A piece I wrote about the lack of specialist female DJs in radio. Not female DJs in the whole world. Not females on the radio. Female specialist radio DJs. Niche, huh? It was originally published on The Guardian on June 19.
Meet DJ Harvey. You may not have heard of him because he's been in a self-imposed exile in America for the past 10 years. I wrote about his return to the UK, Fabric's Thirteenth Birthday, Fleetmac Wood and Gypsy Hotel's Sixth Birthday for my first Metro column, which is uploaded below.
This interview with Don Letts and his son Jet, and Norman Jay and his son Russ, is probably one of my favourite pieces that I've done for Time Out. I'm a huge fan of doing family-themed articles and managed to shoehorn them into the Clubbing section a number of times. This one originally appeared in a July 2011 issue of Time Out – you can read the entire thing on the website here or check it out below.Read More
Afternoon! I'm just back from Vietnam and raring to go. I've been saving this for a special occasion, so here we go. It's my favourite piece of writing so far, so please be gentle, and a profile of the man with the best name in dance music, Orlando Higginbottom, aka the wonderful headdress-sporting Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. The feature originally appeared in Mixmag's July issue and can also be read in full on their website here. Or, as it happens, after the jump.Read More
This review originally appeared on BBC Music on May 5 2012.
BBC Music reviewSoul Clap - Efunk
If you believe the blogosphere-fuelled hyperbole, the future of dance music lies in the hands of Brooklyn label collective Wolf + Lamb and its slow burning seam of deep house. It launched the career of American-Chilean minimalist Nicolas Jaar and has made international party boys out of its DJs, Seth Troxler, No Regular Play and Art Department.
The jesters of this court are Boston-bred duo Soul Clap. They’ve been fizzing away on the underground club circuit since 2007, steadily gathering acclaim for their bootlegs of RnB classics and house remixes. Their debut album, EFUNK, however, has more in common with similarly fun-poking duo Chromeo. They share the same penchant for electro-funk, but Soul Clap sling classic 90s RnB, house, disco and New Jack Swing into the frat party punch.
Unfortunately, they spike it with cartoonish bro-rap bravado too. Their cover of 80s cult electro producer the Egyptian Lover’s The Alzeby Inn, with its homophobic undertones, is an outright clanger (though, we suspect, considering the title’s acronym spells out “everybody’s freaky under nature’s kingdom,” it is meant ironically).
The lyrics aren’t the only thing holding EFUNK back: Soul Clap’s chugging pace drags on the heels of their most anthemic numbers. Even one of EFUNK’s strongest tracks, Let’s Groove On, which references club classics like Snap!’s The Power and C+C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now), fails to reach the euphoric heights those inspirations might suggest.
The 90s thread continues on tracks Ecstasy and Need Your Lovin with Mel Blatt, who was in one of the era’s biggest girl bands, All Saints. Sadly, her vocals are wispy-thin and uncoil faster than a bad perm. Better is standout Take it Slow, which could have as easily come from Janet Jackson’s 1986 album Control with its slinky-sweet vocal from Franceska.
Still, the Soul Clap sound isn’t all stuck in the past. They may wear 80s and 90s influences on their sequinned sleeves, but they blend neon-splattered nostalgia with a crisp futurism thanks to their experimental production techniques. If the future of dance music does lie with Soul Clap, you can at least count on it being downright freaky.
