Posts Tagged ‘Optimo’

Kiwi and Nina Nana

By Florian Dovillez

Our favourite happy-go-lucky homodisco Homodrop returns to Superstore this Saturday with a special appearance from London based DJ, producer and genre-defying wunderkind Kiwi (Disco HalalFuture Boogie)! Joining him is the queen of the queer scene in Geneva, Nina Nana who is known for DJ sets which branch into the world of drag performance and span disco, italo, boogie and beyond! We caught up with them to get a forecast of what to expect at Homodrop!

Describe in one image your vision of the party.

Divine, Grace, Jones, and friends (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Nina Nana: 


Describe with one track your vision of party.

Kiwi: This one’s much harder, because i can’t think of a track that really sums up everything a party can be. But this ones been doing the business recently, pitched own of course.

Nina Nana: 


Queen or queer?

Kiwi: Queen

Nina Nana: Queen of queer!

Are they any exciting future projects for you that you can share with us?

Kiwi: So many! Releasing tonnes of music this year, on some of my favourite labels including Life and Death, Disco Halal and Futureboogie, plus this one which is out soon and has a Tuff City Kids remix, and then I’m just finalising plans to launch my own label next year.

Nina Nana: This! 

What can we expect from your DJ set for Homodrop?

Kiwi: A good dose of fun, and the unexpected 😉

Nina Nana: Drag LOOKS! 

Catch Kiwi and Nina Nana at Homodrop this Saturday 2 September from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore! 


Huntleys + Palmers

Ahead of their 2016 premiere, DISCOSÓDOMA sat down with their first guest of 2016, the Glasgow-based Huntleys + Palmers of the highly esteemed namesake label and excellently curated event series. They caught up to chat about the future, music and of course love!

Can you explain where the Huntleys + Palmers name comes from?
When I was looking into starting parties back in 2007, a name was the last thing I thought about. As the first one was getting closer, I read about the 50th anniversary of the Wolfenden Report, which famously decriminalised homosexuality. It explained that during the trial the court used the code names ‘Huntleys’ and ‘Palmers’ for homosexuals and prostitutes – to spare the blushes of the prim and proper administrators who were working on the case. So at the time, I liked the slightly sleazy connotations and went with that. What I didn’t realise until much later, is the code names came from the name of a popular biscuit brand at the time – they still exist now and I think many just assume I like biscuits!

You have built your reputation on a strong editorial focus on new sounds and emerging artists. How do you cut through the noise to discover new talent?
I’ve been obsessed with discovering new music for as long as I can remember, right back to taping radio shows in high school. I guess over time I’ve managed to refine what excites me in an artist / track and I know what I don’t like almost straight away. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple way to cut through the noise, I still have to check everything to discover the nuggets.

What are the processes separating Huntleys + Palmers and Highlife? How do you select what goes where? 
Good question! This requires a bit of backstory – the Highlife parties were started as a side project to H+P, which would specialise in music from around the world. A year into running Highlife parties, we started the H+P label and then subsequently needed to start a sub-label to focus on edits, which is where the Highlife label was born. So both labels are intertwined, but there’s some nuances in there – Highlife has an international, dancefloor friendly sound / feel, whereas H+P is a bit more all encompassing. An easy way to categorise is between who would play at a Highlife party and who would play at a H+P one.

Have you already started seeing the emerging sounds for 2016?
This isn’t something I pay too much attention to nowadays, although I have a feeling it will be a good year for a bunch of artists connected to the label..
In the meantime, I’ve got a full schedule of music to release that’s getting me really excited, so enough to focus on. 

Glasgow, London, Berlin. Your current operations see you working in all three cities, with Glasgow being now your main residence. When did you decide to make the move and how this change has affected your work?
I’ve been back in Glasgow for about 18 months now. Despite living in other places over the years, I always had something or other going on in the city, so from that point of view, not much has changed. It’s great to be back though and nice to be involved in a community where people are looking out for each other.

