Posts Tagged ‘Thunder’

Long-Lost London House

By Manu Ekanayake

House music is a culture in this city: the DJs, the clubs, the dancers, the fashions – they all play a part in London’s fascination with this thing called ‘house’, which is so central to all the dancefloors we love so dearly. But when all’s said and done, when the media stops caring (or starts to miss the point), it all comes down to music: the tracks we hold in our hearts; the ones that make us smile and make our hearts race every time we hear just a few bars. If clubbing is about anything, it’s about that: the special feeling the right record can give, distilled into a sonic tonic that can be administered over many hours, or even days, in the right hands, i.e those of our favourite DJs.

So it was to them we turned, to better explore some highlights of London house tracks of the past. Music is such a personal experience: one person’s tune can be another’s audio nightmare, but these guys are all past masters at making a dancefloor move, of shaping your nights out with the right track for the right time, at making you smile and making you move.  They’re also good friends of DSS (and our stylish sister venue, Dance Tunnel), so we asked them to share tracks they know and love, but that you probably don’t. 

The results are illuminating, to say the least, as they reveal as much about our city’s love affair with house as they do about the music itself. And with the powers that be squeezing nightlife ever-harder, there’s never been a better time to remember what we’re doing here in the first place. These are the tracks that brought us together; the tracks that remind us that ‘house’ is a feeling – one that London must never lose. 

DSS’ favourite acid house hero-turned afro-futurist, Ashley Beedle goes back to ’91 with a tune that bought different crowds together… 

Shay Jones – Are You Gonna Be There

Ashley: Produced by the legend that is Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley outta Chicago, this track has a beautiful vocal and a bumping groove that really crossed the soulboy /original garage-head divide. It came out when things were getting a bit ravetastic, to say the least. At the time, I was managing Black Market Records (the house section). This was a breath of fresh air and we definitely sold quite a few boxes. It even made the swingbeat b-boys from downstairs come and check it out! Hahahaha. I remember hearing people like Jazzie B, Phil Asher, Keith Franklin, Kid Batchelor, Frankie Foncett, Norman Jay, Coldcut and the Boy’s Own crew drop this killer, to name but a few. It wasn’t made in London but we made it a London record, for sure. It’s when that piano kicks in… sheer joy!

Veryverywrongindeed’s Tim Sheridan gets personal with a tune that soundtracked his move to London from his hometown, Leeds, back in the 80s…

The Raid – Jump Up In The Air

Tim: I chose The Raid’s Jump Up In The Air because it is spread all through my personal history from when it came out to even right now. It was the soundtrack of my moving to London from the north in the mid ’80s. I used to hear it in so many varied places; from Clink Street to the Orbital raves to the legit clubs. I was the first and last DJ to play at the UK’s attempt at the Love Parade and I played this as the first and last record and to see 300,000 people going mental to it was a rush and a sort of House justice too. It deserves it. It has all the elements of being a chant and a call to arms, as well as an invitation to party. It would do it a great disrespect to try to describe it further than saying that to this day if I hear it I get chills and will pogo like a nob the minute it comes on. For me it’s the definitive house record. Todd Terry innit! 

Joe Hart of Body Hammer and World Unknown just about remembers this Planet E stormer from various nights out… 

Common Factor – Positive Visual

Joe: I remember first hearing this at LOST, or some Wiggle thing, or maybe it was at The End? To be honest, I don’t really remember. What I can remember is it being one of those records that cut through everything and it being the one experience you take away from 6 hours in the dark listening to the ‘doof-doof’. I never found out what it was until many years later, I bought it and forgot I had it ‘til just now…

Now we come to the Thunder DJs – first off, the authoritative Miles Simpson takes the brief literally and recalls a London-made tune that slipped through the cracks the first time round…  

Melancholy Man –Joy

Miles: You don’t get much more LONDON and HOUSE than Warriors Dance, the West London label set up by Tony Thorpe of Moody Boys fame. It was home to Tony’s act, No Smoke, who made Koro Koro, possibly the greatest British records of all time, and also to Kid Batchelor’s legendary Bang the Party, who have claims of their own to the title I just bestowed on No Smoke!

 One record that seemed to slip through the net, though, was Melancholy Man’s Joy. Produced by Bang the Party but with what was, at the time, a rare vocal from Robert Owens, it pretty much sunk without trace. Maybe the slightly disjointed drums didn’t quite cut it in the four/four driven world of the 1989 rave scene, but the production is still beautiful and Robert really, really turns it out.

 This was once pretty hard to find and to do so required much scrabbling around in the basement of Record and Tape, but internet means it’s now a 50p virtual-bargain-bin record these days… but you know, sometimes they’re the best ones.

