All posts by Andy

Japanese house genius Soichi Terada makes his Edinburgh debut at the Bongo for Lionoil, Fri 26th May ’17

23 May 2017 -

soichi-terada-b-20151207

We’re immensely excited here at the Bongo to be welcoming a DJ from the Far East to our stage.  This doesn’t happen very often (we can’t actually remember when it last happened) and we’re especially pleased for it to be an artist with such a long and rich history in terms of Japanese house and electronic music and since he will be bringing a live set of his own productions to our stage.  More info on the event, including tickets, here.

Here’s an old favourite by Soichi Terada and Japanese pop star Nami Shimada, remixed by the late great Larry Levan, no less.

Here’s the transcript of Brian Durr’s incisive recent article on Soichi Terada and his original label colleague and partner Shinichiro Yokoto (first published by the excellent FACT Magazine), for a better idea of Terada’s influence on today’s global house scene.

Shinichiro Yokota and Soichi Terada have been offering a Japanese take on house music since Terada established his Far East Recording label in 1988. In 2015, the Sounds From the Far East compilation introduced the rest of the world to two of Japan’s greatest house producers, and now they’re finally getting the attention they’ve long deserved. Diskotopia boss Brian Durr meets them in Tokyo where they tell their shared story for the first time, shining a light on Tokyo’s under-documented house scene.

Meeting Shinichiro Yokota and Soichi Terada for the first time is like reuniting with long-lost friends you never knew you had. The camaraderie between the two is contagious, and it’s easy to see how these long-standing legends of Japan’s underground house scene have been collaborators for nearly three decades. Yokota has an unassuming yet effusive demeanor; someone who, once opened up, will talk for hours from the heart, reflecting his soulfully melodic compositions. Terada is more forthcoming, with a wide smile and a knack for inciting conversation that has helped him win the hearts of house music fans across continents.

When we meet in a bustling southeastern suburb of Tokyo and head to a relaxed cafe for curry, I learn that this is the first time both of them have sat down together to discuss their musical history. Several anecdotes during the conversation are met with surprise and bemusement by the near life-long friends, which adds to the already genial atmosphere they exude between them.

Terada launched Far East Recording in 1988, where he began developing a strand of Japanese house that up until recently was only championed within select circles. The sounds of the label – an outlet for Terada and Yokota’s own productions, largely – have a glossy sheen; light-hearted and fun but distinctly soulful, expertly produced and absolutely incendiary on the right kind of dancefloor. There’s a nuanced swing to the productions, as heard to full effect on Terada’s burning ‘Saturday Love Sunday’, for example.

Far East Recording evolved into a beacon of essential Japanese house music in the ‘90s, but it wasn’t until Rush Hour DJ and producer Hunee got in touch a few years ago with the idea of putting out a compilation that the world at large was finally exposed to the Far East catalog. The response to 2015’s Sounds from the Far East was a worldwide awakening to the label’s aesthetic, bringing Terada and Yokota droves of new converts from various corners of electronic music. Suddenly they were both being asked to perform the music they’d made some two decades ago.

“WE TRIED HARD TO MAKE MUSIC CLOSE TO THE U.S. OR EUROPEAN HOUSE SOUND, BUT WE COULDN’T DO IT”Soichi Terada

Their music wasn’t exactly intended to sound so singular when they started out. “In those days we tried hard to make music close to the US or European house sound, but we couldn’t do it,” say Terada. “But an accent may [have helped make our music] sound like something fresh – an Asian accent sound.” That accent isn’t as obvious as a koto synthesizer patch or taiko drum sample, however. Instead, tracks like Yokota’s ‘Do It Again’ evoke images of a night drive through neon-lit Shinjuku, with its glistening synth flourishes and neatly-tucked percussion; the tinny clang of Terada’s ‘Hohai Beats’ feels custom-built for the sweaty, smoke-filled basement clubs of Shibuya.

As a student at Chidori Elementary School in south Tokyo during the early ‘80s, Yokota credits hearing Yellow Magic Orchestra as a formative musical moment. “There were many fake Japanese Beatles bands that I was listening to, then YMO came out with cool synthesizers,” he remembers. “They were the first group that really impressed me musically – there wasn’t anything else like it before. They had the strongest influence on my musical taste.”

Soon after his synthesizer revelation, Yokota quit playing baseball and started taking classical piano lessons across the street from his house. He studied for two years before using his otoshidama, money that Japanese children receive as a New Year’s gift, to buy his first synthesizer in Akihabara, the Tokyo district famous for its electronics stores. “The first keyboard I bought was a Casio MT-40, which was polyphonic but I just couldn’t make it sound like a synthesizer,” Yokota recalls. “A lot of reggae producers were using it and it had a wide vintage feel to it. It was the only keyboard I could afford with the money I had at the time. After a year or two I was able to get a Korg Poly-800 and later a cassette recorder.”

Although originally from Tokyo, Terada grew up in the adjacent suburbs of Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures. As a child he enjoyed activities like football and swimming, but he also harnessed his creativity through his father’s electric organ, a fixture of his childhood home. He echoes Yokota’s claim about the importance of Yellow Magic Orchestra, but his own impressions of the ‘80s electronic revolution were especially furthered by his love of Tomita Isao’s Planets, a synthesized reimagining of composer Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite which made heavy use of Moog equipment and a Roland System 700 modular system.

