Who’s got tickets then? All Killer, no filler…
This line up is ridiculously good, I’m almost jealous that I’m not playing but in reality I get to go as a punter without having to worry about performing. The DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist ‘Renegades of Rhythm’ show in Jan is the one to beat but this could be show of the year. Early bird tickets just went on sale here – be quick! Great poster by Tom Miller too.
Above was filmed at the Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg earlier this year, check around the 1 minute mark for the stage-diver
Tonight DJ Cheeba, DJ Moneyshot and I retire the ‘3-Way Mix’ live set as part of the line up at the Funk & Soul Club at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. It’s been 18 months since we debuted it in Paris and since then we’ve toured it across Europe, to Russia, Canada and Australia, adding a full video component as we went. The 25th anniversary of the ‘Paul’s Boutique’ album it’s based on has come and gone and the third anniversary of MCA‘s death fast approaches. Time to put it to rest and move on…
Solid Steel will be rolling out a series of gigs this summer for no reason other than we feel like it. For these two in Paris, France and Ghent, Belgium DK and myself are joined by Om Unit and Illum Sphere. If you want to book a Solid Steel night then please contact Ben Coghill at Elastic Artists.
DJ Cheeba, Moneyshot and I are putting our 4 deck, 3 DJ reconstruction of the Beastie Boys‘ ‘Paul’s Boutique’ album to bed for the foreseeable future on April 17th at the Funk & Soul Club in London. We feel that it’s done it’s job and we want to end it 18 months after it’s premiere and just 2 weeks short of the anniversary of MCA’s death on May 4th. We’ll have the full AV set up for this gig and Moneyshot’s other group, The Allergies, are also on the bill amongst others with Mixmaster Morris playing the second room as well. It’s at the Electric Ballroom, Camden and tickets are £8 advance.
My new Future Shock 2 mix is getting a lot of love on this week’s Solid Steel and now I can reveal that I’ll be premiering the AV show that goes with it
at Videocrash at Koko, London this May 23rd. *UPDATE – Soundcrash cancelled this gig after changing the line up four times in two weeks. It has since been rescheduled for another date in December at a different venue.
Big Fish Little Fish was amazing on Sunday, god knows how many people crammed into the Clore Ballroom at the Southbank in London. So many at one point that we had to stop the music for 10 minutes for an unscheduled break while the staff tried to calm a swell of the people trying to get in. Above is at the start as people were coming in, you can see House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ on my laptop as the opening track.
The parachute dance (above) is a regular feature of the BFLF parties and this one was different in that they did it three times so that people got a chance to be under it, still didn’t stop a fight by two mums nearly breaking out to get underneath :). Below you can see just how much it had filled up by the end as families poured into the totally unprepared ballroom to rave inside away from the rain. Despite it being a roadblock all the staff were lovely and Hannah and Natasha from BFLF handled the whole thing like pros.
I made a mix for them back in January that I’ve been meaning to post it on here but what with the Selected Aphex Works mix I didn’t want to push too many mixes out there. But here it is – Warning! Pop Alert! This is made as much with kids in mind as adults, probably good for a picnic or birthday party rather than the more adult-centric classic rave and jungle I played on Sunday.
Beautiful flyer I picked up for the forthcoming Radioland UK tour where they re-imagine Kraftwerk‘s ‘Radio Activity’ album in sound and vision. More details here
I think Russia is rapidly becoming one of my favourite places to play, 3 gigs in the last 3 months, all memorable for different reasons and all the crowds have been so good. They seem way more into the music and not preoccupied with their mobiles, very vocal but in a positive way. Plus we got to play at the Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg with one of the biggest video screens yet.
One guy on Saturday night was stage-diving to the Beasties mix from the off, so much so that he got himself thrown out. Another kept shouting ‘more volume’ and led the crowd in his chant but we were already in the red. Afterwards we were informed that he’s a little bit deaf and always does this at every gig.
As we all know, the life of the international DJ is exciting and glamorous, which is why I was back up at 5am after a 1am bedtime on Friday morning so that I could get to Heathrow for an 8.40am takeoff to Moscow. Add a 3 hour stopover in the airport and another two and half hour plane ride to Yekaterinburg and I arrive at 9.30pm their time (lost 5 hours). I’m met by two mysterious girls in oversize shiny black army-style peaked hats who ask me where my space suit is, what I think about aliens and would I like to do a parachute jump sometime? So far so good.
We’re whisked to the Lynch Club, a warren of cleverly decorated corridors and small rooms at the top of an old cinema complex that smells of sickly sweet popcorn as you ascend the stairs. It’s named after David Lynch as I soon realise when being led into a recreation of the famous dark red curtained room from the final episode of Twin Peaks – the only thing missing is a backwards talking midget. They also have a thing about rabbits taken from Lynch lore, remember the rabbits.
