Posts Tagged ‘Dance Tunnel’

Bottom Heavy

On Saturday, the Laurel and Hardy of Dalston and legendary DJ’s, Dan Beaumont & Wes Baggaley,  are joining forces to get you all bumping and thumping to some deep homosexual house with their brand new night: Bottom Heavy! Having both been prominent figures in London’s queer nightlife for over a decade and played some of the most infamous parties around the globe including The NYC Downlow, we are pretty sure that these two bottoms know how to throw a TOP party.

Despite their quite sickening resumés and having been pals for years, its actually the first time they’ve collaborated together! Don’t worry huns, this isn’t the only venture for the duo. Later in the year, Dan and Wes will be playing back-to-back at Farr festival alongside Prosumer, Tama Sumo and Lakuti! 

To get you lubed up and prepared for Bottom Heavy, Dan and Wes had a little chinwag amongst themselves! Read on to find out what these two legends think about the state of London’s LGBTQ+ Nightlife, their most played records and whats on the horizon for them both!

 Dan: Can you remember the point in your life that house music grabbed you?

Wes: I do actually. I was still at school and too young to go clubbing but I remember when Steve Silk Hurley’ ‘Jack Your Body’ and Raze ‘Break For Love’ were in the UK charts and on Top of the Pops. I remember the video for ‘Jack Your Body’ having a bucking bronco in it. Then there was the whole acid house /rave thing in the tabloids. I became mesmerised by it. I used to buy 7-inch singles every week with my pocket money from being really young and I remember buying ‘Jack Your Body’, ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ and Inner City ‘Good Life’ on 7inch. The first house music 12 inch I bought was Lil Louis ‘French Kiss’ in 1989/90 which I still have and still play.

Dan: I remember all those weird cartoon videos they threw together for those Chicago house records that became hits. Also remember thinking ‘who is Steve Silk Hurley and why isn’t he in his video?’ Then I got totally obsessed with Betty Boo.  

Wes: What inspired you to open Dalston Superstore? 

Dan: I met Matt and other Dan (DSS co-owners) when they were running Trailer Trash, and I was doing a party called Disco Bloodbath. As promoters, we often had problems with venues, and talked a lot about starting our own. Eventually we began looking in earnest and around 2008 we found the site that became Superstore. It had been empty for a couple of years before we found it. We just wanted to create a space where the people who came to our parties would feel at home, where the music, drinks and food were all good and our friends could be themselves.

Dan: What sounds are you looking for when you go shopping for records to play out? What are you trying to communicate through DJing?

Wes: That’s a tough one. I like a really wide range of different music and play various styles but when I’m looking for sort of functional dancefloor records I tend to be drawn to quite energetic stuff with lots of percussion. I’m a massive fan of the old Cajual, Relief and Dance Mania Records and always tend to gravitate towards that type of jacking type sound. I also like disco and I’m a sucker for a disco sample but I don’t like playing the same sound all night. I just tend to play what feels right at the time, could be soulful, disco, acid, techno, hypnotic deep stuff, jazzy stuff, ravey breaks type stuff, broken beat, African percussion.

Wes: You’re partly responsible for some of the best LGBTQ+ parties around at the moment including my favourite, Chapter 10. What are your thoughts on LGBTQ+ clubbing in London at the moment, especially with a lot of venue closures in the last 5 years? 

Dan: I personally think that LGBTQ+ clubbing is very inspiring right now. Adonis, Discosodoma, Homodrop, PDA, Femmetopia, Gay Garage and loads of others are all pushing underground queer music and culture to new places. Unfortunately the gay scene is still affected by misogyny, internalised homophobia, body shaming, transphobia and masculine bullshit, but it seems like more interesting voices are starting to come through, which means more creativity and more talent steering queer clubbing. Also it’s exciting to see groups like Friends of the Joiners Arms, Resis’Dance, and London  LGBTQ+ Community Centre (all rooted in queer dancefloors) disrupting the status quo.

Chapter 10 Dan

Dan: What do you think are the positives and negatives of LGBTQ+ clubs right now?

Wes: I also think it’s a very good time for LGBTQ+ clubbing at the moment. In spite of a lot of the recent venue closures there are great nights popping up in non LGBTQ+ clubs. Seems to be a sort of creative DIY culture happening which is great. There same is happening in other cities like Manchester with great nights like Meat Free at the White Hotel and Kiss Me Again at the Soup Kitchen. There’s some great music events and brilliant cabaret stuff going on at the likes of The Glory and The RVT. As you mentioned, the internalised homophobia, transphobia and misogyny needs to be addressed. A lot of the fetish venues have closed down and some of the bigger LGBTQ+ fetish nights in London are struggling to get venues. I do think this is a vital part of the culture that is dwindling. I reckon we need a LGBTQ+ fetish rave with good music. 

Dan: Good point about all the amazing queer parties outside of London!

Wes: Can you tell me some of your favourite producers and record labels at the moment?

Dan: Labels: Lionoil, Let’s Go Swimming, Lobster Theramin, E-Beamz/Hothaus/UTTU, Not An Animal, Ransom Note, Sound Signature, Stillove4music, Dolly, The Corner, Work Them, Mistress. Producers: Telfort, Powder, Mr Tophat & Art Alfie, Jay Duncan, Midland, Jonny Rock, LB Dub Corp, Stephen Brown, Garrett David, Steffi, rRoxymore, Pariah, and everything Luke Solomon touches. Loads more that I’ve forgotten!

 

 Dan: I love it when you find a record that you know intimately from the first bar to the outro, and it does a really long stint in your bag. What are your most played records over the past couple of years?

Wes: I’ve got a few of them. I’d say my absolutely most played record is Braxton Holmes and Mark Grant –The Revival on Cajual, which has never left my bag in 20 years. I actually need to replace it because I’ve almost worn it out. Also the Maurice Fulton Syclops ones, Where’s Jason’s K, Jump Bugs and Sarah’s E With Extra P are go to tracks but luckily he’s just released another album of gems. The man’s a genius. There’s Kinshasa Anthem by Philou Lozolo on Lumberjacks in Hell that came out a couple of years ago that I’ve played a lot, and then there’s that Danny Tenaglia remix of Janet Jackson – The Pleasure Principle that I’ve owned for many years but didn’t know what it was until I heard you play it at Phonox haha

Dan: I’ve totally stolen The Revival off you. It’s pure magic.

Russia Wes

Wes: Tell us a bit about the idea behind Bottom Heavy. What can we expect?

Dan: The main idea is so we can play together all night and I can steel your tunes! Whenever I’ve heard you play, I can hear a sound in between all your records, a sort of energy that I’m always searching for myself. It’s hard to describe, but it exists in the space between that jacking Chicago sound, leftfield Detroit stuff and tribal New York tracks. Plus also jazz, afro, techno, electro and disco elements. As we mentioned earlier, here are loads of great gay nights popping off, but I think what’s missing is a really great HOUSE all-nighter that joins the dots between all those sounds. 

Wes: Haha! Well there’ll be a lot of tune stealing going on because I’ve been known to have a sneaky peek through your bag as well. 

 Dan: Back to your earlier point about Fetish nights. Why are they important to the gay scene? Are there any you remember particularly fondly? If you were to throw a fetish party, what would the vibe be?

Wes: With the fetish thing I thing it’s important to have those spaces where you can dress up and sort of act out your fantasies and do whatever you want within reason. I’m actually not massive into the sexual side of it myself believe it or not, but I do like the spectacle of the whole thing and the dressing up and the fact people are free to express themselves sexually at those nights without judgement. Sadly a lot of the fetish nights are also men only parties that go hand in hand with the whole gay misogyny thing. 

