After an all weekend blow out celebrating the 15th Birthday of Fabric the organisers continue as always with more fun for your mid-week. This Thursday at Fabric, Red Bull Music Academy plays host to the ever growing talent and impressive DJ Harvey. The man who sticks to a simple Philosophy of “Music, Love, and Dancing” has made nothing but friends and support along his musical journey that has spanned across the past few decades.
A head in the scene for such a time that his career has come through the peaks of Disco, House and Techno which fully drives his capability to employ serious compilations of boogie orientation. This time, as a part of his Road Trip tour, his London stop off meets Londons renowned fabric for an ‘awll night long’ session.
Not many don’t know of DJ Harvey and his sheer ablity and reputation to compile endless selections of diverse music into fantastic eclectic combinations of full body, hip-swinging D-Floor movers. This one guarantees a party.
Get your ticket HERE for an all night long session of genius. Business as always with DJ Harvey.
By Ell Weston
We joined Pierre Daniel AKA Pit Spector of Paris for an exclusive interview after his recent movements in music. His deep appreciation for the various sub genres in techno and micro house has positioned him perfectly in the minds of partygoers for those eclectic sets that steal the show, and has made appearances across some of Europe’s finest spaces. His music allows seamless transitions across many spectrums of sound and with releases on the likes of Minibar, Karat, Thema, and his recent collabs in regards to Prospector has turned heads for it’s sheer quality let alone attractive artwork. An emerging artist who has shown a great deal of creativity in both his sound and ongoing projects. Read on for an insight..
Hello Pit Spector, it’s a pleasure to have you answer a few questions for us here at MEOKO! How are you today?
It’s a busy time and I’m feeling good!
We heard you have a lot on your plate at the moment with the Launch of your new Prospector label? Is that something you are doing on your own?
It’s a project I’ve been working on for one year now with a friend. I’ve been using a homemade production studio in an art factory for four years now and made a lot of jams there. I had the idea that I wanted to combine artistic residencies with parties and vinyl releases… Prospector is the result of this combination.
Why have you decided to start this label? Is it following to your successful events at La Machine du Moulin Rouge also called Prospector?
We did five residency and parties this year with Ark, Losoul, San Proper, Ben Vedren, Narcotic Syntax and Antislash. The parties were really nice and unique, each time with a different improvised live set session exclusively for the night. The label presents the fruits of these musical meetings, as I also worked with each artist on a number of tracks.
Will the events still be going after the launch of the label?
I made really good contacts with all musicians I worked with so far and we were invited to play in a big open air party this summer with Narcotic Syntax. We will start a new season of residencies in January 2015, I have already a list of artists I’d like to invite but for now we focus on the EP releases parties. The first one at the beginning of October in Paris with Ark and Losoul was a really great moment. Next one will be with San Proper in December.
Here at Meoko, we are very interested to know a little bit more about the artwork that was used for the first Prospector release, was it by the graffiti artist O’clock? How did this collaboration first start?
I’m really excited about this part of the project. As an urbanite, I’m really fond of street art since I was a kid and O’clock was one of the main graffiti artists in Paris around 2000 and kind of a local hero for me. I met him a few years ago and when the project started we asked him to create at first the posters for the parties. For the label artwork he perfectly captured the street and childish atmosphere I wanted to show, kind of a tribute to Hip-Hop movement.
As well as being busy with the launch of your new label, you also have an EP coming out on Salon Records this month? How do you feel about this one?
It’s a really dancey EP with 3 tracks I made last year. The long one called “Party Blow” is from my live set and always works really good during parties. I made the second track with Romain Play, a really good and crazy Parisian DJ. The last one is in the style of my band Antislash that I have been working with for about 10 years now. Feeling really happy about this EP, should be a fresh start to a strong new series of Salon Records releases coming next year, and this label has really supported me since the beginning.
Now let’s talk a little bit more about yourself if you don’t mind? You are from Montreuil in France? How was it growing up there? Are you now based in Paris? What do you like most about the city?
I was born and raised in Paris and live now in Montreuil where I have my studio. It’s a popular East-end suburb of Paris, there’s plenty of artistic life and a bit less stressful. I worked for years at Zerozero bar, a very small venue, I guess you could compare the dancefloor and style to Club der Visionare in Berlin. It’s been a very inspiring place for me and my crew as we could meet and invite people to play there and make connections with the other players of the Parisian electronic scene. It’s the place I like the most in Paris. About the city, I honestly dislike lot of the Parisian lifestyle conditions, very expensive and stressful but it’s my home town and I learned to appreciate it for the great artistic life and beauty. Tuff and beautiful city, like Jazz music.
Was electronic music popular around? What or who influenced you in your music career?
I was at first more into the Rock and Blues music my parents were listening to and there have always been instruments at home. My brother Ark made me discover electronic music when I was sixteen, bringing me to one of his first rave parties in Paris, then by giving me a sampler and a 4 channel mixer as I was playing the guitar in school bands. It changed my approach to music and process of composition. I soon met my mates from Antislash with who I started to make electronic jams and go to clubs together. As a huge music lover I could give a very long list of artists I’m into, but for house music I would say that the Karat Records family introduced me to a lot of great labels and artists via their record shop, and the parties they have been organizing for 15 years now.
You also are a member of the live trio Antislash since 2006? Do you still play or produce a lot under that name?
The two past years we’ve been working less together cause of our own solo projects but we made an EP on Tablon in February and another EP is on the way on my Prospector label in 2015, including a remix by Ark remix. For now we are focused on Rose et Rosée, a new label we launched this year with Antislash and the Zerozero bar team. I made the first EP in April and Bataille from Antislash will release the next one in December, a power full acid plate!
Do you find it difficult to Dj, play live sets, organize events and now manage a label? Do you have any time for yourself?
Good question. It’s been a really busy year and I had to work a lot to combine all these activities but it’s a big accomplishment for me. I feel very lucky to live this lifestyle. I still learn and discover things every day, share to the public great musical experiences with musicians I love. Not really a business career… but full of great moments that the records witness.
Can you tell us a bit about your set up in the studio? What would you say is your favorite piece of equipment?
I did built it up with my Antislash boys step by step and it’s always evolving with time, combining lot of different equipment. Gears-wise, I use analog drum machines, synths, turntables, guitar, sanza and vocal recordings from singers I work with. For editing I’ve been using Ableton for years and a 16 channel mixer. For two years now I mix most of the tracks in a friend’s studio with better mixing equipment, it’s a very instructive process. The gears I like the best are the synth Juno 60, my old Kaoss pad to loop everything and recently we acquired a powerful MFB Tanzbar drum machine which I highly recommend!
I can see you have played in many different places in Berlin? How would you describe your relationship with the city?
For me it’s kind of a religious place for electronic lovers. We went in 2006 with Antislash for our first gig there at Club der Visionare and it really changed my approach to electronic music. I go play there every year and even if I see with the time some vicious effects of it (I mean the Disneyland’s clubbing area aspect it reflects), it stays a really inspiring and ever-mutating place I love to go.
Is playing at Panorama Bar really every Dj’s dream? Can you tell us about your gig there?
I see it is still when I tell other DJ’s I played there. It was mythic night! I didn’t know the place before we arrived in front of this temple and it was astonishing. We were playing live with Antislash at Circus Company Night. Ten friends were joining us and I mainly remember Dave Aju’s live set, one of my fav artists, playing “Be Like The Sun” as the morning star was rising. One of my best experiences.
Do you have any other future projects you would like to share with Meoko Readers?
For now I focus on Prospector 02 with San Proper which will be out in December. Crazy tracks resulting from a live set we built together this year. I am also working with Ark on several tracks for Hold Youth and Thema Recording. Lots of productions on the way! Busy time, feeling good!
PIT SPECTOR PODCAST - LISTEN HERE
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These bits do the business. All out in the past fortnight unless stated otherwise. WAX.
Lowris - Apollo EP (CrazyJack Records)
After a while here comes the new Ep from French producer & Label manager of CrazyJack, Lowris, with some trippy minimal house flavoured on the originals, in the flipside, Ugold Series s boss, Ion Ludwig is bringing his magic touch on the remix. Early support from : Sonja Moonear, Audio Werner, Martinez, Alejandro Vivanco, Giovanni Verrina, Grego G & More...
V.A - Jay Bliss. S.A.M. Vlad Radu - Stomping Grounds 002 (Stomping Grounds) (VINYL ONLY)
Stomping Grounds is back with some new recruited talent, that will definitely make you give this record a few spins. First track is from Jay Bliss, a deep and moody techno track. Second track is from S.A.M., a guy who has been making waves in the past few years on some of the most respected undergound record labels. Flip the record and you will find a trippy track from Vlad Radu, half of the VRAC project, who is also been featured on Rhadoos Fabric Mix.
Binh - Basic Trance Induction EP (Time Pasages Germany)
No stranger to the connaisseurs, BINH delivers his tight debut on time passages. From peaktime to the later moments, you will find just the right berlin way of setting a great evening.
Felipe Valenzuela & Dorian Paic - Almost There (Raum Musik)
Labelowner Dorian Paic is teaming up with his good friend Felipe Valenzuela from Chile. Since more than a Year ago they have been producing and collecting Tracks for their EP and came up with these two minimalistic house grooves. The Title Track of the EP -almost there- gets a nice rework by Michael Melchner.
