Posts Tagged ‘Honey Soundsystem’

Doc Sleep

This Saturday’s edition of cult gay rave Tusk sees the Dalston Superstore debut of an artist who has been on our radar for as long as we can remember. Co-founder of Jacktone Records, prolific techno producer and regular Honey Soundsystem guest Doc Sleep is ready to unleash her prowess on the lazer basement this Saturday! Hailing from San Francisco, she made the leap across the pond to Berlin where she has been setting floors alight with her distinctive brand of experimental, leftfield techno and electronica. In between her residency at ://aboutblank, managing new releases for Jacktone and producing her own music, we caught up to chat Panorama Bar, partying in the Mid-West and plans for Tusk!

Hi Doc Sleep! We are so excited to have you join us for TUSK! How has your 2017 been so far?

Hello! I love the TUSK crew and have always wanted to experience DS so I’m excited about what I’m going to get myself into over there. :) As far as 2017… it’s incredibly busy, but I’m up for it.

Can you tell us a bit about your Jacktone label that you run with Darren Cutlip? How did you two come to work together and what inspired you to start a label together?

Darren and I initially exchanged messages on Soundcloud, then met up at a Honey Soundsystem party in San Francisco. After sharing many techno and 4AD tracks back and forth, one thing lead to another and the first Jacktone record came out in 2013 from Exillon, who was also part of the label in the beginning. We didn’t want to release in just one genre with this project, so we’ve put out everything from acid, kosmische, ambient, bleep, techno, house, EBM and electro. We’ll hit catalogue number 40 later this year and I truly love the label more with each release that we’re fortunate enough to put out.

You made the switch to making electronic music in the 2000s, having played guitar previously – what inspired the change?

I had listened to house for quite awhile, but, it wasn’t until I met a queer sound engineer in San Francisco who not only had a great record collection, but also an amazing synth collection, that I started trying production and DJing. We started working together, I would play synth and processed guitar, she would make beats and mangle field recordings. The results were mixed, but, I’m forever grateful to her for giving me the push.

What is your earliest musical memory?

My mom playing piano in our living room.

If you had to choose one person who most inspired you as a producer and DJ, who would it be?

Well, the FIRST person to inspire me in this direction was Andrea Parker. I heard her DJ Kicks release in ’98 or ’99 and it opened wormholes to entirely new dimensions of music. I had never heard that kind of music before, like Gescom and Dopplereffekt, and she was stitching it together with things like Gil Scott Heron, Kool Keith – brain wires were melted.

 You recently made the move from San Francisco to Berlin – how do you feel that has influenced you creatively?

Berlin is obviously a very nightlife-driven city, but it’s also peaceful – beautiful parks and lakes, quiet streets, etc. I’m able to be inspired, clear my head and focus here.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened during one of your sets?

There was the time a promoter stole the turntable right after I put on my last record…but, that used to be a normal night out in San Francisco.

Your list of past gigs reads like many DJs bucket lists! Has there been a standout highlight for you?

Not a surprise, but Panorama Bar was so lovely, definitely a standout. You’re playing to a room full of enthusiastic dancers who are really up for the journey – it lives up to the hype and remains such a magical place.

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

I’m originally from the rural Midwest and would actually love to go back to some of those early parties in the ’90s. We used to dance at a bowling alley, it’s where I first heard things like Adam Ant and Armand’s Professional Widow remix haha. I would love to experience that type of musical discovery all over again.

One track that you’re planning to unleash at TUSK?

I’ve been enjoying this one lately:

Solitaire Gee – Slumberland (Rhythm Invention Mix)

 


Catch Doc Sleep at Tusk this Saturday 26 August from 9pm-4pm at Dalston Superstore!

 

Ketiov

By Ant C


This Saturday sees the hotly anticipated two year anniversary of cult gay discotheque Tusk at Dalston Superstore! The winning trio of promoters Ant C, Chris Camplin and James Baillie have been serving up banging basement blowouts featuring the like of Chrissy, Ewan Pearson, Nathan Gregory Wilkins and Giles Smith for two trips round the sun, earning notoriety for the serious house artillery they bring to the lazer basement every darn time! Their second birthday will be no exception, with the exclusive UK premiere of Ketiov, the new project of Catz ‘N Dogz member and Pets Recordings co-owner Voitek! Ant C caught up with him to chat when music matters, new beginnings and what to expect at Tusk.



We’re super excited to have you with us at TUSK for your first solo show. Can you tell our party goers a bit about where the inspiration for Ketiov came from and how it differs from your work with Catz ‘N Dogz?

I spend most of my time at home listening and buying records with a very wide spectrum of genres so my sets as Ketiov will be very eclectic and mostly focused for small clubs.

When I DJ alone I often make very weird mixes more connecting with the vibe than trying to sustain hypnotic groove, bringing back real songs instead of just pure club tracks, I guess. I read a quote yesterday that I really liked and it fits the feeling I want to transfer to the dancefloor – “I’m impressed when music matters, when genres are broken, when spirits are lifted, when people make a difference, and when people are true to themselves”

We love the record that you dropped this month,  and we’re looking forward to hearing you play tracks from it at TUSK. You mentioned in our previous conversations that it is very special. Other than it being your first solo release, what makes this one significant for you creatively?

It’s very important for me for many reasons. It’s the last record I did before I moved out after ten years of living in Berlin. Also I think Greg and I are at a really good point in our career and DJing together feels amazing right now. I think we achieved some sort of peak of understanding one another. That’s why I decided to do something on my own – I always think that you should change stuff in the moment when things are going great. It’s always opening you to new possibilities and influences. I think the fact I also have my solo project on the side will make our Catz ’n Dogz project even stronger.

Ant C: Some of the first Ketiov mixes that you put out were in conjunction with our brothers at over Honey Soundsystem in the states. We love those guys! How did that come about and how did you meet them? 

I’m very good friends with Jacob (Jackie House) from Honey Soundsystem. When I visit San Francisco we always hang out and talk about life, mostly. Those mixes I did for the guys are influenced by travels, collecting music and emotions from all over the world. There are two places for me (except clubs) that I feel like music matters and it creates this special warm feeling in my body – it’s my home when I browse through my record collection; and when I’m on the plane. There is something weird about being on the plane, somehow you feel like time stops for a few hours – there are no distractions, no phone, nobody is talking to you. I kind of go into hibernation mood when I fly, I call it “Half-awake or Half-asleep.” Those mixes are a reflection of this state. 

