Friday, 24 December 2010
Monday, 13 December 2010
Friday December 3rd:
Geoff Leopard: Is playing Tokyo tonight with The birthday berk, El.Dee.
Join us to toast his eternal youth at 12 o'clock (while that portrait in the loft loses another layer of lustre).
We're playing records from the decade he was born, so expect Prussian Techno, Disco from New Amsterdam and possibly a dash of Ottoman Psyche.
Bad passion are in town also.
Lock up your medicine cabinets
Friday December 10th:
Lee Forster: TONIGHT, TOKYO TERR-ARSE with myself and Mewgar......
thawing-out balearic .. mild'ish disco .. not as cold hewse .. starting to melt techno
FREE ENTRY 8 - 1 am....
free 2 litre bottles of Frosty Jack to the first 2 people.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Christmas is around the corner and we're skint.
Follow the links at the top of the page, buy some stuff from Juno and help make sure that Tiny Tim's ass doesn't have to hit the bricks this year.
Worth noting is the fact that Juno is giving away a free track every day up until Christmas, which you can access via the border on the top of the blog.
We've also stuck up links to the new charts by Tourist favourites Phoreski and Max Essa.
While you're on the Juno site try and buy something expensive, like a golden record box, or some diamond slipmats.
The commision we get on those has got to be like £3 or something.
Monday, 29 November 2010
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Friday, 29 October 2010
2. Theo Parrish – Shadow Dancing
3. Son Dexter – Sonrise Dance
4. Theo Parrish – Delwood II
5. Three Chairs – On The 3 Chairs
6. Theo Parrish – Ebonics
7. Franck Roger Etc – No More Believe
8. Chez N Trent – The Choice
9. Roy Ayers – Running Away
10. Positive Force – We Got The Funk
11. Theo Parrish – Lake Shore Drive
12. Lego – El Ritimo De Verdad
13. 1050 East Feat. Lady Alma – Count On Me
14. Piranhahead - Unreleased
15. Infinity Feat Malik – Back 2 Chicago
16 .Loletta Holloway – Love Sensation (Ugly Edit 5)
18. Love I Lost (Ugly Edit)
19. Mr Fingers – Sharing 909’s
20. First Choice – Love And Happiness
21. Gherkin Jerks – Acid Indigestion
21. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
22. Da Posse – It’s My Life (Aluh Mix)
23. Sylvester – Over & Over
24. Loletta Holloway – Catch Me On The Rebound
25. Brainstorm – Hot For You
26. Phreek – Big Phreek
27. Kikrokos – Jungle Dj (Ron Hardy Edit)
28. Made In The Usa – Never Let You Go (Ugly Edit 1)
29. Sylvester – Down, Down, Down
31. Lenny Williams - Choosing You
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Monday, 11 October 2010
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Sean Johnston's mixes and productions have become somewhat of a favourite here at Tourist HQ of recent and as such it will comes as no suprise that we've this mix on the ol' iPod for quite a while now. After the universally positive response and huge number of downloads the unspeakably brilliant 'Hardway Bros Bathing Machine II' mix we hosted by Sean recieved, and with a couple of heavily anticipated new Hardway Bros productions about to drop we thought it would be the ideal time to lay this one on y'all. The mix was a warm-up set for Ivan Smagghe at the Prins Thomas/Full Pupp hosted 'Summer Ekstravaganza' party at Corsica Studios and as you'd expect, it's effin' leathal! Regarde,,,,,
1. Tornado Wallace * Paddlin' (Linkwood remix)
2. Skatebard * Starwatcher II
3. Cole Medina * I Got My Mind Made Up (Cole's Remake)
4. Runaway * Dirty Cake
5. Rebolledo & Daniel Maloso * Colt Seavers
6. Mike Burns * Patterns
7. John Talabot * La Ninya (Afrodub Version)
8. Mungolian Jetset * Mush In The Bush
9. Williams * Confused Arp Disco
10. Spectacle * The Mask Of Sanity
11. Andrew Weatherall * Brother Johnston's Travelling Disco Consultancy
12. Junesex * Worst Than Love (Gilb'r Chateau Flight Remix)
13. Cage & Aviary * Beat-N-Path (Brennan Green's mix)
14. Von Spar * Troops (Rebolledo Remix)
15. Midnight Magic * Beam Me Up (Jacques Renault Remix)
16. Cole Medina * Red Hot (The Mole's MMD Mix)
17. Chopstick & Johnjon feat Fritz Kalkbrenner * Keep On Keepin' On!
18. T-Coy * Carino (Motor City Drum Ensemble mix)
19. Henrik Schwarz, Kuniyuki Takahashi * Once Again (Kuniyuki Version)
20. Wolfgang Voigt * Geduld (DJ Koze Mix)
21. Roxy Music * The Main Thing (Rub N Tug Remix)
22. Jamie Jones * Ruckus
Also, get more info on the extended run of Sean and Andrew Weatheralls 'A Love From Outer Space' night here and check out more 'Hardway Bros' gear on Coundcloud by clicking here innit!
