Strictly in Kiev and the DJ’s dilemma

[singlepic id=2040 w=320 h=240 float=left]

Sorry for the atrocious pun in the title but if I didn’t do it then someone else would have. I was in Kiev over the weekend and was overwhelmed by the sheer enthusiasm of the crowd there. As soon as I walked into the club I was asked for my signature including someone who had printed out the cover of the last EP on a sheet of paper for me to sign. The Ukrainians aren’t backwards in coming forward and I was passed many notes during my set as well as being asked to play tracks so I thought I’d show a few of them here.

I’ve been collecting these notes for years and plan to show more of them on here at some stage, they deserve their own little section really as some of them are brilliant. These show the different expectations of the crowd and also what they expect of ‘DJ Food’ – something I’m mindful of but which can change depending on territory and my mood. For instance, I don’t play much DJ Food material in my DJ sets, something I’ve been aware of for years and that will be rectified in 2010. But first on to the messages, the first one I got was:

IDM

Interesting take on what DJ Food is, I have nothing against IDM but I don’t play much of the genre unless the author is literally referring to it as Intelligent Dance Music – which could mean a number of things to many people. I started my set with some no-brainer breaks and beats to get things going without being too clever before I settled into a groove so I can take that one on the chin.

Next I got this from a girl who looked very exasperated when I told her ‘no’:

Kal

As much as I love the record (and I know others do) most of it just isn’t dancefloor material and the couple of tracks that are don’t have the sort of production that can compete with current music. I’m going to remix a couple of bits and beef up the production for my sets at some point though but I’ve played stuff before and it’s home listening headphone music for the most part. Tricky 3/4, 6/8 and 7/8 time signatures, spoken word and 80 bpm or lower tempos aren’t the kind of thing to set clubs on fire. I’ve always been a DJ before I’ve been a producer, subscribing to the Bambaataa, Flash, Double Dee & Steinski and Coldcut schools of DJing. This means mixing musical styles as well as beats, tempos and trying to add a twist of humour occasionally into the proceedings.

The more I play east of Europe I find that part of the audience is still expecting the DJ Food and Ninja sound of old in my sets -ie Trip Hop, breaks, Hip Hop and jazz-based sampled music. This forms a very small part of my sets at the moment as little of anything that falls into this category excites me and the bits that do are not always dancefloor friendly. I played very little electronic stuff in this set but maybe I should have tested the waters a bit more. Shortly after that I got this:

Hip hop

I really appreciate that people add please on the end, it really makes a world of difference. I got this just as I’d gone into drum and bass so I wasn’t about to about-face and revert to something else as jumping all over the place stylistically ruins the groove and pace of the night. So, the drum and bass went down pretty well with a portion of the crowd, especially with the obvious classics. Shortly after I finished with the d n b and the same guy pleaded with me again for Hip Hop, I got this note from him:

DnB

Well, he went home happy in the end but I suppose it looks like I’m not really playing what people expect! I chatted to several people after the set, who were all very complimentary, before heading off to the hotel for the night. The next day I had the opportunity to look around the city a little with my host Bogdan before heading off to Budapest. The bridge railings with all the padlocks and messages is a place lovers go to ‘secure’ their love for one another although apparently there have been several people jumping to their deaths as well! The house with the strange sculptures on the roof is the Secretary to the President’s house, originally built by an architect years before the revolution on land it was thought was un-buildable on.

Posted in DJ Food, Film, Gigs, Music. | 7 Comments |

Kraftwerk Kover Kollection vol.6

KKK6 cover

Another Kraftwerk post (I’ll have to give them their own category) and time for the sixth installment of my Kraftwerk Kover Kollection to coincide with the final release of the remastered Catalogue boxset on Monday.
katalog17-10-09_Karl Bartos

It’s up for a week, streaming via the Solid Steel site and I’ll be making it available via Soundcloud when the next show replaces it.

For those unfamiliar, I do these hour long mixes every year or so featuring cover versions, sample-heavy tracks or songs that obviously owe a debt to the Dusseldorf quartet. I had the idea to string these sources together several years ago and the more I dug, the more I found, the amount of material out there is mind boggling. Not so strange for such an influential band who rarely release new material, I suppose fans have to fill the gap somehow. For anyone wanting to play catch-up, the first 4 are available here with full artwork and tracklistings and I’ll be putting 5 up with 6 next week too.

At a festival in Warsaw the other week, DK and I had the pleasure of seeing ex-Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos play. I was surprised at how much of the set was old material mixed with his solo stuff. His stage show pales compared to his former bands’ but he had full visuals and 5.1 sound all mixed live and hearing a new take on classic tracks was well worth the time we took to check him out.

