Ahead of this Friday’s Miss Zombie Drag Queen 2018 as presented by notorious heauxmeauxsexy disco crew Mints, we caught up with them to hear about some of their favourite evil drag queen inspirations! Y’all better roll on down to Party Party this evening, stock up on some Smiffy’s campery and join us this Friday for your chance to be crowned MZDQ2018, win a £50 bar tab, flagon of Lambrini or a frozen chicken tikka lasagna as unofficially sponsored by Iceland!
The Witches These ladies, led by queen Anjelica Huston herself, are the dream combination of horrifyingly glam and horrifyingly… well… horrifying. The Roald Dahl books were scary enough, but when The Witches came out in full colour in 1990, all our worst nightmares came terrifyingly to life. Iconic.
A wig made entirely of snakes, and the ability to turn mere mortals to stone with just a glance. Now THAT is drag.
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
She has to be on every single list of the most devilishly camp Halloween divas. This film is full-blown 80s horror cheese, and we are here for it!
Every single Jessica Lange character on American Horror Story Whether it’s Constance Langdon, Sister Jude, Fiona Goode or Elsa Mars, Jessica Lange never fails to leave us gagging at the depth and bredth of her sheer evil in American Horror Story. Our personal fave is Constance Langdon, original terrifying bad bitch of AHS, and though Elsa Mars might not be the most iconic of those four charaters, she leaves us with a fabulous tagline for Mints presents Miss Zombie Drag Queen 2018: “My monsters, the ones you call depraved, they are the beautiful, heroic ones.” I mean.
Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus If this movie wasn’t a formative autumnal tradition every year of your childhood, have you ever even participated in Halloween? This 1993 comedy horror fantasy is just the perfect recipe of camp that we love at Miss Zombie Drag Queen. Ladies, take note.
Her Majesty the Queen Notorious reptilian shapeshifter and royal leech of the people, her majesty Queen Elizabeth II might not be the campy glam icon we all deserve, but she’s probably the most likely on this list to be an actual undead zombie creature. Sorry not sorry ma’am.
Anjelica Huston at Morticia Addams Our babe Anjelica makes her second appearance as this scathing, ruthless matriarch with an unmatched contempt for pastel colours. She is pure unbridled gothic femme. And can we talk about those eyebrows?!
Meryl and Goldie in Death becomes Her Name a more iconic duo… we’ll wait.
The Craft The original teenage badass witch crew, this is the cult horror film that kick started our obsession with the occult, and paved the way for Charmed, Witches of East End and other favourite ooky spooky pop culture hits. Fairuza Balk is the badass BFF that every queer deserved in high school.
On Saturday, the Laurel and Hardy of Dalston and legendary DJ’s, Dan Beaumont & Wes Baggaley, are joining forces to get you all bumping and thumping to some deep homosexual house with their brand new night: Bottom Heavy! Having both been prominent figures in London’s queer nightlife for over a decade and played some of the most infamous parties around the globe including The NYC Downlow, we are pretty sure that these two bottoms know how to throw a TOP party.
Despite their quite sickening resumés and having been pals for years, its actually the first time they’ve collaborated together! Don’t worry huns, this isn’t the only venture for the duo. Later in the year, Dan and Wes will be playing back-to-back at Farr festival alongside Prosumer, Tama Sumo and Lakuti!
To get you lubed up and prepared for Bottom Heavy, Dan and Wes had a little chinwag amongst themselves! Read on to find out what these two legends think about the state of London’s LGBTQ+ Nightlife, their most played records and whats on the horizon for them both!
Dan: Can you remember the point in your life that house music grabbed you?
Wes: I do actually. I was still at school and too young to go clubbing but I remember when Steve Silk Hurley’ ‘Jack Your Body’ and Raze ‘Break For Love’ were in the UK charts and on Top of the Pops. I remember the video for ‘Jack Your Body’ having a bucking bronco in it. Then there was the whole acid house /rave thing in the tabloids. I became mesmerised by it. I used to buy 7-inch singles every week with my pocket money from being really young and I remember buying ‘Jack Your Body’, ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ and Inner City ‘Good Life’ on 7inch. The first house music 12 inch I bought was Lil Louis ‘French Kiss’ in 1989/90 which I still have and still play.
Dan: I remember all those weird cartoon videos they threw together for those Chicago house records that became hits. Also remember thinking ‘who is Steve Silk Hurley and why isn’t he in his video?’ Then I got totally obsessed with Betty Boo.
Wes: What inspired you to open Dalston Superstore?
Dan: I met Matt and other Dan (DSS co-owners) when they were running Trailer Trash, and I was doing a party called Disco Bloodbath. As promoters, we often had problems with venues, and talked a lot about starting our own. Eventually we began looking in earnest and around 2008 we found the site that became Superstore. It had been empty for a couple of years before we found it. We just wanted to create a space where the people who came to our parties would feel at home, where the music, drinks and food were all good and our friends could be themselves.
Dan: What sounds are you looking for when you go shopping for records to play out? What are you trying to communicate through DJing?
Wes: That’s a tough one. I like a really wide range of different music and play various styles but when I’m looking for sort of functional dancefloor records I tend to be drawn to quite energetic stuff with lots of percussion. I’m a massive fan of the old Cajual, Relief and Dance Mania Records and always tend to gravitate towards that type of jacking type sound. I also like disco and I’m a sucker for a disco sample but I don’t like playing the same sound all night. I just tend to play what feels right at the time, could be soulful, disco, acid, techno, hypnotic deep stuff, jazzy stuff, ravey breaks type stuff, broken beat, African percussion.
Wes: You’re partly responsible for some of the best LGBTQ+ parties around at the moment including my favourite, Chapter 10. What are your thoughts on LGBTQ+ clubbing in London at the moment, especially with a lot of venue closures in the last 5 years?
Dan:I personally think that LGBTQ+ clubbing is very inspiring right now. Adonis, Discosodoma, Homodrop, PDA, Femmetopia, Gay Garage and loads of others are all pushing underground queer music and culture to new places. Unfortunately the gay scene is still affected by misogyny, internalised homophobia, body shaming, transphobia and masculine bullshit, but it seems like more interesting voices are starting to come through, which means more creativity and more talent steering queer clubbing. Also it’s exciting to see groups like Friends of the Joiners Arms, Resis’Dance, and London LGBTQ+ Community Centre (all rooted in queer dancefloors) disrupting the status quo.
Dan: What do you think are the positives and negatives of LGBTQ+ clubs right now?
Wes: I also think it’s a very good time for LGBTQ+ clubbing at the moment. In spite of a lot of the recent venue closures there are great nights popping up in non LGBTQ+ clubs. Seems to be a sort of creative DIY culture happening which is great. There same is happening in other cities like Manchester with great nights like Meat Free at the White Hotel and Kiss Me Again at the Soup Kitchen. There’s some great music events and brilliant cabaret stuff going on at the likes of The Glory and The RVT. As you mentioned, the internalised homophobia, transphobia and misogyny needs to be addressed. A lot of the fetish venues have closed down and some of the bigger LGBTQ+ fetish nights in London are struggling to get venues. I do think this is a vital part of the culture that is dwindling. I reckon we need a LGBTQ+ fetish rave with good music.