With Catz ‘N Dogz you’ve played all over the world and on some amazing bills. Now, thinking about your Ketiov work, who would be on your ideal bill with you and where would it be?

Because this is my new project and as you said I’m already experienced with DJing and releasing music, I don’t really feel any pressure about Ketiov and will let it flow naturally. I will definitely be very selective with choosing gigs because of the more eclectic style, trying to play for open-minded crowds and experiment as much as possible.

You’re playing the peak time slot for us at TUSK. Can you give us three of your current favourite tracks that we might hear in your set and why you like them?

I follow what’s new and what’s hot at the moment but when I DJ that doesn’t really matter, so most of my records are kind of all over the place from the ’80s to 2017 new releases.

This one is my all time favourite. Right now it’s 20c in Madrid, so really fits my mood. Kash – Percussion Sundance
 

This one I absolutely love. I put it in my mix a few months ago.  Very weird percussions and groovy. LMYE – Cali 76
 

Pure Love: Sauce81 – Dance Tonight
 


Catch Ketiov at Tusk this Saturday 25 February from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!

Castro Boy

Ahead of Friday’s hi-NRG infused Castro Boy party, we sat down with resident DJ Greg Lowe to dig a bit deeper into his love for the oft-maligned genre and how it fits into today’s nightlife scene….

Where does your interest in hi-NRG come from?

Good question. I think it comes from a general love of synthesisers that I’ve had since I was a kid in the early ’80s. I remember watching a science programme about synthesisers when I was about 4 or 5 and just being mesmerised by this dreamy and otherworldly sound. Hi-NRG is interesting because it was a brief movement, primarily in the US, that was at a defining point in music between disco, synthpop, new wave, and house music. Unlike Italo disco, which some say happened a bit later, it was also primarily a genre focused on the gay community. It’s raw, upbeat, and unapologetically synthetic.  You can hear how it influenced, and took influence, from some of these genres. To me, the period from 1977-1985 is one of the most exciting periods in music because there was all this new technology and people weren’t afraid to experiment. 

Other than Castro Boy by Danny Boy And Serious Party Gods, which obviously you like as you named your night after it(!), what for you is a classic of the genre?

I think it would have to be one of Patrick Cowley’s records, like Menergy or Megatron Man. Upbeat, wobbly, melodically driven. Of course based on the title alone, I might also include High Energy by Evelyn Thomas. This was a bit later and when the genre was influencing more general pop-music.

Why do you think it’s making such a comeback?

Is there a comeback? I think there is certainly an interest in revisiting a lot of genres that were small and went out of fashion. This happened a few years ago with disco, synthpop, and Chicago house. The funny thing is that these genres were so influential on mainstream music that they never really went away, they just evolved into something else. Listen to any Calvin Harris record and you can hear elements of hi-NRG there. The overproduction and compression of a lot of contemporary pop-music, however, makes hi-NRG’s primitive, but warm, sound more special. I think that’s what people are rediscovering.

What do you wish you could bring back from hi-NRG’s heyday?

The unbridled desire to experiment with new musical ideas. The leap in synthesiser technology (and size) was incredible between the late ’70s to mid ’80s. I get frustrated when so many people today complain about the club scene isn’t what it was. The reason the club scenes in the past were so exciting is that people were looking to the future, not the past. Of course there are many talented producers doing really interesting things and trying to push in new directions. I don’t think that’s the mainstream though. Appreciate the past, but live in the moment and look to the future.

What are your fave venues in San Francisco past and present?

I’ve only been to San Francisco twice, but it has a really overlooked musical history when it comes to dance music. It’s funny that a lot of this actually was rooted in the experimental and ‘academic’ music scene led by people like Terry Riley and Steve Reich. The Kronos Quartet is the modern incantation of this. When I was younger 1015 Folsom was a really interesting space that defined a lot of the techno scene in the city. I think it’s changed a lot now. I love the Powerhouse on Folsom Street though. It’s a gay bar and has been around for a long time. Such a great mix of ages, nationalities, subcultures, and types of music. It’s very much an inspiration for Castro Boy. Strangely, none are in the Castro!

Which artist for you is a common entrance point in for people not so familiar with the style? Someone like Patrick Cowley, or someone you think of as being quite crossover?

I think Patrick Cowley is a pretty common entrance point for something that defined the genre, but usually it starts broader. You can actually hear the influence of hi-NRG on the work Stock Aiken Waterman did in the ’80s and they pretty much defined UK pop-music at that time. I think people get introduced to a lot of these specific genres through the more mainstream music that was influenced by it.

If you could go back in time to any queer dancefloor anywhere/anywhen, where would you go dancefloor cruising??

Oh wow, that is a tough question. Queer dancefloor makes it a bit easier. It’s clichéd but the Warehouse in Chicago might be one. I went to the Limelight in NYC during the end of its days, but would have loved to have checked out Disco2000 in the early ’90s, if nothing else for the spectacle. Ostgut before it evolved into Berghain would be interesting too. I still think Berghain does a fantastic job mixing music and cruising as far as contemporary clubs go.

What do you think are the key differences in the way Brits and Americans approach hi-NRG? How would you as an American living in the UK differentiate it?

I think Brits are often more in touch with these small genres that were hugely influential, but never made it beyond specific subcultures. The hi-NRG sound started in the US, but was adopted by Brits and mainstreamed into pop music. Same for house music and techno. You could argue it was the Haçienda, a very straight venue, that took an underground gay sound and brought it to the mainstream. Fundamentally the UK and Europe have always been more open to electronic music than the US.

Who would be a dream Castro Boy booking?

Honey Soundsystem, either as a collective or one of the individual members. They are so versatile, have an amazing music catalogue, and capture the feeling of San Francisco perfectly.

Join Greg Lowe for Castro Boy this Friday 13th February with Jonjo Jury in the basement and White Leather Viper Club upstairs for Nancy’s from 9pm – 3am.