Last year we saw the closure of the Arches in Glasgow gaining a great momentum in the news. How did the city react to this? In London lately, we see parties happening again in offbeat locations, from detached warehouses to temporary disco basements. Is there something similar happening up north?
There was a big outcry at the time of The Arches closing, but I’m not sure what effect it’s had on the city as a whole – there’s still a bunch of great venues of all sizes in the city and the recent expansion of SWG3 pretty much fills the void of The Arches. Likewise with offbeat party scene, it’s not something that’s really existed in the same way it does in London, probably connected to licensing / council. 

If you could snap a moment from your ideal party, what would this portray? 
Highlife just played at Optimo’s legendary NYE party in Glasgow which was a pretty big deal for me personally and a bunch of close friends came out. The further I’ve been involved in music, the less I see of them in that sort of environment, so that was really special and I was buzzing for ages afterwards. So I guess a mix of old and new friends would be a big factor.

Are there any exciting future projects for Huntleys + Palmers you could share with us?
Yeah, always! There’s a lot of great music on the way from Lena Willikens, CAIN, Auntie Flo, Wrong Steps and a bunch of new faces to introduce.

What shall we expect from your set at DISCOSODOMA?
It should be all over the place – in the best possible way. Brand new music alongside some older stuff I’ve dug out from the back of my brain. I’m really excited to play at Superstore! It was one of the first places I hung out in when I first moved to London, so looking forward to being back.

Can you tell us a bit about your mix?
I think we can all agree that Valentines Day is a lot of shite. It can’t be denied that there is a great deal of music made about love, heartbreak and the rest. Consider this a selection of my favourite songs from around the world, which happen to feature or relate to love. So you can play it all year round – no matter your relationship status!


Catch Huntleys + Palmers at Discosodoma | The Lovers at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 13 February from 9pm-5am. 

Hot Mess

By Hot Mess

What does a Hot Mess look like? They come in all shapes and sizes, although it’s fair to say the majority are kinda scruffy with facial hair and a suspicious bulge in their pants. A more interesting question is: what does a Hot Mess feel like? At our parties we’re trying to make people feel the following…

In no particular order: elated, excited, aroused, disoriented, joyous, heartbroken, invincible, overstimulated, enchanted, aroused – did I say that already? You get the picture.

Optimo’s JD Twitch said this when he played at the club in April this year:

Apart from the fact it’s an honour to be asked to play at Hot Mess, I enjoy playing there because it is one of very few club nights in Glasgow that is doing something different and that has built a true sense of community around it. It isn’t about booking big names guests to pull people in, but through hard work and simply playing great music that Simon truly believes in, it has become one of the most important and vital club nights in Glasgow and has inspired others to follow suit.

And here are five “What Does A Hot Mess Look Like” tracks:

The Galleria – Calling Card

The Galleria is a collaboration between NYC producer Morgan Geist (the man behind Metro Area and Storm Queen) and singer Jessy Lanza. It’s cold as ice! Super-sharp electro-boogie.

Nancy Whang and Audiojack – Like An Eagle

Nancy Whang has sung with LCD Soundsystem and The Juan Maclean and she is great. This cover of a ’79 disco classic SOARS. God bless Nancy and her voice of glacial delight.

Christian S: The Power Of Now

 This is the definition of a solid banger. Arpeggios. Disco drums. Relentless. Kinda what it would have sounded like if Daft Punk had met Giorgio Moroder in 1993 rather than 2013.

Lena Willikens – Howlin Lupus

I wasn’t sure how this would go down when I played it, but it was welcomed on the dancefloor like an old friend. Dark, disorienting and deeply groovy. Last time I played it at Hot Mess it resulted in a total “taps aff” moment and much snogging.

Tom Rowlands – Through Me

Tom Rowlands is one half of the Chemical Brothers and Through Me is possibly my favourite 12” of the past five years. It’s so full of energy and demented glee! I usually accompany it with a strobe light overdose, which instantly lifts a hundred pairs of sweaty hands into the air.

Join Hot Mess on Friday 17th July for Shake Yer Dix at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Alex Smoke

Rising Glaswegian techno star Alex Smoke joins us in the laser pit this Saturday for a very special LIVE set for Homodrop! Having released techno and electronica records as early as 2002s on labels like Soma and more recently Optimo, Alex has since turned his hand to composing scores for television. Ahead of the party, Homodrop caught up with the Scottish producer to find out more about what we can expect this weekend…

By Homodrop

You come from Glasgow, where the club culture is intense, what do you think about the club culture in the UK these days?

