Posts Tagged ‘Dan Beaumont’

Spencer Parker’s 2017

We are so psyched to welcome mischievous house and techno don Spencer Parker as our guest of honour at the Superstore Christmas Bash! When he’s not travelling the world gracing the stages of some of our favourite clubs and festivals, Spencer is a regular guest at Berghain, be it playing house and disco upstairs in Panorama Bar or filthy techno on the club’s main floor. We’ve been hearing whispers since September that his set at Field Maneuvers was many people’s festival highlight of the year, so we can’t wait to hear what he unleashes on the lazer basement! We caught up for a Baileys and a chat about his 2017…

Personal highlight?

I quite like my eyes… but I have a beautiful smile too – tough to pick just one if i’m being brutally honest…

Favourite release of the year? 

Mella Dee – Techno Disco Tool on Warehouse Music

Craziest gig? 

Playing Hi Tech Jazz on a roof this summer, as the sun came up over beautiful Monopoli, southern Italy, for the amazing Apart party gang.

Favourite film? 

MOONLIGHT !!!!

Best festival story of the year?

Ryan Elliott‘s set at Field Maneuvres, but its not a story – it was REAL (and great)!

Favourite Christmas guilty pleasure?

I love a Baileys! (Shout out to Terry’s Chocolate Orange too though!)

2017 Lowlight?

Complete, utter, devastating and total heartbreak.

Worst meal?

It was that “breakfast” at Glasgow airport a couple weeks back. I know, I know… It’s my own fault…

Best tour destination?

I think that it has to be, and shall always remain, TOKYO! (But after travelling there a little recently, I’m also beginning to fall in love with LA, I have to say.)

Best rave moment? 

Charles Jeffrey (and accompanying outfit) dancing on a speaker to Hannah Holland playing classic Tenaglia featuring Liz Torres on vocals while standing next to our beloved Dan Beaumont in his safe space™ at Chapter 10.


Catch Spencer Parker at our Superstore Christmas Bash on Saturday 16 December from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!

 

Francis Inferno Orchestra

The Battered Sausage party series is back this month with a special summer sizzler of a guest – Francis Inferno Orchestra. In between playing Panorama Bar and various festivals across the UK, this Aussie import runs a two labels and releases music under a few pseudonyms – a pretty impressive CV! We sat down to chat favourite parties, guilty pleasures and plans for Battered Sausage. 

Hello! Can you introduce us to Francis Inferno Orchestra?

Hi! Well I’m Francis Inferno Orchestra, I’m an Australian Producer & DJ currently living in London, I run a label called Superconscious Records with my friend Fantastic Man and another little imprint called BBW with another antipodean bud Tyson. I also throughly love Pocari Sweat.   

You made the move from Melbourne to London a while back – how has that change influenced your sound?

I’m still uncertain what ‘my sound’ is but I don’t think anything in London has necessarily influenced what it might be. If anything I think living in London has made me cherish my musical roots in Australia and identify more with where I’ve come from.   

Melbourne seems to have a pretty incredible underground dance scene which is continually growing and morphing into something new. Can you tell us a bit about how you have watched it develop?

I can’t exactly put my finger on why this is, but maybe it is something to do with the fact that we aren’t spoilt with the thick dance music culture that exist in the UK and Europe, and which feels a bit taken for granted over here. So we have to kind of make it ourselves even though we don’t have the population to support it. Not exactly sure why its mostly just Melbourne getting the attention but there are things bubbling in Sydney too. The best DJ in Australia is Steele Bonus and he’s from Sydney. Check him out!

The last five years have seen you travel across Australia and further afield. Over that time, which has been your favourite dance floor to play back home, and which has been your best international party?

Home – I used to run a party called Jungle Juice with my friend Luke, which was us playing for 6+ hours B2B while running the smoke machine non stop.
International – So far it’s without a doubt Panorama Bar, but everyone knows that already :)  

You’re known as a DJ and producer with an eclectic list of influences – what’s a record people would be taken aback to discover you secretly love?

Destiny’s Child – Girl

You played B2B with our own Dan Beaumont last weekend in Croatia (hamazing!) Did you throw any curveballs in there to keep him on his toes?

Haha! The boat party was actually pretty amazing! I went easy on Dan however, I felt bad for him as he lost a bunch of his music before he got on the boat. Big shout outs to Dance Tunnel & Ransom Note for having me and doing a super great job with it. I won’t be forgetting that afternoon anytime soon. Big ups to Mark E too!

What exciting new acts have you got coming up on your record label BBW?

BBW is pretty spontaneous. We might put out a record once a year at best, which is usually myself and someone else but nothing is concrete at the moment for the next release. I’ve been focusing all my attention on my other label Superconscious. The next release is from Swedish duo Mount Liberation Unlimited which I’m really excited about.

Your alias Deepthroat sounds like a character who might pique the interest of our Battered Sausage crowd – can you tell us a bit about this side project?

I was making music that was more techno/industrial orientated and felt like it wouldn’t work under the FIO banner. So going along the BBW vibe (which is a genre of porn) I felt like Deepthroat was a name that suited the whole project. We’ve had 3 releases so far, which are sold out of shops but of course floating around on Discogs and the like.  

If you had access to a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would want to go dancing?

Music Box in Chicago or Cafe Del Mar in the 80’s would be cool. But I really think visiting a dance floor in Italy around ’91-92 would be pretty amazing.    

You’ve had a pretty crazy summer already, playing some of our fave small festivals. Is it too early to call a highlight?

I did this one called Schall Im Schilf in Munich – that was pretty special. But I’ve just gotten back from Garden Festival and I’m still riding that high, so maybe that takes the cake. Also Gottwood gets a special mention for the Sunday closing with MCDE, that was cool too!

Your sets tend to fluctuate across the spectrum of house, disco and techno. What can we expect from your set at Battered Sausage?

I never know what I’m going to play but this the time it’ll be 100% sausage anthems. 

 

Join Francis Inferno Orchestra this Saturday 11 July for Battered Sausage from 9pm-3am.

 

Partok

by Whitney Weiss

Tel Aviv’s Partok is a resident and program planner at legendary club The Block and a DJ’s DJ, adept at deftly moving between styles and delighting dance floors (including Panorama Bar on a regular basis). Ahead of his set at Les Poppeurs this Friday, we chatted about nightlife in Tel Aviv, the joys of East London, and the records that won’t be leaving his bag all summer.

Oh hello! Please introduce yourself/tell the world who Partok is?

Hello hello! Partok is a clubber, DJ and promoter from Tel Aviv. I’ve been doing nightlife here for many years, DJing in the different underground clubs the city had to offer, and throwing a lot of parties and raves. These days, my home base is The Block club, where I’m one of the resident DJs and the program planners.

You play a veritable cornucopia of great music at places like The Block and Panorama Bar and are quite versatile in your selection. What can we expect to hear in the laser basement at Les Poppeurs?

Well I’ve heard Les Poppeurs is all about Italo so I’ll be packing more of that!

Please take us out on a night of glorious debauchery in Tel Aviv. Where shall we go for drinks and snacks? What parties/clubs shall we visit? Are we going to after-hours?

My first recommendation to anyone that visits Tel Aviv is to eat as much as you can, so our debauchery will definitely include a lot of food and drinks and some beach time in between. Some spots I’ll probably take you to are Port Said, Alphabet, and of course, The Block. After hours are a bit tricky in Tel Aviv, but something tells me we’ll manage.