Jeffrey Sfire

Detroit DJ Jeffrey Sfire joins us here at Superstore for an extra special European date in between playing at Panorama Bar and at Lab.oratory in Berlin. With a love of all things hi-NRG, Italo, ’80s, Chicago house; Jeffrey’s sets span genres and gets gay men dancing across the world’s discotheques. He’ll be flexing his disco muscles next Saturday for Little Gay Brother’s Locker Room down in the laser pit with Vauxhall babes Maze & Masters.

Having discovered Detroit’s underground warehouse scene at 15, moved to Chicago at 18 and having lived in Berlin, Jeffrey has finely tuned both his music taste and DJing style to suit banging clubs, sleazy afterhours and gay discos, and that’s all in addition to releasing productions under the Sfire name with Samuel Long on Discodromo’s celebrated Cocktail D’Amore label. Ahead of the Little Gay Locker Room we chatted to Jeffrey about his secret past as a restauranteur, going on dates and why everyone loves hi-NRG again…

The theme of the party here at Superstore is Locker Rooms. What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever got up to in a locker room?

A boring old BJ.

That’s not boring! That’s naughty!

But it’s not as exciting as it could be.

Tell us what happened.

Oh no wait; I have a good locker room story. It’s not naughty though. My biggest crush in high school, one year in fitness class, had his locker next to mine and it was kinda unbelievable haha. Nothing naughty ever happened but… no I’ve never really gotten up to too much in a locker room.

You’re super influenced by the ’80s- what did you look like then and what kind of music were you listening to… tell us about 80s Jeffrey!

Well I think a lot of my musical influence comes from riding around in my mom’s car listening to pop music.

Mum Jams.

Yeah totally. And I had a little afro because I had really curly hair. She used to make me have this little golden-brown afro which was cute. Oh and my mom used to make me model in department store runway shows! Which is pretty adorable!

I always go back to my mom’s, listening to pop music in her car…. like Madonna, and Wham, just early ‘80s pop. Just radio hits, but back then it was all synthesisers and drum machines, and it was all dancey stuff so it really appealed to me.

If you’d been in your early 20s in the ‘80s, what music do you think you’d have been into of your own accord though?

I don’t know, I always wonder that. You never know… you could have found something else totally interesting. I always wonder what people then thought about the ‘80s music I listen to now. Some people say Italo disco was like trance in the ‘80s. Certainly when dance music from the ‘70s to the ‘80s became more electronic, there were so many musicians that totally disregarded it because they thought it was soulless. Um, I don’t know. I hope I would have been into the same dance music! The Chicago taste, and the Detroit taste really appealed to me, which was mixing everything together- from disco to house to pop to freestyle- all that stuff, just mixing it all together and dancing. I think the New York sound was a little more Afro for me… but then I also think ‘would I have been really New Wave?’ like the Liquid Sky soundtrack kinda music. But I think being in the Midwest especially; it’s humble and more about having fun than being fashion.

Back to baby Jeffrey… you were going to warehouse parties in Detroit from the age of 15. What are your formative rave memories?

It’s funny because I just moved back to Detroit and I’ll pass some burnt out warehouse and be like “didn’t we party there?!” I just remember when I was coming up I was so interested in DJing and so many of my older friends were DJs and I was all about just soaking it in, learning by watching and going to see as much music and different styles as I could. I was so excited. I grew up in a suburb that’s very Old Money, kinda posh and conservative, so getting to escape on the weekends and go to these crazy parties, with tonnes of queer people and all these older people too, so there was all these freedom. It was everything.

But mostly for me it was about watching DJs. There’s so many good DJs here, and so many good styles.

Who are some of the first DJs you saw around that time?

One of my favourites is this guy called D. Wynn. He’s an older Detroit guy, along the same time period as Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. But he like didn’t become mega famous. I think he’s one of the best DJs from Detroit ever though. He had a really cool style. Also Mike Huckaby was a huge influence, just in his DJ style. And some of my friends that I hung out with all the time, like this guy Derek Plaslaiko who lives in Berlin now. Him, and some other people, I would watch them all the time, and pick up on their styles. I think they had a huge influence on my taste. I think Detroit has a really specific taste. I mean even between Detroit, New York and Chicago, even other cities, I feel like each has a very specific taste. I’m really grateful to be from here, and picked up that, y’know. 


D-Wynn Boiler Room Detroit DJ Set by brtvofficial

Why do you think hi-NRG making such a resurrgence this year?

Because everyone who is like 20 wasn’t sick of it eight years ago! Because they were 14 haha! Honestly, I was at a house party the other day, and this girl that had to have been like 21, she put Spacer Woman on. She was like “Oh.My.God. you guys, listen to this song! It was made in like ’81!!” and she put it on and I was like “You have got to be kidding me. You’re not like totally sick of this song??” She said “I’VE NEVER LIKE HEARD THIS BEFORE!!”

It was just resissued by Dark Entries…

Oh well that’s probably why. I was in San Francisco too. Well that makes sense. Hahaha! It is funny though, because things like that pop up and you’re like Ohhh that’s why.

It has felt since at least the beginning of the year that the genre is reaching a zeitgeisty point and people have started to get a bit bandwagony…

Well I feel like it keeps going through waves.

Everything is cyclic, certainly… but hi-NRG is like the “thing” this year.

Well that’s good to hear, because I like to play it. I mean I guess people just got sick of house music.

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

I think I would wanna go to the Muzic Box in Chicago. And hear Ron Hardy DJ. I would wanna hear him do his thing live.

Or even, there was a club in Detroit called Heaven with this guy Ken Collier.

Tell us about how you met Samuel Long and how Sfire came about?

He and I met on a dancefloor, in Berlin. His band was playing at an art gallery. We had some mutual friends so we were introduced. Then I saw them play and I was really into it, and I could hear the genius in his music. I suggested they make a dance version of a song they did, and he was like “well, why don’t you come and help me make it.” He had heard me DJ a few times, and he just invited me over. He’s very friendly and like ‘lets just have fun making music’ kinda guy. So we worked on it, and then we made a new song and then we were like “lets make a new song”, “lets make a new song”, “lets make a new song” and after a while we had a handful of songs, and we became really good friends. It was really fun just to go hang out and be really casual about it, but still have fun.

Any plans for more Sfire records?

