A week before the opening of the new party season, MEOKO had the opportunity to have a chat with Dan Perrin, the manager of London's biggest dance space: Studio 338. This venue will be hosting parties for the second year now and the future looks brighter than ever before. An awesome agenda is already announced and magical times will definitely be experienced in the forthcoming months.
Perrin is a friendly and passionate guy, who took us on a tour throughout his amazing venue, which was still in a state of decoration when we passed by. With the creativity and passion Perrin is talking about the project, Studio 338 will look amazing when the new season kicks off next weekend. The venue comprises an indoor dance floor, a huge outdoor terrace and a new chill-out area. The seventh of February Italojohnson and Fred P will be opening the cool Terrace of Studio 338, whereas Cartulis Day will host the Loft.
In the media, your space is often compared to a typical Ibiza-venue thanks to your infamous terrace. Do you think this is true? Is this what you also envisioned when you started?
Yeah I see that quite a bit in the press! I guess I can definitely see their point. Studio 338 certainly has a more open air feeling than any other venue in the city. For me it feels more like a festival type vibe than Ibiza really but for sure it has echoes of Space in particular with the transparent roof.
What is the ethos behind your venue?
Good music and programming, which I try to focus on new concepts and fresh ideas. A strong level of attention paid to who gets into the venue to protect the right kind of atmosphere on the dancefloor and also a constant evolution of the space itself. People who come regularly will tell you it changes quite a bit in terms of production and new additions. I think that’s something that will become a big part of our identity over time…the ability and desire to keep changing the space so its exciting every time people visit us.
Greenwich is a bit off the beaten track as venues go – have you found this a help or a hindrance?
I have to be honest and say that on the whole our location has been a very positive factor! Firstly it is one of the only places in the city where we could operate a venue like ours and still be relatively central. Secondly it means the place is a ‘destination’. We don’t get any passing trade at all, so everyone there has made the journey for a reason and that creates a special type of anticipation that doesn’t happen so much in places where people can just pop in more easily. I think also one of the biggest benefits of the location is that we are safe away from the regeneration and redevelopment of areas which can be a constant danger to the longevity of music venues.
Studio 338 kicked off in 2014. Was the transition from the previous space, called THAT, to the new one, Studio 338, difficult?
We closed for 5 months at the very start, which was obviously a very costly and risky thing to do! If it hadn’t worked right away once we started, we might have been in trouble. I thought it was important to do this though, because a big investment had been made by the owner, transforming the space into something very special and there was no point in just opening the doors and continuing with the same type of route as they had been on before with THAT. Besides that, it takes a long lead in time to get the right acts and parties so I wanted to use that period to build a very strong calendar that represented what we were about. All in all, it hasn’t been too tough. Studio 338 and THAT are different places in every respect except geography and I think people have come to see us as what we are…a totally new venue.
How many people comprise the team of Studio 338? What are the main duties of your team to organize the perfect night?
Well for a long time it was just me and one or 2 others. So the running things well part basically involved taking around 5 years off my life every weekend! Recruiting the right people is difficult because in a tiny team one wrong or incapable member can make a serious impact. Also of course its hard to put aside the time to find people when you are also trying to run the day to day activities of the venue! Now we have a great little team and things are finally starting to progress the way we want them to across the board. We have a growing marketing and design capability, a nice crew to look after the artists and a really special production department who have been working some miracles over Christmas and the January break!
Did you make some changes during the recent winter break?
So we took a break from the parties immediately after New Years Day and have spent the time developing a brand new space in Studio 338. One of the things we’ve been aware of is that there was really no place for people to chill out, socialise and take a breather, which obviously is something that is welcome during the longer events and nice during the summer months in particular. That is why we came up with the idea of the light lounge and garden, which are being built right now on the second floor of the space. It is looking truly amazing up there so we can’t wait for people to experience it for the first time at the opening party.
Studio 338 is described as a Music and Arts venue. Can you tell us more about the Art-section?
I don’t like the word ‘Nightclub’. For a start a lot of what we do happens in the day and the whole vibe of the place just doesn’t seem to fit the term. The ‘Art’ comes from our emphasis on the visual aspect of what we do: the special production sets, the video projections and mapping and also more recently the installations we will rotate in the new garden space.
Why did you choose the Void-sound system?
We tested all the usual suspects. Funktion one, Flair, DnB and a few others and VOID just had the right character for us. They are also a great bunch of guys who really get what we are trying to do with Studio 338
What are your favourite venues you visited yourself during the years? Have you been inspired by any other party destinations?
There are lots! In Berlin you have Salon Zur Wilden Renate, Watergate and of course Panorama/Berghain. Chalet also was a lot of fun. In Ibiza Dc10 back in the mid 2000’s was an amazing place to be and of course Space is always a good experience on the big occasions. Back home Fabric is a real inspiration for their impeccable organisation and great programming. I also really miss The End! That was a big loss when it went!
Studio 338 has always a nice selection of promoters such as Half Baked, Secretsundaze and Kehakuma. Why have you chosen for these promoters instead of other ones?
We will only work with promoters who we feel connect to us and share the way we approach a good party. So that means a great care for bookings, production and also promoting and attracting the type of crowd we like to dance with ourselves. I have a huge respect for Half Baked, Secretsundaze, Unleash and Krankbrother and would always go to their parties myself. So I guess that’s maybe a good place to start with the programming. If you would go to the party yourself, then it is probably a good one! Like everything some of that is a learning curve but I’m confident we have got it just right going into 2015.
Where does your love for these promoters come from?
I think they just do things in the right way. With love invested, a commitment to cutting edge booking policies and a care for the people they attract. This is exactly the way I approach 338 so naturally, they are the right people to partner with.
Studio 338 almost exists for one year now. How did you manage to attract these promoters to organize a party at your venue?
I have known all of them for a few years now from various other projects and also from the party I run with my partner Colin ‘Art of Dark‘, so I think even before they could see the venue developing they knew we would share the same standards and that what I was telling them, would become a reality. They also knew about the in house stuff we had planned like Cocoon, Watergate, Home etc. and they could tell they would be in amongst a great program of events from us too.
What are your favourite upcoming parties in 2015?
That’s a really tough question! Every Saturday seems to have something to get excited about. Loads of things happening for the first time ever in the city and lots of them which have really strong concepts to them. If I had to pick a few I would go for the return of arpair and their crew for the second edition of our Home party. Also Visionquest with a very special guest who’s a real favourite of mine. Than you have Kehakuma for the first time ever in London, which will be amazing and of course our opening with ItaloJohnson and co. Best of all they are all 338 shows which is the direction I want us to be headed in!
Can you tell me something about your most exciting party of last year?
It would be a close run thing between Home with apriar, Crew Love with Soul Clap and Wolf & Lamb or VIVa with Steve and his gang. The ViVa crew are great fun to be with. This also applies to the Crew Love artists. It was a lot of fun to hang out with them as they were on a real high from their world tour. I guess though there was no beating Home with the Romanians just for the sheer magic of their music and the vibe when they are playing.
What is up until now the most challenging event you organized? Can you tell us something about it?
To be honest, in comparison to the myriad of problems Colin and I have to go through putting on the Art of Dark warehouse parties its very easy doing the 338 shows! We have a top production team who work for us full time so all that side of things is a dream nowadays.
What are your future plans for this exciting project?
We have a couple of new projects we will undertake in the near future but we cant discuss them just yet. We’ll have to chat again soon when I can tell you a bit more.
Thank you for the conversation and the tour around Studio 338. We wish you a very musical and successful new season!
Mike Shannon and DeWalta are a musical duo who possess the effortless ease of a married couple, and they ooze a warmth that is seemingly at odds with their penchant for thunderous techno that has been eked out of intimidatingly monolithic hardware. Both prodigious electronic musicians in their own right, Ontario-born Mike Shannon first met DeWalta (the alias of native German David Koch) through friends in Berlin the best part of a decade ago, and the two have been working together ever since.
Over the past 15 years Mike Shannon has positioned himself at the apex of the techno landscape with an internationally recognised back catalogue of wildly successful albums, singles and remixes shared across the genre’s finest labels, including Plus 8, Force Inc. and ~Scape. The Canadian has juggled this with acting as head of the consistently excellent Cynosure label, deploying his intrinsic understanding of what whips up dancefloors into some nifty A&R work. DeWalta in comparison is a newbie to the scene, but no less talented. Bubbling up in 2007, the conservatory-trained jazz musician quickly turned his hand to making house and techno bombs. It wasn’t long before he was snapped up by a host of imprints including Vakant, Salon, Kalk Pets/Karaoke Kalk and his own well-received label Meander.
