Ninja Tune XX in the US, Part 3: Los Angeles

Day 4: Saturday – LA – Echo/Echoplex

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Lobby call was a slightly kinder 10am this time and we were starting to acclimatise  to the time zone now. We were staying at the Standard downtown, which had a ping pong table and organ in the lobby as well as a curtain print in the room that matched the design on the walls. The shower wall was also clear glass so everything was on display if you were sharing rooms. Steve lucked out when he was given a huge top floor suite which included a bath that could hold six and a large, spongy foot in the middle of the floor(!). The show was at Echo/Echoplex, a two room venue in Echo Park, with Eskmo, special guest Cut Chemist, Toddla T, Amon and Kentaro downstairs whilst Jeff, Thavius Beck, Koala and DK and I had the smaller upstairs room. We all went to dinner nearby and were joined by Money Mark, publicist Trevor and several of the UK office staff who had chosen LA as their destination of choice. We got back to see the end of Cut’s set which was amazing, using one turntable and a foot pedal to loop and scratch African records over each other as with his Sound of the Police release. Plenty of people had come in costume as it was Halloween weekend including a taco, cavemen, telly tubbies, pimps and pnutz from the Ninja forum dressed as a Technics turntable, complete with 7″ hair accessory and Ninja record label on the deck. Highlight of the night was Koala’s crossfader breaking mid set and him seamlessly changing it live onstage whilst using the pillow fight routine to cover himself. DK and I had a great set and Jim Mahfood turned up with his posse and sweated his guts out dancing. Some great pictures of both players and costumes plus a review are here at Chinashop. We all ended up back in Steve’s suite for an after party but I was flagging badly and retired to bed early.

Day 5: Sunday – LA – Halloween, a visit to Augustine Kofie’s and the Boo-Over

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I was woken at midday by the phone, it was Augustine Kofie calling to see what my plans were so I packed, left all but my backpack at the hotel and headed over to his house. We’d agreed to meet up as I was picking up a piece of his I’d bought called ‘Constructive’, a gorgeous 12″ x 12″ collage which seemed tiny in comparison to the bigger pieces I’d seen at the gallery in San Francisco. His home looked similar to the constructions he’d built in the gallery too, neatly ordered stacks of paintings, paper, rulers, wooden boxes and other ephemera he’d picked up on his travels. We headed out to get some lunch and then on to a fancy dress store as I had to pick up a costume for the party I was secretly doing that afternoon – the last ever Do-Ever at Cranes in Hollywood, renamed the Boo-Over for the night, costume mandatory. I was at a loss for what to go in but after trying on several masks Kofie spotted the pizza slice costume which was a no-brainer for a DJ Food outfit.

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When we arrived at the spot, the line of costumed freaks was already down to the bottom of the block and it was only 4pm. There were some excellent choices too, Wolverine, plenty of Darth Vaders, a KanYe West bear, Ray Charles and a vampire Queen of the Damned with very realistic fangs who wanted to bite me all the time. I met up with Aloe Blacc and Jamie Strong who run the night in the back courtyard at the tiny venue (capacity about 250 although they must have fitted more in). I had the second set as I had to leave early to catch a plane at 10.30pm and got the party started nicely with some Halloween tunes. Later on Koala played and DESTROYED the place, his rock-heavy set going down a treat. Women were losing it big time in front of him, screaming, making heart signs, jogging the decks and pulling the ears on his bear suit.
(Note: some of these pictures were found online after the event, contact me if you have a problem or want credits added, most that weren’t by me are by RFeezy)

Kid Koala destroys the Boo-Over (web)

Jim Mahfood turned up again with Jane Dope in her Beat Bee costume, Money Mark was back, Kentaro and brother Kotaro arrived in pimp gear and as I was saying goodbye to Jamie he introduced me to Madlib who was standing next to us in a Friday 13th/Jason hockey mask. He mimed a friendly punch to my stomach and shook hands, saying he used to sample DJ Food way back when, the next thing I knew he was pulling me into a group photo of him and his friends. As I left to grab a cab to the airport I noticed the flashing lights of a police car outside and later found out six of them had come and shut the party down early. Seems like the tour began and ended with cops shutting down parties. I sped to the airport on a cloud it seemed, what a completely bizarre few days, meeting and playing with people from all over, some of them my peers, jumping from city to city in a Ninja XX shaped bubble. All so far removed from my regular life back in London and only two days until I flew on to Japan for more of the same…

Here are a couple of videos I found online after the event as well as one of my own
(from the DJ booth), easily one of my favourite gigs this year.