Um yeah, we have maybe five songs that haven’t been released that we could work on. I think the project will turn into us working with lots of different people for each record. It’ll be really fun. Some new producers, and new friends, people from all over really.

You’ve lived in Detroit, Chicago, Berlin… where is your spiritual home?

Oh that’s a tough question. That’s my existential crisis right now. I left Berlin about a year ago and that was my spiritual home for a long time. So I’m really wondering this right now. But I’m starting to think it’s California. It’s a really magical place, and people are really happy there.

Where in California?

San Francisco.

Whilst in Berlin you were also a restauranteur, how did that develop from your supper clubs?

Well my ex boyfriend who I moved to Berlin with, he is an extremely talented chef, so for money we did a supper club that got a ton of press for it. We just ran with it, and it just seemed like an easy thing to do, to open the business in Berlin. There was a great demand for it, so we knew it would be successful. And so we went for it! American style!

There’s a video interview online with you both in the restaurant and the décor is amazing, especially all the lights… owl lights, and deer lights… it just seemed like you’d obviously put a lot of thought into that.

Yeah. We did. We completely renovated that place. It was this disgusting filthy restaurant before, so we tore out everything, and built the bar, and the shelves and everything. The flea markets in Germany are so great because they have so many of these animal figurines; actually most of them are on my desk right now! The owl lights and all the bunnies. Flea markets in Berlin on Sundays. You just have to go. And the best thing we would do was take loads of road trips, and if you drive down the country roads, every town you get to has a second hand shop where you can fill up a trunk for €10. It’s incredible.

RADIUS.TV | Little Otik | Jeffrey Sfire & Kevin Avery from RADIUS. magazine on Vimeo.

You’re taking us on a date in a city of your choice. Where are we going, what are we eating and where are we dancing?

I could do this for all the fun cities right now. But lets say San Francisco. We’re gonna eat Burmese food, and we’re having tea salad (lahpet thoke). My favourite restaurant there is called Burmese Kitchen.

Isn’t it closing down?

Oh yes it is. We’re going before it closes. Anyway, this is a fantasy so it’s still open. So we’d eat there and then we’d go get a doughnut at Bob’s Doughnuts. Then we’d go to a Honey Soundsystem party. It would be amazing.

What are we drinking though?

What are we drinking? Well honestly we’re probably drinking tea, because me and Josh [Cheon] and Robot Hustle always have tea when we’re together because we’re old ladies. We’ll drink tea and then go for a dance.

What’s the first record you ever bought?

A Jeff Mills record. Purpose Maker record. When I first started DJing I was really into a lot of hard techno. So I think my first records was like Jeff Mills records and Joey Beltram records.

The last record you bought?

A Mantra record on Bunker from The Netherlands.

And what’s the record that never leaves your bag?

It’s this freestyle record that I love to play. It’s by Shana and it’s called I Want You. It really never leaves my bag. I played it once in Berlin and my best friend was like “oh, such a Jeff record.”

What’s the reaction it gets from people, other than those that already know you?

I think it’s normally a great reaction. But the best reaction I get is when I play in New York or Chicago and someone runs up and you can tell it was a childhood track of theirs and they’re like “I FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG!!! THIS IS MY SONG!!” A lot of times that happens and it’s the best. When you see someone with that genuine look on their face and it’s not a club hit. Especially in Chicago, I get that a lot. Almost everything I DJ was on the radio in the ‘80s there. People just get so happy to hear that stuff so you get these genuine reactions that are priceless. I love that. Going back to Chicago and DJing is really fun for me.     

Join Jeffrey at Little Gay Locker Room at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 15th November from 9pm – 3am.

Josh Cheon

Next week we welcome a very special guest from San Francisco for a Wednesday dark disco session… Known for being part of the Honey Soundsystem collective, Josh Cheon has also garnered critical acclaim for his record label Dark Entries. Named after a Bauhaus track, the label has been releasing hard-to-track-down coldwave, synth, Italo and beyond as both original releases and coveted reissues from the likes of Patrick Cowley, Jeff & Jane Hudson and Severed Heads.

Ahead of his DJ set here at Dalston Superstore we had an indepth chat with Josh about glitter vinyl, zines, tracking down artists behind limited releases and so much more…

You spent your formative years dancing every Friday and Saturday night at famed NYC goth club The Bank… what are your memories of that time?

I was actually recently DJing on a boat with Jason Kendig [also of Honey Soundsystem] and Ivan Smagghe and I was playing lots of ‘80s songs and there was this moment with just the right amount of fog… and I totally had this moment of déjà vu and recalled this memory of me being at The Bank. The fog had the same consistency and so it triggered all these memories of my dancing ‘80s past or whatever. Things that I had forgotten about- I remember queuing at the door and there was always a long line, just stepping one foot in the door, feeling the fog on my face and hearing Depeche Mode’s Behind The Wheel… and just feeling like I AM HOME, THIS IS WHERE I BELONG, THERE ARE NO WORRIES IN THE WORLD. And just dancing, for hours, until they kicked us out. 

I also read that there was a ghost in the basement! That there was all these rumours floating round at the time that there was actually a ghost in the basement of The Bank… Did you ever hear anything along those lines??

[laughs] I mean I only really caught the tail end of The Bank because it shut down in 1999. I only started going in ’97 so I’m sure people that had been going longer had heard that! I wasn’t even old enough to drink then, I was just going to dance, and there were NO substances involved! It was just this very pure obsession with this ‘80s music!

They were also playing really contemporary bands; I don’t want to pigeonhole it. They were playing modern synthpop stuff too that I was really into. It was a mixture for sure.

For your label Dark Entries you have a really strong artwork aesthetic. I read about your designer Eloise Leigh that you work with- how does your relationship work in terms of coming up with the ideas?

It really is on a project-to-project basis. For the straight-up replicas then usually I’ll scan in the artwork, or the band scans in the artwork and then we just recreate the artwork with my logo on the back. Other times it’s totally from scratch where I’ll say “Go ahead, whatever you feel the music brings you,” or we’ll ask the band whether they have any references they want to include… so it really is kind of a freeform thing. We email back and forth every day discussing details so it can be quite collaborative.

Opera Multi Steel on Dark Entries

The label aesthetic also seems to match the ethos… what for you represents that sweet spot where the artwork so perfectly matches the music, either on Dark Entries or just a record that you really love?