United by a mutual (and borderline unhealthy) passion for whirring and beeping electronic hardware, the two stand as proof that techno is a weapon can be wielded live. With a relentless musicality and gut-wrenching energy, Shannon and DeWalta have smashed dancefloors across Europe – Meoko were lucky enough to have a catch up with them while they caught their breath. We spoke about their partnership, the challenges and opportunities of live electronic music, and gloriously unhealthy cheese steak sandwiches. Enjoy:
Apart from sharing the same love for machines and jazz, what other niche interests do you both have?
Mike: I think with both of a niche interest in Donuts and Coffee. We have ritual of coffee and donuts at some point when we’re working in the studio. Proving once again that David is the most Canadian acting German guy I know.
David: Huh… I’d say there are lots of things, like the donuts, but I could maybe mention Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches. Hehe… Kind of the same ritual, depending on our appetite before or during a session. Mike brings these amazingly yummy, greasy, instant-heart-attack Steak Sandwiches over to the studio these days. Those set you up for a good long 5 hour session at the studio without having to snack in between all the time. You know, we are two skinny, pretty hungry guys… Gotta eat!
To what extent has music been an influencing factor in your musical partnership, as well as your friendship?
Mike: Well I think that music has been what has brought us together in the first place and continues to be what motivates to keep working together. We dj together more and more often now and are constantly keep each other up to speed with new solo productions and releases on our labels. It’s nice to check the drop box and see a few new secret Dewalta weapons for the weekend.
David: Yes, it has been music that brought us together. Like music does in this world. Music brings people together. I am so happy it happened for us, even though sometimes I feel I could know Mike from the far past, or a former life or something. Pretty funny also how we met, because Mike was a bit sceptical at first about this young German dude, who had met his wife before we actually met. I got a couple of testing-looks and uber-fun-sarcastic Canadian jokes and after an hour we were friends. I am happy to have found a brother, also besides the music.
Do you find group work more challenging yet more rewarding than individual work? How do you work out any differences in opinions or tastes?
Mike: Well usually it starts with a vicious argument followed by some alpha male style territorial dispute followed by bloody violence, ending in tears… just kidding. Actually we rarely have creative differences. Most of the time we’re both on the same page with what we’re working on. One of the main reasons why we work together as often as we do I think. Occasionally I’ll do something that is completely out of order and David usually makes a really polite comment about how whack or wrong that it is. It’s usually me making a fault some how musically… doing something incorrect. But I think that’s where the partnership excels... David has trained his ears to never make those musical mistakes but sometimes a particular sound can’t be achieved when things are too perfect. That’s where I come in I guess ;)
David: Comparing group work to individual work is tricky, but one thing has become clear to me over the years: music is a social thing and sharing it with someone you are close to and you can hang out with is always, for me, really always beneficial. Obviously I’m speaking for myself here! In that regard, our group-work goes further than just our D&S tracks. We talk about synthesis or new things, technology, new sounds, new tricks or our solo-tracks. We share information we maybe usually wouldn’t share with everybody. Mike is probably the guy I share most things with anyway. So this has always helped the process of making music and actually helped me being ok with the music I made, as well as helped the music itself. Always, sharing with your close friends is great!
As Mike is saying, there are only very rare occasions of creative differences. Maybe because we have become friends, things are naturally just more aligned. I do come from a different background and my ears work differently than his. Mike’s excellent intuition and North-American Techno- and House Producer-approach has saved our ass many times, so I have learnt to shut up and watch. On the other hand I could chime in with some classic jazz-music education here and there, keyboards as well as some crazy modular things nowadays. And to be honest: Even if there are differences, we always give each other the feeling of letting the other do whatever we think the song needs. Giving freedom and space is the key here. Even if we have two solo-versions in the end – giving space can only be beneficial to the music and to us.
Can you describe how you work together during a live show? Do you take on particular, individual tasks?
Mike: Yes, I’m mostly working on the basslines and lead synths in the tracks from my modular set up. I also do some vocals in a few tracks and work the mixing desk... David is working the drum machines, PUSH and his own modular as well as playing the saxophone. It’s almost like David needs two more hands with everything he has going on. The mixer and our main sequencer are in the middle so we can both jump in and change something if needed.
David: We have had the idea of playing live a while back already, since we had content, the vibe, many great studio session over the years and some records out already. It made sense, but how to put it together? What setup? Which machines? We knew it needed to be a “real live act” as opposed to some computer software based pre-planned set. We wanted it to be as live as possible. Improvisation and things that come up in the moment needed to be in there as well as some tracks of ours. In order to do that we had to assign some tasks, but also leave space for both of us to operate the same machines…
That said: In details, it’s basically as Mike explained above. We have separate setups, but still both operate the mixing desk, some Ableton PUSH as well as EFX.
What makes you attracted to playing live, and why have you decided to perform music in this way?
Mike: I enjoy sharing my music in the right context and I really enjoy getting the gear on stage and see what you can do with it on the fly. When you’re improvising with electronics the results can be very rewarding sometimes. I think that’s what makes me keep coming back to playing live this way.
David: I had been playing LIVE the past years SOLO and didn’t enjoy it as much anymore in the end. I always was more easy and relaxed with playing DJ shows. I enjoyed playing other peoples music and not just my own stuff all the time.
Since I come from a background of real LIVE BANDS I had the feeling, that many ravers are kidding themselves, listening to a laptop LIVE, thinking its real LIVE. I personally, would rather have a great DJ mix records then. Or at least don’t call it LIVE, as its not LIVE!…. The word “Live” always meant something to me, that happens in the moment, something not planned, something “live”. For that I wanted interaction!
Interaction on stage makes things come alive and it only works with at least two people.
This one man Live-show thing just didn’t kick me anymore. It was just me, who was uncomfortable in the situation, so I stopped playing Solo Live shows completely. Don’t get me wrong, there are great Solo - LIVE shows out there, but I as DeWalta couldn’t do it anymore.
Now: the idea of bringing our studio-sessions with Mike on stage, with 2 drum machines, 2 modular synthesisers, 3, 4 effect-machines, 3 sequencers, a saxophone, processers and synthesisers changes the game completely!! This setup is a whole new approach to the LIVE ACT situation I have known before and it has changed the way I look at playing live. It has re-opened doors.
You both play live separately. What makes your duo live shows different to your solo ones?
Mike: Well, my solo live act obviously is just my own tracks and not the tracks that we perform together. I still bring a few machines on board but my personal live act is more centered around Ableton for the drums and sequences and not as much on hardware.
David: as mentioned I don’t intent to play Solo LIVE-shows anytime soon. I want to have interaction with someone to have a jam-session, a live-session, that brings the vibe along. The “me, myself and I show” did not work for me so much anymore in the end…
I intend to play live with Mike and get very far with that project. Besides I love playing DJ shows!
Can you tell us about the hardware you use for your live shows? What does your typical set up look like, and does it vary from gig to gig?
Mike: We use two different modular synthesizer rigs with an array of oscillators, filters and processors. My set up is more tailored to basslines, leads and effects. David’s set up is making some syncopated lead sounds, atmospheres and effects. But the set up is so versatile that David can easily drop in some bass or anything else he wants to do. That’s the beauty of having a set up like this… we can easily change rolls any moment. Things are so rigid. The drums are coming from an MFB Tanzbar and Ableton. Which we run through a cv controlled compressor gate from Cwejman called DP-2. We use Ableton’s push controller for sequencing the modular and drums. I have two doepfer darktime sequencers that I write everything with. We have a few effect pedals from Eventide on stage too. David plays he sax through a few of those pedals and as well my vocoder in my modular rig.
Things with the sax get really warped and spacey.
David: Mike pretty much explained everything here. I am trying now more and more to integrate some new bits and pieces of gear here. Since I am Secquencing my modular with the “Make Noise Rene” and receiving CV gates from the Drum-machines I am currently integrating another small sequencer from Arturia. A simple, small little tool. But as Mike was saying, with the current setup I got my hands pretty full already ;-)
You incorporate live instruments such as the saxophone into your house & techno productions. Do you think it is important for producers to use analogue sounds in electronic music?
