Posts Tagged ‘In Plain Sight’

James Baillie

Our friend James Baillie is known around these parts for his work programming Lovebox’s fantastic Sunday lineup – but he also has a serious acid house pedigree stretching back to his seminal club night Venus and beyond. He spoke to Superstore’s Dan Beaumont about formative years at the frontline of house culture and his plans for this years Lovebox Sunday…

Your club Venus has passed into acid house legend… what prompted you to start it?

I was doing clubs nights and acid house warehouse parties and other clubs before Venus. My first ever club night venture was back in 1985. Venus started in 1990 when the owners of the venue, which was then called The Club, approached me. The crowd then was footballers and I suppose WAGs. The owners had been following what I’d been doing around Nottingham so approached me to change the venue. I came up with the name Venus and got a load of my friends in to help put my stamp on the venue. It already had a good sound system that had been installed by Ian Levine (legendary Northern Soul DJ and Hi-NRG pioneer).

Its success didn’t happen over night – it took a few months to get it where I wanted it to be. The turning point was when I started to invite other club brands to do nights at Venus. These use to come on a Friday… Charlie Chester’s Flying, Justin Robertson’s Most Excellent, Steve Proctor’s Better Days, Sean MacCluskey’s Love Ranch, Dave Manders’ & Rosko’s Kinky Disco and the deep house pioneers DIY (who you had play at the DSS a few weeks back!) We were one of the only venues Danny Rampling put on a Shoom and I think Patrick Lilley’s High On Hope with Giles Peterson and Norman Jay.

One weekend I brought over from NYC the club night Jackie 60. People use to travel from far and wide. It was the club that help kick start the whole DJ culture as we know it today. It came at just the right time. The whole rave scene had gone lowest common denominator, seedy and overrun with gangsters. And I sat there thinking “Is that it?” 

But when Venus came along it was just perfect. It was the place that bridged the gap between the north, south divide and brought the whole Balearic network together.

Who were your favourite DJs who have played there?

Andrew Weatherall, Slam, Angel Morales, Laurent Garnier, Danny Rampling, Bobby Konders, Todd Terry and one of my residents Paul Wain who was an outstanding DJ. He was spotted by Andrew Weatherall when he sent a chart into Boys Own. There was so many great DJ’s that graced the decks at Venus. I also use to book in some excellent live acts… Ten City, Saint Ettiene, The Grid, Flowered Up, A Man Called Adam… I could mention tonnes!

What was the thinking behind Lovebox’s Out and Out Fierce Sunday?

A heart attack after putting together Cable club which gave me some time to have a re-think on my future. Going to Lovebox Sunday 2009 and thinking Sunday could work as a gay/gay friendly day. I sold the concept/idea into the Mama group and they let me go away and develop the idea further. I did a lot of research and chatting to close friends who all said it was a no brainer… I can remember you, Dan, saying “Bastard, why didn’t I think of this?!” I wanted Sunday to be a celebration of everything gay and so far removed to what London Gay Pride was offering.

What is your ultimate Lovebox Sunday lineup (feel free to include deceased legends!)

The late Donna Summer, David Bowie, Bjork, Kraftwerk, Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Fever Ray, Caribou, Yello, Giorgio Moroder, Pet Shop Boys. David Mancuso presents The Loft, House of Ladosha, DJ Harvey, Green Velvet… There’s a load of acts I would like to add in but it would only be me and a few friends that would turn up to see them!

You consume more music than anyone I know! Any hot tips for new bands?

There’s a lot of great new bands around at the moment, here’s a few… Churches, Night Angles, Warm Digits, Gold & Youth, Opossom, Stealing Sheep.

Current favourite dance labels?

Wurst, Permanent Vacation, In Plain Sight, Snuff Trax.

What bands/DJs will you be checking out at this Lovebox?

I don’t really get to see much as I’m usually back stage or running around all over the place. I will try and catch a bit of Niki And The Dove, Azari & III, Tim Sweeney, Optimo and Andrew Weatherall in the NYC Downlow and hopefully experience the whole disco explosion with Chic, Chaka Khan and finish off with Miss Grace Jones.