Then the sublime Joseph Apted goes a little bit tech-house. But not a lot…

Presence – Gettin’ Lifted

I guess this record might get lumped in with the much-maligned ‘tech house’ scene, but like most scenes if you dig about in the dross there always a few gems to be discovered and this is one of them. Presence is one of Charles Webster’s many aliases, and to be fair I could probably pick quite a few of his mid-’90s records as lost London classics i.e his remix of Hot Lizard’s The Theme, or his collaboration with Matthew Herbert as DJ Boom, but I went for this one as it’s perhaps less well- known. It’s a subtle record, couldn’t be less of a ‘banger’, but for me has a druggy, dreamy, ethereal quality to it that lifts it above a lot of other records from that period. It’s absolutely a record to get lost to at 5am in the morning in a sweaty, smoky basement and reminds me of going to nights at the End, or Brixton parties like Kerfuffle when I first moved to London. I looked it up on Discogs yesterday for the first time ever, just to remind myself what year it came outin, and was genuinely amazed to see some chancers trying to sell copies of it for over 100 quid! Although I think that says more about the amount of piss-takers there is on Discogs these days than anything else! Collectable or not, it’s a great record that you should hunt down, and listening to it again has made me want to stick it in my bag for the next Thunder!

And finally the (musically) ruthless Rick Hopkins looks back to look forward with a little slice of house music gold…

Tone Theory – ‘Limbo Of Vanished Possibilities’ (Derrick Carter & The Innocent Original Mix)

This little ditty dates from 1995, I was in my mid 20’s and frequenting clubs like Sabresonic II, Drum Club, Club UK, Strutt & Full Circle and this record was a mainstay at all of them. A fantastic production from one Derrick Carter on Mr C’s infamous Plink Plonk Records, a record that is as relevant today as it was back then and deserves to be out in the open once again, lovely piano hook, keys, whirling synth pads, some deep vocals from (I think) Derrick and the break from Gaz – Sing Sing all put to wondrous effect.

So, what does all this digging tell us? Well, it proves that house is a feeling that lingers through the years, as our DJs have proven with their fond recollections. Hopefully they made you think about your own long-lost house favourites from your own salad days in clubland… feel free to post them below, along with a memory or two of why they moved you in the first place?

To get things started, here’s the tune that started it all for this writer. Not a massive Orbital fan in general – and calling this one ‘house’ is probably pushing it – but hearing the mad proggy bassline on this, via a Darren Emerson mixtape for Muzik magazine (RIP) in 1996, was enough to to kick-start a love-affair with club culture that’s lasted nearly 20 years. If my ‘research’ ever ends, I’ll call you with the results…

Orbital – Walk Now

The Sound Of Thunder

By Elles Pinfold

Miles Simpson and I go way back.  Well, by way back I mean about three years, which in London time is forever no?  Ok, it’s not, but you know what I mean. Seems like forever (in a good way). 

He got in touch via a shared love of venting about old house records and clubs of yore. His Beyond The Stars blog and my Legendary Children site had a lot in common; the vital difference being that he had actually witnessed some of this stuff first hand and our knowledge was gleaned through feverish trawling of the Internet and out-of-print books from Amazon.

When his night Thunder launched two years ago we were down the front with bells on. As it turns out over those two years Miles’ knowledge and passion (along with that of his co-hosts Rick and Joe) have translated into one of the best underground house nights in London.

The night is celebrating its 2nd anniversary this weekend, so what better time to pick Mr. Simpson’s teeming house brain on the seminal clubs that have influenced him and how Thunder is nailing it today…

It is well documented (amongst those that know you) that your visit to Sound Factory in the ’90s had a huge impact. I love hearing your stories despite possibly maybe teasing about it on occasion *ahem*. Tell us about it. Why was it so special?

I guess it was special because it was like nothing I’d ever experienced in London. Not only was it fantastic, it was incredibly exotic too.

There was a simplicity, a rawness, an energy and a communal experience that was unlike anything in London. There was no warm up or guests, just Junior Vasquez, his crowd, his children and they had a special bond.

Some of those parties I’d been to in London had great production, grand stairs cases to the DJ booth, film set props, dress code themes, etc, but the Factory was just a big brick walled warehouse space, iron pillars, a massive sound system and a lighting system based around one, huge disco ball. And that was it, save for a juice bar (the venue was dry), a spotlessly clean chill out area and a drinking fountain.

The music wasn’t that clichéd big room tribal sound, that came later, it was a real mixture of US stuff, MK, Murk, Def Mix, Strictly Rhythm, and maybe slightly harder edged UK stuff like X-Press 2 and the Farley and Heller’s mixes of DSK and Happy Monday’s ‘Stinkin Thinkin’.

I think it opened at midnight but didn’t warm up till about 3am with things really firing by about 6am. At that time in London you were usually asleep on someone’s sofa or on a night bus.

The crowd was raw too. Subsequently the Factory became associated with New York ‘club kids’, all showy in a ‘look at me’ way but in 1992 it was still quite natural, almost entirely gay, very black and Hispanic, with the banji boy look prevalent because people came dressed to dance not pose. There was this thing around 9 or 10am when transvestites, who were seriously these beautiful men, started to have catwalk vogue battles down the side of the dance floor, but it seemed to happen organically rather than in a contrived manner. Nothing about the club felt contrived.