“A LOT OF THE MUSIC WE MADE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE [WITHOUT] WHAT HAPPENED WITH JAPAN’S BUBBLE ECONOMY”Shinichiro Yokota

As the decade progressed, hip-hop started seeping into their music collections and eventually helped bring the pair together. “After YMO broke up in 1984, hip-hop from America took over,” says Yokota. “I saw [classic 1983 hip-hop movie] Wild Style and stopped doing synthesizer music to focus more on turntablism. Japanese radio was really pushing hip-hop and my friends were into all of it – rapping, breaking, DJing, all aspects of the culture.” Both Yokota and Terada took part in the DJ battles that swept Tokyo as hip-hop entered its golden age; Yokota scratched over raw TR-606 drum tracks as MCs rapped over the beat, while Terada did live performances with an Akai S-900 sampler and computer. “I preferred using a sampler and computer than focusing on DJing with records,” adds Terada. “I was going to DJ competitions to perform and a mutual friend introduced me to Yokota and we got to know each other.”

Terada’s subsequent exposure to house music came through his friend and local promoter Connie E, who was running a weekly house party above a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo in 1988. After hearing the latest records from the US, Terada would try to distil what he was hearing into his own early productions. “I had no idea who was making these songs, but in those days I [was paying back a loan] to buy my sampler and computer so I couldn’t buy many records. I’d listen to what the DJs were playing and when I got an idea to make a song I would suddenly leave the party and go back to my house to start programming. And later on I’d play what I made to Yokota and other friends.”

Up and running in their respective home studios, Terada and Yokota began navigating the world of music production together. “We’d exchange floppy disks with sound files and sessions that we made,” says Terada. “In those days there was no internet so I remember making phone calls to listen to each others’ music or meeting up to share what we made.” While Terada paints a picture of an even exchange, Yokota adds playfully: “I was watching what Terada was doing and went home by motorbike to try it out before I forgot. I stole his techniques!”

“I WAS ADDICTED TO DRUM AND BASS”Soichi Terada

From 1986 to 1991, Japan was in a “bubble era” thanks to the inflation of the stock market and real estate prices. Much of the country enjoyed the lifestyle spoils of a prosperous economy, and the entertainment industry in particular was booming. Yokota thinks its eventual collapse in 1992 was a blessing in disguise. “After the bubble era, the price of equipment went down and we were able to get expensive gear that we couldn’t before,” he says. “Even the unusable equipment that came out was available in large quantities. These days we search for vintage equipment, but back then we never thought about buying old stuff. A lot of the music we made wouldn’t have been possible [without] what happened with the bubble economy and inexpensive digital technology.”

Though there were were other Tokyo producers in Yokota and Terada’s circle, such as Hiroshi Matsui, Manabu Nagayama and Takashi Sekiguchi, Far East Recording operated much as it does now, as a distinct and singular entity. During the ‘90s, even with a busy release schedule, live performances and DJ gigs were rare, with Terada preferring to hone his craft in the studio rather than go record-digging for DJ sets. “We just had one party that we did ourselves when released the first Far East Recording album,” he remembers. “Yokota did a DJ set as well as a live performance, and I also performed live. I sometimes played in clubs with my sampler and computer – but it was hard to get the same sound as in the studio, so there were very few opportunities.”

In the mid-90s, a massive influx of drum and bass caused house music to fall by the wayside in Tokyo. Terada was enamoured by the excitement and sub-bass pressure of jungle. “I was addicted to drum and bass [from] 1995,” he says. “It was so fun to experience the sub-bass sound in a club. I loved to go the drum and bass parties much more than the house events – in the late ‘90s I had a drum and bass disease, personally.” He went on to produce what he calls “sumo jungle”; sampling sumo fights from TV and utilizing the huffs, smacks, gongs and chants into his own strain of drum and bass, as heard on 1996’s Sumo Jungle LP.

“IT’S IMPORTANT TO KEEP A HOMEGROWN ELEMENT IN HOUSE MUSIC TO KEEP IT AUTHENTIC”Shinichiro Yokota

While Terada has been producing and releasing music since 1988 without pause, the cusp of the millennium found Yokota in a less invigorated state. He puts his subsequent absence from music down to the technological advances in home recording; paradoxically, the more options he had, the less creativity he could muster. “In the past, sampling time was limited so you had to be really creative when you had an idea. But with hard disk recording the possibilities were endless, and around 2000 I lost my motivation to make music.” During his musical downtime, he focused his energy into another of his passions, Night-Pager – a custom car parts company he had launched 1992.

Terada kept busy through to the mid-00s by taking on soundtrack work, composing music for video games such as the Ape Escape series, commercial jingles for the Japanese convenience store Circle K Sunkus, and TV themes for projects including Cartoon Network’s Samurai Jack. When he got the email from Hunee in the summer of 2014, the two-decade-old Far East Recording was ready to be introduced to a new generation. As Terada recalls, their exchange was simple: Hunee proposed to reissue the Far East Recording back catalog via Rush Hour’s international distribution, with Hunee selecting tracks for the Sounds from the Far East compilation. The rest is history.

Thinking about the strangely future-proofed sound of “ancient” Far East Recording tracks, as they refer to them, Terada and Yokota are intrigued by their newfound global recognition. “I found it curious in a good way,” Yokota says. “Terada and I spoke about it before and we don’t really know why [the reissued material] struck such a nerve. I was surprised and overwhelmed at all the support from around the world after the reissue release.”

