Hail Queen Hito

A few years ago I wrote a post explaining why I love Maya Jane Coles for Skiddle’s ‘DJ Love’ series, and I had lots of fun doing it. Now, the time has come to share my feelings about another incredible talent. Namley, Hito ❤

A few years ago I wrote a post explaining why I love Maya Jane Coles for Skiddle’s ‘DJ Love’ series, and I had lots of fun doing it. Now, the time has come to share my feelings about another incredible talent. Namley, Hito

I first discovered this lady after spending a summer in Ibiza in 2013. Although the island was filled with a plethora of nights to choose from, Richie Hawtin’s Enter party became a regular event for myself and many more of the ‘locals’. Those that headed to Space early doors, around 9pm, could gain entry to Space for around €10. The exact price is blurry in my mind, but it was a fraction of the cost of a standard ticket, offering exceedingly good value for money both in terms of time (the club staying open for at least 12 hours) and talent.

In the clubbing world, heading out at 9pm is incredibly early however, after downing a bottle of 20 cent water outside the club to ensure you stayed hydrated inside (with each minute bottle of water costing at least €5?!) , this great deal offered by Enter meant that I experienced many incredible warm up sets on a weekly basis. In fact, some of those sets have gone down in history of my favourite musical experiences to date, enabling many artist’s to push their musical boundaries with sometimes unexpected but incredible results.

The warm up at Enter was as carefully planned by Hawtin as the rest of his impeccably curated event and was its own party in itself. When arriving to Space so early you were only let into the SAKE bar room, with the rest of the club shut off until around 12. Not an overly large space, it was still light inside and was an excellent way to begin proceedings. Often, you’d see Richie running around amongst the crowd sipping his own-brand rice wine…I’m pretty sure we spotted Marco Carola mingling at the SAKE bar once too. While this occurred, the audience was left totally controlled by whoever graced the decks.

This space, in my eyes, IS the domain of Hito. While guest DJs would often be invited to play here, there weren’t many weeks when this vinyl queen didn’t take over – either during the warm up period, or owning the stage for the rest of the evening. More often than not, Bella Sarris would also be there, marking the start of a long career for both of them.

With her kimonoed silhouette instantly recognisable Hito’s captivating aesthetic is like no other, yet it is her ability to select that won me over. An avid record collector and sonic searcher, this love of music saw her relocate from Japan to Berlin in the late 90’s, honing the sophisticated taste and diverse collection that we hear in her sets today, and will continue to for many more years to come.

The internet can be a harsh place, and when finding videos to use in this post it became noticeable that many ‘trolls’ would comment on her mixing ability. This is news to me, and throughout that entire Ibiza season there was not one moment during her sets where the flow was interrupted – Hito has an underlying ability to choose the perfect tunes for every moment, causing bodies and minds to get lost in the hard-hitting techno groove. The debate between mixing vs. tune selection will surely go on for eternity however, on a dance floor environment, I know which one matters the most to me…

A quote from Hito in her Vinyl Factory interview couldn’t say it better:

I like the touch-y feeling, you know? I can control it directly…I think it’s good for people to see needle skipping or vibrating. This is humanity: mistakes are human. But how you solve it is more important. I used to be very ashamed about my mistakes but now I think it’s about how you recreate from these points. That’s more important than 100% technically mixing.

 

Regardless of what these commenters may say, long-time Berlin buddy, professional collaborator and techno-mad innovator, Mr.Hawtin chose her to join a long list of esteemed ambassadors for his Model 1 / PLAY differently mixer, testament to her credentials.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to see Hito play since my Ibiza days, although she still remains one of my go-to DJs for when I’m in need of some mix based up lifting. But now, as her career has well and truly taken off, I can’t wait to stand in front of her booth once more to listen to her sounds, four years on.

 

 

Project / Spinning through the year

Project is turning one this Saturday. Joe Kelly reflected on the past 12 months, offering up some tracks to summarise each night because really, nothing says it better than music.

Project is turning one this Saturday, and its calling in Frits Wentink & Jon K to help it celebrate. Learn more about the party here.

In club night terms, turning one is a pretty big deal, especially when it keeps on getting stronger with every ‘do. In order to get to know project better Joe Kelly, one half of Project alongside Kristen Morrow, reflected on the past 12 months, spinning through the year by offering up some tracks to summarise each night because  really, nothing says it better than music.

If you’ve been going to Project from the start, take a trip down memory lane and if not, get to know. Take it away Joe:

Night 1 : Project presents chaos in the CBD:

Chaos In The CBD – Midnight in Peckham

This song came on close to the end of Chaos in the CBD’s set and topped a great first night for us. A warm groovy deep house track which was what got me into these guys, real crowd pleaser!

