After a sell-out first year, We Are FSTVL is back and ready to wreak some havoc at The Airfield of Dreams, Upminster, Essex. For two days and two nights across the bank holiday Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of May, one hundred and fifty artists will bring everything they’ve got to the decks, giving you a bank holiday dance session to remember.
Festival organisers have gone all out to transform the area – you can look forward to exciting arenas like The Tower of Light, Confetti Island (brilliant), The Tunnel and two new main stage concepts still to be announced. We Are FSTVL has also ironed out any creases from its debut, with extended bars, toilets, parking, entrance lanes and later tube times, so everything will roll out smoothly giving you maximum disco dancing time.
Where to begin on a line-up this massive? Hear sets from Richie Hawtin, Disclosure, Maya Jane Coles, Solomun, Sven Väth, Ricardo Villalobos, Adam Beyer, MK, Kevin Saunderson, Jamie Jones, Derrick Carter, Cassy, Apollonia, Black Coffee, Luciano, Carl Craig, Timo Maas and (we really mean it this time) many, many more.
MEOKO wants you to get involved. We’ve lined up two free tickets to be received by one lucky winner – all you have to do is email
with We Are FSTVL as the subject title, and tell us which stage you’ll be spending your time at most.
Full We Are FSTVL line-up and tickets here.
Liverpool based promoters Freeze are doing something very right. It might have something to do with the top billing names they’ve booked, with John Digweed, Michael Mayer, Ellen Alien, Greg Wilson, Hernan Cattaneo, Luciano, Danny Howells, Leftfield and everybody’s favourite curveball UB40 amongst the illustrious roll call. But the Freeze team knows that’s not what makes a party standout anymore and have taken on the challenge of finding incredible alternative venues to host their events, so punters can rave in digs they never imagined they would ever rave in. Freeze has called tunnels, cathedrals, record stores, open-air bombed out churches and local taverns home over the years – and it’s anyone’s guess where they will announce next. Whilst the project is a serious one, they try to remember the game they’re in and simply focus on throwing parties that are good fun and worth coming back for. MEOKO grilled Freeze co-founder Rob Casson about the origins, ethos and future of Freeze events – oh and that time he went to Danny Howells’ mum’s place.
How did the project first begin and why?
Well we were a group of friends who enjoyed going out and had started DJing, so we wanted a place where our mates could come and hear us play our music badly. The name, which has been a debated point over the years, actually came as we started in a bar called "Bar Zero". After a couple of shows we moved to the Lemon Lounge but it kind of stuck. It was always a fun atmosphere, booking producers or well known club residents, and would mostly involved us smashed and talking nonsense about booking people like Sasha at the Pier Head :)
Have your goals changed much from when your first started?
I would say the party idea is exactly the same: give people a good time and they will come back, it’s simple economics really. We have always wanted to be different, looking at different buildings, artists and ideas that would set us apart and although we never quite got Sasha, having John Digweed play for us was one of the moments that we never thought we'd ever get to. Our ideas get crazier too: 2013 saw us move from Luciano to Ub40!
How do you choose your venues?
The challenge. Our team is a brilliant, very intelligent group. We're blessed with artists, visual animators, QS and managers. We have an ideas man then we all sit down and look at what's possible etc. But the challenge is key; it's never ever been about profit. Throw in an extra laser over a dollar any day.
What do you look for?
Uniqueness! We find venues that no one else has used and try and bring in labels that aren’t already established in the city through other promoters. Plus we also find quirky ways to promote our events.
What are the difficulties you’ve faced from choosing venues that don’t usually hold dance music events?
The Cathedral was a working one. It took nine months of convincing them we were good guys, respectful and what our goals were - for instance before the show we put on community workshops, inviting industry leaders in sound, production, management, tickets and so on to give talks to youngsters on how to get into music. Other venues had their trials: St George's Hall was a council building, the bombed out church had resident issues… Every event has its own challenges, we just learn to not panic and look for the angle to make it happen.
Tell me about your residents – what makes them generally awesome and perfect for Freeze?
We have a collection of guys we work with due to the different types of events we host but I’d say Jemmy is our number one!! We would describe him as one of the most selfless, laid-back residents in the country. He has beautiful hair, terrible shirt choice and thinks he's John Lennon reincarnated. But a brilliant musician and definitely on the rise with releases on Bedrock and a transitions set last year. He can adapt to any crowd and build it up, he is very musical. He is part owner of 3b records, an independent record store in Liverpool, as is another one of our guys Skyland Mountain or Adam to you and me. They sell mostly vinyl so they are sent music that very few people have, making them like the club night - unique. We have also just started a relationship with Greg Wilson and Derek Kaye which we will be announcing details on shortly. The time of the resident is back :)
You were booking big artists very early on in the game – why do you think you’ve risen so successfully on the scene?
We were booking producers and local residents such as Greg Vickers from the beginning and we took time building our crowd. I think a lot of promoters think it’s just a case of booking a club and throwing money at something but it takes a lot of work to get were we are: pestering friends, dropping off tickets throwing good events… But I think moving to the Williamson Tunnels (a series of underground caves) from the Lemon Lounge got us attention. We had everything to ourselves and it’s a brilliant space, so we got the name ‘rave in a cave’. From there we got respect and just kept chipping away at booking agents and artists to give us a chance.
If I were to pinpoint a particular booking I would have to say Danny Howells was the moment. He was a big pull and playing for much bigger nights at the time. After he played we built up a relationship (another unofficial resident) and he spoke highly of us and helped us immensely with other artists. As did Hernan Cattaneo, who was a huge influence in us getting Luciano.
You have a very eclectic music policy which includes live bands… are there any guidelines to the freeze music policy, or do you keep it as open as possible?
Honestly at times it feels like we are booking our iTunes list. We try and bring new labels into the city and match them with the venue, but the venue leads the way. For instance we couldn't have booked Dave Clarke for the Cathedral - it had to be something fitting. So someone like Danny and Hernan (almost euphoric) set the tone perfectly. Then when we had done dance we said imagine something in the main space live, it needs to be music everyone likes so we had the crazy idea of ub40. Everyone likes a bit of "red red wine". For Bedrock we picked a warehouse and for German label Kompakt with Gui Borrato and Michael Mayer we chose the open air roofless church. It just seemed to fit.
You’ve collaborated with charities on some of your events, can you explain a bit more about Freeze’s charity involvement?
That we would have to say is personal to us. There has been circumstances throughout the group that started this by Kenny suggesting we jump out of a plane to raise money for McMillian. On the back of that we did a music competition where Danny Howells donated his vinyl, decks, amp and mixer and I had to go and get it from his mums house! She showed me all his old shirts including the famous shirt on the front of the GU Miami compilation. That gave us the taste for further charity work. Breast cancer awareness and most recently Claire House - a children's Paletive care unit. The idea is to raise awareness of a charity by linking it in to a world-class artist. It leaves a nice feeling that you’re doing something positive, as we've said before it’s never about the money. We have never taken a penny out of our events it's always about the next event or the charity.
What has been your favourite freeze gig to date and why?
Ah man that's a tough question, it’s difficult to enjoy our own events the bigger they get. I would have to say Luciano at st George's hall - seeing all the crew on the stage at the end was brilliant. Looking out at a packed hall was a surreal moment, how have we got here from the lemon lounge!? Gui Boratto at the bombed out church comes a close second.
Rumours of Freeze Ibiza plans abound – can you reveal anything about the coming summer?
Haha it’s a work in progress... We can't lie it’s been our dream to do something out there, it's the ultimate for any promoters. But many better promoters have failed before us so we're not expecting to be able to get out there and book the world. We would like to bring something different and what we have in mind would be cool. We are self-labelled the "peoples club" (we’re all Everton fans ha) as we try and throw a party in exactly the same mould as one we'd pay to attend. So hopefully watch this space.