By Ell Weston
MEOKO proudly presents its new series. Each month, the 10 best album or EP covers in terms of artwork will be selected and presented as such. The purpose of this series it to show respect and appreciation to not only the music that the album or EP contains, but also to the concept and art that is being reflected and corresponds to the theme of the music.
Burnt Friedman & Daniel Dodd-Ellis
Cease To Matter
Sebastian Mullaert/Eitan Reiter
Reflections of Nothingness
Wsh You Were There
Andre Galluzi/Danah Ruh
By Eileen Pegg
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Georgio Oniani these days is synonymous with DAMAGED, a super cool East London underground party of which he founded with fellow DJ friend, Matteo Manzini. Along with playing as a resident for DAMAGED, you can spot his afro locks bouncing to his sophisticated & stylish sets at other similar events such as Keep On Going, OM and Half Baked. An aspiring artist as well, this creative all rounder inspired us at Meoko to ask him to be featured in our Music Through Pictures series, where we ask artists questions via images and they reply with their thoughts and tracks. Check out Georgio's impressive artistic knowledge and diverse musical taste as he writes poetry and shares tracks from Ricardo Villalobos to Marilyn Monroe:
A clouded mind, reflecting in isolation, but you are never really alone. It might be dark for now but the sun will rise again.
"Designers want me to dress like Spring, in billowing things. I don't feel like Spring. I feel like a warm red Autumn." - Marilyn Monroe
Autumn is simply charming, it's the time when nature decays, while creativity rises. It's also the ideal time to say bye bye to some things and open the doors of fresh perception.
The Eiffel tower (not the one in Las Vegas) is a cultural icon of France. It was built by Gustave Eiffel, who initially compared it to the Egyptian Pyramids. The tower was highly criticised by French intelligentsia, especially by the architect Charles Garnier, who addressed it as a "hateful column of bolted sheet metal". Ironically, a century later another Garnier juxtaposed the word "ACID" next to it, whilst irrevocably shifting the course of French electronic music.
Some people find those who live in their own little bubble are out of touch with "reality". One could say that Dali lived in his own bubble, but I think we have all benefited from that. Don’t you?
Basically what i am trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with a talking white rabbit with a giant clock...
I always respected skateboarding as it demands commitment, style, creation and attitude. It also means taking risks and getting hurt. It is practiced by anti-establishment nonconformists, rebel stoners and free-thinking street smarts, who largely reject rules and love a good chill. I can't skate btw.... but its ethos has always been embedded within me.
In 1983 John Cage began a composition named Ryoanji (Peaceful Dragon) a highly conceptual piece with complex methodology. It was inspired by 15th Century minimalist art of the Zen garden in Kyoto. The garden is a collection of 15 rocks, placed in a landscape in seemingly random clusters.
Apparently white peacocks are not necessarily considered to be true albinos, but who cares?
This image almost identically reminds me of a dream I once had where I saw a peacock, which was so utterly beautiful but it was blocking my view to something even more stunning...it was some sort of magical dream house. I tried my hardest to get to it, but the charming peacock kept getting in my way. It is important to look beyond the peacock sometimes...
If you ever get trapped in a special place with the wrong person, the best thing you can do is to pick up your ipod or whatever (If you were clever enough to bring it) and listen to something that can take you away and relocate you sonically.
I have always found nature so musical, both visually and audibly, because of its complexity, as well as minimalism, structural and dynamic tendencie and depth. Its infinite world of sounds can make a composition almost from any standpoint that one listens from. Symbiosis of chaos and harmony coexist together, allowing organic interaction for the similar as well as the opposite forces.
Repetition is something we encounter on a daily basis, like seeing a moon each night for example but things are never exactly the same, are they? There are always micro changes that occur - repetition has its own flux. For me, Moondog’s rhythms resemble this idea of the repetition in flux. His music was characterised by what he called "snaketime", describing it as a "a slithery rhythm, in times that are not ordinary ... " Moondog categorically refused to die in 4/4 time.
If you wait patiently, a new wave always come to the shore. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock defines the term 'New Wave' as virtually meaningless, I guess because differences between the original idea of the new wave and other music genres are vastly blurred these days. Nevertheless, every now and then a modern wave always brings some special presents to us.
The subconscious is an invisible space that we can enter through our dreams, thus its visual representation is often quite surreal. Sound is also an invisible phenomena of a transient nature, which can appear no less surreal for our imaginations.
Catch Georgio play next for much anticipated Half Baked party as they celebrate their 5 year anniversary, or for his next DAMAGED event.
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in 2014, vinyl made a huge come back. Who would have known!
Today, fashion isn’t the only trending aspect about the 90s, but music too. In the dance music sphere, as more people appreciate hip hop sounds and R&B vocals, even more have fallen for the art of listening to and collecting vinyls.
The news in these past couple of days reported about the all time high in vinyl sales of the last one to two decades.
Vinyl album sales in the US from 1993 to 2013 via Buzzfeed
While vinyl album sales in the US reached the 6 million mark in 2013 (according to Nielson), the UK vinyl market experienced a total of 780,674 sales (according to The Official Charts Company). This year, sales have already overtaken last year's figure, as it stands as almost 800,000 records sold today.
Vinyl sales could very well reach the million mark by the end of the year, which is four times the amount sold in 2008. The last time records hit a million sales milestone was in 1996.
The bulk of customers buying vinyls in 1996 are clearly not the same customers in 2014. If we look at what age group is buying the most vinyls (from 18-25 years old), vinyl customers today belong to the generation that grew up listening to music first on cassettes and CDs and then laptops and mp3 players. So, anything BUT vinyl. This implies that for our digital generation, buying vinyl stands as a relatively new behaviour.
The vinyl resurgence has become a hot global topic in the last couple of years, resulting in a range of plausible theories. One theory could be that cries from vinyl purists finally started to be heard, perhaps more so when interest towards the digital MP3 “revolution” or perhaps “take over” started to quickly fade. Many people could just be craving that touch or feel which was taken from their fingers once everything switched digital.
And this digital world may be just the reason why people have turned to buying vinyl.
Another reason directed at the digital sphere is the internet. Today, thanks to thousands of digital music encyclopaedias in the form of wikipedia, YouTube, Soundcloud, Resident Advisor and other content platforms, people have easier access to information and can educate themselves about music: it’s present, future and past. Perhaps many have realised the importance of supporting their favourite artists or found that their favourite old school artist only released music on vinyls. To read more about the reasons for buying vinyl, read up on our previous feature, “What’s with the Vinyl Hype?”
A spokesman for the BPI summed it up:
"In an increasingly-digitised world, it appears that music fans still crave a tangible product that gives them original artwork, high audio quality, and purity of sound”.
And who would have known that recorded music sales would survive the digital age, not because of some massive crackdown on piracy, but a rise in the market for vinyls, which, according to IFPI, “continues to grow as a niche product”.
Juan Atkins mixing vinyls
If we bear in mind dance music, vinyls aren’t only used for listening pleasure by the customer, but used for DJing too. It would be interesting to see how much dance music and the popularity towards electronic music have influenced the rise of the vinyl market. Although there are some statistics about EDM, mostly appearing in finance articles questioning its future and therefore lucrativeness, there seems to be little research about the underground dance music industry. Hmmm! One wonders why.
Moodymann sure loves his vinyls: "I like to feel my records you know like a woman, I'm not downloading my women, I'm touchin' & feelin' & (sniffs) smelling 'em"
We turned to global online record store, juno, to see what vinyls have been bought the most in the last 6 months:
Most chartered on juno in the last 6 months
15 Sep 14
19 Jun 14
Sound Signature US
12 Sep 14
WESTON, Nik presents MARCIA HINES/JACKIE WILSON
Lost Soul & Funk Gems Volume One
19 May 14
06 May 14
Walking With Elephants
01 May 14
MOOD II SWING
Do It Your Way (remastered)
Groove On US
15 Apr 14
MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE
Raw Cuts (remixes)
28 May 14
Lose Your Mind EP
23 Jun 14
One Night In Grodno
27 Aug 14
Clubbing, raving, going off on one or simply ‘avin it; However you may describe it, the art of appreciation for electronic music is one which, to the joy of many weekend bandits, is still going strong – and if current cultural zeitgeist is anything to go by then it will outlive the 3 decades it has already done under the table and continue to reign supreme.
Launching with an almighty boom in the 80s, surviving political pressure in the 90s and even seemingly falling out of favour in the 00’s, dance music has been hibernating and preparing for the surge of popularity that we are enjoying in present times.
‘When was the hardest point in my career? Party wise the late 90s…not many people gave a fuck about really good House music … ‘- Terry Farley
Where you could argue that other subcultures have lasted the test of time, non obtain the same sense of relevance that electronic music holds on to so well, rather than continuing on caricature and nostalgia. It was revealed by Stephen Titmus in his London Electronic Music Event lecture earlier this year, that in London alone, over 2400 promoters exist - a small reference point of the popularity that still stands today. But out of those 2400, how many of those were started up when it all began?
Starting a night is seemingly easy for those with a large online friends list and inheritance to spend, but holding on to the magic for 5, 10, 20 years is a different story. For anyone to run a successful business for that amount of time is a credit, let alone in an industry built not on targets and strategy but luck and late nights.
