We’re barely a month into 2016, and we’ve already seen the addition of a smorgasbord of amazing new parties at Dalston Superstore! Undoubtedly one of the most exciting newcomers is PUMP, the three-way lovechild of Neil Prince (R & She), Johnny Kalifornia (This is Electric) and David Oh (R & She). We caught up with the guys to chat 2015 faves, plans for the party, and what to expect at the next PUMP!
You three have quite a history together! Can you tell us about how you all came together?
NEIL: Well David and I have known each other since like 2001 when I first started DJing the pop room at Popstarz. He used to ask me for Kon Kan. So we’ve been mates ever since and when Songs Of Praise was in the planning stages he’d recently started DJing himself so I brought him on board. Me and Johnny, I can’t actually remember how we first met but it was certainly on a dancefloor somewhere!
JOHNNY: I don’t remember how it all started! Certainly for me, we became friends first: I remember myself & Neil bonded over a love of pop & Rastamouse, whilst I was introduced to David in the back of a cab and he was hugely entertaining. Then we found ourselves playing many of the same venues – either together or individually – such as Dalston Superstore, East Bloc and even Heaven now. Whilst Neil & David have collaborated together before, this is the first joint venture from the 3 of us!
We hear that PUMP was born out of infamous party Songs of Praise. For those who never made it, can you tell us a bit about what it was all about?
DAVID: Songs of Praise was a pop party with an edge at East Bloc. It went on for almost four years and was generally known for the carnage on the dancefloor, and for the mix of the crowd. For the final set of the night, between 4-6, Neil and I would ditch the pop and start banging out the house tunes… But still with a light sprinkle of pop over them. We’d start every back to back set with a ‘Let’s pump it gurl!’, and those last two hours quickly took on a bit of an identity of their own, separate to the rest of the night. Some people would come down just for those two hours!
NEIL: It’s that section which has led to the creation of PUMP!
If you had to sum up the pop/pump sound of the night in one artist, who would it be?
DAVID: First person who pops into my head is MK… Deffo his remixes I played most at Songs Of Praise and he’s a legend.
NEIL: I agree with David, MK has a good pop-house crossover thing going on. I’m quite partial to a DJ S.K.T. too. He’s updated some classics very nicely don’t you know.
JOHNNY: For me it would be Years & Years, as they’ve triumphantly straddled the world of pop & dance over the last 12 months – and who doesn’t love a good straddle?
How have you watched the London LGBT party scene change over the last five years?
NEIL: The constant closures of venues is really sad to see. And the licensing issues are just becoming completely ridiculous. People want to dance! And not stop at 2am. That’s when we start! But on the positive side, there is still a lot of creativity out there and there are some great mixed parties going on. Chapter 10 is on it and there’s some great parties going on down south right now too.
DAVID: I think the gay scene has become less about a distinctive London electronic sound. There’s nowhere near as many quality gay dance nights as there used to be. With a few exceptions that I love of course, like Chapter 10 and Discosodoma. But it seems that the best nights at the moment are more about a more lighthearted, fun, pop kind of vibe. There’s still some great alternative nights out there too like Debbie, Douchebag and Unskinny Bop.
JOHNNY: One positive aspect has been a return to having FUN as opposed to being dancefloor snobs.
Most exciting dancefloor you’ve ever played to?
DAVID: R & She!
NEIL: Yeah it has to be R & She. Such a reactive audience, singing every word and cheering every record. That’s the response every DJ lives for.
JOHNNY: The Gutterslut parties – Summer Rites, Halloween and the 6th Birthday that I guested at really stick in my mind as super sweaty fun – also, they were where I popped my East London cherry, so they hold a special place in my heart.
And now, for the question we simply have to ask all of our guests… If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/anywhen, where would you go?
JOHNNY: I would go back to the mid eighties to experience the advent of House music first hand. As a kid, I only witnessed its evolution in the charts and I would have loved to have experienced it first hand in the clubs back then…so…drop me in Chicago, please, thanks!
DAVID: For me… I’d be on the Trade dance floor at Turnmills in 1996 for a Tony De Vit moment please. I didn’t move to London until two years later, and fell in love with Trade. Still the most insane club I’ve ever been too. But sadly never got to hear Tony do his thing!
NEIL: Paradise Garage, easily. No contest. 1979. My favourite year for disco.
The Pump launch at the start of January was a huge success, with upstairs guests Michael Turnbull & Munroe Bergdorff… Can you tell us a bit about your guests for the next party, and what they will be bringing to the table?
NEIL: We’ve got Rod Thomas AKA Bright Light Bright Light coming over from Brooklyn! He does Romy & Michele’s Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance over there, which is brilliant, and loves everything nineties. So expect a lot of that in his set. Then there’s Farah DJ, currently mixing things up at the Glory and Magic Roundabout. He loves weaving in and out of disco and R&B, so together with Rod we think we’ve got a pretty good package for the poppers upstairs. Us residents will be keeping things pumping in the basement. While upstairs pops, downstairs pumps!
Most pumping house track of 2015?
DAVID: Tazer vs Tink – ‘Wet Dollars’… I’m a total sucker for a bit of pumping hip-house, and this one is BANGIN’!
NEIL: For me I guess it’s a close run battle between MK’s mix of Raleigh Ritchie’s ‘Bloodsport’ or the Todd Terry mix of Robyn & La Bagatelle Musique’s ‘Love Is Free’, featuring Maluca. Bang ’em out, babe.
JOHNNY: Peking Duk featuring Nicole Millar – ‘High’ (Terace Remix) – I remember the first time this grabbed me, driving about town and this came on my ipod. I had to stop the car, whack it up and bounce about in my seat for 5 minutes
NEIL: Haha, amazing
In five words, can you tell us what to expect from the debut of PUMP?
NEIL & DAVID: Sweaty
JOHNNY: bouncy, joyous
Catch Neil Prince, David Oh & Johnny Kalifornia at PUMP! at Dalston Superstore on Saturday, 20 February from 9pm-4am.