Mike: Yes. Very important. Couldn’t imagine not using analogue sounds. That would be like trying to drive a car with no tires? Or a bird trying to fly without wings.
David: Have you ever thought about what comes out of a speaker? Or a Piano? That stuff, that makes your ears ring after a loud club-night – that´s pure analogue music!
I have to agree with Mike! Many analogue sounds, or at least “analogue treated” sounds still have a sonically higher “richness” or “aliveness” to them. Don’t get me wrong: there are many great digital oscillators or digital synthesisers EFX etc. The old discussion of analogue vs. digital (sorry for my English) is bullshit! I love my digital synthesisers, BUT there are certain tasks, that just sound better when they are dealt with in the analogue domain. As an example: Even the nicest digital synths have analogue filters or VCA´s after the digital oscillator, to “fatten things up”, to “treat the digitally produced sounds” and soften or sharpen the transients.
Analogue filters will always sound better!
To really understand a synthesiser, or an instrument, you need to study its origins a bit. And until today these original analogue designs from the past are still on top of the game!
Have you ever thought of playing live instruments during a house and techno set?
Mike: Yes of course.
David: Depends on what you mean. In a LIVE set up of course!! On top of a DJ Set I personally probably would not do it. But I remember seeing Kerry Chandler having his Sax Player jam along his Dj Set at Panorama Bar already 8 years ago. It was pretty authentic how they pulled it off… NY style…
One piece of equipment you just can’t live without?
Mike: I would have to say my Intellijel Atlantis synth. I really have gotten comfortable with this synth and it’s so flexible. Like a Roland 101 but on steroids… it’s quite a powerful sounding machine and really can deliver some out of this world fm style bass. I love it. Can’t live without it.
David: Uff… that’s a tough one: I will say my “Ken Macbeth” Oscillator, paired with a Cwejman QMMF Filter / Resonator. “Macbeth” from Scotland just builds the most powerful, round, warm sounding Oscillators and monophonic Synthesisers I have come across yet. Pure Balls!
Wowa Cwejmans modules I adore for their “precision” and “cleanness”.
Oh and my “200A Wurlitzer Piano” from the seventies…
One instrument you would love to learn how to play?
Mike: Tambourine I’ve been dying to be a professional Tambourine player for years. I always had a soft spot for the cowbell also. An underestimated member of the band that has a very underrated roll. And by far one of the most sonically gratifying and rewarding instruments to play.
David: I always wanted to learn how to play the EMS VCS 3, Synthi 100 or “The Delaware”. Oh and, I'd need to own one, to practice ;-)
One piece of hardware you are dying to get your hands on?
Mike: Buchla’s Music Easel
David: Buchla's Music 200e System 7
or Steinway & Sons D-274 or C-227
Let’s talk a bit about your productions… You produced four EPs together since 2011. What has been your favourite one so far, and why?
Mike: My favourite would be “Slicks” on Meander. I just remember how it came together so naturally and quickly. And how every time I played it out people just started freakin when that bassline would drop. I made it with a Cwejman S1. It wasn’t an easy record to master because of that bassline actually… the kick almost doesn’t exist because of the size of that bass sound that drops on the one. Also the melodies that David played are dreamy in that tune… one synth line coming from a Juno 106 and another that he played originally with a Rhodes soft synth called lounge lizard and then I patched that midi to my Nord Lead 3 and made the notes he was playing sound really sci-fi like they were played in the future.
David: Since Mike already mentioned “Slicks” I’m going to say my favourite would be “No rest for the wicked” on Cynosure. This is on our first EP and I remember jumping on my bike, riding through the cold winter, up to Berlin-Mitte, where Mike had his studio at that time. Those days we worked at his Studio. I was always excited (still am!) and especially when coming home at 3 at night happy about how much we had achieved and how much I had learned again, just from jamming and collaborating.
One night I went to Panorama bar and heard Ricardo Villalobos play that (still for me unfinished) song, since Mike had given it to him already… It sounded fine. I learned a lot from those days. “No rest for the wicked” also had that winter Berlin vibe in it. The cold, and dark. Was important times!
Do you think playing live and producing music are two similar skills?
Mike: Very similar but one can be done without so much pressure. Sometimes people can really crack under pressure or have the adrenaline of the crowd push them to perform in a way they they just can’t do it in the studio. I think it’s a real art form to be able to perform well with all kinds of pressure situations.
I used to perform with a drummer that would always rehearse like shit in the studio and never really nail in rehearsal but then when it was time to rock on stage he really would nail it every time.
It really used to make me nervous. It takes years of practice to become flawless on stage and I have a ton of respect for the musicians and performers out there that do it so naturally.
David: I´d say producing and performing are actually pretty different things, if we look at it from the conventional angle. I was taught and educated at the conservatory to be a performer, not a producer. At some point it pissed me off, not being allowed and able to see the overview a producer has. I wanted to see the bigger picture. As a performer it was like playing one part for a greater thing. If all the performers could see this greater thing, something amazing could happen. But each and everyone needed the overview. In general, a performer has quite a different approach than the producer.
Of course in our small electronic music scene these things get blurred and in order to play LIVE one should have produced a couple of records, know how to operate a synthesiser or drum machine etc. But the qualities needed on stage are quite different than the ones in the studio.
What do you prefer, producing music or playing live music in front of a crowd?
Mike: I think I’m more of a studio guy personally. I like to play music on stage and on big sound systems but I don’t think I’m the best at dealing with a lot of the other BS that goes along with being an entertainer in the spot light.
I come from the school of djs that didn’t have to have a dance routine to entertain a crowd.
At the end of the day I’m a studio guy and a old school dj… I’m not a flashy jazz performance musician like my partner. I think that’s why the combination works so well.
David: Tough call again: As mentioned earlier my musical career has changed quite a lot and I really enjoyed leaving the only-performing part behind for a while (as a musician). I am a huge studio-rat and I live for my studio. Still, going out and playing music for the people is what gives me energy and makes me happy. The job is amazing! But, just playing and touring without any Studio – no way! It’s hard to say what I prefer. I would say – I need both, the studio and the performing. It needs to coexist.
You mentioned that you are working on an album. This is exciting news! Why have you chosen to present music in this way? Do you know which label you will release it on?
Mike: We’re working on a new album yes but there is still some work to be done. We’re hoping to have it all set up for a fall release in 2015. As for where it will come out exactly is a good question. We have a few labels very interested but at the moment things are too early to discuss exactly where it will drop but from the looks of things we won’t be doing this on either of our labels.
David: Oh ha! Did I mention any album somewhere else before..?! Or who was that?! haha… No, seriously. Yes, that’s the plan and we do have some nice new material in the pipeline, as well as previously released content we would like to include in some kind of way. But we need a bit more time and at this point we cannot give any further information about where and when it will be released.
These bits do the business. All out in the past fortnight unless stated otherwise.
Nicola Kazimir – Fractal Mind (Croisière)
This record from Nicola Kazimir on Croisière contains some great jacking and funking minimal house tracks. This is a nice quiet EP, very good to set off for an atmospheric night. A big like for this one.
Ofuren – Mind Jazz Explorations EP (Deep Explorer Spain)
Deep Explorer opens the door to the African producers with this "Mind Jazz Explorations EP". Under the Ofuren's name, Siyabonga Ngwenya (Roots Go Deep) express all his lo-fi vision about the deep music. This is his debut on Deep Explorer with three songs full of smoke. The EP contains a remix of "Ancestry" by the mysterious Man-Drake with Afrikan Sciences (DeepBlak) helping on the bassline. Nice and quiet warm-up tracks!
Frederick – Eyes Closed (Fifty Fathoms Deep)
Frederick is the alias of a DJ and producer known for releases on labels like Local Talk and Soundofspeed. This time he releases on Fifty Fathoms Deep. Emotive, cinematic, epic and space are some of the words used to describe his approach to deep house music production and also in his versatile DJ sets. And this record has a nice remix too.
Parallel 9 - Dominus (Music Man)
Today the repress of an excellent spacin dubby and groovin Detroit Techno record is out on Music Man. Parallel 9's Dominus is the ultimate techno classic/ If you do not have this one in your collection yet, it is time to buy it. This classic belongs in every record collection, even if you are not really a techno-fan.