‘Just live it, make it your life and then it’s very straight forward. Don’t be a Jonny come lately and do it for the wrong reasons. Once upon a time there was bags of money involved, now it’s a totally different ball game and if you don’t do it for love you’re not going to get anywhere’. – Dave Beer
I decided to round up the long term disco heads to see what really lies behind the key to running an institution, and not a fad.
Those in question?
Lukas Cole – Wigfex, Nottingham (8 years)
Steve Wrighty – Soul Buggin’ , Nottingham (10 years)
Nathan Coles – Wiggle, London (20 years)
Chris Wishart - House Of God, Birmingham (22 years)
Dave Beer – Back to Basics, Leeds (23 years)
Terry Farley – Boys Own, London – (26 years)
Thankyou to London Electronic Music Event and their ‘Club nights, how to survive and thrive’ lecture, providing additional insight from George Hull of Bloc, Dolan Bergin of Electric Minds/Hydra and Andy Peyton of XOYO. Lectre can be found here.
‘I Started the job when I was 18 and 10 years later you’re still doing it because you don’t really know how to do anything else’ George Hull
For many of those who stood the test of time, enough to qualify for my questioning in this feature, I don’t expect any of them started out with the intention or knowledge that they would be embarking on what was to be their future long term career.
When was the most fun period to be a promoter?
‘When you’re starting out, and it’s going really well, obviously that’s an exciting time as it’s something new, something fresh…it’s probably going to be the most exciting time in your life! - Nathan Coles
To much surprise, there is little money involved however, at least not now, mainly being a passion project it is hard to strike a wage paying balance in an industry that sits of the line on recreation and business.
‘My advice is of fuck all use to anyone wanting to make a living at this, but if they don’t care about that, don’t rip anyone off, (artists or customers) and stick to your guns with whatever style you are into’.- Chris Wishart
‘Promoters always get annoyed with agents because they think they’re charging too much money, agents think promoters are laughing all the way to the bank…I think it’s a very difficult industry on both sides for anyone to earn a living at’ - Dolan Bergin
Where we can see that the motives don’t lie in monetary awards as such, the appeal of such a career perhaps lies in the nature of the business and the perks of the job.
‘I was drawn to it for the fact of working for yourself’ Andy Peyton
A promoter’s life is a far cry from the 9am-5pm…with ‘office hours’ existing more on a 9pm-5am basis and still being 24 hours on call, responding to nightlife industry workers and creative characters to ensure everything is on point for the final event. Truly a job that consumes you and allows for no work/life balance. When your work duties are merged by your favourite pastime however it is important to remember the nature of the final project you are working towards.
‘You have to enjoy it, at the end of the day you're putting on parties, if you don't have fun, no one else will and it’s probably time to stop. Good residents also help. Massive love to Hizatron, Metaphi - Metske and Morris Cowan for being just as good as anyone I've ever booked’. – Lukas Cole
‘It's always been fun, well to my mind anyway. If it wasn't fun I wouldn't still be doing it. I make a huge amount less nowadays than I used to 15-20 years ago but I still love it with a passion’ - Steve Wrighty
Just as much as no strict regime and alternative working life has its draws, this hectic lifestyle can lead to times of reflection and personal sacrifices made resulting in a somewhat unstable life.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
‘The biggest difference with the job now due to the explosion of digital…I no longer have to stand outside a freezing cold club at 5 in the morning trying to hand out flyers to people giving me the "get a real job" look. Which is good for the most part… but some of the states I saw people in when coming out of clubs were pretty funny’ – Lukas Cole
‘When my kids were born and young, the lack of time, energy and sleep make you question why you are doing it’. – Steve Wrighty
‘Every time you’re done over without any warning and you’re scratching head thinking ‘I don’t have an income what am I doing?’ They are hard… but then those times are outweighed with the good and it’s all part of the process!’ – Dave Beer
Struggles aside, the gain at the end is worth it. When the chemistry of a stellar event you attended is enough to keep you beaming for days, when all the ingredients come together just right to remind you why you got involved in this crazy hobby in the first place – imagine how it must feel to be responsible for the joy. Like the buzz you get when handing in your university dissertation or finishing that painful task at work, the natural high of seeing a happy crowd is the stuff that keeps promoters going.
‘The best part of my career? Whenever you get it right and the DJ and crowd connect in harmony’ – Terry Farley
And how do you get to this point? Well you need a venue, the bread and butter of the night but one of which is increasing in rarity. When asked of the most difficult side to their job, many of the promoters spoke of the trials and tribulations of finding that perfect place to set up camp for the weekend.
‘A few years ago. We were struggling to find a venue we liked and we were happy to work with. It’s been quite difficult at points, but I'm really pleased with how things are going again at the minute’.- Lukas Cole
‘We ended up in a couple of venues that were not really suited to us, having already done 100’s of nights by this time, got a bit burnt out with trying to get people along. The techno scene (musically) went a bit up its own arse as well at the time, In my opinion at least, so these factors combined nearly saw us off’. – Chris Wishart
‘I know there seems to be problems sometimes finding venues, it seems to be more difficult in London than it used to be, with laws changing and clamping down on stuff…people having problems getting licenses too. That seems to be more of an issue than anything, but we’re still getting a good crowd along. It’s great, good atmosphere. Licensing and venues is probably the hardest thing though yes'. – Nathan Coles
This issue of lack of venues is one of the more modern problems come across by promoters, but that isn’t to say that the future looks bleak. From facing obstacles comes innovative ideas, inventive ways of solving the problem are starting to come through, ways in which a bit of teamwork ensures that more than one creative industry is benefitted.
‘We’ve started to work with a venue regularly now which is a photographic studio. All of the arts in London be it photographic, music…people are starting to pair things up. The photographic business being Monday-Friday and we exist at the weekends. Us without them and them without us I don’t think it would work…so we’re having to adapt to make it work.’ - Dolan Begin
This act of pairing up multiple business ventures in one venue is something we are seeing more and more, take Soup Kitchen in Manchester or Bagel Boy in Bristol for example. Perhaps such venues are a nod in the direction of where new clubbing business models could succeed.
In conversation, Dave Beer still has faith in the role of a free standing club format, with plans circulating of bringing his own venue to Leeds, switching things around to show the new generation of clubbers a better way to spend a weekend.
‘The crowd these days don’t know what they’re missing and that a shame….now it’s all about the function one and plastic cups. All clubs look the same and people in there have no respect. That’s the norm and it shouldn’t be. A club is meant to be a place that transforms you to a whole new world for an evening, and that’s what I’m trying to bring back’ – Dave Beer
Where it can be seen that venues is a matter which is changing and evolving over the years, the ways in which nights are marketed has perhaps seen the biggest alter, all thanks to the explosion of digital technologies and social media entering our day to day routine.
Years ago, the humble flyer and poster package were key in ensuring word of your night got round, produced in such a way that made your image stand out from the rest and would be the glue holding your brand identity together.
Has the role and importance of physical promotion changed throughout your time running nights?
‘Nice artwork is very important to me and I always print off flyers even though I don't hand as many out anymore. I'm quite old fashioned in the sense that I like to have physical products for most parts of my brand. I have noticed a general decline in cool artwork over the last 5 years though. I remember going flyer collecting when I was a kid, my favourite ones used to be these hot to trot flyers that came shaped as a pig. You don't see anything like that nowadays’ – Lukas Cole
As mentioned by Lukas, flyers are no longer the promotional tool used most heavily by promoters, although many still value its unique qualities over digital.
‘The promotion is massively different, to be honest online marketing is now 90% of what we do with Facebook events, Facebook Fanpage, Facebook promotion profile, blogs, Twitter, Instagram, forums, website listings. There is always a battle to be new and innovative with your online marketing to stop it feeling identikit, jaded or worst of all as if you are spamming people. In a way it feels a bit like it did with new flyer designs, you needed something to inspire people to pick them up or look at them. In a way it's easier as you don't have to spend the hours standing outside clubs and bars giving out flyers but you do miss out on the interaction you would get and the chance to sell your night’ - Steve Wrighty
‘Flyers are not as important now no… it’s all social media now isn’t it. Flyers are different though, with the physical aspect of it ... it’s like holding a record, how it feels and how it smells, it’s something you can keep. Digital will never replace that experiential side of things.’ – Dave Beer
‘You still need a quality on line flyer or posters up in record stores or even fly posters in cool areas - a shit flyer with a great DJs name on will still be a shit flyer and cast doubts about the promoters ability to get other things right such as sound, security, toilets etc’ – Terry Farley
‘We were committed flyposters & flyerers (if that’s a word), I liked shouting at people as they exited nights in a diminished state, then giving them a horrendous image. It’s more to do with the lack of places to give flyers out as anything else, there is a real upsurge of similar events in Birmingham at the moment, so we may start printing again. Our images are anti – advertising so in terms of a “brand” image HOG was always aiming at driving away as many people as we attracted. We wanted the freaks & misfits…’ – Chris Wishart
Back to Basics 20th Birthday
Where digital has perhaps seen a loss of quality imagery and physical flyers, it brought with it some bonuses too that are to be embraced by those wanting to utilise the new technology.