Another room – the library is blindingly white with padded walls and a bookshelf full of design books from around the globe. I’m met by a photographer, Ildar Ziganshin, who has a book open on the table with my face on one page… It turns out that when I was in Yekaterinburg before – six years ago – I had been photographed by him for a project called Photorobot and this was part of the result, a book of faces, split across the middle so that you could flip and combine two different halves to make a third like a children’s book. He had made only 50 copies but saved one for me, still wrapped in its original hessian packaging from six years ago. See here for some examples, it ain’t pretty :). We agreed to repeat the experiment later in his photo studio which is elsewhere in the building and I eat dinner in the white room whilst a beautiful but silent girl sits reading a book opposite and a couple lounge on the nearby sofa.
After a checking into the hotel I return and am led upstairs by the promoter, Stas, to find that the girls from before have transformed into aliens and are silently writhing around in the corridor, whispering in Russian to each other. They want to put me into a large bag, take me down to the dance floor as my guardians and then reveal me to the crowd before I start playing (I’m not making this up).
After initially laughing it off and then getting a little scared after realising they were serious (they had the bag and everything) I settled on a different plan – I would wear a plain face mask with my hood up and they would lead me through the (smoke-filled) room to the decks and do their alien thing in front of the crowd as I set up before revealing my face and letting rip behind the decks. It was surreal but fun and they had gone to so much effort with their costumes that I couldn’t not play ball.
The gig was great, tiny room, decks set up on a table on the floor in one corner, proper underground house party style and really great fun. One drunk guy who wouldn’t stop bumping into the decks with his crazed dancing was pinned to the floor at one point by another punter (thanks :)) and I had to school another who wanted to stand at the front and tell me how to play half the night. After I’d finished, a friendly face appeared out of the crowd, Mr Armtone aka Anton Kibeshev, from St. Petersburg who had come all that way to check it out and was traveling on with me to also play in Samara the next day.
After a quick drink in the library it was up to the photo studio to have some more snaps taken for Ildar’s next project. Finally one of the girls appeared and asked me to come upstairs as there was a final surprise waiting (yeah, I know what you’re thinking, glamorous international DJ life). As we made our way upstairs into the tungsten lit corridor above the dancefloor and rounded the corner I was confronted with a life size rabbit, standing silently against the wall, waving. It’s now 4.30am, I’m coming down from the high of the DJ set, the sleep deprivation is starting to kick in and I’m seeing a Donny Darko-like apparition in front of me. There was only one thing to do, hug the rabbit, grab a quick selfie and head for bed. I made it back to the hotel and checked my watch, 5am, I had to be up at 8.30 to grab some breakfast before leaving at 9 for the airport.
Anton arrives for breakfast, feeling like death from the night before (too many cocktails) and we grab a ride with his friend whilst checking out his latest toy – a telescopic stick with a camera holder on the end which enables you to take photos from over a meter away. The iSelfie stick was used all weekend in various ways and became the source of much amusement, I predict it won’t be long before they’re everywhere. Anton is feeling really rough and sleeps on the flight with a sick bag at hand and when we arrive in Samara we have to wait an hour in the lounge as the pick up had the wrong time of arrival. The taxi drivers there are like vultures, hovering in packs as you come into the baggage area from the runway, muttering ‘taxi?’, ‘taxi?’ and working the crowd. Eventually Basil and Alex arrive to pick us up, apologising profusely, we are nearly dead from lack of sleep (and alcohol in Anton’s case). Alex is the designer of the excellent poster and flyer for the gig which he tells me has been made into some 2m x 2m posters too. This is one of the best flyers I think I’ve seen for one of my gigs, promoters take note, this is the standard to beat from now on. They offer to take us on a sight-seeing trip of the city but we have to decline as we will surely die of sleep deprivation if we don’t get to the hotel rooms soon.
It’s good to travel and visit new countries and cities but sometimes you don’t see much of them, half of Saturday in Samara was spent asleep in the daytime and we were a little more refreshed by 8pm by which time it was dark. Actually Anton wasn’t feeling refreshed at all, in fact he was really feeling bad, so bad we had to pull over on the side of the road to let him out on the way to the gig a few times. Then he complained that he couldn’t feel his hands and we realised we had to get him to a doctor before anything else. Close to 2 hours driving around to find someone who could help (the first hospital refused, apparently common in Russia) and we finally got him some medication and headed to find food. I had a nagging travel headache which had started in my shoulder, worked it’s way up one side of my neck and was making its way to my left eye but I tried to keep it in check. So, we’re not in great shape but the venue is as they have a huge screen for the AV show and we meet the promoters Vadimir and Alex (DJ Proton) who has bought some records to trade.
Anton was, by now, feeling better and played first, rocking it with a great mix of garage and UK Funky (joke Anton) – definitely taking his cues from classic DK sets and with top quality visuals too. By the time it’s my turn to play it’s 2am and my head feels like it’s about to take off my headache is so bad, but I build up to a thundering drum n bass set which the crowd lap up. By 4.15 I’m fit to die though, the headache so bad that I can hardly think (sometimes it goes but not this time) and I step down so that Alex can take over. I don’t think I’ve ever had as many people asking for photos and autographs after a gig than in Samara, it was relentless for about 10 minutes, a pretty great end to the night even if I did feel like death. Eventually Anton and I are in a taxi by 5.15am speeding towards our out-of-town hotel with some of the worst RnB rave pop I’ve ever heard playing on the radio.