Star Dub - star_dub#10 (Star Dub Germany)
This EP from Star Dub contains a very nice B-side. Meoko loves it. We think B1 is definitely a true gem. Only for this track, we would buy the whole EP.
Hashman Deejay – Sandopolis (Future Times US)
Hashman Deejay’s debut album has a similarly dreamy feel as his first release on Future Times, even if the techno side of his output has been tamed a little. On Sandopolis, Hashman Deejay delivers spaced-out dance music spread across two 12-inches. Already released at the end of last year, but still available in the shops.
MEOKO is on the lookout for fresh new peeps to join our STREET PROMOTION team. MEOKO is a 360 degree events promotion agency, with clients ranging from street food festivals like KERB and Street Feast, to clubbing nights like Fabric and London Warehouse Events. We offer flyer distribution services and are looking for reliable girls/guys who are confident enough to hand out flyers and speak with the people of multicultural London. Flyering work is a fun way to discover more of London, while getting paid! The hours are flexible as to fit around your life. Your availability can change from week to week, and so can your schedule. Each work schedule is discussed on a personal, one-to-one basis.
and tell us in a few words about YOU.
Keep it short and sweet, you can keep the “CV” out of it as long as you clearly explain in your own words any experience you may have, why do you want to work with MEOKO and what are you looking for. Simples! Also would be cool if you can include a photo. REMEMBER to leave a phone number, so we can get right back at ya for a live meet.
If your application is successful, you will be invited to a live and uncut, face to face interview, held at our office in Stoke Newington. Best of luck!
An exciting wave of talent is coming from Italy. Despite frequent complaints from local artists about the limited possibilities to express themselves to a proper audience, it is clear that creativity is a reigning aspect that has historically been appreciated and celebrated by the wider community in Europe and beyond. Due to the country’s economic situation we are seeing an influx of young artists that have waved goodbye to their homeland as they have done many times before. But there are those who have remained, creating their own movements separate from the so called commercial mainstream. The anti-conformist collective, Disordine ('Disorder' in English), is one of those groups that have clearly set themselves apart, not just in Italy but abroad. The collective includes a group of talented artists and musicians who create projects that blend music and art via their own parties, their recently opened concept store in their home town Genoa, and their online database www.disodinelabel.com. Here at Meoko we chatted to the crew to find out more and the very humble yet audacious Eff Rann aka Nihil00 also gave us an exclusive accompanying video. Prepare to be shocked….
Can you tell us the story behind Disordine? Why and how did you create this project?
Disordine is almost entirely backed up by simple friendship. We are definitely a family now... brought together by the mutual love for music, and a shared passion for art. Everything we do is born from the desire to share our own creative spirit, not only through music but through all forms of artistic expression – graphic illustrations, paintings, photography, design, contemporary dance, fashion and poetry.
The project emerged in 2009 after we had been travelling around Europe for quite some time. We were drawn to the capital, cultural cities; visiting nightclubs, contemporary art exhibitions and streets doused in grafiti in what turned out to be a very formative experience for us. Returning from our umpteenth trip we were so inspired that we decided to have a go ourselves, and realise our own ideas that had been bubbling away for some time. Disordine was born; our very own cultural platform.
‘Disorder’ in English holds many different meanings. Which “definition” does your “Disorder” refer to? A chaos? A political rebellion? An illness? Or something else?
It could mean anything you just mentioned. The name represents us the most, and if you know us you would understand straight away why we chose this name. Chaos is our soul, our mantra. One thing that is concrete however is that we are not orderly!
What do you mean by music and art? Can you describe the connection between these two elements?
For us, music and art represents the very air we exist upon. Otherwise we would be suffocated by monotony. They represent an outlet for our fantasies and dreams. When creative minds meet, things become so much more spontaneous. Every day we meet to play records, graffiti walls, make music and be enveloped by this tireless and magic flow. Other than trying to become DJs/producers, we all also have other jobs that feed into our work, as well as (most importantly of all) influencing and inspiring each other.
The idea to connect art and music within our platform came from one of the founders of Disordine, Eff Rann aka Nihil00. Other than playing and producing music, he has always expressed himself through anti conformist graphic illustrations and videos that encapsulate and further his own philosophy. He is one of the main driving forces behind Disordine’s output, and is in charge of visuals at our nights. His subliminal messages are a huge part of the music that we play. Of course Disordine is nothing without the other people that have heavily contributed to the project like co-founders Don Blaku, Lumo and Matt Joe.
Don Blaku, other than being one of the best djs/producers, is also a dancer and professional choreographer who uses video to exhibit the connection between human movements, images and sounds (Lab Dance Disordinart).
Lumo is a talented painter that contributed a great deal towards our project. With his fast brushstrokes he enters a psychedelic tunnel with the music that we play and lets himself get carried away. He uses sound to portray images in an experimental way, based on the studies of essential forms, which describe the flow of matter and thoughts. Music is an integral part of his vision: Many times he has done live paintings during our sets, and we put up many of his paintings around the venues of our parties.
Matt Joe aka Sort of Looser is an interior designer and stylist, where he organises his own event three times a year. Definitely one of the best events out there, and at the venues he displays his paintings and his new collection of t-shirts.
Is there a particular reason why you chose to focus on electronic music, instead other genres like let’s say, Hip Hop?
80% of the music that we showcase is electronic music purely because it was the love for electronic sounds which brought us together in the first place. However, we don’t only concentrate on this genre. Every warm up is actually characterised by instrumental jazz and Break Beat genres: we spend hours researching and perfecting that type of old school sound. We start at 80bpm usually, creating a really chilled atmosphere, and then build momentum to about 110bpm with break beats. When the situation starts to spiral out of control, we switch to electronic music, micro house, minimal, house and techno.
You also organise parties around Genova. What are some of the things that matter the most to you when organising an event?
The quality of the music, the sound system, the crowd and the visuals. We always pay a lot of attention to our venues. We attribute most of this work to Jordy Break, our manager. He chooses our door policy, helps out with the set up and of course communicates with the public. He also founded a clothes brand, “Sperimentale”, so now we can even have a personalised look that goes down well at our nights!
Can you describe the spaces you use to host parties? Do you often organise parties on the beach and in open air?
The good thing about living in Genoa is that the sea and the mountains are only a few kilometres apart. This type of landscape allows us to find incredible locations.
In the winter we prefer to find ourselves in small and dark clubs, but during the summer we find that every location can be transformed into something surreal and disorderly. For example ‘Wildlife’ is a unique rave event that takes place on a mountain facing the sea. Or, take ‘FUN:DAY’. A beach event that starts at 6pm and finishes at 4am we have the possibility to take in both the beautiful sunset and sunrise. We are lucky to be in such a stunning part of the world, and a day doesn’t go past where we don’t take it for granted.
To what extent is it easy to organise a party in italy? What challenges do you face as organisers?
Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to organise events in Italy. Without our manager we wouldn’t be able to do anything, because our time is entirely dedicated to producing and searching for music. A really small (and really dedicated) clubbing culture does exist in Italy, with a bigger following for the mainstream. Most of the people prefer to pay €40 to listen to Richie Hawtin in venues packed with people, where the only thing that you can do is make a video to upload on youtube.
Luckily enough over the years we have managed to start our own small movement, and we are currently working towards exposing our message to a greater audience.
You recently opened a concept store, “Marie Beyle”. What does it offer and what makes this store unique?
Marie Beyle is the city’s first concept store. It houses vinyl, paintings, clothes and decor. It was born thanks to two members of Disordine: Timo Trey and Giacomo, two individuals who have always really believed in our art and our ideas, and shared a lot of our work to the public. For us, the store is a point of reference, a laboratory of ideas, that gives us new inspirations and most of all it has united us even more.
What were some of your highlights of past year, and since you started in 2011, and what can we look forward to in 2015?
Since we started, every moment has been magical and unforgettable, because above all else we have been united by a strong friendship and deep understanding of one another. We have been lucky enought to have shared the decks with some very many talented artists. At the beginning, when Giovanni Verrina shared the decks with us for three years he would consistently invite Djs that were the creme de la creme of the underground scene, and for us it was always an honour to play together with them and show them our art. We also got the chance to meet an epic master of the decks and al round splendid person Francesco del Garda. He greatly influenced our sound and we owe him a lot on a human level. He introduced us to Niff… another super talented Dj who immediately became a brother. Both of them have certainly given Disordine some of its best musical moments.
