Posts Tagged ‘Steve Strange’

tanzBar DJs’ Favourite Records

After their 11 hour New Years Day extravaganza, tanzBar returns for a two-floor party here at Dalston Superstore! With resident Polanski, host Mr Deutz and guest DJs Y.O.T.I., Kasia, Karezza and Jonas Ransson, they’ll be bringing their special vibes to upstairs and the basement. 

“It’s the naughtiest dancing imaginable. Two boys dance with one girl or boys dance with other boys, couples lock in a mass embrace. The scenes on the dance floor are fit for a lunatic asylum: if you couldn’t hear the music you’d think the dancers were insane.” 

Mr Deutz… What is one record that sums up for you the party ethos?

Gotham by Ten Walls. Partly because of the combination of ethereal otherness, strong danceability and joy, but also because Polanski has played it a number of times and when I think of his nights this often comes to mind.

Polanski… what’s one record you can totally lose yourself in?

Let The Good Times Roll (Agoria Remix) by Layo & Bushwacka! This came out in the year 2002 when I had travelled back home for a holiday trip and to my horror I was rejected on the UK border when I returned… There was a bitter-sweet ending to the story; ending my relationship here in London but starting a completely new life chapter in Wroclaw/Poland. Connecting with a new group of people, then starting my new club night and a weekly residency that in few months turned my DJ-skills to a level of turntablism. I remember how that song was totally melting the dance floor, with a powerful rolling bass line and haunting voice, as if arriving from the Elsewhereness – it still gives me goose bumps. It’s beautifully happy as well as sad, it captures those emotions that connect me with music in the most profound way. I have searched the internet to find online version – but it’s only available as a part of my mix from that very club night: bOMBER cLOCK  (Check it at 44:00 minutes)

 

Deep Moonday by Polanski on Mixcloud

 

Y.O.T.I… A record that informs your live project The Eyeshadows?

Moon Safari by Air. This album is a proof that alchemy exists. Air took trash and turned it to gold. Moon Safari made me embrace my aural guilty pleasures and use them as part of my creative process. Thank you Air!

Jonas… A record that you treasure from your teens?

Visage by Visage. I’m glad you asked me this question as it gives me the opportunity to talk about the recent passing of Steve Strange who has had a consistent influence over my musical obsessions and influences. The first record I ever bought, at age 13, and actually ordered from the local record store, on 12” believe it or not, was Visage’s ‘Visage’, the third release from their self titled LP of that year. Their music is filled with rich humour and sound puns in addition to solid musicianship on both guitars and synthesisers. And who could not help be drawn to that beautiful picture of Steve on the cover, in such seductive red tones, in leather and Kabuki style make up. Love at first sight. I first became aware of Steve when seeing his image gracing the cover of Smash Hits Magazine in 1981. Most kids at school were into ska at that time, bands like Madness, The Specials, The Beat. Steve seemed to offer something all together more clandestined, glamorous, mysterious and certainly more sophisticated. It wasn’t just the music, although that was a large part of it, but also the new movement he and others at that time pioneered through the Blitz Club, its association with exiting new aspects of fashion, design and the arts. It wasn’t easy being one of the only kids in the school who was into this stuff. Certainly with so many skin heads knocking around the school. Quite a brave move on my part. I’d been brought up in a house listening to the likes of Bowie and Roxy Music, Kraftwerk . My parents were pretty progressive, liberal people who were into quite alternative forms of music and arts. Steve Strange and the New Romantics seemed for me to represent the obvious progression from this lineage. So despite being in to all kinds of musical styles and genres over the years, Visage’s music, the period of the new Romantics and the fascination that it had for me at a formative age has stayed with me, and I’m hoping tanzBar will give me the opportunity to play a small selection of Visage’s music in way of homage to Steve.

Kasia… A record too sad to listen to?

I’ll Change Your Life from the album Bird, Lake, Objects by Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek

Listening to this record, I feel that the sadness and melancholy somehow bring positive emotions and peacefulness. I find it very pleasant to listen to.  I believe that sad music might actually lift our spirits. I am not sure if a record could be to sad to listen to, ever…

Karezza… A record that reminds you of your first clubbing experience?

Wax and Wane by Cocteau Twins First of all, it is good to say that I started clubbing at goth parties – yes, I was one of those heavy make-up blurred lipstick kiddos – and I just got amused by techno and house music years later. A track that was really important to me at that time, and still one of my favourites, is Wax and Wane by the Cocteau Twins – especially the version that came out on The Pink Opaque compilation, from 1985. Insane drum-machine and unbelievably complex bass-line! 

Y.O.T.I… A record that reminds you of coming out?

