Having played a pioneering role in electronic underground music for the past two decades, we feel very privileged to be interviewing Ralph Lawson. Apart from being a hero on our Island, he is also widely regarded as the crème de la crème in this industry. Ralph Lawson currently holds residencies at Back To Basics in Leeds, We Love Space in Ibiza and Barcelona’s The Loft as well as regular appearances at Berlin’s Watergate and London’s Fabric. Ahead of his recent showcase at the EGG this weekend, MEOKO chats with him about the highs of his musical career.
Ralph, what is it like being a resident at Back to Basics for years now? Well it’s been a roller coaster ride, blood sweat and tears and it’s been a very long journey that strangely seems so short in a lot of ways. So much time has past and suddenly we’re 20+ years down the line and Back to Basics in Leeds is still going strong I’m really proud and happy to have been a part of it. It’s like being in The Rolling Stones dealing with Dave Beers, it’s kind of like dealing with Keith Richards as your cohort. It’s always interesting and I’ll always have stories from this time, we’ve had some ups, we’ve had some downs but we’re still here.
Do you find that there is a difference in the House scene in London with the scene in Leeds and hence do you consider that the scene in Leeds is still as strong as it was to begin with?There’s definitely a difference for sure. I don’t think Back to Basics would have worked for as long in London as the scene move so much quicker everyone wants new things and as quickly as they can get them. It’s very fashion driven and there’s a need for everything to change so quickly. Back to Basics in Leeds is much more like a working men’s club everyone shares the same interests, it’s a place for people to go to week in week out. London is exciting it kickstarts a lot of scenes for the rest of the country and I love playing there. The crowds a bigger mix and much more cosmopolitan so you have to read the room slightly differently.How did your interest in Djing in particular begin and what were the influences that directed you to that path? I was drumming and in bands and I went over to Manchester around the time of Happy Monday’s and The Stone Roses and that kind of led to Hacienda and the Manchester scene. It was a real intro into acid house which we then bought back to Leeds which inspired Back to Basics.When playing live, do you favour using vinyls or MP3s or is it a mixture of the two?I never play MP3’s, I’ll play Wads, Aiffs or high quality digital files if I’m going to play them. I try to give the audience the best music quality possible. I love playing vinyl to as it’s got a nice organic sound I like to mix it up and play both where possible.
What makes you decide on playing a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play next?I just think it’s got to have a certain feeling techno, electronic, house, soulful it needs to grab you in a certain way and standout.How important is it for you to achieve a desirable response out of the crowd you are playing for? Do you believe in the possibility of "reading an audience" and how do you put this into practise?At the end of the day I’m a massive believer in people as a DJ you can be so up your own arse. but it’s not about just you particularly. It’s about the night and the crowd and the party and what you can contribute to that. People have paid money to be there so even if you’re tired or you’ve got a cold you’ve got a responsibility, you’re getting paid, you’re the guy behind the decks who needs to get people dancing, enjoying themselves and creating the atmosphere. I feel like I’ve left myself down and the crowd down if I don’t achieve that which I normally do.When in London, what type or which venue in particular do you enjoy playing at the most?Fabrics the number one isn't it? It’s the real benchmark for what an electronic venue should be it’s so so important. It’s since spawned this amazing warehouse scene.
Do you feel that a crowd is actually able to appreciate the intricacies of complex DJing, if they don't actually know what is happening behind the decks?I actually think people are super clued up now about DJing, a lot of people have had a go. DJing is intricate but in some ways it’s very basic you’re putting on records whether its on digital or vinyl format and you’re mixing between the two. Even if people don’t know what skill is going down, most will appreciate how the music is being presented to the them. DJ’s work on so many different levels some people know the exact level skill that is going on and will be impressed by their technique whereas other will just appreciate that the music is flowing nicely and that it’s making them dance in the club.Between Djing and producing your own music, what is it that interests you the most and why?I’m a DJ first and foremost; I never saw myself as some big producer, I like working with bands and producers, I like remixing and learning.I realized I’d learnt more than I thought by hanging out in the studios with these great people and bands. I decided to make my mark later on than most people and I’m really interested and enjoying producing at the moment.When producing, is there anything specific that you aim for or do you usually follow your intuition as you go along?I just really want to make the best track possible.Lastly, other than 2020 Vision, are there any labels which you are really fond of?Yes, I like a lot of the classic labels that were there when I first started they might not even be around now. As far as modern labels there are some really cool ones; Running Back, Hyper Colour, Barnhouse, that Axel Boman release is really good there are so many.
Ralph is playing at EGG on the 19th of April for Mobilee Back To Back Tour alongside Ray Okpara, Rodriguez Jr, Ejeca and Ranacat.
More information about the event and tickets CLICK HERE
The modern day festival goer is spoiled for choice when deciding upon locations and brands to put their pennies, inhibitions and trust into. While many of us Brits travel abroad to the likes of Croatia, Spain and even further afield (thanks in part to the widespread introduction of cheap air travel), it seems that we sometimes forget that our own shores have more than its fair share of reasons to maintain its claim as the home of festivals. As EDM blows up and rains down over-plumped 'festivals' across the states and beyond, it's refreshing to see the UK carrying the torch for the more adventurous, escapist type - in the electronic music world, they've been trying to fill the void that the much-loved Glade electronic music festival sadly left behind a few years back.
With Glastonbury, Bestival and V festival aside, you could go as far as to say the UK market loves a small and intimate boutique festival, with some hitting their stride for their second or even third year on the trot. Noisily Festival of Music and Arts burst onto the scene last year with an unashamedly clear mission statement - to bring the most diverse and eclectic line up of global electronic music, both underground and overground, to the fore, mixed with cutting edge design and art installations, in amongst the beautiful and secluded Leicestershire forest, allowing for an event that's driven on hedonism, escapism and most of all enjoyment for a full weekend that rises well above your average 'festival in a field' stereotype.