The next Freeze event is a total shift in direction from the grand cathedrals, with Graeme Park, Derek Kaye and Jemmy bringing the party to a local tavern! After this Freeze looks towards another Bedrock showcase at The Garage, featuring Ellen Alien and an extended set from John Digweed.
Words: Jordan Smith
Photography: James Chapman
Croatia is at a fascinating stage in its touristic development, absolutely exploding with summer festivals and becoming a must-do destination for the clubbing die-hard and casual holidaymakers alike. With new festivals added every year, it can get a bit overwhelming figuring out which one to go for in the time that you have. MEOKO has put together a guide for you, with our top ten festival picks and a bit of information about each.
Who knows how sustainable these incredible Croatian festival seasons are, so we recommend pouncing on the scene while it's still fresh, authentic and affordable.
In order of appearance…
1. For Festival (19th -22nd June)
The season begins with the smallest, most intimate festival of our list – FOR Festival. The limited capacity (2500) creates a great sense of community and the location is also unique - FOR takes places on the little island of Hvar off the Croatian coast. The line-up is anything but small however, featuring excellent quality artists on the island every day.
Line-up highlights include Darkside, Mark Ronson DJ Set, Erol Alkan, Tensnake, Maurice Fulton, Ghost Culture and Psychemagik.
Every evening live performances take place at the Venereda (a converted monastery) afterwhich point punters are taken by boat to carpe diem beach, the destination for the night parties. A pretty magical festival experience all round.
Nearest Airport: Split
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
2. Hideout (30th June – 3rd July)
Another early bird is Hideout Festival, currently enjoying its fourth sellout year and residing in the popular site of Zrce Beach. Hideout’s biggest draw card is the monster line-up, having secured an impressive roster of high profile and hot property names in the house and techno spheres, with clear Ibiza influences.
Line-up highlights include Ame, Disclosure, Maceo Plex, Jamie Jones, Loco Dice, Tale of Us, Solomun, Sasha, Soulclap and Kerri Chandler.
Accommodation in surrounding areas is plentiful and the boat party schedule, though not yet released for 2014, is tipped to be the biggest of the year. The beach location is the perfect holiday setting for this dance-focused event
Site: Zrce Beach
Nearest Airport: Zadar
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
3. The Garden Festival (2nd – 9th July)
Photography: Kris Cowley
The Garden Festival is one of the comparatively older festivals on the fresh Croatian scene, having run since 2006. Its stages offer a nice variety of atmospheres, as they host the mainstage in the open parkland area, a beach stage right at the edge of the water looking out to the small neighbouring islands, intimate side stages and chillout areas, boat parties plus a rave-worthy after-hours outdoor discotheque.
Line-up highlights include Bicep, Eats Everything, Francois K, PBR Streetgang, Prosumer and Soul Clap.
Garden offer a package deal with Electric Elephant, so you can enjoy both festivals back to back (if you can hack it!). There is limited and coveted on site apartment accommodation plus the usual luxury camping options and novel podpads.
Site: The Garden Tisno
Nearest airport: Zadar
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
4. Electric Elephant (10th – 14th July)
Whether you’re riding the wave from The Garden Festival or fresh off the boat, Electric Elephant will go down a treat. Elephant really makes the most of its idyllic location, set in a dramatic natural amphitheatre overlooking a secluded sandy bay. The festival promotes an all-round holiday experience, making your time at Electric Elephant as much about enjoying your beautiful surroundings as it is about the high quality music.
Line-up highlights include Derrick May, Francois K, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Horse Meat Disco, FCL and Prosumer.
Electric Elephant also offers some on-site apartment accommodation in addition to camping options and pod pads, and tickets can be purchased alone or in conjunction with The Garden Festival, if you fancy tackling the double (who wouldn’t?).
Site: The Garden Tisno
Nearest airport: Zadar
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
5. Soundwave (17th – 21st of July)
Soundwave is smaller scale than some of the other festivals on this list, but its boutique atmosphere is part of its charm. Right in the middle of summer at the lush Garden Tisno site, the festival spills across garden, beach and ocean – giving you the best of what Croatia has to offer as a holiday destination.
Line-up highlights include Fat Freddy’s Drop, Madlib, Mr Scruff and Gold Panda.
Soundwave offer a Sunshine Bus service, an eco-friendly way to get through your transfers and see something of the area you’ve arrived in. Community spirit is excellent at Soundwave, giving you the opportunity to get to know like-minded people in the relaxing idyllic location.
Site: The Garden Tisno
Nearest Airport: Zadar
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
6. Stop Making Sense (31st July – 3rd August)
We’re back at The Garden Tisno for SMS, which is trying out this popular site for the first time in 2014, having spent its years at Petrcane thus far. The main site is a festive affair during the day, with the parties continuing after 12 at the nearby Barbella tent – the official after-hours venue for all Tisno festivals. Musical policy is carefully chosen acts from the underground, with a distinct London influence
Line-up highlights include Anja Schneider, Mosca, Physchemagik, Tiger & Woods and Optimo.
Site: The Garden Tisno
Nearest airport: Zadar
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
7. Sonus (18th -22nd August)
Our pick of the bunch - and official partners of MEOKO - Sonus Festival has the line-up to end all line-ups for the dance music heads, the classic beach location, the essential boat party schedule and a huge following already of loyal or anticipatory fans. The increasingly popular tourist destination Zrce beach provides the idyllic adriatique location, making it one of the more easily accessible festivals on the list.
Line-up highlights include Marco Carola, Dixon, Loco Dice, Jamie Jones, Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler and Marcel Dettman.
Check out our MEOKO competition to win two tickets to the festival, two tickets to a boat party plus accommodation for the entire stretch!
Site: Zrce beach
Nearest airport: Zadar
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
8. Dimensions (28th -31st of August)
One of the later festivals of the season, it’s also one of the most interesting. A carefully curated line-up which especially satisfies the more knowledgeable and alternative music lovers, encompassing the deeper end of the underground whilst including the funky, the percussive and the experimental.
Line-up highlights include Moodymann, John Hopkins, Juan Atkins, Gilles Peterson, Nina Kraviz and Floating Points.
The location is a unique and class act in itself, taking over the Fort Punta Christo and featuring the infamous Moat stage (pictured). Dimensions also run a live gig the evening before the festival kicks off, set in an ancient amphitheatre and this year featuring Caribou and Darkside live.
Site: Fort Punta Christo
Nearest airport: Pula
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
Check out a glowing MEOKO review of Dimensions 2013 here.
9. Outlook (3rd – 7th September)
This is another of the older vintage of Croatian festivals, going into its seventh year of production. The line-up focuses on sound system driven bass music, angling towards drum n bass, breakbeats, dub, reggae and hip hop styles.
Line-up highlights include the one and only Ms Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes, DBridge, Calibre, Horace Andy, Goldie and Friction.
OUtlook also resides in Fort Punta Christo and the location really is unparalleled, transforming an old fortress by the beach into a fully rigged party destination with the most inventive stage areas of any of the Croatia venues. They’ve put stages in gardens, a moat, a ruinous circular pit, on the beach, on boats and in a dungeon!
Site: Fort Punta Christo
Nearest airport: Pula
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
10. Unknown (8th – 12th September)
Unknown has secured top DJs on the electronica circuit and added a healthy live component to their offering, with live shows from Henrik Schwarz, James Holden, Ten Walls, Wild Beasts, Forest Swords and Mount Kimbie. Their chosen artists will bring a very atmospheric, melodic and explorative aspect to the Festival’s sountrack.
DJ line-up highlights include Ame, Dixon, Dusky, Erol Alkan, George Fitzgerald, Joy Orbison, Seth Troxler and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
Unknown bunks down at the coastal Camp Amarin, right near the picturesque old town of Rovinj. It’s a fantastic location for activities, with its own swimming pools, crazy golf, tennis courts and infalteables. Camping sites have a little more shade than most, and the local town is a short bus ride away.