Truthfully I have to be honest and say that I can no longer speak for people who are driving club culture as I don’t go clubbing nearly as much these days and play less too, but there are trends that I notice from a distance. The undergound is still there but the commercial pressures are huge, and the hype and front seem to matter as much as the music. Some of the innocence has been lost and that’s a shame. Having said that, there is more great music than ever, and younger and younger producers pushing their own sounds and that is great. The occasions when nights have that magic reminds you what club culture is all about, and that it is still there.

Could you explain why our Homodropers might be so excited to see you playing at  Dalston Superstore? 

I’ve always been popular with the deaf, so I imagine you have a large following who are hard of hearing. Ho ho. Seriously, if that is true, then that’s very nice to hear. Maybe because I tend to play the same few venues in London these days such as Fabric, which only caters to a certain cross-section of clubbers. I’m really happy to be playing in a small intimate venue though…. it suits me best.

Do you play often for gay scene? 

Not really to be honest. I am very homophobic. Just kidding of course! I have played many gay nights over the years but less so recently.

What can we expect from your live set?  

I’ll be playing extra well. That’s the main thing. I like to keep it very dancefloor focused but also interesting and varied. Sets which don’t move in style or emotion become boring unless you’re out of your banger, so I’ll be catering to the full range of intoxication. Technically, it’s melodic techno and rave-wonk on a laptop, pieced together as I go along and accompanied with a drum machine and possibly some singing…..

You recently released the score for the BBC’s Order & Disorder series under your real name Alex Menzies, how come? 

In recent years I’ve been working more on scoring and composition as that is probably where I’m headed, and I got the chance to score this physics series. It’s such a different outlook from club music, but it’s what I enjoy most. It got picked up by Kathexis for release on vinyl and I’m really glad actually as otherwise it’s restricted to the tv and I think it stands alone as music too.

Any new projects? 

Yup, some more Wraetlic material (weird vocal songs) later in the year on Huntleys + Palmers, another BBC score release on Kathexis, a possible Alex Smoke album this year and a large scale psycho-acoustic installation in Glasgow Cathedral in November designed to melt brains.

Join Alex Smoke this Saturday 6th June for Homodrop at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Happy 5th Birthday DSS

By Cliff Joannou / reprinted from QX Magazine with kind permission

Dalston Superstore put queer East on the map five years ago. With an incredible array of club nights, combining explosive DJs with the most mentalist drag queens and trannies, you don’t get more bang for your buck than a weekend at the ‘Superstore. Owners Mikki Most and Dan Beaumont plied Cliff Joannou with plenty of prosecco and told him just how they pull it all together every week…

CLIFF: Why is Dalston Superstore the dog’s bollocks?

DAN: Come down to our birthday next Sunday and we’ll show you…

You’re on. How has Dalston itself evolved over the past five years, and what impact has the ‘Superstore had on the area…

DAN: When we started out people thought we were crazy trying to open a gay bar in Dalston! 

MIKKI: Yes, we were pretty much the first bar in the area, and certainly the first gay bar, so I think people thought we were mental. We’ve opened up a lot of doors in the area for people though, and it’s been amazing to be part of helping make Dalston more diverse. It’s been stressful at times but the booze helps!

How have you set it apart from other gay venues?

DAN: Music, booze, food and fun! You never know what to expect at the ‘Superstore. You could find Grizzle reenacting the Human Centipede on the bar – don’t ask! – and then pop downstairs for dance courtesy of some hot young DJ we’ve found in New York or Berlin.

MIKKI: Yes, we’ve always tried to push things a bit here and not just do the obvious stuff. We both ran clubs before [TrailerTrash and Disco Bloodbath] and putting on great DJs is fundamental. We’re open day and night, and I like the idea you can come for a decent cocktail and some food early evening and still be here at 4am in the morning dancing… There’s not too many places offering that in London.