Lest we forget, the musical fare on offer isn't half bad either... Greg Wilson, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Session Victim and Gaudi all play, joined by the likes of sonic alchemist Max Cooper, Scottish techno titans Slam, Dutch breaks master 2562 and tonnes more heavy hitting music from all forms of music and beyond, playing across three stages (including one dubbed The Tree House Stage and the return of an old Glade festival favourite, The Liquid Stage), backed up by a further host of nano areas and zones included for your frivolously decadent pleasure.
It all sounds like the perfect way to wile away a hazy Summer afternoon doesn't it? Well, you're in luck as MEOKO are offering one lucky winner the chance to coolly bag 4 x weekend passes for them and their friends, to head down and enjoy the weekend bash, running between 11th - 13th July. To enter this killer competition, comment below the article with the artist you're most excited to see at Noisily , plus email your answer and full name to
. Good luck!
For more information and tickets go HERE
FULL LINE UP
Whilst the dance music world still mourns the sudden loss of its godfather and long-reigning monarch Frankie Knuckles on the 31st of March, numerous tribute parties have begun sprouting up globally, as promoters and punters alike feel the urge to show their respect in the way Frankie would have approved of best – coming together and dancing.
Of all the Frankie Knuckles tribute parties, the event presented by Inspired and hosted by Digital in Brighton on the 4th of May is sure to be one of the most memorable, and here’s why…
Frankie Knuckles was due to perform at the venue on the aforementioned May in Sunday, and after some discussion and deliberation with Frankie’s management team at DEF Mix it was decided that the party would still go on, with a new headline act in Frankie’s closest friend and equally successful musical colleague, David Morales. And not just any set, mind! Morales will be playing an Inspired, Influenced and Extended Classics set, to honour and celebrate the life and music of the late Frankie Knuckles.
Full Line up: David Morales Murphy Suze Rosser Pre-party @Neighbourhood from 6 onwards, with: Affy Go Bang Steve KIW Jeff Daniels
Part of the proceeds will be donated to one of the many charities Frankie supported – the specific group to be announced soon. Let’ s make sure this amazing event is a sell-out, as it’s sure to be a memorable night for all present, not least of all Morales himself.
Check out MEOKO’s Frankie Knuckles tribute piece here.
Buy tickets to the event here.
The cosmic aural connections created, discovered or re-imagined by UK duo Psychemagik are fast becoming valuable gold dust on the contemporary music market. Bursting onto the scene with an unusual edit of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere, Psychemagik quickly established its reputation as a creative force to be reckoned with, following up Everywhere with a host of original productions, remixes, edits and unusual mixes, the latter drawn from a record collection as vast as the Sahara. Psychemagik’s prolific studio output includes original productions such as Valley of Paradise and the Lunar Escape EP, remix projects including Bryan Ferry, Haim, Boy George, Azari & III and Metronomy, plus a choice selection of mixes working their way up to cult status, like Diabolical Synthetic Fantasy, which sold out on vinyl in a few hours and was named the number one compilation of the year at Piccadilly Records. PSychemagik join an excellent selection of UK acts at Ralph Lawson’s 2020 Vision party on the 25th of May...
You’re playing Ralph Lawson’s 2020 Vision party in London on the 25th of May, which has a solid collection of UK artists on the bill. Is there a strong community between your compatriots in the music scene? Events like this must be a nice opportunity to combine forces…
It's always nice to hang out with our peers and buddies. Luckily the music we make attracts like-minded people.
How is the rest of summer shaping up for Pyschemagik? Where will you be spending most of your time, and where else are you particularly excited to play? We're touring Guatemala and Mexico and have another big USA tour lined up for May. We’re playing at FOR festival and Stop Making Sense in Croatia which will be awesome cause they do amazing steaks at Tony's in Tisno! Glastonbury and Wilderness look fun too with Dolly Parton & Burt Bacharach playing live which will be a good old knee’s up!
The new online record store, Beach Freaks, opens in May, can you tell me what your involvement is with this? I’m one of the founders with my good buddy Charles Bals from Cosmic Dudes. We’ve been talking about doing a bespoke record site for a couple of years and we finally hit the button. We have a great friend and amazing digger from Sweden Evan Jordan joining forces with us. It’s going to be a very specialist site with lots of new discoveries and some rare and beautiful classics.
You seem to have a magic touch with remixes, really taking songs somewhere special. How is that you usually choose the songs to remix? What sounds inspire you?
We get asked frequently for remixes so we choose the ones we feel the most.
Once you’ve decided to try your hand at a particular remix, what’s the next step? How do you go about creating something original? It can start with a basic melody on a synth or a vocal idea. When the inspiration comes it’s usually quite random. I don’t think you can start a track with any particular intention, the music is born out of a mood or a cosmic connection.
Danny is a well-known champion crate digger, how much time a day would you spend searching for new music – and where are your favourite places (both on the street and online)?
The best places to dig are record fairs, shops and basements, or via fellow friends and dealers. Belgium, Germany and Holland are always good for picking up rare stuff you won’t find in the UK. But tbh most spots in Europe are infinitely better than the UK for digging.
Since you both have such an eclectic collection of music at your disposal – how much of the more alternative stuff are you able to air in your DJ sets? Are you conscious of musical education as well as entertainment?
We rarely get to play the deeper stuff, we would love to be able to educate and inspire people more. We’re doing our own festival in September where we will create the perfect environment to play the eclectic stuff.
Are you currently exploring individual projects, or is the focus all on your work together?
We are now only working on our collective work but we will both be releasing as individuals in the near future.
