Headset tickets have been flying out the door since the event was announced in November and there are only fifty remaining tickets to be had now (4.30pm, 29.12.17), so don’t hang around if you’re keen to come to the Bongo for NYE.
The event features headliner Hodge (from Bristol) plus local star Telfort, with a veritable smorgasbord of local DJ support.
In short, this will be another great Hogmanay party at the Bongo, with everyone welcome!
We’re very excited to be welcoming Move D to the Bongo. Alias David Moufang, he’s one of Germany’s most successful DJ/producers and a man who’s been around the block more times than most in the contemporary scene, having first got involved as a DJ in the late Eighties, releasing his debut productions in the early Nineties.
Making his Bongo debut, Moufang plays this special date for local label Lionoil, as they celebrate three years of throwing parties in the capital, inviting him to go back-to-back with their pal (and something of a local hero just now), Telfort, whose records Moufang has been championing from the start. It’s not often that you can catch a B2B set from Move D, as there are apparently only a few people in the scene with whom he’s happy to do this. When asked ‘do you enjoy [b2b] as much when you get the opportunity?’ Moufang replied, ‘No, I don’t, and it’s only a handful of people I’d enjoy doing that together with. So that would be Gerd Janson, Jus Ed, and Axel Boman, actually. So I have to really like the person as well as their taste in music… It’s quite an intimate, personal thing.’ So, high praise indeed for the man like Telfort!
If talent converted into record sales, David Moufang would be a very rich man. His records with partner Jonas Grossmann as Deep Space Network and his own solo releases as Move D are among the furthest outreaches of techno’s push towards the stars. Moufang grew up in Heidelberg listening to his parents’ collection of early Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk records but the most overwhelming influence on his childhood was outer space, the result of a trip to the cinema with his father to see 2001: A Space Odyssey. “I was space crazy as a child,” Moufang told journalist Tony Marcus in 1995, “when the other kids were riding around in their little cars I’d be building my own spacecraft. I’d put in a small engine, put rubber on the wheels so it made some noise and stand there with a walkie-talkie and my headphones on. It was very techno…”
Moufang’s grandmothers were both classical concert pianists. He can still remember favourite childhood moments, sitting under the piano as they played, surrounded and lost in sound. By the age of 12, he taken up drums (he eventually went on to study classical percussion) and took up the guitar a few years later, this time taking lessons from two separate jazz guitar teachers. He played guitar in a band called Rivers & Trains well into the ’90s. Occasionally he even plied his trade as a DJ, spinning electro, funk and jazz. It wasn’t until 1989 that he discovered techno when a friend of his, D-Man, invited him to a club he was running in the industrial suburb of Mannheim. When Moufang walked into the Milk! Club that night – like so many others before and after him – he discovered a scene that changed his life. Discovering Detroit, 808 State, Nexus 21 and the first stirrings of ambient techno, Moufang became a committed clubber. Through D-Man, he met Redagain P who converted Moufang’s nickname “Mufti” into the more kinetic Move D.
Moufang’s first records were made with Grossmann as Deep Space Network. Their first two albums, EARTH TO INFINITY (1992) and BIG ROOMS (1993) suggested a significant, unpredictable and innovative talent which was confirmed by the release of HOMEWORKS (1993), a Source Records compilation that included solo tracks such as “Pulsar” and “I’ve Been On Drugs” alongside collaborations with D-Man. Ranging from subtle, Detroit-inflected grooves to wired electronic jazz, Moufang’s music seemed to operate on ambience, slow motion and subdued rhythm, a sound that was rooted, as Tony Marcus later pointed out, “in the jazzy, laid-back but still hip-tugging tradition of Larry Heard, Carl Craig’s “Microlovr” or “The Wonders Of Wishing” and New York’s Burrell Brothers… listening to [Moufang’s records] is like a sweet and lazy adventure into sound, a space where time and stress are suspended.”
REAGENZ (1994), a collaboration with SpaceTime Continuum’s Jonah Sharp, was an astonishing fusion of beautiful, experimental electronics that reached out to a point that even Detroit’s most visionary producers hadn’t yet achieved. Recorded between Heidelberg and San Francisco, it sounded like pianist Bill Evans might have if he’d grown up surrounded by Star Trek instead of modal jazz.