 A few years ago me and my friend Lucious Flajore put on a fetish night at The Hoist which is now closed. The night was open to everybody, gay, bi, trans, heterosexual men and women. The soundtrack was dark disco, slow brooding techno and weird electronics in one room where we also had alternative cabaret and showed art house horror movies and in the other lighter room we played disco and showed John Waters films. 

 The atmosphere was great but we had problems with the sound and there was no dancefloor to speak of then the venue closed. We also had a problem with heterosexual men complaining about gays (I know right? At the Hoist!). I am actually thinking about re-launching the party at a new venue and putting in a good sound system but making it more LGBTQ+ focused and making sure people know that women and trans people are more than welcome 

Dan: That sounds amazing. You need to make it happen!

Dan: OK last one from me. Who is your biggest DJ influence?

Wes: That’s really tough but I have to say Derrick Carter. I first heard him play in about 1995 and became obsessed. I loved the way he seemed to mix different styles with ease and mix the records for ages.

Dan: I used to go to his Classic residency at The End religiously, and would always try and describe tunes that Derrick played to people in record shops the following week. I never had any luck. I was probably trying to describe about three records being played at the same time.

Wes: And for my last one I’m going to fire that question back at you and also ask if you have any music coming out soon?

Dan: I’ve got a bunch of music nearly finished that I need to sort out. I’m going to lock myself away and do that. Arranging tracks does my nut in. 


 Catch Dan & Wes at Bottom Heavy Saturday 23rd June 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!

Juntos

The Juntos crew have been popping up all over East London for five years, bringing amazing guests together for parties that attract a diverse and beautiful crowd. After a summer of Sunday evening basement takeovers, they’re back for a two floor birthday blowout that will make you forget it’s a school night! We caught up with Chris and Guille of Juntos to chat party highlights, party politics and what to expect this Sunday.


Hi Juntos! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves for those who aren’t familiar with you?

Juntos is celebration based on unity. Each event has a humanist theme promoting unity. We’re living in difficult times and sometimes the themes reflect the harsh reality of life, but the underlying message is always positive. We want to raise awareness of the problems of the system that we’re living in and encourage people to challenge it. While the topics we promote are serious, on the night of the celebration the emphasis is on fun, the feeling of freedom and connecting with each other.

Where did the name for your parties come from?

It means ‘together’. It comes from the idea of a bonding of positive energy making everyone feel as one. Music is an amazing way to bring people together.

You’ve been throwing your party for five years now. What have been some of the highlights?

Every party has been special to us. One highlight was at one of our Summer parties at Dalston Roof Park, dancing all day in the pouring rain. Everyone was in such a good mood, the weather actually added to the fun. Another time we had an elderly Buddhist meditation teacher who came to Dance Tunnel especially for Juntos. He was dancing and making friends almost until the end. That’s to name just a few.

There is a lot of talk about London’s nightlife being in crisis – what do you make of it all?

It’s a massive shame and it has affected everyone Hopefully together we can find a way around it. People are not going to stop celebrating, it’s an instinctive thing that can’t and won’t be suppressed.

If you had to sum Juntos up in one song, what would it be?

Prince – Controversy.

What made you choose Dalston Superstore for your parties?

We used to do some Sunday night parties at Dance Tunnel. One time the venue wasn’t available and we had an opportunity to use the Superstore instead. We had so much fun we kept going back. There’s always a really friendly and diverse crowd which suits the concept of Juntos.

If you could book any guest DJ, alive or dead, to play Juntos, who would it be?

Daft Punk

If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/when, where would you go?

On the streets of New York City in 1973 or the illegal Acid House raves of 1989.

Favourite track of the year?

It’s actually from 2015 but we loved Buffalo Demon by Ricardo Villalobos.

Can you give us a hint of what you have in store for your two floor birthday special?

A selection of DJs who’ve played for us over the last five years. Having two floors will be nice to explore the funkier side of things upstairs and the usual Juntos sound in the basement. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone’s most weird and wonderful dance moves, smiling people, old friends, new friends and total strangers.


Catch Juntos at Last Resort this Sunday 16 October from 7pm-3am!

 

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.

 

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.

DJ Sprinkles

We’ve borrowed this amazing conversation from our friend Charlie Porter’s website…

DJ Sprinkles is playing at Chapter 10 on Friday night. A conversation, in full, about everything

It’s 7am UK time, 4pm in Tokyo, and Terre Thaemlitz is there on the Skype. Terre is an absolute idol of mine, producing work and playing records under the name DJ Sprinkles.

The work is extraordinary – unrestricted, freeform, sonically aware, made with intent and yet totally inclusive.

She does not assimilate into any industry norms, and by doing so makes work that stands high above it.

DJ Sprinkles is coming to London this Friday, November 7th, to play at Chapter 10 at Dance Tunnel.

And so she’s agreed to talk, via Skype.

As I turn my voice recorder on, I’m asking her what she’s been up to today, the day beginning where I am, the day nearly over where she is.

TERRE THAEMLITZ: Actually I’ve been working on some custom edits of tracks for Friday night.

ME: Oh amazing. Do you do that often?

Yeah, if I’m listening to something and I think it would be nice with a longer edit or something like that, I’ll just sit down and make it, and see if it works or not.

What are the edits of?

They’re kind of secret. On the dancefloor people will recognise what they are.

Is it new, or stuff that’s old?

Oh yeah, old stuff, often stuff from the 70s.

Tell me your schedule, how often are you there, how often do you travel?

I try not to travel more than once every two months or so. I don’t like to travel.

But you were just here recently right?

I was, I did a crazy weekend in Cardiff and Bristol. I just got back Monday and next Friday I’ll be going again. But that’s unusual.

How were Cardiff and Bristol?

Alright. I like playing outside London. Different social climate.

What’s the difference?

What do you think the difference is? Everybody in England knows the difference.

Tell me.

This was my first time in Wales and in Bristol, but for example if you go up north there’s more of a history of socialism and unionisation that gives a different climate. London’s like New York or any major megapolis where money shits through it, so that also creates a climate that has a different neo-liberal tension around it the whole time.

What do you mean by neo-liberal tension?

Well you know what neo-liberalism is, right?

Right. [To my shame I don’t]

There’s that climate of where that Right-wing ideological power base is connected to a financial power base in the most obvious ways. When you have big banking and big business and all that stuff you end up with a climate that makes it difficult to breathe.

I’m obsessed with time, and the length of things, and how time affects nightlife. I’m interested in how you skirt over time in some way. You can allow tracks to be long without being scared of them.

I think it’s important when you’re in a club context to get away from the notion of a “song”, and not be like, “oh yeah I love this song!” There’s that weird energy that people get around pop dance music. I like to get away from that, and one way to do that is to have tracks that go way beyond the length of a normal radio edit. Let time pass and start listening beyond that initial recognition of a track, and just experience it as time.

But there’s still also a dynamic inside the track, and a tension that keeps things going.

Well why wouldn’t there be? It’s weird that people are afraid of duration and length as if that’s going to create some sort of stagnant glue on the floor. Sometimes it’s ten minutes before you get into something. If you listen to classical Indian raga, it doesn’t even start until 20 minutes into it. Clubs are also like that, especially if you’re really in a club for all night. Different cities vary, but for example in Japan the subways shut down at 12.30am, and then you’re just stuck overnight until they start running again at 5.30am. When you have those lengths of time to play with, it doesn’t make sense to be changing records every two and a half minutes. Not for me, you know? I’d rather go this other direction, where it just lets time take its own course rather than pushing everything so hard. In a way, playing fewer longer songs can compress time and makes it seem to pass faster, if you allow yourself to get into the grooves and lose sight of the “songs.”