Dearest Shirtless Muscle Mass in the Middle of the Dance Floor,
For god’s sake, man, cover up. Cover up your pecs, cover up your traps, your delts, your triceps and your biceps (I know you’ve been working especially hard on those), cover up that half finished tribal tat which represents your killer instinct and non existent Maouri heritage and most importantly cover up the thin but unbroken layer of slimey sweat in which you are permanently encased. Please, please, cover up that sweat.
I should clarify whom I am addressing here, because in the context of a gay club, shirtless dancing, drinking, and general mackin’ is entirely acceptable. Since the gays really started this whole clubbing caper, they reserve the right to do whatever they want in their clubs – just keep the felatio to the corner, where possible. The straight man, however, over-sculpted and painfully self aware, who feels the need to peel off his outer layer within a club of fully clothed people, is a whole other story. Yes, I’m talking to you, Stavros McMuscilious.
You see I look at someone like Marcel Dettman or the lead singer of Rammstein and I see muscles formed from a life of lifting immense crates of vinyl, or throwing flaming bulls across large fields. I look at you and I see the kind of muscles that only grow in air-conditioned gyms from doing reps in front of a mirror. Mirror muscles, I call them, and they lack a certain…authenticity.
You love your looks, this much is clear, but if you really loved yourself on the inside you wouldn’t feel the need to expose your washing rack abs in order to pull the hunneez. No matter how carefully you sculpt your skin, you’ll always have a complex and feel in some way inadequate. There will always be some guy who is bigger than you, and what’s worse, there will always be skinny, ugly, hipster dudes with unruly beards channeling 70s porno muffs who somehow pull the fit girl you’ve been eyeing half the night. It’s shocking, but the truth is some women prefer ironically worn waiscoats to bulging, twitching exposed pectorals.
Dancing is not your strong point – generally you tend to lumber about the dance floor, arms out, shoulders hunched, circling yourself like Donkey Kong looking for lost bananas. You do have one undeniable talent - dancing backwards. Your back – already grossly offensive from half a metre infront of me, looms closer and closer as you display your surprising lack of spatial awareness and dance me into a corner until I could lick the perspiration off the back of your neck you leaky behemoth. Infuriating backwards dancing aside, your participation in dance music extends to knowing who Tiesto is. “Tiesto? Yeah he’s the man!” You always say. To you, a club is merely a meat market, and you’re here to purchase the choicest cut you can find - if only anyone was as choice a cut as yourself. Usually I wouldn’t have to deal with you – you stick to your Tiger Tiger bars and your Cream Ibiza Terraces, but every so often you wander into a techno rave in search of fresh tail and the result are so catastrophic that I feel compelled to write an open letter to appeal to those of you who can read.
The implication of this letter is simple. Put your shirt on - NO not that one – the one that fits. Great, now let me show you the door. Try not to get stuck between the lintels.
Sincerely and severely yours,
A Considerately Clothed Clubber.
Osunlade is a musician with quite a story to tell, coming across in interview as an artist who has found balance, wisdom and satisfaction through music and shows no signs of slowing his output. From St Louis, Missouri, a place steeped in the jazz and blues tradition, Osunlade made his way into the business through composing for film and television and producing for other artists, for example an early gig producing music for Sesame Street. As Osunlade’s success in the studio grew, so did his close involvement with major labels – to a point that he became disillusioned with the corporate shackles of the music scene and took a break from the industry. This marked a turning point in his life, as when he returned he now had a new-found spiritual direction in Ifa, a belief and life system based drawn from the Yoruba tribes of Africa, plus his own label, Yoruba Records, the medium through which he would contribute to the industry on his own terms from then on.
It’s been positive vibes since then, with Onsunlade building a strong catalogue of artists on Yoruba, whilst also having huge success releasing his own music on respected labels like Soul Jazz records and Defected. His is House music with soul, heavily influenced by the genre’s he has grown up with, but not averse to the odd dance floor banger either. Osunlade plays SunSplash festival in Turkey this June, alongside Zara McFarlane and Gilles Peterson.
What environments inspire you to make music the most and why?
Everything inspires me: locations, people, cultures, food et cetera… just about everything sets a different and specific mood for me.
Which instruments do you prefer to compose on?
I usually compose on the piano, however it’s not set in stone; it all depends on the type of song I desire to create. Sometimes it could be guitar or drums that start the process, but normally it is piano I choose.
Why did you first decide to explore the world of technology and how did you find the transition from using only live instruments to incorporating synthesizers and computers?
I would say that started for me in the late eighties with drum machines and that sort; computers didn't come into play until after the conception of my label Yoruba Records. Once founded, I realized the importance of saving and cataloging the music and its content. Incorporating the organic sounds with technology was a trying one for me for many years but I’ve managed to find a safe haven after so many years now.
Your musical output over the years is not only vast but incredibly varied… do you need to release different genres to stay engaged? Is there one style that resonates with your more than the others?
Most definitely, moving around musically keeps me active and engaged. Any one thing, even music alone, can get boring or allow complacency which is something I always try to avoid. My main music style is soul and funk however I am a jazz head at heart, it’s my first love musically.
What are you disillusioned with in the music industry today, and what do you do yourself to counteract that?
I think I have come to grips with all that the music industry has transformed to be today. If anything I would have to say it's the entire file sharing biz, its something that people should respect more however as its part cultural and simply human nature… it’s something I have grown to accept and try to not allow much effect on the output musically.
You had to take a big break from the music scene for a few years… what pulled you back in?
That's simple, the love of music and expression.
How has your life changed since launching Yoruba? Would you still be making music if you hadn’t?
100% certain id be making music regardless, it's the only reason I exist. I couldn't image me doing anything else.
What’s your favourite way to discover new music?