We owe a lot to people like them; they constantly remind us that we still have a lot to learn, and they motivate and inspire us.
You joined forces with Loft party for a Disordine event before Christmas. How was it? What were some of the highlights of the night?
On the 23th of December (together with the guys at notaloft/ananas from Brescia) we organised Francesco del Garda’s birthday – and it was amazing. By now we are like one big family, we share several principles and obviously have the same taste in music. We got along well instantly, it really was love at first sight! The party took place in 262, the club where we are residents. I couldn’t recommend it more, because it is a really special place; it closes at 9 in the morning and you can sense this feeling of anarchy emanating from the place. Everything was perfect and we are really grateful for all those who came from all over Italy to participate, especially the guys from Brescia, who inspire us greatly!
Thank you guys! If you're in Italy make sure to check out the next round of Disordine meets Loft on the 30th of January at Disco Volante in Brescia. Event here
We are here again with a new Sounds of the City with legendary Philadelphian (US) DJ Josh Wink. He is one of the pioneering DJs in the American rave scene during the early 1990s. An example of this everlasting rave sound is his most famous production ‘Higher State of Consciousness’, which topped the dance charts all over Europe. Also in the nineties he formed his own record label, Ovum Records, which is nowadays one of the labels that takes root in almost every record collection. He played records all over the world, but as his career has progressed, he has stayed true to his roots, never selling out and always maintaining his integrity, always coming home to his beloved Philadelphia.
Ok, to the past and your teenage years. Tell us about your apprenticeship at Captain Jack’s mobile DJ Company. What did it involve, more than just making cups of coffee? Where in Philadelphia?
I learned to pack equipment in a car, learned how to use the equipment, learned the ins and outs of mobile djing. Bought the music for the parties. I didn't get to actually dj in the beginning. But, I grew into being able to segue-way between songs. It was baby steps. But, I didn't care as it's what I wanted to do. Mind you. This was for weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, sweet 16 parties. Not club stuff. But I didn't care! It was in Philadelphia and Philadelphia area.
You are from the generation that coincided with the rave explosion. What was it like in Philadelphia during the 90s?
Innocent! Thats what I can say! As most cities in the USA. It was a great time for music and culture. Racially mixed, age mixed. In clubs, and in any venue you could find and use. It was a great time.
Where’s your favourite hang out spot in Philadelphia?
Liberty Land, the closest park near my home.
What’s the best club and why?
I don't know. Haven't been to the clubs in a long time!
Best record store?
Don't know of any any more. But, AKA Music is the best I know of now.
Best local label crew?
Ovum Recordings! Come on!
Most unique aspect of the city?
The worst thing?
Cities BPT taxes and Streets department.
Best place for a view?
Deleware Landing or Belmont Plateau.
What is the city’s signature dish and where is the best place to get it?
I guess it's the Cheese Steak. I don't eat them as a vegetarian so I wouldn't know where to tell ya where to get one.
Philadelphia is derived from the city’s name in Greek translating as “brotherly love”. Who is your biggest “bro” in the DJ world and why?
I am blessed to have a lot of "Bros" as I've been doing this a long time.
A soundtrack to define Philadelphia would be…?
MFSB - Philadelphia Freedom
How has the city influenced your sound?
Disco, hip hop and it's eclectic club scene of alternative music shaped who I am.
You’ve always been based in Philadelphia, what makes it so hard to leave? Have you considered living anywhere else?
It's a hard thing to explain. You have to live here to understand why so many Philadelphians stay here. Yes, I have considered living outside of Philly, and even outside of the USA. We'll see what happens.
A track that reminds you of home?
Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince _Summer time.
Josh Wink is visiting the capital all the way from Philadelphia. Catch him play this weekend, Saturday the 24th of January at Fabric. Tickets here
Keinemusik – 1 x T-shirt
Keinemusik is not the type of record label as you know it. When putting out a record, the guys will wrap it up personally, refine it with artistic splendour, stamp it and seal it with a kiss, before it ends up in the stores or on your turntable. Keinemusik is a DIY-operation. Not, because it makes that imposing impression or because they like to wallow in nostalgia, just because it feels right. They consist of five DJs and one graphic designer and painter. You can win a very cool T-shirt from this German collective.
Apollonia – 1 x Tote bag
Friends Shonky, Dan Ghenacia and Dyed Soundorom came up with an imprint called Apollonia in 2012. Already created big success with Apollonia-tours all over the world, this brand reaches the top of the mountains at the moment. The winner can get a Tote Bag of this record label to show off on the streets! It is also very handy to put your laptop in this bag.
Banoffee Pies – 1 x Bumbag
Banoffee Pies is a Bristol-based forward-thinking house-music label. They also organise colourful an intimate parties for their audience. You can win a bumbag of this fruity label. This is an essential element for your days on vacation or your festival visits!
Doctor Banana – 1 x 5-panel hat
You also need protection of your head against the sun or rain. Or if you have a bad hair day, such a hat can be the easiest choice to solve this problem. Doctor Banana is a brand of clothing that works in association with Banoffee Pies Records.
Pit Spector – 1 x Poster
A poster of Parisian DJ Pit Spector is one of the prices you can win. Having released on the Minibar label founded by Cabanne, plus Antislash EPs on Salon and Circus Company, Pit Spector’s standout style is a variation on micro-house, tinged with intriguing instrumental and vocal samples
Puckoo – 1 x Leggings
Puckoo is a go to for musicians, performers and fashion focused who like something beyond the norm. Famous for her leggings and catsuits, Dionne of Puckoo Couture creates amazing hand made garments made to measure on request.
Wild Buffalo & Robe Unfold – 1 x Snood
Wild Buffalo & Robe Unfolds ethos is simple! Be the change you want to see! They endeavour to always provide quality creative garments that invoke and celebrate their human individuality. This company creates accessories & clothing for Men, Women and Children.
Doubious – 1 x T-shirt
Zoltan Doübious, the doüb, hand prints all products in the UK. Specialising in high definition prints pressed onto well-constructed garments with a culture conscious vibration. A very cool white cat shirt to win!
Nicce – 1 x Sweater
East London is the home of Nicce. This company has established itself as a unisex brand designing the latest street wear and apparel for the street savvy girl and boy.
Only Child – 1 x Spoon Necklace, 1 x Spoon Keyring
Only Child London is an East London jewellery focused design brand that produces unique handmade fashion accessories. It promotes having an open mind, a positive attitude and a strong social presence.
Love Specs – 1 x Pair of Sunglasses
Being creative and thinking about charity. Love Specs makes cool sunglasses and the profit goes a nice project in Africa. They try to sustain the Tilinanu Orphanage in Malawi, with the profit of the cool gadgets they sell.
Anna Laurini – 1 x Original Bespoke Artwork
Anna's work is inspired by the abstract expressionism movement. Throughout the years she has developed a unique style using a mix of acrylic paint, collage and other media. Her genuine positivism is clearly presented in her choice of colours and shapes as she tries to transmit her emotions to the viewer.
Silver Network – Stickers
Silver Network is a record label. Started back in 1999 by Jef K and his brother Antoine, aka DJ Tony Silver, Silver Network has grown to become one the most consistent House labels to emerge out of Paris. 36 releases strong and boasting names such as Chez Damier, Pepe Bradock, I:cube, Dixon, The Revenge, DJ Rasoul, Subb-an, Death On The Balcony, Le Loup and Jordan Peak, there’s no doubt the imprint has made its indelible mark on the industry.
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Future Fusion Festival looks set to take the world by storm this April. An unprecedented three day electronic music festival set in the heart of the astoundingly beautiful South African countryside, the inaugural edition of Future Fusion will be building on sub-Saharan Africa’s rich musical heritage by uniting some of the most ferocious local and international talent across its seven stages.
Encompassing a cherry picked roster drawn from across the constantly intermingling strands of the electronic music landscape, Future Fusion will host the biggest international dance line up ever to grace the world’s largest continent. Dedicated to hosting some of the most progressive and forward leaning movers and shakers in the industry, expect the very best of bubbling up talent taking to the stage alongside behemoths of the scene. Over 60 artists have already been confirmed.