‘Word of mouth was a big part of getting Wiggle established and I still think it's a very important part…Before we had the mailing list which is hard because people move, so Facebook was brilliant…we had a couple of years where we hadn’t done that many parties so things changed so that was a big helping hand in getting re-in touch with people which was brilliant for Wiggle for sure. So in that respect it’s been brilliant. I don’t know how much flyers work these days. I know people say that they do to a certain extent…but with all these online magazines and forums it’s so much easier to reach people in so many ways. So in that way it’s useful, it’s obviously had a big change in the way music is sold, but I think all in all digital has been a good thing.’ – Nathan Coles
‘The biggest advantage digital has is the ability to promote your night through podcasts and mixes, it's a way of promoting that doesn't seem like promotion which is hugely important.’ - Steve Wrighty
Wigflex with Marcel Dettman
With every good comes a bad however, and no doubt with such an uproar in digital promotion, it is hard to make an impact in an online space where new event invitations are so commonplace, you barely look at what a night is advertising before it is dismissed.
‘We use online groups like Facebook and sites such as RA to get the word out. It feels as if we have to give a lot more time for the message to get through, I’m not keen on the hard sell, which is what seems to happen with purely digital marketed events’ – Chris Wishart
‘The online era has spawned a ridiculous amount of E-Spam, which can make it harder to get your message across.’ – Lukas Cole
Wiggle 20th Birthday
Regardless of how you choose to promote your night in 2014, as much as the headliner DJs pull in an extended crowd, it is the team of trusted resident DJs who play a very important role in ensuring the bar is set high, the tone of the night solidified and are vital in bringing a sense of loyalty to a night. I asked if the role of resident DJs had changed over the years, something which some would say is overlooked by newcomer promoters.
‘Residents are key, we’ve always had a core of Hog djs and we fit the Guests around them. Has this changed? Not for us, we just do less regular nights now, so aren’t able to take on new residents as easily’ - Chris Wishart
‘The Warm up / resident role is far tougher than the guest / headliner who will rock up with the big tunes and straight into a party ready for him or her. Seminal clubs like Basics in Leeds and Glasgows' Sub Club have their longevity's foundations built upon residents who know who to build a night from scratch’ – Terry Farley
‘Residents have always been integral to a good night, a good resident can set the tone, build up a buzz and a feeling before the guest comes on. A good ressie will realise he is there as a warm up and get the crowd dancing and anticipating what is to come. A resident defines the night and helps guide a guest, this has always been the way and always will. A bad resident thinks he is a star and plays as such without care for the night, the crowd, the guest or the promoter.’ - Steve Wrighty
‘The resident DJ's part are definitely key in the success of a party, as people like consistency and that’s always worked for Wiggle with the three of us as residents. Having guest DJ's is obviously very important and we've picked them carefully over the years, but you can't always guarantee what you’re gonna get. The resident is there every time and has bond with the crowd and knows what gets them going.’ - Nathan Coles
Soul Buggin 10th Birthday
Where nights that focus on headliners may provide one off extravaganzas, it seems that residents bring that spark, helping create a familiarity to events and a reason to keep returning week after week – proved perhaps, as stated by Terry Farley by the success rates of Sub Club and Back to Basics, both celebrating 20plus years in the industry.
On the other side of things however, no matter how much control a promoter has over the venue, the artists they book and the way they are promoted, the crowd is the final piece of the puzzle. A random chemical equation of personalities which can make or break the success of your event. Is there a difference with the general crowd in 2014 than years ago?
‘No difference, it’s just party people really – party people are party people having a good time and that’s the way it should be. It’s quite a personable crowd we have (at Wiggle), and there are new people coming in too, the younger people and older people is a nice mix. You feel safe in that environment, then that’s when you let your hair down, when you feel safe and comfortable’ – Nathan Coles
‘I haven’t noticed any discernible difference over the years, people come to let go, attitude wise, folk who come to HOG are lovely, so that takes care of its self’ – Chris Wishart
‘I think it's the same at my parties if I'm honest. People have and always will want to go out, listen to good music and get plum on it. That’s all I'm trying to offer’. – Lukas Cole
Boys Own, 1989
Where many state not much change, showing the powers of the universal appreciation of sound that doesn’t age (as discussed here in our open letter ), a small difference was noted by some, and one that could be a result again of the internet using and informed public.
‘I think the crowd expect more now, there are so many late bars that the crowd expect something special or different. Years ago I would travel a long way just to hear the right music, now people expect it on their doorstep’.- Steve Wrighty
‘Kids are more knowledgeable now about sound systems and DJs so they can be critical especially with on line forums etc…it’s up to the promoter to deliver the goods...years ago people got away with murder’. – Terry Farley
Dave Beer at Back to Basics 22nd Birthday
Launching an event is most definitely an attractive opportunity, if you’re spending every weekend attending a party then why not start one? There are plenty of new nights springing up every weekend as the millennial generation prove their entrepreneurial reputation to be accurate, but very few are set to last the long term and make it through the years to get to where the panel of promoters I talk to stand. I wondered if this trend of nights ending as quickly as they started has always been the case; maybe due to costs cutting in areas such as physical promotion, and the internet making it easier than ever to make industry contacts, now was an easier time than ever to start a brand up without thinking of serious continuation plans…
‘I don’t think that’s a new thing, no. It’s not easy to do it, that’s what people think. It’s much more integral than that. Firstly you’ve got to know you’ve got a crowd and people are in same headspace as you are, then things can start to get going!’ – Dave Beer
‘Depends on what your selling musically - if your seen as a ' minimal ' or ' deep house ' promoter/party then your life span will be shorter or you have to change and be seen as a bandwagon hopper…stick with quality music in good clean venues with nice security, give people value for money and you’ll last as long as you can keep up the standard’ – Terry Farley
‘I suppose it’s like the fact that there are so many record labels now and so many digital releases and you see them come and go as well... People maybe don’t realize how much work goes into it, and how hard it is to do. Yeah I suppose it has changed as there are more events than ever going on, more nights going on so it only makes sense that more people are going to fail too... It’s the law of averages I suppose! It’s whatever you put into it too at the end of the day…we didn’t find it difficult but there was less competition then at the time so now obviously it’s going to be harder to get it off the ground…' - Nathan Coles
Nathan Coles at Wiggle 20th Birthday
‘Nights have always come and gone for different reasons, they were crap, loss of venues, fashion changing. We were lucky to start at a time when we were able to establish what we were doing without a lot of competition and we have stuck to what we do. If the event is ALL about making money, you have a choice, either lower your standards, be in fashion, or give up’.- Chris Wishart
‘It’s always been like that to be honest. I think people do a few a parties for a laugh to begin with and then life starts getting in the way. They get real jobs, friend circles start to disperse, musical tastes change, they lose money etc. I've seen loads of different reasons why stuff like that happens’ – Lukas Cole
‘No, this has always been common. Often ideas are great in promoter’s minds but not in reality. This could because it's not the right time; the promotion isn't up to it or many other reasons. If a promoter has never had a failed night then they are either very, very lucky or a liar’ – Steve Wrighty
Steve Wrighty at Soul Buggin' 10th Birthday
As we can see then, the art of running an underground electronic music night is one which remains surprisingly similar to when the market first started out. The key to holding on for years is one which remains unknown, and perhaps some simply have the spark and some don’t, success lying in the hands of fate, a lot of hard work and an undying love of the party cause.
If you could give the new wave of promoter’s one piece of advice what would it be?
‘You need passion, a lot of love and enthusiasm. That’s it really, to keep you driving. And patience!’ – Nathan Coles
‘Good idea, good music, good principles and the commitment to do your best by the party and punters over making more money’.- Steve Wrighty
‘Bloodymindedness’ – Chris Wishart
‘Keep the faith with the best HOUSE music don’t go chasing fads or book DJs because they have loads of FB friends - book them because you and your crowd dig what they stand for and play. Play the long game - better to be in the game for 10 years making friends and a nice living than trying to get rich in 2 years and it ending with everyone thinking you’re a dick. Also you must always have enough money in the bank that you are prepared to lose to cover your party outgoings. If nobody shows up asking the DJ to take less or not have money to pay is a one way ticket to a bad name.' – Terry Farley
Catch up with what the panel are up to in the coming weeks and check out the magic for yourself…
Dave Beer: Dave will be doing what he does best at Back to Basics with Ralph Lawson, James Holroyd, Denney, Tristan Da Cuhna, James Barnsley, Frenchy and Dave Beer, Saturday 18th October, The Wire - Leeds. Link here
Steve Wrighty – Catch Steve and the Soul Buggin’ gang playing with Mr Scruff at Mimm, Friday 7th November, The Irish Centre - Nottingham. Link here
Terry Farley – Terry will be playing with Pete Heller as Roach Motel, Sat 29th November, Stattbad - Berlin. Link here and check out their new compilation here
Lukas Cole – Lukas will celebrating 8 years of Wigflex this Halloween with Martyn, Shed and Luke Abbot (live), Friday 31st October, Brickworks - Nottingham. Link here
Nathan Coles – Wiggle celebrate their 20th Birthday in style with Baby Ford, Evil Eddie Richards, Nathan Coles, JB & NDR, James O'Connell on Saturday 25th October, Autumn Street Studios - London. Link here
Chris Wishart – House of God will also be celebrating Halloween with a techno fest, Paul Birken, Surgeon, Terry Donovan, Jinx, Slobodan, DJ – X, Deadbeat, Grindi, Stacked, Sir Real, Friday 32st October, Tunnel Club - Birmingham. Link here.
