There’s a track by Randy Crawford called Everything Must Change which I played on a friends radio show recently that has bouncing around my head when I decided to end Body Talk and start afresh.
There’s a track by Randy Crawford called Everything Must Change which I played on a friends radio show recently that has bouncing around my head when I decided to end Body Talk and start afresh.
Tomorrow night actual ’90s legend Lindy Layton joins us at Body Talk alongside original clubkid Larry Tee (NYC) and residents Rokk and Tristan Reed at Body Talk! Ahead of the party, Rokk posed a few questions to Lindy about her time with famed British band Beats International and her subsequent solo career…
How did Beats International form and what memories stick out for you after the release of Dub Be Good To Me?
I actually went after Norman, I have always bought records and I had this white label of ‘beats’ which I found out was by one of the nerdy boys from The House Martins so I tracked him down in the hope that he would want a singer, he did and thats how it started. We went around the world about three times together… too many memories to think of one but we had a blast in Tokyo. I love Japan!!
Is it true that Beats International had a Graffiti artist on tour with you, spraying live?
Yeah we took Req 1 the famous graffiti artist from Brighton around the world with us, every gig we played Req painted a piece. We toured with ColdCut and they took an artist too, so the boys would battle with their pieces, so cool.
What do your children think of your involvement with music?
My kids aren’t massively into music probably because they can never escape it, they’re only interested in skateboards right now.
What was your experience of London nightlife growing up and what music or people influenced you?
I was into hip hop as a kid, I hung with the boys that wrote graffiti and scratched records; I wasn’t your average girl. All I wanted to do was find tunes to mix. Something happened in the early ’90s, all the rules were being broken, the doors flew open, and house music seemed to take over the hip hop beats and breaks we were using. Anything went and did.
You covered the lovers rock track Silly Games by Janet Kay and got Janet to sing on your version, how did that come about?
I signed a solo deal after our last with Beats International. I was a big lovers rock fan and Silly Games was an obvious choice for me but I only wanted to sing it if I had Janet with me, she was bang into it.
You have a radio show on Kane F.M. with your friend Mel Foster and you always seem to be bouncing of each other and having a good laugh, how long have you known each other and have you always shared the same taste in music?
Mel, my partner on Kane FM, is one of my oldest mates. We grew up in Twickenham and were both hugely into music and clubbing from about 14. I always thought was it normal for kids our age to be knowing all the lyrics to Public Enemy and Doug Lazy tunes… we have always been proper anoraks.
What essential elements would a song need to make you dance to it?
It’s always a baseline, that’s the sex appeal.
What does singing feel like?
It tends to feel like a road home… that’s as long as I’m in the right key.
Join Lindy at Body Talk on Saturday 19th April at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
This Easter weekend, two original legends join us at Body Talk in the shape of Larry Tee (NYC) and Lindy Layton (Beats International). The former, currently known for his weekly party Super Electric Party Machine, helped launch Rupaul’s career in the ’90s, hosted Michael Alig’s infamous Disco 2000, was basically the face of electroclash in the early ’00s, and put simply, has a knack of being in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. We spoke to geuine dance music hero Larry Tee ahead of his set this Saturday…
You famously coined the term “electroclash”. What’s the origin behind this?
Well, when I decided to do a festival in 2000 devoted to the emerging electro artists at the time, I needed a name. So I tried to come up with a word that described the collision of music and performance in all its rebellious aspects. It came down to “electrowave” or “electroclash”… I chose “electroclash”.
And what’s the most electroclash memory you have from the genre’s heydey?
At the first festival, ADULT, Chicks On Speed, Peaches and Fischerspooner all sang me ‘happy birthday’ as the festival fell on my birthday. I didn’t realize [at the time] it was the birth of my new life, post-addiction/house music DJ star.
What drew you to Atlanta in the ’80s?
I grew up there after my parents moved me there from Washington when I was 5. What was lucky is that Rupaul, Michael Stipe of REM, and Lady Bunny, before they were famous, were all really close friends of mine at the time and that was such a creative explosion. We really made a scene down there out of boredom, and made music and home movies to keep ourselves from being too bored.