One of the Factory moments that will always live with me was when Junior eased a thunder storm in the mix. Slowly, the rain got louder and louder and eventually overwhelmed the music which gradually disappeared. As this happen the club sank into total darkness, illuminated only by strobes placed across the ceiling that went off every so often in a series that gave the effect of lightning streaking across the ceiling. So I’m standing in the middle this New York warehouse, in the pitch black, in a thunder storm, with 2000 gay men, every person there is screaming and hollering. You could almost feel the rain. And then, after what seemed like an eternity, this vocal cuts across the rain, “It’s gonna be, a lovely day, for you and me” (the at that time, unreleased S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. record, from acetate) and then as the first beat kicking in, every single light in the pitch black club hit the disco ball, and the sun dropped into the room. I’m not doing it justice, it was like an explosion of pure energy, and the place went absolutely bonkers. I’d never seen or heard anything like it and I doubt will again.

I get goose bumps just thinking about it and I must admit, I do like talking about it, mainly because I wish I could go back.

Do you think any of those aspects have translated to the way you do things at Thunder?

I think I run the risk of sounding very conceited if I make any sort of connection between Thunder and the Sound Factory! But if there’s something I learnt from that experience it’s about importance of basics and staying focused on those. The music, the sound and the people. 

Ultimately, the nights you really remember, the nights that stay with you forever, are the ones where good music sounded great, you were surrounded by good, like-minded people and there was some sort of communal experience, even if it’s as simple as being a good laugh. Those qualities are not unique to the Sound Factory though, I guess they’ve been present at every great party ever. But that’s the stuff that makes me excited and that feeds my enthusiasm, to the point that it often gets the better of me!

I suppose Junior is also responsible for my penchant for a bit of drama too. I love a dramatic intro or even a period of silence. He did this thing where he worked this long, unreleased intro of the Sounds of Blackness – The Pressure for about 10 minutes at 6am. That was peak time, the dancefloor was heaving and then, 10 mins of accapella gospel. Every time you thought the beat would kick in, it didn’t, the tension mounted, people started actually crying, and then after he’d built the pressure to point you could almost feel it in the air around you, he let it go, the beat kicked in and dancefloor exploded.

Thunder is about to celebrate its 2nd birthday- for me the party’s always had a special vibe. Having DJ’ed for you and been a stalwart attendee I am probably hugely biased, but whenever I’m there I chat to people who have similar experiences and yet it’s their first one and they don’t know any of you lot other than what they’ve heard… What do you think is its magic formula?

I genuinely don’t know but I might be the wrong person to ask?! Luck maybe?! But you’re right, people do seem to like what the parties are about…

As I mentioned earlier, the basics are important to us and focusing on them has worked quite well. The music is what we can influence most of all; we’re all competent DJs, well Joe and Rick are anyway and we all come at house from slightly different angles too, so I think we complement each other.

Beyond that, we put a lot of thought into guests. They have to be booked on the strength of their DJing rather than productions. There’s a balancing act to be done with budgets and who we want, but we try to push that as far as we can. We managed to book John Heckle before he had an agent, convince Sven Weisemann and Patrice Scott to play a 120 capacity venue, and brought Gene Hunt over from Chicago for the first time in 20 years. 

We’ve also been lucky with our crowd. From the outset we had people who love the music and have been supportive of the parties. They spread the word, brought friends and friends of friends, and it’s snowballed. We try to make the atmosphere as inclusive possible, but to a certain extent it’s out of our hands, people either like it or they don’t. Fortunately for us the people that do like it are lovely, so the vibe is great. That’s really down to them, not us – they make the party what it is.

The final jigsaw piece is the sound. We lucked out massively when we moved to Dance Tunnel because not only is it a great space, but they are committed to making it sound better than any other club that size in London. We’ve also resisted the temptation to do more regular parties too, which hopefully keeps it feeling like a special event and also saves me from battering everyone on Facebook to death with spam. So yeah, mainly luck.

Thunder at Dance Tunnel

You always have great guests, but actually the three of you are strong as residents too- which is something you mentioned about the New York clubs back in the day also. Would you ever consider going balls-out ‘residents only’?

Residents-only nights are something I don’t think London ever got its head round. Whereas New York was built on that. On that first trip there was Vasquez at the Sound Factory, Tony Humphries at Zanzibar, Knuckles at The Roxy, Troy Parrish at Sugar Babies and before that you had all the disco legends, Levan, Gibbons, Scott, etc. But guest culture seems to reign supreme in London. It would take a brave person to go residents-only but it could be great, I’d love to do it… if anyone bothered to turn up! 

Finally, what’s in store for the Thunder birthday extravaganza and Year Three  for you guys?

We’re having two guests play at our birthday party, something we never normally do. Rather than try and get in some big name, who has no existing connection with the party, we like to try and celebrate our birthday parties with our friends. As you know, last year it was the Legendary Children, who provided all sorts of support and encouragement in our first year, this year it’s Neville Watson and Domenic Cappello.

Neville was the guest at our first ever party, he’s well known for his productions but he’s an even better DJ, one of the best we have ever had play for us. He’s also a good friend now and it’s possible that without him kicking me up the backside every couple of weeks, we’d have never got Thunder off the ground. So his influence has played a big part in us being here now.

Domenic has been resident at the Sub Club in Glasgow for almost 20 years now. Not resident in the in the once-a-month way or resident in the fitting it with his touring schedule way but playing there every single Saturday for 19 years. And the crowd up there are absolutely rabid, which is great because the atmosphere is so intense but they are also really demanding, so there’s no room for error. But that’s fine, because Domenic is one of the most gifted DJs I’ve ever heard. When he played for us in July last year the night bordered on being a religious experience, well, for me anyway. Like Neville, he’s become a good friend too.

