We can’t wait for notorious rave institution DISCOSODOMA to return to the mothership with an almighty bang this February, as they welcome Iranian-born San Franciscan party maestro Mozhgan to the lazer basement! As the DJ and promoter behind We Are Monsters, she has seen a meteoric rise to success, with sets at Honey Soundsystem and Sunset Sound System catapulting her to play at Berlin’s Panorama Bar, NYC’s Output, Burning Man’s Disco Knights and beyond. The Discosodoma crew caught up to quiz her on her top tips for successful raving ahead of Saturday’s Discosodoma Loves We Are Monsters.
1. Drink water! Hydration is key.
2. Wear comfortable shoes.
3. Pace yourself. Slow and steady wins the race…
4. Deodorant, chap-stick, mints or toothbrush and toothpaste can rejuvenate you when you’re feeling not so fresh.
6. No parking on the dance floor
7. Put your phone away
8. Sharing is caring
9. Sunglasses – you never know what time you’re going to leave the party, these can be essential when facing the outside world.
10. Have a good rave buddy – someone that will have your back in case things get a little bit too wild…
Catch Mozhgan at Discosodoma this Saturday 10 February from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!
Our favourite Grecian power rave returns this Saturday 2 December for their final party of the year, and they’re pulling out all the stops to make sure it’s a special one! Their guests of honour are fellow Athenian tastemakers, previous guests and ‘sodoma soul sisters Amateurboyz! Having raved a long summer’s day away with the Discosodoma crew as well as rave royalty Discodromo at their A THREESOME ON ACID party during Athens Pride earlier this year, they are well-placed to provide us with their expert top tips for successful raving ahead of Saturday!
1. Cubicles that take six people x2
2. Never ending booze
3. A disco nap area / special K discovery room
4. A lock in
5. An after party
6. Glory holes
8. Vegan bumps ( or Organic Chanel)
9. Fag hags
10. Smoking wherever you like
11. And bonus: No lights!
Catch Amateurboyz at Discosodoma this Saturday 2 December from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore
This Saturday, notorious gay rave institution Discosodoma joins forces with kindred spirits and masters of all things mind-altering, Multi Culti at Discosodoma <3 Multi Culti! We caught up with record label head honchos Thomas Von Party and Dreems, and asked them to add to our collection of top tips for successful raving… Needless to say, we were not disappointed!
1. TEMPERATURE CONTROL
Never let temperature ruin your party. Bring a hand-fan. It’s 2017, climate change is real. Thin insulated fabrics are great to keep you warm without having to schlep weight. Go tech, or go silk. And don’t be afraid to get nude.
2. PARTY BAG
To have sufficient options for temperature control items, paraphernalia, snacks.
3. HANDYMAN ESSENTIALS
Can you even say handyman anymore or is it sexist? I’m sure there are handywomen out there I’m just not sure what they’re called… Anyways, back to the program… Being equipped means having something to share. Openers, flashlights, zip-ties, king-sized rolling papers… anything that can MacGyver the vibe out of harm’s way.
4. DON’T TRAVEL IN A PACK
Parties are good for making friends and losing friends. Group decision-making dynamics can ruin a trip, and we’ll be fucking damned if we’d let that happen.
It’s not a shower, but it’s the next best thing. For 24+ hour parties it’s essential, but we shouldn’t need to tell you that, unless maybe if you’re British.
6. SMELL GOOD
Dab some essential oils on your hand-fan, advertise your shamanic side with a palo santo stick, but please don’t overdo it with the perfume or cologne, it’s offensive.
Snacks are always a good idea. Up-market vegan chia/nut/cacao bars will let everyone know you value your own physical performance as much as you value your ecosystem, but most of these bars are disgusting. Preparing a GORP like nut-mix is great, it shows you’re willing to go the extra-mile as a hippie.
8. SUNGLASSES & BATHING SUIT
Because you never fucking know where you will end up. That offer to fly to Ibiza might just roll in on the floor at 5am – and being ready to take on the sun and sea in perfect apparel can help with that decision. Or you could just go wild and go nude.
Ear plugs, condoms and a helmet.