The distinctive battle cry of UK garage is unforgettable. But, says Kate Hutchinson, it's more than just a distant dancefloor memory. Whether it's futuristic sounds or old school anthems that you'll hear in London's clubs, garage is back for good.Read More
A new Soul Jazz compilation and book uncovers the music and moves of New York's '80s house ballroom era, the underground nightlife scene immortalised by Madonna in her infamous single 'Vogue' this month. And, though it lives on in the Big Apple, you can find traces of this fascinating polysexual culture in London clubland too…Read More
In April, I had the pleasure of writing the sleevenotes for a compilation by one the country's most respected DJ and producers, Andrew Weatherall. His contribution to the 'Masterpieces' series on Ministry of Sound is out in all good record shops now. You can read the sleevenotes in full after the jump. Hope you enjoy.Read More
This year I edited Time Out London's 2012 Festival Guide and we put one of my favourite bands, Hot Chip, on the cover. I interviewed them about their forthcoming (and ruddy excellent) new album 'In Our Heads' and sleeping through festival performances. Here's the original version on Time Out but you can read the extended version after the jump.Read More
You may have, like everyone else, thought that LCD Soundsystem had called time on their legendary NYC punk-funk outfit. But as the details of ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’ emerged on the internet earlier this year, it seems that here is a chance to see their last waltz on repeat. The new film, from the directors of the stunning Blur documentary ‘No Distance Left to Run’, follows the band’s last – and by all accounts, epic – performance at Madison Square Gardens in 2011. Unlike other live DVDs of their sort, however, the camera continues to follow LCD’s linchpin, James Murphy, around on the day after the show as he comes to terms with life after LCD.
It’s a both sad and uplifting, not to mention beautifully shot, visual time capsule. But, luckily, we Londoners don’t have long to wait until we can see the film in full. ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’ premiered at Sundance in Texas in March, and it’s heading here as part of the London arm of the film festival from April 26-29. Cue excitable jigs and air-punching from Time Out’s Music team.
But really the question on every fans’ lips is, after 10 years guiding one of the most provocative electronic acts in history, what will James Murphy do next? Well, let us tell you, he’s been up to a lot, especially DJing, which he’ll be getting stuck into once more at London’s Lovebox festival, where he teams up with LCD member Pat Mahoney for a special disco set.
We caught up with him as part of the Red Bull Music Academy lectures at the start of April – a year since the band ended, almost to the day – to find out about the new projects up his sleeve and just what he thinks of the film. Watch the interview above.
Interview: Kate Hutchinson. Film: Roman Tagoe. Recorded at the Red Bull Studios, London.
I've also just found the first Mixmag piece I wrote this year on the delightful house DJ Cassy as part of their 'Queens of the Underground' cover feature in May. At some point, I'll post the interview in full because she was quite simply just awesome. But for now, here she is talking about Miami Winter Music Conference, playing at DC10 and how gender boundaries can go fuck themselves.
I interviewed James Priestley and Giles Smith at length about their innovative all-day Sunday rave-up Secretsundaze for Mixmag. It originally appearred in the magazine's August issue, but I've just found it online too. SPECIAL.
Here is a snippet about Carl Craig getting down on his knees: “I’ve made Carl Craig crawl through a fence before on his hands and knees,” chuckles Smith. “We did a huge party at The Arches and there were a few thousand people there. Carl Craig’s taxi arrived a bit late and there was a huge queue of people at the main door, so I got him to crawl through a hole in the fence to get to the decks. I’ve teased him about it every time I’ve seen him since.”
So you'll want to read the rest, right? You can do that here.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to review End of the Road festival for Drowned in Sound. I was an organisational disaster, but it was a super-lovely weekend in the end, and, best of all, I got to DJ with Anthony Chalmers from God Don't Like It inside a boat suspended above a flashing dancefloor while young children breakdanced. I am currently resisting the urge to say YEAHBEATTHAT. I suppose this is also the part where I tell you that I've been playing the odd record here and there since February and I rather like it.
Anyway, wonderfully, The Guardian have captured a split second of that moment in this short film about the festival.
You can read my review of it on Drowned in Sound here too, if you please. I swooned over Beirut rather a lot.
Look how excited he is! Yes, Mylo, he of "Da da da da, drop the pressure" fame is back. He has been, like, throwing underground parties an' that at Dalston Superstore in east London for most of the year. But on October 8, he gonna take it to XOYO once more with Ed Banger young gun Breakbot and loads of other face-splitting electro DJs.
Read my interview with him from waaay back in May after the jump. It's all about comebacks and Charles Kennedy. WIN.
This article originally appeared on Time Out London in May 2011.