…….

I’m thinking.

I’m sitting in a record shop that’s attached to my office staring at a row of Dark Entries records on display and I’m thinking about what’s going on here!

I mean I guess some of my favourite projects are the ones where there isn’t a straight replica, where we do have to be more creative and come up with this kind of collage or y’know, new art for old music…

 I really liked the BART compilation one actually.

Yeah! BART and Neon Judgement. Umm, I’m looking right now at Lives Of Angels… these are all ones that we had bits and pieces for- say, they came from a cassette but we didn’t want to replicate the cassette straight forward so we added textures, new fonts or collage elements…. I also really like Parade Ground… There are so many great ones where there’s classic artwork where we just re-used it, as it’s so iconic, like the Jeff & Jane Hudson one, or the two Dark Day albums.

Parade Ground on Dark Entries

A lot of the reissues seem to elicit a really great response, both from the fans and the artists themselves. Have you managed to coax anyone out of retirement to record new material for Dark Entries?

I have not coaxed anyone; they have been driven to do this on their own.

I just mean that I can see people getting so excited by the reissue that they go “Right! We need to do new stuff!”

Yes, that does happen. A pretty nice percent of the time, the artists might say “Hey, I still have those synthesizers” or “I still have those drum machines, I’m gonna go programme some stuff.” A lot of them have started touring again or do one-off shows or reunite for a special show. I really do enjoy that, but I haven’t released any new compositions by any of the bands that I’ve reissued. It isn’t out of the question, but I don’t ask them to send me demos or record me stuff. It all kind of just happens spontaneously. 

Is there anyone that has started re-recording that you would want to feature?

Umm… I’m a huge fan…. Well I guess I can say this… I’m putting out a compilation by a band called Hypnobeat. And they’re still performing and making music. I really love what they’re doing. They play at Berghain, and they’re actually playing at Half Baked in London the same week I am. I’ve seen YouTubes videos of them, and they’re fantastic. They have three 808s and they’re just going for it. It’s all instrumental techno and it’s really straightforward and beautiful. 

Who else do I love? Oh! Tom Ellard from Severed Heads is still making music that I really identify with, and support. I also really like Robin Crutchfield from Dark Day. He still occasionally puts out an album and it’s more medieval… more acoustic instruments than electronic. It’s done in a way that’s really cyclical and repetitive. It has the same kinda weight to it, as his earlier recordings from 30 years ago, so even though it doesn’t seem like a Dark Entries type of thing, I do really enjoy it.

If you had a time machine and could go back to any dancefloor anywhere/anywhen where would you want to go?

Oh lord. There’s too many.

I mean oh god, this is really sad, there’s too many.

Well…… I would love to experience the Paradise Garage.

That is the most common answer to this question!

Is it?? Oh my god! I know I was like “Here I go!” Oh haha! Well I would love to go to the Batcave in London and see Alien Sex Fiend, I would love to go to the Cosmic Club in Italy and see Beppe Loda… Gosh, there’s just so many.

And Boccaccio, the new beat club they had in Belgium. So that one and of course the Paradise Garage.

Is there anything that’s proved too impossible or too obscure to rerelease?

Too obscure?! Is there anything that’s TOO obscure? I mean, yeah, there are bands that I cannot track down that are just beyond simple Google search or beyond the network of cassette traders from the ‘80s that are able to find people for me…

Well, what’s one that you tried really hard to find but were not able to?

Well… this one is not really mine, but I’m trying to help my friend find a band so it’s more that he’s searching but I am helping. But no one can find this band. Maybe if I give you the name of them, it will put it out there and make it happen! So the band is called Tuning Circuits and they’re from The Netherlands, and they put out two cassettes and no one has been able to find them. We’ve gone through so many channels. Well, this isn’t going to be MY reissue so maybe this isn’t a fair example. But this is an example where a lot of people have been looking for years and no one has been able to find them.

Every time I think I can’t find someone… it just comes together. Out of the list I have in front of me, I think I pretty much found everyone. Which is pretty…

…amazing.

It did take me a long time to find a Japanese artist. Many many years. But I found him! Through his photographer who gave me the artist’s real name. Because that’s the problem- a lot of times there were no names.

But that is amazing to spend years tracking someone down.

Oh yeah, definitely. But with the advent of Facebook… I mean when I started the label, I wasn’t on there and neither were a lot of the artists… but now, especially with the White Pages being online for all countries, it really is a lot easier to find people these days.

The story of how you tracked down [Patrick Cowley’s] School Daze is really good. Like, finding an address on the back of a porno is pretty great.

Oh yeah, I bought the DVD, looked on the back and it had this address and I googled the address and it happened to be a men’s clothing shop. So I talked to the owners and they were like “oh yeah, that’s the landlord!” So they gave me his phone number, which he was not happy about. Eventually after a year he spoke to me. It literally took me a year before he warmed up to me, and trusted me to have a conversation. So it turned out really well.  Now we talk at least once a month, and I go down and visit him and we hang out.

With the answer to this question you’ve really downplayed it all, but it does sound like it’s such a labour of love and you’re playing the long game.

No, it is! Like, I’m on Skype, calling people in Italy, talking to their wives, begging them to let me talk to their husbands, or finding a relative, like a nephew or niece on Youtube and asking them to talk to their uncle or aunt. It’s not always writing an email to say, “Hey, I wanna put out your stuff.” There’s a lot of hard work to it. Then there are other hurdles like a label claiming they still own the music 25 years later, and they want all the money. That’s always a bit of a disappointment. It’s a little heartbreaking when the band signed a contract when they were 18, and they label still claims they own all the rights, event though the band probably made no money back then. And now I’m offering an advance and the label wants it all and the band see nothing, again. That’s a little sad, I guess.

You’ve spoken in the past about not wanting to fetishize vinyl as a physical product… but you also release a lot of vinyl. Can you explain what many might see as a contradictory ethos?

Oh, well, I’m just not concerned with only releasing on coloured vinyl, and numbering all of my music, because I don’t want it to be this limited collectable thing, because then it becomes less about the music and more about the product. That’s more about how I feel about labels that go “Oh, let’s press on sparkle vinyl for the first 500 copies!” That’s definitely a gimmicky thing that a lot of buyers grew up knowing, these gimmicky, coloured special things and it becomes a more fetishized thing than what the actual music is.