For such an intimate club spot, you’ve had some very cool DJs jump at the chance to play there…

DAN: The best thing about programming your own discotheque is that you get to bring all your favourite DJs over to play. Highlights for us have been an amazing set from Prosumer in the early days, Erol Alkan dropping a disco set, the legendary David Morales playing for four hours, and multiple visits from people like Optimo, Horse Meat Disco, Chloé and Spencer Parker. Plus, our amazing residents – it wouldn’t be the same without Hannah Holland, Borja Peña, the Little Gay Brother guys, Lovely Jonjo, Dave Kendrick, Jos Gibson and the Duchess of Pork et al.

MIKKI: Absolutely, we recently had the guys over from Members Club in Berlin for B(e)ast and the music was really amazing and fresh for London. It’s great to have the freedom to bring over international talent and introduce it to our scene over here.

And it’s the place to put a wig on it…

MIKKI: It’s part of what we are and to be honest all the best nights I can remember at ‘Superstore have involved wigs and heels flying around all over the place. So many of our regulars turn up in flats and leave in heels, it’s what gives the place its sparkle.

DAN: [Laughs] Yes, our bar very often gets mistaken for a stage by our bewigged regulars doesn’t it? We wouldn’t be the venue we are without the support of people like Jonny Woo, A Man To Pet, John Sizzle, Jacqui Potato and Glyn Famous. In fact we are still in awe of their talents… not to mention their ability to stage dive in heels on a Friday night without sustaining any injuries.

Dalston Superstore (117 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB) celebrates its 5th birthday over the May Bank Holiday weekend with the main party on Sunday 4th May.

Drop The Needle 1st Birthday

With Drop The Needle’s First Birthday approaching this Friday, we asked DTN residents Sanjay and Milan to pick their highlights from the last year…

Milan: I remember having so much fun at our last party that I forgot about my record bag at the end of the night and had trace my steps back the next day, including a visit to the Ali Baba kebab shop – fortunately my bag was still behind the decks at Superstore!

Sanjay: One of my highlights was when we had Rory Phillips play a special 7” only post-punk set for our record store day party!

Milan: It’s always a nice sign when you start to recognise the regulars who come to many of the parties – nice to know the quality of music is consistent and people enjoy coming back. It’s always nice when Kenny Campbell comes down to party with us!

Drop The Needle

Sanjay: It was also amazing sharing the bill with our heroes Optimo Espacio this year. I also remember that night having to lend them my own turntables as the pitch on theirs had broken. Having my own turntables christened by JD Twitch and JG Wilkes was a bit special for me.

Sanjay & Milan: Our roadblock DTN launch party last year was pretty insane! I have still never seen a queue there bigger than it was that night! We have invited Simon Rigg who headlined our launch party back to play our 1st birthday! Don’t miss it this Friday!


Black Science Orchestra – Where Were You? (Tedd’s Lights Out Groove) 

Bernard Badie – Time Reveals 

Michael Boothman – What You Won’t Do For Love 

Funky Green Dogs – Fired Up (Angel Moraes DDDDeep Vocal Mix) 

Jamie 326 – Comin On Strong 

The Crusaders – Street Life (US Disco mix 79) 

Justin Vandervolgen – Nice Costume 

Indeep – When Boys Talk 

Idris Muhammad – Could Heaven Ever Be Like This 

Omar S – Set It Out 

Join Sanjay and Milan this Friday 1st November at Drop The Needle from 9pm – 3am at Dalston Superstore.

Kevin McKay

By Sigmund K

On the 5th of July, Ubermax returns to the lazer basement with Glasgow Underground’s boss Kevin McKay, a man who has been in the industry since the ’90s and who has, amongst other many achievements, discovered Mylo, and released steadily throughout the decade on his own label. In the ’00s, Kevin spent most of his time managing the career of his artists, releasing only a few records on GU, until a couple of years ago when he decided to re-launch the label and do what is the most important for us; release amazing music. We asked him a few questions ahead of Ubermax…

Kevin, you decided a couple of years ago to re-launch Glasgow Underground (GU), which looks like a brilliant decision when we look at the quality of all the new releases. It seems that your whole career has been fed by the need of picking up new challenges, was reviving GU a new challenge or did you feel that people were getting back to the older house sound?