This is not your first time at Superstore by any means! What do you like about East London nightlife?

It’s all about the people, I would say. East London is bursting with talented hilarious people, and I had the pleasure of acquiring many friends during my long romance with your scene. And most important, you guys really like to party.

What is the most memorable thing you’ve witnessed from the booth at The Block in Tel Aviv, where you are resident DJ?

There are many to mention. The first ones that came to mind are actually from our ‘Room 2’ aka The Squat. The Squat is a more the dirty, dark, wooden, throbbing, punchy, steamy, smokey room and it’s really special. The party with Prosumer there, where I had the honor to play before and after him, was def memorable. Also, a local techno party we did there where I played b2b with Nimrod Katzir, where all seven grounds of hell broke loose.

Since the party is called Les Poppeurs, I’ve gotta know: what is your preferred brand of poppers?

Girl, you need to take me at least to a dinner and a movie before we’re getting intimate.

Where is your favorite place in the world to go out dancing, assuming you’re the type of DJ who likes to go out dancing often?

I most definitely do! Aside The Block and well, Berghain and Pbar, I would have to mention Block 9 at Glastonbury festival. Specifically NYC Downlow and that area’s crew bar Maceos. Who would have known that one of the best clubs in the world is open for only five days a year. I’m lucky to play there again next week!

You’re the resident DJ at PAG, a notoriously debauched party that has promo videos with a lot of sex, fluids, and fabulousness. If the spirit of PAG was summed up in one song or music video, what song or music video would it be?

I think this befouled and passionate piece by Karen Finley talking about party animals, supermarkets, poo, ice-cream, sex and general anarchism among other divinities, would def do right by PAG…

What is one record that will not leave your bag all summer?

One of them is going to be my debut release! Full disclosure very soon. Another one is by the Superstore’s own Dan Beaumont. It’s called Tunnelomics. I’m not sure if it’s out yet, but I played it a couple of times already and it is the bomb.

And now, the classic Superstore question: if you had a time machine to travel to any dance floor anywhere, where would you want to go dancing?

As much as I’d like to use it to visit Hardy, Mancuso or Levan, I would probably just go only a few years back and dance to one of Danny Bar’s sets. Danny was a good friend and an amazing DJ. He passed on four years ago due to heart failure. No intention on getting your eyes all wet, but no doubt this would be the first stop for me with that nice machine of yours.

Join Partok this Friday 19th June for Les Poppeurs at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Bad Spencer

Next weekend sees special guest DJ Bad Spencer join us for bi-monthly queer party Les Poppeurs to play his signature eclectic party sound in the laser pit alongside Tel Aviv’s Partok and Poppeurs resident Whitney Weiss. He’ll be jetting over all the way from Athens, where he throws the spectacular Yes It Does! Sure It Does party that has hosted everyone from Dan Avery to Trevor Jackson to The Magician. Ahead of the party next Friday we caught up with him to find out more about the Greek party scene and more…

Yes It Does! Sure It Does is an Athens institution, congrats on your seven year anniversary; what’s been some of the highlights?

For the past seven years we have been throwing parties in many different venues in downtown Athens, trying to represent a part of its culture. Throughout the years we have been lucky to host parties in former jazz bars, metal clubs, summer cinemas, terraces and other interesting venues, and to invite many great DJs mainly from London. Some of them are Superstore regulars, like its governor Dan Beaumont, also Jonjo Jury, Severino etc.

What makes Athens a great city to throw parties in?

It seems that the financial crisis has changed Athens dramatically. Athenians are still trying to deal with hardships. However, amidst the ruins, it seems that Athens is becoming interesting to live in and visit. There seems to be no clear idea where the trend is going, but this is part of the excitement, I guess.

What’s the story behind your DJ name?

Well it kind of suits my body structure and my, ahem, dynamic DJ style. Also, when me and my brother where kids, my father would rent Bud Spencer & Terence Hill movies all the time. This was one of our favorite things to do together.So I guess my DJ name is also a tribute to my childhood and my father.

If you had access to a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would want to go dancing?

I dunno, actually. That is a tough one. I would have a tough time choosing between UK in the (very) late eighties or New York during the Paradise Garage era. Maybe I would opt for the former, because the idea of listening to new music which resembles nothing you had heard until then is one of my favourite feelings as it seldom happens to me nowadays.

You’re known as an eclectic DJ- but what’s a record people would be taken aback to discover you secretly love?

I am such a sucker for almost all smooth yacht/smooth rock records. Put some Kenny Loggins or Michael MacDonald in the mix, and I will probably love it.

Why does Greece need marriage equality?

I don’t think there are reasons why Greece is special in this matter. So my answer would be: for the same reasons every place needs marriage equality: because it’s fair and right.

You just played at Athens Pride – what’s a track you played/would play to make the boys get their tops off?

It was more of a Pre-Pride fundraiser and I was happy to have been invited by the organizer Stathis to play amongst very good DJs to contribute a small DJ set to a good cause. I remember this working nicely…

Who out of all your superlative Yes It Does! Sure It Does guests really and unexpectedly blew you away?

We have been blessed with so many amazing DJ sets by our guests over the years so it is hard to choose. If I really had to narrow it down to one, it would be Krikor from Paris, a few years back. We invited him for a two hour DJ set. He ended up playing more than three and then ended up doing another two hours, so five hours back2back with me. He played everything from Suicide to techno. They had to drag us out of the DJ booth at 7AM.

If you could change one think about Greek politics what would it be?

Out of so many things that need to change I think that the most important would be for people to start choosing their representatives more based on actual capabilities and track record rather than choosing the ones that are good at addressing crowds or talking to the TV cameras.

Join Bad Spencer on Friday 19th June for Les Poppeurs at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Elektra Complex

This Saturday, we welcome the wonderful Discosodoma party back to Dalston Superstore. As it’s their first birthday they’ve invited their very first guests Amateurboyz back from Athens, and they’ve invited NYC based DJ and producer Justin Van Der Volgen to play… AND they’ve invited one half of Chateau Flight, Gilb’R to also play! Plus a whole hosts of regular guests including Sanjay Sur, Diet Clinic and Terry Childs. Ahead of the party we caught up with two members of the Elektra Complex collective, Stathis (aka Sex Video Tapes) and Ilias to find out more about what has made Discosodoma such a special party…

Tell us how the idea for the night came about. What’s Discosodoma’s origin story?

Ilias: It all started over nibbles of Greek spinach pie in Stathis’ kitchen talking about how the music we enjoy was misrepresented in London’s queer nightlife. I think I lost a small part of my receding hairline when he dropped the name on the table. I still remember our first meeting with Dan Beaumont, who told us straight away that he loved the name and the concept. 

What influence do your Greek roots have on the way you approach throwing parties?

Elektra Complex: Ha! Our last minute approach most probably!

Which guest out of all of your amazing previous guests was the biggest surprise for whatever reason?

Ilias: That’s a tricky one! I would say Timothy J Fairplay. I left the Superstore that night reeling from the experience.

Stathis: I’m gonna say Reza Athar. He played the most ‘DISCOSODOMA’ set.

You guys are crazy ambitious and the parties are getting wilder! What does Year Two have in store?

Elektra Complex: Bigger, better, bolder! Just kidding. Well, we now have a new member in our team, DJ and radio producer, Maria Politi, who will be helping us to grow not only DISCOSODOMA but also launch our new night at Dance Tunnel in August. Stay tuned for more!  

