Words regurgitated / Essential listening w. Maceo Plex

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Many years ago, I used to work at Nottingham nightclub Stealth. I had lots of fun and unusual memories there – getting cosy with Maceo Plex was one of them!

He really was a super guy, so when there was an opportunity to talk through his discography for Ticketarena, I absolutely had to do it. Read in full here


Favouring productions over partying, his authentic love for creating music screams through in his varied yet distinctive discography – perfectly polished, but never failing to infuse a snippet of his, sometimes, tongue in cheek take on the industry in which he has made such an impact.

Choosing five tracks from this artist spans a number of genres, painting a picture of the signature style he’s honed and developed throughout his career and, of course, provokes some critical dance floor memories along the way.

Crush On Me (Maetrik)
Even those who weren’t aware of this track by name are sure to have heard the instantly recognisable stabs that define this record, forming the addictive melody and making it so special. Starting with a paired back drum beat that slowly builds, ‘Crush On Me’ teases the listener with miniature drops, giving a taste of the carnage that’s about to follow.

Part of the fun in this track lies in this build up, accented by futuristic loops and spaced out vocals that sigh, scream and stutter throughout before its vocal line kicks in, edging us closer to its sonic climax. This doesn’t appear until over halfway through the track, much like Pleasesurekraft’s iconic tune, ‘Tarantula’, but the satisfaction felt when it does is golden. It’s hard to explain how or why particular melodies capture the listener’s imagination more than others – but ‘Crush On Me’ is definitely one of the special ones.

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Words regurgitated / Loose Connections w. Nathan Fake

A Nathan Fake gig at Nottingham Contemporary (which I reviewed for Leftlion) sparked a chain of thoughts, thanks to another piece of dance music journalism I’d consumed.

Those thoughts found a home on Plates’ website. Read in full here.


 

“Being someone who writes about dance music, as well as someone who loves the culture, I read a lot of articles and every so often, there are some that stick out in my mind. Thomas H Green penned one of these excellent pieces of writing for an issue of Mixmag last November – ‘Slow dance: Why is dance music so slow and polite?‘. Ultimately, it was a rally call for people like you and me, as well as the DJs and producers out there to get a grip and lose our mind in the way that dance music had always intended.

 “A generation on, dance music is a bunch of online cottage industries run by nice, boring, professional guys, ready to cordially cut a business deal rather than cause a fuss, better versed in synch rights than boundary-pushing, spiritual inheritors of the old soul boy mantel. Sure, we need these people to make the whole thing tick, but we need some frothing-at-the-mouth, dangling-from-the-chandelier maniacal mavericks too.”

When these articles do make an impression, I have a habit of recalling them at events that may not seem related to many. This time, it was when watching Nathan Fake perform a live show to promote his latest album, ‘Providence’, at the Nottingham Contemporary one Wednesday evening. To get a feel for the evening, a full review on Leftlion can be read here.

While Nathan Fake may not be quite the ‘dangling-from-the-chandelier maniacal maverick’ that Thomas H Green was referring to, he portrayed an attitude that I think he’d most certainly approve of…”

Words regurgitated / WhereWax piece in Leftlion

Something I wrote about Where-Wax, a pop-up record shopping event in Nottingham.

Originally featured in Leftlion. Read the full story here.


 

“By now, the resurgence in popularity for vinyl records can’t be argued, and the hard figures back up the cultural observations. In 2016, The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) found that sales of vinyl albums surpassed that of digital downloads, earning the industry £2.4 million in a week compared to the £2.1 million that digital made. While the end-of-year figures for 2017 are yet to be released, it’s clear that love for the wax has made a comeback, with music fans far and wide once again investing in some slabs of sound.

Right here in Nottingham, Where-Wax founder Dec Shutts delves deeper into where his love affair with wax began: “It’s only really been over the past three or four years that I’ve been collecting records, I started to get more and more into it, but I didn’t have anything to play them on at home. I would always use CDJs when I was playing out, until I found an old set of [Technics] 1210s in the office of a bar I was resident DJ at. I decided to hook them up and start learning how to mix vinyl and it went from there. I started spending all my DJ wages on new records to play at the bar the following week, and haven’t really stopped since.