Till next time, big love.
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
October 22nd sees the Last Waltz DJs (the Tourist house band and all-round wretched miscreants) take to the road again.
This time they’re returning to Leeds to play at THROWBACK alongside Tourist fave MARK E and resident DJ’s (and friends to the stars) DEATH ON THE BALCONY.
While his work has certainly been known to the cognoscenti for the last few years, it appears that as of late Mark E is rapidly making the transition to superstar status, thanks in no small part to some excellent releases and remixes on “Under The Shade” as well as his own “Merc” imprint.
Death on the Balcony also seem to be actively making a name for themselves, not only via their own parties (Throwback, Emanuelles Party Bucket) but through some great output through MagicBag (a label they’re heavily involved with), Airdrop and Ackbal Music.
SoulClap in particular seem smitten by the Leeds duo, not only releasing one of their tracks (a chugging take on Bananarama’s Long Hot Summer) on their latest FreEp Project, but also asking them to provide the latest mix for the SoulClap Podcast.
We’ve also heard tell that the Throwback parties have quickly turned into the hang out of choice for Leeds ever increasing roll-call of musical movers & shakers, so all in all, the party sounds like it’s going to be a good one.
Last Waltz remain to be bad haircuts with good records.
Fnd more details on the event by clicking here.
Download Mark E BiS Mix
Download Death on The Balcony Mix for SoulClap
Download Geoff Leopard (1/3 Last Waltz) edit of Dire Straights * Follow Me Home, here.
(Yes, we know this has already been on the OOFT! Blog. Jeeeeeeeez!)
Sunday, 3 October 2010
A smart new mix this week from Tourist favourite 'The Countach'. If the name isn't immiediately recognised now, then take note as we're sure that it'll be very familiar, very soon!
The Countach is a mysterious record player from Manchester and hes been putting vinyls on decks for the last 5 years all over the UK as well as established institutes like the Warehouse Project and Sankeys on home ground. Based in Manchester, he was one of the original members to set up the Micron with a group of like minded party people. Wanting to pursue his journey into the production ship he left Micron to go live in a cave for a few years to work on some unusual sounds. Influenced by the old Gigolo Records sound and a mixture of italo disco and weird techno, he has created some interesting music for himself, and hopefully other people too. His debut EP is out in Autumn on Matt Walsh's label Clouded Vision with a healthy set of remixes from another Tourist favourite Ivan Smagghe and partner Tim Paris, Clouded Vision and Rob Mello. The EP itself is a mixture of retro electro, future techno and neo rave so expect a barn stormer of a record. He is also part of the Jupiter Rooms night which runs in Manchester and London which is a monthly electronic boogaloo. If you get the chance while seeing him play, pop over and say hi or tell him and interesting story involving animals as he will most definitely enjoy them.
1. Bagarre - For Your Pleasure
2. Maurice McGee - Do I Do
3. The Creatures - Believe In Yourself
4. Betty Miranda - Dance
5. Fred Ventura - I'm Not Ready
6. Methusalem - Time Machine
7. M & G - Boogie Tonight
8. Pink Project - Amama
9. K.I.D. - Don't Stop
10. Bizzy & Co. - Take A Chance
11. The Countach - Untitled Italo Track
12. Vivien Vee - Higher
Download The Countach: Back In 84 Mix here.
Catch more music from The Countach on 'Soundcloud' here.
Till next time.
Big love. Tourist. X
Saturday, 18 September 2010
New mix from a couple of Tourists favourite deck botherers, Wax:On residents and local chaps, Simon Lister & Peter Wilson aka 'People Get Real'. As we always attempt to bring you something a little different, this mix dances to a slightly more arch beat than the majority of the sets you may have heard from Simon & Peter across the years, ploughing a decidedly alternate musical field from their usual club dynamic and demonstrating a pleasing diversity and undoubted nous in their tastes without exibiting any of the chin stroking 'look at my records' smuggness that invariably polutes the majority of these types of mix selections.
Along it's running time the mix touches base with everyone from 80's Leeds-post-punk favourites Delta 5 and DJ Harveys awesome 'Map Of Africa' project to techno matriarch Ellen Allien as well as tossing in curveballs such as middle England prog rockers King Crimson (albeit in remixed form), that rarest of creatures, a 'good dubstep track' from Gemmy, not to mention a forgotton corker from Fleetwood Mac duo Lyndsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks.