Dan: Good point about all the amazing queer parties outside of London!
Wes: Can you tell me some of your favourite producers and record labels at the moment?
Dan: I love it when you find a record that you know intimately from the first bar to the outro, and it does a really long stint in your bag. What are your most played records over the past couple of years?
Wes: I’ve got a few of them. I’d say my absolutely most played record is Braxton Holmes and Mark Grant –The Revivalon Cajual, which has never left my bag in 20 years. I actually need to replace it because I’ve almost worn it out. Also the Maurice Fulton Syclops ones, Where’s Jason’s K, Jump Bugs and Sarah’s E With Extra P are go to tracks but luckily he’s just released another album of gems. The man’s a genius. There’s Kinshasa Anthem byPhilou Lozolo on Lumberjacks in Hell that came out a couple of years ago that I’ve played a lot, and then there’s that Danny Tenaglia remix of Janet Jackson –The Pleasure Principlethat I’ve owned for many years but didn’t know what it was until I heard you play it at Phonox haha
Dan: I’ve totally stolen The Revival off you. It’s pure magic.
Wes: Tell us a bit about the idea behind Bottom Heavy. What can we expect?
Dan: The main idea is so we can play together all night and I can steel your tunes! Whenever I’ve heard you play, I can hear a sound in between all your records, a sort of energy that I’m always searching for myself. It’s hard to describe, but it exists in the space between that jacking Chicago sound, leftfield Detroit stuff and tribal New York tracks. Plus also jazz, afro, techno, electro and disco elements. As we mentioned earlier, here are loads of great gay nights popping off, but I think what’s missing is a really great HOUSE all-nighter that joins the dots between all those sounds.
Wes: Haha! Well there’ll be a lot of tune stealing going on because I’ve been known to have a sneaky peek through your bag as well.
Dan: Back to your earlier point about Fetish nights. Why are they important to the gay scene? Are there any you remember particularly fondly? If you were to throw a fetish party, what would the vibe be?
Wes: With the fetish thing I thing it’s important to have those spaces where you can dress up and sort of act out your fantasies and do whatever you want within reason. I’m actually not massive into the sexual side of it myself believe it or not, but I do like the spectacle of the whole thing and the dressing up and the fact people are free to express themselves sexually at those nights without judgement. Sadly a lot of the fetish nights are also men only parties that go hand in hand with the whole gay misogyny thing.
A few years ago me and my friend Lucious Flajore put on a fetish night at The Hoist which is now closed. The night was open to everybody, gay, bi, trans, heterosexual men and women. The soundtrack was dark disco, slow brooding techno and weird electronics in one room where we also had alternative cabaret and showed art house horror movies and in the other lighter room we played disco and showed John Waters films.
The atmosphere was great but we had problems with the sound and there was no dancefloor to speak of then the venue closed. We also had a problem with heterosexual men complaining about gays (I know right? At the Hoist!). I am actually thinking about re-launching the party at a new venue and putting in a good sound system but making it more LGBTQ+ focused and making sure people know that women and trans people are more than welcome
Dan: That sounds amazing. You need to make it happen!
Dan: OK last one from me. Who is your biggest DJ influence?
Wes:That’s really tough but I have to say Derrick Carter. I first heard him play in about 1995 and became obsessed. I loved the way he seemed to mix different styles with ease and mix the records for ages.
Dan: I used to go to his Classic residency at The End religiously, and would always try and describe tunes that Derrick played to people in record shops the following week. I never had any luck. I was probably trying to describe about three records being played at the same time.
Wes: And for my last one I’m going to fire that question back at you and also ask if you have any music coming out soon?
Dan: I’ve got a bunch of musicnearlyfinished that I need to sort out. I’m going to lock myself away and do that. Arranging tracks does my nut in.
Catch Dan & Wes at Bottom Heavy Saturday 23rd June 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
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.
Gene Hunt was a protégé of legendary Music Box resident DJ Ron Hardy and had a front-row seat for the genesis of house music in Chicago while still in his teens. He is fiercely protective of Hardy’s legacy and personifies a distinctive style of DJing that dates back to the beginnings of club culture itself. Gene Hunt is a collector of dance rarities, producer of unique analogue house tracks, reel-to-reel edit specialist but first and foremost a DJ.
I met him from Heathrow and accompanied him to St Pancras for a gig in Ghent. He agreed to let me record him talking as we had lunch waiting for the Eurostar.
DAN: Can you share a Ron Hardy DJ secret?
GENE: I remember we were playing together, I think it was about ’87, ’88.
I played this track and he was like, “Why did you rush it out, why didn’t you play the rest of the track?”
I said “But the floor cleared.”
He said, “Let me tell you something: This is what you’re gonna do.” He looked in his bag and he gave me a couple of records. The first record was called Galaxy, by War. So I play this record and cleared the floor again.
He said, “Play it a couple more times.”
I said, “Tonight?!”
He was like “Yeah! Play a couple tracks, do that, then play it again.”
So I played it again. And the crowd stayed on.
He said, “Do you see my point? You have the power to break records. But you cannot be afraid as a DJ to let them experience what you experience. Now what do you think about this record?”
I said, “I love it.”
“Now, what makes you think they don’t? If a record is eight minutes long, play it! Don’t just rush it out or rush it in because the drummers and the singers don’t start getting into their groove until the middle or towards the end of the record. So play that shit! Don’t be afraid. See what you just did?”
“What I do?”
“I just let you break the record.”
And I was like, “wow, you tricked me.”
“I always trick you.”,
Y’know, Ron would give me these challenges or tasks when we’re live at the club. “Alright, c’mon, bring something in.”
I’m like, “I don’t have my stuff with me!”
“Use my stuff.”
So, that was the part about execution. That was the part about timing. That was the part about learning. It was not being afraid to express what you want to express. Give them what they want, but then also educate them.
DAN: Do you think that DJs play too safe now?
GENE: Yes a lot of them do. A lot of them choose their hot spots, a lot of them find more simplistic ways to work an audience without being as creative as they are in other aspects. Now, since you have Traxsource and Beatport and all that other stuff, it makes it very accessible for people to just sit there all day and just purchase shit. Back in the days we had to go to the shops. We had to go to Loop Records, we had to go to Imports, we had to go to Gramophone, we had to go to different places to look in the bins and get creative to find what’s hot. You could get Hot Mix 5 [house music radio show] or you could go to The Playground or the Music Box or Sawyers or what have you and you would just sit back and feel the vibe of what’s going on. You would go to the record store the next day with your tape. We had somebody to educate us, to keep music going on.