Striking the fine balance between intimacy and a big festival atmosphere perfectly, 8,000 lucky revellers will be able to experience peerless production across a series of venues that encompass hefty main stages, dark and sweaty tents and cavernous spaces that definitely channel warehouse vibes. Future Fusion will also be making the most of its stunning location, featuring a forest stage for all the wildlife heads out there, as well as a sunken round dam arena. Oh, and the smallest nightclub in Africa. You read that correctly.
FFF is going to make the best out of its one-of-a-kind location. Spread across a wildlife resort that is nestled amongst the mountainous scenery just south of Johannesburg, the festival will be a calm oasis that is still easily accessible – it’s only 18km away from Potchefstroom. As well as the opportunity for daily safaris (Glastonbury eat your heart out), there will be the opportunity to take morning helicopter rides, taste exquisite cuisine and experience a bespoke urban arts village.
Future Fusion stands out in an increasingly saturated global electronic festival landscape. Offering a wonderfully on point curation of the finest local and international artists in a genuinely beautiful and original location, it’s shaping up to be an absolute corker. With enviable packages on offer to international guests as well as a whole host of accommodation options, there’s no reason why you can’t be involved in a slice of African electronic music history as well.
It doesn’t stop there. Three of London’s hottest electronic music brands, Meoko, Toi Toi and Half Baked, are combining their passion for innovative dance music to host a stage at FFF. With global influence and a huge international fan base, these three unique brands are going to kick things up a gear in South Africa this April.
A shining beacon of originality in London’s crowded music landscape, MEOKO is a forward thinking, worldwide and creative lifestyle brand, with a primary focus on the global underground electronic music and events scenes. Passionate about promotion and high quality, edgy content in over 150 countries, Meoko has previously teamed up with partners such as Sunwaves, Sonus Festival, Next Wave and many more. Closer to home, the team works with the heartbeat of London’s electronic scene, and can count Fabric, Eastern Electrics and London warehouse events amongst its prestigious clients. Meoko’s popular magazine includes its famous mix series, which has been graced with a smorgasbord of artists that includes Boo Williams, Brothers’ Vibe and bubbling up talent in the shape of DJs Niff, Michael Melchner and Mandar. Meoko has cemented its position as a resourceful, reliable and respected site amongst London’s underground music and nightlife lovers.
Half Baked burst onto the London scene the best part of a decade ago, hosting some of the most memorable, intimate and exclusive parties in the east of the capital. Now firmly established amongst the very best international party-throwers, the crew have hosted showcases across Europe and beyond, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beirut and Rome. Half Baked is a music agency driven by a passion to share and promote their love for no-nonsense house music, and this became even more of a reality in 2013 with the launch of their eponymous label. Some spot on A&R has already seen a slew of well-received releases, including a remix by legendary producer Thomas Melchior.
The final third of the team is Toi.Toi.Musik. Beginning as a warehouse party in London in 2010, their in demand events are driven by a smattering of prodigious guest residents which included Hello?Repeat heads Jan Krueger and Daze Maxim. They recently added Club Der Visionaere's resident Nicolas Lutz plus London based residents Voigtmann and Lamache. In the intervening 4 years Toi.Toi.Musik has grown into an amazing family of like-minded, talented party people. This year has seen the launch of a vinyl only label, with an EP from the always amazing and critically acclaimed Mr.G sitting alongside a remix of the German DJ and producer Daze Maxim. Bring on April.
Future Fusion Festival
24th, 25th and 26th April 2015
ATTENTION! FFF is giving away 50% off ticket prices to international guests. Buy tickets here: http://www.futurefusionfest.com/
Headcore – Headcore EP (Lazare Hoche Records)
MEOKO is a big fan of Lazare Hoche. This time they come with a repress of Gregory Darsa’s old pseudonym, Headcore. In the house-scene he is best known for his alias Point G. Headcore was used for a single EP back in 1998, released on Versatile. Here, that EP gets a welcome reissue. Four nice tracks that still sound really fresh nowadays. They will be out on the 26th of January.
Dot – The Next Spot (Legotek)
Dot and Legotek, respectively a producer and record label from Tel Aviv, Israel, come with a very nice 8-track vinyl. Each track of this EP can be seen either as one special individual or the whole package as one big flowing journey. Mixed together this could easily turn out as a live set. Staying true to the underground heart of Legotek, Dot has managed what many aim for in effort. A vibrant, lively and deep sound constantly accompanied by strong kicks and pumping melodies. The analogue core of the story has been given the breath of life to become a classic piece of deep house history. This is an amazing release!
Binh – Visio (Perlon)
Finally the snippets are out! Binh joins one of the most impressive labels in the underground scene, Perlon. Since there weren’t many new artists signed on the label nowadays, this premiere is unique. In this release Binh creates the typical trippy house music Perlon stands for. This release is lovely and definitely worth buying.
Gari Romalis – The Vision of Rhythm (Anma Records)
We are here again with a new Gari Romalis. Anma Records is a London based label specialized in House Music, with influence from Chicago and Detroit. Gari Romalis is on fire and these hard house tunes will blow your ears. Watch out this is a limited vinyl only release, be quick!
Ricardo Miranda – Up on the Scene (Rawax)
Born in the distinctively Puerto Rican neighbourhood of Lincoln Park, Chicago. Ricardo Miranda is music reflects a traditional House culture that goes beyond just sound or legendary stories. Meoko likes the A-side very much, party music!
Kerri Chandler – Atmosphere (Shelter Records)
For our old-school happy deep house lovers, we have another repress of an always been sought-after vinyl. Due to the quest of collectors to search for these old house tunes, the prices on the second-hand market were too high. Now this Kerri Chandler is available again, re-mastered, re-pressed and re-released with permission and in conjunction with Shelter Records, New York City and featuring the original 1993 label artwork.
Eclectic Dutchman and Meoko favourite San Proper recently teamed up with the equally versatile Maayan Nidam to create his fantastic ‘It Was a Night like This’ EP. Released through the consistently left field Belgian house and techno label Lessizmore, the EP’s three tracks are a v-flick at tame, innocuous 4x4 house ; this oozes the dark funk we’ve come to expect from San Proper over the years. A gravelly vocal weaves itself around a squelchy bassline and spaced out percussion in one of the forward leaning constructions that has landed San Proper a string of well-received releases on labels as respected as Rush Hour and Perlon.
Maayan Nidam, along with San Proper’s fellow countryman Tom Trago, stood up to remix duty admirably. The Tel Aviv-born, Berlin-based Nidam (who also operates under the Miss Fitz, Laverne Radix and Spunky Brewster monikers) gave the title track a dark, trippy reimagining that works wonderfully, and also got a chance to flex her hefty creative muscles by creating a similarly psychedelic video to attach to the release. Read our review of the EP here. Because we are such nice guys over here at Meoko HQ, Lessizmore have given us an exclusive download of Maayan Nidam’s unreleased ‘sunset’ remix of ‘It Was a Night Like This’ to share with you all. We’re warning you, it’s funky:
Hi guys! Thank you for taking the time for this interview!
Can you tell us where and how you two met?
I remember meeting Maayan through Zip. I booked her at my first Proper’s Cult night at Trouw’s Verdieping some 5 years ago, if I remember correctly. She gave me a disc with some amazing new cuts and tracks she did. I was charmed with her energy and appearance straight away, and her music later emphasized this even more for me when I listened to the disc!
How did you come in contact with Lessizmore?
Through the amazing parties they did at Fuse in Bruxelles, Belgium. Pierre & Jessica who run the label contacted me to select tracks for an EP, and they also came up with the idea to ask Mayaan to do a remix after they picked “It was a Night like This”.
How did you start your musical partnership?
Maayan and Alex Picone contacted me to do a couple of jams with “The Kicks”, a great project they do together. Very inspirational.
You both approach music in slightly different ways. Which aspects of each other’s style make it appealing to work together?
I would say it comes naturally. Diversity is the key in any partnership.
How did you find working together? Can you share some interesting stories?
Interesting stories? I’ve got an acute black-out all of a sudden, but I’ve enjoyed it every time! That’s why we keep on jamming whenever we can, making sure to make time between all the other collaborations and gigs we do. I consider her a true friend.
Lessizmore released a very cool video on Vimeo for the remix of San Proper’s track by Maayan Nidam. Is there a particular reason why you chose to attach a video to the EP?
I guess it has a bit to do with the fact that a lot of people like to watch stuff while listening. Us too, I guess. It might have something to do with the latest “fad” they call internet and laptops, it’s really catching on this new invention… But we all see colours and images when we hear music, so I think it is actually quite a natural process to combine art-forms like that.