Anyhoo, thats enough smoke blowing for anyones arse so I'll leave the last word to the lads themselves,,,,,
"Crack with the mix is basically we just wanted to do something a bit different to norm, its not about the mixes or the transitions its about the flow of the tracks and hopefully how the story comes together over the course of the mix."
1. Marva Josie * He does it Better
2. Buckingham & Nicks * Frozen Love
3. Diana Ross * Now that you're Gone
4. Cheryl Lynn * All my Lovin'
5. Michael Jackson * Billy Jean 'Nico's rework'
6. Barrington Levy * Here I come
7. Gemmy * Grime Baby
8. Delta 5 * Mind your own Business
9. King Crimson * Sleepless 'Francois K remix'
10. Sudeten Creche * Asylums
11. Ellen Allien * You
12. Death Comet Crew * Exterior St. 'Protein version'
13. Digital Mystikz * Earth a Run Red
14. Map of Africa * Dirty Lovin'
15. Vonspar * Dog Machine
16. The Smiths * How soon is Now
Download 'People Get Real * Bits, Beats & Bobs Mix' here.
You can catch the lads playing their more conventional, yet no less interesting 'dancefloor' style in a couple of Fridays time (Oct 1st to be exact) as part of their Wax:On residency at Digital in Newcastle alongside Tourist favourite Ivan Smagghe and Simian Mobile Disco. Also, in a nice demonstration of symmetry my good lady wife Geoff Leopard and the Last Waltz boys will also be playing at Wax:On that night hosting room 2 so looks like it'll be a real corker!
People Get Real on Soundcloud.
Till next time.
Big love. Tourist. X
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Yep, we at Tourist are rather excited about this new monthly special being undertaken by our good friends at Dragnet. Continuing with they're ethos of all things deep, dubby, discordant and disco they're kicking of their 'SuperDragnet' series of events off with the excellent 'Headman' aka Relish Records owner Robi Insinna at TheCut this Saturday!
Swiss born musical genius Headman runs the influential Relish record label and resides in Berlin making music that is a perfect blend of Old Skool Electro, Mutant Disco and Post Punk/New Wave suss with Acid House attitude, making him the perfect person to kick off the SuperDragnet sessions.
Headman, along with James Murphy and his DFA label lead the return to NY style punk funk in the early 00's along the way garnering a reputation as a serious new tastemaker. His music however always retains a sense of fun combined of course with a lethal dance floor dynamic, remixing the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Chromeo, Zombie Nation, Munk, Zongamin, The Invisibles, Doves, Tiga and Inflagranti, amongst many others while his most acclaimed Headman remix is his mindblowing mix of 'Roxy Musics' Virginia Plain.
Whilst recording for big hitting labels like Output, Gomma and Kitsune, Robbi has worked and recorded with members of Soulwax, The Rapture, Liquid Liquid and seminal Manchester punk funk band A Certain Ratio. Many of his tracks are mixed in Berlin's mythical HANSA studio (where Eno and Bowie changed the face of modern music).
He also makes Cosmic and Balearic Disco under the reversed name of Manhead, tracks in this style such as Special and Doop being longtime favourites of current space disco king Lindstrom.
An especially noteworthy inclusion to his body of work is early Manhead track 'Birth' School' Work' Death', an Italo-ish 80's synth homage that became a cult hit when released on the seminal Output label and found it's way onto the essential 'Output channel 4' compilation alongside the likes of MU, DK7, Yello and Black Strobe.
With his Relish label Robi has also overseen releases by (New Wave legends) Units, Don Cash, Riot in Belgium, Dennis Young (Liquid Liquid) , Yuksek, Franz & Shape and tape to tape and the latest Headman album '1923' contains the single 'Gimme' which features vocals by the one and only Dieter Meier of 80's electro giants Yello. Other guests on this fantastic collection include Steve Mason of Beta Band and King Biscuit Time.
Headman brings his exceptional record collection to The Cut on Sat 18th Sept but if you want a taster of what to expect we've posted Robbi's recent 'Headman Summer Mix' here to download, a brilliant introduction for those not familiar with his work and a timely reminder to old fans alike.
Just click on the link and gerramongst it!
Download the Headman 'Summer Mix' here.
Headman on Facebook.
As part of the electrifying SUPERDRAGNET line up which over the next few months includes sets by Richard Sen (Padded Cell) Optimo (Optimo Espaciao), Trevor Jackson(Output/Playgroup), Shitrobot (DFA), Andrew Weatherall (Two lone Swordsmen/Rotters Golf Club), Matthew Waites (Thisisnotanexit/Dissident) and a host of other musical heavyweights. Keep 'em peeled for more info.
Till next time.