Next morning at 11am we’re met at the hotel by Alex with a bag of records and a Soundburger portable turntable for an hour of listening and music trading. He gave me some excellent 45’s and an LP and I traded a couple of albums for a 45 by a band called Modo which has three killer funk / jazz /psych cuts on it.
At midday it’s the start of the long trek back home – 3.30pm flight to Moscow, change for London and arrive at 7.15pm (bear in mind all the hours the clock went back during this journey). Unfortunately I ended the trip by leaving my laptop on the plane but luckily realised before I was too far back into London on the tube and was reunited with it within the hour thanks to the excellent BA baggage staff.
Finally got home at 10.15pm Sunday night, phew, what a weekend, seems like half of it was a dream which is why I felt I had to write this all down. The final words from Boney M‘s disco classic ‘Rasputin’ echoed in my head more than a few times over the course of the weekend, “oooh, those Russians”. Except in my mind I always had it that he said, “ooh those ‘crazy’ Russians”, which would be very apt for what turned out to be a weird and wonderful weekend.
The deadline is nearly up for the Dust & Grooves ‘guess my mix content’ comp and the full feature & accompanying mix should drop on the site sometime tomorrow. Unfortunately I’ll be traveling virtually all Friday for the gig in Yekaterinburg so I probably won’t get to post the links to it here (in an extensive liner note post) until much later.
A year to the day that we presented our Solid Steel 25th gig in conjunction with The Hydra, a huge line up of Ninja Tune‘s current roster play at Studio Spaces in E1. Tickets on sale here.
A couple of weekends ago DK and I travelled to Madrid and played what might be the perfect template for all DJ sets in the future. Four deck AV set at 8.15-9.45pm to a receptive crowd on the top floor of the amazing Espacio Arts Centre. Pack up by 10pm, drop bags at hotel and go to a bar for beer and tapas, then go to a great seafood restaurant and be in bed by 1am. Get a good nights sleep and make it to breakfast at a normal hour. They don’t often happen like that…
Here’s a post about several gigs I’ve got coming up this Autumn / Winter that are a bit different from the norm. Above are two shots from last weekend in Derry where part of my 360 degree dome show ‘The Search Engine’ was being shown by Fulldome UK. I was actually in Canada at the time but this show can operate without me needing to be there so I can be in two places at once
I was in Canada for two rounds of the 3-Way Mix alongside DJ Cheeba and DJ Moneyshot where we reconstruct the Beastie Boys‘ Paul’s Boutique album across 4 decks from 150 different sources. There are several more 3-Way shows coming up (for all dates see the right hand column) but one is going to be in a very different setting than usual. On Nov 1st we play at Soul Circus at Mullion Holiday Park, Helston in Cornwall at a Day of the Dead-themed masked Halloween ball. For more info check here as this one should be nuts.
Backtracking, on Oct 23rd I’ll be playing before a screening of the Sun Ra film, ‘Space Is The Place’ at Watershed as part of the AfroFuturism themed Sci-Fi season the BFI are putting on. For this I’ll be doing one of my new sets that I’ve christened ‘Future Shock’ after the recent mix I did for Altar Ego Radio and the gig at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London. This is not a club set by any means, much more a chill out, back room, social event type of set where a soundtrack along a space / sci-fi / future theme is needed. I also plan to have AV content to go with it and to expand my set up so I can play around more with the sounds.
The day after this I’ll be back in London for the big Soundcrash show at The Forum with Nightmares On Wax, Peanut Butter Wolf, Teebs and more. This will be an AV set but I’ll be bringing the heavy drums and electronics out for this one.
Two weeks later will see me the other side of the world for my first trip to Noumea, New Caledonia where I’ll be playing two nights alongside DK at the MV Lounge – 30 hours door to door I’m told. Then a weekend in Russia and another different gig in Bristol to finish the month off. I’ll be doing an all 45’s night back to back with Boca 45 at the Big Chill House on Nov 29th.
Off to Canada this weekend to play two 3-Way Mix shows with Cheeba and Moneyshot in Montreal and Ottawa. Friday will see a return to the SAT in Montreal where I did my dome shows in 2012 and on Saturday we’re at Ritual in Ottawa with promoter Shawn Scallen who was the first person to put Ninja Tune on in that city back in 1996!.
Here’s a photo he took of PC and I from that night and also a short interview I did last week for Apt 613. We’re beginning to upgrade the video side of the mix now and I’ve been editing suitable footage all week for my section which should debut this weekend if I can get it all to synch properly.
*UPDATE* – here’s a 3-Way interview with Darcy MacDonald that went live whilst I was away about the mix