For the latest edition of Pump, our special guest is non other than lauded Swedish music producer, songwriter and DJ, Johan Blende! Signed to the Belgian disco label Eskimo and famed for such cuts as Rikki and Fake Love, Blende has remixed for the likes of Lana Del Rey and Azari & III. With worldwide bookings from Space in Ibiza to Ministry of Sound here in London, we’re super excited to welcome Blende to the basement of Superstore! Fresh of the release of his banging new summer anthem single Back to Summertime, we caught up with him to chat new releases, Michael Jackson and plans for Pump!
Hi Blende! We are so excited to have you join us for Pump! How has your 2017 been so far?
Hi there! Excellent, so am I! It’s been good so far, released a single just before summer and am currently making plans for the next one.
How do you think growing up in Sweden influenced your sound?
Hmm, don’t know if it did much really. I mean most Swedish producers I know and know of have quite a different sound to mine I feel, but there are exceptions so maybe there is something in the water after all.
If you could change anything about the pop music industry, what would it be?
Ugh, let’s not go there, I’ll be playing suicidal music on Saturday if so.
What is your earliest musical memory?
Listening to MJ’s Thriller on my walkman, in the back of my dad’s car. Not sure if I made the walkman, dad and car bit up but I definitely had the album on cassette.
You took a couple of years’ hiatus from DJing during 2015-16, what has it been like coming back to it after such a significant break?
It’s nice being back, though I’m still not quite up to speed just yet. We’ll see what else 2017 brings, definitely hoping more people will have me come play at their nights!
Can you talk us through your songwriting process?
Lately I’ve been mainly putting down ideas while working on something else; if things pop into my head I strip down whatever I’m currently working on to just drums or something basic and put it down on top and then revisit it at some point once I’ve finished what I was already doing. But I have something like 10-15 track ideas going on rotation at any time so it’s a natural process I think.
Who have been some of your favourite collaborators over the years?
There are some people I’ve worked with these past couple of years that I’d love to do some more stuff with, but they’ve all been part of tracks that don’t have a home yet so I probably shouldn’t say too much at this point. It’s nice working together with friends on location though, so I’m trying to find time to do that again as it’s been a little while.
Favourite release of the year?
Pretty much every Deewee release this year has been great.
If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/when, where would you go?
It would be Manhattan, in the 70s, CBGBs & Studio 54. I don’t think they’d let me in though, one saying I look too pissed and the other not pissed enough.
In five words or less, what are you planning to unleash at Pump?
Luscious & pumping electronic music.
Catch Blende at Pump this Saturday 19 August from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
For latest edition of heaving homo house party Pump, promoters Neil Prince and Johnny Kalifornia have recruited New York party icons The Carry Nation to unleash their trademark brand of uplifting diva-heavy house on the lazer basement! Fresh off the back of some seriously thumping releases and brilliantly hedonistic accompanying music videos, we caught up with DJ Nita Aviance and Will Automagic to chat New York’s thriving queer scene, Glastonbury’s Block 9 and plans for Pump!
Hi Carry Nation! We can’t wait to have you guys join us at Pump! How has 2017 been for you so far?
2017 has been a brilliant year getting back to work with our mother-label, UK based Batty Bass, run by Hannah Holland. Two of the tracks we released on that label come with videos from two very talented artists we’ve always wanted to work with, Tyler Jensen and Cathal O’Brien.
You guys are involved quite heavily with the incredible Battle Hymn parties in NYC – can you tell us a bit about it? They always look insane!
Ladyfag is a genius and always knows how to throw an amazing party. The roster of guest DJs always blows our mind and it’s a real return to proper partying in Manhattan
You guys have been playing at the NYC Downlow at Glastonbury for a good few years now – do you agree with Mixmag calling it the UK’s best club?
100% yes. Block 9 always delivers some of the highlights of our year.
What is it about the NYC Downlow that makes it so magical?
Sick programming, enticing visuals and enough d—s to choke a horse!
We love the teaser video for your new single, The Queens! Where did the inspiration for that come from?
Our love for London and our many experiences there led us to give our director Cathal free-reign to interpret our NY-based song. Keeping the trans-Atlantic theme we also wanted to feature Sussi, a recent transplant to London from New York.
Hifi Sean is one of East London’s most loved and most prolific musicians of the past couple decades. Having cut his teeth as the lead singer of nineties Scottish rock band The Soup Dragons, Sean went on to form The High Fidelity and become a widely successful DJ in London and beyond. This year has seen the release of his brilliant debut album Ft, with a who’s who of special guests worthy of a dream dinner party guest list! We are thrilled to have him join us for the latest edition of Pump!
Hifi Sean! It’s been a while since we last talked, how have you been?
Hi! I’ve been on promo duties with the new album and working on more little movies for tracks and running the record label Plastique Recordings and sorting future releases – all exciting artistic meanderings for the next few months!
You have been up to all kinds of things this year – releasing a debut album among other things, congratulations!
Thanks. The reviews and critical acclaim for it have all been amazing, and I’m so happy to see the finished work all connecting with people after the many years it has taken to put it all together .
There are some incredible collaborations on the new album – Yoko Ono, Bootsy Collins, Fred Schneider… How did you get involved with these incredible artists?
It was a family tree of things to be honest – each one different to the other in that respect. For instance, Bootsy Collins I know from when I was in my band Soup Dragons. We toured with Deee-Lite and he was playing bass for them and we became good friends. I recorded a track in the nineties with him so when making this album I thought it would be great to do something again. Fred from B-52s I know also from the band days, so yeah I suppose it was the rock ‘n’ roll network of artists who all connect with each other’s friends and friends of friends who know friends of friends… I am just really honoured to have worked with such amazing artists from my record collection!
Who else is still on your dream collaboration list?