What’s one thing you love about queer nightlife in London and one thing you think we could all work on?

Ilias: You can’t beat the diversity and vibrancy of London’s queer nightlife, despite the recent developments of many venues closing down. We will always find ways to persevere, and that’s also a more general comment to the treatment of nightlife economy by the authorities. On the other hand, I would like to see more alternative nights that deviate from the pop, disco, house narrative. 

What’s one song that exemplifies the Discosodoma dance floor?

Elektra Complex: That record would be a long edit of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love.  A timeless track that unites all dancers.

You always book dreamboat DJs… who else is on the wishlist?

Stathis: Hashtag DreamWishList: DJ Harvey and Daniele Baldelli.

Ilias: Keep dreaming Stathis! But I will have to agree.

What dance floors of the past inspire what you’re trying to achieve with Discosodoma?

Ilias: Not a dance floor per se, but a dance floor moment I like to keep as inspiration is Larry Levan dropping Sylvester’s iconic Over & Over at Paradise Garage.

Stathis: As I have the memory of a goldfish, my inspiration lies in imagining the dance floors of the future.  

You have loads of superlative DJs playing at your birthday party. Can you talk us through the programming and why you decided to have three headline worthy Djs on the same bill?

Stathis: As a Gemini, I couldn’t really make up my mind and to save Ilias from a stroke, we decided to book them all. Besides, these guests represent exactly the sound that we wanted to offer for our first birthday.

What’s been your own personal best moment of dance floor ecstasy?

Ilias: Actually a relatively recent one, when nd_baumecker played Sandra’s In The Heat Of The Night at Panorama Bar on a Monday morning. I genuinely lost the plot with that one.

Stathis: Dancing to Talking Heads – Psycho Killer at the last ALFOS party at Corsica Studios. It was such a pleasant WTF moment! 

The new artwork is a slight departure from previous posters- who designed it and what was the thinking behind it?

Elektra Complex: The idea came to us one night during a dinner when a friend of ours read the tarot cards for fun on the table. The judgment card stood out and we took its design and gave it a DISCOSODOMA approach with some Greek mythologies references, from the Minotaur to the ecstatic crowd dancing on the top of the column. We are very lucky to have John Philip Sage as a good friend who understood straight away what we wanted to do and designed this amazing artwork for us.

You’ve also had some spectacularly sexy promo videos- which is your favourite each and why?

Ilias: That would be the last one for me. We asked our friend, Munir Malik, to direct it and he did a great job despite using an iPhone to shoot it in the end.

Stathis: Same for me, even though I had to replace the model that was supposed to be in the video, and ended up being covered in chalk powder for more than three hours. I’m still vacuuming my room!

The resident DJs and regular guests are a big part of what makes the party so special. The individual parts are all amazing DJs but together the family is really something a bit unique- why do you think this is?

Elektra Complex: As true Greeks, family is important as it allows within its ranks to nurture not only our individual aspirations but also to grow and present a common idea. In our family, we all share a similar aesthetic towards the arts and more specifically dance music. We wouldn’t have been able to be here without them. 

And HOT GUYS are also a big part of the party’s success! Describe the ideal crowd…

Ilias: The crowd that checks its preconceptions about what makes a good party at the door and embraces the sound we offer every time. Bonus points are given to those losing their shirts in the folly of the dance floor.

Stathis: Come on, Ilias! It’s always a sea of leather daddies dancing to acid disco! 

Sum up the ethos of Discosodoma in one sentence…

Elektra Complex: There is no ethos in sodomy. Hahahaha!

Join Ilias and Stathis of Elektra Complex for the Discosodoma One party this Saturday 9th May from 9pm – 5am.

Andy Butler’s Record Box

This Saturday Andy Butler of Hercules and Love Affair returns to Superstore for another showcase from his celebrated record label mr intl. Joining him in the laser basement will be Sasa of In Flagranti, whilst upstairs it’s a Hot Boy Dancing Spot situational takeover! Ahead of the party Dan Beaumont took a peek through Andy’s record box…

A record that reminds you of when you first started travelling the world with Hercules and Love Affair…

Paradise’s Deep Groove – I Love How You Make Me Feel – I had already been revisiting eerie house land, as the last tracks made before my first album came out were Classique and Roar, so that was the frame of mind I was in- “big deep eerie murky trance house”.

A Hercules and Love Affair record that gives you the most feelings…

The one that pops to mind is 5:43 To Freedom from the last album because I always give some kind of a (hopefully) rousing speech about individuality, gender, belonging, love or something to the audience. I dont think they can really ever truly hear what I am saying but I know it works when I get all crazy emotional, and the others on stage do too.

A record that inspired you to start a band…

Massive Attack – Blue Lines

It was the project I was most inspired by in terms of what a band would look like. It had a collective thing about it, which made it feel bigger than a band. It was heavy on the sadness and the boogie. 

A song whose lyrics could be about your life…

Blind by Hercules and Love Affair

I don’t know for some reason it really speaks to me.

Ha no really, maybe something from the Magnetic Fields, like Papa Was a Rodeo.  That whole “love me but don’t” kind of thing Stephen Merrit has going on is highly relatable to me. 

A record you wish you had made…

ABBA – Dancing Queen

I just want to be dancing in the studio and watching them sing it. 

A record that reminds you of coming out…

Ministry – Stigmata  

I had a pretty angry coming out.  I loved the “fuck everyone” rant at the end of the live version from In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up Live.

A London record…

The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds

I first went to London in 1992 as a 15 year old, and trancey ambient house as well as that early”progressive” house ala Deconstruction records played a lot at the time in Soho.  I latched onto to this groovy mellow dance track though, and it has inspired me since. 

A song you can’t listen to because it makes you too sad…

None.

Bring it on!

A record that tales you back to the best NYC dancefloors…

The Word Is Love by Silk Hurley

Body and Soul anthem through and through, and it was relentlessly played for months, maybe a year even each week. And I danced every time.

A Secret DJ weapon…

Doris D and The Pins – Shine Up

Camp as fuck and it gets the nerdiest of heads into it. Kind of like a Dutch druggier ABBA.

Your favourite power ballad…

Take My Breath Away by Berlin

I was so overly sensitive as a child, before Ministry entered into my life, that I would cry when I would hear this. Wow.

A song that reminds you of growing up…

Uh that has not happened yet.

Join Andy this Saturday 7th March for mr intl at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Photo credit: Alexander Nussbaume

Meet Princess Julia

By Martyn Fitzgerald 

London legend Princess Julia joins us this Saturday night for homosocial, Bender. From being part of the famed Blitz kids, to resident DJ at Kinky Gerlinky, Julia has gone from being at the centre of London’s underground scenes, to a leading fashion and gay icon in her own right. Ahead of the party she took Bender’s very own Martyn Fitzgerald through her personal dancefloor history…

So who christened you Princess Julia?