As of late, I’ve been hailing the bandcamp site. I appreciate the discovery of new artists as well, to have a format that pays the artists directly is a bonus.
Are you still attending Burning Man festival every year? What do you love about it?
I do, this will be my 8th consecutive year, I love everything about it! It's the community most however, the kindred experiences you have without any monetary challenges lend to a more exact exchange amongst people.
Does music mean the same thing to you at this age as it did when you were young? If not, how has its meaning changed?
It means more to me now than ever before, I think this is due to the fact that I’m older and realize the responsibility I have to continuously be and do more in the way I see fit, meaning it’s now more on my terms which allows me a freedom I didn't have previously, as I was victim of the pressures of belonging and/or achieving things that I thought mattered when younger that have no place for me now. It’s simply about the music, its longevity and the love it comes from today.
Sounds of the City is a new series in which MEOKO grills some of our favourite DJs and producers about the ins and outs, their most treasured spots and the hidden gems of the city they call home.
Sander Baan started DJing back in 1989, growing up in the era when House and Techno emerged. The common thread that runs trough Sander Baan's broad musical canon and creative projects is a resounding fluid style. Famed for his long sets, he is well known to dominate the dance floors in Berlin and beyond at prime-time, keeping the crowd excited throughout his warm and playful sets. Sander Baan has cultivated a unique path as an artist as well as the head honcho of Rotate Berlin, the bookings agency and events brand he founded in 2012. Years before Rotate, Sander started organising parties in Berlin's legendary Club der Visionaere and still runs two regular nights there with Rotate Berlin and with a group of friends called "Die Holländer", consisting out of Makcim and EL-P. His experience in the industry and the great passion for music he shares - leaves us with no wonder why he became a respectful member of tINI & the Gang. Sander is Dutch from origin but has been a Berlin local for years, knowing the city like the back of one's hand. In MEOKO's fairly new series Sound of the City he takes us on a journey to the places he knows best; record shops, clubs, after-hours and all the other glorious things Europe's Electronic Music capital has to offer.
My favourite sound of the city is?
I would say, Club der Visionaere sound. Each time you enter this place the sound is just recogniseable no matter which DJ is playing. I have this feeling since the 8 years I come here. It's like the DJ is being transformed by the club ;)
If I could describe Berlin in three tracks, they would be...
Listen to the selection throughout the article
Best record shop in Berlin?
Spacehall. Every time you come there you have to go through the entire backstock because its being updated on a very regular basis and I always come back with pure gemms each time I visit. So if you are a digger, this is the place to be! They have a lovely staff also, Jason Lanox, Jan Krueger, Hannes and of course the owner Peter!
Venue with the best sound system?
Berghain, not much to add! Keep a eye on the Hoppetosse because they have a second floor with a custom made soundsystem which is amazing!
Best place for a nice cocktail??
John Muir, amazing cocktails for a good price in a great location.
What is the coolest neighbourhood to hang out in nowadays?
For me it always was and still is Kreuzberg :)
What place used to be, but isn’t anymore?
Cannot answer this one, since for me it always have and still is Kreuzberg.
Where is the best place to party on a Monday?
I never party on a monday due to my work responsibilities :( but I would say Berghain if its still going on or Club der Visionaere during the summer.
Berlin is the city of change… how is it different for you compared to ten years ago?
I remember my first visits to this city very well. It changed a lot, it became more expensive, there are more tourists which both are not positive trends. 8 years ago you could walk in Club der Visionaere and find Luciano, Ricardo and Richie playing b2b2b while the place was not crowded, a very free feeling and this rarely happens now-a-days because its simply too busy when DJ's like this play. But the freedom for artist to litterly do what he loves without boundaries still exists and thats what makes Berlin still so unique.
Afterhours I’d most likely go to?
Afterhours in Berlin ? Clubs are open here so late or sometimes don't even close that I would not call it a afterhour but for that afterhour feeling it has always been and still is Club der Visionaere. Its a great place to go after you have been in a club and want to hang out with friends in the sun for some extra beers.
U-Bahn or S-bahn?
Both are great, simple and effective....but I usually do everything by foot or bike!
The thing that annoys me the most about Berlin?
Tourists and the increasing prices, although I am not a real Berliner since I come from Holland and only live here for 3 years it's the increasing tourist rate which makes the prices go up on basically everything and also the crowd in clubs changes because of that.
During the summer I always chill out at?
Again, Club der Visionaere :)
When it rains, the best place to be in Berlin is…
The place where I bump into most of my friends is…
Record stores and the dancefloor!
What I like about Berliners is…
Their feeling of freedom and passion for art and music.
Berlin is such a creative place because…
It's full of creative people and the city still has no strict rules, almost anything is allowed!
The thing I hope never changes about Berlin is…
Opening hours of clubs!
Could you tell us something about the mix you’ve kindly prepared for us…
I recorded the mix outside openings hours at the Hoppetosse in one go. It consists of a few styles of music I love to play at the moment. Nothing more to say about it, just listen :)
Music Through Pictures is a special interview series, in which MEOKO gives an artist a number of images and asks for corresponding tracks in return, highlighting the relationship between art, sound, images and music, and at the same time gaining a fun insight into the musical minds of some of our favourite DJs and producers...