My experience of clubs over twenty odd years is about the constriction of time – that it’ll close at 2am, or 3am.

In that case you can play only four or five tracks and be done [she laughs]. The up side of short sets is that you can come back later and not repeat your previous set.

Have you ever just played four or five tracks?

Sometimes people put you on for an hour or 90 minutes. It’s rare but it happens. Since I make twelve, thirteen minute tracks, I’ll get four or five tracks in and I’m done. But I like that sometimes. It’s good to leave people hanging. It’s OK. It’s funny how out of that duration comes this feeling at the end of, oh yeah it wasn’t enough. The scale of time shifts. This person needed more time to play for it to make sense. Maybe I look at it like playing a bunch of short tracks in a short set is similar to taking a subway. You make a lot of quick stops, but you’re in a tunnel without much of a view. Playing long tracks over several hours is maybe more like being stuck on some freeway in the Midwest of America. You’re just going through nothingness forever, then you come across a town, but you pass through it before you realise it.

I’m also interested in progress, and that there should be progress in dance music, or that it should evolve.

I mean most things that announce themselves as progressive or on the vanguard are the most regressive, right? You can’t get more old-school modernist than stating you’re on the vanguard of something. You still hear that language today, and people are still totally invested in it, but that’s dead over a half century ago, or more.

It’s the assumption that club culture has to be something new or at the forefront.

That’s the way it’s always marketed towards youth culture and this idea of the new experience. Here in Japan, a lot of the clubs are in a panic about the population decline, and from the marketing side asking how do you get the young people into the clubs. There is this dominant preoccupation of getting this new experience to the new crowd who haven’t experienced it before. But my ideal audience is 50 year olds.

Yeah.

I mean seriously. It’s not a joke.

Also in terms of queer history and gay culture – the assumption that clubbing involves progress.

I think clubs do play a particular role in the whole cliché mythology of queer immigration to the big cities, and the big cities are where the clubs are. You can’t get access to the music in a small bumfuck town. That whole thing of gaining access to a liberatory space, that’s all part of the role of clubs within this larger mythology of queer liberation and urban sexual ghettos.

When you say mythology, is there an alternate story, or is that the story?

An alternative story is the story of closets, that’s one alternative. Maybe alternate is the wrong word. It’s more simultaneous stories. All the different manifestations of queer existence in open and closeted forms that do exist constantly. The reason I call it mythology is because that is part of – when you grow up in these rural places… I don’t know where you grew up…

100 miles north of London.

So you know how the image of the big city functions outside the city, and the potential it promises to people in the countryside. That’s the cliché we absorb. From my experience of growing up in the mid-west and rural areas, the appeal of the big city was its offering of a space for the outsider and the misfit and the queer. Conversely, if you were a good old boy, why would you want to go to the big city? So there are counter mythologies in terms of who stays in the home town. Who would never want to go to the city? And then within that there’s a subculture of really die-hard farmer queers and shit like that. But by and large the mythology is, you escape the rednecks and you run like hell to some kind of sexual ghetto, where at least within that sexual ghetto you find some kind of solidarity, right? That’s the myth.

And it’s a more glamorous myth than staying in the country.

Depends who you are. It doesn’t mean you have to be a total asshole to want to live in the country. You don’t. It ups the ante, but it’s not a guarantee. And like I said also, when you’re in the city, you have all this fucking financial neoliberal agenda bullshit: careers, etc. That’s also part of the myth of urbanisation – the desire of having a good career – all that feeds into our clublife, doesn’t it?

Yeah.

A lot of the times clubs are entertainment for totally white collar jack-offs, basically. It depends what clubs, but the people who can afford to go to certain clubs are people who are at a particular state in their career. Or it’s a kid thing, blowing all your savings to go have the night of your life type of stuff.

Does that make your own relationship with club culture fractious?

It makes me an employee. And it makes it a site of labour. That’s also part of it, identifying clubs as a site of labour, not only a site of escape and blah blah.

Does that labour allow you to be creative on your own terms?

It’s one way of not working in an office everyday. We all pick our ways to try to survive. For me it’s not about achieving some sort of ideal, some sort of, “oh god I fucking love what I do!” It’s just work, you know?

But your work isn’t attempting to fit into a mass commercial frame.

Yeah but I don’t think most people’s jobs are, even if they have big dreams aspirations of “making it rich”. Most people’s jobs are enough to float them by, regardless of what industry they’re working in. There seems to be a culturally agreed upon assumption that if you’re a doctor you’re this super successful amazing doctor, the same goes if you’re a lawyer, and if you’re a musician you’re a fucking rock star. It’s just, most people aren’t Top Chef. Most people are working at McDonalds.

Do you think subversion still exists in club culture?

I think subversion exists in every aspect of culture, but in varying degrees and often in uncalculated ways. I wouldn’t want to answer that question in a way that could be misconstrued as the cliché, of “club culture is subversive” – I don’t really buy that. That’s a different proposition to how I would approach that question. In general, the answer is not really, but of course subversion exists.

Do you think it’s something that could become more apparent?

No I think it has to do with context, and that makes it against the mathematical odds. Of course, it depends what type of subversion people are talking about. Maybe the most boring club to you or I would still be considered subversive to someone like my dad. To me, subversion would be something else entirely. I am specifically thinking through lenses of queerness, transgenderism, poverty and things like this… The sites where those struggles occur and are branded subversive are going to be small in number, in the same way that with any queer factor of any context you’re dealing with a subset of any audience, a subset of any public, a subset of any group. That’s just how queer subversion works. It’s not like you have one massive club that’s utterly subversive. It’s about subversion occurring in different ways and in different contexts. Some contexts can be more extreme in their relationships to these issues and manifest themselves in more challenging ways. That’s where places become sites for social organising and communal organising. The people who nurture those spaces, they organise themselves not only around music but also in terms of how to survive hetero-normative culture. That for me would become a site of subversion or resistance. But it’s going to be rare, and it’s going to be some place that’s not going to have funding, it’s going to be the kind of place that’s not going to be able to bring me from Japan to DJ, you know what I mean?

So actually subversion isn’t the co-opted word in a cliché club way of how do describe a mass body, but it’s more personal and individual, probably unknown and probably really hard for that individual.

Subversion implies discomfort. If the majority of the industry that we’re talking about is pleasure based, then finding spaces where discomfort is actively present – not only in terms of people being so shitfaced that they’re puking on themselves, but a different level of cultural discomfort – those spaces are going to be few and far between, and they’re also going to have much more to offer in terms of educational and cultural organising value.

And also as gay culture becomes more hetero-normative in terms of marriage being the goal.

Aligned with career, owning your own home, child-rearing.

Has it always been clear for you the difference between gay culture and queer culture, in that gay culture has the desire to please heterosexuals.

That would be too broad of a statement, because I think it depends how one approaches that term “gay” – how you approach “lesbian”, “gay”, “homosexual”. If they’re invoked in a predictable LGTB mainstream way, which involves trying to sell ourselves as amazing people about whom straight folks can say “they’re just like you and me”, that sort of stuff to me has always been really alienating, because it appeals to acceptance in dominant culture. It’s like seeking the love of an abusive parent, instead of culturally moving away from the corruptions of family. At the same time there are other forms of exclusion that have to do with transphobia, and the imposition of this strictly homosexual model of gayness that excludes the fact that homosexuality and heterosexuality instantly fall apart if you’re trans-identifying, and you can’t identify identical or counter sexual object choices. If you can’t specify your opposite gender or your same gender, then instantly this very traditional and heterosexually bound category of gayness becomes something quite meaningless, oppressive and limiting. It really depends on how people approach the term “gay”. Some people are pretty relaxed about their definitions and say “gay” when they mean “queer” in a more open sense. But usually it’s the opposite, where people say “queer” when they mean “gay” in the conventional and limiting sense. It just depends on where people’s minds are. For the sake of our conversation we can give people a little credit and say that “gay” is not always so anti-queer, but there are definitely quite oppressive LGBT appeals to mainstream acceptance and power sharing that I find disturbing.