Oh that old chestnut!  Well, I used to do the door at the Wag club back in… er, 1981, the manager Alan called me ‘Princess’ every evening I arrived to work. I imagine he called all the girls Princess in reality though!  That’s where the idea came from but I didn’t call myself Princess Julia in the early 80s, that happened when I started DJing at the Daisy Chain at the Fridge in Brixton in 1986 which was run by Trindy Aurora (Jimmy Fox).  Jeffrey Hinton and Mark Lawrence, were the resident dj’s and I used to do the warm up. One week for fun we thought we’d give ourselves ‘proper’ DJ names as we noticed all the ‘crucial’ DJs had tag names.  So we renamed ourselves… Jeffrey Mmmmm (Taste Of Sugar), Mark ‘Fancy Pants’ Lawrence and I became Miss Princess Julia and it just kinda stuck drooping the ‘Miss’ bit though!  It started as a piss take really.  Daisy Chain was amazing by the way, we even had Eartha Kitt on there, Marc Almond, early days Take That along with go go boys, light shows and it happened every Tuesday!

So when did your clubbing career begin?

Which era would you like to start… mid-seventies?  I’d go to gay clubs like Bang on a Monday night at the Sundown, 157 Charing Cross Road, which had a light up dance floor. The legendary Tallulah DJ’d there, total disco on a Monday night… we always called it  hairdressing night, but I think that’s because I was a hairdresser at the time! Other clubs were Legends, Embassy Club (where Sylvester shot the Mighty Real video) on a Sunday night.  In ’78 Club For Heroes started at Billy’s, it was the beginning of the New Romantic era, it soon moved to the Blitz and later we became known as the Blitz Kids. 

princess julia - 1978 At Billy's by Nicola Tyson

By Nicola Tyson (1978)

But in my earlier days of clubbing I’d go to punk clubs and gigs and then of course gay discos such as the Sombrero situated on Kensington High Street, Louise’s, and bars and clubs in Earls Court such as Boltons, even the Coleherne… even though it was ‘men only’ leather man pub. In the early ’80s and after the Blitz finished I did the door as a cashier lady of the newly opened Wag club that was run by Chris Sullivan and opened in 1981.  It was integral for bringing through new music of the time. There were break dancing competitions and performers, as well as legendary DJ’s who still DJ today such as Fat Tony! I remember Sade doing an early gig down there and of course house band Blue Rondo A La Turk. It was very community based in a way. I started playing at fashion designer Steven Linard’s club Total Fashion Victims in 1982. The  Wag was seminal and I regularly worked at the rare groove night Black Market that René and Barrie K Sharpe ran. René also owned the record shop by the same name whilst being a hairdresser for Bananarama. As a testament to the Wag it lasted for over twenty years and was one of the gateways to the clubbing scene we have today.  

And what kind of music were you playing when you first DJ’d?

A mixture of hi-NRG, disco and the ‘house’ that was just beginning to come through. This was at the Daisy Chain at The Fridge in Brixton with  Mark Lawrence and Jeffrey Hinton were very inventive and used to pre-mix cassette tapes overdubbed with sound effects. Technology was limited in those days; we only played from vinyl, so the idea of having these custom made cassette tapes spliced together was totally cutting edge.  

But the DJing really took off for you?

Yeah, it did. I didn’t really do it officially until ’86. There was an idea of the ‘bedroom DJ’.  Back then there were no laws around sampling so everyone was making their own records. I used to go to Black Market and Groove Records and of course the Trax record shop owned by affectionately named Tricky Dicky in Soho to get hold of the US and European imports that were coming in from Strictly Rhythm, Trax and our own home grown labels. To me they were disco with a twist and because they were so lo-fi, they a had real DIY element, some were pressed on recycled plastic and were so cranky that really added to their charm. There was this idea of making your own records where you get a dubplate pressed and go DJ with it a few times before they became worn out. We could produce our own music which was totally new, we all became vinyl train spotters. Jeffrey (Hinton) had a little four track (I lived with him and Stephen Jones the milliner at this time) and he’d record everything on cassette tapes and splice up the tapes and sellotape them back together. The ‘Summer of Love’ arrived around this time. Newcomers to the London club scene were good at branding themselves and they started to book me for their parties both in London and across the UK which weren’t strictly gay although there was some cross over.  Because of the nature of ‘house’ and its roots in the US, clubs like Shelter, The Paradise Garage, the Sound Factory,  DJ’s like Larry Levan, Masters At Work and Frankie Knuckles… to the guys on the straight scene over here these people were gods and rightly so.  The straight scene here really looked to the gay scene over in the USA for inspiration. Somehow my DJ career took off, much to my amusement, and I was a regular at Ministry of Sound playing with many of the legendary DJ’s of the day.  

So how did ‘house’ arrive over here? Was it this explosion of a new sound?

No not really. I remember in ’86 me and Kate Garner going to Fred’s in Soho, a tiny basement space, it was a midweek night and we arrived to Frankie Knuckles playing! We both said, “This is the next big thing.”  I mean, ‘house’ was akin to disco and used many samples from disco, Knuckles’ style was more soulful with a vocal gospel slant than the more brutal house sounds that were also being produced then.  To me ‘house’ was another form of disco just put together in a more progressive fashion with the technology that was becoming available.  It was easier to mix as well being produced digitally rather than early disco which was often produced in real time.  House music gradually came through, no one who booked me would say they wanted house specifically.  I’d play a mixture of disco, house and hi-NRG in those days.  

princess julia by Mike Owen 1987

By Mike Owen (1987)

So… Kinky Gerlinky.  You were a resident.  How did that come about and what was it like?

Oh right, so basically I was doing Daisy Chain and also I was resident DJ at Patrick Lilley’s Queer Nation with Luke Howard, we were the original DJ’s there at the Gardening Club. We did it on a Sunday night. We wanted to hone in on the more soulful and vocal side of house. We’d have guest PA’s: Barbara Tucker, Kym Mazelle, Ultra Nate, Candy J… this was the Ministry of Sound days so they’d have these names on the Saturday and they’d come to us on the Sunday. On bank holiday Sundays we’d have Norman Jay down and there was a door to the Hard Rock Café next door and we’d take that over too. Anyway, back to Kinky Gerlinky, around this time I worked in a shop called World with Martin Confusion and Roy Brown. We used to sell the Spectrum and Shoom merchandise and the owners Michael and Gerlinde Costiff, who were good friends with New York club promoter Susanne Bartsch, decided to do their own night.  I think Bartsch’s influence was that it would be a ‘ball’ rather than a club night and they started Kinky Gerlinky at Legends. I was the resident with Martin Confusion and Rachel Auburn who used to also sell her clothes in the shop. It was a big success and we soon moved to the old Empire Leicester Square – which was HUGE. It was amazing. It was really cavernous but it had a rotating stage and a catwalk which was great for the ball angle.  It really inspired people to do drag, the least likely people would rock up in drag… looking back maybe it wasn’t so unlikely.  

princess julia at Kinky Gerlinky 1992

At Kinky Gerlinky (1992)

And do you think this was a revival of the dressing up in the early 80’s?  Was it a bit more dress down in the early house period?

Well there’s a timeline here for dressing up in London nightclubs. I would say it started with Punk, to Blitz and the New Romantic look, Cha Cha’s and things that went on in Heaven and the Soundshaft  and onto Taboo. But the early ‘house’ scene over here as I said, was quite straight which we always thought funny given where it had come from… NYC’s gay discos! I mean there was Shoom, which was more inclusive and we integrated there, the whole dressing up thing at this time was also tied in with the Euro disco thing, you know, being on holiday in Ibiza. And then of course there was a great clubbing conversation with New York and clubs such as Danceteria and Area. A lot of people imagine the rave scene to be really dressed down but it wasn’t. You know, it was a very thought out look, if you look at The Face and i-D from there people planned their outfits. DM’s with the toe cut out, ‘hard times’ and rockabilly looks, the street style you found at Phillip Salon’s night the Mud Club which started in the early ’80s and carried on through the decade where everyone was dressed in their own individual style.