I think that’s part of the joy of working in music. You’re never allowed to rest on your laurels for too long: the scene changes too quickly. There is a real change-or-die mentality that runs through the music business. Obviously you see that everywhere to some extent, but in music I think it is all the more evident. Luckily I get bored quite easily so I’m always looking for new things. I signed Mylo and set up Breastfed partly as a reaction to how serious house music had become. This time round it’s a bit different. I had spent the last four or five years doing too much of the business side of running a label and wanted to get back into the creative side. Glasgow Underground had put out the odd release since 2002 but I hadn’t really done anything with it due to my commitments to Mylo and Grum. I was also really enjoying where house/dance music had ended up post minimal and electro and so when I started making tracks again, it seemed like the perfect home for them.

GU has recently launched a series of compilations, with the first edition mixed by JD Twitch from Optimo. Can you tell us a bit more about this project, and can give us some hints about the rest of the series?

I love compilations but there are so many fantastic ones that people can get for free these days from the likes of RA, Fact and Data Transmission that the idea of putting up something for sale just because it’s a great selection of music seems a little out of date. As well as this, dance music is now a truly global phenomenon. As a DJ in the ’80s and ’90s you might come across the odd record from outside of the main dance music strongholds; the UK, the US and mainland Europe, but it was rare. Nowadays there are thriving dance scenes from Melbourne to Mexico City with their own collectives of DJs and producers. I wanted to create a compilation series that reflected this and gave the listener a kind of audio rough guide to a city’s underground scene. I started with Glasgow as it’s probably the city I know best. Keith/Twitch is a brilliant DJ, has great taste in music and was using Ableton at Optimo when a lot of laptop DJs were still at school. He also stands above the cliquishness that often permeates through Glasgow’s club scene. Those reasons meant he was the best person to give an eclectic, inclusive snapshot of the homegrown Glasgow club scene in 2013. 

In terms of future editions, there are loads that I want to do but I also want to make sure that I get the right people to do them and if that means waiting for DJs/producers other commitments to finish before I get to do a certain city, so be it. Hopefully I’ll be able to announce the next volume soon.

The Glasgow scene looks like it is exploding, and exporting more and more young talents. We are big fans of that scene at Ubermax as our past guests include Ooft! and Sei A. What do you think is Glasgow’s role in the global dance scene?

I hear a lot of DJs cite nights in Glasgow as some of the best DJing experiences they’ve ever had, so I guess on one level, Glasgow provides the kind of hedonistic underground scene that delivers world-class DJ experiences. Not that I’m gloating about Glasgow, its just that in a city that doesn’t boast the riches of London or New York, where it seems to rain for 11 and a half months of the year and where the population apparently have the highest rate of heart disease in the world, there has to be one good reason to live there.

If there’s anything that I’ve learned from starting out as a DJ and producer in Glasgow it’s how important it is too keep your feet on the ground. There’s a healthy you’re-only-making-dance-music-son-it’s-not-a-cure-for-cancer style reality checkpoint awaiting anyone who starts putting on too many airs and graces. It is also a common Scottish trait not to praise people for fear that “they will get too big for their own boots” and so when you do get props, you know it’s truly well deserved. And while I don’t think a lack of praise is the best way to encourage new talent, I do think that people that come through the Glasgow scene retain a down-to-earth-ness that can be lacking in well-known producers from other places. 

Over the years you’ve been an excellent spotter of new talent. Are there some young artists that you really like at the moment? Or that will appear on GU and that we haven’t yet heard of?

Cheers! I really enjoy the A&R process. There are a few producers from Glasgow that I really like right now. Some (and hopefully all) of these will appear on Glasgow Underground in the future; Barrientos, ThoseBeats, Mermaids. Outside of Glasgow we have a single due from London/Bristol based Bxentric that Cosmic Kids, Phil Kelsey and I have remixed and there’s a new producer from London called Lumino who’s also recording for Danse Club and has an EP due on GU. As well as that, there are loads of people not on the label that I’m into. I do a monthly radio show on that archives on the Glasgow Underground Soundcloud and you’ll find loads of new music and producers on that.

Let’s talk about London now… What is you experience of London as a DJ? Can you tell us your best and worse London gig memories? 