Is the history of queer culture in clubs separate from the mythology of gay culture?

For me, what differentiates queerness from mainstream LGBT language is that queerness is always very much entangled with conditions of harassment and persecution. Even if you try to be “proudly queer”, it’s still a derogatory term. It still comes with this homophobic connection to violence and harassment. That has always been a part of the development of lesbian and gay culture through modernity. Of course the violence and the homophobia have affected people no matter how religiously or loosely they related to a strictly defined homosexual identity. So in that sense queerness is always present. It’s that displacement of not being able to find a safe space. Fifty years ago, maybe you went to a club in search of a safe space, but they were still dangerous. You could be spotted there by somebody and outed. You could be spotted going in. It could be raided by police. You could be arrested and have your name in the paper. There were all kinds of harassment bullshit. Every country has their own harassment stuff. Britain was particularly horrible to people in the 70s.

That for me is queerness, not something that’s just an academic rejection of the hetero/homo binary, but it really goes beyond that rejection to something that originates in violence, and in experiences of violence, and in an urgency and panic of what to do amidst that violence and harassment.

It’s interesting because queerness has a certain posh softness to it.

Yeah I don’t know exactly what the linguistic gap is. I think most British people recognise that Americans use the term “fag” in a derogatory way. There are differences in language, and I’m speaking as someone who was conditioned in the American English language so maybe sometimes these things I’m saying don’t resonate properly.

Oh no they resonate.

In the US the term “queer” has definitely been coopted by academia. It’s become very institutionalised. A lot of people in Queer Studies programmes wouldn’t feel or sense the inherent contradiction in saying “queer pride”. They’re instructing queerness through a pride-based model, and to me that’s just so fucking backwards and insane.

Like the word’s been gutted.

It’s been ripped of contexts where lives are more informed by shame than pride.

And also not seen as a day to day individual reality.

Yeah and I think this goes back to forms of sexual ghettoization. I think the arts and academia are “big city” places where a lot of people run to. There is definitely migratory mythology around that – “my queer migration into academia”. I think that whenever you have these kind of enclaves that are seemingly and systematically granting a kind of safe space to people, it’s easy to forget that it is still a process of ghettoization within the wider culture. People lose sight of violence in a way, and internalise their newfound sense of safety to the point of ambivalence toward certain things.

It’s interesting you say “safe space” about things. It’s like people yearning for comfort, or assuming their life involves the goal of comfort.

Well I do think the LGBT movement has reframed the urgent need to escape persecution as a quest for comfort, reconciling that with standard right wing neo-liberal agendas of seeking pleasure and seeking relaxation. That’s “safety” in the way you just invoked it. I am not speaking of safety as a quest for comfort. For me, safety is about not getting punched, not getting spat on, not getting disowned and kicked out of a house and made homeless. That for me is safety. That’s the level I’m thinking on. I do think that through the mainstreaming of LGBT agendas, this kind of urgency has been reframed has hopes and dreams and good ol’ folks who share the same dreams and ambitions as everyone else. Of course that’s partly true because we’re all fed the same bullshit aspirations from childhood onwards with Sesame Street and all that crap. But one’s relationship to those, and what relationships we’re socially allowed to have or denied as a result of issues of sexuality, gender, etc., can result in quite different experiences of social conditioning around those expectations.

Were you always fearless?

It’s funny. I always think of myself as afraid.

Yeah as soon as I said the word “fearless”, that’s what I thought you’d say.

And again, there’s this way in which dominant culture wants to frame things as heroic, wants to frame things as about being in some sort of vanguard, with the fucking wind in your face and yeah you’re just so fucking tough. No it’s totally about acknowledging being really fucked-up and fragile and lost. That’s a different kind of isolation than the heroic model, that for me resonates with queerness and not with the whole pride movement stuff. The whole Pride movement shit is totally reconciled with all this vanguard modernity, face-the-future, go-for-it bravery shit. For me that’s the language and the style and the aspirations of the people who were kicking my ass as a youth. So I’m like, fuck that. It doesn’t click for me. It’s not interesting to me. It’s not helpful to me. It’s stopping me from identifying the material bases for my cultural alienations, which is a prerequisite for social agency.

Were you always allergic to the thing that felt wrong, rather than assimilate to it?

Oh no I was desperately trying to fit in, of course. I think that’s the normal thing, to be so fucking desperate to fit in, especially going through youth. Youth is a nightmare, wouldn’t you agree?

Yeah beyond.

Would you ever want to go back?

No. Literally never.

Never, never want to go back. Getting older is the best fucking thing that ever happens to people. And that’s really difficult to talk about in a cultural climate that’s so fixated on youth.

But it’s interesting when you realise only you as an individual is going to live your life, so live your life and make your own choices.

Again, you’re invoking this modernist language of individualism. I mean I think it’s important to always have active language that keeps a person from buying into the lie of those choices being a wide breadth of choices. In the end, the majority of people never overcome the class barriers that they were born into. That’s just a statistical fact. The reality of what choices we’re allowed to make are very limited, beginning with most people not being able to step out of male or female, not being able to step out of a singular hetero-/homo- sexual identity. Once we internalize these things, then even if we feel like we’re really making choices, the range of our choices are so few, very few. Culturally, we’re given just enough choice to psychologically squeak by. Dominant cultures don’t forgive choice, don’t forgive difference and diversity.

And then as we get older, we solidify those gender differences ourselves, so that our idea of female is defined by make-up or appearance.

Yeah, about ten years ago I stopped wearing make-up when in femme drag, in feminist solidarity against the tyranny of the cosmetics industry. Make-up is so fucking expensive, and I know so many women who are really at the poverty line blowing so much money on the labour of looking feminine. And it really is labour. Similarly, within trans communities, that’s part of the labour of passability. That is a heavy duty work load, and I don’t have much skill for it, especially as I get older.

I’m not one of those people who feels comfortable when I’m in femme drag. I’m feeling uncomfortable always, in male or female clothes. So I just stopped doing make-up, but then people comment about how I’m too lazy to shave. It’s like, I do shave, as close as I can. I’m just not piling foundation on, and I’m not taking hormone treatments, and I’m not paying people to do laser hair removal. I’m trying to have a non-medically mediated relationship to my body as trans. That’s a very unpopular thing that brings a lot of hostility, not only from transphobic assholes pointing out what a mess I am, but also people within trans communities pointing out what a mess I am. My attempts to divest of certain representational procedures involves a completely different kind of trans labour that doesn’t have much visibility around it, as opposed to the labour of trying to pass in a more conventional way.

Do you mean the labour of coping with the reaction you get?

It’s a lot of work to maintain oneself, and sometimes I get lazy – by which I really mean exhausted. Like what I’m wearing right now – my lazy clothes are my boy clothes and part of that laziness is they grant me a gender passability that is less questioned than when I’m in femme drag, even if it’s casual femme. I don’t mean gala stage queen stuff. I generally don’t do that. I generally try to wear more everyday, standard femme clothes – which is as much about the fear of creating a spectacle that results in being spotted and harassed on the street, as it is about rejecting clichés of MTF campiness. But choosing clothes also has to do with where my mind is. Am I in the mindset where I have the patience to deal with the looks and the stares when I’m going to the market? Especially since I am already a racial spectacle in my neighbourhood. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I really don’t. And that affects how much labour one is able to put into it. It’s work to dress, no matter what you’re aiming for.