Where you surprised by the success of Supermodel (You Better Work)?
Yeah, totally. I had written the original version of Supermodel because RuPaul had been signed to hip hop label Tommy Boy and I thought it would be smart for me to do a major label project. But when I got it back from the producers I didn’t like it at all. I thought, “oh well, at least I tried,” thinking it wouldn’t be a hit. But then it stayed on the charts for the whole year, with MTV playing it on and off… it and wound up being the #1 dance record of 1992.
Considering the breadth of artists you’ve worked with- who would you work again, who do you still want to work with and was anyone so hideous that you can’t tell us who but you can tell us what they did..!
Well, I would totally do another track with Portia Ferrari, the Versace model star of my new video Body Talk, and I would LOVE to work with Lana del Rey, Rufus Wainwright and Mykki Blanco. OMG, nightmare artists? Hmmm. Well, one of the biggest artists in music, their producer asked me to write her a song, and I did and she stole my intro idea and my song title and made a brand new song… the bitch. She could’ve afforded to pay me for my ideas. Whatevs… the karma police will pay her a visit.
What’s the best (true or untrue) thing you’ve ever read about yourself in print?
That I popularized Williamsburg and was the hipster before all hipsters according to the New York Times. Um, that was a bit of an over-reach. Haha. One year I was voted by a New York Press as the #4 most loathesome New Yorker for having launched electroclash, popularized transvestism and ruined Williamsburg. I was flattered.
You seem to have only lived in cities famous for particular scenes in a right time right place fashion… where do you/would you see yourself settling next, considering how expensive London is getting and as inaccessible it is becoming for young creatives?
Well, London now is the Paris of the ’20s. It’s ALL about London everywhere else in the world too with the fashion and music coming from here. I wouldn’t be doing TZUJI clothing if I hadn’t moved here. But Berlin is heading for a big mainstreaming and has more reasonably priced real estate so it could be perfect for me. Or perhaps Downtown LA, which is being called the ‘new’ NEW YORK. But honestly, no city has a thing on London right now. They always used to say in NYC, “Larry Tee in the place to be”, and they were right about that…
Join Larry Tee at Body Talk at Dalston Superstore this Saturday 19th April from 9pm – 3am.
Easter is nearly upon us which means 4 full days of partying to plan! Here’s our guide to what’s happening here at Superstore…
THURSDAY 17th APRIL: Homoelectric! The London-cum-Manchester party collective host big Thursday and kindly provide your Good Friday hangover. With a DJ set from popstrel Little Boots in the basement alongside Jamie Bull, Luke Unabomber with the MenWhoFell2Earth top floor takeover. Join the Facebook event here.
FRIDAY 18th APRIL: Horse Meat Disco! It’s three of the residents- Jim Stanton, James Hillard and Luke Howard over both floors plus Nancy’s resident Fitzgerald in the house for a Good Friday Extravaganza. Join the Facebook event here.
SATURDAY 19th APRIL: Body Talk! DJ Rokk welcomes NYC legend Larry T and Beats International’s Lindy Layton to a special bank holiday edition his long-running party celebrating original house heroes. Join the Facebook event here.
SUNDAY 20th APRIL: Sister Pantychrist! The bank holiday Sunday girl-night to end all girls is BACK! And super-awesome DJs Smokin’ Jo and Lakuti will be treating the laser basement to all kinds of amazing house music plus SPC resident Cathal will be joined by Rokk in the top deck disco. Join the Facebook event here.
And we’ll be open for teas, coffees, brunch, sandwiches and hangover cures during all four days.
This Saturday famed German singer Billie Ray Martin joins us for Body Talk! Known for her avant-garde style and her stint providing vocals for S’Express and as the lead singer of Electribe 101, Billie is a former London resident whose now based in Berlin. Ahead of the party we caught up with her to find out all about witnessing the birth of London house in the ’90s, growing up in her native Hamburg, what music she’s playing out these days and more…
Your hometown of Hamburg is well known for its influential music scene and culture. How much of this would you say played a part in your own upbringing and the development of your personal taste?