DAN: What is the Chicago sound to you?
GENE: Basically, when house music occurred, I mean we had the disco era first, but when house music first came about, we had Chip E doing shit like Time To Jack, and It’s House. We had Jesse Saunders making On and On, we had Robert Owens and Fingers Inc and Bring Down The Walls and Mysteries Of Love, Ron Hardy doing Sensation, Frankie bringing out bring out reel to reels and tape decks to play the exclusive stuff. People didn’t have a Traxsource or a Beatport, you couldn’t just go there and buy something to sound and fit like everyone. The way they’ve designed the game now is you don’t have to go fish and find your music. We would take reel to reels and grab a razor blade and splice and do edits and make stuff go backwards, with the drum machines and outboard gear like Roland 909 or 707s or 303s and we would create our own stuff to play at parties that accentuate to make us different from one another. When Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson used to come down to the Box and bring the Rhythm Is Rhythm shit and strings of life. They would come to the Music Box and give us all that shit.
DAN: So what did you think of what was happening in Detroit?
GENE: Oh, they were really starting to break that edge. You had like Blake Baxter and Model 500, Metroplex, all that shit from Inner City, all that stuff they were doing, they had their own flavour. Like they took a certain element, they added their own attribute to it, and created a sound called techno. Like when I used to take a 909 track, I would just put basslines and make it real abstract, that would be considered as techno now. I would play that with disco, I would play that with house music because it was my rendition. Okay, what makes Gene Hunt so different? Tracks! He makes acid tracks with a 909 when Phuture 303 made that shit with a 707 and and the 727… he makes his acid tracks with the 909! Oh my god!
Everybody had a different flavor. Lil’ Louis when he did French Kiss and The Music Takes Me Away… I remember when he paid 300 bucks for an 808 drum machine, he started making French Kiss, got the deal with Ray Barney [owner of Dance Mania records].
DAN: Someone said that Jesse Saunders On And On track was important because it taught the whole of Chicago that anybody could make a house record.
GENE: All that stuff was being distributed by Larry Sherman who owned Trax Records. This man had a record company, a pressing plant, right in the back of a meat market! Everybody would come down there and get their stuff pressed up and they had different labels and so forth and we’d press vinyl. You would sit there with a hammer. Me and Ron Carrol would sit over by the garbage can. Ron Hardy would be in the other room doing the shrinkwrap. Steve Poindexter would be doing the typesetting and the labels. We would have all these old K-Tel records and shit and we’d have a hammer and break the records down so we could re-melt the wax. All those records that came out, that you would see on television, we’d break the records and tear out like the vinyl part of it and press records and you’d still see the old records pressed in the new records, oh it was gangster!
DAN: Was Larry Sherman a bit dodgy?
GENE: “A bit dodgy” wasn’t the word! Haha. Let’s try “total dodgy”! But we all learned. We would take the vinyl recording, get a good quality recording of it, go downstairs, make a plate of it, then press it up. The vinyl quality was shitty but back then it was beautiful just to be able to get a record that you couldn’t get. So, Ron would take personal shit out of his collection, record it, and then put it out.
DAN: Why do you love playing records?
GENE: If you’re playing records and the record skips or the record jumps or gets dirty, that’s the fun about it. You’re really up there doing it. You’re really conducting music in a sense, to make it realistic to everybody in the room. The warm sound of a good quality recording and the fidelity that comes out of those speakers, the sound and the feeling of it, it doesn’t sound processed, it’s a real live feeling, it doesn’t have a synthetic feel whatsoever. That’s the importance of playing vinyl. The tape hiss. That analogue thickness. That warmth. It’s different from some shit being processed and watered down. It sounds too perfect. It has to be a little dirty. It has to have a little dirt, a little grunge in it to get with the natural aspect, to make it more organic.
It’s like some broccoli, if you overcook it. You cook all the nutrients out of it and you lose that crunch to it. It’s soggy and synthetic. You want to have warm and organic attributes to get the natural aspect of what you’re doing. That’s why it’s so valuable to play wax.
[Gene is eating a forkful of broccoli at this point]
Dan: What is your state of mind when you’re DJing? Do you get nervous?
GENE: Not really. I know I have a job to do. I have to entertain a room full of people for a number of hours so I have to get everybody on the same page. So based on the way that I feel emotionally – If I got personal problems at home, or I’m going through some shit I’m taking my problems out on the dancefloor. So they’re loving it, and it’s helping me get through my problems. Because I’m unleashing the way that I’m feeling, I’m expressing myself to a room full of people. My car got towed, I got tickets, some shit happened, so I’m going to take it out on you guys and you’re going to love it. I like to tell a story when I play. I like to give you past, present and future. I want to give you aspects of where I started and where I came from. Let you know what’s going on in the now, and tell you things about where I want to go. It’s like a rollercoaster – you anticipate, and you go up, but you don’t know when the drop is coming. My advice is to never plan what you do. Because I want to enjoy it just as much as you want to enjoy dancing.
DAN: What do you think about EDM?
GENE: It has its moments. If you come from Chicago which is the Mecca of house music, obviously, you should have some form of education and history. You hear EDM stuff in a club – I went through this a couple of weeks ago – I’m like, “Why would they put me on to headline and they got this person and that person” It puts me in a challenging state because here I am in a room full of people who don’t have a clue about what they’re dancing to – but it feels good to them. It’s a mind opener.
DAN: Would you play a disco record to an EDM crowd?
GENE: Yes. Most definitely. I wouldn’t hesitate. I’m relentless. “Alright, they’re digging that. Let’s try this.”
I still hear Ron in my head saying, “Don’t rush that record out, you better let that record finish.”
DAN: And back to Ron – how was it working for him?
GENE: Pins and needles. Out the blue. It was scary. You never knew when he wanted to take a break – he would just say, “Get on.”
There wasn’t a plan, like, “You’re going to play 11:30 or 12:30.”
He would just play a record and then go out the back and chill out.
“Go ahead, get on.”
He’d be back there taking a nap.
I used to open up. If I was five minutes late and he gave me shit about it. At the very last Music Box – 2210 South Michigan was the very last one. I was like less than five minutes late.
“You have to be punctual, you gotta be on time.”
I’m like, “It’s nine fifty!”
“You should be here at nine thirty.”
He was in my ass because I was there at nine fifty. Subliminal mind games that just got me fucking rugged. And Frankie was the same way with me. I would pick him up – Frankie Knuckles does not drive, Frankie Knuckles does not drive a car, he’s terrified of driving a car. You have to drive him. I would meet him and he would give me music. “Give it to so-and-so, give it to so-and-so, don’t give it to so-and-so.” Specific instructions. Ron was the opposite. But they both respected one another and they were both training me.” They saw a young kid that was ambitious.
DAN: How did Frankie’s style differ to Ron’s?