Big Love. Tourist. X.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
For those of you who don't know, Bill Brewster is a DJ, Author and is partly responsible for the infinitely superior website djhistory.com
Bill also wrote "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life", which is possibly the most comprehensive account of the history of the DJ available (as well as simply being a great read) and he's currently set to release his next book (penned alongside Frank Broughton) "The Record Players", which (to quote the man himself) "is a collection of some of the best interviews with DJs we've done over the years (nearly 50 in total), all bound together in a lovely book, with loads of charts, discographies and groovy shizzle".
Bill has kindly put together an offer for readers of this blog to get two quid off the price of the book if you buy it from http://www.djhistory.com/.
All you need to do is put WEATHERALL into the coupon box when you buy the book on their site (offer is valid till the end of Sept)
On top of this, Bill has also given us the opportunity to present one of the interviews from his new book, featuring Tourist Pin-Up ANDREW WEATHERALL.
and here it is...
Inspired as much by ’50s rockabilly legend Mac Curtis as the deep house of Mac Thornhill, Andrew Weatherall bequeathed us one of the finest albums of the modern era in Screamadelica. In a variety of subsequent guises he went on to produce everything from coruscating techno made for shirts-off German nutters to delicate ambient music perfect for Café Del Mar, and his DJ sets are as notoriously wide and eclectic as his productions. Weatherall started his DJing career as the bloke with weird records booked to play in second rooms or late on in the proceedings. After regular appearances at early acid club Shoom he found himself suddenly in demand, and at gigs where he was expected to actually make people dance. Working in a Windsor clothes shop by day, by night he’d be either DJing or venting his spleen in the pages of Boy’s Own, the fanzine he started with local chums Terry Farley, Cymon Eckel and Steve Mayes.
Tell me something about growing up and your musical interests as a kid.
I was brought up in the suburbs in Windsor and my grandparents lived in Slough. It was suburban but it wasn’t too far away, so I could go on raiding parties. I’d jump on a train and in an hour I’d be in London. The great thing about that is you don’t take it for granted. You may even have a couple of months to assimilate what you’ve seen and heard and done. Sometimes when you live in London, you get blasé, it washes over you a little bit. So living in suburbia you had chance to discuss the skirmishes you’d been involved with, which is what I really liked.
So what would a typical trip be then?
I’d save up and then I’d probably go to Kensington Market to a rockabilly shop. I’d go to World’s End. I’d do any number of jobs and save up so I could go into town and buy records from the Cage in Beaufort Market in the Kings Road which was the first shop that sold post-punk records, apart from Rough Trade. It was a pop culture thing: clothes, records, haircut, and tattoos!
What did you do for jobs when you left school?
First job I had was a furniture porter for an old school shop called Pyle Brothers. They had no lifts and they had a storeroom on the third floor and they’d buy up bankrupt stock and us four had to unload articulated lorries full of Chesterfields and take them up three flights of stairs. At this time I’d just discovered amphetamine sulphate as well so I was a tad wiry and more than willing to start some sort of fracas on a Friday night. Loads of jobs. My last job was a stagehand building film sets. It was around 1988. I’d work on a film set for a couple of weeks and I was beginning to DJ a bit and there was a bit of dilemma: do I start DJing properly? And I’d been offered a job abroad with this set company and in the end I didn’t go because they let me down at the last minute. So if I’d have gone on that trip I probably wouldn’t be sitting talking to you now.
Did you see music as an escape from what you’d been doing?
Not really. It was literally, here’s a chance to make some money. I like to have money to buy clothes. I thought I’d give the DJing a go. But even when ‘Loaded’ [by Primal Scream] came out I remember going for a job interview at London Records to be a record plugger or A&R man or something. I still thought it was the latest way to make some money. It felt like another stop-gap. It’s the same as the Rolling Stones reflecting on how they started, ‘Oh we thought it’d be over in 18 months!’ That’s how I felt. I’d plough on in my direction and things seem to turn out alright.
When did you first get interested in DJing, what made you want to become one?
It was only quite recently that I considered myself a DJ. I started collecting records when I was 12 or 13 years old and whenever there was a get-together I would be asked, ‘Bring your records,’ when everyone else was more interested in copping off and drinking party sevens. The next step was, ‘Get that bloke with the weird record collection to play some music.’ That was a couple of years before Shoom. The same happened at the birth of acid house: ‘Call that bloke with the weird records to play at six in the morning.’
I just had that sort of joy I had when I was 11 or 12. I’ve had the experience of hearing this for the first time and now it’s your turn. I was just playing records, I wasn’t skilled. I was playing such varied music you couldn’t mix it.