“HOUSE IS A SIMPLE LANGUAGE: DRUM, BASS, CHORDS AND SOME EFFECTS COULD BE OK FOR A TRACK”Shinichiro Yokota

“At first I was just surprised,” adds Terada. “And then I felt so happy to play those songs that I couldn’t play much 25 years ago. [It] makes me a joyful old man.” Yokota concurs that the reissue has been a blessing. “I am very glad that [our] music has spread and it is an honour to be played in clubs and radio all over the world,” he says. “There have been many requests [to perform again], so my lifestyle has changed drastically.”

Both believe in the age-old mantra that less can be so much more. Yokota’s personal hopes for the future of house music come down to a simple sophistication in songwriting and production. “Technology made it possible for anyone to make music. House is a simple language: drum, bass, chords and some effects could be OK for a track. Adding too much can weigh it down. New software and equipment with unlimited tracks can be too complicated, but I think even with four tracks you can make sophisticated music. Simple but well-produced music I think will become more commonplace. I’m excited for music that sounds simple but make me wonder, ‘How did they do that?’ like Lil’ Louis’ music. House will be sophisticated like a three-piece jazz trio, not like big band music.”

Yokota’s latest release, Do It Again and Again, comprises unreleased tracks from the ‘90s as well as newly recorded material, with the liner notes declaring that the music is inspired by his “synthesizers, cars and ways to survive in South Tokyo.” Meanwhile, Terada is currently working on new solo material to be released by Rush Hour and he also has a separate house project to be unveiled later this year. He’s optimistic about future innovation in house music as producers become more mindful of their own surroundings and influences when contributing to the global dialogue of such a deep-rooted culture. “Making music with the least amount of elements is really interesting. To express something with a limited vocabulary is interesting. [Going forward] it would be nice to hear those different cultures’ domestic elements in the music,” he confirms. “It’s important to keep a homegrown element in house music to keep it authentic and push things forward.”

Brian Durr is on Twitter

Listen to Shinichiro Yokota’s FACT mix.

 

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DUNT X body welcome Copenhagen’s DJ Courtesy to The Bongo Club, Thursday 25th May

14 May 2017 -

Courtesy-700

In Dunt’s own words:

OH BABY WE’RE BACK,

After two smashing resident parties at everyone’s favourite red bar, Dunt Club is back for its third instalment at a new stomping ground – The Bongo Club – to reel in the end of term. For the hallowed event we’ve teamed up with our older brother – body – to present the one and only Courtesy for her Scottish Debut.

For those who aren’t familiar, Najaaraq Vestbirk (Courtesy) is a DJ, journalist and the co-label owner of Copenhagen’s Ectotherm imprint. Hailing from Greenland and residing in Copenhagen, Najaaraq was previously one half of Ung Flugt (translation: Young Escape), a youthful, party-oriented duo whose rapid rise was paralleled only by the project’s quick dissolution. A few years later, Vestbirk re-emerged as Courtesy, taking a more refined approach and also serving as part of the all-female Apeiron Crew.

Since breaking away from Apeiron Crew, Courtesy has established herself as a formidable solo artist and launched Ectotherm with her former Apeiron cohort Mama Snake, which holds a monthly residency on London’s NTS Radio. Her lauded Crack Magazine and FACT mixes in 2016 attest to her penchant for blending styles that push the boundaries of dance music: fuzzier textures meet polished productions, silky electro and rave-influenced breaks. 2017 has brought more acclaim to her deft mixing abilities with her recent boiler-room debut and mix on Rinse’s Hessle Audio show which featured in Pitchfork’s top mixes for April.

DuntxBody_CourtesyFB

When Courtesy’s not working on mixes, writing or digging for overlooked break-beats she’s taking major slots at clubs all across the world at the likes of Concrete, De School and Berghain. She’s also just completed a tour across Asia with Avalon Emerson – who’s set at Sneaky Pete’s for Juice will go down as one of the best we’ve seen in the capital.

///Bring your space goggles; we’re going into outer orbit///

Lineup:
-Dunt and Body Residents: 11-1
-Courtesy: 1-3

LIMITED EARLY BIRD TICKETS: £5
ADVANCE TICKETS: £7

TICKETS: RESIDENT ADVISOR 
TICKETS: PARTY FOR THE PEOPLE

MIXES

 


NTS: http://www.nts.live/shows/ectotherm

Links:

RA: https://m.residentadvisor.net/dj/courtesy
Pitchfork: http://pitchfork.com/…/1499-the-10-best-dj-mixes-of-april-…/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtesyDK
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/courtesy707

Artwork Credits: Andrew Ioannou

YET MORE INFO

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

London techno legend Jerome Hill returns to Substance and the Bongo, Fri 12th May ’17

11 May 2017 -

jerome_hill_700

We’re proper excited to be welcoming Jerome Hill to the Bongo this weekend, not least given his links to Edinburgh’s own ‘wonky techno’ crew back in ze day (see below). Is Edinburgh actually a home from home for Jerome?!  Perhaps… 😉

In the promoter’s own words, ‘We’ve had him at Henry’s and then at the Bongo in June 2012 as part of a free summer rave… think it went Jeff Mills, Rephlex then Jerome.*  He’s so good if you’ve never caught him.’ [*What a sequence! ]

There was a cracking piece (published early 2015) by the Electronic Explorations blog on why Jerome Hill is still such an essential DJ, which is copied below for your convenience.  It also includes a BANGING mix which he describes as follows:

“Just a load of tunes that I love and regularly play out… Old and new… No theme except that the tracks are hopefully memorable in varying ways.. Techno, Acid and Electro, all embracing their individuality and not creeping around trying to ‘fit in’.  Oh, and mixed on vinyl, a couple of CDs when necessary and no tractors or sinks”

Jerome Hill runs a weekly radio show  on Kool 94.6FM (London) – koollondon.com – every Wednesday 11.00-13.00.. “The Roots Of Rave”

koolradiobanner

If there’s one man who embodies rave spirit in modern dance music it’s Jerome Hill – FACT Mag (via Joe Muggs)

DJ since 1990, beginning with Hip Hop, Acid House, UK Bleep, Breakbeat and Techno, a residency throughout the mid to late 90′s on infamous London sound system “JIBA”among others, manager and music buyer for 2 record shops Trackheads & Dragon Discs in Camden, London, (1997-2004) during which time an international DJ schedule opened out, Jerome has been a permanent fixture on the London scene and pretty much lives and breathes the music, his sets being educational and hedonistic in equal measures..