When Alexandra started working in the electronic music industry, she had no intention to become a DJ. Her passion and curiosity for good underground music got her a proper writing job for ClubbingMag, the first Romanian electronic music magazine. She deliberately found out there was much more than journalism and therefore joined the Sunrise Booking Agency and a:rpia:r label to promote some of the most talented Romanian artists. She became an intrinsic part of the Sunrise collective and started to work the decks herself in 2009. Much has changed since, her first gigs abroad took her straight to some of Europe's most esteemed clubs like Club der Visionaere, Robert Johnson, Panorama Bar and Arma17, in which she played alongside big names such as Ricardo Villalobos, Zip, Rhaddo, Cassy, Valentino Kanzyani and Thomas Melchior. Alexandra is a vinyl purist who draws her inspiration from a wide variety of styles and artists, resulting in an own and unique style of DJing. This summer she plays at Sunwaves Festival where she will celebrate Romania's rich musical heritage, "Such a joy we have this festival". Here she throws her heart and soul into our Music Through Pictures series, offering her interpretations to ten striking images through the language of music, matching each one with a track that spring to mind and the reason why.
More info about Alexandra
RPR Soundsystem, the Romanian DJ collective and longtime MEOKO favourite returns to London this June for HOME, a rare show outside the artists’ usual haunt, Fabric.
On the 28th of June the a:rpia:r trio comprising Raresh, Rhadoo and Petre Ispirescu will be bringing their deep, dark and funky sounds to newly reopened and positively booming Studio 338 and it's brand spanking VOID soundsystem. And the best bit – Raresh, Rhadoo and Petre will be participating in a marathon back-to-back-to-back set, with more guests to be announced! A:rpia:r will be in it for the long haul, the party running a full nineteen hours, from midday until 7am, making best use of Studio 338’s unique outdoor terrace area over both day and evening hours, to give you a festival-like experience at the one diverse venue.
Photography by Ian Ramsey
The party was only announced yesterday and first release has already sold out – the following for the vinyl diehard label a:rpia:r has grown immensely in the last few years, really putting the artists, and the Romanian house music scene in general, on the global map. Expect deep, looping House with tastes of harder Techno percussion from the trio who, despite their success, have maintained authentic, relatively austere and decidedly underground. This party is going to be a highlight of a pretty hard-to-beat summer schedule for Studio 338, with residencies already confirmed by Sankeys, Secretsundaze and Krankbrother
We’ll be there – and we want our readers there too. To that end, MEOKO has put two free tickets to the June party up for grabs! Email
with the subject “RPR @ 338” and tell us who would win in a staring competition between Raresh, Rhadoo and Petre Inspirescu and why.
For all you punks out there that don't win our comp - get your tickets here.
Sergio Munoz and Israel Sunshine make up the fortuitously aligned components of Fur Coat, a duo coming to you from Venezuala, taking the soul and salsa infused house music inspired by their hometown, adding their deep and dark touches and spreading it across the globe, one release at a time. Fur Coat has now released on labels like Noir, Get Physical, My Favourite Robot and Hot Creations, but are by no means confined to the studio, touring eagerly for many years now, playing the hottest venues across the globe including Warehouse Project, DC-10, Ultra and Showcase. Anxious not merely to be defined by their hits, Fur Coat talk with MEOKO about their latest EP out on Hot Creations and the highs of their musical career thus far.
There’s No Time is a much more dark and brooding track in comparison to some of your earlier releases, what inspired you to head in this direction?
We think that the darker part has always been in us, especially in our sets. This darker part of us was also expressed on some tracks on our album. People sometimes categorise us by some of the bigger tracks they hear from us, but we have so much more to show, and hopefully we do that when we play out, and the crowd see a different side to us. I’d rather people see us for having a broader style and not just label us with one sound. We are artists and DJs that like to keep it creative.
It’s a long track, even by dance music standards. What are the benefits of producing something of this length?
We love to work on the details of every track. We like any track to stand alone as a real piece. Small details in the percussion or a slight change in the synth - for us everything counts. Also we love to develop a track and build up that tension with no pressure, so every element comes into the right place and at the right time.
Did you choose wAFF for the remix, or was it arranged for you?
This was a suggestion from Jamie [Jones]. We are always open to remix suggestions, that way there’s a balance in what we do and it’s always refreshing to hear what someone else can do with the music, someone we wouldn’t necessarily have imagined.
How do you feel about the result? Is it weird hearing your ideas rearranged like that?
We think wAFF’s version brings a new vibe to our original. Some people will play that version; some will play ours, they are very different moods. We think that’s the whole point of the remix, cause if it was 100% of what we had in mind of doing or just sampling our parts that wouldn’t make any sense.
Would you say getting picked up by Damian Lazarus marked a turning point in your career? Are there any other important moments that have got you where you are now?
Of course being supported by Damian has been instrumental in our success. For us, Crosstown Rebels is and always will be our family. We have no big game plan, we think the key to success is just loyalty, doing what you love from the heart and with perseverance. In this career we have made a lot of friends like Jamie and the Hot Creations gang, who have also opened doors to us and let us work on projects like this EP.
Our DJ sets were an important part of getting to where we are now. The music we play is very energetic, very techy, groovy, and always providing a story for people to take home.
What’s it like being welcomed into the Hot Creations family? Do you feel the label has influenced your sound at all?
It´s great. We don´t feel this as something new though really, as we’ve been hanging with Jamie for many years, at parties, and even playing in Paradise Ibiza on its first season. This feels really natural and something that was bound to happen. Our sound will always be the same in that it comes from the heart and soul, but it will always evolve and bring new fresh ideas to the table. This is just the beginning of many exciting things coming up this year.
You have recently surfaced alive from Miami Winter Music Conference – well done for surviving with all your faculties in tact! What was the experience like?
WMC is just amazing. First of all you get to catch up with all your friends and artists in the same week, of just partying, enjoying new music, nice weather… what more can you ask for? We have an amazing crowd in Miami, as it is a usual stop for us during our American tours, and this year was great for us as we did Wrong Turn, Ultra, Get Lost and Treehouse. Each show we got to show some different styles in our sets. But as always the highlight was Get Lost.
Is there a thriving House music scene in Venezuala? How did you both get into the style?