The electro-disco producer who quietly stormed the charts in 2004 with 'Destroy Rock & Roll' is firmly and finally back. Kate Hutchinson meets Mylo
Electro big-hitters come and go, but this year, the likes of Daft Punk, Justice, Cassius, MSTRKRFT and even Digitalism have returned with a synth-heavy wallop. So it feels like good timing that Myles MacInnes - better known to the world as Mylo - is fighting back this year with them.
Mylo's disappearance from the music world baffled everyone, from his fans (of which he still has plenty) to critics, for whom it is has become an insider's joke. The Hackney-based Scot hasn't released anything since his massive 'Detroy Rock & Roll' album in 2004, bar a couple of low-key remixes and Mixmag cover CDs, having been stuck in music industry purgatory for nearly five years.
But in the last two months, and armed with a new synthetic disco sound, Mylo has been putting on small word-of-mouth parties, Ecstasy, Passion & Pain, at Dalston Superstore, with the pork-pie-hat-topped help of Andy Peyton, who books Get Loaded, Together and Moda.
Before his headline set at the latest Moda night at XOYO this weekend, we caught up with the producer and were delighted to find him chirpy, insightful and, despite being out of current music for so long, incredibly interesting. In his first interview in we-can't-remember-how-long, he reveals why he's been out of the spotlight for such a long time, why he might never tour again, getting banned from Space Ibiza and how he's been larging it with the Lib Dems.
Mylo, where have you been? For reasons I'm not at liberty to discuss, I haven't been able to release music in a couple of years, but hopefully it's not going to stay that way for ever. It's been quite frustrating in parts; I can't believe that it has been so long now! I stopped promoting the first album in 2006, and I didn't think that the next four years were going to pan out the way that they did. I've continued to do the occasional DJ gig, which is what I never set out to do. But I've really enjoyed it. I've also spent time working on new material and remixes, of which I have a fair bit now, and I just need to work out whether I should come back with it in some ridiculous way that involves a triple album or something! But, seriously, I'm just really looking forward to being able to release again.
Do you feel under pressure? Perhaps in 2007 I did, but now there's been so much water under the bridge, and I've continued in a much more eccentric and not very 'pop' kind of way. I listen to the stuff in the Top 40 now and I think, that's not where I want to be. And to be perfectly honest, I don't know whether I want to set foot inside a tour bus again either: they are smelly, claustrophobic, carpeted submarines. I had a blast the first time, but it was a bit of an accident and I'm not going to spend the next few years trying to consciously replicate that. How did your secret pop-up nights at Dalston Superstore come about? I'm a real fan of the place; I find it really fun and inclusive. I ended up hanging out there quite a lot and then they had a few Fridays free, and it all happened very quickly. I wanted a night that summed up the over-the-top drama of disco music, and Ecstasy, Passion & Pain were a disco band in the 1970s, so it fitted well. I enjoy the melodrama of disco, definitely.
Is it part of a comeback masterplan? [Laughs] I'd love to say yes, but I'm not sure I believe in comebacks. I'm just glad to do this in the meantime. I don't know how long we'll keep going with it - at the moment we've got a policy for Belgian-only disco DJ guests, as it's at the forefront of the new new nu-disco sound - so I think we'll just keep going until we run out of Belgians. We had my friends Villa play last Friday, and then The Magician, formerly of Aeroplane, is the next guest. I'd love to have The Glimmers come over and play, but it's a free club, so I have to rely on favours to make it work. I can't imagine being able to book Soulwax anytime soon!
It's a very nu-disco path you're going down - how did you start out in that direction? During the last year or so, I've moved away from the electro noise scene. My interest started out with Italo and the cheesy, synthetic side of it and then that eventually broadened out into other sub-genres: boogie and so on. I must admit, the classic idea of disco with a diva wailing over a percussive background doesn't quite do it for me, but it's all the other interesting bits in and around that that I like. I think it's an amazing time for disco music.