Founder of Don’t Recordings (which celebrates it’s 15th birthday this year) & Fat Hop records (for fans of Old Skool Hip Hop/B-Boy Breaks) , and more recently two new labels; the booming acid house of “Super Rhythm Trax” and the 1992 rave themed “Hornsey Hardcore” His bi-monthly ‘Don’t’ club night in Dalston is entering it’s 3rd year and has built a strong following amongst true Techno lovers, with Jerome as its resident and amazing and well respected guests passing through every time.

‘Jerome is best known for his involvement in the “wonky techno” scene (indeed he coined the term for a section in the Dragon Discs record shop where he worked in the mid-90s) – the punky but secretly rather sophisticated warehouse sound of people like Neil Landstrumm, Dave Tarrida, Cristian Vogel and co’ – FACT

Between putting out records on the labels and the release of his and Mark Archer’s (Altern8/Nexus 21) double mix CD, 2014 saw a hectic DJ schedule, playing slots at Bestival, Glastonbury (alongside Aphex Twin), XOYO (London), House Of God (Birmingham) and up and down the UK plus Australia, Japan, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Prague, Poland, Spain, France and Ireland all featuring in the international calendar. 2015 is set to be busy too, with releases about to drop on I Love Acid, Power Vacuum, Super Rhythm Trax, Don’t and Mindcut and the calendar beginning to fill out.   You can also catch Jerome on London’s Kool FM / www.Koollondon.com, The Roots of Rave show every wednesday 11.00-13.00 GMT   Be it a Techno dancefloor, an Old Skool Rave or a Hip Hop jam, Jerome is at home and relishes bringing something new to the party with surprises around every corner.

Hill has always flown the flag for other rough and rugged UK underground sounds, notably UK hip hop, breakbeat rave and old school Yorkshire-style bleep’n’bass – and he continues to represent all of these in his sets, promotions, releases on his labels and the ‘Roots of Rave’ show on Kool FM – FACT

Tracklist

Warehouse Sessions – 011 – Jerome Hill

  1. 01. Bintus “Cylinder Bop” (Power Vacuum)
  2. 02. Wevie De Crepon “Ton Wah” (Sonig)
  3. 03. Herbert “My DJ” (Accidental)
  4. 04. Jerome Hill “Work That Shit” (Don’t)
  5. 05. Teknocracy “Shrapnel Valley” (Pie Factory)
  6. 06. Vernon “Awakening In Antwerp” (Dixon Avenue Basement Jams)
  7. 07. Green Velvet & Gary Beck “Stronger” (Relief)
  8. 08. UVB “Anxiety” (Mord)
  9. 09. Pump Panel “To The Sky” (Missile)
  10. 10. Gutts “Gabos” (Horror Boogie)
  11. 11. Rei Elbaz & Anna Haleta “Don’t Stop” (Pacotec)
  12. 12. Fear of Music !
  13. 13. LFO “Mummy I’ve Had An Accident” (Warp)
  14. 14. DJ Rafael “Meltdown” (On The Prowl)
  15. 15. Patric Sjeren “Heart Condition” (Virgo Rising)
  16. 16. Neil Landstrumm “Diamond Taxation” (Sativae)
  17. 17. Tessela “Nancy’s Pantry” (R&S)
  18. 18. Frankie “Scarp” (Faste)
  19. 19. JoeFarr “Gabba Problems” (Don’t)
  20. 20. Jerome Hill “Frogmarch” (Mindcut)
  21. 21. Lenk “Untitled” (Blank Ltd)
  22. 22. CEO “Screeching” (WNCL)
  23. 23. Jerome Hill “Paper Bag Acid” (Super Rhythm Trax)
  24. 24. G-23 “Kidding Kids” (Super Rhythm Trax)
  25. 25. Jamie Lidell “Sonelysome(o)ney” (Sativae)
  26. 26. Shit n Shine “Shower Curtain” (Diogonal)
  27. Lupine Outro

FACEBOOK

Catch the man himself at Substance this Friday, 12th May!

Recognised by the authoritative Resident Advisor to be “one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass”, Substance brings a wide ranging collage of classic and cutting edge underground electronic music to the Bongo.

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stellar international techno DJ Helena Hauff returns to the Bongo for Easter, Friday 14th Apr

04 April 2017 -

HelenaHauff

German taste-maker Helena Hauff, one of the DJs who perhaps singularly sums up a Substance party most, returns to the Bongo, riding high on the wave of multiple standout shows and a BBC Radio 1 residency.  Having received a tremendous reception when she played last year (and recently the cover star of DJ Magazine), the Hamburg spinner is guaranteed to deliver the goods.