The rave scene in a sense brought in a casual but thought out approach to dressing. I did have a bit of a dressed down moment… briefly, my idea of dressing down was wearing trainers! But never for Kinky Gerlinky. The whole designer thing came in then too: tags and logo’s became a look of their own. When I worked in World in the late ’80s we’d stock MCM rip-off track suits and bum bags, the massive gold jewellery and stuff from NYC’s 14th Street mixed with original Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, and London club t-shirts such as Schoom and Spectrum as well as our own brand World t-shirts. Neneh Cherry often borrowed stuff for her videos styled by Judy Blame mixing it all up with his own jewellry created from ‘ready mades’. It was all dress up, it was also Thatcher’s Britain so some people had a bit of money, and if they didn’t they could still customize their outfits. 

princess julia early 00s photo by William baker

By William Baker (early 00s)

London doesn’t really have those big nights with big personalities any more.

I disagree with you there, big clubs and events are hard, a lot of hard work to put on, but they do happen.  Even if you do one every now and again, it’s hard. And as for personalities, well look around you, everyone you know is a personality, especially in our world. The ’90s was the era of the ‘superclub’, and I actually think there is more diversity now. Possibly because we’re better informed through social media and knowing what’s going on. Also the spaces have changed, they’re more multifunctional now. Places have to be ever more inventive. Look at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, it’s brilliant. We’ve got very used to going to places where there’s a lot of colour: people dressing up, showing off, having a good time and that’s really infectious and inspiring. Look at Sink The Pink. Look at Dalston Superstore, itself which is really a landmark for clubbing, with a bar upstairs that is also a restaurant, a disco downstairs, an art gallery and in a lo-fi sort of way, a performance space with people getting up on the bar and do PA’s which is charming. The George & Dragon, which even though is fundamentally a pub has different DJ’s every night of the week, let us not forget Radio Egypt which started at the George & Dragon on a Sunday night with Jonny Woo and Jonjo Jury DJing, which really set a precedent for the reemergence of the East End gay scene as we know it, and that was ten years ago. Things are really flourishing with new places opening and creating further outlets for self expression.

You still go out a lot…

Well, I have this thing of not wanting to miss out although I can’t go everywhere, thankfully I keep tabs on things through social media. Having said that there’s nothing like experiencing nightclubbing in the real world. There’s also that thing of not knowing where the night’s going to end, who I’m going to meet; it’s an adventure. One thing I love about clubbing is that you get people from all walks of life and I think that’s even more important now: bringing different people together.

princess julia by 2014 Louie banks

By Louie Banks (2014)

Who have you met who you’re really loved (or hated!).  Who’s inspired you?

Ooh, well there’s a checklist of people who have inspired in regards to the way we club. Phillip Salon who encouraged people to explore their own creativity and give them a bit of confidence to do that. Leigh Bowery obviously, who arrived in London in the early ’80s quickly became instated in both club land and the music and art scenes. When he died he was really on the precipice of doing so much more amazing explorations.  Thankfully we do have his legacy. Then there the people behind clubs I find inspiring, people like Wayne Shires who pulls things together and organises the most amazing events, I’m very inspired by his passion for clubbing. He’s been running clubs since the late ’80s and has been so prolific, I used to DJ at many of his club nights including SEX at the Cafe de Paris, Monster at Substation, through to the present day at East Bloc. He makes things happen and I think that’s a great talent. Dan Beaumont,  I remember talking to him at that bar he had in Islington (the Warwick) when I used to drop off a fanzine I used to make, he was very passionate about what he wanted the space to be. That was the precursor to Superstore I guess. Then there’s a whole new generation of DJ’s and club promoters, including yourself Martyn, who are continually pushing and exploring club life to its full potential. 

Join Princess Julia this Saturday 27th October for Bender from 9pm – 4am at Dalston Superstore.

10 Hi-NRG Pumpers

By Dan Beaumont

Genre snobs beware. I’m a little unsure of the exact distinction between hi-NRG, space disco and straight up Italo pumpers, but if they were in a Venn diagram I want to be right in the middle.  Here are some of my favourites…

Lime – Babe We’re Going To Love Tonight
So much Lime to choose from! But this is the fruitiest I think. Starts with catchy synth-brass riff and just gets better and better.
 

Eastbound Expressway – Primitive Desire
So this came from the stable of Doctor Who superfan, walking Northern Soul encyclopedia and discoverer of Take That. It’s all about the jungle mix.
 

Peter Richard – Walking On The Neon
Serious arpeggios on this one. And it’s got the most dreamy name for a record ever.
 

Arpeggio – Love & Desire
So many good noises in this it’s hard to know where to begin. And those drums have been sampled more times than you can say ‘Hi-NRG PUMPER’.
 

Irene Cara – Breakdance
A Giorgio Moroder production. She raps, she sings!  So much pump in this one. 
 

Mike Mareen – Dancing In The Dark (Galactica Remix)
Again… so many noises! This is so spacey it’s even called the “Galactica” remix. Just when you can’t take any more, the vocoder hits.  
 

Viola Wills – Stormy Weather (Disconet Remix)
One from the Disconet stable. There is so much drama in this record that the thunder claps sound subtle.
 

VISA – I’m A Dancer
You want a load spacey trumpets? Here you go. And so many whooshes. Beware if you suffer from motions sickness.
 

The Immortals – I’m The Ultimate Warlord
This one might give you nightmares.
 

Fun Fun – Colour My Love
You might need some light relief after that one. Just watch this. You can thank me later. (The only girl group with utility belts. I think they might fight crime in their spare time.)
 

Join Dan Beaumont tonight in the laser basement for Castro Boy at Dalston Superstore from 9pm -3am.

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.

Gene Hunt

By Dan Beaumont

Gene Hunt was a protégé of legendary Music Box resident DJ Ron Hardy and had a front-row seat for the genesis of house music in Chicago while still in his teens. He is fiercely protective of Hardy’s legacy and personifies a distinctive style of DJing that dates back to the beginnings of club culture itself. Gene Hunt is a collector of dance rarities, producer of unique analogue house tracks, reel-to-reel edit specialist but first and foremost a DJ.

I met him from Heathrow and accompanied him to St Pancras for a gig in Ghent. He agreed to let me record him talking as we had lunch waiting for the Eurostar.

DAN: Can you share a Ron Hardy DJ secret?

GENE: I remember we were playing together, I think it was about ’87, ’88.

I played this track and he was like, “Why did you rush it out, why didn’t you play the rest of the track?”

I said “But the floor cleared.”

He said, “Let me tell you something: This is what you’re gonna do.” He looked in his bag and he gave me a couple of records. The first record was called Galaxy, by War. So I play this record and cleared the floor again.

He said, “Play it a couple more times.”

I said, “Tonight?!”

He was like “Yeah! Play a couple tracks, do that, then play it again.”

So I played it again. And the crowd stayed on.

He said, “Do you see my point? You have the power to break records. But you cannot be afraid as a DJ to let them experience what you experience. Now what do you think about this record?”

I said, “I love it.”

“Now, what makes you think they don’t? If a record is eight minutes long, play it! Don’t just rush it out or rush it in because the drummers and the singers don’t start getting into their groove until the middle or towards the end of the record. So play that shit! Don’t be afraid. See what you just did?”