The goal that I get from the music isn’t about having heavy-weight, limited, numbered thing. I definitely value the design, and inserts and ephemera that I include so I don’t want to discount all that work that we do, but I’m more at odds with labels that do the coloured thing. Which I think is a more eBay-driven, collectable market.

I do get some flack for this from people that I know that run labels. Because sometimes they can’t afford to press up a huge amount and then it does sell out and become a collectable thing a few months later because there’s a demand for it.

So in terms of Dark Entries, including zines and whatnot, is a better way to differentiate the records than using coloured vinyl?

Do you think zines are gimmicky?? I’m not including them to increase sales. I’m including them to tell a story. I want to give the artist a voice, for people who aren’t familiar with the back-story, and don’t talk to these artists every week like I do. It’s a forum for them to present memories and lyrics, little thoughts about the songs. So that’s why I try to include them. Even if it’s just a double-sided sheet of paper with notes or anything. Like with the impLOG record, Don Christiansen wrote this really beautiful essay, and we included some photos, so it was a very simple to add to tell people about the recording that was definitely not included with the original release.

But it does seem like zines are something that is very much part of that ‘80s scene and especially part of the type of music you’re putting out, included with the records…

Well some of them were. But a lot of them couldn’t afford to print an extra piece of paper. A lot of them couldn’t even afford to get a vinyl out so they were just cassette runs. But yeah, some of them included ephemera, but a lot of them; they only had a certain amount of money.

But the ephemera, I don’t know where it comes from with me. I loved zines when I was in college I guess. But who doesn’t get excited when you open a record and there’s an extra poster or something. I mean I like that! I tend to shy away from stickers and badges though. It’s not wrong to include them, but I’d rather have an essay or original photos or flyers or something from that time.

What was the last thing that moved you to tears?

Umm. You know what? It happens quite a lot. I’m a really super emotional person….

When I saw the artwork for the new BART compilation…. These are the things that move me to emotional tears! I think I got teary and so appreciative of it. It sounds cheesy I guess. 

BART Vol 2 on Dark Entries

I did just got a record in the mail from Italy and it’s to do with 12” that I’m reissuing that never had artwork originally. So for some reason only the 7” had artwork, but the 12” just came in a regular disco sleeve. It’s an Italo track from 1983, but because only the 7” had artwork I ordered that and got it in the mail and was like “oh my god!! It’s here!!” I just get really emotional over this kind of stuff.

Wait, what was the record?

Charlie – Spacer Woman. It’s a great record. And it’s shocking it hasn’t been rereleased. And so many people have commented on my post about it, “Oh, I played that at a wedding last weekend.” Or “That’s my wedding song.” It’s become such a staple.

What, in your opinion, is the most unusual record on Dark Entries? For example, the S.P.O.C.K. record, the Swedish band singing about Star Trek, that’s pretty out there…

Ohh okay, so I actually distribute records too, more than 150 titles, so that’s actually one I distribute, I did not release that. But S.P.O.C.K. was one of those bands I was talking about before- the modern synthpop bands I was dancing to in the ‘90s.

In terms of Dark Entries releases, I guess The Product is the most unusual record. They’re from Denmark. They only released one limited cassette. People don’t even really know how many- the band thinks they only made 30 copies. Some of the songs are upbeat but most of it is REALLY bleak, totally electronic music from 1983. It’s probably the nichest thing I’ve done. No one heard the cassette. It wasn’t ripped to a blog or mp3s. There was ONE YouTube video floating around and everyone was like “What? Who is this?” So I contacted the uploader, who was very protective. But he put me in touch with the artist and we kinda went from there. The artist was shocked that anyone had found it, because who thought it would ever make it out of Denmark!

Josh Cheon plays WLVC

Join Josh Cheon on Wednesday 3rd September at White Leather Viper Club from 9pm – 2.30am at Dalston Superstore.

Jason Kendig

By Elektra Complex

Jason Kendig, founding member of the legendary Honey Soundsystem group and master of ceremonies in some of the most memorable nights in the American club scene will be joining Discosodoma this Saturday for a honey dripping set in the laser pit. Ahead of his appearance Jason sent over this exclusive mix and chatted with Elektra Complex, the team behind the event, about music, politics and the San Francisco vibes he will be carrying in his suitcases…

Producer, DJ, building block of the lauded DJ group, Honey Soundsystem,and one of the top beards in dance music according to Beatport; to those who aren’t familiar with your work and sound, how would you present yourself?

Diverse, eclectic, groovy and rooted in the blueprint laid out by the founders of the house music nation.

Honey Soundsystem and Jason Kendig. How does the individual fit in the beehive? What did you have to check at the door as a person before entering the collective?

Each of us brings our own musical perspective to the soundtrack of the night. My discovery of dance music came through growing up outside of Detroit and hearing electronic music being mixed on the radio and watching DJs at underground warehouse parties, so I definitely favour a lot of the early Detroit techno and house sounds. Like any collaboration you have to keep your ego in check and be willing to compromise.

Your parties in San Francisco have undoubtedly defined the West Coast scene in recent years. Is there a story you would like to share with us from the early days of your residency?

When we began doing the weekly party it started off to a slow crawl but every week we would decorate and play and our crowd began to grow. Almost every week seemed like an attempt to outdo ourselves from the previous week and we ended up setting a standard for ourselves in creating an environment on a budget for our crowd to lose themselves in.  Beehive shapes made out of lampshades, bundles of tulle fabric with lasers shooting through, yellow clouds suspended from the ceiling with “rain” projections, these are all pieces that had their time at one moment or another.

By the end of 2013 your group decided to end your Sunday parties at the Holy Cow. When is, in your opinion, the right time to put an end to something?

When things get too easy it might be time to switch things up. Since we ended the weekly the one-off events that we’ve put together have been immensely successful. It also allows us to put more energy into creating something extra special.

By participating in the SF Pride celebrations, organizing queer-oriented parties and having your base of operations in California, have you ever felt there’s a certain cultural gravitas in what you do towards the LGBTQ communities or the desire to tangle into the politics of gay rights?