GENE: Very similar and yet different. They both played the same music, they both played the same things. But the way they played them was totally different. Frankie was real sexy with it, real smooth. Ron was more aggressive. It was like passive and aggressive. But you wanted both aspects. In Chicago you couldn’t have one without the other.
DAN: Describe your style…
GENE: [smiles] That’s a good one. Once I get in the groove I want to stay in that groove. I don’t want to have any intermissions. I’m relentless. Once I get it going and once I get everybody into that mode. I keep that flavour going. I want to keep that room and give it bounce. We gotta have some vocals, we gotta have some live drums, we gotta have some groovy shit, we gotta have some sexy shit. I want to give you a four course meal of music.
DAN: Who are your current favourite Chicago DJs?
GENE: My girl Serena – CZ Boogie. She owns a publication called 5 Magazine which is like the house music almanac when it comes to parties.
We have a group in Chicago called The Untouchables – it’s me, Farley (Jackmaster Funk), Paul Johnson, a guy named DJ Box, Craig Alexander and CZ Boogie – so it’s the six of us.
How is the gay scene in Chicago?
Off the chain. It’s off the chain. We got a night on Sunday called “Queen” at Smart Bar. It just so happened that the person who does this night owns Gramaphone [legendary Chicago record emporium] – Michael Serafini. The night is explosive. Frankie’s birthday was ridiculous. You had Louie Vega, you had David Morales, you had Derrick Carter. All star lineup. You couldn’t move in the place.
This Saturday famed German singer Billie Ray Martin joins us for Body Talk! Known for her avant-garde style and her stint providing vocals for S’Express and as the lead singer of Electribe 101, Billie is a former London resident whose now based in Berlin. Ahead of the party we caught up with her to find out all about witnessing the birth of London house in the ’90s, growing up in her native Hamburg, what music she’s playing out these days and more…
Your hometown of Hamburg is well known for its influential music scene and culture. How much of this would you say played a part in your own upbringing and the development of your personal taste?
A large part. It used to be a very soulful town, before the same gentrification took over that’s fucking up the rest of our towns. My family were music lovers so I grew up with radio music. That was a bigger influence than the town itself but the town and its atmosphere was definitely an influence. The biggest influence Hamburg has to this day and has always had is on my lyrics. I am from the red light district of St.Pauly so I grew up with transvestites, transsexuals, hookers and people in between all the genders you can imagine. My family looked like transvestites with their lashes and beehives and eyeliner… so to this day I write about characters that are kind of indefinable.
You’ve also lived in London, New York and now Berlin, all during what could be considered their key times within dance music… where’s next?
Stuck in Berlin for a few years yet I guess. Not really my kind of place but… I don’t know where else to go without a big budget to live on.
What are your overall memories of London’s house music scene in the early ’90s? Was it a golden time, or does it just come out that way in the retelling?
It was definitely the golden time for me. Right place, right time. The excitement from seeing this music grow from 50 people at Heaven looking sceptical, to hundreds of people dancing in a matter of a few months, and being and becoming an integral part of this was a highlight of my life. We also felt like it was a world community as each week, you would get African house songs coming out and songs released from all kinds of countries, so we felt like we were all pulling the same string. There was a sense of community.
Electribe 101 only produced the one album and a fine album at that, why didn’t you stay together and what are the chances of Electribe 101 ever getting back together?
We were dropped by the record company and we are not getting back together. We recorded a second album but then we were dropped by Phonogram.
How did you come to sample Julian Jonah’s Jealousy And Lies for Electribe 101’s first single Talking With Myself?
It’s no sample. We re-created it. I turned up to the studio with Julian’s single and said: do that. So we copied the whole thing. Shameful really. Julian was so kind and said he loved it. He is one of the underrated people who should get recognition.
Of course the song I had written was just written by me and it fitted onto the Julian Jonah thing.
Which record are you most proud of and why?
The one I’m about to release, which is a cover of David Bowie’s After All. Also my songs Dead Again and The Opiates album I did with Robert Solheim. And The Opiates remix album.
What has life taught you thus far?
I am proud and grateful for every minute and proud and grateful for the person I am today. I have come further than I could have ever imagined and it is about to start getting good. My story is not the exception. So, life has taught me to better watch out because we are taken care of by the universe if we only care to see it.
Don’t complain. Get on with it.
Considering your famously eclectic taste and diverse range of styles, this could be a difficult question… if you had a time machine, which dancefloor would you like to go back in time to, anywhere/anywhen?
Some ‘60s beat gathering.
When was the last time that you cried?
I cry buckets every day. It’s part of me releasing the tears I should have cried all my life and never did. So I cry at every opportunity now.
With current UK artists like Tom Demac included in amongst S’Express and artists local to you like Soulphiction all included in your most recent RA chart, how would you decribe your current style of DJing?
I tend to say it’s old school influenced house with an indie feel. I like people who complain or tell it how it is on dance tracks vocally rather than the usual dance stuff. I play only few vocals but they tend to sort of have an indie feel.
Which artists of today are you currently turned on to?
Boonlorm, FKA Twigs, Nina Persson… so many to mention.
Love or Money?
Join Billie Ray Martin this Saturday 15th February for Body Talk at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
House music is a culture in this city: the DJs, the clubs, the dancers, the fashions – they all play a part in London’s fascination with this thing called ‘house’, which is so central to all the dancefloors we love so dearly. But when all’s said and done, when the media stops caring (or starts to miss the point), it all comes down to music: the tracks we hold in our hearts; the ones that make us smile and make our hearts race every time we hear just a few bars. If clubbing is about anything, it’s about that: the special feeling the right record can give, distilled into a sonic tonic that can be administered over many hours, or even days, in the right hands, i.e those of our favourite DJs.
So it was to them we turned, to better explore some highlights of London house tracks of the past. Music is such a personal experience: one person’s tune can be another’s audio nightmare, but these guys are all past masters at making a dancefloor move, of shaping your nights out with the right track for the right time, at making you smile and making you move. They’re also good friends of DSS (and our stylish sister venue, Dance Tunnel), so we asked them to share tracks they know and love, but that you probably don’t.
The results are illuminating, to say the least, as they reveal as much about our city’s love affair with house as they do about the music itself. And with the powers that be squeezing nightlife ever-harder, there’s never been a better time to remember what we’re doing here in the first place. These are the tracks that brought us together; the tracks that remind us that ‘house’ is a feeling – one that London must never lose.
DSS’ favourite acid house hero-turned afro-futurist, Ashley Beedlegoes back to ’91 with a tune that bought different crowds together…
Shay Jones – Are You Gonna Be There
Ashley: Produced by the legend that is Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley outta Chicago, this track has a beautiful vocal and a bumping groove that really crossed the soulboy /original garage-head divide. It came out when things were getting a bit ravetastic, to say the least. At the time, I was managing Black Market Records (the house section). This was a breath of fresh air and we definitely sold quite a few boxes. It even made the swingbeat b-boys from downstairs come and check it out! Hahahaha. I remember hearing people like Jazzie B, Phil Asher, Keith Franklin, Kid Batchelor, Frankie Foncett, Norman Jay, Coldcut and the Boy’s Own crew drop this killer, to name but a few. It wasn’t made in London but we made it a London record, for sure. It’s when that piano kicks in… sheer joy!