Internet Piracy

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation recently ran a documentary on copyright law in their Background Briefing slot on Sunday nights. They used some clips from my Raiding The 20th Century mix as well as Steinski, Lawrence Lessig,  Dangermouse’s Grey Album, Girl Talk, Good Copy, Bad Copy etc.

You can listen or download it here for a limited time

internets

Posted in DJ Food, Music, Radio. | 1 Comment |

The Shape of Things That Hum EP Soundcloud Promo

Here are 3 tracks from my next EP, streamable via Soundcloud – there 5 tracks in all with a further 3 remixes on the download. Sentinel is a collaboration with DK and GIANT is a cover of The The without the vocal which will be added to a remixed version on the album. If you want to buy it and click the link it will take you to iTunes but the EP isn’t out until Dec 14th now so you’ll have a bit of a wait…
DJ Food – ‘The Shape of Things That Hum’ (Promo) by Ninja Tune

Posted in DJ Food, Music, Ninja Tune. | 5 Comments |

Food For Mahfood

Just received a bumper package from my man Jim Mahfood aka Food One in LA. We did a swap of goodies and he really outdid me with the contents of his box. Aside from the comic books, T-shirt, stickers, cards and mix CD he also signed the inner covers of all 3 Mixtape collections AND included the limited edition Paul’s Boutique comic he did about the Beastie Boys’ classic album. Yep, I’m gloating here…

[singlepic id=1982 w=650 h=400 float=left][singlepic id=1986 w=650 h=400 float=left]

Posted in Art, Books, Comics, DJ Food. | No Comments |

The Shape Of Things That Hum

Shape EP poster

This will be the next DJ Food EP in the trilogy, released Dec 7th as a 12″ with poster cover and download with 3 bonus remixes.

Side A
1. Sentinel (Shadow Guard) – DJ Food & DK, mixed by King Cannibal
2. extract from Stolen Moments too – variations on a theme
3. Brother John – featuring the voice of John Rydgren,  a tribute of sorts
Side B
1. GIANT (instrumental) This is a cover of the The The classic, there will be a vocal version on the album next year by Matt Johnson himself
2. Sentinel (Lunar Defence) – a reprise / reversion of the main track

8 track Download + pdf booklet
All Covered In Darkness (Mr P remix suite) 3 remixes by PC totalling 13 minutes.

Artwork is again by Henry Flint on the inks and me on the colours, here’s the main cover / poster image.

Bestival

Took the bus, train, cab, ferry and bus down to Bestival on Saturday morning, left at 11am, was on site by 3.30. The weather was fantastic and one of the first things I saw on arrival was Lily Allen backstage, looking stunning in an open-backed  Barbarella-esque outfit with glitter across her eyes. She looked like the kind of girl the word ‘minx’ was created for. I stopped dribbling and got my wristband.

[singlepic id=1971 w=320 h=210 float=left]

The theme this year was outer space and this is one festival that exists for fancy dress. Every, and I mean every, permutation of space character, hero or villain, minor or major was represented. From the usual Darth’s, Stormtroopers, Boba’s, Leia’s and even a Millenium Falcon to Daleks, Thunderbirds, Trekkies and Transformers. People had gone to town and there was enough silver and baking foil to make a thousand spaceships. Amongst the less obvious characters were the Yip Yip aliens from Sesame Street, the Black Oblisk and Hal from 2001, the 3-eyed aliens from Toy Story, Clangers aplenty and quite a few Flash Gordon’s (the 80’s version though*).

[singlepic id=1965 w=300 h=210 float=left][singlepic id=1977 w=320 h=210 float=left][singlepic id=1980 w=320 h=210 float=left]

I was playing in the Bollywood tent, sandwiched between Ross Allen and Appleblim. When I arrived Ross has a posse of Stormtroopers getting down but the crowd were a difficult one and it was mid afternoon with the sun blazing outside. I went for a walk and immediately got pushed aside as a parade of costumed space cadets marched through the site. My favourties were a guy and his girlfriend dressed as a Scout Walker and Princess Leia respectively, some girls on amazing space bikes in the parade and a couple dressed as Roland TB-303’s made from foam – definitely the most original and creative I saw.

[singlepic id=1962 w=320 h=210 float=left][singlepic id=1975 w=320 h=210 float=left][singlepic id=1978 w=320 h=210 float=left]

Back in the tent for my set I decided to throw the usual one out the window and start with some funky bits before quickly winding into some stompy 4/4 electro/techno. Then into dubstep and breaks and finally a touch of drum n bass for the last 20 minutes. After a slow start with people standing and watching it worked a treat and I was surprised to see Diplo pop his head around the booth to say hello at one point.