Catch Thomas Von Party and Dreems at Discosodoma this Saturday 12 August from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!
1. Always bring mints or chewing gums or if you wanna be that special one, bananas.
2. If you are a guy, bring tampons. If you are a girl, bring lube. It brings different people together.
3. Buy drugs that you don’t take, so you have something to share with others. It will always bring you stuff back.
4. Don’t take too much acid. But do take acid.
5. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.
6. Don’t destroy the toilets.
7. No matter what party you are at, if you are with the right people, it’s always going to be fun.
8. There’s never enough Prosecco.
9. Scarce or at least friendly/almost invisible security.
10. And most important a “can do attitude.” If you party as if nothing is impossible, you are surely going to have the most fun!
Rave with Paramida at Discosodoma this Saturday 10 June from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!
By DISCOSODOMA Dalston Superstore’s longest running party institution DISCOSODOMA returns this Saturday with another lineup of forward-thinking selectors ready to unleash their powers on your body and mind! For the latest instalment their special guest is London-based DJ, producer and promoter of cult party institution World Unknown, Andy Blake. Andy is particularly known for his challenging, eclectic and expansive sets that build powerfully and instinctively from start to finish. With a special 5am license for this party, we can’t wait to see what he has planned for us! The DISCOSODOMA crew caught up with him to chat about ancient Egypt, the state of clubbing in 2017, and the secret to a good party.
Hello Andy! What have you been up to lately?
The main thing is moving house for the first time in nearly eight years. At times like this I can see why most people have traded their record collections in for usb sticks!
Fabric has now been saved, but what about the actual culture? Is the sense of community still here or can we see this as an opportunity to instil the basics back into the scene, such as acceptance of diversity and an open-arms approach to those who want to experience again a sense of belonging?
There’s definitely a great sense of community to be found still. It’s always there if you look hard enough. Acceptance, diversity and independence are the key ingredients, along with great music and an excellent sound system of course.
With the previous question in mind, how can one be informed about the workings of the underground scene if one arrives right now in the city?
The Internet has been great for giving access to the various party scenes but there’s an extra level of engagement from actual word of mouth. I played at a party on Saturday where literally no promotion was done and as far as social media was concerned the party didn’t even exist. Around 500 people turned up, most were around 18-23 years old and from South London, but there were also people from all over Europe who somehow found out about it.
There’s an ingrained nostalgia about the clubs of yesterday. Do you think we have lost our capacity to envision the future?
It’s time for the nostalgia for the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s to move on into a recognition that this tradition goes back way further than that and will always be here as long as humanity is. It’s important that we don’t lose the ability to look forward with this culture, but perhaps now is a good time to make sure to include elements that can often get swept away by the illusion of progress. For want of a better term i think it’s really important that the dance never loses its soul.
At the end of the day, what are the ingredients for a good party?
Many and varied – but fun people, great music, interesting potions and an inclusive attitude in inspiring spaces are probably the key ingredients.
If you could travel in any time in history, where and when would you land?
I’d love to take a peek at all the classical civilisations, especially the ones where women were in charge – I’ve a feeling they made a far better job of it than the men have done for the last couple of millennia, and I’d definitely like to see how they got those pyramids up in Egypt. But in the main, I’ll be quite happy if I get to live long enough to get to the other side of this period of insane turmoil that’s really kicking into gear with trump and brexit but which has never really stopped since the romans decided that ramming Christianity down people’s throats on pain of death was a good idea. Like many people I’d like to think that this is the dying gasp of a broken patriarchal system that refuses to go without kicking and screaming and smashing things up like the tartrazine-crazed toddler it’s shown itself to be and I’m very curious to see what lies beyond.
With Joe Hart moving on, what’s in store for the World Unknown family in 2017?
The WU family is continuing to grow, both on the dancefloor and behind the scenes. We’ve had some very organised friends join the crew so Amy and I can concentrate on the creative side of things and this year looks like half a dozen bigger parties that will still retain the World Unknown atmosphere. I think its really important to show that a great atmosphere and vibe isn’t only possible at a smaller affair. we had well over 1,000 people desperate to get in on new year’s eve which one hand showed us how popular wu has become and where we can go with it and on the other that we need to get a lot more organised to do that. we’re really looking forward to progressing with a bigger better boat and enough crew to sail it properly
What shall we expect from your set at DISCOSODOMA?