On your Facebook, you've posted up a lot of political articles, particularly about the recent AV referendum - is activism an important part of your life now? It's not something that I ever thought I'd be doing, but I was really proud that the Yes To Fair Votes AV campaign approached me. I've always grown up with Charles Kennedy - he was the constituency MP in Skye - so I'm a big fan. I think that Charles Kennedy, drunk, is a much better leader than David Cameron, sober! They had some parties in London that I DJ'd for and that had a few Lib Dem politicians there. Then I went door-to-door with the Lib Dems in the Cazenove ward in Stoke Newington a few weeks ago - although it's a big orthodox Jewish area and I don't think they vote much, so I don't know how much effect it had.
You could have slipped everyone a new mix CD too, that might have helped? That's an idea that I should have had! I was quite a depressing eye-opener, though. Of course, everyone was unhappy about how the vote went…
Obviously there are exceptions, but it's unusual for DJs to be open about politics - it's quite an 'electro taboo'. I care a lot about politics, but I don't spend a lot of time online trying to promote anything. The first album I made wasn't, other than quite blatantly taking the piss out of American fundamentalism and so on, much of a “political record”. But I had a lot of respect for [electronic producer] Ewan Pearson this week - he wrote an incredibly succinct blog about the ethics of playing in Israel. The complete absence of politics in music these days compared to 25 or 30 years ago isn't great, but DJs make party music and people don't suddenly want to be thumped over the head with some well-intentioned political music at the same time. Then again, I'm not aware of anyone “unfollowing” me on Facebook because I posted up a few links to a campaign. And I don't really mind being seen as a well-intentioned lefty who got completely fucked over by the Tories! Will you tour again? A lot of things have changed; the friends who I did the live show with are off doing different thing, so I don't know whether there'll be a band. I've an aversion to touring, so we'll see what happens. I imagine that there will be a CD and it will be available. And I'm playing at some festivals, and at one of the better, crazy, smaller raves at Secret Garden Party [on the main stage, as well as a secret set elsewhere]. And I'm going to play at Space in Ibiza in a few weeks, which will be great because I've been unofficially blacklisted there.
How did you manage that? I played an unbelievably bad set. It was about 10 o'clock in the morning, I don't think I'd been to bed and it was a trainwreck in every possible way. The mixing was messy and the music was perhaps wrong as well. I thought what I was playing was quite cool - I even played 'Space is the Place', a classic electro track. But, in any case, I was notoriously terrible at DJing to begin with and now I hope I've got the hang of it.
As the huge row over Skrillex supposedly "ruining" dubstep erupted on both sides of the Atlantic, I interviewed him for my Red Bull blog and found him to be rather endearing and generally very sweet. Here, he talks about why he's not a dubstep artist.
See the original post here.
As the biggest – and busiest – star in electronic music since Deadmau5, who, incidentally, signed an early Skrillex tune to his label last year and thus launched him into the sonic stratosphere, it’s amazing that electro-house mash-up merchant Skrillex finds time to even Tweet.
But this week, the 23-year-old Los Angeles-based producer set Owsla, his new imprint, bounding off into the open, with two cryptic (and oddly freaky) virals signaling its arrival (make up your own mind). He tells us who’s up first for release – and what he really thinks about dubstep’s explosion in America.
What was your first encounter with dubstep music? In 2007, a friend of mine from Orange Country was like: ‘There’s this new night out in LA, you gotta check it out: it’s dubstep.’ It was called Smog – the label that brought dubstep to the US and to North America, run by 12th Planet, who was previously Infiltrator, a drum ’n’ bass artist from LA. It was the first dubstep party in the West Coast. That was the first time I heard dubstep, and after that I remember going to a record shop and asking for ‘a dubstep CD’ and being pointed over to Burial’s Archangel. That was my first album. Would you call your music "dubstep"? It’s to get the point across than anything else. I don’t readily associate or disassociate with it. I would not call myself a dubstep artist and I wouldn’t say that I make dubstep music: I just make electronic music…computer music. People are talking about me as ‘America’s dubstep artist’, but if you listen to my sets, I’m not a dubstep artist. I don’t just play dubstep, I play everything from dancehall to moombahton, to hip hop and electro to drum ’n’ bass, the hard stuff to the sexy stuff – I play it all. I just happen to have big tunes that are 140bpm and in half time and those happen to be some of my more popular tunes.
