London's Artists Cut to the Chase ....
- Published on Monday, 07 November 2011 10:51
When dance music culture began to expand from the USA into London in the mid eighties, it slowly but surely spawned a community of aspiring young DJ’s and producers to go with it. Over the following decade, artists began to flock to London’s fertile breeding ground where artistic expression and a sense of community amidst electronic music was forming. London has since become one of the most influential electronic capitals in the world, but what is it that has drawn the multicultural population of musicians here? While clubs are an essential driving force behind the scene with venues such as fabric keeping us firmly on the official map – the unknown and underground sector that allows upcoming artists to be heard is just as, if not more essential to what makes London the creative hub that it is today.
From London’s fabric review and Serialism’s interview about its upcoming ‘London Cuts Volume 2’, I spoke to the compilations artist’s to find out just what it is that has made them migrate or remain here when it comes to developing their craft. Whilst they may now all lean towards house and techno, it hasn’t always been the case – the UK and its capital instigated Dubstep, Breakbeat & Drum & Bass which have all weaved throughout the ‘London Cuts’ artists’ studios and night lives. From fabric to car parks, Herbal to kitchen afterparties and The End to derelict warehouses; ‘London Cuts Volume 2’ and its sounds have all been inspired, moulded and changed through living and working in London. This is their thoughts on a trip through the London Underground...
Aurelien Riviere AKA DoubtingThomas
I’d like to think my music reflects my life and close surrounding rather than where my stuff is heard. I landed in London by accident back in 2000 and have never left. I was already pretty dipped in electronic music before then but London had it all in terms of variety of culture, nationalities, art, concerts, legendary music history, club nights and underground parties from acid house to D&B, fancy clubs to squat parties, indie to jazz festivals, great venues, museums...you name it, you find it .I guess I spent the first year of my London life hanging out in some really odd, random squat parties in some amazing derelict warehouses which were covering some pretty ghetto, industrial area of London while I was studying sound engineering. My production wasn't quite there at that point yet but as I was a big D&B enthusiast so I was pretty well served. After a few years a more refined minimal, techno and house sound from Germany invaded London and most clubs in the east followed the lead to create something really special and bring the good acts in a city already buzzing from a huge underground music culture. Good techno was finally allowed in and therefore accepted as the ultimate tool for a great night out. The so called "scene" was born! Techno parties with an elegant feel, interesting people and intelligent sound, a true rave party feel minus the bad hard house and a bus trip to Zone 6! That was when I started to buy into the slower stuff and focused my sound around this free spirited music. Now I truly believe this vibe remains in some of London's hot spots, trends come and go with the years of course but London keeps the spirit alive, a free one. In my eyes, London is a big, wild, multicultural and open minded monster that grabs you and never lets you go.
London has definitely shaped my musical view a lot, but nothing like chicken & chips for only 2.50£!...and cracked plug-ins, oh and long white nights with my laptop! Everywhere you go you’re exposed to music of so many kinds and there’s a strong interest in listening to non mainstream music. In London you don't live just the music itself, but the musical culture. A huge community of like minded people, the fashion, the gestures and a big sense of union between dancers, DJ's, musicians, producers and all creative people. London not only shapes your musical point of view. but also your mind.
I can only talk about my own experience, which was actually non-existent before moving to London nine years ago. Now that I live in Berlin I can really see what makes London so special - or at least have an opinion about it. London has a huge and intense energy for the underground scene. With club licensing troubles in regards to early closing times, complications in finding safe warehouse and spaces, it makes the parties very intense and the music then follows that same intensity. When I make music for a London based label I always keep this in mind. It has to be strong, effective and very dance floor orientated. The DJ sets in London are very often too short, you have two hours maximum to present you’re taste and feelings to a proper, hard party crowd – but then that has developed into the very strong afterhours culture where small groups of friends gather after the main party to carry on exchanging their thoughts and taste in music. Those ongoing afterhours allow the main grooves to open up a little more so London's influence has a double side. The ''Boom boom – is 6am the party has to stop'' which leads to ''let's hang out after and keep on sharing musical experience. Taste and LOVE!” London didn't influence me, it made me and now that I run a club and some parties in Berlin, it’s actually that London vibe that I am trying to re-create.
Cesare Marchese AKA Cesare vs Disorder/Queen Atom
London's a special place for artists and inspiration is hidden in every angle of the city, you’d be deaf and blind not to find it somewhere between the hundreds of languages, cultures, vibes, smells, colours, ways of living and situations spread across the city. From east to west and north to south, musical styles are born and have made history. From rock & roll to drum & bass, jazz to house music via breakbeat, through to weird hip hop or electronic and into dubstep and reggae. There is everything for everyone and I'm very happy to have absorbed a big part of it for the nine years that I lived there. London definitely has and will carry on to, influence my work.