House and Techno has been present in Venezuela for many years, as we have talked deep in this in previous interviews. We have been playing music for more than 9 years, and producing for almost the same time. I think the style we have built up is a combination of our roots and travels and life experiences. We got to the point of progressing from playing music, to sitting in a studio and giving that stamp where we wanted to have a sound and people to say, ok this is Fur Coat.
What plans are you particularly looking forward to for this summer?
We are now going back to the studio. We already have some upcoming releases. The next one is on Bpitch Control and we have many surprises after that. Our plan as always is to keep making music, and we have a pretty cool summer in Europe and some American dates in between. We just arrived back to Barcelona, where we’re based now and already feeling the spring/summer vibes…
There's No Time is out now on Hot Creations.
"We move when we want, where we want, with no rhyme or reason. Our only aim is to be bigger and better than the rest, appealing to only the most open-minded reveller..."
Such is the mantra of Under The Tree, a nomadic party based on impulse, authenticity and the element of surprise. Back for the first time in 2014, Under The Tree presents an Easter Special party on Thursday the 17th of April which will be just what it says on the tin – damn special. Setting up camp in the warehouse venue Loft Studios (where it all began), UTT will be boasting a creatively planned light, laser and 3D visual show to accompany booming beats, which will be reaching your ears through a state of the art Funktion One sound system.
A picture from last year's sellout event at Oval Space
All sounds pretty rosy, but it’s not a party without the music-makers right? Under The Tree have teamed up with Visionquest to secure a stellar line-up for this event. Manning the tables will be Visionquest head honcho Lee Curtiss and fellow compatriot Ryan Crosson, Fabric’s youngest resident and Leftroom Records extraordinaire Matt Tolfrey, Simon Baker, who has recently partnered with Geddes to create the label Nofitstate, with support from Ibellini, The Mendendez Brothers and Felon (live). Hard to go wrong with that dream-team – we’re confident that between them they will pull out a solid collection of unforgettable dance floor moments.
Memories are great, but why not throw in some more lasting reminders of the brilliant sets to come? Let’s face it, things can get a little blurry after a few jars… MEOKO and Under the Tree have put together a generous prize pack for one lucky winner – we hope you like free vinyl!
The prize inclues:
2 x Nofitstate vinyl (001 Simon Baker -Arpy Ep Skudge remix and 002 Matthew Styles - Signals EP)
3 x Visionquest vinyl (VQ036, VQ040 and VQSE003)
3 x Leftroom vinyl (LEFT 040, 041 and 042)
3 x Leftroom CDs (003, 004 and 005)
1 x Visionquest T shirt
Collection of Under the Tree merchandise including T shirts, Caps and Sunglasses.
4 x tickets to the Easter Special event on Thursday the 17th of April.
To enter, email
with the subject “Under The Tree” and tell us who you’re most excited to see on Easter Thursday.
One night I’m raving hard, neon hi glow phat pants swishing in the bass breeze, hair spiked, feeling the PLUR, sweat dripping down from my neck to my Nikes…then I wake up the next day and my friends all have babies.
Time is cruel. You just never know when you’re going to blink and be old – it could be happening to you right now, go check. I’ve learnt to accept the process, but that doesn’t mean I’m not living off the sweet, sweet memories. The 90s really were something weren’t they? Our jobs were mindless, our raves illegal and we really lived for the weekends. Have you seen Human Traffic? All true.
But memories can only go so far. I know it’s not appropriate for a pruning punter like me to be chewing face every weekend, but surely the life of responsibilities, pressures and mortgages of a middle-aged adult warrants the occasional blow out even more so than the carefree degenerate lifestyle of a student, whose only responsibility is which flavour of Pot Noodle to steal from the off license? Don’t try and tell me it’s not true, I’ve been there.
I go clubbing because I still love the music and I still love to dance – though the moves have changed somewhat. What is this shooff-leeng, why are they spasming like this? What is this tworking, and how can I make it go away? It’s hard not to feel alienated sometimes. Some of you kids in the club with me were actually born in 1996 and it’s been tripping me out all year – and not the good, My Fingers Feel Like A Million Tiny Stars Won’t You Hold My Hand Let’s Make A Galaxy Baby kind of trip, more like the Jesus Christ If I Lower My Hands The Whole Sky Will Fall Down Wait Where Am I Oh No I Think I Need A Shit kind of trip. When I was getting ready for a big night, gelling my hair into perfectly formed spiky tips with fluro on the end – you were coming out of your mama’s vajayjays and screaming like Dirty Harry on bath day. Life’s crazy man.
The bright side of my situation is I have enough money to buy whatever drinks I want, but the down side is nobody wants to see me drunk. And let’s just say what we’re all thinking – the drugs just don’t work like they used to.
Whilst my type usually lives a solitary existence in the clubbing spheres, I’m certainly not alone in this world.
Here are some things we antique gurners do better than you:
Getting into Berghain
Knowing where the after party is
Knowing the old school songs
Taking lots of drugs without anyone noticing.
Some things you foetuses do better than us:
Getting into Marquee
Actually going to the after parties (if you can find them you little punks)
Having your future ahead of you
So what are the rules here? Am I supposed to stand at the back out of the action? Can I engage with the rest of you? Should I put a lifesize image of my face on the back of my head, to avoid those awkward moments when someone taps me on the back for a sip of my water than unsuccessfully suppresses their alarm at finding Dorian Gray’s hideous soulless portrait where they expected the smooth faced Dorian Gray himself? In fairness, a lifetime of wicked deeds probably does show on my face. Worth it though. The last thing I want is to be one of those creeps in the corner sliming over young girls, but maybe we can come to a compromise; maybe you can wear hot pants that cover your whole bottom instead of half… I don’t know, just a thought. Sometimes I feel like the only safe place for me is Ibiza during closing parties, where ageing ravers with deep and destructive tans line the walls like strips of beef jerky.