69 Love Songs by Magnetic Fields. One can argue that 69 Love Songs songs can be far too many love songs for one record. In my case this ambitious project can not reflect more the long process of self realisation I had to go through. I love this album as much as I love 69.

Mr Deutz… A record whose lyrics could be about your life?

DJ Culture by Pet Shop Boys. I suppose it might sound a bit dated and portentous, but the lyrics offer very singular combination of insights and feelings with which I strongly identify. I first heard the song at a very traumatic time and it consoled me. It still does.

Polanski… A record that never leaves your bag?

The Sky Was Pink (Holden Remix) by Nathan Fake. If I needed to be a hundred percent honest, I’d have to answer that my laptop is my record bag. It contains stuff that I grew up with, as well as some records that I played 15, 10, 5 or 2 years ago. Looking back, the music I play in clubs gets so heavily used that after a year or so it just goes to a folder in the same way that an LP on vinyl gets covered in dust. So to twist your question a bit, one of the most influential dance records for me of all times would have to be The Sky Was Pink (Holden Remix) by Nathan Fake. It’s still in my bag!

tanzBar is at Dalston Superstore this Saturday 14th March from 9pm – 3am.

Mark Moore

By Rokk
 
S’Express was formed by DJ and remixer Mark Moore, and went on to be one of the most successful exponents of the emergent acid house scene. Assisted by Pascal Gabriel (Bomb The Bass), S’Express utilised the increasing use of samples and beats to create a sound that was both popular and fresh. I must have been around 14 at the time when I purchased their album Original Soundtrack and I still remember how fresh it sounded and I think it has really stood the test of time.
 
I met up with Mark ahead of his gig at Body Talk to for an in-depth chat…
 
Where in London did you grow up and what was your first experience of the London nightlife?

I grew up in Hampstead, Golders Green, North Finchley; gradually heading further down the property ladder until ending up in punk squats in Kings Cross and Tufnell Park then a council flat in the Harrow Road. I had a stormy childhood, even having a brief spell in a children’s home in Potters Bar.

My first experience of London clubbing was going to Steve Strange’s first night ‘Billys’ at Gossips in Meard St, Soho. I was taken by a Bowie look-a-like called Bowie Teresa and we danced to Kraftwerk, Roxy Music, early Human League, Yellow Magic Orchestra, The Normal and of course David Bowie. Later on I started to frequent The Blitz club although I wasn’t really a Blitz Kid. I missed out on the opening and the early days but visited regularly around the time Bowie went there and got extras for his ‘Ashes To Ashes’ video. Everyone who had previously been so cool and poised, turned into 10 year old screaming girls and chased him up the stairs. Hilarious.

To be honest, I preferred Steve Strange’s other club ‘Hell’ in Covent Garden which felt less self conscious and was on around the same time. It was about then that I went to my first proper gay club Heaven which had just opened. I remember being equal parts terrified and exhilarated. At Blitz everyone tried to play it cool and although it was friendly in it’s own way it was also pretty pretentious and aloof as was the mood of the day. At Heaven everyone was super friendly. Isn’t it nice that everyone wanted to come and look after this 16 year old boy who went there on his own? What sweet people!

Theme From S’Express has been quoted by Muzik magazine as “the track that kick started the UK house scene.” How does that make you feel and what were your expectations or aspirations after finishing your album Original Soundtrack?

Muzik Magazine said that in hindsight a few years after the fact, once the dust had settled. At the time I knew I was pioneering a new sound but I didn’t want my music to be just a copy of the Chicago house or the Detroit techno sound, so it sounded like a mutant version of many things. Someone once told me S’Express was to house music what Talking Heads were to punk and I see what they mean. I knew that with the chart success of S’Express I was opening doors around the world, and especially in Europe, where most people had never heard of house or techno. I did the first house music night in Paris and got an up and coming DJ called Laurent Garnier, who used to come and hear me play, to do the warm up. He says it kick-started his DJ career.

They called me the Pope of House in Europe. People like Derrick May were really pleased S’Express were doing well. They knew it would make their music more accessible to a wider audience. The mainstream really didn’t understand it at first, it seemed so alien to them. I remember doing interviews in Germany and the journalists asking how they were meant to relate to this new music when they had nothing to compare it to. I told them they had Kraftwerk and could surely be able to see the connection. One reply was, “Oh but Kraftwerk is so old. That was years ago!” Eight months later I went back and all the journalists were saying, “This music came from Germany! We have Kraftwerk!” Everyone became a self-professed ‘expert’ on house music really quickly.

How long did the album take to conceive and as a first time producer did things come naturally to you?