Written By Eileen Pegg
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Jef K – The mystery black cat of house music. For his talent he remains fairly anonymous, but the Paris based Silver Network label boss holds some serious flair when it comes to delivering the necessary grooves for a party. A slick approach to the dance floor, Jef K knows his stuff and has demonstrated his variety playing with an array of diverse Djs across many spectrums of house music at some of the top underground events. We joined the man himself for an inside scoop to some irrelevant information in a Not So Serious session.
Hey Jef, thanks for getting Not So Serious with MEOKO!
Bonjour Meoko !
What is the strangest thing you have ever bought?
A medical vinyl from the 70’s with recordings of real heartbeats
How would you describe the taste of snails?
What is the best Prank you have ever pulled?
Entering a club for free in Miami during WMC pretending we are Daft Punk
A night that went out of control?
With my girlfriend last Sunday
What comes first to your mind if I say “missed flight”?
What is your most important item while being on tour?
My computer and my electronic cigarette
If you could live in a movie, which one would it be?
The Blues Brothers because We Are On A Mission
Describe a situation where you got lost?
A bit drunk in Beijing trying to go back to the hotel by myself
The worst plane food you ever had?
If you could spend the day with one celebrity, who would it be and why?
Having a few drinks with Michel Houellebecq (French author) could be interesting …
If you could choose a venue and a line up what would it be?
Dream venue is of course Fabric – London when Ricardo and Craig are playing …
Something funny that happened at an event where you played at?
It’s always a good laugh with my mates at the Katapult boat parties in Paris …
What do you do after you have played at an event?
I wish I’d go to bed !
The sexiest house tune you can think of?
Paul Johnson “Feel My MF Bass”
Catch Jef K play next on the 18th of October in Birmingham
Catch Jef K play next on the 8th of November in Paris
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Hey there event organisers,
First of all, thank you, and thanks to the rest of your event team, for having organised such a mouthwatering line up for your very special event. Looking at the set times though, a few DJs seem somewhat out of place… The headliner playing first? The resident playing after the headliner? Did you take the DJ names from a hat and randomly place them in the schedule?
I go to your event, and see that indeed one of the headliners is warming things up instead of the resident. That’s cool, I guess it makes sense to get one of the headliners to play first, in hopes of pulling in an early crowd. The headliner does this brilliantly, as his beautiful techno sounds magically entices more and more people to the dancefloor, eventually filling up every bit of space. His “set time” ends and who takes over? a disco playing DJ, who completely breaks the rhythm. He leads the techno crowd astray by playing disco tunes and gets the crowd singing along to “Slave to the Rhythm”. Did you not check disco DJ’s label roster before sticking him in between two techno DJs?
He finishes his super jolly set, and now it’s all up to the poor guy who’s next on the line up to bring the vibe back to the darkened depths of techno. It’s not easy, and it takes some time to create a smooth transition. Don’t get me wrong, that other DJ was super talented, and disco vibes are always good fun, but there is a time and a place. Playing Grace Jones in between a techno night kinda kills the vibe, unless you’re a super talented wizard and can pull that kind of stuff off. I admire and encourage those eclectic sets, but not at the expense of that flow. DJs on the line up should at least share one significant factor in common to create smooth transitions between each artist, be it a record label or music style in common.
Each set time slot is as important as the other, be it a warm up set or a closing one. And there is nothing wrong with being first on the line up, as we’ve touched about in our previous Meoko article about the importance of a good warm up set.
Read up or tune in on who plays best at certain times…Don’t break the flow!
A raver that appreciates good music on the dancefloor.
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Italian born Lorenzo Chiabotti, currently parked in Berlin, has been a rising star for some time jumping from impressive club residencies across Europe. A hidden gem who has been known to manufactures a reputable live performance amongst seamless dj sets. His clear appreciation for the eclectic sub genres in dance music has taken him the distance and he is not afraid to pool sounds of funk into a techno infused framework perfect for dance-orientated execution. We join Lorenzo of Vinyl Club and Delooped records for an exclusive interview.
Hi Lorenzo, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for Meoko! How are you today?
Im fine thank you, more than happy to answer to your questions.
How was your summer? Have you been busy?
My summer was ok, I had a really nice time playing every month endless sessions at Club Der Visionaere, I went to play italy and in Moscow @ Pravda ; first time for me in Russia and during the week I was in my studio making music, I could say it was a perfect season.
You are from Turin in Italy? How was it growing up there?
Turin is great, when I was 17 Years old, the illegal rave party scene was huge, a lot of "tribe" from the UK like "Spiral tribe" or "Okupe " from France chose Turin for big illegal rave parties. Turin has plenty of empty abandoned factories, Turin was a city based on cars manufactures , with the crisis a lot of companies left to other countries leaving amazing empty spaces, I had a lot of fun discovering my city through old buildings and for sure I learnt what electronic music and techno is.
Do you still play a lot at Doctor Sax? We heard you have been a resident there for quiet a while?
Actually no, lol , I was resident for only one season there, then I left for Berlin. As I said Turin is an amazing city for Djs, Clubs and Raves. Doctor Sax is a magic place where djs and clubbers are free to express themselves, open only in the morning, great after party, I wish I could bring my Berliner friends there.
Was electronic music popular at the time you lived there?
Yes Sir! The Rave and Club scene was really big at the end of the 90's. When I went to my first RAVE Party I already knew about Drum Machines and electronic instruments from my music studies, in one of this huge rave party I heard KAOS playing a live set, only machines (at that time no softwares were yet invented to play live) that rave changed my life.
Also the club scene was "kick ass" at that time, Turin's promoters brought to the city international talent like Villalobos or Lucian’s live set, I think even before he started his label Cadenza.
Turin definitely has an underground soul.
What or who influenced you to start doing music?
When I was a kid, my house was always full of records and cds, classical music and Psychedelic Rock was what I was listening to, thanks to my father and my big brother. At 13 yo my mother noticed that I was really in to the music and she bought me a drum set; after some weeks, I guess she had enough of my no sense of grooves and she sent me to a music school.
So I could say my mom started all of this :)
You have studied at the Music School of Art? What did you study there?
It was a fusion jazz music school, i've learnt a lot there, I could say every thing I know now about music theory , grooves and harmony I learnt there ; the big change of my life came when I started to study "step sequencing" and "midi programs" at school .
I din't want to play drums anymore unless it was a pad on a Sampler Machine, it was like a revolution in my Brain, at the beginning of 2000 I left My Band , sold my drum and bought straight after tha at sequencer, mixer and Sample machine!
Also the Dancefloor taught me a lot about music, I spent so many hours of my life listening to good music and checking the reactions of the crowd.
You now live in Berlin? Do you like it there? What pushed you to move there?
What Pushed me here? easy to say Mr Luc Ringeisen owner of Vinyl Club recordings, he told me and helped me to move here; I met Luc at his record store in Ibiza in 2006 , at that time we were both living on the island , in 2008 Luc left ibiza to go to Berlin and since then he always told me "Lorenzo move to berlin you will like it u will love it ! " in 2010 after the season in Ibiza i've decided to move to Berlin and since then i'm here :-) It was the decision that made everything better and gave a sense to my carrier.
Do I like it here? there is no other city on this planet where I could live except Berlin.
Its normal for a producer living in berlin to get inspiration 24 h / 7, in every clubs the line ups are amazing , I mean here djs Like, Zip , Ricardo Mike shannon , Jan Krueger etc are resident Djs in Berlin.
The club culture here is so important (and big business for a few investors ) of course the quality of the music is really high and for musicians it means a lot.
What is your favorite club to play at in Berlin and what is it that makes Berlin so different from other cities?
My favorite Club to play in Berlin is CDV for sure, long sessions , amazing ambient and friends, where i'm enjoying a lot of parties is at About Blank but definitely Berghain is where I like to rave (i'm a big fan of intelligent Scandinavian techno)
A lot of people move to berlin to reach goals and realize their dreams, here it is still possible, this is what makes this city special, alongisde affordable rents and the size of the city is still ok (not too big) which helps too.
The club industry is part of the economy of the city, the level is really high . There is no closing time which makes every single event special, people can enjoy "the clubbing" experience on another level.
When did you decide to start playing live sets? Do you prefer to Dj or does it just provide you with a different angle to play music?
I made my first live set when I was 18 years old and I've played it on my first gig ever in a Rave party In Turin.
At the moment I prefer Djing instead of playing live, Djing puts me closer to the crowd during events, I spent a lot of time in music research and buy a lot of Vinyl & Digital, for sure I have more fun when i'm djing; I still like to play liv, but now I need time to prepare a new one, last time i've played live was 4 years ago o_0!
You are in the studio a lot at the moment, how is everything going in there?
Luc Ringeisen and I have moved in a new two room sstudio at the beginning of the summer and we love it, we got our own room, we share machines, skills, etc. I spend more time in the studio than at home, its first time in my life I found a good set up that help my workflow.
What production techniques and hardware do you use, tools and plug-ins?
Basically when I start a new track I just play live with my machines (I got an AKAI MPC 2500 , KORG electribe , MFB Drum Machine , Moog, etc ) every thing is plugged to my sound card , pretty easy for me then to record every session live and then re-edit the arrangement on Logic.
Im an AKAI MPC lover, I resample a lot, every single beat comes from my fingers hitting the pads of the MPC (yes I was drummer ) this makes my productions impulsive and harmonic on the same time, when i'm djing I play a lot my unreleased tracks this makes me understand how importanti t is when im in the studio to create the tracks as live set using the knobs of the machine instead of using the mouse and some plug ins, it's a different feeling and arrangement is humanized .