I had a note on my phone and I kept writing mind flashes down and this is some of those that are on it from when I was making the album… People like Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips) to Carly Simon to Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) to Neil Diamond to Francois Hardy… It’s a very long list and goes on and on!
Can you tell us a bit about the song writing process? Was most of it done in person, or did it involve a lot of correspondence?
I did a lot of travelling making this album as I recorded the sessions and worked with the artists building the tracks over time ’til we were happy. It was recorded in London, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Cincinnati , Toronto and Glasgow.
Wow, quite the international release!! Now that the album is out, what do the next six months hold in store for you?
I am writing and recording the next album at the moment which I would say sounds as good if not even better than this album. It is all based and named after something I saw scrawled on a toilet wall which is not only the title but the next album cover – once again capturing a life experience and putting it to work on my own material .
What do you make of all this talk of London’s dying nightlife?
Obviously Fabric was a kick in the nuts for club culture driven by fat cat money maker council developers , but things will always bubble underground and new things will appear and new scenes start.
I have never been busier playing some great parties and things look healthy to me, but what does annoy me is the telephone app culture. Get off your phones, get out, cruise and dance with real people and enjoy the moment instead of searching on your phone for a better moment that is never going to be there!
Can you give us a bit of an idea what to expect at Pump?
Dirty twisted house music with a few italo disco injections for the funk of it.
Catch Hifi Sean at Pump on Saturday 5 October from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore.
Having graced festival stages the world over as one half of English electronic duo Monarchy, we are thrilled to welcome DJ & producer Andrew Armstrong to Dalston Superstore for the next edition of throbbing gay bash Pump! We sat down ahead of the party to chat favourite gigs, Dita Von Teese, and broadcasting performances into outer space! Hi Andrew! We can’t wait to have you play soon for Les Pump! Can you tell us a bit about Monarchy?
Monarchy is two of us, me and Ra Black. We formed in 2009, and our first concert was broadcast live into space from Cape Canaveral. We were releasing on Kitsune, Neon Gold, and then Universal, and Ultra Records in the US. We went on to remix Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Kelis, OMD, Jamiroquai and a bunch of others, and played festivals like Coachella, Melt, Lovebox, and a bunch in Spain that most non-Spanish people haven’t heard of, like Low Festival, Arenal Sound, BBK…. This year we’ve got a busy summer lined up, loads of gigs in Spain and Paris alongside Charli XCX and Giorgio Moroder, Korea, and then on to the US. Also, this year we are headlining Madrid Gay Pride, so excited by that!
You guys have toured all over the place. What is the most memorable place you have ever played?
It’s hard to choose – they each have their own flavour. Playing Coachella was really amazing, it had such an amazing atmosphere back then. We played Folsom Street Fair twice, which is great. It’s the world’s largest fetish festival, tens of thousands of rubbered up bears, muscle boys, twinks and freaks. I like the freaks the most. But then there’s something really weird and special about going to Moscow and playing, or doing our own show in Madrid to a full house, or a private members’ club in Paris. We have a great time on tour and we have a wide range of shows.
Can you tell us a bit about your song writing process?
We change every song, on how we write it. Sometimes Ra starts with a little idea, a verse and a chorus, no words, and just a beat and some chords. Then we decide if we’re going to work on it, and start collaborating from that point, getting the lyrics right. I look after the beats, instrumentation and production, but I’m always referring to him, getting his opinion. Sometimes I come up with an idea and chuck it over to him, see what he thinks. But I can’t sing at all, so really, he’s in charge of that.
You’ve collaborated quite a bit with Dita Von Teese – that’s amazing! How did that collaboration come about?
Yes, she sang on two of our tracks, and is in three of our videos. It was the first time she sang on a release, so it was really amazing for us. She’s now working with Sebastien Tellier, so I’ve got a bit of musician jealousy about that, and I’ve asked for a three way!
We met her because she saw us play live at Coachella and started tweeting about us. Then she booked me to DJ for her once in London, and I met her for half an hour. Not long after that, she texted me, inviting me to spend Christmas with her and her friends in Paris. Of course, I went. So I spent a week staying in her apartment with her crazy gang, and we became friends. She suggested she wanted to be on one of our tracks, so I went back to London and wrote Disintegration for her with Ra. Since then we’ve become good friends and we go on holidays together sometimes, or to Sonar, Ibiza or Coachella. She’s a really lovely person, and great fun. One of the good ones!
If you could change anything about London’s nightlife, what would it be?
I like London nightlife at the moment. There’s some great venues and good clubs. Of course, the good ones turn bad really quickly, overrun with the city boys and their secretaries. But if there’s enough freaks there, and door control, it keeps it at bay. I think London is better now than it was a few years ago. Dalston Superstore is really great, and there’s a bunch of other options as well. There’s always something to do!
Which new releases from this year have got you excited?
There’s so many lately! I listen to Tourist a lot. I really like Shit Robot‘s album. The BreakBot album is quite fun. Kaytranada. Ry X for a mellow moment.
Who would be your dream collaboration?
Pharrell. He’s so amazing.
If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/anywhere, where would you go?
I think the obvious answer would be Studio54. But maybe I would go back to the second Summer of Love in the UK. Pills were just taking the violence off soccer hooliganism, everyone was loved up, changing the world with rave culture, and music was bringing everyone together. It would be amazing to be dancing in a field outside the M25 back then.
Which song will start off your set at Pump?
I’m one of those weird DJ’s that decides what I am going to play at the time, on the night. I need to see the crowd, I need to hear what the DJ before me is playing, see what is working. So, we’ll have to wait and see!
And finally, in three words, what are you planning to bring to Pump?
Poppers and dirt.
Catch Andrew Armstrong at Pump this Saturday 11 June from 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.