“Vinyl quickly became a hobby and a passion. But I found that when I was crate digging around the city, the music I wanted just wasn’t there, so the next logical step for me was to put this music into my city for myself and for others alike.”

Like most great ideas, the inception of the pop-up was the result of an idle mind and subliminal external influences. “Where-Wax was the brainchild of an Ibiza hangover. Last year while sitting at my villa after DC10 or Underground, I’m not 100% sure which club it was, I uploaded a photo onto Instagram; the photo was taken at a Where You At event, and it was of a record spinning with a needle on it. The tagline I used was ‘Where-Wax’. The idea was born there and then.”

 

 

Clothes to creep in / Shopping local

clothes to creep in

As we grow older, Halloween celebrations rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

Once the novelty of trick or treating wears off, we’re left with a few years of limbo where Halloween is left reserved only for youngsters in black binbag outfits to go bobbing for apples. But years later, those involved in electronic music learn that as the nights get darker, this holiday opens the door to all manner of devilish dancefloor debauchery, filled with tunes and characters, equally as warped in nature.

Yes, listening to techno is much more fun when you’re kitted out in suitable clothes to creep in, and Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to embrace your inner spook.

Here are some makers in the area to help:

Adorned

Everything you find at Adorned is either re-worked by hand or ethically sourced, so while a ‘happy hippy’ lies at its core, a haul from the store is sure to satisfy your inner gypsy queen.

Top picks: Teaming one of its heavy-duty Halloween rings with a hand painted celestial sweatshirt, and maybe even some shooting star Dr Martens. 

Images sourced from: http://adorneduk.co.uk/ and https://marketplace.asos.com/boutique/adorned

Vix Kimono

Vix is a talented seamstress with a penchant for kimonos, so decided to share her skills and passion with other like-minded party guys and gals.

Top picks: That’s up to you! Speak to Vix about the look you had in mind. and she can whip you up some flare-armed gold.

Images sourced from: www.instagram.com/vix_kimono/

Headcase 

No Halloween outfit would be complete without a head accessory, and Headcase has you more than covered. Now into the scary season, it’s adapted its festival range suitably.

Top picks: These oversized flower crowns are perfect for any outfit, from day of the dead to vampish maiden – they just work.

Images sourced from: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HeadcaseHeadwear

Studio LBW

Sassy streetwear that is certified to spook.

Top picks: Pretty much every outfit from Studio LBW would look perfect on a deathly dancefloor, but the black cowl neck dress, full body fishnet tights and thigh high platform boots are my personal fave.

Images sourced from: www.studiolbw.co.uk

 

Warped wardrobe in tow, I’ll be heading to Brickworks for the Wigflex 11th birthday celebrations this year, getting weird with Machine Woman, Overmono and Levon Vincent . Get involved online. X

Term-Time Treats

Town is packed and the Saturday afternoon queues at Wilkos are unbearable, which means the students are back. Whether studying at Trent, Uni Of, or even Confetti, this influx of fresh faces and the start of autumn means that a tasty helping of term-time dance floor treats are to be unleashed upon the wonderful city of Notts.

There are certainly things to do here during the summer months, and the longer I stay here as a ‘local’, the more I discover. But there’s no denying that when school’s back a whole host of nights kick off again, marking the start of the season when our hedonistic nights are transported back to dark ‘n’ dirty basements, rather than glitter-filled fields across the world.

Here are a few of the ‘dos that are creeping out of hibernation…

(this post is a work in progress – stay tuned)

 

Project

I have nothing but good things to say about Project. Now entering its second year, I’m excited to see what bookings they will bring this time around. After stumbling across the party last February, when DJ Fett Burger and LNS came to play, the small but perfectly formed party successfully kept my feet moving all night long, leaving me with a grin on my face. It kicked off its autumn schedule of events by inviting LNS back once again, closing Red Bar after Slow Life’s Laurine, in a turn of events that saw Project joining forces with fellow Notts promoter, Perdition. (which we wrote about here.)