I’ve always thought you should be able to go out dancing to great music regardless of your sexual preference. And creating a space where people of all colors, shapes, sizes & age should feel safe to express themselves on the dance floor has been our priority.

There’s a perception in Europe that the US scene has lost its raw and gritty character due to recent commercialization of dance music. Is there still room to grow organically as an artist while avoiding the tidal wave of the much loathed “EDM” moniker?

The underground is still there if you seek it. And for some, festivals and the “EDM” experience will just be a gateway to something more substantive.

What are the differences you have spotted between the two sides of the Atlantic?

One drastic difference is the 2am cutoff for alcohol which can change the dynamic of the club. Another is that here in the USA there’s a propensity to book multiple DJs into an evening playing an hour or maybe two each instead of allowing a dj to stretch out and really take dancers through a journey.

What should we expect from your set at DISCOSODOMA?

I’ll be channeling the San Francisco vibes and keeping it groovy.

With Berlin being your next stop after London for your Berghain/Panorama Bar debut, what are your future projects you feel mostly excited about?

I’ve been collaborating with some friends on a few tracks and working on some remixes. Plus the Honey Soundsystem summer schedule is looking really cute right now.

And finally, has it always been about the music?

Yes. Since day one.

Join Jason Kendig at Dalston Superstore for Discosodoma this Saturday 14th June from 9pm – 4am.

Ivan Smagghe At Trailer Trash

As the inimitable Ivan Smagghe is set to play the Halloween party hosted by our disco sisters Trailer Trash and the good ship Bugged Out, we managed to get a moment with the man himself to discuss what Halloween means to him, the roots of his long-standing relationship with Andrew Weatherall and what really scares him.

To really get into the spirit of things, check out this live recording of Ivan playing at our San Francisco friends Honey Soundsystem…

Londoners really get into All Hallows Eve- what’s the best Halloween party you’ve played in terms of effort gone into by promoters and by the crowd themselves?

I must admit I’m not a very big Halloween fan. I think it’s a corporate American thing that’s been imported here. It’s not an English tradition. Or European. It’s a bit of a cashing-in job I think. That said, if you want to have a costume party it doesn’t have to be Halloween. Like Horse Meat Disco. But that’s just their general style of living. It’s not a costume, that’s just the way they are. I think that’s the way to be.

Yeah, Halloween, I don’t mind it, but I wouldn’t put too much into it. If you want to dress up you can dress up any time really.

Do you find the mood different at Halloween events, in terms of reading the crowd and selecting records?

No. Playing records certainly not. If it’s going to be Halloween, it’s always fun if people make more of an effort but it gets into a cycle… there’s Halloween, then there’s Christmas… that whole invasion of things you “have to do”. Do it if you want to do it. I’m French so we do Mardi Gras which is in March/April. 20 years ago Halloween didn’t exist and people were still partying.

You’re playing at Bugged Out/Trailer Trash with Andrew Weatherall- a DJ/producer you’ve often associated with. How did you come to meet?

I was a fan, as were quite a lot of people of my age, but we met quite late actually. We met when I moved to London so about 10 years ago probably. It was quite randomly at a party that I was playing. We’ve got the same booker so that’s how we started playing together and we kinda play similar music. There’s not many people I play joint with… maybe only five or six and he’s one of them. It was a random meeting. Pretty simple. Even though I was a fan I didn’t feel intimidated, he might be intimidating to some people but he’s a gentleman.

You’ve said you have other DJs who you play out with quite a lot, but is Weatherall one you have a particularly close relationship with as you’re so often associated with each other?

It comes from the music I suppose. He’s a bit older than me but we were both listening to other types of music when acid house first happened. And we’ve got our differences, he’s a massive reggae fan and I’m not but it all comes from the fact we’re open minded and not only focussed on electronic music. That makes it work. With other DJs I play with the link is definitely more related to electronic music. We have links outside of music, books for instance. We talk a lot about other things. It’s not only about the music… And probably being moody sometimes. That’s been said about him beforehand and that’s what’s said about me.

What scares you the most?

What scares me the most? Myself. Probably.

And what should more people be scared of?

Not me! That’s a definite no. They shouldn’t be scared of me.

They should be scared of greed.

You recently contributed a remix for and played the Paris launch party for Astro lab’s compilation Treasure Hunting- have you got any more records coming out on the label?

Errr not that I know of. Maybe in the future but not at the moment. I’ve known Laurent (Pastor) for years but I’ve got a lot on at moment.

Anything else you’ve been working on lately- anything for Kill The DJ?

I’ve just finished a remix for Visionquest, Seth Troxler’s label. That should come out very soon. I’ve got a mix coming on Eskimo. But the main thing is really the It’s A Fine Line album on Kill The DJ. Hopefully it should be out before next summer.

Lots of people record under aliases, and Halloween is a time when people get to dress up and pretend to be other than they are. Do you ever wish this was a route you’d followed?

Pretending I’m someone that I’m not? Absolutely not. God, that is so not me. It’s the same thing isn’t it, if you want to do that why would you need Halloween for that? If you want to be someone else just be that person. And that’s it. It’s so complicated just being yourself, if you then had to be someone else… Jesus Christ. No. No. 

Ivan Smagghe joins Andrew Weatherall, Waze & Odyssey and Hannah Holland at the Bugged Out + Trailer Trash Halloween House Of Horrors tomorrow night (Saturday 27th October) from 10pm – 6am at Netil House in Hackney. Advanced tickets are now sold out but there are 50 held back for the door- first come first served! 

Steve Fabus Live In 1994

DJ Steve Fabus joins us for Ripped on Saturday night for his UK debut. The San Francisco based-DJ cut his teeth at the legendary discotheque Trocadero Transfer back in the late ’70s and is revered today as an exceptional selector with a deep underground club heritage – his current party Go Bang is one of San Francisco’s finest!

He’s given us this special mix from the vaults to whet your appetite – a live recording taken from a club called ‘Does Your Mama Know’ in Hollywood back in 1994. It was recorded on a c90 tape and hasn’t been aired since! 

Enjoy…

 

Steve Fabus Live In 1994 by Dalstonsuperstore on Mixcloud

 

Steve plays RIPPED along with Honey Soundsystem’s Ken Vulsion this Saturday 25th August 9pm – 3am at Dalston Superstore.