A large part. It used to be a very soulful town, before the same gentrification took over that’s fucking up the rest of our towns. My family were music lovers so I grew up with radio music. That was a bigger influence than the town itself but the town and its atmosphere was definitely an influence. The biggest influence Hamburg has to this day and has always had is on my lyrics. I am from the red light district of St.Pauly so I grew up with transvestites, transsexuals, hookers and people in between all the genders you can imagine. My family looked like transvestites with their lashes and beehives and eyeliner… so to this day I write about characters that are kind of indefinable.
You’ve also lived in London, New York and now Berlin, all during what could be considered their key times within dance music… where’s next?
Stuck in Berlin for a few years yet I guess. Not really my kind of place but… I don’t know where else to go without a big budget to live on.
What are your overall memories of London’s house music scene in the early ’90s? Was it a golden time, or does it just come out that way in the retelling?
It was definitely the golden time for me. Right place, right time. The excitement from seeing this music grow from 50 people at Heaven looking sceptical, to hundreds of people dancing in a matter of a few months, and being and becoming an integral part of this was a highlight of my life. We also felt like it was a world community as each week, you would get African house songs coming out and songs released from all kinds of countries, so we felt like we were all pulling the same string. There was a sense of community.
Electribe 101 only produced the one album and a fine album at that, why didn’t you stay together and what are the chances of Electribe 101 ever getting back together?
We were dropped by the record company and we are not getting back together. We recorded a second album but then we were dropped by Phonogram.
How did you come to sample Julian Jonah’s Jealousy And Lies for Electribe 101’s first single Talking With Myself?
It’s no sample. We re-created it. I turned up to the studio with Julian’s single and said: do that. So we copied the whole thing. Shameful really. Julian was so kind and said he loved it. He is one of the underrated people who should get recognition.
Of course the song I had written was just written by me and it fitted onto the Julian Jonah thing.
Which record are you most proud of and why?
The one I’m about to release, which is a cover of David Bowie’s After All. Also my songs Dead Again and The Opiates album I did with Robert Solheim. And The Opiates remix album.
What has life taught you thus far?
I am proud and grateful for every minute and proud and grateful for the person I am today. I have come further than I could have ever imagined and it is about to start getting good. My story is not the exception. So, life has taught me to better watch out because we are taken care of by the universe if we only care to see it.
Don’t complain. Get on with it.
Considering your famously eclectic taste and diverse range of styles, this could be a difficult question… if you had a time machine, which dancefloor would you like to go back in time to, anywhere/anywhen?
Some ‘60s beat gathering.
When was the last time that you cried?
I cry buckets every day. It’s part of me releasing the tears I should have cried all my life and never did. So I cry at every opportunity now.
With current UK artists like Tom Demac included in amongst S’Express and artists local to you like Soulphiction all included in your most recent RA chart, how would you decribe your current style of DJing?
I tend to say it’s old school influenced house with an indie feel. I like people who complain or tell it how it is on dance tracks vocally rather than the usual dance stuff. I play only few vocals but they tend to sort of have an indie feel.
Which artists of today are you currently turned on to?
Boonlorm, FKA Twigs, Nina Persson… so many to mention.
Love or Money?
Join Billie Ray Martin this Saturday 15th February for Body Talk at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
This Saturday two legends of house join us in the laser basement for a special Christmas edition of Body Talk in the shape of not only acid house hero Terry Farley but X-Press 2 legend Rocky! Ahead of the party, Rocky sent us this ace warm-up mix plus him and Terry sat down for a chat…
Terry interviews Rocky…
Terry: You worked for the Ministry Of Defence – ever thought of doing a WikiLeaks turnout?
Rocky: To be honest it was so long ago the kind of hardware we were knocking out would be like Dads Army stuff today.
…did you get to test cool James Bond style weaponry?
Sadly no. I was a progress chaser and looked after projects that made bits for armaments.
What was your first DJ gig?
