Chicago and early Detroit in ‘89. Wasn’t a club but a local DJ named Doug Osbourne, who was a Shoomer, a few years older than me, and listening to him force feeding music to us like any good DJ would, I succumbed to the House Sound. Pre 1989 I was really into my hip hop and you’d often hear early Trax records like Adonis – No Way Back or Raze’s – Jack The Groove interspersed in the early sound-system nights out and these records always stood out with the distinctive 808 drum machines and basic looped bassline that drew you in. Another one was Nitro Deluxe but too me that seemed like a combination of early freestyle and even earlier house productions. Club wise, we’d go to Dingwalls and hear Colin Favor spin rap along with house too, so Mr. Favor had a very strong influence on why and how the house and techno sound became so prevalent in my late teens and early 20’s. Where I live in the suburbs, we were only a stone’s throw from the smoke, so London’s influence was drip fed to us and by then you were looking at so called raving like an epidemic. Most, if not all, my friends were going out to big raves or clubs in town. We had a local boozer on a Thursday night that Doug Osbourne did and it was mayhem, and there was not much drinking which never pleased Peter the landlord, bless him, meaning we were pretty much going out Thursdays, Friday, a big do in Cambridge or in London on a Saturday then back down the pub on the Sunday with everyone proclaiming they were coming back up, those were indeed the days.

Miles: I can remember hearing house on the radio in the late ‘80s, things like Nitro Deluxe – Let’s Get Brutal, Sterling Void – It’s Alright, Kym Mazelle – Useless and then Inner City – Big Fun on Pete Tong’s Friday night show on Capital, but not even really being aware that some of it was house rather than just dance music, especially the more soulful stuff. I didn’t really catch the house bug properly until I went to my first acid house party at the end of 1988 in The Dome in Tufnell Park. The party was called Space, there was lots of smoke, a strobe and even some lazers – all of which are still dear to my heart! I started work in a shop on the Goldhawk Road in Shepherds Bush literally a day or two later, and that was opposite Discount Records, which sounds crap but was one of the best record shop in west London! So as I immersed myself in the north London rave scene of 1989, at places like Silver City, Labyrinth and Camden Place on a Monday, and the supporting pirate radio stations, like Centreforce, Sunrise and Dance, I could pop over the road and hum the tunes to them and then buy them. 1989 was such an amazing year for year of records, as it felt like the world was changing around us …

Joe: I’m a bit younger than Miles and Rick and grew up in rural Angus – Scotland, so it’s safe to say I didn’t have the same influences. I lived a fairly sheltered life until the age of 15/16 at which point various clubs and parties just seemed to explode in our area. It was the summer of 1992 and the little town that I went to school, Forfar, suddenly had a regular Friday night club and was bringing up DJ’s like Steve Bicknell, Evil Eddie Richards, and Michael Kilkie every week. It became really popular, really quickly, and at one point had buses coming through from Edinburgh, Aberdeen, etc, all to go this mental little club in this little town they’d probably never heard of. To say it was an eye-opener was putting it mildly, I was 15 sneaking into an over 18’s night and it literally was a case of one week I was going to a youth club, drinking cheap cider and trying (failing) to pull girls, and the next week I was dancing around in dry-ice to Chimo Bayo, having the time of my life and wondering how I could afford a Destroy jacket. That summer was my introduction to that scene and I absolutely loved it, it was a whole genre of music that I hadn’t been exposed to, clothes and fashion I hadn’t seen before and the fact that most people were much older just made it ridiculously exciting. Music wise, I’m not going to get into revisionism and pretend I was dancing about to Underground Resistance records aged 15 as that wasn’t the case. The tunes that stick out are things like the afore-mentioned Chimo Bayo – Asi Me Gusta Mi which just sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before….it hasn’t aged well and sounds very euro-cheesy, but to me, at the time,  it sounded sleazy and exotic. The other tune that’s ingrained in my brain was Age of Love – Age of love, which again sounded so exciting and different to what I’d been exposed to previously. The next year, 1993, a local guy called Shawn Moir started a night called Aphrodisia in another nearby town called Kirriemuir, it was in a completely lawless, anything-goes little venue called The Og. It had zero security, was filled with smoke, had a wild crowd and was extremely debauched. That was our ‘clubbing home’ for the next few years and was probably the most fun I’ve ever had.