Site: Camp Amarin
Nearest Airport: Pula
Full line-up, info and tickets here.
MEOKO is both a 360º events and promotional agency and quality online magazine, specialising in cutting-edge, underground electronic music and events. With clients ranging from global festivals to boutique club events, MEOKO has garnered a strong following and reliable reputation in the two years it has been running. As well as promotion, MEOKO is passionate about top-quality journalism and regularly hosts reviews, interviews and features on its website written by some of London’s finest journalists.
As the buzz of Spring season takes hold, MEOKO is looking for two hard-working, passionate individuals who have a strong knowledge of electronic music, skills in writing or design and who enjoy social media. During this internship you will able to network with promoters, artists, agencies, lables, press agencies, festivals, designers and many more creative types. You should share an interest in events and promotion as well as holding either a PR/Journalism, Design and Creative OR sales and music background - all would be a bonus.
Candidates must have excellent people skills, be creative, be able to communicate well as an individual or part of a team and most of all, relish working in a fast-paced, busy environment. This is a hands-on roll so please only apply if you feel you have what it takes to work as part of an extremely busy, sometimes stressful yet very exciting environment.
This role will NOT consist of making tea and doing boring admin work – you will instead become involved in all areas of the agency, gaining great experience for someone wanting to break into the music or events industry. The role will be varied and can include writing, design, website, social media, sales and database work, as well as other random tasks.
The internship is NOT entirely unpaid as travel and expenses will be covered plus we will offer regular bonus incentives and allowances where possible. The roles are available for an immediate start.
Requirements for the position:
Must have own laptop
Be familiar with / Web / Photoshop / HTML / In Design
Background in PR/Journalism or Design
Strong passion for electronic music
Be able to work at least four days a week 10am - 6pm
Good standard of writing
To apply for the Internship, please send us your covering letter explaining why you would like to work for MEOKO along with your CV to
with 'MEOKO Spring Internship 2014' as the subject heading. Please also include your three favourite artists and three favourite labels in your covering letter.
David Koch AKA DeWalta’s first contributions to the world of music came through an embouchure, made by a very young David at French Horn lessons, the pre-cursor to a life-long relationship with the saxophone and its natural musical territory – Jazz. After extensive study, performance and immersion in the jazz scene, DeWalta perceived a gap in the dance music world that his expertise and jazz sensibilities could fill and was motivated to turn his hand to house and techno. He has since launched his own label Meander, released on other quality labels like Cynosure and Vakant received support from Cassy and Seth Troxler amongst others and collaborated with Voigtmann of Toi Toi musik, all the while carving a respected place in the crowded European dance scene from the town he has called home since the age of fourteen – Berlin.
In this MEOKO interview DeWalta’s carefully considered answers reveal a passionate, well-rounded musician, interested in innovation and creation of his own whilst always respectful and slightly in awe of the music out there that inspires him to continue.
You were introduced to music at a very young age due to your upbringing. Picking up your first French horn at the age of 6, playing in orchestra ensembles and later on playing and studying jazz. How do you see jazz is related to electronic music? Is it the high-energy?
There are many parallels between jazz and electronic music in my opinion. High energy on stage could be one aspect, which you will also find in many other music styles as well, but to be more precise I would point out: “scene” / “culture”, “movement“, “nerds” and “dance”! And there are many more parallels!
First of all it's important to mention: “Jazz” is a 4-letter-word which is being used to describe a huge, huge variety of different styles of music in our past century. Also back then music was more divided in ethnic origin or skin color. People had to fight hard, especially the minorities in the USA. Music and jazz was a form of expression for all the pain that was present and had to be overcome. The “jazz” in the 20s was very different than “bebop” or the “jazz” in the 60s, also depending on the location. However, something we call “Jazz” holds all those different movements, fashions and styles together under one umbrella. Electronic music in words like “Techno” or “House” has been going strong for over 20 years now as well and of course there are sub-genres (would it be techno, minimal, micro house or you name it) something holds it all together.
Then there is the “scene”. The Jazz scene was a scene of searching young individuals, players that were jamming at clubs, afterhours on pianos, trumpets and saxophones. They were going were the good sound was being played. They were not rich or glorious, they were nerds, who loved the scene and loved the music. Not infrequently these jazz cats (nerds) would get highly intoxicated and play for days at some bar with their homies and friends, learning music and tricks form each other. This life was simple, yet highly creative. They would be invited to record a jazz-record one night and head over to the studio the next day, still hungover to record a whole jazz album in a couple of hours. They were payed a couple bucks or a meal for the recording session (today we hear those legendary albums at Starbucks). There was a vital scene, a sense of community, connected through lived and experienced music being played in the streets and in the clubs.
Well, electronic music today has the chance and ability to be exactly that. But we, today, have to stick together, help and not work against each other in order to make a vital and beautiful scene which will go down in history books like the Jazz did… This is not talk like: “this act vs that act” or “this dj is voted in these top ten and is “better” than that DJ… it's about a community and a scene… We, the active and participating people in the scene all need to survive, but we need each other to do so!
In the end: Dance. Well, many jazz-styles were music for entertainment and for DANCE! It was supposed to make the people shake their booties and forget about the every day’s hard life. It was about Love, fun, happiness and dance. Maybe a drink or two…
Also here I see parallels…
And then the “nerds”. The musicians who believed, that diminished chords were the future or altered scales were “the new shit”. Well, we have all that with active cutting edge producers today who seek new ways of making sounds… I mean “real new ways” and not only a couple of sample packs and a mediocre computer program…
How did you go from composing and improvising in jazz music to experimenting with different sounds, acquiring studio equipment and producing electronic music? What triggered you?
When you study things in music very carefully and transcribe solos to understand “Charlie Parker” for example you come to the point were you feel the intuition and intention behind the artist. This is a beautiful thing to see and it only showed me I had to do “my own thing”. I felt like I couldn’t go on copying and transcribing, I wanted to write my own music. I wanted to create something different (for me), something jazz should sound like in my opinion in the year 2000. And again - I don’t mean starbucks-jazz. There was a discrepancy, a gap I need to fill. I mean exactly those parallels I wrote about in your previous question. The scene played a role. My friends played a huge role. Berlin played a role. I was very curious about electronic sounds and music, it was a huge field to learn new things in. To me there had to be more than playing standards, latin or funk songs - so I started to record, experiment with synthesis. Started to educate myself about waves, the science behind all music. The stuff that lies in between the lines, the stuff that makes us dance.
My way was to take the step back from being an instrumentalist to see the bigger picture…
I’ve read somewhere you used to listen to P-funk often. I’m a big fan myself. In what ways did Funkadelic and George Clinton inspired you?
Hehe. Well the music of funkadelic! You just have to love it. What's not to like in that, haha! It's just so much fun and dance and fun again and, well, it should be everyone's inspiration to just get up in the morning to have a smile on your face and start a good day. And it's highly virtuous too!! Amazing players and musicians combined with fun! Yes! Huge inspiration. Period.
Did you ever have any particular plans at the beginning of your career, any particular vision of where this new path would take you?
Nope. Not at all. I am grateful and happy to see where the journey is taking me. I am an adventurous person in that regard and I love the fact that life is full of surprises! In its best ways!
Please allow me some personal questions, when did you realize that you can make your living from being a musician?
When did I realize, that I can or could? Phew… well, I always wanted to be a musician. Apparently I expressed that wish when I was 12 years old. Today I still don’t really know, how to make it work best, but I can tell you it's not easy! However I always knew somehow that it must be possible… and it is. Many pieces have to come together though. But I always thought - it must be possible…
In what way did moving to Berlin help you with your own productions or DJ aesthetic?