It’s interesting that it’s your body, your hormones and DNA that make you you, so why would you want to add hormones.

I don’t know. I really think that the whole discussion of hormones and DNA… if you really get to that level, if you really want to talk about biology, you really have to get into such detail that genders become non-quantifiable. And that’s the point where you leave conventional western science, because conventional western science relies on quantification, dismissing the minor percentages and going with the bulk percentages, and making sure you can identify things by counting them. And that is how we culturally justify what is real and what is not, what should be funded for research, what should not. This makes it difficult to speak about non-quantifiability and the fact that, really, if you want to get pissy about it, every single person has a unique gradient of gender going on. So that makes the active discussions around DNA and hormones and stuff more problematic. It doesn’t make them totally useless, but it often makes them unhelpful when thinking about social organising in relation to harm reduction and violence reduction. Because in that case the organising really has to do with a social capacity to make decisions and engage in choices that will reduce violence. If you limit the conversation to the realm of biology and medical treatments, your choices are made for you, and there is no room for language of personal agency. Neo-liberalism loves that, they love to legislate rights around “I can’t help it, I was born this way” rhetoric. Because that’s totally in line with feudalism and aristocracy: that your rights are bestowed to you based on the blood in your veins. It’s a completely conservative and familiar argument, and the fact that western democracy continues to legislate around “what can’t be helped,” DNA and blood lines, all this stuff is a sign that we have never really entered democracy at all. In the same way there’s never been a communist society, I would argue there’s never been a democratic one. The gap between the ideals of democracy and how rights are actually legislated around the body is so obscene and feudalistic, that gap for me is as big as the gap between communism and Stalinism. It really is that broad for me, but most people won’t feel it as that broad.

Do you have any hope that there will ever be the right legislation or the right protection against violence, or is it just getting by with having to deal with what’s there?

I think there’s been a real deliberate backwards trend since Reaganomics and Thatcherism that has lead to a global reinvestment into the privilege of individuals and ownership, privatisation and getting away from state projects. Even though we keep the language of democracy, socially we’re moving further and further away from state projects, we’re going more and more into privatisation – our healthcare and things like the postal service, the power companies and all these things that were built through our taxes are then sold off and privatised to people who are free to then just make billions, which they do. Especially now, since we’ve exported so much of our labour and manufacturing to places and cultures where they really have far less issue with openly exploiting the labour classes on a slave level than in the west, it really allows the west to feel like, “oh yeah, we can still talk about freedom and how we’ll get there someday and things are getting better.” Fuck no, everything’s going fucking backwards, we’re just totally in shit. Capitalism works better with slavery, people in power know it, the wealthy know it, and that’s how we get into all this privatisation shit.

And capitalism works even better when the slavery’s somewhere else so you don’t have to look at it.

Yeah, that’s a huge part of it. That’s part of the whole western agenda of marketing pleasure: to obscure and obfuscate the actual practices of labour required to sustain our privileges – even if that’s the privilege of living in the lower classes in the west. We’ve just got to hide all that shit so people can live in their delusions. That’s classic capitalist alienation and reification in extreme.

I’ve got to run soon, but I’m interested in how we keep coming back to language, and the limitations of language, or the way language defines things in a way that feels separate from the truth.

Language is oftentimes enslaved to expressing the inversion of material conditions. Dominant cultures cultivate language, especially in an era of mass communication. Of course language is the main means of explaining and justifying the imbalances of power. Language is fucked up, and we’re all fucked up by it [she laughs].

The loveliest thing about your thinking and you is that the work you create is so warm.

Well I think people buy into a very monochromatic model of what warmth is. That includes presuming warmth and happiness are aligned. A lot of times they aren’t. A lot of times warmth has to do more with a capacity for sympathy and empathy rather than actual pleasure or joy, and I think that’s a big mistake that people make. I think they also make the mistake that if you acknowledge your sufferings and oppressions in an attempt to step into a space where you can start to react to them on a material, organisational level, then you’ll be trapped in existential crisis. You’ll just be paralysed, you’ll have Sartonian nausea, you just won’t know what to do. No. There’s all kinds of mobility out there that are fuelled by negativity. I mean important kinds of mobility rooted in urgency, not the luxury of hope. People are taught that “negativity” breeds the “bad things” in life. But what morality does that reflect when you as a person are branded a “bad thing” to begin with? What does it mean when most of the fag-bashers I grew up with were socially accepted as positive, athletic, god-fearing role models? Most people would categorize fag bashing as a negative thing, but for me its horror is a reflection of the “positive,” the plusses, the praised, the excesses of systems of cultural domination. For me, all of this destabilizes one’s perception of warmth and coldness, and creates false expectations for where we might find such things.

I always think about Hush Now, and how it’s so warm and bouncy, and then the “Silence = Death” chant comes in, and it so amazing the way the two are connected, and it’s like the perfect delivery for that.

That’s a reworking of something from the Archive Of Silence by Ultra-red. That project was very much around how silence functions in relation to the history of HIV and AIDS activism, and how we’ve re-entered a period of silence. So that “hush now” is in a way the hush we have now, and it’s also an order – “hush now, be quiet”. So having the track transition from the phrase “hush now” into the old HIV/AIDS activist chant “silence = death”, reinvoking that chant today, was the gesture I was going for.

—-

Here’s that work, Hush Now.

I’ve included this YouTube clip, and not others, because it was posted by its record label. 

For years I’ve wanted to get her 2008 CD, Midtown 120 Blues.

It’s one of those ones that goes for £££ on Discogs.

She’s just released a special edition on Boomkat.

Here’s a sampler – click on it to buy.


Read full review of Midtown 120 Blues (Special Edition) – DJ SPRINKLES on Boomkat.com ©

My copy turned up over the weekend.

Some of the sleevenotes:

“The audio on this CD is identical to the 2008 first edition and subsequent represses on Mule Musiq. There are no plans for a vinyl edition because the bass spatialization effects that give many of these recordings their sonic character are incompatible with vinyl mastering techniques.

Featuring Comafidelity Multi-Channel Sound. No fucking-sucking-licking-sticking without latex. Clean your works with bleach and water. Do not attempt usng any part of this product as a safer sex device.”

Amazing.

Join Charlie Porter and DJ Sprinkles this Friday 7th November for Chapter 10 at Dance Tunnel from 10pm – 3am.

Visit Charlie Porter’s website: charlieporter.net

Discodromo

This Saturday sees the return of one of our favourite parties, Discosodoma. And this time they’ve invited Italians-living-in-Berlin, Discodromo to the Superstore basement! Fresh from the 5th Birthday of their own party/record label, CockTail D’Amore, the duo will be joined by local heroes 2Dads’Boy, MDMX, Y.O.T.I. and Anywayyouwanna. Ahead of the party the Elektra Complex collective posed a few questions about Berlin, dancing philosophies and global politics to find out more about them…

By Elektra Complex

It’s been a year since your last appearance at Dance Tunnel in London. What has changed since then?  

Not much to be honest… no wait, we’re both one year older and our baby just turned 5!

Recently you celebrated the five-year anniversary of CockTail d’Amore with Joe Claussell as your special guest. What have been your most memorable moments during this journey?  

Oh, way too many to remember… one time we had a half hour black out though, and the dancefloor turned into a huge darkroom. 

If you had the chance to do it all over again, would you have changed something?  

No way! 

How has the Berlin scene changed over the years from your perspective? Do you enjoy the growing popularity of the city as an international destination? 

Music-wise we can say it’s much more diverse now. Forget about Berlin as just techno city… there’s a lot more going on these days. Part of it is because of all the newcomers. Gentrification though, is spreading though and well… who likes that???