Recently I’ve mainly been playing a heavy, raw and primal but still warm and inclusive sound, mainly pitched-down house and techno with a few disco and left-field moments so quite likely something along those lines.
And finally, what is disco?
That’s the million dollar question, and it seems to change with the wind. Maybe someone should write a book about it.
Catch Andy Blake at Discosodoma this Saturday 11 February from 9pm-5am at Dalston Superstore.
For the final instalment of transcendental gay rave DISCOSODOMA, the crew have recruited Japanese DJ and producer Powder as their special guest! Little is known about this enigmatic rising star, whose Internet presence is limited simply to Soundcloud, allowing her music to speak for itself. She has recently been catching the attention of parties across Europe, after her set at Berlin’s Cocktail D’Amore cemented her as a serious force to be reckoned with. We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming her to Dalston SUperstore for her lazer basment debut. She caught up with DISCOSODOMA to chat Japan’s party scene, travel and plans for the future!
Hello Powder! We are really excited to have you at DISCOSODOMA this December, which is also one of the dates of your second European tour. Which city has caught your heart so far during your travels overseas?
… I’m feeling a sprinkle of love in every city!
Through your travelling, we assume you have seen different interpretations of Japanese culture. What are the biggest mistakes people make in representing your country’s culture? For example in food and music?
Thanks to the Internet, people make less mistakes in the representation of Japanese culture, but of course I feel a bit sad every time I come across something being misrepresented.
After the repeal of the dancing ban in Japan, how has the dance scene in the country changed? Are there any notable new club spaces and parties?
I have never taken an active part in Japan’s and more specifically in Tokyo’s officially regulated scene. I have always preferred warehouse parties, both before and after the repeal of the dancing ban.
What about clubbing for the LGBTQ+ community? What makes it more different compared to your experiences in Europe, with Cocktail d’Amore for example?
It’s quite different. As far as I know, it is no exaggeration to say that there is no other party like Cocktail d’Amore and other parties in Europe. In Japan, the community is evolving in their own unique way in a different field such as bar, show, karaoke!
Where would you take us out if we were visiting Tokyo?
The DISCOSODOMA crew have had quite the prolific summer, flitting from their Dalston Superstore hotspot to Grecian boat parties and back again! For their next party, they welcome Italian DJ Luigi di Venere who has recently been making serious waves in Berlin. From gigs at Cocktail D’Amore to the hallowed Berghain garden, he has seen a meterioric rise this summer, and we can’t wait to welcome him for his Superstore debut! He caught up with the DISCOSODOMA crew to chat the anthropology of clubbing, Berlin’s virtues and what to expect from his first set in our lazer basement!
Hello Luigi, we are really excited to have you with us for our next party. Can you tell us a bit about you for those who aren’t familiar with your DJ career?
Hello guys! I am from Bari in Italy. I started DJing during my Stockholm university years where I was hosting a radio show and throwing monthly parties. I am currently living in Berlin.
I always wanted to move here because I was so fascinated by the club scene, and… Here I am, three years now and quite satisfied with it! I play regularly at Cocktail d’Amore and I have my own parties – Maximum Joy, and Overdrive. I also played at Berghain Garden this past summer and… Yeah, that was insane!
On your Resident Advisor profile, it writes that you are “an anthropologist who decided to have clubbing as his object of study and DJing his form of expression”. How did this transition happen?
During my university career I focused on studying the club scene, the fundamentals that make it happen and the styles/fashions that come out of it. The DJ is a key figure in this environment – he/she absorbs the energy of the crowd and transforms it into a lively vinyl narrative composed of moods and rhythms. The result is a unique story that can’t be replicated. I like to express my thoughts through music, it gives me direct satisfaction because the feedback from the crowd is immediate and quite palpable.
Do you think Berlin is still a city where young creatives can afford to explore and experiment on their art?