But then because my name started to get associated with Shoom, Spectrum and things like that, people would book me without really hearing what I did. They probably booked me so they could put ‘Shoom’ in brackets. So I was getting booked to play main spots and going down like the proverbial turd in the salad because I’d be playing weird music at six in the morning. So I had to incorporate more and more house and disco tracks and learn how to mix. My first pair of record decks were bought by a record company I did a mix for. I did the sleevenotes for some Italo-disco compilation and my payment was a set of decks. It was about 1990. So it was a gradual progression until about five or six years ago I kind of realised I was a DJ.
But the thing that probably attracts you is that evangelism of finding interesting stuff and playing it to people.
Yeah, but without straying into righteous zeal territory! You know what I mean? It’s almost as good a feeling looking in someone’s eyes and seeing their joy of discovery; it’s almost like re-living your own joy of discovery. In a way it’s a little bit selfish. Although you’re sharing stuff, a good part of it is for your own gratification. There’s a little bit of selfishness back ’cos you want that feeling back that you’ll never get again. It’s a bit desperate really! [laughs].
There’s also a certain amount of ego involved because it’s obviously quite exciting to play records to people. Was that an attractive thing?
Not to start with because a lot of times the DJ was only one step above bottle washer. It was only when people were so desperate for heroes that they thought DJs would be good ones. I’ll be honest with you, I did fall for it hook, line and sinker because being such a music fan and buying the NME and music magazines, and all of a sudden you find yourself in them, well it can turn a man’s head. I did go a bit silly for a number of years. Then you throw the obvious drug into the equation as well, which is super-duper ego-expanding powder and yeah, you do get sucked in. I don’t sympathise with people on that star trip but I can empathise with them. You’re living in lala-land and people are coming up to you every day and saying how great you are. Hold on a minute, are we so desperate for heroes that we’re going to have DJs for heroes? That’s not right, it should be something a bit more substantial than that.
How did it affect you personally?
Well without going into too much detail, it affected relationships on every level from friends to girlfriend. Just general everyday dealings with human beings. I was a bit arrogant. To be honest, some of that was a defence mechanism. I’d been told I was the best thing since sliced bread and in the back of my mind was this feeling that all these people would find me out. Someone’s gonna go, ‘Look he’s not wearing any clothes!’ So partly the arrogance was to put up a wall because of my insecurity. But it’s part of getting older, really. The artistic world is full if insecure people and I was just one of them. You get older and become more self-aware. It’s nice that people come up and say nice things about what you’ve done. But you know, sometimes I think I’d rather people think I had a shit back catalogue but thought I was a decent human being.
What were your first musical passions?
Fifties rock and roll and glam rock, without a doubt. It was about the time the film That’ll Be The Day came out. I would’ve been 11 or 12. They had these adverts on the cinema and there was ‘Poetry in Motion’ by Johnny Tillotson, ‘Runaway’ by Del Shanonn, ‘Johnny Remember Me’ [by John Leyton], all those kind of things. Look, I’m getting goose bumps talking about it! It sounded like music from another planet. Coupled with a film about blokes on bumper cars with leopard skin drape suits and David Bowie on Top Of The Pops.
It’s the classic kid in the suburbs. I had a nice upbringing but it was a bit dull. That was like a gateway to a parallel universe. Then a few years later punk came along, then post-punk business, rockabilly revival. Yeah, and I’ve been on every bandwagon since! [laughs].
How did you meet the Boy’s Own lot then?
Well I lived in Windsor and they lived in Slough and it was that classic suburban thing of people meeting at the one decent clothes shop. Can’t remember what it was called offhand but this guy Johnny Rocca worked there. I met Gary Haisman and Terry Farley there. We used to go to the same sort of discos. Cymon [Eckel] lived there as well. I was really hanging out a lot with Cymon and another guy called Phil Goss, who now lives in Italy. Every Friday, pre-acid house, we used to meet up at 9 o’clock and drop a tab of acid, which is where that post-punk compilation I did for Nuphonic got its name from [9 O’clock Drop]. Then we headed into town and went to Le Beat Route or Mud Club or something like that. I gradually got to know Terry over those years going to clubs.
When you started Boy’s Own, what was it? Was it a club or a magazine or what?
It was a magazine first. Terry was enthralled with The End. His words at the time, ‘If fuckin’ scousers can do it then I’m sure we can!’ or some such pep talk. And we did. It was Pritt sticks and cutting things out on my coffee table.
Were you aware of The End?
Yeah I’d seen it; I knew exactly what he was talking about. I wasn’t into football. [Steve] Mayesy and all that lot, they were into football and they’d get these things from football and I totally got what he was saying. So it was like, let’s give it a go.