Here’s an interview with the woman herself, copy/pasted wholesale from Newcastle’s excellent Crack Magazine.  It’s  a great read and well worth your 10 mins, not least as Ms Hauff comes out with some hilarious comments about her penchant for more doomy, gothic styles….

2293

WORDS

APPROX READING TIME: 11 MIN

Helena Hauff has a thunderstorm inside her.

Sometimes it comes out in tangible ways: a cloud of cigarette smoke, her throaty, thunderous laugh, or the flash of a genuine smile. But mostly, it’s projected in her music; in the hammering techno of her DJ sets; the white hot intensity of her acid and electro; the nocturnal mood of her more sombre productions. There’s a turbulence to her style that would fall apart in the wrong hands, but Helena Hauff knows how to walk the line between disorder and control.

When we meet in her ground-floor apartment on a rainy evening in Hamburg, the city where she was born, Hauff is surrounded by records. The place is flooded with them. There are overflowing stacks all around the living room and in her studio there are crates teetering on top of crates. Hauff looks upon the mess fondly. She seems content with chaos.

“I’ve always loved it when music – especially techno – sounds a bit nasty and a bit raw and unpolished,” Hauff tells me, lighting a cigarette. Visible amongst all the vinyl is her set of analog machines, which she started collecting five or six years ago and with which she produces exclusively — just a Juno-60, a Roland-303, an MPC, and a couple of other classics. “The aesthetic of machines is so appealing to me,” Hauff explains. “People tend to think it’s more like robotics, they think it’s soulless because it doesn’t sound like it’s made by a human being. But I like that concept. It’s almost like the machine comes to life and becomes something with its own soul. I’ve learned to let go of the more analytical part of my brain and just let the machines do their own thing. They have a mind of their own, and I love that.”

There’s also a thrilling spontaneity to Helena Hauff’s DJ sets; something journalists tend to describe as ‘eclecticism’ or ‘unpredictability.’ Her selections range from jarring acid to banging techno with infusions of old school industrial, Dutch electronica, post-punk and EBM. And while she’s maintained an experimental, punk attitude, the past few years have seen Hauff rise to become one of leftfield dance music’s most in-demand artists.

January of this year marked the first show in Hauff’s BBC Radio One residency – a landmark achievement that’s testament to her rapid growth. “It’s more work than I thought it would be,” she admits, “because I want it to be really diverse. I wanted each episode to showcase a different style of music: a bit of house, a bit of techno, sometimes more wavey, or one episode will be all punk.” Her anything-goes approach is carried through in her self-made label Return to Disorder, which she launched in 2015 with an EP from Leicester psych-rock band Children of Leir. “I don’t want to just put out one type of music. Whenever I get something sent to me, if it’s good, I want to release it,” she insists. “I want to return to disorder in the sense that releases don’t necessarily have to make sense together.” It’s with this attitude that Hauff has established a career that so many artists dream of, without having to compromise her integrity.

The story of Helena Hauff’s DJ career begins at Hamburg’s Golden Pudel, a small but legendary portside club renowned for its rough and ready vibe. Hauff discovered the club as a teen and her name is closely associated with the club’s tight-knit family. “When I was younger, I only ever went out to the Pudel. There just wasn’t any other club where I felt at home,” she explains. “Eventually I just got bored with clubbing at some point, around when I started touring. The Pudel was the only place that I never really got bored with.”

The Pudel’s spirit was a perfect match for Hauff’s own; the club famously cherishes its sense of freedom – DJs play whatever and however they want. Hauff affectionately dubs it a “playground”. I read her a quote from fellow Pudel regular Call Super, who claimed that the club is a place where you feel that everyone really listens. “I actually disagree!” she exclaims. “When you play on a Friday, there are loads of young people, lots of tourists, and to be honest, sometimes it feels like they really didn’t care at all. They just want to get drunk and have a good time! But I personally don’t have a problem with that at all. The good thing about Pudel was that half of the people were really into the music, and the other half just didn’t give a shit. It’s not just this elite club where you can only enter if you know everything about electronic music.”

In February 2016, the Pudel closed after a fire destroyed the venue completely. Hauff found out while heading back to her hotel after a gig in France: “People were calling and texting me, ‘The Pudel’s burning, the Pudel’s burning,’” she remembers. “It was at a time when we had fought with the owners of the café upstairs from the club, so a lot of conspiracy theories just popped up immediately. It was a really stressful time.” Hamburg’s music community banded together to raise money for the club’s repairs — Hauff herself played a few benefit events, and added her own homemade cut to the selection of “Save the Pudel” videos on YouTube. The club is set to re-open this year, if all goes well.

© Vitali Gelwich
Jacket: MISBHV

“I was going for bleak Hamburg winter vibes actually,” Hauff laughs. She rolls another cigarette. “I wouldn’t call it ‘dark’ necessarily, because this type of music makes me happy. Even when I do feel sad, for example, I want to listen to the saddest most depressing music in the world. Maybe I feel a bit sadder for a while but then it gets me out of it. It’s like celebrating the sadness… And then it’s over.” She takes a long haul and blows the smoke out, thinking. “Some people think dark music makes you feel horrible and depressed. But you don’t have to be happy. You can be sad, it’s okay. You’ll be happy again tomorrow, it’s just one day.” She laughs — a kind of half-shrug, half-laugh — and leans forward to ash her cigarette.