As for year three, well you’ll just have to wait and see! We love it at Dance Tunnel and as its reputation spreads, we think more and more DJs will want to play there, so we intend carry on trying to twist agents’ arms and shoe horn in DJs wouldn’t ever normally get to hear play in a venue that size. Some of the DJs we’re already well down the road with getting onboard are simply jaw dropping. So, fingers crossed and all that!

Join Miles and the rest of the Thunder team down at Dance Tunnel tonight, Friday 6th September from 10pm to late for Thunder’s 2nd Birthday. 

For more of Elles’s work follow her on twitter: @e_l_l_e_s

Dance Tunnel

Just down the road (and allegedly via a secret disco underground tunnel) lies our new sister night club Dance Tunnel, underneath your favourite pizza spot Voodoo Ray’s.

As well as hosting joint parties with our friends Disco Bloodbath, Thunder, Kristina Records and more, Dance Tunnel will also be holding its own special nights with a strong emphasis on leftfield house, disco and techno. This weekend sees their party with our very own Dan Beaumont, Kristina Records’s Jason Spinks *and* enigmatic trio ItaloJohnson which is set to cause a roadblock all the way down Kingsland High Street followed by the incredible Tama Sumo the weekend after with Macho City’s Dave Kendrick in support.

Easter is no exception, kicking off with Bicep x Underground Paris, taking in Innerspace Halflife live and Gerd Janson along the way, before finishing off with NTS Radio co-horts on Sunday for Nonsense. And even more parties over the next few months featuring Big Names like Mark E, Tim Sweeney and Lawrence.

Ahead of next week’s party with Tama Sumo, we managed to get our mitts on this hot mix from Mister Dave Kendrick, not that we needed much more excitement for what is sure to be a bangin’ night!

 

Dance Tunnel Mix 001 // Dave Kendrick by Dance Tunnel on Mixcloud

 

Join Dave Kendrick at Dance Tunnel Presents Tama Sumo on Saturday 23rd March from 10pm – 3am.

Elles

Tonight sees Elles of Legendary Children fame join us in the top bar for a game of Truth Or Dare with host Miguel Dare! Normally known for bringing the H.O.U.S.E. she’s more likely to be digging through her collection for records on the poppier side of things! We caught her alone for a more in-depth chat…

How would describe your role within Legendary Children?

Umm..  Legendary House Mother (see: Willi Ninja for definition)?… I would say I am the networker of the group: I love meeting people and socializing and casting the net a bit wider than maybe the two boys would do if they were a duo. My approach to music is perhaps more open too. I love pop as much as I get techno and house. Although you wont hear a huge amount of the former at our nights, sometimes I play things the boys might be unsure of but tends to work out in the end.

The three of us are very distinct personalities and each bring something unique to the table. Pac is the technology man while Neil and I are more creative, which is vital cos if we were all dreaming up things and staring out the window but had no clue how a mixing desk worked we’d be stuffed.  Lucky we do all know how to work a mixing desk so that’s not a problem, but ultimately whatever it is that works between the three of us creates a pretty good balance.

You’re also pretty tight with Thunder. Anything on the cards lined up with them?

Ah we love Thunder! We did a Vs. party with them last month which was ace. Their parties are so good. There is talk of repeating that at some stage and also whispers of doing some sort of New Years day party with those guys so keep it locked….

What can we expect from your set at Truth or Dare?

Not strictly a typical Legendary Children set! I’ve played for Miguel a few times before, the crowd are always really fun and up for whatever so there is a lot of freedom to be creative. Last time I played for him it was straight up hip hop and r’n’b all night which I loved as I don’t tend to play much R.Kelly at LC. Haha. On Friday I’ll probably go for something that is a bit of everything: Vogue-classics, house bumpers, party vibes. I love playing at Superstore and the upstairs bar is always so fun I’m really looking forward to it.

Truth Or Darer poster

What’s the most embarrassing secret you’ve ever spilled during an actual game of Truth Or Dare?

I’m a Dare girl. I tend to wear my embarrassing secrets on my sleeve so I’ll go for Dare every time.

 And what’s the most embarrassing “guilty pleasure” record in your collection?

Err the entire lot? Haha. I am a long-term Kylie fan and own most of her back catalogue but to be honest I’m not really embarrassed by that. There’s probably a great deal in my collection that my peers wouldn’t be seen dead with. More fool them. It ain’t all Hinge Finger and Nu Groove you know. Well, it is that too but you get what I mean.

While we’re on the subject of cringe records though, a friend of my mums did the classic ‘oooh you like vinyl here are a load of LPs that have been in the garage for the past 40 years’ and offloaded them on me. Unsurprisingly, it was a lot of Rod Stewart and things that probably made sense to people in 1972 in there. Most of it found its way swiftly to Scope on Peckham High Street, however I took a bunch of vinyl down to Music Exchange recently, mainly ’00s house and drum & bass but slipped a few of the dodgy ones in there just for good measure- see who was paying attention, like. The guys behind the counter looked so sad and confused. They were like “Um we don’t really sell much of this kind of thing”. At least I made a valid contribution to their bargain basement. Although my record shop rep is now officially in tatters.