Moufang’s debut album, KUNSTSTOFF (1995), was equally remarkable. Tracks such as “Soap Bubbles” and “In/Out” oscillated between soft, dreamlike textures and the spiked electronics that Detroit was beginning to explore. The glittering production surfaces were a legacy of Moufang’s days as a student at the School of Audio Engineering, but the music they encompassed was equally compelling. It was an album full of contrasts – between the jagged drugfloor grooves of, say, “Nimm 2” and the gentle, synthetic lullaby of “Beyond The Machine” or between the pristine sounds Moufang conjured with and the haloes of analogue noise which surrounded others. Amazingly pretty and wildly innovative, KUNSTSTOFF remains one of the most accomplished techno albums to emerge from Europe so far.
The collaborative ventures that followed – including EXPLORING THE PSYCHEDELIC LANDSCAPE (1996) and A DAY IN THE LIVE (1997) with Pete Namlook – preceded an experimental single for Sheffield’s Warp label. Moufang had been a big fan of the label’s “bleep techno” output in the early ’90s and “Cymbelin” was, in some ways, a homage to that sound, twisting beats and synths into a bass heavy groove. But the producer’s ability to soften almost any structure with aching prettiness transformed the record into a unique fusion.
Another unique fusion was suggested by the release of CONJOINT (1997). A collaboration between Moufang, jazz veteran Karl Berger, Jamie Hodge (of Born Under A Rhyming Planet) and Gunter “Ruit” Kraus, it was Moufang’s most overtly jazzed outing so far, but provided spectacular evidence of his growing abilities as a producer and composer. Currently working on a number of new projects – including a new Deep Space Network album and a second Conjoint album – Moufang continues to explore the boundaries of electronic music.
Jamaican dancehall star and MOBO winner Gyptian makes his Bongo live debut this coming Monday, playing a rare Scottish date as part of a UK tour to promote his new single and we’re stoked to welcome him to the Bongo, which has been supporting reggae music since the venue first opened (in 1996).
This will be a very intimate show for an artist with his profile. Not to be missed!
Here’s an interview with the man from 2013, courtesy of guestlist.net, who published it:
‘UK’s my n*1 family’
You’re rastafarian, your father was rastafarian and your mother was a Seventh-day Adventist, how did that play out for you as a child?
You know, Jamaican people really care about certain things, which aren’t really a priority to us. The father would stay at home and the mother would go at church. Sometimes she’d come home shaking. She used to attend a revival church, it was frightening and traumatising, *imitating intensive breathing*. You know, the Rastafarian, he does what he wants to do, all he has to do is show peace and love and shall unite people. For me, as Rastafarian, no disrespect to Christianity, but it’s hypocrisy, right there.
I heard you were forced to do music when you were young, what does that mean?
First, Gyptian is very shy. Singing professionally wasn’t my thing. The vibes at the studio weren’t great. Then I got exposure on the TV stations. So I just made use of those and I realised there was something really good happening, people liked my songs. So here I am.
So, what can we expect from your show?
The shows are packed and the people are screaming, as usual, they love this Gyptian wine. As usual. I make the ladies’ bodies feel nice, go home make love to their boyfriend, make love to your wife, whatever. Gyptian please you tonight with music, naturally so. You never know if it’s going to outbreak tonight because different crowd, different feel, different performance. Just freestyle as it goes.
You have a reputation of an incredible artist because of your mix of RNB and Reggae with 8 million views on YouTube. Some classify you as a crossover artist, how do you feel about that?
Crossover whatever, I make it in the market, so pretty much a crossover. It’s all about me, showing the world of reggae, as a reggae artist, it’s not dead. Because that’s what I hear everybody saying: How do you feel about reggae this and reggae that? Reggae will never die because when I die there will still be people listening to reggae. The only way it can die is if they get rid of it in Jamaica, music and politics, I’ve seen, I’ve been all over the world. A lot of people are trying to push reggae aside and just stick to what they have. Come on people! Move on!
A lot of mainstream reggae stations are getting rid of their reggae DJs/shows. People are talking about a conspiracy against reggae and dancehall. How do you view that yourself?
Reggae roots shall weigh more than this. Because the spread of reggae was a real all and all task for Bob then to complete. If you have a strong mind, like Bob, you can do it. This is the people’s heritage, this is part of the heritage, part of the love, part of the thing. I think they should all just let it be, because it’s music. All these people trying to criticise and degrade reggae music. Reggae probably does more for them than many with their music. Because what reggae does for people, really, puts you in touch with answers, you see yourself, you can get meditation vibes. We can’t stop man from being man. And I think that is one of our biggest problems in Jamaica. That’s one of the main things that drives the music, because people think we are degrading them which we are not, because we don’t really know what it would lead to if we said what we really have to say. They should leave us alone, give us a break. For me, as an artist, I just try my best to sing a song that has no politics in it. My songs are all about joy and real time, not serious time. Going for the fundamental spirit of the music, without fighting with the politics. I feel like the people that are picking on the reggae artists should just leave us alone. Music is music. No matter how much you try to stop reggae music, you’re only gonna make it bigger.