 

Multimodal

Many house and techno nights pride themselves in assaulting the senses. But none do this more excellently than Multimodal. In a nutshell, this is part dance night, part on-going research, aiming to learn more about mid level vision via a series of events with live AV shows (learn more in our interview with its founder). While nothing has been announced officially we’ve heard through the grapevine that such words could be just around the corner…

 

Soul Buggin’

Fun lovers, do gooders and sleazy disco cats, please, go to this night. These guys have been putting on parties for over a decade and this November it celebrates its 13th birthday – but in the world of house this night is wise, way beyond its teenage years. It’s seen names such as Recloose, Chris Duckenfield, Andrew Weatherall, Bill Brewster and Phsycemagik in this time, and for the big 1-3 it has invited Alex Barck of Jazzanova to supply the soundtrack.

The Waves / Diving In

On 22nd September Louis Knight and The Waves is taking over Red Bar, appointing Lukas Wigflex to head selector. I took the chance to dive deeper into his thoughts behind the night…

With Nottingham being a student-heavy city, the end of summer and start of term again naturally causes its night time events to unearth from hibernation (more on this later…) One such promoter grabbing this opportunity to welcome students, as well as curious locals, to his brand of fun times is Louis Knight of The Waves.

Following on from a mammoth summer bank holiday party, on 22nd September he’s taking over Red Bar, appointing Lukas Wigflex to head selector. Also an opportunist, I took the chance to learn more about The Waves before it all kicks off, and sat down with Louis to dive deeper into his thoughts behind the night…

 

First thing’s first – why call it ‘The Waves?’

It’s hard to name your own business and make it relevant to all, so I chose the name The Waves because it’s neutral. It represents fluidity and is a flowing motion. Adding the ‘The’ gives it its independence and some of the top clubs and nights such as ‘The Berghain’ and ‘The warehouse project’ have proven it works. It also links to music, referencing sound waves and raves.

Who else is part of the Waves crew?

We got head rep Max P who is my trusty right hand man along side our other promoters Alex Stewart, Joe Coles and Ailsa Mcfarlane, who will be promoting online and door to door, as well as selling tickets to all students for our future events. We also have my very good friends and resident DJs – Jacob Gulliver, Kairo and MLĀNO.

On your event page it says you’re inspired by the nightlife culture in Berlin – why do you have a special connection with that place over other clubbing meccas such as Ibiza, Croatia or even UK cities like London or Leeds?

I left England in 2015 and decided to live in Berlin, using this city as my base for travelling. I was there for 11 months in total and got a real good grasp of the variety and diversity of clubs there, as well as its night life culture. Then when I returned I missed the feeling I got when I entered a club in Berlin, so I decided to replicate it with my own events. I’ve been to Ibiza but I got a totally different impression there. I think you have to reach a level of social status to feel like you can enjoy it, but in Berlin the clubbing community welcomes anyone who is there to have a genuinely good time and not to show off.

Berlin aside, what was that special track or event that made you realise how much you loved dance music and its culture?

If I had to pin point one specific place it would be Sisyphos, Berlin. This place is more of a commune than a club. It opens Friday evening and doesn’t close until midday Monday. It has 2 rooms, The Hammerhalle, which is your heavy 4 x 4 Berliner Techno, and The Winterkarten which is a stained glass windowed church vibe shed which is more tech house and house.

Why, and when, did you start your night?

I started to create it in Dec 16 and had first one Jan 17

Do you come from Nottingham? If not, how did you end up here?

I come from Leicester but moved here when I got back from Berlin.

What other nights in Notts, the UK or even the world do you admire?

In my opinion, The Warehouse Project is the pinnacle of all promoting and events in the UK. However Zutekh, the Portal and The Bunker are all events I admire for their bookings, promotions and collaborations.

 

Wigflex headline flyer

Flyers are a big part of clubbing culture, albeit dying down in the digital age, but yours are pretty cool – who did them for you / what was their inspiration?

One of our main values is to always remain innovative and creative so we channel this through our graphics. But they will vary depending on what type of event we’re doing. I work very closely with the designers to get a clear image of what I’m portraying at the event.