“What I do?”

“I just let you break the record.”

And I was like, “wow, you tricked me.”

“I always trick you.”,

Y’know, Ron would give me these challenges or tasks when we’re live at the club. “Alright, c’mon, bring something in.”

I’m like, “I don’t have my stuff with me!”

“Use my stuff.”

So, that was the part about execution. That was the part about timing. That was the part about learning. It was not being afraid to express what you want to express. Give them what they want, but then also educate them.

DAN: Do you think that DJs play too safe now?

GENE: Yes a lot of them do. A lot of them choose their hot spots, a lot of them find more simplistic ways to work an audience without being as creative as they are in other aspects. Now, since you have Traxsource and Beatport and all that other stuff, it makes it very accessible for people to just sit there all day and just purchase shit. Back in the days we had to go to the shops. We had to go to Loop Records, we had to go to Imports, we had to go to Gramophone, we had to go to different places to look in the bins and get creative to find what’s hot. You could get Hot Mix 5 [house music radio show] or you could go to The Playground or the Music Box or Sawyers or what have you and you would just sit back and feel the vibe of what’s going on. You would go to the record store the next day with your tape. We had somebody to educate us, to keep music going on.

DAN: What is the Chicago sound to you?

GENE: Basically, when house music occurred, I mean we had the disco era first, but when house music first came about, we had Chip E doing shit like Time To Jack, and It’s House. We had Jesse Saunders making On and On, we had Robert Owens and Fingers Inc and Bring Down The Walls and Mysteries Of Love, Ron Hardy doing Sensation, Frankie bringing out bring out reel to reels and tape decks to play the exclusive stuff. People didn’t have a Traxsource or a Beatport, you couldn’t just go there and buy something to sound and fit like everyone. The way they’ve designed the game now is you don’t have to go fish and find your music. We would take reel to reels and grab a razor blade and splice and do edits and make stuff go backwards, with the drum machines and outboard gear like Roland 909 or 707s or 303s and we would create our own stuff to play at parties that accentuate to make us different from one another. When Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson used to come down to the Box and bring the Rhythm Is Rhythm shit and strings of life. They would come to the Music Box and give us all that shit.

DAN: So what did you think of what was happening in Detroit?

GENE: Oh, they were really starting to break that edge. You had like Blake Baxter and Model 500, Metroplex, all that shit from Inner City, all that stuff they were doing, they had their own flavour. Like they took a certain element, they added their own attribute to it, and created a sound called techno. Like when I used to take a 909 track, I would just put basslines and make it real abstract, that would be considered as techno now. I would play that with disco, I would play that with house music because it was my rendition. Okay, what makes Gene Hunt so different? Tracks! He makes acid tracks with a 909 when Phuture 303 made that shit with a 707 and and the 727… he makes his acid tracks with the 909! Oh my god!

Everybody had a different flavor. Lil’ Louis when he did French Kiss and The Music Takes Me Away… I remember when he paid 300 bucks for an 808 drum machine, he started making French Kiss, got the deal with Ray Barney [owner of Dance Mania records].

DAN: Someone said that Jesse Saunders On And On track was important because it taught the whole of Chicago that anybody could make a house record.

GENE: All that stuff was being distributed by Larry Sherman who owned Trax Records. This man had a record company, a pressing plant, right in the back of a meat market! Everybody would come down there and get their stuff pressed up and they had different labels and so forth and we’d press vinyl. You would sit there with a hammer. Me and Ron Carrol would sit over by the garbage can. Ron Hardy would be in the other room doing the shrinkwrap. Steve Poindexter would be doing the typesetting and the labels. We would have all these old K-Tel records and shit and we’d have a hammer and break the records down so we could re-melt the wax. All those records that came out, that you would see on television, we’d break the records and tear out like the vinyl part of it and press records and you’d still see the old records pressed in the new records, oh it was gangster!

DAN: Was Larry Sherman a bit dodgy?

GENE: “A bit dodgy” wasn’t the word! Haha. Let’s try “total dodgy”! But we all learned. We would take the vinyl recording, get a good quality recording of it, go downstairs, make a plate of it, then press it up. The vinyl quality was shitty but back then it was beautiful just to be able to get a record that you couldn’t get. So, Ron would take personal shit out of his collection, record it, and then put it out.

DAN: Why do you love playing records?

GENE: If you’re playing records and the record skips or the record jumps or gets dirty, that’s the fun about it. You’re really up there doing it. You’re really conducting music in a sense, to make it realistic to everybody in the room. The warm sound of a good quality recording and the fidelity that comes out of those speakers, the sound and the feeling of it, it doesn’t sound processed, it’s a real live feeling, it doesn’t have a synthetic feel whatsoever. That’s the importance of playing vinyl. The tape hiss. That analogue thickness. That warmth. It’s different from some shit being processed and watered down. It sounds too perfect. It has to be a little dirty. It has to have a little dirt, a little grunge in it to get with the natural aspect, to make it more organic.

It’s like some broccoli, if you overcook it. You cook all the nutrients out of it and you lose that crunch to it. It’s soggy and synthetic. You want to have warm and organic attributes to get the natural aspect of what you’re doing. That’s why it’s so valuable to play wax.

[Gene is eating a forkful of broccoli at this point]

Dan: What is your state of mind when you’re DJing? Do you get nervous?

GENE: Not really. I know I have a job to do. I have to entertain a room full of people for a number of hours so I have to get everybody on the same page. So based on the way that I feel emotionally – If I got personal problems at home, or I’m going through some shit I’m taking my problems out on the dancefloor. So they’re loving it, and it’s helping me get through my problems. Because I’m unleashing the way that I’m feeling, I’m expressing myself to a room full of people. My car got towed, I got tickets, some shit happened, so I’m going to take it out on you guys and you’re going to love it. I like to tell a story when I play. I like to give you past, present and future. I want to give you aspects of where I started and where I came from. Let you know what’s going on in the now, and tell you things about where I want to go. It’s like a rollercoaster – you anticipate, and you go up, but you don’t know when the drop is coming. My advice is to never plan what you do. Because I want to enjoy it just as much as you want to enjoy dancing.

DAN: What do you think about EDM?

GENE: It has its moments. If you come from Chicago which is the Mecca of house music, obviously, you should have some form of education and history. You hear EDM stuff in a club – I went through this a couple of weeks ago –  I’m like, “Why would they put me on to headline and they got this person and that person” It puts me in a challenging state because here I am in a room full of people who don’t have a clue about what they’re dancing to – but it feels good to them. It’s a mind opener.

DAN: Would you play a disco record to an EDM crowd?

GENE: Yes. Most definitely. I wouldn’t hesitate. I’m relentless. “Alright, they’re digging that. Let’s try this.”

I still hear Ron in my head saying, “Don’t rush that record out, you better let that record finish.”

DAN: And back to Ron – how was it working for him?

GENE: Pins and needles. Out the blue. It was scary. You never knew when he wanted to take a break – he would just say, “Get on.”

There wasn’t a plan, like, “You’re going to play 11:30 or 12:30.”

He would just play a record and then go out the back and chill out. 

“Go ahead, get on.”

He’d be back there taking a nap.

I used to open up. If I was five minutes late and he gave me shit about it. At the very last Music Box – 2210 South Michigan was the very last one. I was like less than five minutes late.

“You have to be punctual, you gotta be on time.”