Due to the volatile political situation between Israel and Palestine, you found yourselves issuing a statement reassuring your fans in Tel Aviv that your gig will happen no matter what. Do you find politics and social issues informing your music and performances?  

Actually that statement was more about music as a peaceful message. That’s why we pointed out we played in both Ramallah and Tel Aviv.

“Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing” is a strong statement with multiple interpretations. Is music the ultimate form of escapism and a driving force for inclusiveness of all identities? Is this what sits at the very core of your work?  

*nothing matters when we’re dancing* is more a declaration of love to music. It’s about becoming one thing with it and loosing yourself. You call it escapism? We’d say more *meditation* 

With your new compilation, featuring Young Marco, Chymera, Lord Of The Isles, and yourselves among others, out in late October, where do you see the future of dance music going? Are there any distinctive sounds or styles emerging? 

It’s funny you ask this cause dance music is becoming everyday harder and harder to define. Genres are melting and contaminating each other in unexpected ways. These experiments in genres crossover are what excites us the most.    

Next week you will be taking your CockTail d’Amore at ADE for a special event with cosmic disco patron, Daniele Baldelli. Do you have any equally exciting future projects you would like to share with us? 

Yeah well our compilation is coming out soon and that’s something we’re really excited about… plus there is another Cocktail d’Amore in Paris at the Gaité Lyrique on the 25th of October celebrating the 5 years of the party.

What shall we expect from your Discosodoma set? 

Everything… and more!

And finally, disco is?

THE answer. 

Join Discodromo this Saturday for Discosodoma at Dalston Superstore 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

Trax Couture Clothing

Party, record label and now clothing line House Of Trax has become an east London institution over the last two years with a reputation for bringing both underground and top US acts over to London for their debut performances and DJ sets. With the label now in full swing, promoter and resident DJ Rushmore (Matthew Thomas) now presents the apparel branch of what is quickly becoming a multi-faceted brand.

With the House Of Trax 2nd Birthday Party at Dance Tunnel just around the corner, we caught up with Matthew to discuss the new line and has kindly given us the (unisex) t-shirt shown above to give away in either a size M or L. Enter your details into the Google form below by 5pm Thursday 16th January to be in with a chance to win.

*Only the winning entrant will be contacted 

Plus check out this Alden Tyrell tribute mix ahead of the party at Dance Tunnel…

Okay, we’ll start simple… what clothing labels do you tend to personally gravitate towards? Whether in terms of ones you are attracted to or even wear yourself…?

Matthew Thomas: Ok so, local UK label Cottweiller is a firm base for clothing that I wear. They are friends of mine but I do massively champion what they do.

Certain pieces from streetwear staples like Supreme and Palace also.

I work for Puma so I tend to wear training wear, and some of their lifestyle clothing too, including fashion collaborations such as Hussein Chalayan and Mihara Yasuhiro. And currently for the last four years on my feet have predominantly been Puma.

Outside of that, basics from Uniqlo of course… as well as timeless staples including Alpha Industries, North Face. And then some more US bits and pieces from Hood by Air, DKNY, and Opening Ceremony…

I think that pretty much covers it all off. Old designer vintage pieces too as and when they come about… I am somewhat a hoarder so some of mine own vintage too! Haha!

So House Of Trax: from party to record label to fashion line. Is this a natural evolution or has it always been part of the game plan?

This has always been in mind from the offset. It was just more about finding the right time to take those paths really. We think a lot of it all goes hand in hand… and ultimately it’s an extension of our interest and personalities. So I suppose a bit of both then.

The HoT parties have previously had guests like Venus X of ghe20g0th1k who obviously has a strong sense of aesthetic- have these type of guests influenced the clothing line in any way?

I think she has yeah. There’s definitely an influence from the ghe20g0th1k culture for sure and what she has been creating and standing for in the US for some years now is awesome.

Any other guests that have had an impact on the line?

I mean another obvious one is MikeQ and the whole vogue scene in general, which is a massive inspiration to us as a sound and culture that we try and support and appreciate for sure.

The tshirts and baseball shirts seem quite unisex in their design- do you have plans to specialise into either womenswear or menswear or are you keen to keep it androgynous?

Yeah, the idea is to try and create something that can be worn by either gender really. No plans to specialise just yet. It’s still super early days and ideas are brimming right now. I think as time goes on naturally we will be able to produce more and wider variety of styles and graphic designs.

Trax Couture Unisex Tshirts

Can you tell us a bit about the lookbook- who shot it and what was the overall feel you were going for?

Ok, so the look book was shot by Cormac McGloin, whose work is really great, he got what we wanted. It was a simple studio shoot with the emphasis on the clothing and an attitude that we wanted to convey…

It was lightly inspired by early ’90s Versace and Moschino ad campaigns. Although, those campaigns were quite vibrant with colour etc, the aesthetic of ours is more black and white. It was more the layout and composition of the pages / shots and poses that were the inspiration.

We wanted simple portrait shots with obvious branding and character to prevail. That was the feel we went for.

And how would you sum up the attitude you wanted to convey? The ethos of the brand?

I think the attitude of the brand is proud, fun and ballsy with the will to do different things, things that haven’t been done before…

At least from our perspective anyways.

Aesthetic is everything these days, with the underground feeding the mainstream (without publicly acknowledging it)… what’s your thoughts on that, and how do you intend to stay fresh and culturally relevant?

Yeah totally agree, especially with the internet and some of the massive corporate giants that can turn things around quite quickly… from catwalk to high street before the couture brands hit their own stores you know… It’s changed. A lot…

I think the main thing is to have a unique identity and having a point of view is also a good start. I mean, if that’s all genuine then your definitely not bandwagon-jumping. Time is the truest test in some respects.

Although even in today’s market things can come and fade away without people even realising. It needs to be combination of differentiation and the right amount of exposure and then acknowledgement… for the relevance piece… but as I just said, I think if you’re a certain type of person / have genuine ideas, then they will continue and last and you will build up from what you believe in.

I think that is what will keep something relevant and fresh… coupled with the will to evolve.

That’s a bit deep haha.

No it’s great! So let’s talk about the parties.

YES Parties! How fun are they! So much fun!

They’re renowned for bringing over a lot of key US artists to London for their debut. Who was the most difficult to pull off and why?

Oofff…..

Maybe logistically speaking…?

Ermm….

So Deejay Earl was a tricky one because we had work certificate issues. He was stuck in Paris with like three hours before the show, and I had to pull a few last minute strings to get it all sorted for him and his dancer. They made it – it was all good and they put on a sick show.

And they’re both dudes!!!

That was a funny one… Another historic one was DJ Assault in February this year. He stayed at my house for a week.

I was just about to ask who was the most memorable!

He’s a ghetto legend.

Would you say he comes under MOST MEMORABLE GUEST EVER?

It’s a tough call between him and Tyree Cooper to be honest.

Why was Tyree memorable?

He’s just a straight up OG and fucking legend! Hands down.

From the moment we meet him at the airport, to the moment we dropped him back off, it was a pleasure all the way. So hyped to be hanging with him again in January.

We just hung and talked old stories, all of his stories obvs… talked old music, Dance Mania, shows…

And he’s the guest you have in store for your Dance Tunnel date?

Yeah him and Alden Tyrell this month…

Tyree and Tyrell.

Nice little ring to it eh?

Hahahahahahah.

It’s gonna be madness. Okay, last question.

Where and when can we get some House of Trax t-shirts?

You will be able to cop them directly from our website as of now. Possible other outlets soon.

Join Matthew Thomas aka Rushmore for the House Of Trax 2nd Birthday on Friday 17th January at Dance Tunnel from 10pm – 3am.