The mixtape, sex, love, reggae, is out in October (2013). You have real mixes of tunes, ‘Serious times’ and ‘Mama’, and some covers, Gregory Isaacs ‘Number One’ and Cindy Lauper’s ‘True Colours’. There’s a freestyle with Snoop Lion, big combination, what’s the history behind that?
It was big vibes, because, you know, it was Snoop Lion, originally Snoop Dogg. We grew up watching him on TV. I was singing at the radio station and I was told that Snoop was going to be there. I heard that I was suppose to freestyle with Snoop. I was in the corner, it was his moment, so I was just chilling there just thinking. And then I freestyled, and people loved it, you know.
You’ve got some old tunes, remix of riddims, everything is there, it’s nice. A nice mixtape. Your current single, Vixen, featuring Angela Hunte, tell me about the track.
For her to get the chance to work with me and me with her, was just like a magnificent aim from the beginning. So, pretty much, we went in the studio working from time to time. It was a new experience and a new environment around the music. Pretty much, because she came from Jamaica just for a visit, so there was a good vibe of love. Love and respect and everything else. I really appreciated it, big up to Angela Hunte.
You ride a horse in the music video
I’d ridden a donkey, not a horse. I had this big gigantic horse. I was like: ‘Is this really necessary?’. I thought that was the interesting part. After that shoot they had this snake in a cage. I went to the cage that was standing there until someone came up and told me it was a snake. The snake is in a box, it’s not like it’s coming out. ‘It’s not venomous’. They didn’t tell me I was going to put a snake around my neck. I was like ‘Rascassa, no’. ‘Gyptian’s snake is not venomous’, no snake, the horse-riding was enough. We did one extreme part let’s stick to that. It was nice and everybody enjoyed themselves.
The way you move is fantastic.
You move like, some girls like it in some way. We all know this. You have to read the mind, you have to read the eyes, the body language and all these things. Because first, you have to know a women can take one glimpse at a man if she wants to. While we men, think our face is pretty and at the same time we wanna have a back stare, a back look when she passes. You’ve got 10 men in a room and everyone want this one girl, do you know who she wants? The one that isn’t giving her attention. That’s the man she’ll really want. You wonder why? Is it that he is not paying attention to her? I’ll be the one like, she’s staring, I’ll be drinking or I’ll be doing something different until she comes over. This is why, then we come and ask me. Pretty much, it speaks for itself.
When is a full studio album coming out?
20th of this month. You’ll get the sound that you need. I don’t know what else to say.
It’s black history month this month, any special message, especially to the black community?
Pretty much, we black people have come from far far away. We haven’t been paid for all the work we put in. I guess we are not gonna get any consultation. But at the same time this is our month, so listen, black with power, power with the people. Mad love, mad life, mad respect and everything. When I say mad I mean good.
Australia’s finest musical export and ‘king of the edit’ Late Nite Tuff Guy takes a journey back to celebrate the life’s work of one of the greatest showmen, producers and songwriters to ever grace a stage. After the success of this tremendous show over in Oz the ‘Tuff Guy’ puts his heart and soul into an immersive all night tribute to The Purple One.
Here’s a good interview with LNTG, about the influence of the Purple one on him and the whole world of pop and dance music, courtesy of Pulse Radio:
Do you remember where you were when you heard your first Prince record? Or when you bought your first album? Can you recall the first time you saw Prince live?
How about the last time? Do you remember how you felt when you found out he was gone?
Cam Bianchetti remembers. Bianchetti is one of Australia’s most enduring dance music artists. An influencer during house and techno’s formative years of the early ‘90s in both Europe and Australia as DJ HMC, he now dominates the global house and disco edits scene as Late Nite Tuff Guy, responsible for two of the most ubiquitous tracks on contemporary dance floors, ‘I Get Deeper’ and the ‘Controversy’ edit, ‘Do I Believe In God’. He also happens to be a Prince fan, as true as they come.
I had heard that Bianchetti was on the shy and retiring side in interviews, but if there was truth to that, not so when talking about his long time musical idol, Prince. On this subject Bianchetti is animated, educated and above all, passionate.
A seventeen year old Bianchetti first heard Prince at a small club in his “sleepy” home town of Adelaide on an unassuming Wednesday night no less, “which is pretty happening for Adelaide let me tell you!” Loving the track, Bianchetti immediately resolved to source its creator and so, on a pre-internet Thursday in 1981, looked for answers at his local record store, where he discovered the artist behind the single to be Prince, and purchased his LP on the spot.