Veryverywrongindeed’s Tim Sheridangets personal with a tune that soundtracked his move to London from his hometown, Leeds, back in the 80s…
The Raid – Jump Up In The Air
Tim: I chose The Raid’s Jump Up In The Air because it is spread all through my personal history from when it came out to even right now. It was the soundtrack of my moving to London from the north in the mid ’80s. I used to hear it in so many varied places; from Clink Street to the Orbital raves to the legit clubs. I was the first and last DJ to play at the UK’s attempt at the Love Parade and I played this as the first and last record and to see 300,000 people going mental to it was a rush and a sort of House justice too. It deserves it. It has all the elements of being a chant and a call to arms, as well as an invitation to party. It would do it a great disrespect to try to describe it further than saying that to this day if I hear it I get chills and will pogo like a nob the minute it comes on. For me it’s the definitive house record. Todd Terry innit!
Joe: I remember first hearing this at LOST, or some Wiggle thing, or maybe it was at The End? To be honest, I don’t really remember. What I can remember is it being one of those records that cut through everything and it being the one experience you take away from 6 hours in the dark listening to the ‘doof-doof’. I never found out what it was until many years later, I bought it and forgot I had it ‘til just now…
Now we come to the Thunder DJs – first off, the authoritative Miles Simpson takes the brief literally and recalls a London-made tune that slipped through the cracks the first time round…
Melancholy Man –Joy
Miles: You don’t get much more LONDON and HOUSE than Warriors Dance, the West London label set up by Tony Thorpe of Moody Boys fame. It was home to Tony’s act, No Smoke, who made Koro Koro, possibly the greatest British records of all time, and also to Kid Batchelor’s legendary Bang the Party, who have claims of their own to the title I just bestowed on No Smoke!
One record that seemed to slip through the net, though, was Melancholy Man’s Joy. Produced by Bang the Party but with what was, at the time, a rare vocal from Robert Owens, it pretty much sunk without trace. Maybe the slightly disjointed drums didn’t quite cut it in the four/four driven world of the 1989 rave scene, but the production is still beautiful and Robert really, really turns it out.
This was once pretty hard to find and to do so required much scrabbling around in the basement of Record and Tape, but internet means it’s now a 50p virtual-bargain-bin record these days… but you know, sometimes they’re the best ones.
Then the sublime Joseph Apted goes a little bit tech-house. But not a lot…
Presence – Gettin’ Lifted
I guess this record might get lumped in with the much-maligned ‘tech house’ scene, but like most scenes if you dig about in the dross there always a few gems to be discovered and this is one of them. Presence is one of Charles Webster’s many aliases, and to be fair I could probably pick quite a few of his mid-’90s records as lost London classics i.e his remix of Hot Lizard’s The Theme, or his collaboration with Matthew Herbert as DJ Boom, but I went for this one as it’s perhaps less well- known. It’s a subtle record, couldn’t be less of a ‘banger’, but for me has a druggy, dreamy, ethereal quality to it that lifts it above a lot of other records from that period. It’s absolutely a record to get lost to at 5am in the morning in a sweaty, smoky basement and reminds me of going to nights at the End, or Brixton parties like Kerfuffle when I first moved to London. I looked it up on Discogs yesterday for the first time ever, just to remind myself what year it came outin, and was genuinely amazed to see some chancers trying to sell copies of it for over 100 quid! Although I think that says more about the amount of piss-takers there is on Discogs these days than anything else! Collectable or not, it’s a great record that you should hunt down, and listening to it again has made me want to stick it in my bag for the next Thunder!
And finally the (musically) ruthless Rick Hopkins looks back to look forward with a little slice of house music gold…
Tone Theory – ‘Limbo Of Vanished Possibilities’ (Derrick Carter & The Innocent Original Mix)
This little ditty dates from 1995, I was in my mid 20’s and frequenting clubs like Sabresonic II, Drum Club, Club UK, Strutt & Full Circle and this record was a mainstay at all of them. A fantastic production from one Derrick Carter on Mr C’s infamous Plink Plonk Records, a record that is as relevant today as it was back then and deserves to be out in the open once again, lovely piano hook, keys, whirling synth pads, some deep vocals from (I think) Derrick and the break from Gaz – Sing Sing all put to wondrous effect.
So, what does all this digging tell us? Well, it proves that house is a feeling that lingers through the years, as our DJs have proven with their fond recollections. Hopefully they made you think about your own long-lost house favourites from your own salad days in clubland… feel free to post them below, along with a memory or two of why they moved you in the first place?
To get things started, here’s the tune that started it all for this writer. Not a massive Orbital fan in general – and calling this one ‘house’ is probably pushing it – but hearing the mad proggy bassline on this, via a Darren Emerson mixtape for Muzik magazine (RIP) in 1996, was enough to to kick-start a love-affair with club culture that’s lasted nearly 20 years. If my ‘research’ ever ends, I’ll call you with the results…
Dalston Superstore regulars Borja Peña and Tom Stephan have been working on their joint project The Cucarachas for some time now, and with remixes for The Pet Shop Boys and tracks featuring none other than Kevin Aviance already under the belt, we know these up-and-coming superstars are set for big things! We caught up with the duo to find out more about releasing records on Tribal and Nurvous and working with their heroes…
How, when and where were The Cucarachas formed?
Borja: Well we started a club night together called DISH about two years ago, and from that we decided to get together and do some music that would sound like our night. At every party we would try a new track and see how people received it, and after a few we created the band.
We both love John Waters movies so we thought of “roaches”, and as we wanted to sound even dirtier… “the Cucarachas” came along. Like mexican cockroaches, you can’t get filthier than that!!
You both live in London but both work as international DJs… if you could live anywhere else (for its music or LGBT scene or whatever), where would it be and why?
Borja: I really cannot imagine living anywhere else. I think London is the most amazing place on earth as it’s so easy to fly anywhere from here, we have a great scene and there is so much happening all the time, but if I had to choose, it would be Berlin or New York… I have great friends in both cities. Maybe I would choose New York actually, I think Berlin would kill me! It’s too much fun, I like to keep it as a holiday destination… I need time to replenish my braincells after a visit. Actually, braincells don’t get replenished do they? Oh shit!
Tom: I can’t imagine living anywhere else either! I came here 22 years ago and never left. I do love NYC, but fortunately I get there fairly often to DJ and see my friends.
What was it like working with the legendary Kevin Aviance for your track Sushi Darling?