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.

Lakuti

Down at our sister venue Dance Tunnel, they’re putting on a special post-Christmas/pre-NYE party featuring two amazing ladies, Tama Sumo AND Lakuti, playing records all night long. Whilst the Berlin based couple play regularly together they are equally formidable apart. 

Lakuti, born and raised in apartheid-era South Africa, and a former resident of London, has many faces within dance music, having run parties, a record label, DJs, now running her own agency and has even been known to sing. We caught up with her ahead of her set to find out more about her vibrant upbringing, gay clubs in South Africa and more…

You’re well known for your techno parties cum record label Süd Electronic, that you ran with Portable. Did you strive for a family type feel within both branches?

The parties covered a wide spectrum musically, from techno to house to minimal and more experimental edges. The basis for Süd was basically to try and highlight new music .

When Portable left the UK in the early years of us running the party, I took on the challenge to do the parties on my own. Bringing people together from all walks of life was at the very core of how I ran them, even down to the DJ’s and live acts booked.

It was important to me to invite people who shared the same vision and outlook, and saw their contribution at the party as an ongoing collaboration rather than just an ‘in and out – – bang my job is done’ approach. It was important for me that people of all genders, race and sexual orientation felt welcome and that this was their party.

The parties in particular ran here in London for about 11 years. To what do you attribute it’s long-running success in a city that is quite tough with competition?

There was nothing too complicated really, and I never went in with an intention of doing a massive party in the sense of conquering the world. I put my heart and soul into trying to offer an oasis for myself and like minded people. That is all.

How did you find living in London, and what made you want to leave?

I will always view London as my home. I absolutely adore the city and it’s people. London is the most diverse city in the world and this is what makes the city so incredibly special. the negatives though, were eventually too hard to ignore. After 15 years of having lived in the city, those negatives became more and more impossible to ignore .

This is not a city that allows you any breathing space. People often have to run around often doing several jobs just to pay the rent. The politics and the political establishment is also a huge factor in deciding to leave the city. They are taking everyone back to the dark ages. Their disdain for the poor truly saddens me. And they are running the country to the ground as far as I can see. I recently saw a survey which showed London to rank lower than Johannesburg, Warsaw and many more other cities when it came to quality of life.

You’re married to Tama Sumo… can you sum up for us why it is important to strive for marriage equality?

I personally do not believe in the institution of marriage. My belief is that government has no business in anyone’s bedroom. We have all seen time and time again how governments use marriage to penalize those that choose to leave their lives differently. Yes, on paper most countries are now opting to give rights of marriage or civil partnership to the LGBTIQ community but if you look at the small print, what is being offered is not good enough. There are still great disparities when it comes to the rights offered to heterosexual couples as opposed to LGBTIQ partnerships. For example the tax breaks given to heterosexual couples in most countries are not the same to what is offered to people in civil partnerships.

I do not want to be a pawn to the state and I can’t help but think that we are selling ourselves short in believing that marriage equality will bring us meaningful and lasting equal rights. I have the utmost respect for those who choose this path and they find meaning in it. On a personal note, I could not be any happier to be in a partnership with such a great human who has so much time and so much love to give.

You guys DJ together quite a lot, how do you think you’re about to work so well together (where most couples would drive each other mental)?

We do drive each other mental sometimes, hehehe. But I guess that is part of life. We have so much in common and we share a huge passion for music, we make each other laugh and share a common basis as to what is important in life. These are for me the ingredients that keep us going and keeps everything exciting and magical.

You also run an agency, Uzuri, which means “beauty” in Swahili. What drove you to set up your own agency and what was the inspiration behind the name?

It happened by chance really, that I encountered a USA based DJ that needed an agent and I thought about it, and thought that it was a challenge enough and an aspect within the workings of the music industry that I had not explored. All part of learning I guess, and I do love a challenge!

What kind of influence do you think growing up in South Africa has had on the vast musical output you are, and have been, involved in?

South Africa is my birth country and my roots are there, and therefore it has shaped me as a person. South Africa, in particular Johannesburg, had a thriving clubbing culture back in the early nineties and some of my most memorable going out experiences were in Johannesburg. 

My grandmother was a Shebeen Queen back in the ’50s in Sophiatown. I grew up listening to her stories with great interest about how she ran her shebeen. It was a jazz shebeen and people such as the great, late penny whistler Kippie Moeketsi used to drink there. The great poet and writer Don Mattera too. So my grandmother is truly the person responsible for making me want to put on parties. I can never thank her enough and wish she was still alive and was able to give her seal of approval.

And what about your family? Music was obviously a big part of your life with your grandfather being a double bass player…

My family were all music lovers. There was always music in the home. My mom used to collect soul, funk and disco; Barry Whites, Ashford and Simpson, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Betty Wright, Mahalia Jackson and much more.

She used to hide her records in a suitcase on top of the wardrobe. My grandfather was an avid jazz collector. Sundays were dedicated to a bottle of VO Martell brandy and him cleaning and listening to his records. We had a lot of discussions and arguments as Sunday was my day for listening to the top 40. With age I am so grateful to both my mom and grandfather for giving me the foundations for appreciating music.

You studied law at university in SA before moving to the UK- do you think that’s what helped you have such a broad and successful career in the dance music industry?

I did go to law school and I also went to film school briefly. It does help to have some basics as you do deal with a lot of legal documents on a day-to-day basis, so learning about how these things operate is certainly an advantage.

Although personally, I never did see myself as being part of a greater music industry and there are a lot of things within the industry that I do not approve of.

What were your favourite gay clubs in SA at the time? And what’s the gay scene like there now?

The club that really kicked things open for me after leaving home and in my 1st year of university was Mrs Henderson’s with DJ Nuno. The club was beautiful. A ballroom type of place. And Nuno was great, playing great music. Then came Idols, then Embassy. Embassy was the club to go to if you loved house music. Stuart, the DJ, was really one of the best DJ’s the country had to offer. He knew his regulars and just knew when to play the tunes that individually got us going.

Finally, you are the vocalist on Portable’s track Deeper Love… is singing something you want to do more of or is it something only a best friend could coax out of you?

I would never call myself a singer. Now and again, I will sing for friends but singing is definitely not something I view as a career path for me!

Join Lakuti at Dance Tunnel Presents Tama Sumo on Saturday 28th December from 10pm – 3am at Dance Tunnel.

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

The Sound Of Thunder

By Elles Pinfold

Miles Simpson and I go way back.  Well, by way back I mean about three years, which in London time is forever no?  Ok, it’s not, but you know what I mean. Seems like forever (in a good way). 

He got in touch via a shared love of venting about old house records and clubs of yore. His Beyond The Stars blog and my Legendary Children site had a lot in common; the vital difference being that he had actually witnessed some of this stuff first hand and our knowledge was gleaned through feverish trawling of the Internet and out-of-print books from Amazon.

When his night Thunder launched two years ago we were down the front with bells on. As it turns out over those two years Miles’ knowledge and passion (along with that of his co-hosts Rick and Joe) have translated into one of the best underground house nights in London.

The night is celebrating its 2nd anniversary this weekend, so what better time to pick Mr. Simpson’s teeming house brain on the seminal clubs that have influenced him and how Thunder is nailing it today…

It is well documented (amongst those that know you) that your visit to Sound Factory in the ’90s had a huge impact. I love hearing your stories despite possibly maybe teasing about it on occasion *ahem*. Tell us about it. Why was it so special?

I guess it was special because it was like nothing I’d ever experienced in London. Not only was it fantastic, it was incredibly exotic too.

There was a simplicity, a rawness, an energy and a communal experience that was unlike anything in London. There was no warm up or guests, just Junior Vasquez, his crowd, his children and they had a special bond.