An epic seven-minute dance stomper which sings of a craving for emancipation from oppression and bias, the track which started it all for Cam was ‘Controversy’. “Who is this person?” was the question driving the young music fan. In the space of a year he’d purchased Prince’s three previous albums and “completely fallen in love” with his music.
So what was it that captured Bianchetti’s sensibilities so strongly? “Partly the fact that he crosses all genres of music,” he expains. “R’n’B, soul, disco in the early days, funk, rock’n’roll, jazz… he can do anything. But what I love most is the sparseness and simplicity of a lot of the music.”The less-is-more approach which so attracted him directly influenced the music Bianchetti would go on to make in the following decade. “When I started producing music it was techno, and the popular tracks were that ones that were really simple and straight to the point, there was nothing fancy about them whatsoever.”
Lyrically and conceptually, Prince’s understanding of the power of nuance is also a strong draw for Bianchetti. A cryptic character in real life, Prince’s lyrics are suggestive and layered. “He has an incredible way of writing words. A lot of his earlier stuff is about sex. I find lyrics today can be so blatant, so in your face, that there’s nothing to read behind, it’s just so – there. Whereas Prince’s early lyrics, about that subject in particular, were a little deeper. You had to think about what he was saying before you understood it.”
Finally, one of the most impressive aspects of Prince’s creativity was his autonomy. Diverse in skill and determined by nature, a teenage Prince wrote and produced his debut self-titled album on his own, as well as recording the vast majority of the album’s instrumentation himself. “When you think that he was seventeen at the time and he wrote just about everything on that album… fuck it’s impressive.” Still awed by this feat as an accomplished artist, one can imagine how it would have resonated with Bianchetti as a budding producer of the same age.
As we talk, it becomes clear that Bianchetti values Prince’s pursuit of creative autonomy as much as his creativity. The untameable, in many ways unknowable character that Prince presented throughout the course of his thirty year career proved to be a fascination and inspiration in itself. Having dedicated the best part of his life to the “jungle” that is the music industry, Bianchetti is familiar with the financial tug of war that plagues so many artists, and admires Prince’s tenacity in public battles with his record label Warner, which peaked in the late ‘90s with Prince’s defiant (if rather untenable) name change to a cryptic glyph, and the penning of ‘slave’ across his own cheek in protest.
“He definitely puts himself out there as someone quite strange, who really knows who he is. Someone who’s not afraid to do something different. After the success of Purple Rain, for example, which was massive, he released Around The World In A Day, which was completely different. I, along with a lot of other people, expected another Purple Rain. But I remember him saying in an interview it would have been so easy to do Purple Rain Pt 2, but he likes to push himself and do something original every time. I love that.”
No stranger to reinvention himself, slamming techno DJ HMC come disco-edit don Late Nite Tuff Guy has clearly taken the lesson of creative challenges to heart. “Throughout my youth, throughout DJing and producing, I wanted to do something different every time. It’s a lot harder now that I’m older though. I tend to revert back to doing what I know, because it’s easier… but you don’t challenge yourself that way, do you?”
So Prince as a person has inspired, as well as his music. But can any of us really lay claim to understanding such an eccentric and elusive character, having never even met him? “He’s definitely a weird character… we just don’t know him,” Banchietti acknowledges. Why is it, then, that he and so many others felt such a profound and personal sense of loss upon hearing of his death?
“When I found out about his passing, it was one of the saddest moments that I could ever remember. Obviously I had a cry. I couldn’t believe I would never get to see him play live again.”
Bianchetti was lucky enough to attend one of the final performances of Prince’s life in February of last year. “I’m so thankful I got to see him, but the awful thing about that day was that Vanity [an artistic protégé and one-time lover of Prince], had died that day. So he was really emotional, and you felt like a lot of the songs that he did were in honour of her. It was a really special show.”
The emotion of this performance explains at least part of the reason we can feel such a personal connection to someone we’ve never actually met. Most artists put some of the deepest parts of themselves into the work they create – so in some way, we do know them. “Well, we know a part of them,” Bianchetti qualifies. But it’s more than that; we are not merely observers to the emotions of our favourite musicians. In a fascinating and powerful phenomenon, our own emotions and personal development are inextricably woven into their music and persona, at least in our own consciousness.
“The only way to explain it for me is that it’s because I grew up on his music – especially Sign Of The Times, which is my favourite Prince album. I remember listening to that constantly and it was also around the time that I was smoking marijuana, so I heard the album differently. Growing up on that music, learning a lot about how he produces and how he writes… it influenced me. And now it is a part of me, right? It’s a part of my youth.”