Why do old house records sound more relevant than ever?

Rick: They don’ t sound any more relevant now than they did back then it’s just they were records produced by people who loved what they did and were affected by the clubs they were going to and I guess tried to recreate sounds that they the music makers were hearing.  A good record will always last the test of time. Producers will always try and hark back to the vintage sound of early Chicago records because essentially the productions were so raw with a sound quality that matched, certain labels vinyl presses had that earthy sound because it was old vinyl melted down and reused for newer wax. All this combined just sounded, without being too clichéd, totally mind-blowing, hence the massive influx of younger producers trying to recreate ‘that’ sound with tape recordings, analogue equipment, etc. But, house music isn’t just about a 707, 303, 727 or 101, in my humble opinion. It’s whatever feels right at the time so long as it’s good and the dancers react.

Miles: House records have always been relevant to me but I guess the cyclical nature of music means they haven’t necessarily to most others. If you listen to one thing for too long it can become tired. And whilst house has always been evolving in one way or another, I think a lot of younger people switched off to it after the mainstream boom in the ‘90s. And why wouldn’t they? Mainstream house became the sound of Mecca discos in the suburbs, girls dancing round handbag, blokes in shiny shirts on the pull and shit pop remixes.  All the sort of stuff any teenager with an ounce of sense would run a mile from. But now that’s been forgotten, things have moved on and young people are engaging with it again, because as Rick says, good music stands the test of time, and there are literally thousands and thousands of amazing house records people under the age of 30 will have never heard. And with that new blood comes fresh ideas and suddenly people are rehashing, reinterpreting and reinventing, but in an exciting way. There’s a nod to the past but it’s not derivative blandness, so you can play a 2012 Joy Orbison tune next to a 1995 Prescription record next to a 1990 Nu-Groove record and it works. It’s great, because as a DJ that’s been buying house for years, it gives you such a broad palette to draw from.

Joe: I agree with what Miles and Rick both say, I think back then people were trying to be innovative and original and that comes across in the records even now. Since then people have tried to copy and regurgitate that style as it’s drifted in and out of vogue but it never sounds as fresh so people keep returning to the original tracks. That’s not to say we should all be playing old music, but new music should offer something new, rather than just trying to sound like vintage Chicago house, in my humble opinion.

What are your current favourite labels?

Rick: Aesthetic Audio, Sistrum, Curle Records, Clone and all the little offshoot labels, RushHour, Fit Records, FXHE,  Delsin Records, Pampa Records, Smallville, 7th Sign, Sushitech, MikroDisko, M>O>S, Workshop, Dekmental, Ferris Park, Uzuri, Sound Signature – the list is endless.

Miles: I try not to get too hung up on labels but I’m generally a miserable failure on that front, because I get hooked too easily, especially if the artwork is cool, or they’ve got those little cloth swatches that Mojuba use or they’re nicely hand-stamped like Workshop!

Joe: Boring answer, but I don’t have allegiances to any labels – I couldn’t name a single label where I like EVERYTHING off it, or even 50% of it, so my collection is a magpie-like selection of bits and bobs from the labels mentioned already and others.

Where do you buy your wax?

Rick: Mainly online from Juno, Vinyl Underground in Northampton, Interstellar Sounds from Leicester, Delsin shop in Amsterdam, Rub A Dub up in Glasgow and Phonica, as opposed to a few years back when I was in Soho constantly every other weekend circumnavigating the shops from the pre house days in Groove Records, Hitman Records, Red Records in the magic Soho square mile and Spin Offs over in Hammersmith. House wise I was purchasing vinyl from shops like Luton’s Soul Sense Records, Hardcore Records in Stevenage and in town Fat Cat Records, Atlas, Eukatech, Rough Trade below Slam City Skates, etc. The odd occasion I can get into town on a Friday or Saturday afternoon I have a rummage through the racks of Phonica and Sounds of The Universe and always manage to find something decent.