The other night I went outside the club for a cigarette and got chatting with a young girl about her dating life. I felt like I was following the conversation reasonably well until she started talking about ‘swiping him left’ and ‘hashtagsorrynotsorry’; I thought wistfully of the mix tape and chocolates days. You speak differently and you party differently too. The clubs are cleaner, more expensive, with a lot more pretty lights to look out… but you all end up facing the front like you’re at school assembly, what’s with that? And nobody’s wearing cargo pants, not a one. Except me, obviously. You lot hardly know how to experience anything anymore, only record and share. You’re narcissistic, compulsive multi-media addict short-short wearing novices… but my god I want you to think I’m cool.
Sometimes it feels like I’m making friends in the club: we’re sharing drinks, we’re hi-fiving, we’re grinning at a particularly juicy hi hat… then you’ll say, “I wish my parents liked this music! They just don’t get it.” You’ve broken my spirit and you don’t even know it. Or even worse – sometimes I’ll get a pack on the back, with a patronizing “Wow! Good on you!” Great. I’m that guy.
Well maybe I’ll have the last laugh. You’ll either sell-out, forget how to have fun and settle into a life of two and half kids, dinner dates with married types and crossword puzzles for kicks, or you’ll end up like me. A solitary bastion of the rare-ole-times, a raving relic, the token old guy, the one people can’t decide is a cop, a dealer, or a pervert. Hi there.
Anyone that has experienced a set from the legendary Dave Clarke knows it’s the real deal. A serious musical commitment from the artist himself to lead the listener through the murky depths of techno, heavy electro and any genre curveball he might throw in, with long, undulating phrases, sharp percussion and rare forays to the surface for air. His production back catalogue is vast and filed with the best in the business, stretching back to his debut release on XL in 1990. Originally from Brighton, UK, Clarke fell in love with the character of Amsterdam and has lived there now for many years, using it as a base from which to tour worldwide on a regular basis. He features at the techno behemoth that is Awakenings festival just outside the city this June, or you can also catch him in the UK this weekend, when he returns to Brighton to speak at the inaugural Brighton Music Conference. MEOKO took the opportunity to get Not So Serious with one of the most serious players in techno…
Three items you cannot on live without when you are on tour are…
iPad with mags, phone, credit cards.
If you could go back-to-back with anyone, you would love to play with…
Tough one, probably Carl Cox.
Someone throws a Borat bikini at you from the crowd during a set – what’s your next move?
Find a disinfectant wet wipe.
When you were growing up, you loved to listen to…
Ska, Punk and Disco.
A great song to strut down the street in dark sunglasses is…
The weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in the crowd is…
The brown note being hit by someone in Leeds and him being carried out, also someone dropping some evil personal gas in a free party in Dublin....I dropped an accapella of Antony Rother whilst looking at the offender: "No...stay away from my soul".
A dance move you would like to see return to fashion is…
The New Beat hand wave (sort of aircraft carrier guy directing planes around).
A great song to cook spaghetti bolognese to is…
Got me there....probably some old school ska from the 60s.
A great song to woo the ladies is…
Something by Atari Teenage Riot.
Right before a festival set your laptop is stolen and all your music erased and replaced with a Britney Spears best of hits album. Do you…
A) Shed a few tears and apologise that you can no longer play
B) Smash a few plates then embark upon a Liam Neeson style revenge mission to find the culprit
C) Ah well, life gives you lemons, go with the Britney set.
A) Apologise profusely and go back home.
If your life could be narrated by any actor, living or dead, it would be narrated by…
A good party has to have…
A decent DJ and sound system.
Your favourite way to find new music is…
Doing interviews like this whilst listening to promo's in the back ground (honestly).
The best thing about your job is…
Not having to do something I would hate doing, a job based on a passion is a gift.
Sounds of the City is a new series in which MEOKO grills some of our favourite DJs and producers about the ins and outs, their most treasured spots and the hidden gems of the city they call home.
Few know more of the London music scene than a record store owner. Across all music, new and old, they know what comes out and when, who buys it, where it gets played and how to play it. Pete Herbert is one such character, the one-time proprietor of the internationally recognised Atlas Record Store in Soho, whose input into the music scene goes far beyond the buying and selling of records. Herbert has also made a deep mark in studios of Europe, producing and remixing under various aliases for Eskimo Records in Belgium and Music for Dreams in Denmark, amongst many others. Hardly surprisingly, you can’t keep Pete away from the decks either; a Londoner might catch him at Fabric, The Nest, Ministry of Sound or even the old Horse and Groom, spinning an international blend of funky Italo disco and house with a smooth Balearic seasoning. Herbert knows London - in all its glorious sights, smells and sounds – better than anyone, making him the perfect artist to kick off our new Sounds of the City series…
My favourite sound of the city is?
‘your train is delayed’…. You know you’re back in London! …
Best place to buy records in London?
Phonica Records In Soho or Rough Trade East for new releases or Spitalfields market record fair for digging
Favourite place to grab a quick bite?
Great local pub grub at Carpenters Arms Cheshire St or some top Turkish round the corner at Tas Firin.
Best place to go for a swim?
York Hall in Bethnal Green as its 5 mins from my house. Otherwise London Fields Lido in the summer for some outdoor action..
Favourite local brewery?
London Fields Brewery is the only local one I know…
This track reminds me of that particular nostalgic moment…
Jestofunk ‘Say it again’ last tune at Sancho Panza, Notting Hill Carnival last year… epic!
Most exciting neighbourhood to live in is?
I live in Bethnal Green which I love…it’s a local neighbourhood, laid back and close to everywhere I like to go…I’m not sure you’d call it exciting though.. Someone told me Walthamstow was becoming exciting… could that be true?