What can you tell us about your forthcoming releases?
Today Moscow records sent me the Masters of "Adnur EP" with a remix by Archie Hamilton, it's my own Ep including 3 originals mix and one remix of Archie, masters sounds great ,more than looking forward to release it , I think is one of the best release i've made since now .
On top of that I have two releases on Vekton Black and Vekton Music confirmed, (thanks to Mariano Mateljan & Daniel Madlung to make this happen)
Unfortunately can not speak yet about some releases, I just can say next autumn / winter I will release a lot.
We know you have future projects with Yaya from Desolat and Maki Polne? What are these projects about? Does this have to do with your upcoming release on Vekton Musik?
Yes I 've made both releases on Vekton with Maki Polne.
Maki is one of my best friends here in Berlin, we spent a lot of time in the studio together (we have already 3 releases together on amazing labels like Vinyl Club and Delooped) , Making music with him it's like when you go to your best friend's house to play xbox all afternoon , well instead of wasting time on video games we make music , we start always to create a track from zero; first we smoke a joint and then "we let the magic start" ; some time we go too far away (yes we smoke too much ), but every closed track we made is something unique , totally different of what I usually do alone .
Maki and I Play often together here in Berlin B2B, we called it "MPLC".
Yaya and I come from the same city, Turin, we know each others since years , we were living together in Ibiza for two seasons (crazy house ..crazy seasons lol ) last winter he came to Berlin , we did one track (GrandeTosse ) that we just released on Kina Music.
Was really good to work with him and really funny, in May he came back to Berlin to spend the whole summer here.
Yes It took the whole summer but we made 4 tracks .
Yaya is a "Machine studio master " basically what we did is "AKAI MPC vs Machine Studio " the 4 tracks we made are groovy & dirty , I literally can't wait to test them in clubs.
How did you feel when you heard your promo was played all over Ibiza?
Hmmmm that is a nice story because I was there.
Was 2007 I went to ibiza for the season with a cd of unreleased tracks i've made during the winter. I gave this cd to Luc Ringeisen at his record store , after two weeks he told me that he will release 3 tracks of mine on his label (vinyl club)
that summer I was working as runner in Dc10 to pay my rent, was monday afternoon when I heard my track played by Sossa (dj resident of Circoloco) in the terrace , i 've said to one random girl next to me that I've made the track that was playing… she didn't believe :-( It was strange feeling because i've seen the whole dc10 dancing to my promo , but I was working and I couldn't fully enjoy that special moment.
Some weeks after I heard the same track played by Tania and Clive Harry in Dc10 and Matt John in Monza at Space.
Now I can say that i'm really happy and I was lucky to be there .
And last question, if you could only listen to one genre of music for the rest of your life, what would it be?
DUB please !!!! from Dub reggae to Dub techno
Catch Lorenzo play next in London at Half Baked
LORENZO CHIABOTTI EXCLUSIVE PODCAST HERE..
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Fabric brings London underground DJ talent, internationally-renowned electronic music legends, and music dedicated to cutting-edge house, techno, electro, disco, dub-techno…and anything else that fits within the confines of the night’s future-forward and ever-evolving programming. For their 15th birthday, as we can all expect, from those travelling far and wide – there will be no disappointment over the 30 hours of music this weekend.
With the global dance music scene pooling towards Amsterdam for the very special annual dance event, it must not be forgotten that just on our doorstep, the Super power that is fabric has put together a seriously weighty selection. With the usual fabric live Fridays the Farrigndon club will remain open until the early hours of Monday morning for this very special occasion.
A seriously eclectic selection has been fashioned by the organisers across the 3 basement rooms which will help the party roll seamlessly through the weekend with appearances from the likes of Terry Francis, Ben Klock, Ben UFO, Marcel Dettman, resident Craig Richards to name a few, and my top tips for Jay Tripwire, Mathew Jonson (LIVE), and of course the man Ricardo Villalobos.
Expect a busy body sweat box within, but with the caliber of artists making an appearance, the heat is something you’l have to deal with…Ques will be silly - choose your entry timing wisely. DO NOT MISS!
Article By Ell Weston
Italian DJ and producer, Alex Picone, is a defining figure in underground dance music progressions. He holds an impressive “musical CV” and shows no signs of stopping.
In his hometown, Padua, he started DJing at the ripe age of 17, and found his new love for collecting vinyls at an even younger age. His natural progression to producing initiated and in no time released some banging and often but not limited to, tribal sounding tracks on a variety of well-respected labels, such as Bosconi and Bass Culture Records, where he also collaborated with artists such as Ryan Elliot and The Analogue Cops. 2013 was an impressive year for Alex, as he embarked on some exciting projects, such as his “The Kicks” project with Mayaan Nidam, where he also played and recorded a set with her at Club Der Visionaire in Berlin (Berlin is his base at present). He also released his Minimalism Gets Complex EP on Mus Records and tracks on his Illegal Series.
Today, Alex is not just a DJ and producer, but an active member and modern day pioneer of the dance music community. In Ibiza this summer he held a residency at Sankeys, and had the whole Spektrum room to himself for his Alex Picone & Friends parties. In his home country, Italy, he has impressively formed and led a plethora of successful projects, such as Altavoz, an Italian party and institution providing opportunities to talented individuals via workshops and conferences. Today, after all those years of collecting records, he gives back to the vinyl community via his most recent project: Seekers. A vinyl only label and party in one, Seekers is directed to all you vinyl diggers and ravers who appreciate the music on the dancefloor. His party took off with a bang this summer in Ibiza during the island’s closing parties as he played alongside Francesco Del Garda and Juanito at Ibiza Underground. His next Seekers will take place in the same province that he grew up in.
Alex Picone has certainly come a long way. From his early beginnings it was clear he had a particular spark about him. The names of his parties that he used to run during his teenage years; “Fresh n’ Fruit”, “The Same” and “Fuck Simile” give obvious signs that he steers clear of convention. Check out what we mean by unique as we talk with the tribal master, analogue lover and seeker himself…
Hi Alex! Firstly, congrats on all the hard work you seem to have put into so many great projects. Your parties in Ibiza looked amazing, and I'm sure there is much anticipation for your fresh project, Seekers. Let's first start from the basics... Can you tell me, what makes you attracted to the music scene?
The passion I have for it.. It is more than 20 years since I buy and search for vinyls and I never stopped and even now, at 35 years old, I still have a lot to discover.
What inspired you to start producing music?
At the end of the 90’s I heard at a party a proper house band... They were making house music live… There I felt more than ever before that I wanted to produce music…I spent many years studying about recording and mixing, and worked on different albums for different bands. In 2007 I felt more confident to produce my own music and released my first vinyl. Now I’m totally addicted to studio time and I have different collaborations on many labels of electronic music.
You once said that to achieve a timeless track you had to go in the opposite direction of the masses. Do you still live by this mantra? How important is it to be unconventional in order to succeed?
…Yes, i still believe in it. It’s important to be unconventional if you want to achieve something new. This doesn't guarantee an immediate success though…
You released a track called “Lost In Burning Man”. Have you ever been to Burning Man before, and did you get lost?
Yes, I was 2010 and of course I got lost…It is still the best festival I’ve ever seen.
Do you plan to release any more tracks on Mus Records?
Mus number 10 is a work in progress.
Last year, you released The Kicks' 001. Who is part of The Kicks and will you continue this project this year?
The Kicks is an experimental label project I have with Maayan Nidam… 2 years ago we started to jam together. We liked it so we decided to invite different people to experiment with us, in a sort of band. On the label we released the best jams made together with different artists.. Number 2 is coming out soon with 3 tracks made in 3 different studios, by 5 different artists: San proper, Tobi Neumann, Maayan Nidam, me and the UK drummer Lui. We like to think that we collect a nice EP.
You produce music, play sets and organise events and projects. Was going from DJ/producer to event organizer a natural progression for you?
Well actually I started to DJ at the clubs at 17 years old and at 20 I started to organize events cause I needed a place where I could play the music I liked. After many years of parties and DJing I started to produce music.
You are based in Berlin, yet you play sets frequently in Italy. What would you call home, Germany or Italy?
Italy is were I’m born, where all my family is….Berlin is my home since more than 5 years and I will stay there for the next 10 years for sure…I love the city and the nature around it…The party scene has changed a lot, but good things are yet to come… The city is an inspiration.
This summer you played at LOFT’s birthday party in Brescia. What did you like the most about playing at LOFT?
LOFT is a really cool party in Brescia made from people that are living since many years in London. They are trying with a lot of passion and succeeded to create a good party in Italy, which is not always easy. I believe a lot that the scene in Italy is changing thanks to some promoters that really work on it with a lot of love.
This summer you played frequently at Sankeys Ibiza’s Spektrum room. How were the parties and which was your favourite one?
I like a lot the Spektrum room. I believe it is one of the places where my music fits. I played there the last three years when it was really difficult to make a party there. This year, after some serious changes, the room is finally very nice. We made several cool parties there alongside Fuse and Next Wave. My favourite party was the last one; the closing of Next Wave. The Spektrum room was already known by some people, others discovered the room for the first time, liked it and stayed till the end. It was a very nice atmosphere and a pleasure to perform for that public . There were three rooms filled with great music and the perfect public for it.