 

Night 2: A night with O’flynn & Izem:

O’Flynn – Tyrion

Enormous track that I had head the previous summer, again another one that got me listening to O’Flynn. I would say this was probably one of my favourite moments at project. It was the last track O’Flynn played and the remaining heads were all bunched up in front of the decks bouncing in sync, it picked the energy levels in the room back up and rounded off a very fun night!

 

Night 3: Project presents Anthony Naples:

Powder – Afrogran

I have been a big fan of Anthony’s productions for a long time and after seeing him in Porto last summer along with very brief chat we arranged a date for him to come visit Notts! He was awesome and probably the most technical DJ we have had! The most memorable track for me that night was Afrogran by a new producer/DJ called Powder, I was hooked to it and ended up asking Naples for the track that night!.

 

Night 4: A night with Florist + Lukas Wigflex:

H.O.M – two days with Inor

This was wasn’t our busiest night with a lot of other events going on that night but musically it was probably one of our best. We brought in Canadian producer/DJ Florist to share some of the Canadian Riviera rhythms and Nottingham Bosman Lukas Wigflex. I wanted them to do a b2b session for this event even though they usually play very different stuff and it ended up being epic, Lukas certainly brought out Florist’s inner demon. This tack was one that Florist played not long after the B2b had begun.

 

Night 5: DJ Fett Burger + LNS:

Osunlade – Mommas Groove

Our favourite night to date! Fett burger is one of my favourite DJs out there at the minute and it was a genuine pleasure to see him do his ting in Nottingham. Both Fett and LNS slayed the decks and kept people dancing right until the lights were turned on. So many amazing tracks that night but I have a soft spot for Osunlade, and I took time out to have a groove to it.

Night 6: …

Join Project this Saturday at the Irish Centre. Find out more online.

Hercules and my love affair

I’d like to wax lyrical about a group who I wish would come back and make my ears happy once more. After hearing Blind by Hercules and Love Affair pop on my iPod, I was instantly reminded of how fantastic Andy Butler and his rotating disco supergroup are.

Largely, my original joy and soft-spot for HALA probably stems from nostalgia. The video for its anthem, Blind featuring goddess Jamie Winstone first made its appearance in 2008 – around the time when Skins was the Bible, Hot Chip introduced us 15 year olds to a life beyond indie guitars and CSS rocked fabulous sequin catuits long before stores like Topshop sold them. This was when I was discovering music, style and life on my own terms. And Mr Butler and his nu-disco crew was there to provide the soundtrack, every step of the way.

The band’s first self-titled album still sounds as great today as it did almost 10 years ago. Not surprising when you consider the talent behind it. Andy Butler’s skills and powerful vision is something that continues to ring true in 2017, both inspired and fascinated by disco and nightlife culture’s ability to offer a complete sense of freedom. Something which perhaps my youthful self also related to, forming my bond with the band. (while researching this post I’ve seen that the band in fact released another album in 2014 which I look forward to listening to – but for the purpose of this post, lets focus on its stunning debut)

HALA prides itself on its rotating lineup of band members but just as everyone has their favourite Blue Peter cast that just IS Blue Peter in their mind, the team responsible for the first album will define this group for me. The rich, emotive vocals from Anhoni are simply mesmerising and one of the first factors that made me fall in love with the group. They take each HALA track to new, hypnotic places, making the whole album even more magical to my ears, giving it a distinctive edge. Nomi Ruz is every inch the powerful disco diva I wish I could be, owning the live performances  alongside Kim Ann Foxman – both incredible, talented ladies who are still rocking it now!

Nine years later, I can also fully appreciate the band and Andy Butler’s vision in its entirety. A quick peek at its Wiki page gives insight into the entire concept, as well as Andy’s deep-rooted passion for tunes.

‘Butler decided to do so under the name of Hercules and Love Affair because it reflected his interest in Greco-Roman mythology; it referenced Hercules and his “love affair” with Hylas. According to Butler, “[Hercules] stayed on the island, looking for his boyfriend. I just thought this was super-beautiful: the strongest man on earth looking for his lost love, at his most vulnerable. Strong men can have strong feelings. And they can experience those feelings and experience pain and express pain — and be gay.” ‘

“‘Blind’ was about growing up a gay kid, my immediate family and social group rejecting me, and asking why I was born into this situation. But knowing that as soon as I could escape, I would, and that I would find freedom and solace. As an adult, however, I found a life full of excess and other wounded people and confusion. Thus, I felt blind.”

Butler, 2008[7]

(text taken from the Hercules and Love Affair Wikipedia page. View it here.)

Ultimately, Hercules and Love Affair is a band that is a true product of passion, not simply just making tunes to make you dance, but making a freedom statement in bold, colourful, hip-swinging ways.

I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing Hercules and Love Affair once, when I was under 18 at a free festival in Newcastle. How I’d love to see them again, now that I’m older.