I haven’t DJed in London for a while so I’m really looking forward to it and in terms of experiences, I’ve never had a bad one in London, I guess I’ve just been lucky. My favourite place to play in the past was a straight tie between Kenny Hawkes and Luke Solomon’s Space @ Bar Rhumba and Harri’s night at Plastic People (when it was on Oxford Street). 

What are your next challenges for the future?

Keeping working in music and having as much fun as I can doing so!

Join Kevin McKay this Friday 5th July at Dalston Superstore for Ubermax from 9pm – 3am.

Win Tickets to Farr Festival

Our friends at the Ransom Note have teamed up with our monthly acid house night Society to host one almighty stage at this month’s Farr Festival and we’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky winner. The stunning line-up includes some of our favourite people, and, of course, own very own Superstore boss Dan Beaumont!

With sets from Bicep, Miss Hannah Holland, J D Twitch from Optimo, Terry Farley and Trevor Fung playing a Balearic sunset set; you can see why we think this is one NOT to be missed!

Farr Festival takes place just outside London in Newnham, Hertfordshire in a deserted wood on the  27th and 28th July with other stages from Bristol based night Just Jack and London’s Sancho Panza. Acts over the weekend include Eats Everything, George FitzGerald, Jozif, Miguel Campbell and Waifs & Strays.

To be with a chance to win, tell us in the comments your best festival story! We’ll decide the winner by 2pm Thursday 12th July.

In the meantime, get your ears round this brand new mix from the boys at Bicep!

Bicep join J D Twitch (Optimo) Hannah Holland, Dan Beaumont, Terry Tarley and Trevor Fung on the R$N Vs Society stage at Farr Festival on Saturday 28th July. You can buy tickets for the festival over at The Ransom Note.

Ivan Smagghe

Tomorrow night sees intransigent French DJ and producer Ivan Smagghe subverting the masses in the lazer basement for Techno In My Fridge. Originally famed for co-founding Parisian electronic act Black Strobe in the late ‘90s, he’s since gone on to help shape the listening tastes of countless electronic music fans via his day-job as A&R at the Kill The DJ record label, superlative DJ sets both solo and with occasional partner-in-crime Andrew Weatherall, and creating music as a duo with Tim Paris as It’s A Fine Line.

As a world-renowned DJ who, according to his Facebook, aims “to prove that electronic music can be so much more than a one dimensional soundtrack for a night on the lash”, he’s one not to be missed. With this in mind, we winged over some geeky and cerebral questions to pose to Monsieur Smagghe…

Hi Ivan, what are you up to right now?

I’m on the Eurostar to Paris to play with (Andrew) Weatherall and Optimo; then a three day marathon: Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco. 

Or did you mean in general maybe? Working on our It’s A Fine Line EP, remixing Footprintz for Visionquest, and finally maybe about to launch the ‘Discipline in Disorder’  book collection.

Our readers do seem to enjoy a bit of a geek-out so can you talk us through your studio set-up please?

Errrr… No, not really. Too long, tedious and secrets of the trade… I could point out to the rare things we really love like our Publison DHM89, our Fairchild reverbatron blah blah… Show off.

What was the last book you read?

I am reading ‘Traveller of the Century’ by Andres Neuman at the moment, amongst other things… I always have a couple on the go. Just finished ‘Europe Central’ by William T. Vollmann. Brilliant as ever.

What are your thoughts on and involvement in Gay Pride in Paris?

Well, Kill the DJ has a float this year representing the lesbian underground scene under the ‘gouine comme un camion’ moniker (roughly translates to ‘fit trucker butch’). Sadly I will be in the States but not in spirit.

Who are your favourite French bands past and present?

Too many to exhaust: Alain Kan, Christophe, Bernard Sazner, Michel Colombier, a million new wave tape or 45 rpm only obscurities. 

Serge Gainsbourg of course, Areski and Brigitte Fontaine have a special place in my heart, so have the too forgotten Programme. And a huge string of One-hit wonders…

What qualities do you most admire in your occasional partner in crime (and Superstore fave) Andrew Weatherall?

His ability to grow a beard rapidly and his knowledge of London/English social literature.