I wonder if Hauff is into the type of melancholy art or dark poetry or noir films that her productions would suggest. In fact, I am banking on it — I’ve based half my interview questions around it. “I’m not into poetry. I’m not even really into album art, I end up throwing out record sleeves and covers because they take up so much space in my bag!” She does the shrug-laugh again. “They’re heavy to carry around as well. A beautiful cover is nice, but in general I’m not an artwork person.” The cover art for Discreet Desires might suggest otherwise; a grainy, tightly cropped photo of Hauff leaning in, mouth-open, towards a mirror version of herself. It’s alien and slightly erotic, the perfect moment to illustrate the album’s title. Hauff took the photo herself a few years ago when she used to study Fine Arts in university, but it’s a world she’s since grown out of.

“I WOULDN’T CALL IT ‘DARK’ NECESSARILY, BECAUSE THIS TYPE OF MUSIC MAKES ME HAPPY.”

“I’m just not interested in Fine Arts anymore.” She moves a hand as if to wave the idea away. “My professor, Nikola Torke, I really admired her. She told us, ‘Art can be a fucking horrible world. You have no money, no work… I don’t know why you would do this if you didn’t have that need for it.’ And that’s when I realised, I don’t have the need for art. But I have the need for music.”

Hauff’s Fine Arts degree was undertaken alongside a major in Systematic Music Science. When she eventually dropped out of school to pursue music full time, that sensibility transferred over. Where music is concerned, Hauff’s method is logic over poetry, realism over romance. Even her music videos, which at first glance appear to be deeply artful and symbolic, come from a left-brain way of thinking. The video for Discreet Desires track Sworn to Secrecy Part II, for example, is a roughly edited piece that features sinister scientific clips in quick succession: chemical containers, a gloved hand, sallow limbs, and a particularly alarming close-up shot of an eye being rinsed out with water. I’m sure that it’s Hauff’s take on a David Lynch-style short film, but Hauff is all logic in her explanation. “It reminds me a bit of a Luis Buñuel film, but I actually just nicked that video from the CIA,” she confesses. “It’s some kind of educational footage from the fifties that the government put together in case of a gas attack. So I just found it on YouTube and I really liked it so I took it for myself.” She pauses. “Don’t put me in jail for this!”

Outside, the rain comes down in sheets and Hauff gets up to close the window. I wonder if there’s a romantic aspect to working with machines rather than software, like writing a letter with pen and paper. But for Hauff the beauty is all in the technical process. She references The Fall’s frontman Mark E. Smith, a deranged genius to his fans, who once described how writing lyrics on a computer completely altered his way of working. “I feel exactly the same,” Hauff says. “It’s not a romantic idea, but I choose not to use them because it interferes with my creative process.” She shakes her head. “I don’t think about music in an emotional way, music is not therapy, you know? I don’t want to romanticise it like that.”

Hauff’s aversion to modern technology extends beyond music production too. She’s not on any social media. She uses few online resources other than email and SoundCloud (when I ask how she promotes things, she answers simply, “I don’t!”) and she still uses a beat-up old mobile phone. She talks affectionately about the archaic methods of gathering music in her youth, by collecting tracks from CDs she’d borrowed from the library and recording them to cassette tapes. “I think that experience probably made me a DJ, I loved how certain tracks would blend together on the recording,” she says.

“It felt like I was the only one interested in music in my school,” she remembers. “I wasn’t even that deep into it but they all just followed MTV. I listened to that too, don’t get me wrong, but I was really looking for something else. I liked Wu-Tang Clan, Radiohead… I loved Joy Division, Nirvana, The Cure… I remember this television channel where they’d stream the Love Parade and stuff like that. [But] when you feel miserable and you’re a teenager, there’s nothing better to listen to than Nirvana.”

It’s easy to imagine her as an outsider during her teenage years, and I ask if young Hauff was anti-mainstream. She laughs: “Maybe I thought I was at some point! I did feel like an alien at my school sometimes, but not because of the music, that was mostly just because I was a very weird person. The worst part about it was that I wasn’t an alien, I just thought I was. People actually liked me, I think, I just thought they didn’t so I turned my back on them. And there was no need for that, really. At the end of the day, it’s not even important. Just do what the fuck you want!”

It seems as if Helena Hauff will always live by that mentality. For her forthcoming EP, she tells me, she’s moving away from Discreet Desires’ melancholy tendencies back to making that rougher, more acidic music. Outside, the rain has finally stopped but it’s nighttime now, and the sky appears to be endlessly black. I wonder if this new release will take a step away from the darkness of her album. In her usual way, Hauff strips her answer back down to reality: “Proper darkness is a bad place,” she explains, rolling one last cigarette. “The rest is just life.”

Photography: Vitali Gelwich
Styling: Fabiana Vardaro
Hair & Makeup: Gabrielle Theurer

Helena Hauff appears at Sunfall Festival, Brockwell Park, London, 12 August / Helena Hauff appears at Dimensions Festival, Croatia, 30 August – 3 September

—————————————————

Substance Easter Weekend Special

Helena Hauff (3hr set) (Return To Disorder, Hamburg)
Substance djs

Good Friday, 14 April 2017
The Bongo Club, 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh
11pm to 4am* (*late license tbc)

Tickets on sale from RA

substance-audio.com

Recognised by the authoritative Resident Advisor to be “one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass”, Substance brings a wide ranging collage of classic and cutting edge underground electronic music to the Bongo.

FACEBOOK EVENT

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bristol heavyweights Pev & Kowton bring bass and UK techno vibes to the Bongo, Fri 10th Mar

09 March 2017 -

livitysoundwebpic-605x265

The set from Bristol’s Pev & Kowton is an eagerly anticipated one this weekend.  The duo is perhaps best known for their Raw Code b/w Junked 12″ on the Hessle Audio label from 2013 – two forward-looking slices of audio, aimed squarely at the dance floor.