Some of those parties I’d been to in London had great production, grand stairs cases to the DJ booth, film set props, dress code themes, etc, but the Factory was just a big brick walled warehouse space, iron pillars, a massive sound system and a lighting system based around one, huge disco ball. And that was it, save for a juice bar (the venue was dry), a spotlessly clean chill out area and a drinking fountain.

The music wasn’t that clichéd big room tribal sound, that came later, it was a real mixture of US stuff, MK, Murk, Def Mix, Strictly Rhythm, and maybe slightly harder edged UK stuff like X-Press 2 and the Farley and Heller’s mixes of DSK and Happy Monday’s ‘Stinkin Thinkin’.

I think it opened at midnight but didn’t warm up till about 3am with things really firing by about 6am. At that time in London you were usually asleep on someone’s sofa or on a night bus.

The crowd was raw too. Subsequently the Factory became associated with New York ‘club kids’, all showy in a ‘look at me’ way but in 1992 it was still quite natural, almost entirely gay, very black and Hispanic, with the banji boy look prevalent because people came dressed to dance not pose. There was this thing around 9 or 10am when transvestites, who were seriously these beautiful men, started to have catwalk vogue battles down the side of the dance floor, but it seemed to happen organically rather than in a contrived manner. Nothing about the club felt contrived.

One of the Factory moments that will always live with me was when Junior eased a thunder storm in the mix. Slowly, the rain got louder and louder and eventually overwhelmed the music which gradually disappeared. As this happen the club sank into total darkness, illuminated only by strobes placed across the ceiling that went off every so often in a series that gave the effect of lightning streaking across the ceiling. So I’m standing in the middle this New York warehouse, in the pitch black, in a thunder storm, with 2000 gay men, every person there is screaming and hollering. You could almost feel the rain. And then, after what seemed like an eternity, this vocal cuts across the rain, “It’s gonna be, a lovely day, for you and me” (the at that time, unreleased S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. record, from acetate) and then as the first beat kicking in, every single light in the pitch black club hit the disco ball, and the sun dropped into the room. I’m not doing it justice, it was like an explosion of pure energy, and the place went absolutely bonkers. I’d never seen or heard anything like it and I doubt will again.

I get goose bumps just thinking about it and I must admit, I do like talking about it, mainly because I wish I could go back.

Do you think any of those aspects have translated to the way you do things at Thunder?

I think I run the risk of sounding very conceited if I make any sort of connection between Thunder and the Sound Factory! But if there’s something I learnt from that experience it’s about importance of basics and staying focused on those. The music, the sound and the people. 

Ultimately, the nights you really remember, the nights that stay with you forever, are the ones where good music sounded great, you were surrounded by good, like-minded people and there was some sort of communal experience, even if it’s as simple as being a good laugh. Those qualities are not unique to the Sound Factory though, I guess they’ve been present at every great party ever. But that’s the stuff that makes me excited and that feeds my enthusiasm, to the point that it often gets the better of me!

I suppose Junior is also responsible for my penchant for a bit of drama too. I love a dramatic intro or even a period of silence. He did this thing where he worked this long, unreleased intro of the Sounds of Blackness – The Pressure for about 10 minutes at 6am. That was peak time, the dancefloor was heaving and then, 10 mins of accapella gospel. Every time you thought the beat would kick in, it didn’t, the tension mounted, people started actually crying, and then after he’d built the pressure to point you could almost feel it in the air around you, he let it go, the beat kicked in and dancefloor exploded.

Thunder is about to celebrate its 2nd birthday- for me the party’s always had a special vibe. Having DJ’ed for you and been a stalwart attendee I am probably hugely biased, but whenever I’m there I chat to people who have similar experiences and yet it’s their first one and they don’t know any of you lot other than what they’ve heard… What do you think is its magic formula?

I genuinely don’t know but I might be the wrong person to ask?! Luck maybe?! But you’re right, people do seem to like what the parties are about…

As I mentioned earlier, the basics are important to us and focusing on them has worked quite well. The music is what we can influence most of all; we’re all competent DJs, well Joe and Rick are anyway and we all come at house from slightly different angles too, so I think we complement each other.

Beyond that, we put a lot of thought into guests. They have to be booked on the strength of their DJing rather than productions. There’s a balancing act to be done with budgets and who we want, but we try to push that as far as we can. We managed to book John Heckle before he had an agent, convince Sven Weisemann and Patrice Scott to play a 120 capacity venue, and brought Gene Hunt over from Chicago for the first time in 20 years. 

We’ve also been lucky with our crowd. From the outset we had people who love the music and have been supportive of the parties. They spread the word, brought friends and friends of friends, and it’s snowballed. We try to make the atmosphere as inclusive possible, but to a certain extent it’s out of our hands, people either like it or they don’t. Fortunately for us the people that do like it are lovely, so the vibe is great. That’s really down to them, not us – they make the party what it is.

The final jigsaw piece is the sound. We lucked out massively when we moved to Dance Tunnel because not only is it a great space, but they are committed to making it sound better than any other club that size in London. We’ve also resisted the temptation to do more regular parties too, which hopefully keeps it feeling like a special event and also saves me from battering everyone on Facebook to death with spam. So yeah, mainly luck.

Thunder at Dance Tunnel

You always have great guests, but actually the three of you are strong as residents too- which is something you mentioned about the New York clubs back in the day also. Would you ever consider going balls-out ‘residents only’?

Residents-only nights are something I don’t think London ever got its head round. Whereas New York was built on that. On that first trip there was Vasquez at the Sound Factory, Tony Humphries at Zanzibar, Knuckles at The Roxy, Troy Parrish at Sugar Babies and before that you had all the disco legends, Levan, Gibbons, Scott, etc. But guest culture seems to reign supreme in London. It would take a brave person to go residents-only but it could be great, I’d love to do it… if anyone bothered to turn up! 

Finally, what’s in store for the Thunder birthday extravaganza and Year Three  for you guys?

We’re having two guests play at our birthday party, something we never normally do. Rather than try and get in some big name, who has no existing connection with the party, we like to try and celebrate our birthday parties with our friends. As you know, last year it was the Legendary Children, who provided all sorts of support and encouragement in our first year, this year it’s Neville Watson and Domenic Cappello.

Neville was the guest at our first ever party, he’s well known for his productions but he’s an even better DJ, one of the best we have ever had play for us. He’s also a good friend now and it’s possible that without him kicking me up the backside every couple of weeks, we’d have never got Thunder off the ground. So his influence has played a big part in us being here now.

Domenic has been resident at the Sub Club in Glasgow for almost 20 years now. Not resident in the in the once-a-month way or resident in the fitting it with his touring schedule way but playing there every single Saturday for 19 years. And the crowd up there are absolutely rabid, which is great because the atmosphere is so intense but they are also really demanding, so there’s no room for error. But that’s fine, because Domenic is one of the most gifted DJs I’ve ever heard. When he played for us in July last year the night bordered on being a religious experience, well, for me anyway. Like Neville, he’s become a good friend too.

As for year three, well you’ll just have to wait and see! We love it at Dance Tunnel and as its reputation spreads, we think more and more DJs will want to play there, so we intend carry on trying to twist agents’ arms and shoe horn in DJs wouldn’t ever normally get to hear play in a venue that size. Some of the DJs we’re already well down the road with getting onboard are simply jaw dropping. So, fingers crossed and all that!

Join Miles and the rest of the Thunder team down at Dance Tunnel tonight, Friday 6th September from 10pm to late for Thunder’s 2nd Birthday. 

For more of Elles’s work follow her on twitter: @e_l_l_e_s