What stuff were you reading at the time?Well I can’t remember exactly but it would probably involve Camus and Kafka and the usual kind of youthful follies. I was and still am a Joseph Conrad fan. I just saw it as a chance for expression and I’d be able to write about music. It’s a fanzine, so it doesn’t have to be particularly current, you’ve got nobody’s product to push so you can be quite abstract. I was the Outsider (his pseudonym in Boy’s Own)
Why did you call your column The Outsider?Because I was a bolshie little bastard! I always wanna be in a gang but then I don’t wanna be. I want the best of both of worlds. So I thought I’d be able to write a sarky piece deconstructing or taking the piss out of everything you’re about to read about. I wanted to have my cake and eat it I suppose.
Is that a theme that runs through your whole career?I’m totally like that. I wanna be accepted but get annoyed when I am. Groucho Marx said, ‘I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that accepted me as a member.’
How did the ideas come about for Boy’s Own?It was literally what anyone had listened to that week or read or what had happened. After acid house kicked in it became the village paper for the acid house scene. There was only two or three clubs! There were pictures of parties where only 2-300 people had been. It was very insular. After a couple of years, John Brown Publishing offered us national distribution and we were like it’s pointless, cos people’ll just think, ‘Silly Cockney cunts.’ It would have appeared too cliquey. Obviously people from up north did buy it but they were people that came to the parties. It would have been like making a parochial local newspaper and then selling it throughout the British Isles. It wouldn’t work.
How do you feel about it now? It’s still revered and a lot of it is still funny.
Yeah, but I don’t actually own a copy. There was a certain point – on too many ecstasies – that I gave away most of my possessions, you know what I mean? Most of my test pressings, acetates and everything: ‘Yeah, go on, I love you!’ [laughs] I’ve seen bits of it and I think it’s alright but there are a bits that I find a bit embarrassing and a bit un self-aware but other people might think were really funny. If you looked back at some of the stuff you wrote 20 years ago you’d probably think the same.
And throw the vernacular of acid house into the equation as well!
And the drugs.Yeah. It’s a good, unpretentious document of those times I think. It would be pretty essential in years to come for people researching the birth of acid house. I’d say it was a jolly good read for historical purposes but for entertainment purposes it would be very dated.
What bound all of you lot together?
A common love of going out and all that that entailed. The music, the clothes, what happened afterwards when you discussed things like books, art, it was the whole social scene that generations before us had had. I just wanted my scene. I was a bit too young for punk. So it was kind of my thing. Again it’s that thing I wanted to part of a scene but didn’t want nobody to understand! It was that again.
What about places like the Mud Club.Well it was good, the dressing up was fun but there didn’t seem to be any kind of scene although I suppose there was: it was new romantic, what Robert Elms called ‘The Scene With No Name’. Actually what it was like is what’s it’s like round here now [Shoreditch], a weird mish mash of rockabilly and punk. No one’s quite sure. You’d go to a gig in the mid ’80s and there’d be rockabillies, goths and there’s that kind of feel now. While they’re looking for something new they’re pillaging what’s gone on in the past.
Is it less tribal now?
As I see it, I live in London’s fashionable Shoreditch so I’d go, ‘No, it’s like one great big village!’ But if I lived on some estate in the north of England where there’s a big divide between say, casuals and goths... Some goth kid was killed by kids off an estate recently so it’s all very well for me to say it’s all fine but you can’t get any more tribal than people killing each other.
What effect do you think acid house has had?
It helped push music technology forward. Everyone said it had a great social effect, I don’t really think it did. The biggest effect it had was the push and development of music hardware, firstly, and then software. Kids were going out and hearing these records and wanting to make them themselves. I would imagine those that went to those early clubs ended up, a good proportion of them, being involved in music technology. That lit the blue touchpaper for where we are now, where we can sit here and make tracks on our laptops. That’s what acid house did. It had a few momentary social consequences, like the poll tax riots and the club laws, but it was only made political by the press.
Do you not think, unconsciously at least, it was political: the idea of reclaiming and remaking communities?
To a certain extent, but a lot of that community was fuelled by ecstasy. It was there and I don’t want to downplay it, and I don’t want come across as a curmudgeon. It was the same with the ’60s; it was a bit of false dawn. It affected people’s lives but it didn’t usher in a new Age of Aquarius! [laughs]. It really didn’t. It depends on whether you want to see breaking into a building and dancing as a political act. It was just another strand, another part of London and Manchester discos.
What effect did punk have on you when it happened? How old were you?