Miles: I use online shops a bit but as I live and work in London, I try and get along to physical records shops most weeks. I can walk to Phonica in about 20 minutes after work, so I’m in there a lot. The staff are cool and Nick in particular always seems to be able to pick out at least one record I love and that I would have never thought to listen to otherwise. Whilst in Soho I try to check out Blackmarket too and always pop into Sounds of the Universe, to see what’s on offer there, and have a chat to James, another massively knowledgeable chap. Kristina in Dalston is bloody great too, fantastic records and the guys in there know their shit, so their second hand stuff is HOT. We also did a pre-Thunder in-store party with them and Patrice Scott, which was cracking and they were great to work with. Hopefully it won’t be the last one either.

Joe: If online I use Hardwax, Rub-a-Dub, Juno etc, and if I’m lucky enough to escape suburbia and actually make it into London, then I love an afternoon mooching around Phonica and second hand places.

Why did you decide to throw Thunder parties in this neck of the woods?

Miles: When we were originally looking for a venue I was convinced we needed to be in the Dalston area. It’s just buzzing, maybe like Shoreditch was 15 years ago, but with added genuine local community, which will hopefully act as a bit of a safety valve and stop the area being taken over by dick heads. I remember first visiting the Superstore and being blown away not just by the venue but the crowd, and the feel of the area. And since Superstore blazed that trail, that buzz has spread to other local venues. But it’s still got that rough edge. I love it, on a summer’s evening, at the weekend, the atmosphere is electric. I don’t think there is anywhere in London like it right now, not Hackney Wick, not Peckham, it’s just right and it’s basically the place to be if you want to throw a good party and have people who live for good parties turn up. That’s why we’re there.

What is the combined age of Thunder?

Miles: You should know a lady never tells… but we are actually all in our teens, we’ve just, erm, had hard lives.

Your guests have been pretty special – what do you look for in a headliner?

Rick: Someone we all admire musically whilst trying to bring in folk who you may never get to hear in such intimate surroundings.

Miles: Like Rick says, someone we are really into and admire, not just as a producer but as a DJ too. Neville Watson, John Heckle, Patrice Scott, Sven Weisemann and our next guest, Domenic Cappello, are all very accomplished producers, but you know what? They are all at least as good, if not better, behind the turntables as they are in the studio. That is important to us, because there are plenty of ‘hot’ DJs out there, whose hotness is based primarily on cobbling a couple of tune together on a laptop. We are after greater authenticity, because that’s what Thunder is about – real people doing stuff they love for the love of it.

Joe: I’d say the primary thing is, can they properly rock a party, as opposed to just turning up and playing a few tunes. The other thing is someone who takes a bit of pride in their craft who has gone to some effort to look out a really exciting, unpredictable selection of underground house. Every guest so far has played pure vinyl, so it couldn’t be further removed from the laptop DJ playing the latest Beatport anthems… there has to be a bit of love and care about what they do.

What is your fantasy Thunder line-up?

Rick: Personally love to get Derrick May down for an evening. That would be special.

Miles: Blimey. If I had a time machine, then it would have to be two rooms – the first would have London club legend Breeze warming up for 1990-93 vintage Tony Humphries and then the Junior Vasquez of 1991-92 see us through to lunchtime. Room Two would have Walter Gibbons, Tee Scott and Jim Burgess, who are basically my disco heroes.

But in the absence of a time machine, maybe Chez Damier and DJ Nature? Or Joy Orbison and Sven Weisemann back to back – that would be nuts. Actually, Derrick May is a great shout. With Theo Parrish and Kenny Dixon Junior warming up… in the original Sound Factory, with the Milk Bar bolted on as a second room and the roof terrace from Pacha stuck on top. Although I’d settle for DJ Nature or Joy Orbison though in our little basement though.