What do you hate about clubs?

In general? Ummm… Not enough clubs with free bars and taxis home? As a rule I tend to steer clear of clubs that I dislike with any passion. If pushed I would say I am deffo more a fan of smaller clubs although big rooms can also be amazing if done well. The recent DJ Harvey gig was testament to that. There are so many factors that create a great clubbing experience from the music to the crowd to whether or not you got out of bed the right side that day I couldn’t say there was a rule of thumb for all clubs that defines greatness or hatefulness.

What are your favourite house records that aren’t house records? 

Ooh I love a bit of house-not-house. Always down for slipping a pop or disco record in here and there. At Bestival I played Sylvester’s ‘Do You Wanna Funk’ in a house set. Although he is as disco as they come there are also few artists more H.O.U.S.E than Sylvester. On a similar note Miles (Simpson of Thunder) and I warmed up for Robert Owens recently, my parting shot was Jellybean’s Material Girl remix which I’m not entirely sure Mr. Owens ‘got’ but the crowd were on board with so there you go.. If it feels right (within reason), stick it on and see what happens innit.

What’s the worst record request you’ve ever had whilst DJing?

The worst requests are not usually specific songs but when someone thinks they could do better or is just generally rude. We played in a well known Dalston basement, not a million mile away from DSS a couple of months ago and a girl came up and asked to plug in her iPod. When I said ‘sorry, no’ she skidded the needle across the record that was playing. Went down pretty well. Requests can be annoying but are not the end of the world. Being disrespectful of someone working is not ok though.

If your house was burning down what one thing would you save?

Any of my loved ones or anyone else still inside for that matter. Stuff is stuff.

What does 2013 hold for Legendary Children?

Before the year is out we are very excited to be playing the Shoom 25th Anniversary party in December. But 2013 is all about the production, we have a bunch of stuff due for release next year, including a forthcoming collaboration with the ineffably talented poet James Massiah which has been in the pipeline for ages and will hopefully see light soon!

Elles plays Truth Or Dare in the top bar tonight (Friday 26th October 2012) from 9pm – 3am.

Thunder

If you’ve been frequenting dark basements round these parts lately you may have noticed the unmistakable sounds of Thunder. A quarterly party with an extremely selective music policy, Thunder has so far welcomed Sven Weisemann, Patrice Scott and Neville Watson into the fold for their dedicated crowd. A collaboration between a trio of seasoned London music heads Miles Simpson, Rick Hopkins and Joseph Apted, the next party is happening this Friday up the road at the Waiting Room. We spoke to them about things that go bump in the night…  

Tell us about your introduction to house music – what clubs and records got you hooked?

Rick: Me personally, I got sucked in by the sounds of Chicago and early Detroit in ‘89. Wasn’t a club but a local DJ named Doug Osbourne, who was a Shoomer, a few years older than me, and listening to him force feeding music to us like any good DJ would, I succumbed to the House Sound. Pre 1989 I was really into my hip hop and you’d often hear early Trax records like Adonis – No Way Back or Raze’s – Jack The Groove interspersed in the early sound-system nights out and these records always stood out with the distinctive 808 drum machines and basic looped bassline that drew you in. Another one was Nitro Deluxe but too me that seemed like a combination of early freestyle and even earlier house productions. Club wise, we’d go to Dingwalls and hear Colin Favor spin rap along with house too, so Mr. Favor had a very strong influence on why and how the house and techno sound became so prevalent in my late teens and early 20’s. Where I live in the suburbs, we were only a stone’s throw from the smoke, so London’s influence was drip fed to us and by then you were looking at so called raving like an epidemic. Most, if not all, my friends were going out to big raves or clubs in town. We had a local boozer on a Thursday night that Doug Osbourne did and it was mayhem, and there was not much drinking which never pleased Peter the landlord, bless him, meaning we were pretty much going out Thursdays, Friday, a big do in Cambridge or in London on a Saturday then back down the pub on the Sunday with everyone proclaiming they were coming back up, those were indeed the days.

Miles: I can remember hearing house on the radio in the late ‘80s, things like Nitro Deluxe – Let’s Get Brutal, Sterling Void – It’s Alright, Kym Mazelle – Useless and then Inner City – Big Fun on Pete Tong’s Friday night show on Capital, but not even really being aware that some of it was house rather than just dance music, especially the more soulful stuff. I didn’t really catch the house bug properly until I went to my first acid house party at the end of 1988 in The Dome in Tufnell Park. The party was called Space, there was lots of smoke, a strobe and even some lazers – all of which are still dear to my heart! I started work in a shop on the Goldhawk Road in Shepherds Bush literally a day or two later, and that was opposite Discount Records, which sounds crap but was one of the best record shop in west London! So as I immersed myself in the north London rave scene of 1989, at places like Silver City, Labyrinth and Camden Place on a Monday, and the supporting pirate radio stations, like Centreforce, Sunrise and Dance, I could pop over the road and hum the tunes to them and then buy them. 1989 was such an amazing year for year of records, as it felt like the world was changing around us …