New Ninja Tune Psyche / Fuzz / Rock mix on Solid Steel

I’ve been planning this since the summer but only had time to put it down recently, this is some of my favourite music on Ninja Tune over the last few years, quite a few overlooked tracks and artists as well as some new tracks from the XX set. Ninja Tune first became known for ‘Trip Hop’, alluding to ‘Trippy Hip Hop’, but what about all the other trippy music released on the label over the years? Bands like Super Numeri, The Slew, Yppah or the Dragons? I’ve put together an hour of guitar fuzz, wah wah, delay and heavy beats focusing on the acid rock and psychedelic stylings of the label and it’s Big Dada and Counter offshoots.

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Solid Steel Radio Show 5/11/2010 Part 3 + 4 – Strictly Kev by Ninja Tune & Big Dada

Final line ups for Ninja XX US mini-tour

Ninja Converse Ninja Tune, Converse, and XLR8R present Ninja Tune’s 20th Anniversary!  Please join us for a special night of music to commemorate and celebrate 20 years of Beats and Pieces.  Also get exclusive downloads from Ninja artists as well as all updated event info at xlr8r.com.  Anybody who comes to the event will be eligible to win a free pair of custom Ninja Tune Converse… we’re talking only 62 in production! (61 once I get my pair! but not sure if the ones on the left will be the final design I submitted)

New York – October 28th
Located at: Santos, New York
Lineup: Amon Tobin, Kid Koala, DJ Food & DK, Poirier, Toddla T & Serocee, DJ Kentaro, Eskmo, High Priest (of Anti-Pop Consortium), Small Change, & visuals by Strangeloop.
Tickets // Facebook

.FREE WITH RSVP!
Converse Presents San Francisco – October 29th
Located at: 1015 Folsom, San Francisco
Featuring Ninja Tune DJs Amon Tobin, Kid Koala, DJ Food & DK, Toddla T & Serocee, Eskmo, Kentaro, Ghostbeard, additional special guests include Ill Gates, Lowriderz feat. AnTenNae & Laura (Muti-SF), Motion Potion (Sunset), J.Boogie (Om), DJ Centipede of Mophono (Bastard Jazz), Ripley (Surya Dub), Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist (True Skool), Toph 1 (Red Wine), Senor Oz (Afrolicious), Malarkey (Juke Joint), U9Lift, Visuals by Strangeloop
RSVP // Facebook

Los Angeles – October 30th
Located at: Echo/Echoplex, Los Angeles
Lineup: Amon Tobin, Kid Koala, DJ Food & DK, Toddla T & Serocee, Eskmo, DJ Kentaro, Ghostbeard, Thavius Beck, special guest Cut Chemist and visuals by Strangeloop
Tickets // Facebook

also in the offering: guest appearance by myself and possibly Kid Koala at a special gig Sunday afternoon in LA…

splashOff to the US Wednesday for a 4 day jaunt that will take in NYC, SF and LA and hopefully a lot of friends along the way… First major stop should be Noah Uman’s  Coffee Break For Heroes & Villains show on famed radio station WFMU. His show is on at midnight until 3am 27th/28th of October so lord knows what physical state I’ll be in at that hour.

It’s mainly Hip Hop with a bias towards old school and golden periods seemingly although he does play more contemporary stuff too. I’ve dug out some oldies and oddities to play and it’s pretty relaxed on air so I expect we’ll be talking Hip Hop shop too at some points. Oh yeah and it’s not a mix show so don’t expect any great blends.

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More info: wfmu.org/playlists/NU •   WFMU 91.1 fm & 90.1 fm •   www.coffeebreakradio.com

Posted in DJ Food, Music, Radio, Records. | No Comments |

6 Mix Ninja special this Sunday

6 musicColdcut host a 2 hour show celebrating the 20th anniversary of the label this Sunday on 6 Music’s 6 Mix show . Special mixes have been compiled by myself, Mr Scruff, Daedelus and Toddla T (doing a Roots Manuva special) showcasing tracks from the new XX compilations and Ninja classics. It starts at 8pm and will be available on the BBC’s Listen Again feature for a week afterwards.

XX 12″s 3-6

Some more (not very good) pictures of the XX 12″s – out Monday. 1 & 2 only available with a purchase code from the XX box set, 3-6 available for general sale. A mystery seventh 12″ with two remixes of a Ninja classic unavailable anywhere else, will creep into circulation shortly.
XX 1 coverXX 1 backXX 2 backXX 3 coverXX 4 coverXX 5 coverXX 5 backXX 6 cover

and a sneaky reason to own all six 12″s, when put together, the spines spell Ninja Tune XX
XX spines

Paris XX

The Paris show on Friday was great fun, packed out, great to see Vadim and Yarah on a Ninja bill again too. During mine and DK’s set someone pulled the fire alarm and all the power went off on stage for more than 5 minutes. Unfortunately we were in the middle of a drum n bass section so that went down like a damp squib. Before the gig I went up to the Galerie Chappe to see the exhibition of Ninja art and sleeve design that had been put on, apparently 1,500 people turned out for the opening! Ping Pong, who have done promotion for Ninja for over a decade now under the leadership of Fred ‘DJ Oof’ Elalouf, did a great job of putting together a show which included original art, paste up sheets, sleeves, huge posters and specially made prints of selected covers. They also made exclusive T-shirts, seats and a huge banner for the gigs which greeted me when I walked into the venue.  See photos from the exhibition here (warning, this is a Facebook photo album), and it’s on until October 2nd. There are 4 more gigs coming up in Paris over the next few weeks including a huge, long sold out line up at La Machine and two gigs at the Pompidou Centre.