Joe: I’d borrow Miles’ time machine and have a two room club as well; Larry Levan playing a happy hardcore set in one room with, DJ Rush & DJ Funk playing back-2-back in the chill-out room. I’d also have “Blocko and Peasy” doing the cloakroom just for the jolly japes they’d get up to – bloody nutters.

Miles: Right, let’s bin the time machine plan then…

What does the future hold for Thunder?

Miles: Well in the immediate future, we have a party on 20th July with Glasgow house superstar, Domenic Cappello. Then the weekend after we’re playing at the FARR Festival in Hertfordshire, with loads of other great DJs, like you (Dan), Hannah Holland, JD Twitch, Bicep, Terry Farley and Trevor Fung and two days before that on Thursday 26th, we’re playing a FARR warm up party at the Dalston Superstore. All very exciting! Beyond that we want to continue to build on the parties we’ve had so far and throw more great parties continue to play music we love and that hopefully other people like too, work with a diverse range of DJs that we admire, and most importantly, have lots of fun we people like. It’s not much of a master plan but it seems to have worked out okay so far!

THUNDER with Domenic Cappello

Rick: That we all remain sane and continue to move and grow in the right direction that we want. Think we’ve achieved that thus far so we’ll continue moving forward, onwards & upwards as they say.

Joe: I won’t be happy until we’re as big as Swedish House Mafia. Only when we’re playing to 70,000 people at Milton Keynes Bowl with Rick banging out loads of old Relief records will I think we’ve achieved our goals…

Miles, Rick and Joe play Society’s warm-up party for Farr Festival on Thursday 26th July at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am and on the R$N Vs Society stage at Farr Festival on Saturday 28th July.

A Little Summer Of Love

These amazing pictures come courtesy of our friend Dave Swindells who’ll be presenting a sample of his fascinating photography this weekend at visual art exhibition A Little Summer Of Love. Celebrating the early years of acid house, the exhibition will also feature the graphic art of Dave Little, a private screening of Gordon Mason’s acclaimed documentary film ‘They Call It Acid’, a live performance of the first British acid house tune, ‘Voodoo Ray’ by A Guy Called Gerald feat. Diane Charlemagne and DJs including Paris’ Acid Ball residents Hannah Holland and Dan Beaumont.

Being the kind sir he is, Mr Swindells has sent us a selection of his snaps from London and Ibiza in their acid house heydays with pictures of Danny Rampling at Shoom, Feral Is Kinky in Ibiza, crazy Boys Own parties and more plus explanations of each one in his own words…

TOP IMAGEAmnesia, 1989

To me this photo seems like it could almost have been taken last week at a party in Dalston. The fashions have changed somewhat, but not by much! This was 7am on the main dance floor at Amnesia on the opening night of the season in June 1989, when Boy George was invited to celebrate his birthday and host the club. Although it was taken in 1989 I’m putting it first it as was clubs like Amnesia which inspired Balearic beats and helped kick-start the Summer of Love in 1988. 

The Duchess of Norwood and friends in Ibiza, 1989

The Duchess of Norwood and friends in Ibiza, 1989

The Duchess of Norwood wasn’t her real name (natch) but she did make good friends with the local boyz. Ibiza had a properly polysexual scene long before London, and it was already a major gay holiday destination in the ’80s.

Danny Rampling at Shoom, 1988

Danny Rampling at Shoom, 1988

At Shoom Danny and Jenni Rampling created a small, friendly, New Age-y and intense underground club where Danny mixed Balearic beats and acid house and everyone went a little bonkers. Anton Le Pirate (top right) and Frankie Foncett (blue top) are in this photo, which was taken in the tiny Fitness Centre in Southwark. There were grumbles about the tight door policy, but Shoom was very significant because it was the underground club that DJs, club promoters and the media knew about (even if most of the media couldn’t get in). Just around the corner was RIP in Clink Street, but that’s a whole other story* – and they didn’t allow any photos to be taken. 