Joe: I’m a bit younger than Miles and Rick and grew up in rural Angus – Scotland, so it’s safe to say I didn’t have the same influences. I lived a fairly sheltered life until the age of 15/16 at which point various clubs and parties just seemed to explode in our area. It was the summer of 1992 and the little town that I went to school, Forfar, suddenly had a regular Friday night club and was bringing up DJ’s like Steve Bicknell, Evil Eddie Richards, and Michael Kilkie every week. It became really popular, really quickly, and at one point had buses coming through from Edinburgh, Aberdeen, etc, all to go this mental little club in this little town they’d probably never heard of. To say it was an eye-opener was putting it mildly, I was 15 sneaking into an over 18’s night and it literally was a case of one week I was going to a youth club, drinking cheap cider and trying (failing) to pull girls, and the next week I was dancing around in dry-ice to Chimo Bayo, having the time of my life and wondering how I could afford a Destroy jacket. That summer was my introduction to that scene and I absolutely loved it, it was a whole genre of music that I hadn’t been exposed to, clothes and fashion I hadn’t seen before and the fact that most people were much older just made it ridiculously exciting. Music wise, I’m not going to get into revisionism and pretend I was dancing about to Underground Resistance records aged 15 as that wasn’t the case. The tunes that stick out are things like the afore-mentioned Chimo Bayo – Asi Me Gusta Mi which just sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before….it hasn’t aged well and sounds very euro-cheesy, but to me, at the time,  it sounded sleazy and exotic. The other tune that’s ingrained in my brain was Age of Love – Age of love, which again sounded so exciting and different to what I’d been exposed to previously. The next year, 1993, a local guy called Shawn Moir started a night called Aphrodisia in another nearby town called Kirriemuir, it was in a completely lawless, anything-goes little venue called The Og. It had zero security, was filled with smoke, had a wild crowd and was extremely debauched. That was our ‘clubbing home’ for the next few years and was probably the most fun I’ve ever had.

Why do old house records sound more relevant than ever?

Rick: They don’ t sound any more relevant now than they did back then it’s just they were records produced by people who loved what they did and were affected by the clubs they were going to and I guess tried to recreate sounds that they the music makers were hearing.  A good record will always last the test of time. Producers will always try and hark back to the vintage sound of early Chicago records because essentially the productions were so raw with a sound quality that matched, certain labels vinyl presses had that earthy sound because it was old vinyl melted down and reused for newer wax. All this combined just sounded, without being too clichéd, totally mind-blowing, hence the massive influx of younger producers trying to recreate ‘that’ sound with tape recordings, analogue equipment, etc. But, house music isn’t just about a 707, 303, 727 or 101, in my humble opinion. It’s whatever feels right at the time so long as it’s good and the dancers react.

Miles: House records have always been relevant to me but I guess the cyclical nature of music means they haven’t necessarily to most others. If you listen to one thing for too long it can become tired. And whilst house has always been evolving in one way or another, I think a lot of younger people switched off to it after the mainstream boom in the ‘90s. And why wouldn’t they? Mainstream house became the sound of Mecca discos in the suburbs, girls dancing round handbag, blokes in shiny shirts on the pull and shit pop remixes.  All the sort of stuff any teenager with an ounce of sense would run a mile from. But now that’s been forgotten, things have moved on and young people are engaging with it again, because as Rick says, good music stands the test of time, and there are literally thousands and thousands of amazing house records people under the age of 30 will have never heard. And with that new blood comes fresh ideas and suddenly people are rehashing, reinterpreting and reinventing, but in an exciting way. There’s a nod to the past but it’s not derivative blandness, so you can play a 2012 Joy Orbison tune next to a 1995 Prescription record next to a 1990 Nu-Groove record and it works. It’s great, because as a DJ that’s been buying house for years, it gives you such a broad palette to draw from.

Joe: I agree with what Miles and Rick both say, I think back then people were trying to be innovative and original and that comes across in the records even now. Since then people have tried to copy and regurgitate that style as it’s drifted in and out of vogue but it never sounds as fresh so people keep returning to the original tracks. That’s not to say we should all be playing old music, but new music should offer something new, rather than just trying to sound like vintage Chicago house, in my humble opinion.

What are your current favourite labels?

Rick: Aesthetic Audio, Sistrum, Curle Records, Clone and all the little offshoot labels, RushHour, Fit Records, FXHE,  Delsin Records, Pampa Records, Smallville, 7th Sign, Sushitech, MikroDisko, M>O>S, Workshop, Dekmental, Ferris Park, Uzuri, Sound Signature – the list is endless.

Miles: I try not to get too hung up on labels but I’m generally a miserable failure on that front, because I get hooked too easily, especially if the artwork is cool, or they’ve got those little cloth swatches that Mojuba use or they’re nicely hand-stamped like Workshop!

Joe: Boring answer, but I don’t have allegiances to any labels – I couldn’t name a single label where I like EVERYTHING off it, or even 50% of it, so my collection is a magpie-like selection of bits and bobs from the labels mentioned already and others.

Where do you buy your wax?