However, they are also responsible for a slew of fine releases via their own Livity Sound imprint, their main focus over the last few years, where abstract rhythms coalesce with deep bass frequencies for a sound that’s authentically British and excitingly fresh.

Simply described, in their own words: ‘Record Label. UK Techno. Sound System Frequencies. Body Music.’  Livity Sound is uncompromising but not inaccessible, with real substance to the music – hidden depths for mind, body and soul.

Resident Advisor did a good interview a few years ago, which reveals something of the duo’s working methodology in the studio.  See here.  This twelve minute live jam recorded for RA in late 2013, with third Livity Sound wheel, Asusu is also fun.

But they’re actually playing  a DJ set this Friday.   No doubt the tremendous new Jinx / Scanners 12″ release on the label, from Forest Drive West, will get an outing.  Scanners is no less of a gem on this 12 but isn’t up on YouTube yet.  Check out its subliminal vibes in full on Bandcamp.

Either way, we can’t wait to hear what they’ve got in store for us!

MORE INFO

TICKETS

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Munich’s Zenker Brothers bring their Ten Years of Ilian Tape Tour plus Skee Mask to Substance, Fri 17th Feb

16 February 2017 -

ZenkerBros_RA

Against today’s climate of fake hype, meaningless social media ‘likes’ and equally over-rated ‘stars’, Munich’s Zenker Brothers are a massive breath of fresh air and a rare breed. They’ve no truck with the trappings of fame today.  They’re more interested in making and releasing great art, music that will find and resonate with a genuine audience, and it’s an attitude that has seen them thrive through ten years at the helm of their acclaimed Ilian Tape label (and before: older brother Dario was already a seasoned player on the international techno scene when the brothers launched the label, in 2007).

The label often releases without any fanfare.  Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that they prefer it that way after so many years, emphasising quality over quantity and staying true to their roots as fans of the hip hop of Nineties New York (as much as the techno coming out of the US, UK and Europe at that time), due to the rawness and purity of its sound.

Zenker_studio2

The Zenkers are massive collectors of analogue hardware (images courtesy of Slices / Electronic Beats).

Zenker_studio3

This 2015 video interview with Electronic Beats / Slices magazine really nails the attitude at the core of the duo’s style (and their enduring success).  ‘(There are) DJs on Facebook that have been at it for thirty years and have much better reputations than some hyped Facebook stars and they don’t even manage to get paid half the money that the stars do,’ rails Dario.  ‘I think the whole Facebook thing is a little over-rated too.  An artist isn’t just good because he has 50,000 likes on Facebook, that’s completely ridiculous.’

‘These days it isn’t even real any more,’ adds Marco, equally unimpressed.  ‘There are numerous DJs that buy their likes and then profit from that,’ clarifies Dario.  ‘Promoters that book acts on the basis of Facebook likes.  Those are not parties that i’m interested in playing.  It’s not about the music in those cases.  It’s about making sure the club is packed and that’s not really very important to me.’  Quite.

Label aficionado Skee Mask lends his support, having been forced to cancel his date here last year, due to illness.  With more abstract leanings, less focused on the dance floor,  his music will act as the perfect counterpoint to the Zenker’s more ‘floor-conscious style. Both acts make this their Edinburgh debut but it’s also Skee Mask’s Scottish debut.

To say they’re a good fit for Substance at the Bongo would be understating things slightly. In short, we can’t wait!

TICKETS

 

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , ,

Brazilian drum ‘n’ bass legend DJ Marky brings the sunshine to Loco Kamanchi, Wed 15th Feb

09 February 2017 -

DJ_Marky_02_by_Chelone_Wolf_700

Award-winning Brazilian drum ‘n’ bass champion DJ Marky returns to the Bongo for the first time in almost ten years (last seen at Xplicit, Moray House, 2008) when he headlines for Loco Kamanchi.  Behind one of the biggest, feel-good d ‘n’ b anthems of the early Noughties, alongside XRS (LK,  sampling Brazilian heroes Jorge Ben and Toquinho’s timeless number, Carolina Carol Bela and injecting it with some proper favela funk – see below), he’s guaranteed to bring all the warmth, sunshine and colour of his trademark South American sound to nice up our midweek dance.

With over 100k fans on Facebook,  almost 50k followers on Twitter and almost as many again on Instagram, tours across Japan, Australia, Singapore, China, Korea, Europe, Russia and both the north and south American continents, these days the man known better to his mum as Marco Antônio Silva is a fully fledged global phenomenon.  Over 100 releases deep, his Innerground label is one of  the foremost d ‘n’ b labels in the world, while the likes of Madonna, Fatboy Slim, Claude von Stroke, Deadmau5 and Everything But The Girl have all lined up to bag some instant south American street-cred and a chunk of Marky’s funk via a remix of one of their own tunes.

Not bad for a guy who started out playing parties and clubs in Sao Paulo in the early Nineties, before a chance meeting with UK junglist legend Bryan Gee (boss of Bristol’s seminal V Recordings label), in ’98, led to him being introduced to the UK scene.  Marky had actually already met DJs Goldie and Hype in London, in ’97, but Gee was so blown away by the young Brazilian’s DJing skills, not least his ability to seamlessly scratch his own funky drum patterns with the records and then mix equally fluidly between them, that he invited him to come back and play in London.  Marky went on to be crowned Best New DJ by the British critics/media, in 1999.