Berlin is still a creative city – young people can still afford to express themselves, but it is changing a lot. Rents are rising, clubs are disappearing and the energy of people that move here is different than before. We get a lot of very normal people that work for big corporations and start-ups; people with a 9 to 5 job and a family, totally unaware of the historical importance of the club scene and of all the movements that have made Berlin what it is today.
Would you consider moving to a different city to pursue your artistic endeavours?
If I would choose, now I would rather move to Athens, learn Greek, have great food and beautiful islands around me. That city has an amazing energy and wow, it’s so beautifully decadent! Tip!
If you could travel to any point in time, when and where would you go?
I would first go visit Neanderthal man, then I would check out Ancient Egypt, then I would go hang out with Leonardo Da Vinci in Renaissance time and I would go to New York between the 70s and the 80s. The list is long… Shall I go on? These places in time and space I listed are so fascinating for me!
Have you ever thought what would be the ideal party for you?
Arthur Russell live and a Ron Hardy after concert DJ set. A great crispy soundsystem, a wooden dancefloor, beautiful women with fluffy hair and great dance moves, sweaty hairy men shaking their bodies…nothing else matters!
What are the top five records you always go to at your personal times to lift your mood?
Not your usual DJ hailing from Berlin’s underground, Paramida has been rising to fame and credibility with her rich sets and amazing work through her much lauded label, Love On The Rocks. With her infectious, ready-to-rave attitude and eclectic taste, we couldn’t be happier to have her headlining the next edition of Discosodoma this Saturday.
Love On The Rocks has been one of our favourite labels since we started DISCOSODOMA, and Paramida’s sets found online have set the tone in so many afterparty affairs. In this feature, we talk about love and inspiration.
What records and sounds have informed your direction for Love On The Rocks?
1. Lama – Love On The Rocks.
My label is named after this record.
2. Lauer – Macsat Ring Down (Lee Douglas Remix)
I wouldn’t say that this has really something to do with LOTR, but I do remember that this track had a big impact on me when it came out.. and it was exactly the time I was thinking about a name and asking around for music for LOTR..
It is definitely one of the best jams in the world and I still never get tired of it. It’s so epic, I just love it. Lee Douglas at his best!
3. Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia – Obsidian (Deconstructure)
This is a milestone in my musical development. It sounds like something between Proto, Prins Thomas and a transcendental journey. It’s just super sick.. Listen to it and don’t skip!
This BIS show from 2011 had a huge impact on my taste in music. It showed me another perspective of groove and turned my perception of dance music upside down. It became an instant classic at afterpartys in my house and we called it The DJ Steve experience.
What are the five things that work for you as a constant source of inspiration?
Of course music, it’s what drives us all here. If it wasn’t about music, you wouldn’t throw parties, I wouldn’t be djing and we wouldn’t come together to party
At the end of the day, no matter how much people talk shit about you or slag you off, always remember the ones who show you love and support you for what you are doing.
I think you should never take yourself too seriously. There is nothing better than a good laugh, especially about nonsense or things you shouldn’t laugh about.
Yes, we all know that travelling opens our minds and bla bla.. but I really have to admit that there is nothing worse than staying all your life in one place and thinking that this is the centre of the world (like most people do in Berlin for example), whereas there are so many beautiful and amazing places in the world with unbelievable and sick parties happening! Get out of your comfort zone and discover the world!
There is nothing better than staring into the sea, if you really want to clear your mind, let things go and come up with new ideas.
Out of curiosity, what were you seeing while answering the above?
Catch Paramida at Discosodoma on Saturday 13 August from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!
Having kept his identity top secret for the first two years of his career, Man Power is a true master of intrigue. His sets famously reflect this sensibility – he never fail to surprise and delight dancers from Mexico to Tel Aviv to London and back again! We are absolutely thrilled to welcome the international man of mystery to Dalston Superstore for DISCOSÓDOMA. Ahead of his appearance, he caught up with Ilias of DISCOSÓDOMA to chat world travels, enigmatic identity politics and finding love…
Hello Man Power! How’s the jet lag treating you?
It sucks to be honest. Hits me every time I return from Mexico. I can’t really complain though, as complaining about travelling around the globe is surely the pinnacle of a “first world problem!”