I moved to Berlin in 1999 when I was 14 years old. I was a huge jazz-nerd and when I left South Germany I was not very popular among my high-school friends at that time. Berlin opened me up. I lived half my life here in Berlin and I consider myself a Berliner. A home or place always has huge impact on everything in a person's life (in my case for sure also production or DJ aesthetic) but I did not move here for those “impact-purposes” or for Berlin-Techno or for hyped Berlin. I came as a kid.
However the music from Perlon, the DJing from Zip, Ricardo, the early Cadenza days, Melchior, the CDV, Panorama Bar, Mathew, the Canadians, Burnt Friedman, Moritz Von Oswald, in general the melting pot here in Berlin has left its mark on me, yes! But this is my home and home leaves marks. It would be hard for me to describe in what way it helped and shaped me….
Have you ever considered a move somewhere else?
Yes, I have considered and thought about that, but right now I feel very happy here, because Berlin is actually kind of quiet. In my job, I am craving peace and creative studio time with friends when I am not playing and touring. I have enough action on the weekends, so quietness and no stress I what I want during the week. And affordable space! I want to take care of my inner- and outer-health and I could not stand living in a city that demands things from me. Three jobs to make a living…. expenses… stress, more action. I need space to be able to be creative and make music. Berlin offers action if you seek, but I have learned (the hard way) to take care of myself and of my time. A little bit.
Your label Meander appears to go from strength to strength, how is it running your own imprint?
It's teamwork and a lot of fun! It’s a family / friends business! It's like making the things you love with the people you love, it's great! We look at it as a fun project -it’s a roundtable thing, like kids getting together to make hand-crafts-projects. I am so happy and so grateful to be working with the nicest guys in the world on this label and it would not be what it is without any of them! It's so not about ego! It's making a nice product together and it's beautiful to see it come together with many hands involved. We handprint each and every record and hang out together to enjoy the process of creating. Everything is on a small scale but made with love. The artwork, the cut, the mastering, the work with the artists – a lot of friends are involved. I imagine making films must be like that, just much bigger…
Tell us, what do you enjoy more, DJ’ing, performing live or label managing?
These days I definitely prefer DJ shows for solo-shows, also due to interaction and versatility. I am a Vinyl collector and I love DJING! And I love a lot of different music, thats not my own music. I know playing live together with someone is different and brings other aspects than a solo LIVE show.
These days, I definitely prefer DJing. I've had great Live shows in the last 2 years, including MUTEK but these were more concerts or show-cases and special occasions. For a LIVE show you really need the right venue, the right place, otherwise it gets awkward. Also, I am not always comfortable listening to my own music for an hour or more - makes me shy and weird. I like to mix it up and therefor I prefer Djing, at least, when I am booked alone.
As I mentioned label managing and making records is a whole lot of fun, but its impossible to live off of that and would also not make sense to just do that. Making nice records is party of my life like having coffee in the morning.
Live sets should be more about interaction again and not a one man show. I am putting together a LIVE Set with Mike Shannon right now. We are both looking forward to get playing together, because that brings a jam- and fun-factor back on stage that is just not there with a one-man Live. Its more like the Band feeling again then. Until that happens I have a whole lot of fun DJing my new and unreleased music as a DJ.
DeWalta MEOKO Podcast 43 - LISTEN
How about your own performance on stage. How do you interact with the crowd?
As I mentioned above the interaction and fun, the dancing, the feeling and vibe at a party is very important! I mostly get booked for parties that are about dancing and not so many Concert shows. In these environments it is great to be DJing and building something together with the crowd. A concert setting is something else. At a party, the choices of the records totally depend on the night, the situation, the sound, the people present.
I love to interact, I try to look outside to see what the people feel and I play with the people, for the people, not for myself. Each and everyone in the room plays their part in the equation! Interaction is so important in my opinion!! I hope this comes across in my shows and I still want to improve and learn more in this regard!
Can you talk a little bit about how you construct your live sets?
The past live shows have varied quite a lot, but after my long-player album WANDER came out on haunt music in 2012 I was mostly presenting the music of the album, kicking off the WANDER LIVE shows at Fabric in London actually. I would bring 2 drum-machines, a synth and effects on stage to be able to perform and improvise as much as possible. Later in 2013 I integrated more fragments and smaller parts, midi files, that would be compatible with each other to have longer improvisation sections.
Ok, so how much of the live sets are down to pure improvisation?
As mentioned is depends on the construction of the Live Set. The mixes and and combinations of different parts can be very inspiring to do improvisations. But if you play live by yourself and you have one hour, often things have to move forward quite quickly. I am looking forward to be playing LIVE with Mike Shannon. We will have more space and more comfort for improvisations. Also I will bring the saxophone and other instruments to play “real LIVE”…
This weekend you’ll play at Cerca Trova: the Spring Edition. What can we Londonners expect from DeWalta during this night? Any new material?
Yes, there is plenty. I have been remixing a lot. There are remixes for Dandy Jack, Avatsim, Topper or Mass Prod on Resolute NewYork. But more excitingly there are 3 records on the way. 2 of them are in the way and will come out fairly soon.
1. Hello?Repeat (with my buddy Claus Voigtmann from Toi Toi London). This record has been in the pipe for a long time already and it has been such exciting material to produce. I did a lot of Modular work here in the studio in berlin. I just got the test pressings and it might be the best sounding record I have mixed down for a while… the work with Claus was great. Because we instantly had a good flow in the decision process.
2. A record with Mike Shannon on Cynosure. Pretty warped and drugged-out modular-synth minimal space techno… very exciting and fun productions.
3. A new meander solo record is one the way with brand new solo material, that only certain perlon DJs and very close friends have as unreleased secret weapons at this point. More info on the format etc will follow.
Do you still aspire to return to your roots and be a classical or jazz musician? Or is it just electronic music for now?
What do you mean? The roots are always present!
If you were wondering if I still play jazz standards, yes I do.
However I am not craving to earn my money with the saxophone.
Imagine this: if you had to make the choice between either performing with Herbie Hancock on stage or do a live show alongside Kraftwerk? What would it be?
More DeWalta? catch him play at Cerca Trova this Saturday along Daniel and Rossko. More info and tickets for the event HERE
DeWalta on Soundcloud
Words: Paul Fluks
Spanish electronic duo Los Suruba have had a solid 12 months; from holding down residency at ANTS Ibiza, releasing cuts on Get Physical, Darkroom Dubs, Mexa, Stil Vor Talent and more, they're kicking off the year with another fine slice of alternative house for Culprit and Evissa, their first EP of the year from their Suruba Records stable.
But Alvaro and Delmar are no strangers to the business, spending the last six years operating as a duo and running an ever expanding musical HQ, encompassing a staggering 4 offshoot imprints that cater for everything from organic Balearic musings to moody, dubbed out techno and house. As well as creating a special MEOKO mix for you to enjoy, the duo below open up about oil exploration in Ibiza, running labels and building upon their backgrounds in design and sound engineering in their music.
The duo have enjoyed a pretty spellbinding past twelve months, having released on a host of seminal imprints such as Get Physical, Defected, Stil Vor Talent, Darkroom Dubs, Eklektisch, Mexa Records and their own offshoot imprint, Suruba X. Their best, however, is still yet to come, with their next EP on the Los Angeles based Culprit imprint very much indicative of the fact.
But now, almost a year after their last release on Suruba, the Mantis' EP, they're back on home soil. While the latter garnered positive reactions and chartings from the likes of Jamie Jones, Anja Schneider and Maceo Plex, chances are their latest endeavour, the 'Eivissa' EP, will follow a similar trajectory.
The 'Eivissa' showcases the duo's current preoccupation too: club focused productions with a sense of edge and attitude about them. On the one end, 'Can Pilot" is a track with a dark, electronic soul, and the capacity to test even the staunchest of 'underground' dancefloors. The second track, "Suruvilla", is so called because it was produced at the duo's studio in their home in Ibiza. A decidedly more "techy" affair, it's a similarly soulful number with a versatile dimension that's sure to land it in the back of the more discerning jocks. In essence, the 'Eivissa' EP is precisely the sort of release to make an impression - regardless of where it's unleashed.