San Proper, you both deliver DJ sets as well as live sets. What do you prefer the most and why?
I prefer to do dj-sets, for they’re longer in general, but I play a lot of own releases and unreleased stuff too. I love to do live-shows as well, but I want to keep it a bit more selective, and do like 5 good sessions a year, perhaps to keep it special.
Do you plan to continue your collaboration in the future?
Hell yes! We’ve got enough up our sleeves, so it would surprise me if not… But we also have some footage ready to be released in my opinion.
Thanks for talking to us, guys. All the best!
Thanks for this little chat. Bless y’all and enjoy our special remix. Check out the rest of the EP!
The 'It Was a Night Like This' EP is out now on www.lessizmore.com. Vinyl only.
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Last weekend the capital was buzzing with a selection of quality parties that invited DJs from across the globe. Not a surprising phenomenon for such an international city like London. A party that definitely stood out from the rich selection in terms of music quality was Undersound, with DJs Etienne, Andrew James Gustav and their resident, Francesco Del Garda.
The party took place in one of the most intimate locations; hidden under some arches just a few passes from a central station. By 1am the venue was already packed with a culturally diverse and musically minded crowd, ready to party after more than a month of family visits and Christmas hibernations.
As unusual clips of skeletons, owls and a dystopian London projected on the wall behind the decks, unfamiliar music ensued as Andrew James Gustav surprised the crowd with his rare selection of vinyl. Next up was Etienne who came to London from Berlin just for this special night. Playing a lovely mixture of genres, from break beat to minimal techno, his set spoke volumes of his own eclectic style while also reflecting a kind of ghostly tinge. As the arches heated up, the music refused to back down. At 5am Francesco Del Garda continued the flow with dance floor heavy tracks by some of today’s young and talented producers, along with his old school gems, sounding fresh with kicks of attitude.
As usual, Undersound’s infamous after hours did not disappoint. Located in another, perhaps even darker location in the heart of Hackney, it was indeed a stark contrast from the sun that graced London on that Saturday. It was safe to say that people returned home after this party feeling inspired with plenty of good vibes.
Started just three years ago, Undersound has certainly made a name for itself. Bringing unknown yet talented and quality DJs to London is certainly an aspect that sets this party concept apart. DJs that hardly fit the bill on big nights, Undersound is as underground as it gets. Music is indeed a strong quality, with the party already preparing its second release as a label. Keep your eyes peeled for their resident Harry McCanna's very first EP, with a tasty remix from Etienne. Undersound is certainly powering through!
Opening the early months of Winter in Spaceship formation, the guys at Selective Hearing, renowned for their well crafted artists selection and consistently strong parties have another big one lined up for the Faversham in Leeds. After a solid refurb and new sound system installation, 2015s new set up will launch with a bang.
First to mention on the bill is one of Berlin Community Radios original impressionist in ambient progressive techno Palms Trax of Lobster Theremin, and recent addition to Dekmantels growing label selection. This time Jay jumps in with a 4 hour set sure to drive the atmosphere to a cosmic swirl. Detroit driven melodies pushed through building percussion and cutting synths. TIP.
Also lined up Selective Hearing have deepend the roster with a special live performance from Kassem Mosse who’s early career releases turned more than enough heads to see his much deserved success push him into fantastic support of the technically gifted. His accessible but stripped back approach to 4x4 sound will shine through in a live performance that will undoubtedly push for dance floor orientation.
Leeds local Ste Roberts will also set to stage with his flawless selection of deep driving minimalism. Despite his slightly elusive presence, the Hypercolour trio members Dj to Dj influences run high across the board.
And finally…. One of electronic musics true pioneers, Trevino (aka Marcus Intalex) in just one of his many alias that have pierced the top and beyond of a growing sphere of genres who’s recent boundaries seem increasingly webbed. The man has been around for a while and will surely rise to the occassion as we all can expect. Cosmic Business.
By Ell Weston
Let your ears take a breather from that bass and feast your eyes and mind instead on a screening about music. MEOKO recommends a film for your movie night or Sunday lie in, starting off with a documentary that captures the music and party scene in one country: Belgium.
Although ‘The Sound of Belgium’ does focus on one country, topical themes in the universal clubbing and music spheres do play a major part in the film. Topics that are current in today’s landscape include the effects of gentrification on clubs, commercialisation of underground music styles, and the race to find the most rare records.
BELGIUM: WWII to TODAY
“Belgium. The Battlefield of Europe. The place where, in 1815, Napoleon would meet his defeat. The Battle at Waterloo would become the foundation of modern Europe. Napoleon was not the first to seek rule over the territory that would later become Belgium. To keep the warring nations apart, Belgium was founded in 1830, to form a buffer. To conquer Europe, one had to go through Belgium. A country for people that had been ruled and conquered so often, that these people did not really care who was in charge, anymore. They would just do as they had always done. Work the land, work hard and then... party harder”.
The ‘Sound of Belgium’ shows the way Belgians partied since World War II. Little do people know, Belgium played a key role in the electronic music scene with artists and labels of the past that are still having a big influence on artists today. This film focuses mainly on the eighties and nineties of the past centuries, during the time when Belgium was at the forefront of the electronic music scene.
Exclusive images from the eighties and nineties are interspersed with interviews of interesting and influential people that have meant something in Belgian music history. Among them, Renaat Vandepapeliere, who is the founder of the acclaimed R&S Records, and Dan Lacksman, a Belgian sound engineer, most famous for being one third of the synthpop group, Telex. Also Herman Gillis, who is the founder of a real analogue, solid hardware instrument, the Sherman Filterbank, and above that a gifted producer in the new-beat era has several interesting remarks. Besides them, legendary producers such as CJ Bolland, Eddy De Clercq, Lou Deprijck, Nikkie Van Lierop and many more appear in this film. Even interviews of non-Belgians such as The Advent, Joey Beltram and 808 State are shown.
INNOVATORS OF SOUND: THE DARKER SIDE OF BELGIUM
These legendary music maniacs explain why Belgium has developed their own scene and sound for many years, starting in the mid-eighties. Belgian music was typically characterised as a marching sound, which was much more aggressive in comparison to the typical happier sounds coming from the States, such as eighties band Front 242 and The Neon Judgement.
All these interviewees were the forerunners of a typical electronic music genre and culture that lasted for several years. DJ Dikke Ronny (DJ Fat Ronny) accidentally invented a brand new genre, New Beat, which put Belgium on the worldwide electronic music map. In the nightclub Ancienne Belgique in Antwerp he played the 45-rpm EBM record "Flesh" by A Split-Second at 33-rpm, with the pitch control set to +8. This created an odd but cool and danceable vibe. From this day, in the late eighties, New Beat was born.
New Beat was a success and during the nineties, people would come from all over Europe to experience the club culture with evocative names such as Boccaccio, Extreme, Cherry Moon, Balmoral and At the Villa. Here is when Sunday day clubbing became popular amongst clubbers. During the weekend, when one club closed, people would continue the party, driving to the next club located in another town, stopping by at gas stations to take their morning showers along the way.
DOWNFALL AND FUTURE
Further in this documentary, you can see this incredible music genre infiltrate in the commercial pop music. The honesty of the legendary new beat artists is remarkable. You can see the comparison with several music genres today. For example the typical minimal sound invented by M_nus came up incredibly fast, but also disappeared after several years as a popular genre amongst clubbers.
This downfall did not mean the end of the Belgian story. These big nightclubs did still exist and the music evaluated to a forerunner of techno, house and trance music. Several years this mega clubbing experienced glory days in Belgium. Unfortunately for these clubs, their longevity did not last until today, due to clashes with the police and authorities. Gentrification and the war on drugs were main reasons behind the closure of these clubs. A story all too familiar, nowadays.
Music, nightlife, clubs, artists, producers, hardware, fashion and even drugs. ‘The Sound of Belgium’ covers it all. If you want to experience the Belgian music scene that influenced the whole electronic music world, you should definitely watch this documentary and be surprised about the legacy that Belgium has left behind. This is also a must-see for every electronic music lover, as it covers topics that are all too current in today’s landscape.
