Ninja Tune XX London – art and decor

Thanks to Hit + Run for the T-shirt printing in the chill out arch which was a nice touch and it was a thrill to see mine and doc Vek’s designs being printed live. See them printing the back of my shirt in the video below

[flickrvideo width=”640″ height=”480″]http://www.flickr.com/photos/strictly-kev/5049546768/[/flickrvideo]

Chu did some great work in the outside bar between arch 1 & 2, probably not seen by most though and hopefully not painted over in a hurry either.

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I had designed an archive gallery which was pasted onto 5×7 feet boards and there were several huge banners and posters around too.

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Out in the tunnel / entrance there were specially made gobos showing Ninja logos and in arch 1 Mutate Britain had constructed a huge Ninja head with lasers and smoke coming from the eyes.

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Ninja Tune XX Brussels

Wow, what a week, seems I’m just coming down from it now. Full on all-hands-on-deck stuff from everyone involved in all this weeks Ninja events. Wednesday night I hopped on the bus with King Cannibal, Daedelus, Eskmo, Mox and other assorted Ninjas, bound for Brussels. Thursday saw the XX party at the Ancienne Belgique, otherwise known as the AB, easily one of the best venues in Europe both for sound and stage and backstage catering, which is phenomenal.

After a complete breakfast fail where Mox and I waited 30 minutes for a Croque Monsieur (!) I went record shopping with Daedelus, King Cannibal, Jon More and Kid Koala. Found some great flexi discs – a 5″, 7″ and a book with loads inside as pages – a Halloween Library record and a rather overpriced Jazz/Moog album featuring Herbie Hancock and Bernard Purdie I’d been after for a while. Back at the AB for soundcheck, various other Ninjas were arriving, The Bug, Andreya Triana, The Heavy, DK, as well as staff from the office and Big Dada as well. Jon More regaled Brendan Eskmo with the origins of ‘piss poor’ and ‘haven’t got a pot to piss in’ and Alfred Daedelus compared his cat paint phone app with our tour manager Suzi’s – rock n roll! A huge birthday cake was wheeled out for the evening meal, decorated with the XX logo.

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The gig was amazing, the show long sold out, the second club room rammed all night. The merch stall had three copies of the box set that all sold in less than 5 minutes. Kid Koala debuted his Yo Gabba Gabba Koala suit and a Happy Birthday routine, Dorian Concept wowed everyone with his playing, DK and I had a great set and The Bug had everyone running for ear plugs as he cranked up the volume. A great night which we later found out was webcast live much to our delight.

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Available on Saturday at the Ewer St. Ninja Tune XX gig

This lovely A2 sized custom poster by Doc Vek, £5 to you, 100 only, remainder will be put on the Ninja shop next week. Also Hit + Run will be screen printing a selection of 5 different Ninja designs on T-shirts for people during the gig. Not sure the price or exact designs yet but possibly this poster will be one of them in some form too. More on-location art comes from Chu who painted the mural on the 333 last month and SheOne who has an exhibition just opened alongside Pride, Prime, Fuel and Partism.

NT XX V4 (web)

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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

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

Ninja Tune XX gigs and events

Back from holiday and ready to kick off the Ninja Tune 20th autumn in fine style. The array of gigs, press, releases and events is staggering, there are now 20 different things happening over the next two or so months and plenty of magazine coverage to come shortly. Be on the look out for a 6 page feature on rare Ninja releases in Record Collector, a 6 page design feature in Blueprint, a 70-odd page tribute issue of Trax magazine from France and an 8 page pull out supplement from Clash magazine amongst many more. The ’20 Years of Beats & Pieces’ book by Stevie Chick is now out, the exhibition in London is on until September 16th and the run of dates in France, organised by Ping Pong, start next Friday, the 10th, in Paris.

Djouls and Grant Phabao – the Paris DJs – have been doing some excellent podcast mixes of rare, remixed and psychedelic Ninja Tunes from the past two decades and have contributed to the Trax magazine articles too, find more info here.

There are gigs being set up in the US and Japan for late October and early November plus a huge line up for the Bristol show on November 13th. This weekend I’ll be doing three shows in Russia, one in St Petersburg and two in Moscow – the Migz festival and a special show after at the Dome Bar between 1 and 3am.