Delmar and Alvaro - welcome to the MEOKO fold. Whereabouts in the world are you at the moment and what have you been up to?
At the moment? With productions, we are working on a remix for Henry Saiz’ s album.
We are also working on a new EP for Suruba (our label) and finishing a new track for Betoko’s label.
As DJs, we are really happy to be a part of our new worldwide booking agency, Air London. In the next few months we will visit Miami, Beirut, Amsterdam, Bucharest, El Cairo, Zurich, Paris, Brussels, Barcelona and we will probably do our first South America tour.
Also, we just received the news about our ’14 season in Ibiza. We will play at the Ushuaia Opening Party, in Ants as residents and in other great clubs on the island!
What do you consider to be the turning point in your 6 year-long career so far? What's been a defining highlight for you?
We think that our success is the result of working continuously over the last 11 years and from the experience we got the years before when we worked separately as Dj’s. 7 years ago we created our labels Suruba and Suruba X during that time we also built our studio in Malasaña, Madrid.
Also to be part of ANTS, Ushuaïa Ibiza las resident Djs for two years is a big highlight. 2 months ago we won the “Best track of the year 2013” in the Vicious Music Awards, the most important electronic music Awards in Spain, it was great, because it was the first time that we won an award for something in our whole life.
Tell us a little bit about your exclusive MEOKO Mix... is it going to make us yearn for the summer months even more?
We are not the typical djs that release a mix per week, that’s because in each mix we want to make something special and we spend a lot of time working on it: selecting music, preparing mixes, compiling the best mixes that we made in our DJ sets. We started this as DJs and we think that nowadays the scene is full of great producers that are not so good as DJs and get booked on the strength of their productions.
We prefer not to do a mix of 60 or 80 minutes, we think that isn’t enough time to express an idea to “tell a story” to show your vibe and your style. Like our DJ sets, if its possible, we normally like to play 2- 3 hours a gig. We need time to take you into our movie, into our journey... with a beginning, middle and end.
For this set, we used most of the tracks that we are playing at the moment at our gigs and some special tracks that we haven't yet found the moment to use in a club, but that we love and we wanted to include in this podcast.
Los Suruba - Exclusive MEOKO Mix 122
Running a label isn't easy these days... but what are the benefits in your eyes of releasing your own music on your own imprint?
If you have a label, you can release the music that you like, ask producers for a remix, make a gang with artists that you feel comfortable working with, and if you produce a track that any label would want, then you always have the chance to release it on your own label.
Not only that but you also have multiple imprints - Suruba, Suruba Digital and Suruba X; why do you have the sub labels, and how does it benefit you?
They are all different, Suruba is the main label, music for the dancefloor between tech, deep house and house. “Playa” is organic, focused on summer vibes. Suruba D is Deep – Disco and Suruba X is dark and moody.
The benefit is that you can release music completely different without losing the identity of the label. At the beginning its, harder than to release everything on the same label, its more work but we think that in the future it will be a positive thing.
Last year you were residents at a new Ibiza party called ANTS, concentrating on the more underground side of house music. Is the event a leader for alternative dance music in Ibiza? Does the island need to become more diverse in it's variety?
We think that it's great that Ushuaia bet on this kind of party, because it’s easier for them to produce a commercial EDM or trance party and not to take the risk of producing Ants.
You need to understand that it's difficult to manage a party like that at Ushuaia, because its a day-time place that allows more than 10,000 people in, on top of a lot of people working there. It's like a festival each day of the week during the summer.
As residents of the Island itself, can you relate to the locals' feelings when the herds of clubbers flock to the island? And how do you feel about the recent news of oil exploration being embarked upon around the Balearic islands?
Ibiza is a paradise, the beaches, the food, the locals, the secret places, the lifestyle...
there are two different Ibiza’s: the party island and the paradise island (that you can find easily in winter). When the herds of people flock the island ...we feel fine if they came to have a good time with nice vibes and with respect for the people that live and work there.
The oil exploration is a really bad thing, we are working and helping as much as we can to stop this. Let's see what happens...
You've had a ton of releases across labels such as SIncopat, Get Physical, Noir and Culprit. Each of these labels has it's own style, sound and aesthetic - do you find it easy to switch between them? Do you approach your productions with a certain framework in mind, or do you just roll and see what happens?
We think about this a lot, we think that we don’t have a concrete style because as djs, we are always looking for fresh sounds and for new music that impact us at the first listening, so with this “mind-thinking” its impossible to be stuck in a concrete style. Sometimes when we start a track, we have an idea of what we want but most of the time, we just roll and see what happens.
Finally, you're also credited as meeting when studying design and sound engineering - do you think that these two art-forms, combined, are important for young producers and DJs setting up labels? Does a knowledge of both help give you a deeper insight and brand identity in terms of running your own label?
Yes definitely because we think that the two art forms are related - the idea behind the label is that all of the elements must have something in common and there's link between image, soul and style.
Words: Joe Gamp
MEOKO Mix 122 - Los Suruba
It can’t always be bass and hi hats – feed the culture monster within with an evening of sound performances exploring the human voice this Saturday the 15th of March.
Gwaith Sŵn, a London-based collective of artists, is putting on some unusual Saturday evening entertainment at Café Oto’s Project Space in London’s East entitled ‘Tongues’. The audience will be treated to a live exploration and celebration of the potential of the human voice, performed by participants from a variety of creative backgrounds including performative improvisation, soundscaping, choreography and digital/analogue manipulation.
It will be a raw and engaging performance focused on the vast potentials of participants’ vocal chords as a springboard to unique performances and soundscapes.
“From Stockhausen to Lucier, Burroughs to Berio, Ono to Wishart, the human voice has always been a compelling stimulant and component of experimentation within the field of sound. Whether it be acousmatic transformation, mangled language or feral extended techniques, the most primal and universal of all instruments has enabled esoteric innovation to remain rooted comprehensibly in the tangible and physical.”
The evening schedule runs from 5:30 – 8pm, so Tongues can provide an unusual and stimulating start to your Saturday night – who knows where it will head from there…
This is a FREE event, but capacity at OTO Project Space is limited, so it’s a good idea to email names to
to ensure entry.
Pan-Pot does not deliver music with a pretty bow and a side salad – the duo’s game is knock your tooth in, smash you over the head with a musical mallet techno, which has resonated in the cores of countless clubbers over their nine years together as a deadly team. Tassilo Ippenberger and Thomas Benedix met at Berlin’s SAE Institute, so come at you with a strong musical and technical background that informs their sets and strengthens their productions. They’ve also got a juicy sense of humour as you’ll discover below, an important ally in the sombre circles of serious techno. Thanks to a fortuitous connection with Anja Schneider back in 2005, Pan-Pot provided the illustrious Mobilee Records with its second ever release (Copy and Paste) and has risen the industry ranks alongside the label ever since. MEOKO caught the duo at a very exciting time, as Tassilo and Thomas are about to launch their new label Second State – transitioning into the next level of industry involvement. But this is the clubbing business after all, and there always has to be time to get Not So Serious…
If PAN-POT was a cookery duo, our signature dish would be…
Tassilo: Wiener Schnitzel from my side, cooked in a nice proper PAN.
Thomas: StampPOT, a dutch delicacy.
A great song to clean your house to is…
Thomas: John B - All Night: Because I need some powerful dnb to clean my flat .
A Sunday afternoon is best spent…
Tassilo: Couch, cooking, movies, cuddling the lady….
Thomas: 90% agree. I also need my xBox sometimes too play some Tower and Defense games.