Have you managed to find a proper cure for it yet?
When you’re coming from the other direction and you gain time, it’s easy to beat. You just make sure you go to bed at the usual time you would back home, and avoid taking any naps.
In this direction there’s nothing to be done other than embrace it. I’ve now repositioned my thinking so that I get excited about the extra work I achieve in the 2 weeks of 4am or 5am wake up times that I can’t avoid.
Mexico has been your base for a while now. How did your collaboration with TOPAZdeluxe start?
I played there the first time I visited, and I fell in love so I wanted to keep going back. There are certain people you hit it off with the first time you meet them. Champis the owner of the club is one of those people for me. I’m always conscious of what kind of relationship with music people have when I meet them with regards to clubbing and electronic music. Champis has a very similar musical outlook as I do. He’s genuinely just enthusiastic and excited about music and dancing, and is fairly dismissive of any of the other attendant bullshit that’s prevalent in this scene. I can’t help but respond to that. I was booking to go back there so often that eventually it just made sense for me to increase my relationship with them and become a resident. The really nice thing is that it means I frequently get to have friends come and join me there. That list will include Jennifer Cardini, Felix Dickinson, Red Axes, Marvin and Guy, Manfredas, Malka Tuti, Dauwd, Paramida, Zombies in Miami, Inigo Vontier, Hammer, Ian Blevins, Bird of Paradise and a whole bunch more before the year is out, so I can’t help but feel in a very luxurious position.
Are there any memorable moments you can share with us from your residency there?
Meeting the woman I’m going to marry. Which in fairness is the most significant moment of my life.
From Newcastle to Berlin to Mexico and back, do you miss the days of anonymity, when people would try to figure you out through your music?
I don’t miss the guessing games, but I do miss the anonymity. I really liked the fact that my own personality (and how people react to that) had no bearing on the music.
It was originally a platform to just let the music do the talking. Inevitably if people attach a real persona to your sound then that will colour their perception of what they hear based on what they think of you. I have a fairly forthright personality, which is definitely not going to be everybody’s taste, so a little part of me is saddened at the thought that now people know that I’m a common Geordie. Some of them may not connect to my music as much as they might have when they were still imagining I was some shadowy and mysterious central European warlock.
Although, this isn’t something that keeps me up at night.
Before you revealed your face, any search would lead us to a series of Tom of Finland-esque images. What’s your inspiration behind them? Have they helped you to attract a more open and diverse audience?
The whole idea was for everything to be as open for interpretation as possible. The images I used were received in so many different ways, depending on the personal prejudices or preference of the observer. Some found them erotic, others found them repulsive. Some people found them suggestive, and others found them innocent. I’m very interested by Roland Barthes Reader Response Theory and I wanted to apply this to the project. There was never anything built in to the images from my side, so anything that the viewer felt was something they had brought with them.
I guess it may have pushed me to a more LGBT+ crowd in some ways, but to be honest I’ve never really paid attention to the gender or sexual preferences of the people I play music to.
My first ever real residency playing electronic music was at a Gay Bar called Camp David (geddit?), and I’ve been playing to diverse crowds from the beginning.
If you had the opportunity to create your ideal party, how would it be?
I don’t actually know, but we’re working that out at the moment.
As I mentioned before, I’m getting married in October. My bride-to-be and I seem to be spending 10% of our time thinking about the ceremony, and the other 90% seems to be focussed on the afterparty we have planned, so ask me again in a few months.
You recently released your ‘Planet Cock’ EP on Correspondant and there’s a new EP coming up on another of our favourite labels, ESP Institute. Is the second album on its way?
Yes it is. Thats all I’m at liberty to say at the moment. Sorry. hahahahahah!
What shall we expect from your DISCOSÓDOMA set?
I’m happiest when I can go everywhere musically, so all things being well you should expect the sound of me trying to put things together that don’t usually connect, and the varying levels of success I have with that.
Jokes aside, I tend to think in terms of energy rather than genre or BPM, and that’s what guides the selection process when I play, so when I’m feeling comfortable then it’s very difficult to predict what I’ll actually play.
And finally, disco is?