Things came very naturally at first. Especially the tracks I did with Pascal Gabriel. We were just experimenting with no rules and not having to worry about the confines of genres or if something was commercial or not. We loved good pop music so some tracks had a pop edge while still remaining strange and experimental. Other tracks (b-sides) were just plain experimental where we were influenced by the likes of Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle.

Theme From S’Express was actually influenced by hip-hop just as much as disco and house music. Disco was still a very dirty word back then and I remember thinking a lot of my peers, and especially journos were going to be appalled that I had made a record that was disco influenced, but I really didn’t care. I was ready to take the flack. Luckily people liked it and as it turned out a lot of journalists hedged their bets on the reviews as they knew that something new and special was going on but weren’t quite sure yet if it was okay to give it the thumbs up. The disco really put them off. Disco was still the enemy for many serious music journalists.

The hip-hop influence was mainly about looping beats or bars from records to make a new backing track. But instead of Funky Drummer I looped Rose Royce. The Double Dee & Steinski’s records Lessons 1-3 were very much on my mind with their clips from many sources. I threw in bits from performance artist Karen Finley and many others along with original parts like the bassline and the “S’Express” chant. David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts was another big influence. Love the pair of them.

When the white label of ‘Theme’ was doing really well in the clubs, my record label Rhythm King asked for us to do a version that could be played on the radio. Something less strange and crazy or else they might not play it. You have to remember at the time tracks just didn’t sound like that and ‘Theme’ stuck out like a sore thumb. We thought radio could take it or leave it as far as we were concerned. So Pascal and I purposely did the worst radio mix we could and handed it to the label. They said “Ok, you win. We’ll just leave it as it is and bin this mix.” I’m glad we stuck to our guns as Radio 1 were eventually forced to play the track after it looked like it was going to go to Number 1 just on club play… and they would have looked foolish if they weren’t playing it.

After we had a couple of hit singles things became more difficult. Lots more arguments to make things ‘normal’ commercial instead of the quirky, experimental-pop that I like. I got bored of the whole music biz hamster wheel quite quickly.

You also worked alongside William Orbit on the Batman soundtrack by Prince, how did that come about?

I tracked down William to remix my track Hey Music Lover. I loved his Torch Song stuff and his solo albums and he’s always been one of my favourite producers. He ended up sending me cassettes of all these amazing bits and loops he’d done of the track but he’d been up for days and needed help editing them all together in a way that made sense. We ended up editing the mix together down the phone!

With Prince, I knew he’d been listening to S’Express when I heard This Is Not Music, This Is A Trip on the b-side of Alphabet St. He called up and said he’d like to have me remix some of the tracks from his soundtrack for the Batman film. I immediately called up William and we carried on working together on more remixes after that, my fave being Malcolm McClaren’s Deep In Vogue. Malcolm introduced us to the New York voguing scene and we got to sample the movie Paris Is Burning long before it came out or anyone had seen it. 

Malcolm got in contact because he remembered me hanging out in his shop Seditionaries on the Kings Road when I was 15. I was a bored punk rocker and would help (punk icon shop-assistant) Jordan fold tee-shirts. She took me under her wing and I’d help her shut up shop. Jordan and Vivienne Westwood once took me for dinner after shutting the shop and we were walking up the Kings Road when a bunch of punks on the other side of the road were shouting “Vivienne you sell out!” Vivienne gobbed at them in reply and turned to us with a smile saying, “I’m still a punk!” 

What was the last album you listened to from start to finish?

After Dark 2. I’m amazed at how the Italians Do It Better label can continue putting out one sublime track after another with such ease and for such a long time! Wonderful. Do me a Glass Candy or Chromatics, S’Express remix please.

How would you describe your relationship with music?

Obsessive. It made me who I am and without wishing to sound clichéd, it really did save my life. From being a kid and being put in a kids home to actually finding something that made me think life was worth living. All my friends over the years I’ve met through music.

What are you passionate about?

Besides music, I’d say films and books. I’m particularly obsessed with films, from the classics to the incredibly strange. Alejandro Jodorowsky, Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell. Stuff you can’t find on Netflix.

Vinyl or Digital?

I actually like both now. Wendy Carlos was always a big supporter of digital sound and how it can feel as warm and rich as analogue. I think for certain types of music digital is just fine. If I’m playing punk stuff I prefer to put on the vinyl.

You’ve been DJing in London’s clubland for over 25 years now, what memories really stand out for you?

I don’t know where to start with individual memories but I can say I’m lucky enough to have lived through a few music and cultural revolutions. It’s always the most exciting at the beginning of those revolutions when it’s unchartered territory. Each new track will lay down a new gauntlet or a new signpost as to where one might go next on the musical map. I’m usually at my best during a revolution.

Is there a question that you wished you’d have been asked that no one has ever asked?

“Will you marry me?”

What’s new? 