New Beat Anthems:
A Split Second - Flesh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbKp9AADua0
101 - Rock to the Beat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YdtxmzUwqQ
2 Bodys - Astoria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baKsAlzQCf4
Public Relation - Eighty Eight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYeX7skgO4U
Two DJ's - The Creation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYVCKkzR63Q
90s Belgian sound:
Lords of Acid - Is It On Acid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hkwtZ29uFc
T99 - Anasthasia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLWzFda6C60
The Mackenzie - Higher in the Sky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxbTF1dl2Vw
At the Villa People - Open Your Eyes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu9j3k8p5Mg
Spokesman - Acid Creak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9K8qlGmLXA
2 Bodys - Astoria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baKsAlzQCf4
Cherry Moon Trax - The House of House: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZMf716hCZw
Afterboys - Welcom To The Afterclub: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDiw84ZBJuw
The Movie: http://watch.tsob.be/
The Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaBDLS6sYPs
Nathaniel Pierre Jones, AKA DJ Pierre, is an icon who needs little introduction. Hailing from one of the main historical crucibles for house music, the Windy City itself, Nathanial Pierre Jones stands atop almost three decades of electronic innovation, effortlessly spearheading new sounds whilst remaining a consistent stalwart of the scene. Having pioneered the acid house sound with the release of the seismically influential Acid Tracks in 1987, along with friends Spanky and Herb J as Phuture, Pierre has remained at the cutting edge of thinking man’s house music ever since.
We were lucky enough to catch up with him for a conversation encompassing everything from his influences and inspirations to what he listens to in his downtime. Ladies and gentleman: DJ Pierre:
Hi Dj Pierre. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Thanks for reaching out man.
You’ve been at the forefront of house music for almost 30 years now. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?
I forget how long it’s been because time flew by so quickly. This life that chose me is my passion. It’s my gift and calling. So even when the industry seems tough and weird and even alien to me, I survive because this is what I was called to do. I love it. I’m inspired each day when I know I can get to the studio and make something that can transform someone’s life. I’m inspired when I know if I play a set from my core I can impact someone on the dancefloor to the point where they may quit drugs cold turkey or change their minds on taking their own life. Those are true stories for me. People have told me that I saved their lives. So for those reasons alone I feel a fresh new purpose each day. My wife and kids are my world. They inspire me. People who I work with at my label and events we do - they inspire me to work harder so I can help them get to where they are going.
What do you listen to when you are not in the mood for club tracks? What music do you listen to in your down time?
I listen to talk radio a lot. I listen to sports programs. Musically I listen to Gospel songs and really that’s about it. Maybe a little jazz and old school Motown and 70s joints here and there. Some old school reggae as well.
How did the Wild Pitch style first emerge – what was the musical ethos behind it? Why do you think it has been so popular, and remains so in demand?
Well I moved to NJ from Chicago when Jive records signed me to their label. I then moved on from there, working with Strictly Rhythm. I loved the energy NY had and I used to go out to these parties in Brooklyn people were calling the Wild Pitch parties; Greg Day was the only promoter combining Hip Hop, Reggae and House all in one building. So the energy was ridiculous.
From that I had an idea to do a mix that had a lot of separate parts - reflecting the different rooms and styles of the Wild Pitch parties. So I purposely layered the track really slowly and introduced a different sound or even style…layering..layering… until it reached a screaming peak. After the track was done I called it the Wild Pitch mix. I gave it Greg Day so he could ask his DJs to play it. After that I would use the same formula for tracks like “Generate Power” and other Wild Pitch tracks. The name grew on people and the next evolution was that they started emulating the style and it became international. Everyone wanted me to do a Wild Pitch mix. Terry Farley did ‘Roach Motel’, which was pretty big back in the day, and a few months ago the label Get Physical just commissioned a re-release and new mixes. My mix called ‘Wild Pitch-I think I Luv you’ was massive for people. To this day it’s still a big request.
What track do you think encapsulates the Wild Pitch style the best?
It has to be “Generate Power”. The only other tracks which I think compare are “Let the Music Take You High” and “Masterblaster”. Generate Power was stripped down. It starts with a voice. No beat. It starts from nothing. And from there it’s just layering. So I would say that is the best representation of WildPitch.
Having been a part of so many fantastic collaborations, who has been your favourite artist (or artists) to work with? Who would be a dream collaboration?
I don’t have a lot of collaborations as opposed to most guys who have been in the industry as long as I’ve been... mainly because I enjoy working on a project alone. My best collaboration would be with vocalists like Sabrynaah Pope who passed away, Barbara Tucker, Dawn Tallman. I enjoyed working with the Supernova guys on a project we did called “The BEAT” and also with “DOORLY” on a collab for Toolroom called “Gotta Get”. I would love to work with Will.i.am and Timberland on a joint. I think they are real creative and it would be interesting to see what we could come up with together.
What’s next for you? What are you working on at the moment?
My Album. Believe it or not I’ve never done one! I have a million singles and mix compilations, but not an original album. Stay tuned for it: it’s been 20 years in the making. The label I chose to go with is a boutique label out of LA called Halocyan, run by people who are on the same wave length as I am. They see the potential of this music and they care about the history of this music and my contribution to it. So it’s a perfect marriage and it allows me/us the opportunity to change music history. Again.
Thanks DJ Pierre!
2015 is shaping up to be a great year for UK techno fans. February will see the launch of Fossil Archive, a brand new techno label that is the brainchild of long time DJ and producer Roberto. The Leicester-born father has balanced a full-time job and busy family life with a steady ascent to the very apex of the techno landscape.
Already known for his formidable releases on a slew of electronic labels that includes Affin, Artform, Be As One and Fachwerk, Roberto established his prodigious DJ credentials with gigs at some of the Europe’s defining nightclubs; Berghain, fabric and Tresor to name but a few.
Fossil Archives is first and foremost a project about boiling it back to the basics. Roberto can trace his musical origins back to a young passion for drum and bass, where records were traditionally cut with one track on each side at 45rpm – imprinting a beautiful warmth into the sound emanating from the wax. Roberto has similar plans for his techno output on Fossil Archive, and his first personal release (with an apt paleontological name to boot) ‘Prolecanites Gurleyi’ will follow a similar format, with only a single track on the either side of the 12-inch. Those without turntables shouldn’t fear though, as Roberto also has plans for digital releases.
Fossil Archive will respect the old school techno aesthetic whilst maintaining a firm foot in 2015, drawing influences from both our American and European techno cousins whilst fiercely maintaining its British identity. The label’s output has already been doing the rounds on the club circuit, and it's first release has already been supported by a list that reads like a who's who of techno. DVS1, Alan Fitzpatrick, Drumcell, Truncate and Laurent Garnier are just a handful of the esteemed selectors amongst whom it has been a record bag staple... and if the way that it’s been received on the dancefloor is anything to go by then Fossil Archive has a long and illustrious future ahead. Long live techno!
‘Prolecanites Gurleyi’, the inaugural release from Fossil Archive, will be available from 23rd February 2015
Ewan Jansen – Bumerang (Hardworksoftdrink)
Stunning EP of Ewan Jansen for HardWorkSoftDrink. These guys are a creative collective founded by twelve friends faithfully representing the Offenbach and Frankfurt am Main area in Germany. They work on a range of cross-discipline projects including music production. The pre-sale of this record will be up soon. This EP is highly regarded by the MEOKO-team. Since the snippet is released, we were looking forward to this release, absolutely astonishing.
Djebali – Reworks 02 (Djebali)
A new amazing Djebali Reworks. This second release holds a very cool remix of Hold Youth on the A-side. Hold Youth is the collaboration between two marvellous artists Seuil and Le Loup. On the B-side Ben Vedren remixed Djebali’s Bezbar. The presale is soon available on decks.de!
Funk E – Into It pt.3 (Raum Musik Germany)
After having released two records for Raum Musik in the past already, Laurentiu Gavrila better known as Funk E, returns to this label with the third part of his “Into It EP” series. Laurentiu is hailing from Bucharest and even though his sound of course is influenced by his origin he manages to give his productions a very smart and personal twist, making this typical Romanian sound much more exciting. Very long and slowly building tracks with nice, subtle changes, always based somewhere between house and techno.
Ringard – L’Eau De Deep (Dance Around 88)
The fourth release of Dance Around 88 by label-owner and producer Ringard from Rennes in France is very nice. He created some nice deep house tracks that can rock the dance flour. This record is worth cheching out.