Never having to say you’re sorry?
Catch Man Power at DISCOSÓDOMA this Saturday 18 June from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore.
Homosuperparty Discosodoma is about to ring in her second year of exisitence, and for this very special occasion they welcome one of their musical heroes – Melbourne’s Tornado Wallace (ESP Institute, Beats In Space) – who has quite literally been taking the world by storm. One of the masterminds behind iconic party series Animals Dancing, Tornado Wallace has been whipping dancers into a frenzy with his eclectic melange of house, techno and leftfield disco from Melbourne to London and back again. The Discosodoma crew caught up with him to chat Melbourne party scene, world travels and Pret A Manger… How did you come up with the inspiration for your name for those who are not familiar with it?
I thought it was a cool name so I ran with it. That’s the long and the short of it.
Throughout your career you have experimented with disco, nu-disco, house and some might say trance elements. How would you define your sound? Are there any specific genres you would like to explore in the future?
I get inspired by good music and it doesn’t really matter what genre it’s described as, but at various times I get stuck into a sound more than others so that can generally come across with my productions as well. I grew up listening to trance and house music so that will probably be at the foundation of anything I make in some capacity.
First London then Berlin seems to be the route for many artists and musicians from overseas. What prompted your move? Is there something you would always remember from London?
I moved to London for a bit in 2011 because it was the only city my girlfriend at the time and I would be able to both simultaneously make ourselves useful in. I wanted to stay in Melbourne and she wanted to live in New York, so we chose London as an unhappy middle-ground. We both scraped by and learnt various things about ourselves but ultimately decided that it wasn’t for us. So we went back to our lives of me being based in Melbourne, touring Europe/US occasionally, and her moving about US/Europe with work visiting Melbourne every now and then before we both decided it wasn’t working. And that’s how my girlfriend and I broke up… Wait what was the question?
I miss the pubs in London. They were my favourite thing while living there. And Pret-a-manger.
You’ve been part of the Animals Dancing collective since the very beginning. What was your drive behind the parties and how do you remain true to your music policy and aesthetic?
There was a bit of a trend in Melbourne at one stage, that overseas producers would get booked for Australian tours without really being that much of a ‘DJ’. That is, not knowing how to play good records, well, and for extended periods. So we thought we would try our luck on some DJs that we knew were awesome, but that maybe weren’t getting good shows in Melbourne due to a lack of not being a hot-shit producer – necessarily. This remains true six/seven years later, except that a lot of DJs we book also happen to have hot shit productions too, though it’s never the original focus.
How does the nightlife in Melbourne compare to the cities you’ve lived so far in Europe? Are there things you would like to see changed?
Melbourne is lucky to have late licenses – and even 24 hour licenses are quite commonplace. This is something that you take for granted when you grow up there, but once you start traveling around you see that it’s actually quite rare. Because of this, Melbourne has always fostered DJs and musicians coming through, as there’s more time available for people to have a go. It’s still competitive, but it makes for fertile ground for people to take the music out of the garage/bedroom. I wouldn’t imagine anything needs to be changed in terms of nightlife. There’s a perfect balance of liberty and law which allows people to be able to do whatever they want within and without reason. Though it wouldn’t hurt if the local government loosened their collars a little more.
We see a lot of venues in London closing their doors for good, while local authorities make it more difficult to open up new ones. Is this something you have also experienced when putting up parties in Melbourne?
Not really. It’s common for clubs the world over to have a relatively short innings in the scheme of things. People eventually want to move on, but that’s ok because then a building or a space becomes associated with a time in people’s lives. Just like the music that gets played there. With a place as dense as London it’s no wonder people find it tricky finding new spots. In Melbourne there’s a bit more room to make new things work.
Are there any projects in the upcoming months you could share with us?
I have an LP which I’m wrapping up now and should be out some time in 2016. And also hopefully squeeze out another EP somewhere while I’m at it.
What shall we expect from your set on the night?
I’m not sure myself. I’ll pack a bag of my favourite records and try play as many of them as time allows.
And finally, what is disco?
A theque, a genre, a fever, a ball, an inferno, a nap, a stick and a biscuit.