Borja: That was all Tom’s magic, people don’t seem to know he is talking about Tokyo in the track, it’s genius.
Tom: I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kevin several times in the past and he’s amazing. He’s an incredible performer. Some people just have that ‘something’ – when they walk into the room, you know it. Kevin is one of those people. However, Kevin’s vocal on this track came from an interview he did in Japan. I have no idea how I ended up with a copy of it, but I’ve been playing this recording of him for years in my DJ sets. Borja and I had this great groove going in the studio and I suddenly thought of this acapella and it fit perfectly.
Quite an array of producers have remixed you so far. Sushi Darling alone features Mike Q, Honey Dijon and The Carry Nation among others. Are there any producers that have been an influence that you’d like to remix your work?
Borja: Well as we are closer to Xmas I will start asking Santa now… Dear Santa Claus, this year I’ve been a very good boy, can I please have Tapesh, Kim Ann Foxman, Tank Edwards, Ejeca, Hard Ton, Danny Tennaglia, Waze & Oddisey, Green Velvet, Agoria, Dixon, Daniel Maloso, MK and Mathias Aguayo to remix Cucarachas? I would add Snuff Crew but they did remix our last track!!
Tom: They did a great mix too. I was just playing it last night!
What were your first thoughts about releasing on Nurvous, the future music off-shoot of seminal NYC label Nervous Records?
Borja: We did this track called “U” and right after the first listen we where dancing around the studio and thought, we should send this to a really good one. So we sent it and they came back to us within hours saying they wanted it. To this date I’m still pinching myself.
Tom: Yeah, it just fell into place really quickly. Borja mentioned Nurvous as his first choice for U, and I’ve worked with their other side, Nervous, for years. A few emails later and we were set.
Let’s talk about your remix of The Pet Shop Boys. How did that come to be? Talk us through it..
Borja: Tom you should explain this one…
Tom: This follows on well from the last question because it was “U” that got us the PSB remix. Neil and Chris are close friends of mine, and Neil and I always play each other what we’re working on.
I was playing Neil a few of the Cucarachas tracks and he loved U. Later that week we were contacted by their management asking if we’d remix Vocal. I hate the expression ‘no-brainer’, especially when Kevin Bacon says it, but this was one of those.
Borja: In terms of the remix, we loved the vocals of the track and we built the beats around it like a little journey. The moment the hair on the back of my neck went all stiff and I had goosebumps I knew we were on to a winner.
What’s the support been like from them and from other artists?
Borja: Well it turns out the remix package was sold out and Number One in the American Billboard Dance Tracks, so that was another magic moment for me, lots of my friends were sending me voice messages twatted at crazy hours (thanks boys) telling me they heard it in Ibiza or In Berlin or in Miami… even if they woke me up I was so proud when I got those messages.
Tom: PSB and their management really liked the mix, so we were happy. And I’ve had the experience of playing it as the last track of the night- everyone with their hands in the air- just as I had imagined, so it’s been a success in my book.
Would you say The Pet Shop Boys were an early influence on either of you? Who are your personal musical icons (of any genre or era)?
Borja: Erm… Yeah!! I’ve got all their music, they are electronic music pioneers exploring it in any way imaginable and still killing it and being very innovative. There are not many people like them around.
For me there are so many to mention and I keep adding to the list constantly, from David Byrne to Grace Jones, Janet Jackson to Pete Herbert , Giorgio Moroder to Missy Elliott …. those just came to my mind.
Tom: Absolutely. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid. Other musical influences- DEVO, Nitzer Ebb, Depeche Mode, Ministry.
So, not only have you released on Nurvous, but also the extremely influential Tribal Records. Are there any other seminal labels left on the wishlist for you guys?
Borja: Again so many, there are really amazing young ones like Batty Bass or Local Talk, Love Not Money, The Jackathon… and really established ones like BPitch Control, Kompakt, Trax… again, there are too many to mention!! Bringing back Tribal to life after so many years with The Carry Nation is definitely one of the highlights of this music project for me… who would have thought.
There obviously a strong ’90s house influence going on here… what are you personal gems of the genre?
Borja: Mmm…. Celeda – Be Yourself, Funky Green Dogs – Fired Up, Hollis P. Monroe – I’m Lonely, Liberty City Murk – Some Lovin, Armando – Single Minded
Tom: Definitely early MK, like Chez Damier- Can You Feel It (MK Dub), Farley & Heller tracks like their remix of DSK- What Would We Do? and even back to acid house like Bam Bam- Give it to Me.
I think house music and electronic music in general has been technology driven. The appeal of the old school house sound is that it’s analogue, warm and dynamic, whereas so much music made on people’s laptops sounds quite cold, digital and squashed . We’re trying to bring some of that warmth back.
Are there any clubs you’re keen to test The Cucarachas sound in (apart from Dalston Superstore of course) or that you wish you’d had the opportunity to have?
Borja: Well we aren’t really playing as “The Cucarachas” that much because Tom and I have crazy flying schedules. We find it really difficult to be in the same place at the same time, so we cannot do that many tracks together. We are keeping this very special. Our first outing was at a warehouse party in Brooklyn with The Carry Nation, and now Dalston Superstore. Dream places to play… although if I ever play in any of these places I will probably have to take an antianxiety to calm down because of the pressure…. would be: The Warehouse Project in Manchester, Berghain, Lovebox, Sonar, and I’ve heard great things about Dance Tunnel too…
Tom: There’s a very cool new club in Brooklyn called Output that I’d love to play. But ultimately I’m happy to play wherever there’s people dancing!
What drives you both to DJ and make music?
Borja: We live in a world where so much negativity is bombarding us on a daily basis, from the news, to bullshit in the workplace. Music has always been therapy for me, a way to change a grey day or a bad mood into a smile and good vibes. I try to channel that when I DJ or make music and think of what I would like to listen to on the dancefloor, what sounds will give me goosebumps make me shake my ass like crazy or put my hands up in the air. Being a DJ is so amazing and so rewarding, you get to play your favourite music very loud and make people smile… dance… you touch them and take them on a mental vacation for a few hours. There’s nothing better than when someone comes to the DJ booth to ask you, “What is the name of this track??” with a big smile, or when you wake up and check Facebook and have all this messages from people telling you how much fun they had thanks to you… not many jobs give you that motivation! Or maybe porn does?
Tom: I agree, it’s about escape. I always thought the story of Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever was a good example of how I see clubbing. You’re in a dead end job during the week, but on Saturday night you can totally reinvent yourself. I had that experience of stepping into another world when I first went to the Sound Factory in NYC and heard Junior Vasquez. It was such a moving experience. I was hooked and I haven’t been able to stop since. If there’s a cure for this I don’t want it!