What is in your record bag for Techno In My Fridge?

Dunno yet as I try not to plan in advance.

What is in your fridge?

Cat food. Alvarino wine if am lucky. A definite lack of French cheese.

You founded Black Strobe in ’97 with the rather amazing musical description of “frozen Balearic gay biker house”. What’s the best genre or description you’ve heard recently?

‘Goth step’ was mildly amusing, but I never read musical press so…

What motto do you live your life by?

One motto can’t be nearly enough.

Ivan Smagghe plays Techno In My Fridge at Dalston Superstore on Friday 6th July with Natalie Coleman (Mooch) and residents Mikki Most and Alexander Parade.

Check out this brand new mix from Alexander Parade for a taste of Techno In My Fridge…

A date with Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is a busy boy. Our favourite New York DJ, party organiser, record label owner and DJ-agent Mr Smith knows his way around the Big Apple. We think Ryan is the perfect New York host so we asked him where he would take us on a date in his town…

Where would you take us for an aperitif?

Well if were going on a date you’re probably gay so maybe Nowhere Bar or I also like going to the patio at The Maritime, they have tasty drinks and you can smoke! …Or maybe a brown bag it in a park if you’re feeling a bit on the wild side.

 And where are we going for dinner?

I’m a Mexican food addict and if Dalston Superstore were coming all the way from London it must experience some of the best Mexican in the city.  In my opinion that would be Café El Porta in Nolita or La Superior in Williamsburg.  The latter has the best authentic mini tacos – especially the garlic shrimp and to start the queso with chorizo.  Of course we’d have quite a few margaritas as well!  

Where are we going dancing afterwards?

Depends on the night but there are so many great parties in the city.  Predominantly straight but with a bit of gay are the legendary Bunker, Mister Saturday Night or gay parties like Spank or my own Wrecked (but hard to do a date before a party).  During the summer there is Mister Sunday which is one of my favourite parties of the summer.  You get to dance outside with a good mix of New Yorkers and people from everywhere really.  Definately has to be quality music wherever we go!

We happen to know that you are a pizza connoisseur, so where is the best slice in the city?

Haha, the best!?  Again depends what you’re looking for.  So many options in NYC.  But I’m so bad with names I’d have to walk you there.  But Big Gay Ice Cream is delicious.  I think Dalston Superstore would have to pop in there for a salty pimp.

Good morning… you got lucky! Where are we going for coffee and breakfast?

Westville – favourite brunch in the city. The last time I was there I had a breakfast tostada.  Enough said…

Oh and coffee!  I love stumptown, blue bottle, gimme coffee, ports and a bunch of other spots but no starbucks!  I’m coffee addicted.

What’s your perfect new york city day?

It’s summertime and I’d wake up get a coffee and a sandwich from Chelsea Market (maybe with you) and then walk over to the pier – see who’s there and get some sun.  Then go for some Mexican in the village to put the summertime feeling in full effect.  Then nap and go dancing!!  Bike rides are always great too but can the Dalston Superstore ride a bike?

Ryan plays Optimo at Dalston Superstore on June 16th 

Ryan’s label Discaire Records 

The NYC Downlow At Lovebox

With Lovebox galloping ever closer, we thought it high time to catch up with the people behind the area housing our friends Horse Meat Disco at the festival, the NYC Downlow. Gideon Berger and Steve Gallagher, with their joint background in art direction and set building, are also the brains behind Glastonbury’s hedonistic after-hours playground, Block9. This year their efforts are solely focused on Victoria Park as Pilton lays low for 2012, meaning we can expect bigger and better and more flamboyant goings on with Glasgow’s notorious Optimo, Tim Sweeney of celebrated New York radio show Beats In Space and the legendary Andrew Weatherall joining the HMD boys in everyone’s favourite decaying New York tenement block transported to Hackney…

You both run Block9 at Glastonbury Festival, how did it come about and what was the motivation behind it?

Gideon: Block9 is the name of the set design partnership founded by Steve and me in 2007. We specialize in radical set and environment design. We’re based in East London and we design and produce artworks, installations and live events as well as television, film and stage sets. Before inheriting our own field at Glastonbury we had been doing a lot of festival work around the globe both as Block9 and solo in Japan (Fuji Rock), US (Burning Man) and Europe.