Ahead of their 2016 premiere, DISCOSÓDOMA sat down with their first guest of 2016, the Glasgow-based Huntleys + Palmers of the highly esteemed namesake label and excellently curated event series. They caught up to chat about the future, music and of course love!
Can you explain where the Huntleys + Palmers name comes from? When I was looking into starting parties back in 2007, a name was the last thing I thought about. As the first one was getting closer, I read about the 50th anniversary of the Wolfenden Report, which famously decriminalised homosexuality. It explained that during the trial the court used the code names ‘Huntleys’ and ‘Palmers’ for homosexuals and prostitutes – to spare the blushes of the prim and proper administrators who were working on the case. So at the time, I liked the slightly sleazy connotations and went with that. What I didn’t realise until much later, is the code names came from the name of a popular biscuit brand at the time – they still exist now and I think many just assume I like biscuits!
You have built your reputation on a strong editorial focus on new sounds and emerging artists. How do you cut through the noise to discover new talent? I’ve been obsessed with discovering new music for as long as I can remember, right back to taping radio shows in high school. I guess over time I’ve managed to refine what excites me in an artist / track and I know what I don’t like almost straight away. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple way to cut through the noise, I still have to check everything to discover the nuggets.
What are the processes separating Huntleys + Palmers and Highlife? How do you select what goes where? Good question! This requires a bit of backstory – the Highlife parties were started as a side project to H+P, which would specialise in music from around the world. A year into running Highlife parties, we started the H+P label and then subsequently needed to start a sub-label to focus on edits, which is where the Highlife label was born. So both labels are intertwined, but there’s some nuances in there – Highlife has an international, dancefloor friendly sound / feel, whereas H+P is a bit more all encompassing. An easy way to categorise is between who would play at a Highlife party and who would play at a H+P one.
Have you already started seeing the emerging sounds for 2016? This isn’t something I pay too much attention to nowadays, although I have a feeling it will be a good year for a bunch of artists connected to the label.. In the meantime, I’ve got a full schedule of music to release that’s getting me really excited, so enough to focus on.
Glasgow, London, Berlin. Your current operations see you working in all three cities, with Glasgow being now your main residence. When did you decide to make the move and how this change has affected your work? I’ve been back in Glasgow for about 18 months now. Despite living in other places over the years, I always had something or other going on in the city, so from that point of view, not much has changed. It’s great to be back though and nice to be involved in a community where people are looking out for each other. Last year we saw the closure of the Arches in Glasgow gaining a great momentum in the news. How did the city react to this? In London lately, we see parties happening again in offbeat locations, from detached warehouses to temporary disco basements. Is there something similar happening up north? There was a big outcry at the time of The Arches closing, but I’m not sure what effect it’s had on the city as a whole – there’s still a bunch of great venues of all sizes in the city and the recent expansion of SWG3 pretty much fills the void of The Arches. Likewise with offbeat party scene, it’s not something that’s really existed in the same way it does in London, probably connected to licensing / council. If you could snap a moment from your ideal party, what would this portray? Highlife just played at Optimo’s legendary NYE party in Glasgow which was a pretty big deal for me personally and a bunch of close friends came out. The further I’ve been involved in music, the less I see of them in that sort of environment, so that was really special and I was buzzing for ages afterwards. So I guess a mix of old and new friends would be a big factor.
Are there any exciting future projects for Huntleys + Palmers you could share with us? Yeah, always! There’s a lot of great music on the way from Lena Willikens, CAIN, Auntie Flo, Wrong Steps and a bunch of new faces to introduce.
What shall we expect from your set at DISCOSODOMA? It should be all over the place – in the best possible way. Brand new music alongside some older stuff I’ve dug out from the back of my brain. I’m really excited to play at Superstore! It was one of the first places I hung out in when I first moved to London, so looking forward to being back.
Can you tell us a bit about your mix? I think we can all agree that Valentines Day is a lot of shite. It can’t be denied that there is a great deal of music made about love, heartbreak and the rest. Consider this a selection of my favourite songs from around the world, which happen to feature or relate to love. So you can play it all year round – no matter your relationship status!