Christ, the man’s even put on his own festival (‘DJ Marky and Friends’), having programmed his own tent at the massive Skol Beats festival in Sao Paulo for a decade.  After over 20 years in the game with an incessant tour schedule, he’s still one of the friendliest international DJs you’re likely to meet.  No wonder he’s also one of the most respected and still very much at the top.

This date happens just a few days after he plays the Supersonic festival in Puna, so there may even be some Indian vibes on the dance floor…!  In any case, he’s guaranteed to get a warm welcome from everybody here.

TICKETS

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

UK dance legend Congo Natty brings the jungle ruckus to Loco Kamanchi, Wed 25th Jan ’17

18 January 2017 -

congo_natty_banner

Loco Kamanchi welcomes veteran UK MC/producer Congo Natty (aka Rebel MC) featuring Congo Dubz & Iron Dread on 25th.

Scoring a slew of crossover hits between 1989 and 1992 (Just Keep Rockin’ and Street Tuff with Double Trouble; plus Better World, The Wickedest Sound and Tribal Base), Natty and co mashed up dub, reggae, soul, hip hop, breakbeat and hardcore styles, ushering in jungle and bringing black and white together under one roof – a true pioneer and a proper legend.

There’s a great interview with him in The Guardian, where he talks about what it was like when jungle first broke and the power of music to bring people together, no matter what their colour, creed or culture, among other things….

“Black and white, they should be taken out of the dictionary, in regards to people… By the time jungle came in 94, you’ve got all nations together in London, as one. There’s no colour ting.. Music, for a moment, it cancels out all the shit, and” – he clicks his fingers – “we are one.”

Sentiments such as these resonate deeply with us at the Bongo, especially at fractious times such as these.  But, quite aside from all that, jungle and drum n bass has had a massive impact on British pop music and culture and this man is a true original.

TICKETS have been selling fast!  Don’t sleep.

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hogmanay ’16 with Mumbo Jumbo & Four Corners

22 December 2016 -

mumbo_hog_16_700

After a sell out Hogmanay party at the Bongo last year, Mumbo Jumbo is BACK for Mumbo Jumbo NYE 2016.  Welcome in 2017 with resident DJs Trendy Wendy & Steve Austin for the very best Mumbo Jumbo classics on the main floor: expect disco, house, electro, mashups, remixes and more – the perfect ingredients for the best party soundtrack, all accompanied by Bongo Dave on live congas and percussion.

Mumbo Jumbo is the brainchild of Trendy Wendy, originally behind the much-loved Tackno nights, more recently behind the Playgirl Mansions parties and also the owner of The Street bar at the top of Broughton Street, and Steve Austin, who ran the hugely successful Headspin parties for over a decade at the Bongo.  With some forty years of DJing experience between, you could say they know what they’re doing behind a set of decks.

Meanwhile, upstairs will feature the very best in deep funk, jazzy breaks, afro-latin and dub reggae from Four Corners DJs Simon Hodge and Johnny Cashback, similarly seasoned veterans of the Edinburgh scene.  Simon ran the acclaimed Big Beat nights for a decade, originally at the much-missed Cafe Graffiti and then at Cabaret Voltaire, before launching Four Corners at the Bongo.  Having celebrated its eleventh birthday at the start of the year, Four Corners is still going well and the two DJs are equally well-versed in heating up a dancefloor.

Tickets:  £15 (otd) / £12 (adv)

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gerald Donald performs Arpanet Scottish live debut at Bongo

24 November 2016 -

arpanet-blue-470

This is the one. Possibly the single most important, living electronic artist in our world – Gerald Donald aka Heinrich Mueller, founding father of Drexciya, Dopplereffekt, Der Zyklus and Elecktroids et al – makes his first ever Edinburgh appearance, with the essential Arpanet concept live show, fusing proto-internet vision and next level futurism. Truly unmissable.

Read RA’s news item here.  And there’s a great Gerald Donald primer on FACT.

Tickets available here and also via Resident Advisor.

FACEBOOK

The Substance crew also thought it only right to ask some past guests what their favourite track was. Picks from Ben UFO, Surgeon, Substance aka DJ Pete, DJ Stingray, Rolando, Tessela, Manuel Gonzales, Bleaching Agent, Velocity Funk, Gavin Richardson, Dominic and Adam!  Featuring Arpanet, Drexciya, Japanese Telecom, LAM, Dopplereffekt, Abstract Thought and Der Zyklus:

BEN UFO: Arpanet - Wireless Internet

 SURGEON: Dopplereffekt - Infophysix  TESSELA: Drexciya - Black Sea  DJ STINGRAY: Dopplereffekt - Scientist  JOHN HECKLE: LAM - Balance of Terror EP  DJ ROLANDO: Drexciya - Dr. Blowfin's Experiment (Somewhere in Detroit)  DJ PETE: Arpanet - Illuminated Displays  BLEACHING AGENT: Japanese Telecom - Mounting Yoko  MGUN: Drexciya – Birth of a New Life  VELOCITY FUNK: Arpanet – Infinite Destiny  GAVIN RICHARDSON: Abstract Thought – Hypothetical Situations (Bermuda Triangle & Galactic Rotation!)  DOMMM: Japanese Telecom – Making of Ultraman  ADAM RICHARDSON: Der Zyklus - Formenverwandler 

NB The Soundcloud post below is from 2012.

Donald also released a new album this year under his (collaborative) Der Zyklus alias:

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,