Were you anxious about your gig at Ibiza Underground? It was the first party of Seekers. Who did you share the decks with?
I was super excited for our first event, where I played with Francesco Del Garda who become one of my favourite artists for the quality and quantity of unknown records that he is playing, and Don Juanito, who is the owner of this amazing club, Underground, where all my favourite DJs are usually playing. We are very happy of how the event went.
What is Seeker’s concept and what makes it stand out to be able to survive as both a party and a label?
Seekers is the new platform for vinyl-addicted DJs and machine-addicted producers.
After many years traveling around the world I recognise that the thing I’m more interested in is to create a harmonious party, with good music and with the right kind of public for it….We plan to survive by doing small parties in cool venues, with 300 people inside and releasing the best music around our crew without putting the producers’ names on the records.
The second party will take place on October 17th at the Tag in Venice with headliners Francesco Del Garda, Niff and yourself. What can attendees expect from this special event?
TAG club is an historical venue in Venice, with more than 30 years of electronic music, a capacity of 300 people, 2 rooms, serious sound-system and we can play until 7 am, which in Italy is very rare …Niff and Francesco Del Garda are the best Italian seekers and the people that want to participate at this event will be selected prior to the party…There will not be the possibility to enter if you are not on one of the lists of our promoters.
Thanks for your answers, Alex! Alex has just given us a special, exclusive Meoko mix. Highly recommended listen, folks! And check out the last track on the mix, which is a track releasing soon on Seekers. Enjoy :)
LISTEN TO MIX HERE
Just in time for their special ADE showcase event, of whom MEOKO is a media partner, we sat down with each of our Dutch friends, VBX x SlapFunk x Natives, to give them a chance to explain exactly what their respective party institutions are about. The result is a fascinating interview with some very insightful answers on the local scene, label managing and party planning from these exciting agencies.
Check out the VBX x SlapFunk x Natives 20-hour ADE event here
Who are VBX and what does the name stand for?
The V & B stand for Vrijbuiters, which means freebooters, the X stands for new. Vrijbuiters is our old name, we used to be more pirates, but we’re not 20 anymore ;) At a certain point we decided that our party should be only about the music, that’s when the new VBX was born.
What has been the most memorable party you have put on to date and why?
That was defintely the after-party during ADE a few years ago in the Cruquiusgilde. It was an illegal location in those days, we partied there all day, all night and we ended up with a huge surprise line-up, lots of friends from all around the world came by to play some tunes. The cool thing is that this year, we go back to this location on Thursday (tINI & the Gang) and Saturday morning (after-party for HYTE Warehouse with Ricardo Villalobos).
What’s it like trying to find spaces for parties in Amsterdam?
It used to be very challenging, but nowadays there are a lot of possibilities. I think in the last 3 years at least 10 new locations opened their doors, from old warehouses like Elementenstraat as well as new clubs like Canvas.
There is a strong emphasis on visual identity at VBX. Are any of you artists? Where does this visual aesthetic come from?
Niels and I are both big fans of modern art and architecture, so we use this as an inspiration most often. But all the credit for the design go to Menno Drontmann (Ams301), he is our designer from the beginning and will be until the end :)
Do you have any future plans for expansion from being an agency?
Well we like to start slow, we’re very happy with the talented group we have on the moment. We like to build the VBX brand together with them and expand slowly from showcases in Holland to more showcases abroad.
How important is it for DJs to have their own agents in the industry?
In my opinion a DJ should focus on making and playing music. Having a skilled agent with a good network who you can trust, gives you a lot of time and focus. So yes, it's important!
Tell us about your event concepts and their respective music policies - Spectrum, Current and Workit.
Our concepts stand for different music directions that we love. Current is our classic sound, this is where it all started. On Current you will hear minimalistic music and grooves between house & techno. Spectrum is all about house in his many guises. And Work It is a night focused on dirty Chicago sounds from ghetto tech to raw booty, juke to footwork and plenty in between.
What do we have to look forward to at Tolhuistuin as a venue?
Tolhuistuin is an old iconic building, it used to be a Shell laboratory. The building still has his futuristic character, however the rooms are completely renewed with perfect acoustics and one of the best sound systems in Amsterdam. There’s also a restaurant and a nice chill out, so for us it’s a perfect location for a 20 hour marathon :)
Can you explain for MEOKO readers what SlapFunk is all about?
SlapFunk is all about that slapped up nasty rhythms and grooves. We always loved those stripped down beats with all kinds of influences and thats what we want to share with the world. It's also a kind of style for us. If you listen to all of our releases you will recognize that all tracks are quite dancefloor related stuff made for the club and to make people dance their ass off.
At what point did you realise that the party had gained enough momentum to start a label?
Since the early beginning it was a dream for us to release our own music from our own guys on our own platform. It was in 2009 that we started to do some illegal partys and then moved on to the club in 2011. In that time everything was getting more and more serious so we decided to follow our dreams and start to collect tracks for our first release. And so in January 2012 we dropped our first bomb!
What is the inspiration or influences of the stripped back rugged sound that characterises SlapFunk’s releases?
As a group of friends we got influenced by the raw clubs that Amsterdam used to have before they closed down most of them. Also a lot of Amsterdam's renowned DJ's had a very raw style at that time and the underground scene was flourishing. The main focus and inspiration for us is to make people dance. That's why all tracks got that slapped up drive. Dancing is a centuries old ritual that everybody does and it makes them feel happy and alive. So why don't we participate on that movement and stimulate the dancefloor?
Even they are not too far from one another, does Utrecht stand in the shadow of Amsterdam in terms of music scene?
We would say that but the music scene in Utrecht is very different from Amsterdam. Utrecht is a student city so the music scene is focused on them, that's why we mostly get techno and tech-house party's. Music wise you got a lot more solid music coming out of the capital than Utrecht. But still we keep doing our thing and focus on the world.
The label plays host to a range of talents like Malin Genie, Samuel Deep and Larry de Kat. It seems like very close-knit group with shared influences, were you all friends before?
Most of us grew up together or have been friends for a very long time while others joined the group after releasing on our label. But nowadays we are one big family.
How do you distinguish between the being a label as opposed to being a music collective?
Put it this way - we are a music collective that just happen to own a label as well.
What’s the story behind Natives and when did you first start organising parties?
Natives has two main “chiefs”, Martijn de Vries (27) and Samuel Taselaar (26). They started organizing events together from an early age, 19 years-old, in small local clubs in Amsterdam. This soon grew out to bigger festivals for around 1500-2000 people, Graefenthal am See and FLOAT, with their first company. With this experience, they started Natives, a brand with which they focus on pushing local talent and the “Native” sound (local sound) of Amsterdam.
What differences or similarities do you share with VBX?
The difference with VBX, is that they are a booking agency as well as organisers of parties, and we’re not. Similarities is that we’ve booked artists like Ferro multiple times. We like the same sound and think the same about a lot of things. This could be the quality of a soundsystem that is essential for a good party, reacting quickly when communicating and sharing beliefs that parties should be about fun and love for music. Not just money.
What first attracted you to the idea of running events?
Going to parties like Awakenings and WTTF really sparked the interest for organising events. Also the fact that from an early age a lot of people from The Hague and Leiden (where they come from), were busy making music and listening to house/techno artists helped with this. It just grew on them, and making money whilst hosting cool events was really a bonus. Going out there and doing it was the big reward, especially when it’s all new and exciting.
It’s a very appealing idea to run events, but there’s a lot more effort and hard work behind it than meets the eye. What’s the most important element of a party for you?
The most important things when throwing events is an eye for detail. Is the girl who’s handling the guestlist happy and does she have something to drink. Is the banner in the right position? Is the club manager aware of when we will pick up the decoration the next day, and is the sound technician ready at 01:30 to go from CDs to vinyl for the next artists. Clear and honest communication, so that everyone is on point. That is essential when organising events. But the love for music and getting people together is by far the most important. Without this, it becomes just another job, whilst it can be so much more. A full room with quality music and people dancing. Then you can look around proud and think: This is all because of our effort.
What is the most difficult part of putting on an event?
The most difficult part of organising an event is pushing your party without pushing too hard. It should be a natural, organic style. But sometimes ticket sales are not going the way you want to, even though your line-up is good, artwork looks sweet and communication is on point. At that point, you have to make sure you push it in a way to attract a larger audience. But with that promotion comes the danger that people will think: “Why are they trying so hard, are things not going as they should?”. That’s something you will encounter at some point or another, and it’s always difficult to handle.
Who are the hottest local talents MEOKO readers should keep an eye on?
The local talents that are standing out right now (maybe talents is not even a good title for them anymore), are Ferro (VBX), Interstellar Funk (Tape), Elias Mazian (Trouw) and Shadee (Aspirations).
Check out MEOKO's full ADE party guide here
By Geoffrey Chang
Silvie Loto, an Italian tech-house queen, has certainly made a name for herself internationally as well as locally. She belongs to record labels 250REC and Paris based Catwash Records. More famously however, she has unleashed her creativity with some of dance music’s most well-respected institutions, such as BPitch Control, where she released her Solstice EP, and two of Italy’s underground dance music super clubs: Florence’s Tenax and Rome’s Goa Club, where she has held residency at both clubs. It was Tenax in 2008 which allowed her musical career to blossom in full after travelling and playing at dance music terrains, London, Spain and Germany. Since then she has not stopped, as she play regular gigs at Tenax, holding residency at well-renowned Nobody’s Perfect party since 2010. And let’s not forget her residency for legendary party Ultrabeat at Goa Club, one of Rome’s best underground house & techno clubs. It was her residency at this club and her impressive milestones in Italy that inspired Meoko to ask Silvie to be featured on ‘Sounds of the City’, where we ask artists about their favourite spots in the city they call home.