I’m like, “It’s nine fifty!”

“You should be here at nine thirty.”

He was in my ass because I was there at nine fifty. Subliminal mind games that just got me fucking rugged. And Frankie was the same way with me. I would pick him up – Frankie Knuckles does not drive, Frankie Knuckles does not drive a car, he’s terrified of driving a car. You have to drive him. I would meet him and he would give me music. “Give it to so-and-so, give it to so-and-so, don’t give it to so-and-so.” Specific instructions. Ron was the opposite. But they both respected one another and they were both training me.” They saw a young kid that was ambitious.

Gene Hunt

DAN: How did Frankie’s style differ to Ron’s?

GENE: Very similar and yet different. They both played the same music, they both played the same things. But the way they played them was totally different. Frankie was real sexy with it, real smooth. Ron was more aggressive. It was like passive and aggressive. But you wanted both aspects. In Chicago you couldn’t have one without the other.

DAN: Describe your style…

GENE: [smiles] That’s a good one. Once I get in the groove I want to stay in that groove. I don’t want to have any intermissions. I’m relentless. Once I get it going and once I get everybody into that mode. I keep that flavour going. I want to keep that room and give it bounce. We gotta have some vocals, we gotta have some live drums, we gotta have some groovy shit, we gotta have some sexy shit. I want to give you a four course meal of music.

DAN: Who are your current favourite Chicago DJs?

GENE: My girl Serena – CZ Boogie. She owns a publication called 5 Magazine which is like the house music almanac when it comes to parties.

Czboogie & guest Lurob on the 5 Magazine Show on CHFM by CZBOOGIE

We have a group in Chicago called The Untouchables – it’s me, Farley (Jackmaster Funk), Paul Johnson, a guy named DJ Box, Craig Alexander and CZ Boogie – so it’s the six of us.

How is the gay scene in Chicago?

Off the chain. It’s off the chain. We got a night on Sunday called “Queen” at Smart Bar. It just so happened that the person who does this night owns Gramaphone [legendary Chicago record emporium] – Michael Serafini. The night is explosive. Frankie’s birthday was ridiculous. You had Louie Vega, you had David Morales, you had Derrick Carter. All star lineup. You couldn’t move in the place.

Join the Chapter 10 group: here

Nadia Ksaiba

DJ, producer, song writer and local hero Nadia Ksaiba is back in the laser pit this weekend for the return of Say Yes tonight alongside Rory Phillips and Thomas Whitehead. Superstore’s Dan Beaumont (and her partner in Rhythm Connection) gave her a grilling…
 
 
What’s your favourite Imagination record?
 
Tough to answer… So Good, So Right off the Night Dubbing album. It might be a Larry Levan remix if I remember rightly. The Night versions are a bit mental.
 

 
What dance floor in history would you visit if you had a disco tardis?
 
The Music Box in Chicago in 1984 with Ron Hardy DJing. 
 
Who is making dance music today that’s getting you excited?
 
Loads of it that I play on our radio show Rhythm Connection each fortnight on NTS Radio. I’m a big fan of Mr Beatnick, Chamboché, Brassica, Debukas, they are all pretty exciting.
 
Tell us about your first ever dance floor epiphany?
 
I think it was during a Green velvet DJ set at Bugged Out when I was a teenager and it was the Creamfields Festival I decided that dance music would be my thing. 
 
What do you miss most about Our Disco? (editor’s note: The weekly Friday Nadia ran with Rory Philips at Plastic People in the ’00s)
 
I miss the routine of Our Disco, going to all the record shops in Soho, actually around London each week (most are no longer there). All the digging for records. Getting the 26 bus with a record bag… that’s probably why I go to Dance Tunnel all the time. I grew up in a basement club.
 
Tell us a secret about Erol…
 
It won’t be a secret anymore if I tell you. 
 
Dadhouse or Indie dance?
 
Neither – Nu-Boogie-Funk.
 
Who has been your favourite Say Yes guest and why?
 
We had Alexander Robotnik and interviewed him on a Say Yes Radio show once – and we have a big thing for Italo. And the Krikor set was amazing, Zombie Zombie because they always play the best weird french wave, but Andy Blake because he just smashes it every time he comes and plays.
 
Give us your top three Say Yes anthems
 
This is a collaborative list from myself, Thomas and Rory
Paul Parker – Right on Target
 

 
Don Quichotte – Magazine 60
 

 
Lime – On The Grid
 

 
Who’s your favourite out of Horse Meat Disco?
 
The one that likes Diana Ross.
 
(Dan: Er… I think that’s all of them.)
 
Join Nadia Ksaiba at Say Yes with Rory Phillips, Thomas Whitehead and White Leather Viper Club TONIGHT Friday 3rd January at Dalston Superstore from 9pm -3am.

Mr Ties

By Charlie Porter

Mr Ties is a DJ who lives in Berlin.

He runs the monthly party Homopatik, which starts at 23.59 on a Friday night, and runs to 10pm the next day.

During it, he plays for many hours at a time, at different times, for fun.

For him, playing records is a pleasure.

This is Mr. Ties at Homopatik in the summer.

Mr Ties At Homopatik

Here’s Mr Ties on The Bandwagon in the summer – go straight to 55mins for the start of a Mr Ties two hour mix.


Video streaming by Ustream

He’s amazing.

And next Saturday, October 12, he’s coming to London.

To play at first chapter of a new gay party, Chapter 10.

At Dance Tunnel.

Mr Ties!

His real name is Francesco, and he comes from Italy. I spoke with him on Skype earlier in the week, to chat about how he came to play records, and how his style has evolved. As with all conversations, I’ve kept the words as they were actually said. I could translate Francesco’s words into cleaner English, but then they would entirely loose their character. I’ve kept everything as he said it, occasionally adding explanations if I think it needs it. Francesco has a cold, and has a hoodie over his head. He’s drinking a coloured liquid from an old water bottle. When I turn the machine on, I’m asking him if he’s feeling OK…

FRANCESCO: Nothing I think it’s a bit cold. Where I was in Sweden and so that’s it.

ME: You got the first winter chill

Yeah I was a bit light dressed in Sweden, so it gets me a bit fucked up.

It’s in your bones.

It is like I am cold. I am coughing sometimes.

Are you going to Istanbul tomorrow to get in the heat.

Yeah. I’m going there for one week.

And you played in Sweden at the weekend?

I was playing in Malmo, in this club called Babel. The location was nice but you know the clubs in Sweden are a bit fucked up.

In what way?

Because they have a closing time at 3am, and I come from Berlin…

Where 3am’s barely the opening time

Yeah, my party, I open at midnight usually, on Fridays.

So tell me a bit about how you got started playing records. What was your route into it?

I was 18 years old I think. I was together with a DJ, he was like a soulful house DJ. At the time it was really funny because I did not appreciate house at that time, I was totally listening to electro, breakbeat, Warp stuff, and so at the time I thought, OK he had records at home, I just one time said I want to try it too. He said, take the first beat and flow it with the other one, are you going to make it? And I did it, and I already had fun with it.

I thought like, OK, I want to have my records, so I could play my records. So I started to collect my own records. And then I realised the record is a pretty unique acoustic medium. It’s different from MP3s or the digital medium. And then I had my little record collection. And then I moved to Berlin.

Where were you when you were 18?

I was in Rome. At the time I remember I bought different records like electro or electroclash, or like drum and bass, breakbeat, a bit house, a bit disco, all this stuff together.