First ever would have been the Sixth Form end of term disco at my school. Our head took us to this deserted store room where they had one of those Citronic double deck suitcase things. It was covered in dust. We dragged it out and set it up. I was hooked. Band Aid was big that year.
Can you remember any records you played?
Deffo Band Aid got played. Also some of the Breakdance movie soundtrack. Aside from those, I have no idea. I think everyone brought in their own tunes. There were a couple of us who just went through the tracks and played them. We were a glorified jukebox.
Which DJ inspired you to take up this life?
In all seriousness, out of everyone, I think you and Andrew back in the day.
What’s been your ‘worst gig ever ‘ and why?
I think recently playing to a restaurant of around 20 diners was pretty poor.
And your best gig ever?
Any time that we’ve ever been to Japan has been amazing. This year, the opening of Pacha was quite special as well.
Is HOUSE a feeling or is it just Diesel’s real name ?
It’s just his name.
Rocky interviews Terry Farley
You’re playing Handsome at East Bloc early next year, a perfect fit – why did they wait so long to ask you?
A question my Mrs has asked along with “Why have they booked you then?” and “You wont be in the club’s pictures”. I can only say it’s a honour to be playing East Bloc again and such a cool party. I will be visiting a spa before hand and sprucing myself up for the night.
Your fave party/club/one off of 2013? One only please. And what made it so special.
I loved Farr, playing a three- the hard way- clash with Dan Beaumont and Ms Hannah Holland – I love Farr it’s exactly how I would do a ‘festival’, if I had the know-how and the spare bucks to pull it off.
What was your first DJ gig?
Myself and a mate Paul Mckee put on a night in 1981 and we both DJed (there’s a pic of me on that night that just turned up all these years later on Facebook) – I played a Le Beat Route style set of ’70s funk and disco, some new electro and some leftfield stuff like Prince Charles and the City Beat Band’s seminal track In The Streets.
Can you remember any records you played?
Prince Charles – In The Streets, Fatback Band – Wicky Wacky, Roy Ayers – Running Away and Aurra – When I Come Home on Salsoul – I always played those tracks whenever I got to play in clubs or parties after that for ages.
If you were ‘invited to the ball’, would you have done a Boys Own pod on the Eye?
Was there money involved ? If “yes” and if “a proper drink”, then maybe, (I know Andrew would have laughed down the phone at me if I had rung him up) as it’s what I do for a living. For free? Fuck that, I thought it was a naff idea (I fully appreciated Red Bull’s contribution to house music over the years) and I’ve been on the Eye twice and never liked it much anyway.
Who was the best dresser of the Slough Soul Boys?
Gary Haisman – who went on to be banned from Radio 1 for his ACCCIIIEDD record with D Mob in 1988. He was skinny and lanky and could pull off red peg trousers from SEX and mohair jumpers while I think sadly I always looked a bit like a young Del Boy.
Define HOUSE in 12 words.
LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE.
Will you ever go back on the gas?
I have dreams (nightmares) of being back pipe fitting, and in those dreams I’m always so slow and fucking rubbish at it. So NO thats never gonna happen, and for safety’s sake thank god.
Are you still a gay black man struggling to escape a white gas fitter’s body?
People still quote that line – in fact loads have stolen it… it was honestly how I felt during the early ’90s and being so into the NY gay culture that surrounded the music we were making, the DJs who were playing it and the Sound Factory, a place I adored. My bluff, however, was called one morning just around the corner from the Sound Factory and I failed the ‘ lad fag’ ( Luke Howard’s term for us lot back then) test badly… bottled it haha.
Join Rocky and Terry Farley this Saturday 21st December for Body Talk at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
Ahead of Saturday’s Body Talk, special guest CVNT TRAXXX dropped this hot mix on us! Featuring tracks from Vjuan Allure, Rushmore, Roxy & Ride Commitee and more, it’s destined to get you pumped for the party! Resident DJ Rokk joins him in the laser basement whilst upstairs Tristan Reed and Alejandro Acensio bring their special blend of original house, Kentucky fried funk and slippery soul.