I was 13 in 1976. I remember the day after the Sex Pistols were on Today [with Bill Grundy], I had shoulder length hair and I remember sitting in the barbers and pointing to a picture of them in the papers and saying, ‘Chop all me hair off!’ You can’t describe it to younger people. People thought it was the end of civilisation. It was like bomb going off, especially in suburban England. It frightened my parents to death. My dad was a bit of a reprobate himself, he wasn’t totally square, but this was just ridiculous. It really put the fear in people. Anything that scares the old folk is good. That’s why I’m covered in tattoos. When I was a kid my parents were so against them they thought they were evil, so I gravitated towards them. It’s the way youth culture works.
Did you see any parallels between punk and acid house?
Briefly, when it hit the papers, but that was more to do with the fact that it was so drug fuelled. It wasn’t the politics or nihilism or against society like punk was. It was the accoutrements that they were against.
For you personally did it have any resonance?
Not really, no. I was always a bit of a confused person. I liked punk but I liked disco music, so the two were always separate. So acid house was the development of my disco side, it wasn’t a development of the more political and more abstract musical side. It was a revolution in my disco world rather than my political world.
So did you have compartmentalised little worlds that you dipped in and out of.
Well yeah really! I never got that thing that disco sucked when punk was going on, because I knew all the originals were bored soulboys who used to go to Chaguarama’s. That’s where you got dressed up. You could go to weekenders dressed like Bryan Ferry or David Bowie and you wouldn’t be hassled. It’s like that early thing John Lydon said: punk was all about selling trousers! Sorry everybody, it was primarily a London fashion thing. It was bored soulboys and people going to gay discos and wearing mohair jumpers and plastic sandals. Sorry Conflict, GBH and Crass, it was a London trouser thing! [laughs]
Do you think the superstar DJ thing was a betrayal of the whole acid house ethos?
I’ve looked at certain DJs and thought, ‘Fuck, I’m gonna give this up.’ I’m not gonna say who but I’ve been to see some high end DJs and there’s times I’ve come out and I’ve been embarrassed to say that I’m a DJ. I could’ve been that person if I’d carried on a certain route. It’s probably part of myself I don’t like, rather than them. Anything I get angry with in the music industry is often because I don’t want to be reminded of the person I was.
Do you think the scene is in a better state now the superstar thing has deflated?
It’s still there.
Well it is but it’s more fluid than it was.
I think kids have got wise to the fact that you need better heroes than DJs. Even Pete Doherty’s a better hero than Judge Jules, let’s be honest, and Pete Doherty’s a bit ropey. DJs should be heard and not seen, really. That thing where you’re playing [indicates on high] and people are looking at you… it’s not what it’s about. I like Moodymann and playing behind a screen.
That actually accentuates everything!
Yeah you’re right. You still need that contact, but you don’t need to be bathed in light, you don’t need to be the centre of attention.
I think kids have got wise to the fact that you need better heroes than DJs. Even Pete Doherty’s a better hero than Judge Jules, let’s be honest, and Pete Doherty’s a bit ropey.
How important is mystique in music?
Very important. I was always drawn to the fact I’d never seen a picture of Martin Hannett or Adrian Sherwood. It was years before I saw a picture of either. That added a little bit more substance to things. When I first started I didn’t want to use my real first name and I refused to be photographed for years. The first photo shoot I did I wore a medicine hat and a big pair of glasses and a scarf. Anton LeVay was the head of the Church of Satan in San Francisco and he used to play organ in burlesque and strip shows in the 1940s and there’d be a room full of guys watching someone almost naked, but if a woman wearing a pencil skirt walked in every head in the place would turn because they want what’s hidden. I’m with Anton on that! [laughs]
What makes a good DJ?
It can be as simple as playing good music. Good music, well programmed. Even if you’re playing wildly different music, I try and make some sort of connection or some sort of flow. I don’t like to be jarred too much. There has to be a connection, where I can see there’s some sort of thought process and not, ‘Ooh haven’t I got an eclectic record collection?’ I want to listen to something in slightly open-mouthed wonder, doesn’t matter whether it ‘s a rockabilly track or techno. Doesn’t have to be dazzlingly new. I got hooked on the idea that everything has to be new and original for while. But nothing dates quicker than a new sound. Believe it or not I’m in the Billy Childish camp. Originality is not what is important, it’s authenticity.
How did the studio work happen?
Jeff Barrett was managing me and he did Primal Scream’s press. He gave me a copy of the album. He said it was getting slated left, right and centre and I came back to him and said I loved it. So he said, ‘Why don’t you write a review for the NME?’ He wangled that so I went down to Exeter to see them play and reviewed it – the headline was ‘Sex, Lies & Gaffer Tape.’ I got on really well with them. Then I’d see them in clubs like the Future. Andrew Innes was in Spectrum one night and he said, ‘We’ve got this track and you can do what ever the fuck you like with it.’ That was ‘Loaded’. I made one attempt where I reined back a bit because I didn’t want to upset them. I played it to them and Innes said, ‘No man, fuckin’ destroy it!’ So I went back into Bart’s Studios in Walthamstow with a very talented man called Brian O’Shaughnessy who’d actually produced and engineered the original.