Rick: Mainly online from Juno, Vinyl Underground in Northampton, Interstellar Sounds from Leicester, Delsin shop in Amsterdam, Rub A Dub up in Glasgow and Phonica, as opposed to a few years back when I was in Soho constantly every other weekend circumnavigating the shops from the pre house days in Groove Records, Hitman Records, Red Records in the magic Soho square mile and Spin Offs over in Hammersmith. House wise I was purchasing vinyl from shops like Luton’s Soul Sense Records, Hardcore Records in Stevenage and in town Fat Cat Records, Atlas, Eukatech, Rough Trade below Slam City Skates, etc. The odd occasion I can get into town on a Friday or Saturday afternoon I have a rummage through the racks of Phonica and Sounds of The Universe and always manage to find something decent.

Miles: I use online shops a bit but as I live and work in London, I try and get along to physical records shops most weeks. I can walk to Phonica in about 20 minutes after work, so I’m in there a lot. The staff are cool and Nick in particular always seems to be able to pick out at least one record I love and that I would have never thought to listen to otherwise. Whilst in Soho I try to check out Blackmarket too and always pop into Sounds of the Universe, to see what’s on offer there, and have a chat to James, another massively knowledgeable chap. Kristina in Dalston is bloody great too, fantastic records and the guys in there know their shit, so their second hand stuff is HOT. We also did a pre-Thunder in-store party with them and Patrice Scott, which was cracking and they were great to work with. Hopefully it won’t be the last one either.

Joe: If online I use Hardwax, Rub-a-Dub, Juno etc, and if I’m lucky enough to escape suburbia and actually make it into London, then I love an afternoon mooching around Phonica and second hand places.

Why did you decide to throw Thunder parties in this neck of the woods?

Miles: When we were originally looking for a venue I was convinced we needed to be in the Dalston area. It’s just buzzing, maybe like Shoreditch was 15 years ago, but with added genuine local community, which will hopefully act as a bit of a safety valve and stop the area being taken over by dick heads. I remember first visiting the Superstore and being blown away not just by the venue but the crowd, and the feel of the area. And since Superstore blazed that trail, that buzz has spread to other local venues. But it’s still got that rough edge. I love it, on a summer’s evening, at the weekend, the atmosphere is electric. I don’t think there is anywhere in London like it right now, not Hackney Wick, not Peckham, it’s just right and it’s basically the place to be if you want to throw a good party and have people who live for good parties turn up. That’s why we’re there.

What is the combined age of Thunder?

Miles: You should know a lady never tells… but we are actually all in our teens, we’ve just, erm, had hard lives.

Your guests have been pretty special – what do you look for in a headliner?

Rick: Someone we all admire musically whilst trying to bring in folk who you may never get to hear in such intimate surroundings.

Miles: Like Rick says, someone we are really into and admire, not just as a producer but as a DJ too. Neville Watson, John Heckle, Patrice Scott, Sven Weisemann and our next guest, Domenic Cappello, are all very accomplished producers, but you know what? They are all at least as good, if not better, behind the turntables as they are in the studio. That is important to us, because there are plenty of ‘hot’ DJs out there, whose hotness is based primarily on cobbling a couple of tune together on a laptop. We are after greater authenticity, because that’s what Thunder is about – real people doing stuff they love for the love of it.

Joe: I’d say the primary thing is, can they properly rock a party, as opposed to just turning up and playing a few tunes. The other thing is someone who takes a bit of pride in their craft who has gone to some effort to look out a really exciting, unpredictable selection of underground house. Every guest so far has played pure vinyl, so it couldn’t be further removed from the laptop DJ playing the latest Beatport anthems… there has to be a bit of love and care about what they do.

What is your fantasy Thunder line-up?

Rick: Personally love to get Derrick May down for an evening. That would be special.

Miles: Blimey. If I had a time machine, then it would have to be two rooms – the first would have London club legend Breeze warming up for 1990-93 vintage Tony Humphries and then the Junior Vasquez of 1991-92 see us through to lunchtime. Room Two would have Walter Gibbons, Tee Scott and Jim Burgess, who are basically my disco heroes.

But in the absence of a time machine, maybe Chez Damier and DJ Nature? Or Joy Orbison and Sven Weisemann back to back – that would be nuts. Actually, Derrick May is a great shout. With Theo Parrish and Kenny Dixon Junior warming up… in the original Sound Factory, with the Milk Bar bolted on as a second room and the roof terrace from Pacha stuck on top. Although I’d settle for DJ Nature or Joy Orbison though in our little basement though.

Joe: I’d borrow Miles’ time machine and have a two room club as well; Larry Levan playing a happy hardcore set in one room with, DJ Rush & DJ Funk playing back-2-back in the chill-out room. I’d also have “Blocko and Peasy” doing the cloakroom just for the jolly japes they’d get up to – bloody nutters.

Miles: Right, let’s bin the time machine plan then…

What does the future hold for Thunder?

Miles: Well in the immediate future, we have a party on 20th July with Glasgow house superstar, Domenic Cappello. Then the weekend after we’re playing at the FARR Festival in Hertfordshire, with loads of other great DJs, like you (Dan), Hannah Holland, JD Twitch, Bicep, Terry Farley and Trevor Fung and two days before that on Thursday 26th, we’re playing a FARR warm up party at the Dalston Superstore. All very exciting! Beyond that we want to continue to build on the parties we’ve had so far and throw more great parties continue to play music we love and that hopefully other people like too, work with a diverse range of DJs that we admire, and most importantly, have lots of fun we people like. It’s not much of a master plan but it seems to have worked out okay so far!