“After [David] Bowie’s death and Prince’s death I saw people on Facebook saying things like, ‘you don’t know the person, why are you pretending to care?’ and so on … and it’s like, well, we really are connected to them! And when they go, a part of your youth is gone too.”
Throughout our interview, Bianchetti mostly talks about Prince in the present tense; less as an individual who has died than as a musical legacy that he hopes will live on for a long time to come. As Late Nite Tuff Guy, Bianchetti has played an important role on an international scale in keeping that legacy alive through his edits.
Though ‘Controversy’ is the only one he’s released, Bianchetti has a small but powerful arsenal of Prince edits which he saves for his own sets, “and yes, it’s going to stay that way” he assures me. It takes some balls to begin tinkering with the music of an artist you idolise so much, and when I ask if it makes him nervous the response is unequivocal. “Oh shit yeah. We’re talking about a genius here. If you want to take on his music, then you really have to bring it.”
Despite intimidation, inspiration comes from within the track. “I didn’t do that much to ‘Controversy’, just extended and accentuated parts of the track that were amazing. For example that loop in the beginning just really gets me, I could see myself on the dance floor going, ‘fuck yes!’”
That looped introduction is an important part of most LNTG disco edits – a new and more contemporary presentation of the dusty disco gems of the past. “A lot of young people ask me about the old music. They love the way I’ve interpreted it in a way that they understand…The first part of the edit is a looping, hypnotic groove that draws them in, and then I expose them to what the track was before.” Hearing old songs reinterpreted on modern terms can be the catalyst for many young music lovers to discover a whole new world of listening: Prince and beyond. “And they need to do it themselves,” Bianchetti adds paternally. “You can’t force feed it to them.”
Creating an edit not only allows him to share the music he loves with a new audience, but it also offers Bianchetti an opportunity to appreciate its components on a finer level – especially when it comes to Prince. “When I do an edit, obviously I quantise everything in Ableton. And then you go through the track slowly, many many times, so you hear everything clearly: all the words, all the music, all the intricate bits of the track. Hearing it slowly like that over the process of edits definitely makes me love it more.”
“I’ve never known a musician to do the things Prince does; a unique sound and a unique way of producing music. It’s beyond everybody.”
There could be none more fitting to curate a Prince Tribute Night on the first anniversary of his death than Late Nite Tuff Guy. A talented musician in his own right, Cam Bianchetti is also a true fan.
Late Nite Tuff Guy x Prince Tribute (3 hr set)
Tour support TBA
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.”
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.
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///
-Dunt and Body Residents: 11-1
LIMITED EARLY BIRD TICKETS: £5
ADVANCE TICKETS: £7
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”
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 Hoprecords (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
Warehouse Sessions – 011 – Jerome Hill
01. Bintus “Cylinder Bop” (Power Vacuum)
02. Wevie De Crepon “Ton Wah” (Sonig)
03. Herbert “My DJ” (Accidental)
04. Jerome Hill “Work That Shit” (Don’t)
05. Teknocracy “Shrapnel Valley” (Pie Factory)
06. Vernon “Awakening In Antwerp” (Dixon Avenue Basement Jams)
07. Green Velvet & Gary Beck “Stronger” (Relief)
08. UVB “Anxiety” (Mord)
09. Pump Panel “To The Sky” (Missile)
10. Gutts “Gabos” (Horror Boogie)
11. Rei Elbaz & Anna Haleta “Don’t Stop” (Pacotec)
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.
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….
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.
Having developed a reputation as an adventurous DJ, Hauff released her cassette-only debut, entitled A Tape on Dallas-based label Handmade Birds in 2015. The record – which will be re-issued this year via San Francisco’s Dark Entries Records – was compromised of Hauff’s earliest recorded material, rediscovered gems dug off of an old harddrive. “Some of the tracks on there are my first tries, the first things I kept from recording, that I didn’t delete immediately because they were horrible,” she jokes. In 2016 Hauff dropped her debut studio album, Discreet Desires, via Actress’s Werkdiscs, a subsidiary of Ninja Tune. The album is moodier than past releases, more of a “contemplative journey” than her freewheeling DJ sets would have you expect. She plays with melodies and synth and infusions of Italo keys, favouring her trusty Juno-60 on more than one occasion. Hi-hats are thrust in and pulled back out, fuelling the record’s dark, dramatic soundscape. It has a bleak Berlin winter vibe to it.
“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.”
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.
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!
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.
The Zenkers are massive collectors of analogue hardware (images courtesy of Slices / Electronic Beats).
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!