So you never actually worked with the band?
No, and that was pretty much how Screamadelica was made as well. I think there was only one time I got it wrong. I did a version of ‘Shine Like The Stars’ they didn’t really like and I went back in and did it again, and I’m really glad I did because it’s one of my favourite tracks on there. Obviously they’d have to do overdubs or they’d drop in to see how it was going, but I didn’t have the joy of the drummer setting up his kit or the guitarists saying, ‘I’m a bit toppy.’ Which is a working method I’ve applied: have as few musicians in for as little time as possible! Otherwise it gets very tedious.
Were they immediately happy with the results?
They might have come in and suggested things. I don’t remember really, because it was a very hazy time. It was just people hanging out and making records.
How many things had you done in the studio before?
Not a lot. Happy Mondays, East India Company, maybe St Etienne. Apparently there’s a website dedicated to this information.
What was your role?
Well, when I got the demos I knew exactly what Bob [Gillespie] had been listening to to get that song. So I would inject my approximation of that. You know, it’s weird but I was listening to ‘I’m Coming Down’ and I spoke to Bob on the phone and said, ‘For some reason I’m getting Pharaoh Sanders, the sax player, don’t ask me why.’ And he said, ‘I’ve got a Pharaoh Sanders CD in my hand at the moment!’
It was like that. Whether it was a chord progression or a vocal line, I knew exactly what the ingredients were that went into that. So I’d go into the studio and say to the engineers this is why this sounds like it does and play them Big Star or whatever and we’d build it up from that. I was the conductor, basically. ‘This is what it should sound like, I’m not sure how to do it, that’s why you’re here.’ I was learning as I was going. I knew what it wanted.
On one track I knew we needed those plastic tubes that kids swing round their heads, it was the only sound I could hear. And we did indeed have five people swinging them round in the studio! But I couldn’t have done it without Hugo Nicholson, who would hear my suggestions and say, yes but what about this? So I was open to that. So it was my blueprint even if it did get smudged. Hugo did all my early stuff till about 1994, when Sabres of Paradise started when I worked with Jagz and co.
How did Sabres come about?
Can’t remember exactly. I was looking for new people to work with and I got introduced to Jagz and Gary at Full Circle probably. And they knew of a studio in Hounslow West in this really rough council estate. It was like a room inside a room above a newsagent, so you’d never know from the outside it was a studio. There was a pub at the end of the road and the landlord had recently been put away for murdering one of his clientele! It was pretty hardcore. If anyone had known it was a studio it would have been done over in minutes.
Listening back to the music you’ve done over the years which are the tracks you’re most pleased about?
Well there are things that I’ve done and been a bit embarrassed about over the years, but then you actually hear them still being played. Often the very things that made those records work are the things I don’t like: the mistakes and the simplicity and the obviousness of them. I didn’t think about them too much when I was making them, but over the years I’ve thought about structures and so on too much. Brevity? Don’t know the meaning of the word, sir! One kitchen sink? Let’s have two or three. It’s that naivety I like but it’s that naivety that makes me go, ‘Mmm shouldn’t have had that there.’ It’s like the drum loop on ‘Loaded’, it’s ridiculous. There’s a crash on every bar! It’s a mistake but it’s one of the things that makes it.
One of the things I’ve learned about the studio is if you think about things too much it’s time to stop. I’ve had some killer tracks that I’ve noodled out of existence because you always think it’s got to have more. Last week I was going through the computer and I found 10 new tracks, basically a whole new album, really good beginnings of songs that we’d got bored with. The stuff I’m doing at the moment has a sound that’s almost similar to the early stuff. It’s closer to my vision of what I was trying to do 15 years ago. I’ve got more technical knowledge. So now I’ve got the best of both worlds, my naive approach but with a bit more technical backup. I’ve gone backwards in sound a little bit but it’s that authenticity over originality! If you do something authentically it somehow ends up sounding more original anyway.
Interviewed by Bill Brewster in London, 28.5.09
As an extra treat we've also managed to get our grubby paws on a very rare copy of one of the 50 promotional mix CD's (Nice sleeve artwork too) made by Andrew for his and Shaun Johnston's brilliant Psyche-Disco night 'A Love From Outer Space' at The Drop in Stoke Newington which continues this Thursday for it's 5th edition. Something a little bit different (as usuall) from Mr W with the mix split up into 5 different pieces. The firsty 4 being short with the 5th being almost an hour long. As ever, it's corking gear!
Alternative download link for Weatheralls 'ALFOS' mix here.
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