XX banner, ParisGalerie Chappe Ninja L'expo

Ninja Tune XX boxset is here finally

I was having a shitty day with nothing going right when this was hand-delivered from the Think Tank offices out of the blue this afternoon. Eight months of hard slog, revisions, deadlines, corrections, proofs, more revisions, changed constructions and over 50 GB of information went into this.

A slipcase containing 3 hardback books – ’20 Years of Beats & Pieces’ was actually started back in July 2009 and completed just under a year later with a solid six months spent on it and little else. The other two, containing 6 CDs, 6 45’s, 2 posters, a booklet and a sticker sheet (which should have been straight forward but I had no end of hassle with) took another 2 months at least with meetings and discussions as to how the packaging would work going on since March. I even managed to find time to write a new track to go on the damned thing which is on one of the exclusive CDs.

When I look back at 2010 and think what I did that year, this is what will sum most of it up. If you have one on the way then you’re in for a treat believe me, want one, didn’t get round to buying one yet or were maybe sitting on the fence then there are still some available to buy before the big release day on September 20th.

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US gigs line up and new early Japan show flyer

Here are the line ups and details for the US gigs, also DK should be joining me on the Japan leg too which should also be taking in Osaka and possibly Kyoto as well as Tokyo (which has two shows). Got a nice hook up with Converse for the US gigs including a free party in San Francisco that they’re sponsoring. For free entry please send an RSVP  here, also XLR8R are doing a big Ninja piece too.
xxflyerNEWYORKfinal_v7xxflyerSANFRANCISCO_v10xxflyerNEWYORKfinal_v7NINJAXX_Toyko early

Remember The Future? mix

REMEMBER THE FUTURE3 years back I recorded a robot-themed mix for Solid Steel to coincide with the imminent release of the first Transformers film. I’d been meaning to do this for some time but this gave me the impetus and I crafted a little Transformers intro from various samples or tracks that sampled the robots in disguise. After that it’s mainly material from the 60’s and 70’s with that novelty look at robotics pre-Star Wars, what some would call ‘the golden age’.

I love this stuff, real oddity bin stuff, plenty of madcap psyche, dance craze records, vocoders and even a country ode to an electronic brain. A friend recently asked me to dig it out so here it is again.

Remember The Future by DJ Food

Big Chill igloo tent Solid Steel set times for Saturday:

festivalWe’re playing in a dome with 360 degree video, come and check us out, a few Ninja XX compilation exclusives in the set so far…

21.00- 21.15     Warm Up
21.15-22.45      JFB
22.45-23.45      DJ Woody Turntables In Technicolor
23.45-1 .15 am   DJ Food & DK
1.15 – 2.45 am   Hexstatic present Trailer Trax
2.45 – 4.00 am   Sampology’s Super Visual Smackdown

I Love Acid Blech set

I played a special Blech set at I Love Acid on Saturday at Ginglik, under Shepherd’s Bush Green. It was an amalgam of the two mixes I did for Warp records’ 20th anniversary that you can hear on my Soundcloud page.

Photographer Martin LeSanto-Smith took some excellent photos with a promo Aphex mask I took down, one of my favourite nights out in London, even though the tube had shut down that weekend.

AFX collage

AFX Kev 650warp backAll photographs are property of and copyright to Martin LeSanto-Smith and not to be reproduced without permission.All Rights Reserved. Contact:- Tel: 07779 234104 or email:- toastyoneuk[at]o2.co.uk

Posted in DJ Food, Gigs. | No Comments |

Ah yeah…

I was in the Ninja office today, sifting through boxes of press archive, found some amazing things, hilarious photos of old and some situations I don’t even remember. Lots of weird and wonderful people have passed through Ninja over the years and there are a lot of memories attached to it for me. I’m currently deep into the design and ongoing picture research for the Ninja Tune book which will be published this summer by Black Dog Publishing.

It’s a gargantuan project and one that we are not taking lightly – don’t expect the usual spread of press shots you’ve all seen before, we’re digging deep for lots of unseen material and it turns up in the most unlikely places. There’s no way it will all make it into the book but I promise to share some of the bits and pieces that don’t make it at a later date via this blog.

Also, these turned up today… :) Better res than Vimeo, I promise.
L&L DVD 650