Venue with the best sound system is?
Sancho Panza at Notting Hill Carnival each year wins hands down with me for sound system…
Venue-wise Plastic People is still sounding great…
Best place to hear Disco?
Pete Herbert steps up to provide us with five choice cuts in the next iteration of the Double Denim Disco Sunday Sampler series.
The most annoying thing about London?
How much it costs to live in..
The best place to see the sunrise?
Primrose Hill can be pretty spectacular
Favourite place to escape the hub of the city?
Victoria Park in the summer
I've never been to London, what is something I must do?
Have a stroll around Brick Lane on a Sunday
More Pete Herbert? Catch him play for the Double Denim Disco show alongside Jurny, Pelski and resident Will Sage on the 19th of April at Rolling Stock.
Reset Robot - Let Your Soul Outside
Reset Robot has produced a progressive and melodic album with a satisfying blend of light and darkness. Some really whistful numbers like Ghost Machine are enhanced by the husky midrange vocals of Mr Woo, which is followed by eccentric tracks like The Birth of Terry Burrows. From the soaring heights of Mings of Strife to the abrupt and gritty bass of Unprocessed Layer or the retro throwbacks in Desi Beats, it really is a rich and diverse release.
Listen and buy it here.
Marc dePulse - No Need to Worry (Kölsch remix)
Joining Phil Kieran and FreakMe on remix duties, Kölsch turns his hand to Marc dePulse’s recent release, giving continuity, forward pushing motion and that special Kölsch touch of atmosphere. Playing around with vocal loops to create tension and release, Kolsch has readied this song for dance floors, adding a bouncing, flat toned mid line which holds it all together. Hollis P Monroe and Overnite vocal line pops its head in and out, but is no longer the feature of this largely instrumental number.
Listen and buy it here.
Floating Points - King Bromeliad
Set for a May release.
I hate to be a tease, but this one's not quite available as yet. Don't despair however, as you're likely to hear this out and about already, with Four Tet already supporting this excellent new music from his friend and musical colleague (they tend to swirl in the same creative circles), Floating Points. This particular track is groovy as anything, with the smoothest rolling bassline and jazzy drum kit percussion. Excellently structured, this song is the gift that keeps on giving - be sure to play it right through and appreciate its developments.
The Dutch music scene would not have been the same without Dylan Hermelijn. His tireless dedication to the aural cause across over two decades has earned him not only influence, respect and a host of dedicated Dutch fans, but also widespread international acclaim as 2000 and One and a global touring schedule to rival the biggest contemporary names around. Not only did Hermelijn launch the 100% Pure Record Label, now recognised as Amsterdam’s longest running tech-house imprints, but has also lent his magic touch to the growth of labels Remote Area, Area Remote, Intacto, Bitten and Bangbang! The string of dance floor anthems that have emerged from these labels collectively over the years make a fine testament to Hermelijn’s influential role, but the best test is to catch him in action. 2000 and One will be returning in pride of place to the original and unparalleled Amsterdam techno festival, Awakenings, this summer – and we recommend catching him on home turf! MEOKO fired a few questions at the DJ, producer and label magnate for a brief Q&A session before he plays The Egg in London this Saturday.
Where do you think Amsterdam fits into the global dance scene? What does it offer the world and what influence has it had?
Well Amsterdam has quite a big dance music history… we kind of started straight after the UK, around 1988. I myself started at that time and was very much influenced from US artists such as Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Frankie Knuckles etc.
You’ve worked with so many labels, why do you enjoy spreading yourself across so many platforms?
The main reason why this is, is because of the fact I am so diverse in my dance music style, it is kind of impossible to stick with one style.
Do you ever need to take a break from music? Yeah, for sure. As I am also into sports and Yoga, that helps to focus my mind on something else.
Could you tell me a bit about how 100% Pure Records began? In 1993 we launched 100% Pure Records with schoolmate and music partner in crime Sandy Huner, but now I’m heading up the label solo. We basically started the label because no one wanted to release our stuff!
You came up through hip hop and drum n bass music, why did you move on to techno from these genres? And do you incorporate these musical roots into your current performances?
As a hip hop DJ it was really hard to get bookings back in the late eighties and early nineties, and as far as drum and bass goes the scene was too small in Amsterdam and it was also very difficult to be accepted into the UK/London scene at that time. My current sounds is a rolling Techno sound with a funky edge, so yeah maybe these other genres have their influences.
You held a residency in Ibiza for Eric Prydz’ party Tonight (no longer running). How did you find the island and working with this party?
I love Ibiza, I played all the main clubs throughout the years: Pacha (Defected party), Amnesia (Cocoon Party), Space opening and closing party. That particular party with Eric was great, I was alongside Adam Beyer and Sebastian Leger and it was a lot of fun for sure!
You’re obviously a big sharer of new music, why do you like to share all the music you love and what’s your response to DJs who are quite protective over tracks they source?
In my opinion everybody has the right to get fed all kinds of "new" music, protecting is something some DJs did in the past and is not of this age anymore.
Awakenings Festival was one of the biggest techno events around until the recent boom in house and techno festivals gave it some healthy competition. What do you think Awakenings does best that keeps it at the top?
Awakenings is without any doubt the No1. Worldwide Techno event! This is due to the fact that that they always stuck to their gun, for example they always book the artists who take their music very seriously and Awakenings main man Rocco Veenboer has great knowledge of Techno music from the early days. What are your favourite places to play in the Netherlands and why?
Well my favourite place is the Gashouder Awakenings event for sure!!! This venue has this legendary and epic feel which never goes away for me.
Check out 2000 and One for yourself at The Egg this Saturday the 12th of April for 100% Pure.