How do you want people to feel at your events?

I want people to feel welcomed, loved, appreciated, valued, jovial, horny, sexy, drunk, funky, dirty, sweaty and just have an all round sense of relaxation and escapism in an environment where you feel comfortable.

Your night in September will be your fifth night – where was your first night?

Our first event was on the 26th Jan 17 at Rough Trade and we welcomed 3 Trent bass legends – LNR, George Burgess and Jaust. We still have good contacts with these and some of them have featured more than once.

Have you moved venues / changed concept since then?

The concept of the waves hasn’t changed however the variety of our events is infinite. We have had intimate parties with 200 people cap, we have had 12 hour bank holiday parties with 2 floors, 15 DJ’s and 400 cap and now where going into start of UNI I thought I would give the students something to experience in their first week of freshers. We are not limited to one venue and one style of event.

Which night has been your favourite?

Every event is my favourite, I savour the last and look forward to the next.

You say you have big plans for the future – can you reveal any of these?

We are going to expanding rapidly going into the next year and our aim is to leave a footprint in Nottingham’s night life history.

 

The Waves is looking to grow its promo team. Anyone wanting to join the party should email Thewavesmusicevents@gmail.com 🙂

 

Join Louis at Red Bar on 22nd September, with Kairo, MLĀNO, Jacob Gulliver and Lukas x

 

 

Percolate presents Hercules and Love Affair / A teenage dream come true

Let’s talk about Hercules and Love Affair. Again.

Not long after penning an article about them back in January, they came bursting back into my consciousness with a brand new single, and a tour with a UK date. Needless to say, I snapped up a ticket.

Percolate hosted the band and showcased them at Village Underground in London on 26th May.

This date is now poignant, as the Manchester attack took place just days before the gig. Understandably, it shook the world and affected most of the UK’s nightlife that weekend. However, Percolate, Hercules and Love Affair and Village Underground reacted brilliantly and honoured the victims with a minute of silence, yet continued to stick two fabulous fingers up to any hate by following it with a minute of noise. ‘We will not be silenced’.

The night is almost upon us….
In memory of the awful events in Manchester this week there will be a moment of reflection before midnight and then a moment to show that we will not be silenced.
It is important that we celebrate their lives, our freedom and most of all that we will not descend into hate despite the appalling actions of a tiny minority.

With the Manchester events having a knock-on effect on me, I was slightly apprehensive about the night, admittedly. But the minute of noise that took place soon after I entered the club was exactly the reassurance I needed.  The whole room erupted into whoops, cheers and roars, which was nothing short of infectious and the energy that emerged was incredible, shattering any negative thoughts in an instant. There’s a childlike sense of defiance felt when letting go and making noise uncontrollably, which I imagine is exactly how the organisers intended for us to feel.

Beyond this bravery, building up to the event I felt a mixture of nostalgia, excitement and curiosity. I really had no idea what kind of atmosphere it would be, not knowing whether to expect a ‘gig’ or a disco mayhem from the live act. However, on the night I donned my best Studio 54 worthy gear, just in case.

Luckily my outfit choice was entirely appropriate, as what followed was a funked-up, freaked-out, feel-good soiree – trashy, brash, undoubtedly fun future-disco at its finest. It seamlessly showcased Andy Butler’s talents as he performed much of the HALA repertoire, old and new, live, with two wonderful singers Rouge Mary and Gustaph up front.

The entire show was fantastic, with the crowd soon losing any inhibitions and dancing carelessly, but of course, hero song ‘blind’ was a standout moment. Looking around at the diverse crowd, featuring souls from all scenes, demographics, or however else people are categorised, there was nothing short of pure joy imprinted across numerous faces. Including mine. There’s something special about hearing that song you hold special to you, which has stood the test of time and become a dancefloor classic, played live by those that created it. And judging by the reactions, seeing the significance it plays in other people’s lives too.

There are no videos from this night, but here they are performing Blind at another gig, around the same time 🙂

Hercules and Love Affair have a new album ‘Omnion’ out in September, so I imagine there will be plenty of opportunity to catch them live. Just do it X