Arnaud Le Texier
I moved to London from Paris six years ago. After spending ten years of my life in the French capital's electronic music scene I needed a change. There’s so much more freedom in London on a musical level, you can drop warehouse parties whenever you want in many locations, there’s a much stronger night culture and people are more open minded. The energy in London in incredible, it's a true international city where everything is fast; trends are born and gone in a flash. There are musical movements in every genre, every direction and you can re-invent yourself constantly. I think fabric played a big part in my musical influence for the last ten years. Every weekend I can enjoy a line-up that’s stronger than a year in Paris - I'm talking about a few years ago - fabric is somewhere that has shaped the history of electronic music worldwide, way before Berghain/Panorama Bar and other clubs. Having Craig Richards as resident made a big difference too! Paris is picking up these days though and the scene has been bubbling for a year and a half or so - I can see exciting things coming.
The most influencial thing that London has and continues to have for me is the people themselves and what they give. People interact with each other in combination with the music; the multicultural, artistic and downright craziness of the east end kick started my electronic music ‘sickness’ and this stays within me every second of every day - no matter where I am currently based myself. This essence and feeling can never die, continuing year after year with more and more people opening their ears and always maintaining a high standard to what they allow to enter themselves. This sets London apart from nearly every place on the globe, not to mention the countless quality parties that continue to outshine the majority of locations throughout the world. So many sounds were born on a dark Cable Street dancefloor, in an abandoned warehouse off Brick Lane or on the roof of a Moorgate office building. These great locations in combination with a crowd of musically intelligent and open people will continue to shape and recreate the sound of the music forever into the future. London will always live inside me along with the music - my rise into adulthood whilst walking the streets in suburbs beginning with E.
Ollie Silva AKA Canary Fontaine
For me London is my home, it’s where I grew up and where I currently reside so my musical influences and productions have only really spawned from here, (except for making that track on the beach that time and going off to Berlin for a treasure hunt!). London, in my eyes still leads the way in musical trends and not just in music, but in art and fashion. This city is a fantastic resource for ideas and creative expression and I have yet to come across another city that can compete on the same level with the constant pushing of boundaries which I think shows in a lot of the music coming from here and also in my own pieces. As for the parties - well that’s another kettle of fish altogether! There is a real pressure to perform quality music, which I think brings out the best in a DJ and helps to create a great party which in turn keeps the bar rising and keeps us on our toes.
Since relocating back to London in September 2008 my sound has changed for the better. I’ve met and collaborated with a few people here and it’s a great learning platform when you have a lot of talented friends around you. London has so much talent at the moment. Music is always evolving but for a person to grow and expand you can’t keep yourself in one city and after three years I’m a little uninspired and I think it’s time for a break; to travel and find the creativity that I found when I came here for the first time. The scene here is one of a kind for me - bang in the middle of everything there are too many things to list that go off all year round whether it’s a club or an all day warehouse raves or a messy after party. The people are really special here, they make London’s scène so if your live here or not, it’s always going off.
Before getting into house music I used to be really into drum & bass, going to Herbal on Wednesdays for Therapy Sessions and listening to some dark and futuristic beats. The hip hop, down tempo and trip hop scene in London impacted on me heavily with artists like Jehst, Roots Manuva, DJ Food, DJ IQ and labels like Ninja Tune and Low Life Records being some of my biggest influences. I think my production has also been influenced by a few dubstep artists that are heavily involved in the London scene such as Mala and his Digital Mystikz collective and of course Skream. Within house and techno, a lot of my influence came from spending time in legendary clubs like The End (discovering Loco Dice during a night called Clandestino) and of course fabric (listening to Ricardo Villalobos when he was using the crazy sirens during his sets)! The people that you meet in London are also a big part of what characterizes you as a producer. There is such a large mix of cultures and people from all over the world that can have an impact on you, that certainly applies to me throughout my eight years in London. London has even given birth to genres - Drum & Bass for example - there aren’t many cities out there which can claim to have given birth to electronic music in a way that London has done together with Chicago or Detroit.
Words – Hannah Briley
London Cuts Volume 2 is released this November on Serialism Records.
A1. Kevs - Cesar Merveille
A2. Then You’ll Love - Arnaud Le Texier
B1. Nameless 303 Dub - Queen Atom vs Onirik
B2. Le Kem Brioche - Canary Fontaine
digi1. Out of Bounds - Robin Ordell
digi2. Off the Tracks - Charly Delhom Feat. Jonny Cruz
digi3. Is This House - Anthony Muirhead
digi4. Sonata VIP - Pablo Tarno
digi5. Laid Back - Mark Chambers
digi6. Introducing… - Rico Casazza
digi7. The Run Dmc Type – DoubtingThomas