Why has dubstep taken off like it has in America? I think ‘bass music’ is a better term. It is big but electronic music in America is the biggest it’s ever been as well. I think that’s a big part of why it seems so popular.
What is it like when you play a show there? Some of them have been pretty decent: venues of 6,000 people. Here’s the crazy thing to me, though: I’m friends with a lot of UK producers like Flux Pavilion and Doctor P and a good night for them in the UK is playing in front of 800 people. I was like, ‘Dudes, wait until you come out to the US, you’re gonna smash over here.’ Thier tunes have been so influential in the US, it’s a part of what brought dubstep to a younger crowd. When they finally toured America [in June this year], they were selling out 4,000-capacity rooms! It’s crazy.
There are a few people on internet forums that say that you’ve “ruined dubstep”. What’s your view? It’s funny because all the dubstep purist guys that actually make music that pioneered the scene are all my friends. There’s no hate within the music scene at all. It’s people that have nothing to do with anything who are so critical, and think they have ownership of something, but no one owns it. It can be whatever it wants to be. I hear all this shit that dubstep is dying and it’s changing. And it’s like, dude, at the end of the day, the records that you like will always be there. And unless you’re going out and buying tickets to my shows, you don’t have to worry about me bothering you, unless you go out of your way. What’s next for you? I’ve got a record label started I’ll be releasing a Porter Robinson EP pretty soon. It’s one kid; he’s 18 years old and has just graduated from high school. He’s just started making four-to-the-floor electro-house stuff, and his new EP goes from that and dubstep to trancey stuff and moombahton. The label is called Owsla. You know the book Watership Down by Richard Adams? It’s a book about rabbits, and the Owsla are the elite army of rabbits: they are the badass rabbits that kill all the other rabbits. It sounds quite evil when I say it that way, but it’s a beautiful book and a beautiful story, and I think it’s a really nice word.
Skrillex’s The Mothership Tour kicks off 51 US dates on September 17, with a huge number of international festival dates before then. He heads to the UK with Flux Pavilion and Koan on November 16.
Online video/radio broadcast The Boiler Room is so hot darn exciting it makes me feel funny in my ladyparts. They take some of the best cutting edge DJs from London and beyond, stick ’em in a south London warehouse in front of a webcam to spin their heart out and let lossa dubstep fanboy tweens slate them all on their live feed at the same time. Shazzam.
I did write a serious article about it, though, for Time Out all the way back in April. Do read it here or below.
By Kate Hutchinson. Posted: Mon Apr 18 2011
The biggest nightlife success of the past year blurs the line between an online club and a radio show. Time Out logs on
On a Tuesday night, here's what London's electronic music fraternity in their twenties are up to: they're sitting down on their sofas, firing up their laptops, pouring themselves a drink and tuning in to watch live DJ sets via a webcam hooked up to a warehouse space in Elephant & Castle. They're probably rapid-fire tweeting about it at the same time too. If you squint and don't mind the juddering connection, you can see James Blake at the turntables, or perhaps popstar-in-waiting Yasmin singing over a mix from Jamie XX. Welcome to cult club the Boiler Room.
Since its inception a year ago this month, the Boiler Room has become an internet and dance music - wait for it - phenomenon. It's not strictly a club, but a weekly online Ustream broadcast - the live video facility popularised by Wiley, who likes to use it to show how to make boiled eggs and soldiers, advertise instant noodles and, ditto Kanye West, hold press conferences - in a nightlife environment. Shot on just a 'little Logitech webcam', it is pure voyeurism and allows clubbers to have an uninterrupted view of their favourite DJs without the hollering, drunken moshers and cloudy sound you can get at club nights. And if you miss it, you can just download the podcast and catch up later.
