By Whitney Weiss
Berlin-based dreamboat Vexkiddy has a record label (Royal Athlete), a party (Hot Pony), and a great collection of the best and bubbliest Italo, disco, freestyle, and funk, which makes him THE perfect guest for the vitamin-d soaked August edition of PATSY! We caught up with him mid-heatwave to talk about great songs by problematic Tories, formative clubbing experiences, and what Fleetwood Mac songs to woo him with.
Hi Vexkiddy! We’re excited for you to come play at PATSY. You’ve been based in Berlin for a few years. What record makes you think of Berlin?
Wow! Interesting question! I guess it depends which way you look at it. Records that make me think of Berlin in terms of culture would be things like Low by Bowie or records by Lou Reed and Iggy Pop along with people like Tangerine Dream and Cluster. But I guess if you wanted me to choose a song that reminded me of Berlin in a personal way, it would be the long version of Small Town Boy by Bronski Beat. Tony would always play it as the closing track at Hot Pony and it brings back fond memories for me.
Before moving to Berlin, you were in the UK. What was nightlife like there? What is one of the first songs you ever heard in a club?
Before Berlin, I was a native of Bristol town in the southwest UK. Lovely place, if a bit masculine in its music tastes back then (not so much now, which is great!) But back then it was all bass music and agro drum and bass. I used to be a happy hardcore DJ, so for me it was always the happy bouncy stuff in clubs. One of the first records I heard in the club would have been Dead Dread - Dred Bass, a massive jungle hit being played in a club in Swindon :-)
I’ve heard you play a wonderful mix of disco, funk, boogie, proto-house, and even some dad rock on occasion. What would you say is the most surprising or unexpected record in your collection?
I guess the balearic hit that is Josephine by Chris Rea. It’s so cheesy but I love playing it as the bassline is fantastic. The only downside is that Mr Rea is a Tory supporter which isn’t so good. I try to block that out when I’m singing along to his deep baritone vocals.
You DJ AND make music as Vexkiddy. What is a song you wish you had written?
Hard one! Hmmmm, I’d love to have written Shadows from Nowhere by Blue Gas, it’s well beautiful. I guess in terms of the stuff that I make and play as a DJ, I would love to have been part of the production group that was Change. They wrote so many amazing disco bangers along with producing BB&Q Band, High Fashion and many others. It must have been an amazing time producing disco and boogie back in those days.
You’ve been on Red Light Radio a lot in Amsterdam with your buddy Tony. What is a song that you were very excited to play on the air?
Oh, that is a good one! The last Royal Athlete Records Special we did, I was super excited to play the new Sky Tony track that we have coming out next year now. It’s called Sport Beach and is just a beautiful summer hit! Maybe I sneak it in at on Saturday! :-)
Speaking of Tony, you guys also do Hot Pony together. What is your favourite record to put on for a hands-in-the-air moment at the end of the night there?
For me it’s probably Conversation by Dayton. It’s a fucking stormer :) I love it! I usually end up putting a few Dayton hits on in a row at that point.
What record is helping you to survive this summer’s ridiculous northern European heatwave?
Ah man, this heat! Berlin is soooo hot right now! It’s like 36 degrees as I type this! UGHHGHGH! I’ve been listening to a lot of William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops. They’re beautifully calming and really help me focus on work in this mental heat.
If someone was making you a mix tape to woo you, what song could they put on it that would steal your heart immediately?
What a great question! I guess anything by my all-time love, Fleetwood Mac. I guess Gypsy or Storms would have me by the heartstrings.
What is the one record that never leaves your bag or USB stick, so dancers can have an idea of what’s in store for them at the next PATSY?
I guess a track that I always play is Change's Glow of Love. It’s a well-known track but I just love the piano riff and the lyrics sung by the wonderful Luther Vandross. It always get me super happy.
What song have you always wanted to hear someone else play out so you could dance to it?
Anything that has Leroy Burgess on it! I was lucky enough to see him recently with his full band and it was amazing. Would love to hear any of his jams played out on a loud sound system! So good!
Catch Vexkiddy at Patsy this Friday 17 August from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!