* The story is told in the liner notes to a new CD, ‘Richard Sen presents This Ain’t Chicago, the underground sound of UK house and acid 1987-1991’, which is released by Strut Records on June 25.  

The Future, 1988

The Future, 1988

This was taken at Paul Oakenfold’s night, The Future, for a feature on acid house and Balearic beats in i-D magazine. The clubbers there, including DJs Lisa Loud and Nancy Noise, had all been to Ibiza the previous summer, so we photographed the way they dressed and danced, because moves like the ‘shelf stacker’ were strange to people who’d grown up dancing with their feet rather than their arms.

A typical group of London clubbers in Ibiza…

A typical group of London clubbers in Ibiza…

Yeah, right. MC Kinky (aka FeralisKinky), Boy George, Fat Tony and Louise Prey photographed in Ku (now Privilege). It’s a night that we remember for the massive electrical storm (lots of the British chose to dance in the rain) and because the orgasmic ‘French Kiss’ by Lil Louis was played three times. When we left the open-topped jeeps in the car park looked like baths: full of water.     

Spectrum at Heaven, 1988

Spectrum at Heaven, 1988

Spectrum was a Monday night phenomenon at Heaven in 1988-89 where Paul Oakenfold was the main DJ. After a very quiet start it snowballed and used to draw clubbers from across the country – club folklore suggests that Spectrum inspired the name of the band Happy Mondays. This was taken one night in July 1988 when the air conditioning failed. No wonder the dancers were sweating. 

Gyroscope, acid house party in Deptford, 1988

Gyroscope, acid house party in Deptford, 1988

In 1989 and 1990 every rave had to have lasers and a bouncy castle (and they’d definitely get a shout out on the flyers too), but in 1988 the novelty was a gyroscope. Logic didn’t come into it: Hey, I’m feeling high/drunk/wasted, why don’t I throw my body everywhichway possible on a gyroscope while the strobe light blinds and disorientates me! Yay! 

Time Out meets Spectrum in Jubilee Gardens

Time Out meets Spectrum in Jubilee Gardens

Time Out was offered the chance to help programme a festival in a big top in Jubilee Gardens. Spectrum was at Heaven on Monday nights, so we teamed up with them and on June 6th 1988 acid house (and Balearic beats) were blaring out across the Thames towards Big Ben. 

Trip at the Astoria, 1988

Trip at the Astoria, 1988

It’s hilarious that the first club to bring acid house to the West End weekend was called Trip. Nicky Holloway’s Trip, with Pete Tong as a resident DJ, opened in June 1988 and was mobbed. Darren Rock (of Rocky & Diesel) is wearing the blue top while most of the dancers are wearing Trip t-shorts because the promoter saw me taking the shot from the DJ box and made me wait five minutes while he handed them out. 

Café Del Mar, Ibiza 1989

Café Del Mar, Ibiza 1989

‘Peril of Drug Isle Kids!’ warned The Sun. They weren’t wrong. Those kids are still in peril but these days it’s more likely to be the drinks and admission prices on The White Isle that will give them a heart attack.  I was out in Ibiza with journalist Alix Sharkey for 20/20 Magazine, so the fact that The Sun made Ibiza front-page news while we were there was lucky for us.

Boys Own Party, 1989

Boys Own Party, 1989 

1989 was the summer of orbital parties (parties at locations off the M25, hence orbital and hence Orbital, the band) but the Boy’s Own event, in a beautiful valley overlooking a reservoir near East Grinstead, was not a mega-rave to scare the tabloid writers, but a brilliant night of top tunes and larks. Why were these two climbing a ladder to nowhere? I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time…

The launch party of A Little Summer Of Love will be held this Saturday 30th June from 7pm – 2:30am at Westbourne Studios, W10 5JJ, with A Guy Called Gerald, Noel Watson, Kid Batchelor, Richard Sen and our very own Paris’ Acid Ball residents Dan Beaumont and Hannah Holland.