By Whitney Weiss
Glasgow duo Den Haan are direct descendants of the Giorgio Moroder/Amanda Lear/Bobby O/Patrick Cowley school of sexy sleazy disco. Their record Gods From Outer Space is packed with tried-and-true dancefloor fillers, and they accidentally named themselves "The Cock" after flipping through a Dutch phone book. So naturally, they're perfect to DJ for the first birthday of BENDER. Ahead of their Dalston Superstore debut, we asked them about their favorite records, hometown, and what an ideal Den Haan party would look like.
You make some truly magical poppers-and-smoke-machine macho disco/NRG. However did you discover this type of music, and what made you decide it was a sound you wanted to expand upon?
We both met while playing records at a friend's party and bonded over a love for music created in the '70s and '80s, when producers and artists were breaking ground in new forms of disco. At the same time, we were both equally disillusioned with the majority of contemporary dance music. So we decided to put our money where our mouths were and create something that captured a similar energy and character as all those fabulous old recordings.
What does the name "Den Haan" mean? Is it really Dutch for "The Cock?"
Yes, it means "The Cock" - however we didn't realise this when choosing, we just liked the sound of it. We both thought Den Haan had a certain attitude and liked the foreign flavour of it as a surname (we were using a Dutch phone book at the time). It was only when trying to communicate with someone over the internet and having to try to translate everything, when the person asked if we were actually Dutch. After coming clean, we were then made aware of its true meaning. As you can imagine, there was much hilarity as the name scaled new heights of appreciation.
Is the sort of music you're playing during your DJ sets also very four-on-the-floor heavy disco and NRG (like your originals) or should we be expecting some surprises/different genres at Bender?
Anything goes really, but there's usually a build to some fairly heavy disco so yes, you should expect some surprises and different genres as well.
If you could choose anyone to remix a song from "Gods of Outer Space," who would it be (and which song would you want them to do?)
I like the idea of Paul Sabu doing Universal Energy or Amanda Lear/Anthony Monn doing Russian Boat Commander - both (circa 1979 of course).
In your opinion, what's the ideal moment for a DJ to throw on Release the Beast or Night Shift for maximum results?
When there's only one loonball on the dance floor and you need special powers to draw the masses to their feet.
How would you describe the party scene in Glasgow? Any particular spots/parties you recommend for an unforgettable evening?
Bloated would be an adjective that springs to mind - a walk down West Princes Street (known for years and years as "Party Street" but more latterly referred to as "Little Bosnia") any time of the day or night will usually provide you with a variety of before and after-hour nonsense: simply walk in the direction of the music. Distill in our West End (formally The Ivy but forced to change its name by the London establishment) host a most enjoyable evening thanks to the wonderful staff and crème de la crème of Glasgow record players. I'm enjoying the newly restored Vic up at the Art School - Not as dark and seedy as before the face lift, but the sound system upstairs is amazing! Unforgettable evenings are a plenty in Glasgow—the best ones are usually spontaneous—though not all of them are entirely enjoyable......
What's one record you're always sure to pack when you're DJing?
Tryouts For The Human Race 12" (long version) has served us well over the years.
(Whitney's note: THAT IS THE BEST SONG)
Are you working on any new music, and if yes, when can we expect to hear it?
We began work on our next album, Luftfunkspunktion, but are currently taking a hiatus. We will return when things outside of Den Haan settle down.
What would an ideal Den Haan party look like? What kind of people would be there, what activities would prevail, what would the music be like?
Dry ice, fluorescent tubes (orange, red, turquoise, lime green), the interior of a Giger spacehip meets Space 1999, a dance floor like the spiky one Brian Blessed uses as a fight-pit in Flash Gordon, giant cardboard cut-outs of lieutenant Wilma Dearing in full spandex glory, ultra-buffé, quantum-lager, corner to corner filled with galactic lowlifes, burnt out party-droids, interstellar space queens and jungle ladies, laser limbo universal championship final will be held, music to be performed by Andromeda, records: Casco-bot.
If you had a time machine and could visit any dancefloor past, present or future, where would you be going?
25th century, any event promoted by Mangros to be held on the space station Musicworld.
Join Den Haan at Bender's 1st Birthday on Saturday 26th July at Dalston Superstore from 9pm - 4am.