Hi Silvie! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about Rome. We've heard many great things about Rome's nightlife and of course, the city itself looks magical....
Where according to you, is the best place to spend a Saturday night?
There are so may. But when I’m free I personally prefer to take it easy with a good movie at home.
How true is Sorrentino’s portrayal of Rome in his La Grande Bellezza?
That's one of my favorite movies for sure. The movie doesn’t really portray a general vision of rome, but quite a small part of it. It only shows a symbolic and allegoric caricature of the high class of rome, which feels true nonetheless.
In Rome, you can’t live without… a camera to take pictures. There are so many things to see and to immortalize.
If you had to convince a friend to go on a Roman holiday, what would you say?
You can see in a week more amazing monuments than you can see travelling to 20 cities. You can probably eat some of the best cuisines.
Most artistic gallery?
Macro's museum in via Nizza is one of my favorites. Just the building itself, an ex brewery of Peroni, is already something you should see in Rome.
Best place to have an aperitif?
Freni e Frizioni in Trastevere is one of the most famous places to have a good drink at happy hour.
Best place to have a glass of wine?
Salotto 42 is a great place for a good glass of wine. But most for a great cocktail. Placed in the center of rome it stands in front of Adrian temple, an amazing Roman temple.
Goa stands for?
Home and music. You can feel so comfy inside listening to your favorite DJ with one of the best soundsystems.
Your favourite summer party is...
Magick Bar. A magical place on the river of rome. Open every day with DJ set every night. It is the best place to meet friends and drink a good cocktail with amazing music as a soundscape.
Favourite party on the beach is...
Goa Ultrabeat summer parties on the beach are my favorites. They start from 6pm till midnight. I love to dance on the beach with the sun light.
And how about your favourite winter party?
For sure Goa club gives me the best nights. As well Goa Ultrabeat night on Thursday and Anarchy in the Club on Friday. I love to play there and hear artists I have known for several years or discover new names.
Favourite record store?
Ultrasuoni Records in Monti is for sure the best place to buy good new records. You can never go wrong. All the selected music by the owner, Marcolino, is always the best you can find around.
A sound unique to Rome is… San Pietro bells on a sunday morning
Favourite bar to play at?
Again Magick Bar. You can play what you want, how long want and this freedom makes you play (and hear) the best dj set.
Most creative hub is… Monti neighborhood is probably the most artistic place in rome. Here you can find music shops, cool boutiques and shops of handmade stuff. It's the hip place of Rome.
Most inspiring place is…
Villa Borghese Park, one of the biggest ones in rome. Is close to my house so i love to go and spend some afternoons there. You can even work from there, as there is wifi in most of the park.
A track to represent Rome is…
Nino Rota - 'La Dolce Vita, soundtrack of the masterpiece "La Dolce Vita of Fellini". This is exactly what rome is about baby!
The UK double Mark Caramelli and Paul Hargreaves have fused a range of their musical styles and influences together into their Death on the Balcony alias which has seen the duo delve through disco orientated techno and all things deep with an eclectic fall back selection suited for any party atmosphere. In a time where genres combine and cross seamlessly their approach has seen great success of recent and they continue to cause a stir. We joined the Balcony based twosome for a Music Through Pictures session for an insight on their image to music based creativity. How the pictures make them feel and the type of sound they see best fit. Some unrelated pictures accompanied with some tracks. Enjoy.
“And they really do care. Lokee is always a proper party.. A family of party people who are there to dance hard and lose it. It is always a pleasure to play the party. The last time we were here we closed a rave under a bridge somewhere in hackney and the only way to access it was via a boat. This just shows their level of commitment to finding those special spaces!
This is a spooky picture, with the ghostly spectre in the forefront seems suitable we connect this equally haunting track from Japan we edited and gave away for free.
A religious construct, complete with a nice balcony we see ;) if we don’t burn up on entry we would be heading straight for the confessions booth!
“This reminds us of our amazing time in Bogota, Colombia. We went straight of the plane with no sleep to an interview on Colombian Radio followed by the best crepe’s we ever ate! The gig for our friend, Miguel lega was one to remember but perhaps the most memorable is the trip into the favela’s for the afterparty featuring a woman who appeared to have a wooden leg and various other interesting characters. One we will definitely not forget!
This picture conjures up images of the festival season we just left behind and also looking out of the window now we are into autumn/winter and the change in the seasons!
Them 3 Words! “I Love You!”
Ahoy there! This track sounds good on a boat! We played a set for Drop the mustard purely of our own material at Hideout festival… this one got a great reaction… ( FYI , track also works on land too ;) )
This one’s easy, “Country Roads”, one of our first release’s on a Japanese label. Even though one of our first records, we still think it’s relevant and playable today.
Is this an explosion? While Speaking on the Subject of explosions we have been told this track is a “bomb” by a few people! ;)
We wish we knew what to say for this one !!
For more MEOKO
Summer in London this year hasn't been the greatest in my personal opinion, apart from the few gems that remind you of why London is London. So to close Summer 2014 me and “the family” flew out to one of my favourite places in the world… Ibiza.
Initially we were sceptical about the weather as mother earth had promised rain. Not ideal, but the flights were booked, the hotels paid for and the sterling exchanged for euros. So off to Gatwick we went during the early hours of Monday 29th September. The routine flight of just over 2 hours past and we touched down in Eivissa. There were slight grins all around as we hit the baggage reclaim and proceeded to the taxi rank. Those that know the route to Playa d’en Bossa, will know that from the airport you only have to blink and you're there. “Gracias”, we were handed our bags by their driver and rolled into reception.
As if the anticipation couldn't build anymore than it had done, check-in wasn't until 2pm! Not that we didn’t know this prior to arriving but we always hope that by some miracle that we’d turn up and everything would in place. This is never the case!! (I’ll note that it was around 10am at the time). Anyway, time past, we settled in, unpacked and could finally relax, but not for long. The allure soon kicked in and off we went to DC10 for Circo Loco; it had begun. From then on out it was a blur of madness, mischief and music followed by:
Amnesia - Cocoon Closing; Sankeys - FUSE Closing; Sands - tINI & The Gang Closing.
Thursday came and a little “sanity” crept in with a ride to Ibiza Town for dinner at cosy little restaurant tucked away on the first floor of a building just off the main road. The food was amazing, and accompanied by an unexpected thumping soundtrack from the kitchen. Would you expect less? It was Ibiza after all. Sanity now checked off it was back to the dance floor: Space for ENTER’s Closing party. Sake and The Terrace got us back into the groove prior to making our way to what was to be the last destination for us this year; Ibiza Underground. As ever, Underground didn't fail. It's one of those special places in Ibiza, away from the the masses, a place where you almost feel like you’re on home soil. The moments passed, the beat dropped and it was over… Kick out.
The thing about this little island, is that it never sleeps (even though sometimes you have to). Kick out followed its usual disorder of who’s going where, what’s going on next, who’ve we lost, etc, etc. Which to choose? The decision was made and in the taxi we jumped. Phone calls were exchanged and directions translated from English to Spanish and from driver to driver. We were back en route. It was almost as if we were chasing sunrise as the taxi driver took us through meandering roads that could have led to absolutely nowhere. From time to time, we exchanged looks with each other… “Are we lost? Did we do the right thing? Shall we turn back?” The consistent answer was ‘No’ so we continued on our mission.
After about half-an-hour we finally reached our destination and drove around the area for a while as the fare crept up and up on the meter. It was time to make another decision; give up or continue searching for this afters. This time we were split; two stayed and two turned back. I thought, we’ve come all this way so we had to find it. As the taxi left us by the beach without a person in sight, a bright orange jeep pulled up with music pumping. “Looking for the party?...Jump in” And we were off again. We passed the beach, drove up a hill, round a corner and through a set of metal gates that opened into what seemed to be a derelict car park. “Follow me” said our new found friend and tour guide.
The feeling that followed as we gingerly made our way down the weathered stone stairs can only be compared to the scene from The Beach, when Leonardo DiCaprio and co finally make it after that treacherous swim. About 100 metres down from where we stood we a small collective of people dancing against a breathtaking backdrop. Step by step we got closer to the bottom. We had found it: Project London Records - Closing Party, tucked away in a magical little cove, on the coast of Ibiza. It felt like we had discovered a little hedonistic civilisation. Who knew how long it had been going for; who knew how long it was gonna last? All we knew is that this was Ibiza at its heart. The raw surroundings complemented by a rolling beat. The water was crystal clear as it lapped lazily against the rocks and the sun bathed us in all its glory. From time to time, between a weary two-step, I caught myself just staring out at the water, without a thought and without out a concern. This was special. I’d never experienced anything like it. This was the reason why this little Balearic island is my favourite place on the planet. This was Ibiza at its finest and ironically, London at its best; home-away-from-home. This was Project Ibiza.
Until next time… once again…
Ibiza: Thank you.
By Anwaar Bent