James will be playing at our Lovebox Sunday Warm-Up with Andrew Weatherall, Jim Stanton and Dan Beaumont on June 8th. More Lovebox info can be found here…

Andy Blake

London legend Andy Blake returns to Superstore this week for monthly Chicago House dance party Society. With three record labels, a residency at Warboy’s night SOS, his own party World Unknown and a reputation as a DJ’s DJ with a vast musical knowledge and taste, we managed to catch five minutes of his time to talk to him about his many projects and fascinating career…

You’re playing at Society- what gems can we expect from someone with as diverse and broad music knowledge as yourself?

I reckon it’ll be a bunch of house from ‘85 til now and maybe a few heavy disco and euro bits that got played in late ‘70s/early ‘80s Chicago when there was house music but no house records.

This is not the 1st time you’ve played Society. What do you like about their parties?

The broad mix of people is excellent; it’s the single most important element of any good club or party. If you’ve got a roomful of people of all different ages and backgrounds all getting on and getting down together you’re in with a very good chance of having a great party.

How did you come to be a resident at SOS?

I used to play at Warboy’s previous night Caligula and I guess it just seemed natural to us both for that to carry on at SOS. I love having a residency at a really pumping house night at a great venue in London and working with people like Warboy and Wayne Shires. None of us may be spring chickens any more but we seem to know what we’re up to and give people a great night out, and we all still have a huge amount of fun doing it.

How do you find time to run both your record labels as well as DJing?

There’s actually three including the World Unknown label. It’s easy enough really and a lot of fun too, especially as I’ve got some good mates mucking in and sharing the load. All I really have to do is keep finding the music and it all rolls on from there.

Tell us about your Boiler Room takeover on the 7th June…

It’s going to be a Cave Paintings and In Plain Sight session. We’ll be getting all the mad South London lot from World Unknown and the other parties round our way to come so it should be a brilliant atmosphere. Myself, Semtek, Joe and Amy will be DJing and we’ve got youngTEE playing live too and that’s always a very special thing.

What was the first record you ever bought and the most recent?

I think first that I actually bought myself could have been a compilation of rock n roll classics from the TV show Happy Days when I was about 6 or 7 – purchased from a branch of Boots if my memory serves correctly.

As for the most recent one, I’ve just got home from a weekend on patrol in Brazil and in the pile of record mailers awaiting me there’s a bunch of DJ Duke records so it’ll be one of those I guess.

What do you prefer putting on- daytime or nighttime parties?

I love going to, playing at and putting on all kinds of parties but there’s definitely something very special about ones with a daytime element, especially if there’s an outdoors. There’s an element of free-spirited transgression to daytime partying that’s not often there at nighttime parties any more.

I haven’t put anything on in the day for ages now but I’m just starting a new thing called Dance Cafe with some mates from Peckham who DJ as Bahamian Moor. The first one is this weekend taking place inside and outside at a local art gallery and we’ll be doing one per month at various interesting South London venues. There’s also going to be a World Unknown daytime free party in an amazing venue very soon as well.

London definitely needs more daytime and 24-hour stuff. Berlin has loads every weekend, summer and winter, so why haven’t we?

You’re playing on the MS Stubnitz at Pleasure Gardens for Bloc- what’s the most unusual venue you’ve ever played and what do you make of Bloc’s venue change?

On Saturday just gone I played at a floating club on a man-made lake in Brasilia. That’s got to qualify as one of the maddest places I’ve done so far and it was a cracking party too. Playing on the Stubby will be loads of fun and the whole Bloc/Pleasure Gardens site looks like it’ll be pretty amazing. I’m looking forward to having a stumble around it in a heightened state of awareness.

What’s your biggest non-musical influence?

All my amazing friends I guess, they’re a very inspiring bunch of people. That may well sound a bit corny and incredibly unhip but it’s 100% true. I can pretend it’s some obscure TV program or a certain length of trouser if you prefer.

You can catch Andy Blake alongside Robert Owens this Thursday 31st May at Society from 9pm – 3am.