Marooned on a desert island with two decks, a mixer and rum rations. Three DJs we would invite to share our plight are…
Tassilo: Martin Eyerer, Vincenzo and Marusha.
We’ve always wanted to play a gig at (needn’t be a conventional venue!)…
Tassilo: A beer swimming pool party
Thomas: In a plane would be amazing, in a big A380 and up in the air.
Our parents used to always listen to…
Tassilo: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and all the other early raver stuff.
The first records we purchased were…
Tassilo: A bundle of used records from ebay, big selection of bad techno and house.
Thomas: A friend of mine sold his old records and I was crazy enough to buy them.
If a fan threw their underwear at us during a gig, our reaction would be…
Tassilo: Smell it!
Thomas: I will take my slip off and throw it back.
If a fan threw a rotten tomato at us during a gig, our reaction would be…
Tassilo: Throw it back, additionally with beer bottles.
Thomas: ...and ice cubes.
The prettiest member of Pan-Pot is…
The most important thing everyone needs to remember about clubbing is…
Tassilo: Don’t forget to go out and don't forget to go home.
The weirdest thing we’ve done on tour is…
Thomas: Not drinking.
If we could bring back any dance move in history to our clubs, we would like to see the return of…
Tassilo: The moonwalk.
Our ‘going into battle’ tune is…
Tassilo: Hinz & Rumhardt - Doch
The best thing about our job is…
Tassilo: Loads of fun with a load of different people.
Thomas: Seeing so many things around the world and bringing the music to all these great people and places.
Catch an extended Pan-Pot set at their London Warehouse Events showcase party on Saturday the 15th of March in London's East. Tickets and details here.
Today is Pancake Day and there is a stack of pancake-related events going on around London for you to check out. There's a pancake race for MacMillian cancer charity down at Greenwich Market, a pancake race at Spitalfields for the fancy dress die hards, old fashioned pancake eating contests at all Breakfast Club outlets and an after-work pancake and cocktail mardi gras at Shoreditch's Shutterbug bar. But just in case you can't make it to any of these events, we've cooked up a Clubber's Pancakin' Soundtrack so you can bring the pancake party home...
Step 1: Purchase your ingredients with super happy supermarket music from Todd Terje.
Step 2: Mix it all up with sir Mixalot.
Step 3: Heat the pan (-pot).
Step 4: Pour the mixture where it belongs.
Step 5: Try these Kakvogel dance moves around the kitchen while you wait for it to cook.
Step 6: The flip! You better work it...
Step 7: Open a window! You left it in too long and set the smoke alarm off - school boy error!
Step 8: Time to add the Topping (lemon and sugar or bust)
Step 9: This is the part where you eat everything!
Step 10: Repeat. Because nobody has just one pancake...
I first heard Modeselektor’s Berlin played by the Modeselektor boys themselves at the We Love Closing Party in Ibiza. I was lethargically riding my eleventh wind by this time, midway through a brutal closing party schedule that had left me deranged, dehydrated and a bit deaf … but what a tune. It was prefaced by some weird mumblings and squeals into the microphone from Modeselektor boys Gernot and Sebastian, who asked the crowd in their best robo-chipmonk impression, “hey bitches you want more? OK cool” – and in rolled Berlin.
The standout single from Modeselektor’s seminal album Monkeytown and already a classic for many, Berlin provided the answer to my feeble prayers – the perfect pick me up at a tired feet friendly pace and I took full advantage of the chunky, laid back beat, swinging heartily around my fellow clubbers like a ghetto orangutan in orange converse. Things were getting pretty wild in the front row by this point, as Modeselektor always bring the party in the most raucous fashion imaginable; they were spraying champagne on their crowd well before Steve Aoki even found where the sync button was. I’m pretty sure they must have dropped Berlin post-spray because I remember being vaguely sticky, but at that point it could have been anything from vodka to bin juice.
Vocals from half Romanian half German singer/songwriter Miss Platinum provided the ultimate hook. They’re as laidback as the beat and stupidly catchy; my housemates suffered me singing the complex lyrical structure ‘low low low low low’ for days on end afterwards. The film clip by François Chalet is weird, wonderful and totally Modeselektor. A King Kong sized silverback lumbers through a cardboard cityscape eating, flexing and generally wreaking havoc. He’s got a little red tongue sticking out though so it all seems very benign, even when he’s tipping a plane full of people upside down.
Gernot and Sebastian did their home town proud with this one – it has been on high rotation every since my first sticky encounter.
And now for something entirely different…
Imagine a festival that really never sleeps. Imagine busting a move to a midnight Kerri Chandler set with the warm sun on your back. Iceland is hosting a world first this June 20th to the 22nd, with the ‘Secret Solstice’ Midnight Sun Music Festival in the natural oasis, Hot Spring Valley, where you’ll have 72 hours of daylight straight to enjoy the experience in the fullest.
Headlining this magical summer solstice event will be the legendary music makers from Bristol, Massive Attack, who have a vast and eclectic back-catalogue which could easily fill the 72 hours itself! The trip-hop poster group defined the sounds of the 90s and their moody and soulful tracks still resonate with a new generation of listeners. We can’t think of a better choice of headliner for this alternative style festival.
To compliment this epic live act, Secret Solstice has enlisted a high profile and diverse roster of DJs. Dance the day away to sets from Kerri Chandler, Woodkid, Mum, Carl Craig, Damian Lazarus, Eats Everything, Aphrohead, Skream, Boddika, Gorgon City, Jackmaster, Paul Woolford, Waze & Odyssey, Ben Pearce, Francesca Lombardo and stacks more. And this is only the preliminary line-up announcement, with more acts to come!
Secret Solstice is also running a graphic design comp in the lead up to the festival, where aspiring designers from the US and Europe can create original graphic artwork inspired by Iceland, music, the midnight sun and the Summer Solstice itself. The winner will attend the event, and have their design featured across the festival’s merchandise. Head here for more information on the competition.
Tickets and information on this unique event can be sourced here, so get clicking and don’t forget to by the tent with blackout blinds!
During the day you could be forgiven for walking past Drink Shop & Do on Caledonian road and thinking it was a crafty stationery store. The narrow glass front reveals little of its insides except a store counter, jars of old-style confectionary and some artsy looking card prints. But there’s a lot more to this Kings Cross joint than sweets and stationery.
Once through the shop front you find yourself in a Victorian style interior with colourful decorations, all set up to feed you with a meal, indulge you with a cake or get you lopsided on their excellent array of cocktails (Picante Ploughmans or Spiced Apricot Amaretto Sour anyone? Om nom nom).
Friday and Saturday nights the DSD basement transforms into a dance floor with an absolutely spot on track selection of danceworthy old school classics, mixed in with little known new releases that’ll have you shazaming like a bandit, or at least dancing like one.
The weekend dance-offs are a great slice of non-pretentious nightlife, but what really got MEOKO’s attention was the Drink Shop Do midweek activity schedule. Coming up in DSD evenings is I Love Lists on Tuesday, where fanatical or recreational listmakers get together to indulge and improve on their habit, to a topical soundtrack provided by DJ Helix. Sound a bit nerdy? How about a Learn The MC Hammer Dance evening, which is exactly what it sounds like and extremely rad. Beyond this there are Lego Robot building comps, tea towel screen printing sessions, swing dance lessons, musical bingo, vintage hair and makeup courses, flower power headband making, Lionel Richie clay carving and doodleclub. Crucially, all activities can be accompanied by as many Picante Ploughmans as your liver desires – because everything is a bit more fun with cocktails…
MEOKO had a quick chat with DSD creators Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap, to find out a bit more about this kooky little London gem...