THUNDER with Domenic Cappello

Rick: That we all remain sane and continue to move and grow in the right direction that we want. Think we’ve achieved that thus far so we’ll continue moving forward, onwards & upwards as they say.

Joe: I won’t be happy until we’re as big as Swedish House Mafia. Only when we’re playing to 70,000 people at Milton Keynes Bowl with Rick banging out loads of old Relief records will I think we’ve achieved our goals…

Miles, Rick and Joe play Society’s warm-up party for Farr Festival on Thursday 26th July at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am and on the R$N Vs Society stage at Farr Festival on Saturday 28th July.

Legendary Children’s Guide To London House

Those H.O.U.S.E. obsessed Legendary Children are back for another Superstore takeover! Neil Edward, Prince Pac and Elles McFierce’em return with their take on Balearic, acid and bumpin’ house. After their recent inclusion on the updated version of the revered London House Tree for Faith fanzine, we thought we’d quiz them on their own thoughts on the London House Scene, where they started out and what their top picks are…. And they’ve also made us a very special mix especially for us!

London House Tree

What was the first house night you ever attended in London?

Elles: I think it was on my 16th birthday at Ministry of Sound of all places. Roger Sanchez was playing… I have no idea how I got in as looked about 10 and had the most suspect fake ID. I guess the will was strong. I’d been to a few house nights at home in Cambridge, but being a bit clueless and overwhelmed we just went to the one we’d heard of when me made the pilgrimage to London.

Pac: I didn’t really come to London until 2007, being stuck down in the arse end of the West Country, but the first proper house night was probably Disco Bloodbath in their pink basement – despite playing loads of disco it was still very HOUSE.

Neil: Growing up in Hertford we would sneak down to Liverpool Street on the train for illicit late nights out in the smoke… The End was a favourite haunt of ours. As for House specific nights, Josh Wink’s Ultimate Base in 1998ish was probably the first.

What’s your favourite current house night here?

E: Legendary Children of course! Hahaha after that Thunder is rad, also secretsundaze- they’ve still got it even after all these years. Bodyhammer is wicked too, and shout to newcomers Silk Cuts who are ones to watch.

Pac: Bodyhammer probably, or, if it can be considered house, World Unknown. I guess as it’s on the house tree it must be house, although I’m sure Andy will pick that one up with me at some point haha.

Neil: Yeah if we’re talking purely House Music it would be a toss up between Bodyhammer and Thunder. Joe, Paul and Matilda from Bodyhammer do a fantastic job and their party ethos is in the same vein as Legendary Children’s. Their music policy sums up everything I love about house, their choice of venue is always spot on and they have a knack of picking low-key guests that absolutely nail it. The Thunder family are up there because where the fuck else are you likely to see someone like Patrice Scott in a 150 capacity venue in Stoke Newington?

Nights in the capital come and go, so what now defunct night do you wish you’d had the opportunity to go to?

E: Shoom! An obvious choice but there you go.

Pac: Sabresonic or Blood Sugar I reckons, again an obvious choice, but I think this was Weatherall at his most creative and discerning point of his career.

Neil: You can’t help but say Shoom! can you? Also The Loft in Camden, blissful NY Disco and NJ Garage music policy, dedicated resident DJs and the list of previous guests is ridiculous… Loleatta Holloway, Tony Humphries, Kerri Chandler…

Who is your favourite London born and bred producer/DJ?

Elles: Terry Farley. A lovely chap who has been very supportive of us. And of course Miles Simpson who is the original Legendary Uncle and head-man at Thunder. Also I loved Norman Jay when I was growing up- DJ-wise he was one of my first teachers (not personally, just through his work) of soul and disco.

Pac: I’m not sure who’s London bred and who’s just been here for years! I’d probably choose two of my mates as I know they’re definitely London born and bred – Andy Blake and Charlie Bennett. Charlie’s mix for us from last year was fucking outstanding.

Neil: That’s a tough call… There are so many good people out at the moment. Andy Blake would have to be in there for both for his production and DJ sets, both of which never fail to stun me with their versatility. Rocky and Diesel X-Press2 have been outstanding for the last 20 years or so, likewise for Uncle Terry Farley.

And finally what track do you most associate with the London House scene from any era?

Elles: I don’t think I can pick a single track. There are too many. The house-oriented sound most evocative of London is UK garage though.  I know that’s a whole genre but it breathes this city. Does that count as answer?

Pac: I don’t think there’s one track as the London house is so broad. Different club nights have their own perspective on what house is and that’s what makes it brilliant. I guess if you had to push me for something it’d be one of Pierre’s Wildpitch mixes which I hear played most times I go out. 

Neil: X-Press2 – Muzic X-Press. If Boy’s Own was the hub of the London house scene in the late 80s/early 90s, this record would have been in the centre. It perfected London house to the point where Junior Vasquez and subsequently the rest of New York welcomed them with open arms, and you can’t ask for a finer endorsement than that.

Legendary Children takes place here at Dalston Superstore with Neil Edward, Prince Pac and Elles on Saturday 23rd June from 9pm – 4am.

They also made a special mix ahead of their Superstore appearance that you can listen to like right now