I’m curating these amazing remixes and cover versions of the old S’Express stuff, some which I shall be playing on the night. I’m just trying to sort out a deal with Sony over who owns my old tracks but that’s proving to be hard work. Hopefully it will all work out and it will get a release soon. I’ve got amazing mixes by Chris & Cosey and many others. Also if they finish it, a psychedelic sludge rock cover version of Mantra For A State Of Mind by Primal Scream with Jason Pierce from Spiritualized on guitar. It seems everyone’s terrified of remixing ‘Theme From S’Express’ though. Lots of big names have either passed on it and chosen another track or have just given up halfway through!

I’m also working on new tracks. Just put out Dreams Of Deja Vu, which I did with Roland Faber and a remix for I Am A Camera of their track The Legendary Children.

Join Mark Moore this Saturday 17th August at Dalston Superstore for Body Talk from 9pm – 3am.

Photo credit: Rokk

Tasty Tim

One of the original innovative trailblazers who shaped London’s disco and alternative gay scene in the early ’80s, Tasty Tim has been an integral part of everything fun and flamboyant going on in the capital since. He’s seen it all, done it all, and played at all the most pioneering club nights and been a very welcome guest here at Superstore. He returns on Saturday 5th May to play Delirium alongside Jaime Ritchie and Kris Di Angelis so we caught up with him to ask all about his prestigious DJing history…

What prompted you to first start DJing?

It wasn’t something I’d intended on doing or even given any thought to, it just “happened”. I was working in a record shop on Kings Road that was owned by Rusty Egan (of Blitz club and Visage fame). We flogged all the fab electronic tracks that Rusty used to spin at his clubnights. It was a great place to hang out, hear the latest tunes and swap make-up tips and that was just the boys! I mean we’re talking back in 1981 here. You HAD to have the face on if you were stepping out on the Kings Road.

Steve Strange and Rusty had had such great success with their one-nighter club events like Blitz and Hell that other people were catching on (or should that be cashing in?) on the idea and new nights were starting to happen. One such venue that wanted a slice of the action was the almighty Heaven. So vast and cavernous that it could easily accommodate what they called an “alternative” night in a back room, hidden away from the rest of the club. The night was called Cha-Cha and was so quirky that the music for the night was all on pre-recorded cassettes. I’m not sure why they decided to change it to having DJs but I’m very glad they did because that’s how I got started. I’d met one of the promoters at the record shop who invited me to the club and then almost as an after thought said “Why don’t you bring some records and you can play them at the club.” VERY clever promoting if you ask me!

And that’s how it started…I got the DJ bug. Apparently, there is still no cure.

The alternative gay scene of the 80s is massively influential – what was special about those years and why do you think the legend endures?

It’s actually a bit of an urban myth that the alternative scene of the 80s was solely a gay scene. In fact it was very very mixed. All the really great nights were a melting pot. That’s what made them so special. The Mud club in particular had a really fantastic blend of straights, gays, boys, girls and everything in-between. Even Taboo was a very mixed-up affair. It wasn’t about your sexuality it was about having a certain style or a certain attitude and that is part of the legend that has endured. Any great club night has to have the right blend, too much of one thing or another is just boring. Get the mix right and you’ve got yourself a hit.

What has been your craziest gig?

I can tell you the most dangerous! I was DJing in Moscow once at a really big event. I was up on a stage spinning away and behind me on big podiums were naked go-go boys in paddling pools splashing around and throwing beach balls. All good fun. But of course they got over excited and decided to try and soak the crowd as well but it didn’t quite make it into the crowd, it was landing on me! That I could just about cope with (it was rather a warm night so it was quite refreshing really) but then it started hitting the decks and the mixer. Even I know that electrics and water don’t mix. Smoke was starting to come from the mixer. Not good. Not good at all.

Luckily the promoter was on hand and we quickly decided to put one of the planned drag shows on early so we could shut the music down and change the mixer. Which, bless them, they did in record quick time, saving the night and what could have been one very toasted tranny. The go-go boys and their paddling pools were never seen again. Shame really.

What is special about London’s gay scene today?

There is just sooooo much choice. Something for everyone. Personally I still prefer a “mixed” crowd, still an 80’s girl at heart I guess. Luckily the Superstore mix it up just right and I can’t wait to play there on the 5th.

What are your plans for the future?

To carry on carrying on! I have a new night with Lady Lloyd called Lost in Music which starts June 23rd at a new venue in Vauxhall. We’re super excited about that one, it’s gonna be H.O.T. I’m also planning a return to the studio. Gonna throw out a few tunes. It’s been quite a while! Watch this space.

Tasty Tim plays Delirium here at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 5th May from 9pm to 3am.