What were your plans when you first started DSD, and how have they changed/grown? Our vision was to create a venue that had multiple offerings in beautiful and friendly surroundings. Our main aim was to create fun things to do for adults whilst drinking and (perhaps) dancing! We have grown incredibly over the last 3 years, luckily we haven't changed our aim but we have to adjust to the day to day running of the business to adapt to the growth. What's the history of the venue? It's an old Victorian Turkish bath house that dates from the late 1800s. Before we took it over it was an adult book store! How do you come up with ideas for your weekly evening activities? We put on our activities that our friends would enjoy doing. We don't take ourselves too seriously, hence most of our events require a stiff drink and good sense of humour!
What are some of the most fun nights you've had at DSD? Our favourite 'DO' is 'Play with Clay Lionel Richie Style'. Our best night to date has to be our Studio 54 New Year's Eve Party - confetti is still on the ceiling and it took the cleaners 4 weeks to get rid of the glitter! Kings Cross has changed a lot in the last few years - why do you think it's the right location for your venue and have changes in the area affected you since you opened up shop? We knew of the venue and when we thought of DSD it immediately sprang to mind. The space fitted the concept and we were familiar with Kings Cross and the developments planned in the area. It struck us that all the developments were from big corporations and that there wasn't so much grass root regeneration that people love so much about East London. So we though we'd bring it! Our business has grown with the area but especially at first we really had to make sure we were a destination venue that people travelled to.
Head to drinkshopdo.com to find out what's on and stay tuned for an activity review...
German duo M.A.N.D.Y. are undoubtedly one of the lynch pins of the modern house and techno scene. As a DJ duo they command audiences all over the world and have mixed it up for the likes of Fabric and Renaissance, in the studio they craft some of the most arresting dancefloor sounds out there, and as label chiefs they have overseen the rise of Get Physical into one of the leading lights of dance music.
There is an air of mystery shrouding the true meaning behind the acronym of M.A.N.D.Y., an alias which embodies the mutual talents of childhood friends Philipp Jung and Patrick Bodmer. The pair readily indulge this curiosity by toying with various clever possibilities, including Me AND You, but the truth is likely a giggle under each of their talented breaths.
Recently they started collaborating and partying with Matthew Dear as Buddies in New York, but the pair has also got a new album finished. It will be their first proper studio album after countless EPS and mixes dating back more than a decade.
“We didn´t want to follow up with this electro house sound with which, we were identified,” says Patrick. “We wanted to surprise with something totally new, unheard and unexpected, because that was what we were always looking for, when we started to get into techno music culture as ravers and then as DJs.”
2013 was the year that saw the pair step out of the studio and the DJ booth in another way – they started their own event series in Ibiza. It was a bold move than saw them host under the Get Physical On banner at Vista Club, Privilege.
“We chose a very tricky season to start our own parties on Ibiza. The amount of parties for our kind of music and crowd was exploding. I heard that it was about 70% more than the year before. It´s such a huge business and competition now on Ibiza, it is a bit of the opposite from why we started to run parties and to DJ, we realised. So we plan to do very small intimate parties - maybe on a boat – and we will reveal more very soon. The good thing about our first season as promoters was the chance to invite all our artists to stay at our residence place for holidays as well and slowly it turned into a proper hippies paradise.”
Soon the pair play at EGG in London once more for the much loved Familia party. As well as saying people should expect fun, sweat and tears, Patrick says he has always admired the London scene.
“I was going out there to jungle parties with Grooverider and Goldie 15 years ago. Then we got friends with Simon and Heidi from Phonica and with Judy from Fabric. Since then we had a strong love-relation to that city. At the moment London is the new Berlin again, haha.”
As for the label they run, occasionally with the help of DJ T and Bookashade, it has plenty lined-up: “Some exiting singles from artists like Brett Johnson, DJ T. and from new talents we just discovered are all in the works. There will also be some collector editions we are working on and a series with classics from the last 12 years, remastered and remixed. And a series with a selection of remixes from artists like Tale of us, Maceo Plex, Maya Jane Coles, Art Department, Nicholas Jaar, Ricardo Villalobos, Herbert, Apparat and many more.”
Despite so long at the top, it seems M.A.N.D.Y. still have plenty more to give.
M.A.N.D.Y. perform 4 hour extended set at Familia, Egg London on Saturday 1st March. More information and tickets available at Resident Advisor or Egg London.
Interview by Rob Chadwick
Answers from Patrick Bodmer
Alright, OK, everybody settle down and lower those pitchforks; you have been slightly misled. Berghain is not opening up in Las Vegas or anywhere more appropriate for that matter (which leaves almost any city in the world) - the title is shameless click-baiting. But think about your reaction for minute. Did the headline offend or excite your core clubbing values? Did Berghain – one of the last bastions of the clubbing underground - disappoint you with the ultimate sell-out venture? Berghain Las Vegas might be an extreme example, but would you have felt differently about the idea if I had softened the blow with a more apt Berghain London announcement?
The subject of clubbing franchises is a tricky one to choose sides on. We live in a globalised world and why shouldn’t clubbing reflect that? Why shouldn’t a successful formula be opened up to the whole world to enjoy, so long as the core principles are replicated in each new location? Maybe because the greatest clubs throughout history were inextricably linked to the time and place in which they were born, or because expansion is not the best measure of nightlife success. Maybe because there is strength and beauty in being unique, or simply because I don’t want my night out to be as predictable as a trip to Starbucks.
Clubbing franchises are a commonplace reality and many really do present a good product, but therein lies the problem. I don’t want the environment of my weekly self-destruction to be a good product – I want it to be a scene.
The most famous clubs throughout history have always been a reflection of – or reaction against – the cities that birthed them. Would the Haçienda have been the Haçienda anywhere but Manchester? Owned by Manchester band New Order in the height of the ‘Madchester’ fever of the late 80s and 90s, the club became the northern outpost of acid house and a sordid sanctuary to thousands within a city that simply had nothing else like it at the time. Most major cities have had their own Haçienda at some point. When we interviewers poke and prod the older guard of DJ legends into reminiscing about that club that got them their start, those guys that were always there and how it was a really exciting time – what they describe could never be reproduced in the same way anywhere else.
And these unique and enviable scenes aren’t confined to the untouchable golden days that one seems to always have been born too late for, but exist much closer to home and 2014. Berlin, for example, is a city in a transitional phase; a fertile ground for youth and creativity which has bred a clubbing culture like nowhere else in the world. The extremity of the Berlin clubbing experience is world famous – a cultural backlash to the harsh restrictions of the past colours the Berlin scene and that scene is not a transportable one. There is no Berghain template, to be reproduced wherever the market is open and coming-soon-to-a-giant-freaky-warehouse-in-the-middle-nowhere-near-you. No amount of hyperbolic press releases can create the following that comes from cultivating a venue from scratch with the needs of the local population in mind.
Authenticity isn’t the only casualty of the clubbing franchise business – what we also lose is diversity. Even the ultimate escapist culture of clubbing can’t escape the steadily marching advance of homogeneity that comes hand in hand with a globalised world. How much more enticing would an island like Ibiza be if it was still the only place in the world you could experience the legendary Pacha or Space nightclubs? Conversely, what does the imminent opening of Pacha Zrce Beach mean for Croatia’s once completely unique nightlife and festival scene? As far as I’m concerned opening another ‘branch’ of a pre-existing club just means decreased opportunity for a venue with an original and local character to take root.
Now I’m no hardcore anti-establishment hemp wearer. I know franchises ain’t all bad, and I get a middle class kick out of being able to walk around any corner in London and get a Pret a Manger sandwich. Pret sandwiches are delicious and totally predictable. And I’m willing to pay the mildly extortionate price they charge for the convenience, reliability and aforementioned deliciousness. I’ll even pay extra to sit down and read their smarmy advertising banners where a jovial lettuce leaf tells me that Pret produce is fresh to death, because it’s comforting and I like the leather booths. But I expect more from my clubbing experience. Convenience, comfort and standardisation are not the guiding principles of my weekend release, but they tend to become the features of any franchises whether it’s intended or not.