The Fog – Been A Long Time (CVNT TR4XXX Mix)
Craig ft Dajae – Mary Mary (Bok Bok Vocal Reconstruction)
Kelela – Guns & Synths
Rushmore – Bitch Please
Get Em & Sugar Shane – Move To The Light (Acapella)
Zanojin – Passenger Side
Auntie Flo – Zulu Death March (Weep Weep)
Trumpet & Badman – Go!
Roxy & Ride Committee Get Huh (Kutz Mix)
DJ Haus & Dedboi – Slip’n’Slide
Vjuan Allure – The Urge
Get Em & Sugar Shane – Move To The Light (Serving Ovahness Remix)
Lil Mo Ying Yang – Reach (Erick Morillo Remix)
Roxy & Ride Committee – Synthetic (CVNT TR4XXX Catwalk Mix)
Rokk Feat Dean Atta – Young Black Gay (Digs BloodSugar Remix)
The Joy Boyz – Pass It On
Harddrive – No Cure
Listen to more CVNT TRAXXX: soundcloud.com/cunt-traxxx
Join CVNT TRAXXX at Body Talk this Saturday 19th October at Dalston Supertstore from 9pm – 3am.
By Niall Connolly
As is tradition here at Dalston Superstore, we like to get the lowdown on acts we have coming up here (or at Dance Tunnel) with an interview or some kind of feature/article for the website. However, this time we decided to flip the script. I’m the special guest at this Saturday’s Body Talk party,DJing house and ballroom under my CVNT TRAXXX guise, and as a regular contributor to the DSS website, I have already been interviewed here.
So instead I’ve turned the tables and interviewed Body Talk’s own resident DJ Rokk, who has just released the director’s cut video for his own track YBG (Young Black & Gay) as Rokk with Dean Atta. The track features a spoken word vocal from Atta about the tribulations of being, yes, young, black and gay, so I took the chance to quiz Rokk about the new video edit and the message behind the music.
What was the inspiration for the video?
Visually I wanted to keep it simple and respect the lyrical content to ensure the message was delivered loud and clear. Late ’80s, early ’90s videos by C&C Music factory, The Cookie Crew’s Gotta Keep On and Wee Papa Girl Rappers Heat It Up all featured a freestyle dancing that I wanted to capture and they all had a certain attitude. It was important to for me make sure it was enjoyable to watch, that it had atmosphere, free from product placement and sexualised imagery and that it contained people who were actually affected by Dean’s poem.
It looks great – was it a long shoot/edit process?
We shot the majority of the footage in one day and any bits that we missed I shot in my flat mates bedroom. Everyone in the video gave their time freely and so with that comes a very hectic schedule, time management is key. Some people could commit to a whole day others to just an hour or so, so it was a challenge to make the most of everyone within their individual time frames. The edit took a while and was unfortunately delayed due to a few shall we say differences of opinion from the label that resulted in me feeling a bit disillusioned. so I insisted that we released a directors cut if I had to compromise. I wouldn’t say that I’m an editor but I do edit and I enjoy it. They wanted a ‘Music Video’ whatever that meant and I wanted it to be anything but that. In hindsight it was worth it because I now have an edit that I’m 100% happy with.
Where did you film it and where was it edited?
We shot the footage at The Oval in Bethnal Green, just before it started to take off as an event space in February 2011. It was a very cold day too. Thankfully we’d brought some extra heating and some hot food to keep us warm. By the end of the shoot the ground outside was covered in a thick layer of snow. We shot the video with an edit in mind which made it easier to edit and I finished it at home.
How about the song itself, what was the inspiration for the track?
Dean Atta’s poem is the inspiration for the song. He sent me his album which included an acapella track called Young, Black & Gay and at the time I was working on a photography project about people of colour who defined themselves as gay, so I was particularly in sync with his bold statement. I must have listened to it 20 times on first hearing it. I was extremely moved by his honesty and fearlessness and that encouraged me to do something.