Steve Fabus

Bank Holiday weekend sees a very special Saturday night in the shape of one-off party Ripped. We present a rare appearance from two very special guests all the way from San Francisco – Ken Vulsion, resident DJ from Honey Soundsystem and the legendary Steve Fabus who was one of the true disco pioneers of the ’70s in SF.

To get the lowdown on the secret history of the West Coast underground we asked Ken to interview Steve…

Ken Vulsion: This will be your first time playing outside the US?

Steve Fabus: Yes, I’m a bit thrilled by it. The only other time I was offered a chance to go to play in Europe was in 1978. A friend of mine – Raphael Mancia, who lived in Amsterdam at the time, offered me a residency. But that would have meant I would have to leave the I-Beam, which had just opened. It was a hard decision to make, but I’m glad I stayed in San Francisco.

KV: In the ‘70s DJs had residencies and didn’t travel as much as they do today…

SF: Yes, I would compare it – on a smaller scale – to the studio system in Hollywood. Each club had their stars.  In the Disco Era, the resident DJ was the star of the club and would be identified with a night and play every week. Most of the time only one DJ would play the whole night—two at the most. People identified the clubs by the DJs that were playing. The residencies would last for three or fours years, depending on the particular DJ, the particular cub, politics, the feelings of the dancers, and how much they wanted someone to keep playing.

KV: Talk to me about the almost global nostalgia for the Trocadero Transfer.

SF: The nostalgia doesn’t surprise me. There is nothing like it today. The Trocadero was a big club that was open all night every weekend. People would dance until 8 or 9 in the morning on a Saturday night. Bobby Viteritti and I would share the booth on Saturdays. People came to the club religiously every week to be taken on a trip all night. What’s lacking today is that there isn’t any big Trocadero-sized gay club that’s open consistently every Saturday night.

KV: When Gary Tighe started playing at the Troc, didn’t the DJ he replaced throw a turntable out of the booth?

SF: Yes – the first DJ at the Trocadero was Vincent Carleo who came from Flamingo in New York, which is where Richie Rivera also played and Howard Merritt. Flamingo was the real “in” specialty- A-crowd club. That was the club that existed before the Saint and at the same time as 12 West and the Paradise Garage.

Vincent moved to San Francisco to open the Trocadero, but he didn’t last long – he had problems with the owner, Dick Collier. On this notorious night, Vincent got so mad that he threw a turntable out of the booth and onto the dance floor, while the party was happening. The reason he did it was the turntable wasn’t working. I think there was some problem with the variable speed control and Vincent had complained about it to Dick for a while. You don’t want to go up there and play on a broken variable speed control – your mixes are all train wrecks.

So that night was a big, high profile night. Vincent came on and he realized the turntable had not been fixed. He tried to deal with it for a while, but after a couple trainwrecks the people started to boo the mixes. He got livid about it and thought “Everyone is blaming me for these mixes… so I’ve had it!” He ripped the cables out and just picked up the turntable and FLUNG it out of the DJ booth and onto the dance floor… with this crash and boom… and you could imagine the interference and everything fired up from the snapping cables. Talk about drama. People were just totally shocked by what was going on, and then of course there was just dead air. Then Vincent walked away.

He was replaced at the Trocadero by Gary Tighe, but at the same time Vincent kept on playing at these real exclusive loft parties given by Michael Maletta and the Creative Power Foundation along with Rod Roderick at his notorious mansion on McAllister Street.

KV: Through the eyes of someone who’s been a part of this since the 1970s, how do you think the underground scene has evolved in San Francisco?

SF: Well, it’s always important to remember that the ‘70s party scene developed from the free love movement of the hippies and the sexual revolution that began in the sixties. The baby boomers were all young, huge in numbers and active. From political action to pursuits of pleasure, gays were celebrating newfound freedoms. San Francisco was the storied mecca in those days and people were coming here in droves to satisfy their desires. It was an incredible time. It was the norm for large numbers of people to find better things to do than sleep on a Saturday night, and they would pack the Trocadero and other clubs and dance until the morning light.

San Francisco has always been known as a place with innovative nightlife, but there have been low points. I think the city is going through a bit of a renaissance right now with nights like Honey Soundsystem, Go BANG!, Dial Up, Viennetta Discotheque, Hard French, Bus Station John’s parties and Robin Simmons’ Odyssey loft parties.

KV: Who has influenced you as a DJ?

SF: The first DJ that influenced me was Lou DiVito, who played at Dugan’s Bistro, an underground gay disco in Chicago in the early ‘70s. It was the first time I heard a DJ build a night that elevated a crowd for hours. A few years later in San Francisco, I was inspired by the great Tim Rivers, a DJ I played with at the I-Beam.

KV: What are five essential components for any DJ?

SF: I would remind DJs what my mentor, Tim Rivers, told me: (1) When a DJ starts his/her night, it’s like a painter with a blank canvas. Think of music selections as colors that complete a painting. (2) Do your work of preparing. Listen carefully to everything you want to play. (3) Organize your music so you can find it easily and quickly. (4) Find your style, technique and signature sound. (5) Build up trust with the crowd, and give a performance as if this was the only night you would ever play.

Steve Fabus and Ken Vulsion of Honey Soundsystem play Ripped at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 25th August from 9pm – 4am.

Dan Beaumont live at honey

Honey Soundsystem is a collective of queer San Francisco DJs who throw a raucous weekly Sunday party. The Honeys are steeped in local disco history and follow a lineage of San Francisco club innovators.

In their own words: “We bond on our shared love of timeless sound, iconic imagery, the complete look, indulgent behavior, and most of all attractive men.”

Previous guests at their fabled club have included Superstore favourites like Prosumer, Boris, Optimo and Horse Meat Disco.

We have been lucky enough to have them play for us at Dalston Superstore and recently Dan Beaumont made a pilgrimage to their West Coast HQ to lay it down for them. His mix of bumping house clasiscs was recorded for prosperity and you can listen to it right here…
 
 
 
More mixes from Dan here
 
More live Honey Soundsystem mixes here 
 
Dan plays at Paris’ Acid Ball with Smokin Jo, Hannah Holland & DJ Squeaky this Saturday at Dalston Superstore!