Growth and expansion seem to be the only measures of success in business anymore, but they’re a pretty soulless and ineffective litmus test of success in nightlife. What kind of success means more to the cultural history books – the eighteen Pacha nightclubs world wide, or the bonding moments and lasting reverence inspired by New York’s Paradise Garage, which preserved the underground disco scene at a time when the sound was commercialising faster than John Travolta could spin a double? Peter Hook of New Order worked out that they probably lost about ten pounds for every person that rolled through the doors of the Haçienda – and yet it’s one of the most famous clubs in history. The Pacha franchise might be making a motza, but it smells an awful lot like the Hollywood obsession with serialising their successful films, and the venture can look forward to ending on soaring highs like Die Hard Number 5, or Pirates of the Caribbean Number One Too Many.
The issue isn’t always about maintaining quality – the fledgling Sankeys franchises, for example, seem to be maintaining a very decent standard of clubbing across three countries. Born in Manchester, flourishing in Ibiza and new to New York and soon London, the Sankeys profile is sky-rocketing and its clubs are really very good. Despite a disastrous first season in Ibiza, plus on-and-off closures of the original Manchester venue due to resources and management stretched too thinly, Sankeys has pulled it together and perfected its product across its growing army of low-ceilinged basements. Creator David Vincent says he wants to bring back the idea of clubs being a draw card in themselves, not merely relying on the headliners on the bill. It sounds like the right idea, but when you combine that with his incessant plans for duplication of the Sankeys vibe in cities across the world, the distinction between venue and promoter party is lost and Sankeys becomes a brand. At the first use of the word ‘brand’ in association with any decent scene or idea the concept shudders, coughs and keels over, beginning the slow but inevitable process of Losing Its Cool. Check out these statements on the websites of venues already in the decaying process. From Sankeys…
“Sankeys Manchester is the brand template, which has taken 20 years to organically develop that we know works, so we have used that for Ibiza, New York and will use it for all the other venues coming soon…”
Or this enticing spiel from the Pacha website…
“Our experienced franchise team has caught the essence of what Pacha is today, and is able to export it anywhere in the world and provide guidance to new franchisees that are willing to open a new Pacha Club and become members of this big family.”
And finally, the best is saved until last, from the Space website…
"Every franchise, under Space’s brand umbrella, guarantees that the artistic level, the parties and performances are very similar to Ibiza’s club, staying true to the essence, philosophy, image and values of not only the brand but also the White Island’s club. Space Entertainment is Space’s agency located in Barcelona that supports all the franchises worldwide with a continuous and close contact through a constant bidirectional communication."
Well nothing says a good time like ‘constant bidirectional communication’.
The concept of a club as a brand is the ultimate turn-off and the antithesis to everything that nightlife should be about. Compare the exciting buzzwords like ‘export’ and ‘organically developed brand templates’ to this description of New York’s influential Paradise Garage…
“ ‘This is the Paradise Garage in a nutshell,’ says New York DJ Johnny Dynell. ‘One night, Chi Chi, my wife, was bartending at the Garage. And, having worked at Danceteria doing the same, she couldn’t believe it when she saw these boys making everything so clean. They would take the garbage out and then wash and scrub the garbage can, then dry it, and put a new garbage bag in. She was in awe at the love these kids showed that garbage can. Because to these kids, it’s the temple. It’s sacred. This isn’t just a garbage can, this is a garbage can at the Garage. It’s very Old Testament. And for everyone there, it really was the temple. It was sacred ground.’ … For its members, the Garage was a sanctuary from an increasingly cruel and voracious city, a role made poignantly necessary as AIDS cut through New York.”
It’s clear what owners gain from franchising their clubs, and in exchange they offer patrons a good time based on a successful formula. But in commodifying and replicating their creation they lose authenticity, uniqueness and cool-factor, which basically leaves them with a business plan.
Sources: djhistory.com, pacha.com, spaceibiza.com and sankeys.info
Photography (in order of appearance):acidhousehistory.blogspot.com, stoneyroads.com, www.virgolounge.com
Agency, label and damn fine party throwers, Toi Toi Musik, return to London’s East this Friday the 28th, bringing the Toi Toi tenets of fine quality music and strong community to Smeed Road’s i Candi. For three years now, Toi Toi founders Isis Salvaterra and Claus Voightmann have fought the commercialisation tide, throwing parties steeped in authenticity by challenging the norm and sourcing the highest quality music makers.
This weekend they’ve enlisted Praslea to provide the beats, Romanian export and Understand label head often caught making music with Raresh in between a hectic European touring schedule. Praslea will be joined by experimental Swiss technician Eli Verveine, plus support from UK’s Saoirse and Toi Toi’s very own Voigtmann. As always with Toi Toi, vinyl is king – so expect a night of record discovery for the chinstrokers and uninitiated alike.
After changing venues twice due to licensing issues outside their control, Toi Toi are thankful that it’s been ‘third time lucky’ with i Candi who have saved the day and provided the perfect warehouse location for this Winter edition of the Toi Toi party series. It also happens to be Voigtmann’s birthday celebration, so goodwill is sure to abound!
Music lovers - you know what’s good for you. Grab your tickets here.
Festival announcements are sprouting up in Croatia like spring bulbs, providing tasters of the summer that is to come and reminding us to get our sorry selves over to eastern Europe this year. One such festival is Sonus – which charged onto the Croatia scene last year and is returning even stronger in 2014, now an official festival partner of MEOKO.
Sonus runs right through the middle of summer, bringing music and madness to Zrce beach on Pag island between the 18th and the 22nd of August. Zrce beach is fast becoming one of Croatia’s festival jewels – an idyllic secluded spot which is not far from Croatia’s tourist-friendly city Novalja, but remote enough to have that Adriatique paradise feeling we all crave from our Croatia trips. Stages are quite literally metres from the shoreline here, so the location’s perfect – but that’s almost a given in Croatia’s gorgeous coastal regions. What Sonus has also done is provide an absolute monster of a line up, calling up a host of current heroes in house and techno to grace its sun-soaked stages.
The line-up includes (take a deep breath) Chris Liebing, Dixon, Jamie Jones, Loco Dice, Luciano, Marco Carola, Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, Adam Port, Apollonia, Bella Sarris, Djebali, Dorian Paic, Henrik Schwarz (live), Joseph Capriati, Leon, Marcel Dettman, Monika Kruse, Pan-Pot, Robert Dietz, Sonja Moonear, tINI, Tobi Neumann, Yaya, Zip, Mariano Mateljan and many, many more. This is easily one of the strongest and most on-the-mark line-ups of the summer, and should collectively keep you dancing for five days straight.
Sonus is also running the traditional boat party roster throughout the five-day festival period, with details on these raving voyages still to be announced. Choosing your parties is the easy bit though – what usually brings the sweat and pain is sorting the accommodation. That’s where Croatia Wave steps in. Established in 2011, Croatia Wave grew at lightening pace, responding to the huge international demand for assistance, guidance and organisation in securing perfect digs for your holiday, now offering not merely festival accommodation but also high-end villas and holiday activities.
As official partners of Sonus 2014, we simply had to give our readers the chance to experience this amazing festival for themselves – all expenses paid. MEOKO, in collaboration with Sonus and Croatia Wave, is offering one lucky punter 2 x tickets to the festival, 2 x tickets to a Sonus boat party* plus 5 nights of accommodation for two in a fully air conditioned bespoke apartment within a five-minute commute of Zrce beach - all you have to do is get yourself to Croatia!
You could be lounging on this very balcony in six months time...
To enter this killer competition, comment below the article with the artist you're most excited to see at Sonus, plus email your answer and contact details to
... and good luck!
*Boat party tickets are subject to availability and issued at the discretion of the promoter, Cosmopop. The winner will be advised on-site at Sonus Festival which boat party they have tickets to attend.
Photography taken from Sonus festival album gallery