Up Yours, the cheekily named side project from Horse Meat Disco’s Severino and HiFi Sean makes it way from the record to the club as they launch it as a brand new night at Dalston Superstore this weekend! They’ll go head to head in the newly refurbished basement, showcasing their combined passion for all things H.O.U.S.E. whilst upstairs special guests Feral is Kinky and The Lovely Jonjo (Hot Boy Dancing Spot) will be ramping up the party vibes!
Ahead of Saturday’s Superstore soiree, we asked HiFi Sean and Sev to interview each other!
SEV asks HIFI SEAN…
Sev: When did you start DJing after your indie band experience?
Sean: I’ve kinda always dabbled in DJing even throughout The Soup Dragons; The High Fidelity days with little slots here and there but it was Record Playerz, a club I ran with Alan Miller (DJ Hush Puppy) back in 2000 for 6-7 year,s that I really got lost in beats and mixing skills.
Are you missing been in a band?
Sometimes I do, but I think that man inside and the creativity within will never leave me, and DJing fulfils that, but as you know we make records as Up Yours and I make my own too and that completely satisfies the artistic need within myself.
Why “Up Yours?”
Because its a loaded phrase!
Are you making music apart from the Up Yours project?
Oh yeah, I’m doing a series of Hifi Sean ‘featuring’ another artist which will all start being released in 2013. So far I have recorded in Chicago with Celeda, and NYC with Fred Schneider from The B-52s, and I’ve got more planned too.
Plus I have ALWAYS promised that second Omnichord album by The High Fidelity
Only 13 years between them but hey… been busy !
Are you looking forward to our Dalston Superstore gig?
Love that venue, so much natural and eclectic energy. Proper underground clubbing. Up Yours is gonna make that basement SWEAT.
HIFI SEAN asks SEV…
Sean: How long have you DJ’d for and how long have you lived in London?
Sev: I started DJing in my local disco club in Italy when I was 16 years old but I guess I wanted to be a DJ when I was 7…And I moved to London in 1997.
If you were to live anywhere else where would it be ?
OMG soo many places… NYC for the energy and similarity with London… Lisbon and Rome are both beautiful…Venice is my fave but maybe when I’ll be 60 ahahah! Paris too, and IBIZA as well.
What for you makes the perfect house record ?
For me, it’s mainly the groove. It has to be something very sexy, and of course melody as well.
Dalston Superstore we both love , what makes it different from the other venues you /we play ?
Sexy basement with a fun DJ booth and great crowd. It’s super easy and very well mixed.
I’m in NYC at moment and it’s the weekend… Where should I go tonight ?
OMG my second home for nightlife. Definitely Vandam on Sunday. 11-11 on Friday. And Output in Brooklyn for the sound system and the experience of a big club.
New single The Devil EP is out now.
Join Severino and HiFi Sean at Up Yours this Saturday 2nd November at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
This week we’ve had the distinct pleasure of speaking to Swedish producer Petter Wallenberg aka House Of Wallenberg ahead of the launch of his brand new album Legends at Saturday’s bank holiday SOS extravaganza! Joining him in the top bar is Scottee, Anton Douglas, Portia Ferrari and Iicarus whilst deep down in the laser basement Sydney’s Light Year returns alongside SOS residents Jim Warboy and Joe Robots.
With vocal luminaries such as Neneh Cherry, Jwl B, Victoria Wilson James from Soul II Soul, Ari Up and the late Paris Is Burning star Octavia St Laurent all featuring on his debut album, it’s sure to be a launch to remember. We asked Petter all about the record and what the house music scene is like in his native Stockholm…
The list of female vocalists that you’ve collaborated with for your debut album is incredible! Was it just a case of writing out a wishlist and then getting ALL of them?!
Yes it was actually. The singers on my album are my all time favourite artists, some have long been my idols, ever since I was a teenager. I just decided to do the impossible and make an album with my dream artists. And now it’s finished!
Any fun tales from the studio during the recording that you care to share?
Oh loads. Me and Neneh Cherry got so drunk we don’t remember half the recording session. When I listened back it was all distorted and full of laughter, and recorded straight into the built in mic on my Macbook! Most people would have scrapped it. But I loved it. I cleaned the vocals up in four different studios, and that is actually the recording of Neneh that ended up on the album!
What was it like to work with Paris Is Burning legend Octavia St Laurent for the track Be Somebody?
Amazing. Octavia was such a strong personality, which admittedly goes for all the ladies on this album. She told me about the ballroom scene of the ’80s, about her identity as transsexual. She was very brave. Even when she was ill she was sassy. She said “I’m not looking so hot all swollen up on the chemo, but by the summer I’ll be gorgeous again.” She died before the summer arrived. Be Somebody is the only single release she’s ever featured on.
How did you come up with the idea/themes in the video?
The video for Be Somebody came very naturally. I wanted to take it back to the original vogue scene of New York, celebrate Octavia’s memory and the legacy of all the legendary children of Paris Is Burning. The big vogue houses all came out in full force, voguing on the streets, in Times Square, and all round the city. I walked around NYC with a sign saying “Be Somebody” and the middle of filming a homeless man came up and held an impromptu speech about being somebody. It was beautiful and summed everything up. So I kept it in the video.
Tell us one track that we can expect to hear during your set at SOS?
Many of the tracks from the album. Be My Lover is always a crowd favourite. It features Jwl B from the amazing Yo Majesty. We filmed the video in Tokyo with school girls, sumo wrestlers and drag queens. It’s very kawaii!
What are the highlights of the house music scene in Stockholm?
My club Mums Mums of course! Mums Mums means “yum yum” in Swedish. I play classic vocal house, piano house, Chicago house and the kind of stuff that makes all of us real lovers of real house cream our pants! Fuck Swedish House Mafia – they wouldn’t know house if it slapped them on the face!
Did the Mums magazine come first or did it spin off from the club?
The magazine came after the club, but it has its own life. It’s a celebration of camp culture. Our inspirations are old ladies mags like Take A Break, punk fanzines, old porn mags and Smash Hits. We do whatever we like, which is usually pretty wacky stuff, like a fashion shoot based on the assassination of the Swedish prime minister alongside interviews with people like Samantha Fox. Our contributors range from the biggest writers, artists and photographers in Sweden to children and hardcore criminals. For the launch party of one issue I got one half of Milli Vanilli to perform live for the first time ever in Sweden!
Who is your ultimate style icon?
The late Isabella Blow. I actually had dinner at hers once, in her flat in Eaton Square. A friend invited me along and when I turned up she scolded me for being late and all that was left was Indian take away boxes and empty champagne bottles, as she sat there wearing a Philip Treacy hat that looked like a big pheasant on her head and telling everybody about her suicide plans.
Your album is named Legends… who are your personal musical legends?
My musical legends are all with me on my album. Ain’t I lucky?
Join House Of Wallenberg for his album launch at SOS on Saturday 4th May at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4:30am.
Dirtbox legend Jos Gibson takes to the decks for Body Talk this Saturday specialising in his own particular brand of “hands in the air” house. Residents DJ Rokk and Tristan Reed will be on hand plus special guest Alejandro Acensio returns to play the top bar.