The weight of his words needed to be presented to a much wider audience and so I thought the easiest way to do that was to put it to music. So I just started to play about with the vocal over some beats and it evolved quite quickly. I wanted to let the words speak for themselves so the music had to be stripped back just enough to sonically support his statement without the message getting lost. Musically, my inspiration came from the early days of dance music, namely house and disco when people would create music to send messages of love and unity to people who were not considered part of mainstream society, specifically other than white and other than heterosexual. It was and is about spreading love and empowerment through music.
Have you had any strong positive reactions to the track and its message?
Everyone that’s heard it loves it, the response has been amazing and so I’m happy. I was less than pleased but not that surprised at the lack of interest from the mainstream gay press. Out of fifteen gay publications only one reviewed it. But that’s another issue.
Do you think it is easier or harder now for young black gay people than it was, say, 20 years ago?
I think it depends on where in the world you are and what your particular circumstances are. In this country we still have an uncomfortable bed of institutionalised racism that hampers a lot of progress and surprisingly within our own community, if we actually have one anymore. And there is the sexual appropriation of people of colour to deal with and many cultural stereotypes still to dismantle. Religion also plays a big part for some and often creates a familiar ostracization which continually makes desert islands out of us. Being anything other than the norm these days is difficult and I think always will be, but as Dean states “We ain’t there yet but we’re gonna be.”
What can we expect from your set at Body Talk?
Some good shit!! Haha, I play what I feel so I don’t know yet? Erm, I will be playing vinyl and there will be no Gaga.
Join Rokk and Niall aka CVNT TRAXXX at Body Talk this Saturday 19th October at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
Read more by Niall: c-v-n-t-y.blogspot.co.uk
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?”
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
The weekend Superstore fave Honey Dijon joins us once more in the laser basement for a whole night of house bangers at Body Talk! Joining Rokk, Charlie Bones and Tristan Reed, Miss Dijon will be taking us on a journey through all things H.O.U.S.E. and just listening to this recent Sound Factory inspired mix by her is getting us super-excited to see her again!
Join Honey Dijon this Saturday 15th June at Dalston Superstore for Body Talk from 9pm – 3am.
Dirtbox legend Jos Gibson takes to the decks for Body Talk this Saturday specialising in his own particular brand of “hands in the air” house. Residents DJ Rokk and Tristan Reed will be on hand plus special guest Alejandro Acensio returns to play the top bar.
We caught up with Jos ahead of the party to find out more about his amazing beard, his taste in music and what he gets up to in the dead of night around east London…
You are something of an enigma. Tell us a secret about yourself, we won’t tell anyone, promise.
I have a secret love for motorbikes. I love beat up old choppers and bobbers. Being able to jump on a motorbike really gives you such a sense of freedom and adventure.
You’re from the north of England- what were your favourite nights out when you lived there?
I hung out mainly on the free party scene in the early ’90s. Pretty much every Saturday night was spent on the services stations of Rivington or Channock waiting to go to a party usually on a industrial estate in Lancashire somewhere. They were really exciting times, there was a real sense of togetherness too.
When that all ended some of my favourite haunts included: Artlab in Preston, The Empire in Morcambe, The Orbit near Leeds or the Eclipse in Coventry. Sadly all gone now.
You’re going to be playing “hands in the air” house at Body Talk… what’s your ultimate track for raising your hands?
At the moment it has to be Do You Feel What I Feel by Rex the Dog, it’s so damn good.
Your day job is as a groomer in mens fashion editorial and commercial. Does this account for your stupendous beard?
I suppose it does, I’ve had it for some years now and people kinda know me for it. “The guy with the big beard? Yes thats the one.”
What’s your top facial hair tip?
Keep it clean, keep it suitable, keep it oiled!
Why did you decide to set up your night Dirtbox?
I got together with a couple of friends of mine and we were really complaining that there wasn’t the club we wanted in London. So we did it as a one off party originally for us and our friends.
How have you developed Dirtbox into East London’s premiere sweatbox-cum-manhunt nightclub?