Steve: We created The NYC Downlow for Glastonbury 2007 as an answer to a gaping hole in the British festival scene. It’s a film-set replica of a ruined NYC tenement where the murky homo fantasies of The Downlow crew fuse to resurrect New York’s golden age. The exposed first floor apartment is an outdoor music and performance stage, playing host to the UK’s finest alternative cabaret stars. Having purchased a false moustache from the ‘Porn Kiosk’ (with proceeds going to charity) you make your way down a seedy back alley into a vintage New York gay club.

NYC Downlow At Glastonbury

Did you both think it would become such a talking point and that you’d create this super-popular gay club in the middle of a field in the West Country?

Gideon and Steve: When the NYC Downlow first started it was kinda cobbled together… there were over 50 of us who were there in the mud. We had an inkling that it would really kick off, though we weren’t expecting that on the opening night we would have an instant queue of 300 people waiting to get in! In retrospect looking at the star-studded list of Downlow crew, performers and DJ’s present that first year, it is hardly surprising that it was so popular. Jonny Woo, Jon Sizzle, 9bob Rob, Jim Stanton, Le Gateaux Chocolat, Placid, Luke Howard, James Hillard, Suppository Spelling, Dr Noki, Severino, Foolish Felix… an amazing line up.

How did you guys become involved with Lovebox and what is it about the Sunday that makes it so special?

Gideon and Steve: Jim and James from Horse Meat had done a disco venue at Lovebox in 2006, which was the year before we built the NYC Downlow for Glastonbury. We all had a fucking ball that first year and the boys were keen to bring NYC Downlow to Lovebox as the spiritual home of Horse Meat Disco. They hooked us up with Tim, Jules and Rob from Lovebox and the rest is history. In answer to the “What makes Sunday so special?” question…. well it’s the fact that Sunday is all about the HOMO. And the NYC Downlow is built entirely around the HOMO… from the music, to the set and lighting design…come check it out and you will see.

NYC Downlow At Lovebox

Tell us a bit about what people can expect from NYC Downlow this year and what kind of effort goes in to building the area…

Gideon: The NYC Downlow takes a huge amount of effort to put together really. Shipping containers, cranes, telehandlers, scaffolders, thousands of self-adhesive moustaches, a New York taxicabs, trannies, booze, flashy lights, vintage gay porn, you know…that kinda thing! Stir it all together in Victoria Park, add the finest vintage disco and house and a little sunshine and hey presto – you’ve got yourself The NYC Downlow.

Steve: The Downlow this year features HORSE MEAT DISCO, ANDREW WEATHERALL, OPTIMO, TIM SWEENEY and some killer drag. This year we also have some seriously hot go-go boys too…watch out!

NYC Downlow Lovebox

Was the born out of a love of DJIng or just a natural progression from the festival work?

Gideon: came about really because of two things. The first was that the NYC Downlow became so successful that people really wanted access to our DJ’s and music throughout the year. Through the NYC Dowlow festival venue we had built a network of underground homo DJ’s from all around the globe who were super keen to get involved. Our regular contributors include some giants like Horse Meat Disco, Greg Wilson, Danielli Baldelli, Hannah Holland, Digs and Whoosh, Joshua Iz and a huge amount of other DJ’s specializing in funk, soul, disco vintage house and reggae! I was regularly making mix tapes and CD’s for friends and I kinda thought that maybe hosting them online somewhere might be a good idea too. The success of Block9’s NYC Downlow plus my relatively large output of mixes kinda just added up to the radio. We had no idea it would become a HUGE thing. Thousands of people around the world listen to us every month. It’s the sound of the homo-funk-soul underground!

Steve: We help fund the radio by selling NYC Downlow merchandise from our online shop

NYC Downlow Vest

The NYC Downlow will be at Lovebox Festival in Victoria Park on Sunday 17th June with Horse Meat Disco, Andrew Weatherall, Tim Sweeney and Optimo. For tickets and further info visit: 

Photo credits: Darrell Berry // NYC Downlow

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…