[singlepic id=1963 w=320 h=240 float=left][singlepic id=1969 w=320 h=240 float=left][singlepic id=1967 w=320 h=240 float=left]

After a quick drink and chat with Ross it was back on the bus, ferry, cab, train and bus to London, arriving home at midnight. I’m currently in the middle of Bill Drummond’s book ’17’ which is gripping me with his mania like all his books do. I can relate to some of what he says – the main jist of the book is that music has run  it’s course – but that’s a blog for another day.

.

.

*I have a particular affection for this version of Flash Gordon, my dad was bought up on the original and I was 10 when they did the remake so he took me to see it and I loved it. The soundtrack (on cassette) was the first album I ever bought with my own money, definitely seduced by the film connection and the great logo on the cover rather than any love of Queen. I liked some of their music but could only get into the faster guitar-driven tracks rather than the incidental, slow-paced stuff, although I’ve come to appreciate these over time.

What I also liked was that there was loads of dialogue from the film mixed into the music and the record ran in sequence with the events in the film. Freddie Mercury was sporting a Flash T-shirt on the inside cover and I wanted one so badly for years but those sort of merchandise spin-offs were the things of promo only back in those days. Years later I watched it round a mate’s house with the sound down and some terrible Mike Oldfield album as the soundtrack whilst coming down off acid. At one point some bagpipes kicked in and it ruined the whole thing, I had to get him to change the record.

Posted in DJ Food, Gigs. | No Comments |

DJ Food – A Weird World Reader – 1 hour mix

A Weird World Reader by strictly
A trip through the new DJ Food EP ‘One Man’s Weird Is Another Man’s World’ featuring tracks, samples and influences that make it what it is.

DJ Food - A Weird World Reader preview

  1. Tracklist:
    DJ Food feat Natural Self – The Illectrik Hoax (Ninja Tune)
    Rare Bird – Hammerhead (ABC / Dunhill)
    The Black Keys – Have Love Will Travel (Alive)
    The Broken Keys – Razorblade (Tru Thoughts)
    Mr Chop – The Infinity Machine (Now Again)
    Oasis – Falling Down (Amorphous Androgynous Exploding Bubble remix) (Big Brother)
    DJ Food – extract from Stolen Moments (Ninja Tune)
    The Dragons – Soul Teacher (Rural Records)
    Ken Nordine – Manned Satellite (Dot)
    DJ Food – All Covered In Darkness (Ninja Tune)
    The The – Giant (Some Bizarre)
    Keno-1 and the Hermit – Heavy Heavy (Breakin Bread)
    Grace Jones – Corporate Cannibal (Wall of Sound)
    DJ Food – Tricky Little Ears (The Cheech Wizard Pays Respect To All Living Creatures Who Inhabit Dark Places remix by Bundy K Brown) (Ninja Tune)
    DJ Food – A Trick of The Ear (Ninja Tune)
    Grace Jones – Hurricane (Wall of Sound)
    Bundy K Brown – Soldier of Fortune (Thrill Jockey)
    Dr Rubberfunk – Sunset Breakdown (GPR)
    Paul Weller – Sunflower (Lynch Mob dub) (Go Discs)
    DJ Food – All Covered In Darkness Pt 2 (Ninja Tune)
    DJ Food – Colours Beyond Colours (Ninja Tune)

Living The Dream

Lots of things going on at the moment:

DK & DJ Food at the ICA, London

DK and I played the Ninja night at the ICA last Friday with Grasscut, Juice Aleem, Daedelus and King Cannibal, it was great to see so many familiar faces, including most of the Ninja staff, thanks for coming down. Saturday was headlining one of the tents at the Lounge On The Farm festival in Canterbury alongside Tom Middleton, Roots Manuva, The Dub Pistols and Mr Scruff.

Very busy with the next EP, a little behind but making progress, mixing what I have the first week of August.

Still waiting on a vocal from one of my musical heroes – very exciting and scary at the same time.

Natural Self is going to do a version of ‘The Illectrik Hoax’ in a very different style apparently.

Emailing Henry Flint about a possible future cover image.

Going through the archives for this site and another project.

Still got to send the King Cannibal CD off the the printer.

need more hours in the day or less sleep…

Grace Jones, DK & DJ Food at the ICA, London

(photos © Martin LeSanto-Smith 2009)

Posted in Design, DJ Food, Gigs, Records. | No Comments |