Still keeping it really simple – it’s a combination of the Dirtbox sound, a really great venue and the loyal crowd.
What’s a quintessential Dirtbox track?
Strut Your Techno Stuff by Fax Yourself, it was a B-side originally on a cover of I Feel Love that came out on a Belgium New Beat label.
What inspires you in your day job and what inspires you in your night-time job?
What inspires you is a difficult one nail down as it’s always in flux. When I’m working on shoots it’s usually with the photographer or designer themselves where we have an initial chat about the mood. Then that sparks me to think a link I can make with the hair, usually historical.
In clubs it’s not so different, whilst there is a running theme with my taste in music, I try to make a connection with the crowd so I note when something really works or doesn’t.
And finally what’s your most favourite East London DJing memory or torrid tale?
Some of the highs since we started have been taking Dirtbox out to the festivals; Lovebox and Glastonbury notably. Recently we also had Shannon from Light Asylum come to DJ. She spontaneously turned on the mic and sang over her set which blew everyone away. But the hottest tales are on the dance floor of Dirtbox, anyone who goes will testify to that.
Join Jos on Saturday 20th April for Body Talk at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.
This Saturday sees a special Body Talk guest take to the laser basement in the form of Italian stallion DJ extraordinaire and Radio 1 scout Nico De Ceglia. Armed with an eclectic taste and an expert touch in house music; he’s sure to set Superstore on fire with his tune selections! We just received this lovely, pumpin’ house mix from the man himself so we posed a few of our burning questions to go along with it…
You’re a DJ, journalist, A&R, radio host, promoter… the list goes on. What is your favourite work “hat” so to speak?
I’m also an actor, a scientist, an astronaut, a medium, a pimp… the list really does goes on. I love all the aspects of working in music and after all these years I can’t see one without the other. Because of the interaction with people, I guess DJ is the more fun one, nothing can beat the right crowd creating the right vibe in the right club when you play the right records. Still, I also love doing radio, writing for magazines, working on new music…
What’s been a career highlight for you so far?
Too many to mention. Working as a scout for Pete Tong’s show on Radio 1 for more than 10 years has been a great experience. My little party Codex that ran at the glorious The End until it closed was great fun. Opening for Richie Hawtin at his Mi_Nus party. DJing in unusual venues like Tate Modern and Design Museum. And every single moment I see people enjoying what I play is a highlight for me.
What does an average day work at Radio 1 entail for you?
Checking out new music, a little break enjoying a spoon of Nutella then repeat until forever.
Insider tip please! Who is going to be BIG this year?
Laura Mvula, Angel Haze, AlunaGeorge, Vessel, Artifact, Applescal.
Where is your favourite place in all of London to hear new music?
You can discover some brilliant new music almost everywhere in London so I always keep my eyes and ears open.
Tell us about Hyena Stomp…
Hyena Stomp is a studio project that me and Severino started a few years ago. It’s a parallel project that we have alongside our own stuff and other projects (Photo51 is another one I have, working with Franky Redente). When our schedules match we go and make some music. We’ve just been in studio working on a remix for Mario Basanov. We have done various remixes in the last two years… DJ Hell, The 2 Bears, Tevo Howard & Tracey Thorn, Ali Love and the two most recent ones for Classic Records but we are now starting to work on a new Hyena Stomp release.
What is the most prized record you own?
Tough question. I love all my records and have always looked after them like they are the most prized things I own. Promos of early UR, Strictly, Moodymann, Tribal, R&S, Freetown, Madhouse, Aphex Twin… are all not to be touched by dirty hands.
We hear you have an eclectic taste in music.. If you put your iPod on shuffle what are the first three songs that come up?
Smashing Pumpkins – Today
Beastie Boys – So What Cha Want
The Knife – Full Of Fire
What can we expect from your set at Body Talk?
Old, very old. New, very new. Everything in between plus lots of sweat.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave to you about DJing?
Press start and go and do it for the love of music. The LOVE of music!
Join Nico De Ceglia for Body Talk at Dalston Superstore this Saturday 16th February from 9pm – 3am