At some point in the next week. the box set should arrive at the Ninja office along with the six 12″s and there’s still a mix CD and DVD to come after that. Keep checking here for more info, shots of the packaging and related material…
PrintFLYER ParisNINJA TUNE XX_ Bristol Ninja WebNINJAXX_Flyer14

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Street Heroes Festival, Bucharest

Sorry to everyone who came down to the festival and wanted to see a proper DJ Food set today, the police made several visits and sadly it was third time unlucky during my set. I managed about 20 minutes before they pulled the plug, they literally turned the sound system off on me. I wanted to do a full set, well, there was only 1 hour left because things overran, but didn’t even get that far. I feel sorry for the organisers as this was their first attempt and hope the rest of the festival goes off over the next 2 days.

Bucharest Sunset 12.08.10

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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

Montreal

On Adam Ant’s solo album from 1983, ‘Strip’, he has a song called ‘Montreal’. It was always my favourite track on what was a pretty patchy album and it shares its name with is one of my favourite cities in the world, second only to my hometown of London. I love it mainly for its unpretentious, multi-cultural, wildly artistic inhabitants and this last weekend I was there playing at the Jazz Festival on a bill with Spank Rock and The Slew in one of two Ninja Tune XX shows. It was a pretty laid back affair as I flew in on Friday, played Saturday night and flew out on Sunday evening, a rare treat in my usual touring schedule. The weather was perfect and I got to catch up with lots of friends from the North American Ninja office which is based there as well as catching tons of amazing art dotted around the downtown district where the venue, Metropolis, was.

The gig was good, Spank Rock were nuts and the Slew were just amazing, virtually playing their 100% album in its entirety. British Airways managed to forget my mixer in London so there was a mild panic for a minute to source a duplicate – I can’t do my video set without the Rane 57 – but this seemed no problem. It eventually turned up 20 minutes before I finished playing, being brought on stage by the soundman much to my relief.

On Sunday I visited the Museum of Fine Arts to check out the Miles Davis exhibition which was stunning and is on until the end of August, make the effort if you’re in the city. It is laid out immaculately, chronologically guiding you through his life and work room by room. The late 60’s and 70’s rooms were the ones I’d come for and I wasn’t disappointed as they had the Mati Klarwein originals of the Live/Evil LP cover, Corky McCoy sketches for On The Corner and Water Babies and some hilarious memos to record company staff from Teo Macero. One for Filles De Kilimanjaro ended, “Also Miles would like all the titles on the album translated into French. HELP!”. The whole thing was suberbly put together with original LPs, magazines, sheet music, stage wear, instruments and even some of Miles’ art amongst much more – highly recommended.

After this I met up with ex-Ninja staff, Phillipa Klein and Pat Hamou and Eric San (Kid Koala) who took us to a great Chinese dumpling spot nearby the museum. It’s not widely known but Eric is the number one food stop diviner when on tour. If you’re in a strange city and you need to eat, Eric will know somewhere that will usually turn out to be exceptional. After stuffing our faces we went back to Eric’s with his wife and daughter and marveled at his studio, chock full of amazing kit, 3D models of miniature towns they’d built for a forthcoming project and his own, personalised record cutter. In the basement there was a full size robotron ‘costume’ made out of metal and his studio boasts a massive model of a swordfish sitting atop a bookcase. He played me a new track he’s just finished for the Ninja Tune XX compilation and revealed that he’s recording the first parts of a new Slew record next week in between tour dates.

My time was up so we drove back to my hotel and said goodbyes, a great way to spend a weekend for sure, the flight back was overnight and the week ahead sees me tying up the last parts of the Ninja box set artwork, starting a 4 deck AV set for the 20th parties and finishing a track for the compilation.

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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

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Warp 20 (London)

Warp 20

Had great fun last night at the Coronet for Warp’s 20th birthday bash. Nice to see lots of old faces (and T shirts) and be part of the label’s celebrations considering I’m not actually signed to them. The Blech 20 set seemed to go down well even though I’d had little time to prepare anything but I’ll be doing a proper recording this week which will pop up somewhere in time for Xmas.

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Strictly in Kiev and the DJ’s dilemma

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.

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