We caught up with Jos ahead of the party to find out more about his amazing beard, his taste in music and what he gets up to in the dead of night around east London…
You are something of an enigma. Tell us a secret about yourself, we won’t tell anyone, promise.
I have a secret love for motorbikes. I love beat up old choppers and bobbers. Being able to jump on a motorbike really gives you such a sense of freedom and adventure.
You’re from the north of England- what were your favourite nights out when you lived there?
I hung out mainly on the free party scene in the early ’90s. Pretty much every Saturday night was spent on the services stations of Rivington or Channock waiting to go to a party usually on a industrial estate in Lancashire somewhere. They were really exciting times, there was a real sense of togetherness too.
When that all ended some of my favourite haunts included: Artlab in Preston, The Empire in Morcambe, The Orbit near Leeds or the Eclipse in Coventry. Sadly all gone now.
You’re going to be playing “hands in the air” house at Body Talk… what’s your ultimate track for raising your hands?
At the moment it has to be Do You Feel What I Feel by Rex the Dog, it’s so damn good.
Your day job is as a groomer in mens fashion editorial and commercial. Does this account for your stupendous beard?
I suppose it does, I’ve had it for some years now and people kinda know me for it. “The guy with the big beard? Yes thats the one.”
What’s your top facial hair tip?
Keep it clean, keep it suitable, keep it oiled!
Why did you decide to set up your night Dirtbox?
I got together with a couple of friends of mine and we were really complaining that there wasn’t the club we wanted in London. So we did it as a one off party originally for us and our friends.
How have you developed Dirtbox into East London’s premiere sweatbox-cum-manhunt nightclub?
Still keeping it really simple – it’s a combination of the Dirtbox sound, a really great venue and the loyal crowd.
What’s a quintessential Dirtbox track?
Strut Your Techno Stuff by Fax Yourself, it was a B-side originally on a cover of I Feel Love that came out on a Belgium New Beat label.
What inspires you in your day job and what inspires you in your night-time job?
What inspires you is a difficult one nail down as it’s always in flux. When I’m working on shoots it’s usually with the photographer or designer themselves where we have an initial chat about the mood. Then that sparks me to think a link I can make with the hair, usually historical.
In clubs it’s not so different, whilst there is a running theme with my taste in music, I try to make a connection with the crowd so I note when something really works or doesn’t.
And finally what’s your most favourite East London DJing memory or torrid tale?
Some of the highs since we started have been taking Dirtbox out to the festivals; Lovebox and Glastonbury notably. Recently we also had Shannon from Light Asylum come to DJ. She spontaneously turned on the mic and sang over her set which blew everyone away. But the hottest tales are on the dance floor of Dirtbox, anyone who goes will testify to that.
Join Jos on Saturday 20th April for Body Talk at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
Handsome men Toby Grimditch and Martyn Fitzgerald bring a brand new night to Superstore next weekend, bust yo nut! With Italian stallions Severino and Nico De Ceglia downstairs and hip hip aficionados Mistamaker and JC Wood from Hard Cock Life in the top bar, it’s a night that promises to pack a punch! We caught up with the brains behind it all to find out what prompted them to start a new night and where they plan it take it…
What’s the ethos behind bust yo nut?
Toby: A credible hip hop night for gay people and their friends. Cutting edge music for cutting edge people.
Martyn: Quality house downstairs with some of our favourite DJs, starting with Severino and Nico de Ceglia. We both love old hip hop from the ’80s before it got all gangsta and rubbish, so basically we wanted to hear that music or hip hop being made today that draws on that more positive, upbeat angle that was lost. Throw in the R&B and you’ve got a good party!
How does it differ from other nights you run, such as Handsome?
Toby: BYN is a concept derived from the roots of hip hop and street music. The music is very much based around the US street culture. But like Handsome it is a celebration of music and sexuality.
Martyn: Musically it’s totally different and we’ve got the bonus of having two rooms at DS. This is the first time we’ve done R&B/hip hop, and the house downstairs will be more current than a lot of what we play at Handsome which is about US house from the ’80s onwards.
Why did you decide to have this party here at Superstore?
Toby: The club is at the for forefront of clubbing with a conceptual fresh look at a gay night out.
Martyn: Well, we both come here a lot and know (Superstore boss) Dan Beaumont well so it just kind of happened. One of those, “We’ve got an idea for a night”, scribbled on the back of a fag packet kind of developments.
Dalston or Vauxhall?
Martyn: Far too controversial! Let’s just say it’s different strokes.
Toby: Both… The whole idea of what we want to do is about bringing people TOGETHER.
What current club nights inspire you (in any way)?
Martyn: Well, I probably shouldn’t admit this but I’ve still not been to the bloody Berghain, but from reports that is totally up my strasse! My favourite club is Cavo in Mykonos… in the summer they have amazing guests and it overlooks the sea, but I guess with a setting like that you can’t go wrong! In London Horse Meat Disco is a staple. I love the music, the venue, and they’re good boys too.
Tell us one track YOU hope to hear in the top bar?
Toby: I am a ’90s fanatic, so I love a bit of Guy, Mantronix or TLC.
Martyn: Magic’s Wand by Whodini.
And another track for the lazer basement?
Toby: Seve will serve up all I could ever want… Amazing DJ!
Martyn: Hood Funk by Kevin Over. Heard it the other day and got a right shimmy on!
What might we expect from future bust yo nut’s?
Toby: Great parties, good times, a bit of the bop!
Martyn: It’s all about the music! So we’ll be baying for quality guests upstairs and down. Having JC Wood who runs HCL and Mistamaker is great as they know the music inside out. I’m a bit of a layman with hip hop but it would be good to give DJs who like the music policy upstairs a chance to play. There are other hip hop/R&B nights on in east London which is great, but apart from them I think that genre of music has been associated with moodiness and naff attitude which is a shame as I don’t think it started in that place, and there’s where we’d like to take it back to.
If you could go back in time to any dance floor ANYWHERE, where would we be going?
Martyn: The Pines parties on Fire Island in the Seventies. I bet they were bonkers fun. And I know it’s a bit cliched now but Studio 54 must have been a massive hoot.
Toby: Sign O Times was an amazing party, bringing together a completely eclectic mix of people. So many clubs I would go back to… The late ’80s & early ’90s were a paradise for a clubber!
Explain in three words why everyone should be at bust yo nut next week?
Martyn: The answer’s in the title!
Toby: BUST(ing) YO NUTS!
Join Martyn and Toby for bust yo nut at Dalston Superstore next Saturday 9th February from 9pm – 4am.
Then let the legends that are Farley & Heller take care of the next two hours for you with this recording of them in the laser basement earlier this month at Paris’ Acid Ball’s 2nd Birthday. Presenting… Big Room Drama In Little Dalston!