Why did you move to Berlin? Was it the clubs?

Not really the clubs. I just wanted to change city from Rome, and at the time I didn’t have the chance to look and see which was the city for me. Just one shot, there you go – OK, I’ll move to Berlin. I said to myself either I go to Berlin or I go to San Francisco. Or I go to Tokyo. And then in the end I went to Berlin. And it was nice. It was really nice. Also the time that I came was really nice Berlin.

When did you arrive?

Was 2006, 2005. And was like really super nice. The city was still keeping this old charm, now that is really not there. The emptiness charm.

When there were still things that were kept as they’d been.

Yeah when there were less shops around. Now it’s like all over shops. All the businesses.

What were you doing when you first moved there?

I was living in a squat house in Friedrichshain, for a couple of months, and nothing, I went like often to parties and had fun with friends. It was a really moving situation [he means it was fluid]. I remember squats then were all doors open, and really free, really open to everyone. And that’s it.

And so it was a complete immediate change from Rome.

Yeah, Rome is a beautiful city, but I lived there for 9 years and I wanted to see something else. Like right now I’m going to Istanbul because I want to see something else.

When did you start playing records out?

The first time I played in a club? I played already in Italy at different times. At the time I didn’t have a record player at home, so me going to a location to play was the only chance for me to listen to my records too. So it’s like, at the time I was forced to find gigs. I just wanted to listen to my records.

That was in Berlin or in Rome?

This was in Rome. Then after a while I was in Berlin, and I started to play also in Berlin. I played in a bar every Monday, playing in a bar on Monday night. That was Barbie Deinhoff’s. I just played the things that I liked. Always.

It seems that you play records that you like, but they’re records that people want to hear.

Yeah but sometimes you recognise you don’t have to play what people like to hear. I have to play what I like to hear. I can really play with it. If I know that someone doesn’t like that, I can just play that till they’re leaving the dancefloor. It’s like, you can do the opposite.

But that makes it interesting to be playing records.

Yeah I hope I can show them a bit what I have to say, it’s simple like this. It’s like you just play records that you like, and some people like it, sometimes all the people like it, sometimes nobody likes it.

And if nobody likes it you play something else.

Yeah I can also switch it, if that doesn’t work, OK, 10, 9, 8, 7, here comes another one. This is a good DJ, when you still have the control. So it’s still like, you can still fade out to something else, or even create with the record something else that would fit better in the context.

The thing I find interesting is the tension between you and the room.

Yeah me I actually don’t, I just do it. I don’t have all this thinking actually. For me it’s I just play some records, you know. For me, I’m not a fetishist. For me, if I do a good mix, it pushes me to do much more crazy stuff than anything else.

When did you start doing your first night?

My first club? I did some parties in Berghain Cantina before, and then in other locations but now they are not anymore there. And then I started to do the party in About Blank, and it was on Wednesday night, but the club was still illegal, and we could not write the address [he means publicise the address], it was super indie, and so it was pretty nice but there were just our 150 friends, and then the club closed for a while because they had a problem, and then they opened again, and when they opened again I decided, OK, I’m going to start doing one Friday [a month], instead of doing it weekly, I started to do one Friday, that’s it. And it was already going pretty big from the first one. It was like, boom.

It worked.

It worked. We did a really crazy flyer for that night. You saw it?

I’d like to see it.

[Mr Ties starts typing and sends a link through Skype, and sends the following flyer]

Homopatik flyer

Very jolly.

This was the time still when we were doing the flyer. Then we stopped doing flyers.

Why did you stop?

Because the party was already super big.

You had no need.

Exactly. And it was also like it became much more underground you know.

I love how you start it at 23.59.

What do you mean?

As in one minute to midnight.

Yeah we have this crazy start. I used these wrongs [he means mistakes]. There are a lot of wrongs in the flyers, grammar wrongs.

Does the club have a set closing time, or does it close whenever you want

Normally we close at 10 at night of the day after. It has developed like this. The first time we did Homopatik, it was maybe like at 1 o clock in the afternoon. Then it was 2 o’clock. Until we reached 10 o’clock in the night. And then we started to always do 10 o’clock in the night. 10 o’clock in the night. 10 o’clock in the night.

And that’s how it is now.

Now it’s 10 o’clock in the night, and sometimes in the summer we do some special, we do like all the weekend, from Friday past Saturday and the party continues.

Is there a time when you like playing records, or does it not matter?

I don’t know because it’s my party, and I like always to play at my party. It’s like, my party is different, because I play so many different hours. Like before, for a lot of years, I played just from the morning time til 10 o’clock in the night. And then I started to break this tradition. And then I started to play at peak time in the house floor, or peak time in the techno floor. Let other people play at the end.

So it could depend on who the guests are.

Hmmm, no. no. It’s just I play in all the rooms at Homopatik, it’s my party. Sometimes I play spontaneously, just some records. To have fun with my friends.

It sounds really super fun. It’s interesting for a club to be based around fun.

I don’t know. At least I’m basing it around fun.

If you’re playing on vinyl for so long, how many bags of records do you take?

When I go to Homopatik I have three bags. I need help with them. Imagine three bags, 60 kilo alone is a bit much. Four I did once in my life. Also if you carry record bags for one hour, it’s a bit of a gym.

What’s the difference between playing at your own party and like when you come to ours?

When I play in UK, I try always to play more vocal stuff, because I cannot play it usually in Berlin, it’s not that I cannot play it, but less people understand the sense of the records. There I can play really nice songs.

Is it a different thought process when it’s a shorter set, or is it still spontaneous?

It’s spontaneous. You just have some records in your bag, and it’s like I want to play this this and this at this point.

Well I hope we can make it fun for you at Chapter 10.

I think I will have fun for sure. A lot of people have talked me good about the place. Like everyone actually. Ah yeah, really good. But there when does it close for example.

At three.

Also at three [we both laugh].

That’s why when you were said about Sweden closing at 3am, I didn’t say anything. Welcome to Britain.

This is actually all around like this right now, like it’s all around becoming like this. My fear is in a city like Berlin they want to apply for this, I think they will not because they will destroy the economy of the city it would be not good, but in Rome they stop selling alcohol at 2, they close at 4, or all around it’s like this. This imposing of the state of when we have to dance or not dance. If you think about it, it is super strange, you say to the people when they can dance, or when they can’t dance. It’s just for that. When don’t you tell me when to go to the toilet or not? It’s like. It’s like this.

But the sad thing is it’s stuck here in this way of thinking.

They were the first one [he means the people now in authority], you understand, they were the first party generation. Now they want to be moralists. Like OK.

Pretending they never went out.

And the thing is, when it’s a club that’s always open, there are just normal people who go to the club. It’s a strange situation.

[And with that, I let Francesco go get some rest, and go get better]

Aaaah he’s so lovely!

Mr Ties.

On Saturday 12 October.

Chapter 10.

Dance Tunnel.

Here’s the poster.

Chapter 10 Poster

Oh yeah I didn’t mention – I’m playing records too, with Dan Beaumont, before Mr Ties.

Actual real life records.

It’ll be super fun.

Come!

Click here for the fancy Facebook page thingy…

I’m off on holiday to get myself ready.

Get a tan so I look right nice in, um, a near pitch black room with a smoke machine and a laser.

Oh…

See you on Saturday!xxx

Photo Credit Christian Olofsson via Resident Advisor