Despite the DIY set-up, Boiler Room has captured the zeitgeist in the same way as Rinse FM; that is, dance music's demand for quality radio programming and futuristic underground beats. Consequently, it's the first place that innovative London record labels, like Young Turks, R&S, Numbers, Swamp81 and Hessle Audio, want their new DJs, performers and music to be seen and heard immediately.
The broadcast was started by notorious hipster Blaise Bellville, who heads up mouthy webzine Platform and used to put on the underage Way Out West gigs, and co-run by Brownswood employee Thristian Richards, who goes by the DJ name The bPm. It began life in a former 1930s boiler room in Hackney (of course!), but it has gotten so big in both virtual and physical terms that they've upsized to Corsica Studios so that they can host a larger live audience.
'We've gone from having 50 of our mates watching online to up to 15,000 or 25,000 people during our most popular shows like the James Blake and the Jamie XX ones,' says Bellville. 'And then there's 100,000 people and upwards reposting and replaying the podcast every month. The space has got bigger - there used to be about 30 people max in the room, and now our guestlist requests exceed 500 each time. It's invite-only, but there's still about 150 people there every week.'
The numbers are unbelievable - their Facebook page exceeds 9,000 fans and counting. Which is why if you're not on the list, you're not getting in. 'It was getting too much like a party for a while,' Bellville continues, 'but it's about getting the right kinds of people down there, people who are there for the music, so that the artists don't feel overwhelmed by it all.'
The artists are, after all, the sole attraction at Boiler Room: attendees are positioned behind the decks in a bedroom DJ style set-up so that the selector is always the main figure in view. Says Bellville: 'The Boiler Room's signature format is that the DJ is always playing with their back to the crowd and is always on the ground level, the same as all the people in the room. People bounce about a bit, but they're coming to watch the show. It's all over by 11 o'clock.'
DJs also embrace it as an opportunity to get more eclectic. 'Boiler Room plays an important part in the type of electronic music that's coming out at the moment, because it's somewhere in-between a radio show and a club night,' says Bellville. 'The DJs get to play music that they wouldn't normally play in a club, where they have to face the audience and make everyone dance.'
He views it as a successful alternative to the dominating radio stations. 'Live radio is in a pretty difficult place, I reckon, right now,' he argues. 'It thrives off its podcasts and you get very few people actually tuning in in comparison. And with Boiler Room, because of the video element, there's more reason to tune in. We've managed to get great people in to play who love that live radio element and the instant feedback that you get from people watching it in real-time, whether it's from Twitter or from the chatrooms.'
Of course, like every musical experiment these days, 'there's not strict genre ties', but you can expect to hear West Coast hip hop - a scene on which they plan to shoot a quarterly documentary in LA later this year - one week and the post-dubstepisms of SBTRKT, Sampha et al the next. Coming up? There's a special Diplo and Red Bull takeover on April 26, a day ahead of his Koko show, and the broadcast's first birthday celebrations this month, which in typical east London style, will be announced at the very last minute. They've also plans to take Boiler Room global - they filmed the Young Turks showcase at South by South West this year, and they'll be covering the Rush Hour stage at the Queen's Day Carnival in Amsterdam at the end of April.
It isn't quite a club night and it's not quite a radio show, but Boiler Room is one heck of a party for your ears - and, clearly, there's much to tune in for.
On the boil
'I was actually very nervous about playing the Boiler Room, because it was the first time I'd ever done a PA in a nightclub. And it's a very cool place. It's got this weird double dynamic of being on the internet and in front of an audience - physically, they're in opposite directions and as a singer, I found that quite tricky! What was brilliant is that it has an underground feel to it and a casualness, which is really enjoyable.'
Seb Chew, YoYo
'The spirit at the Boiler Room reminded me of dance energy from back in the day, ie taking music and the rave and giving it another dimension without spoiling the reason why you're there in the first place, which is for good new music, played on big speakers.'
'I find it unnerving DJing at Boiler Room, having people behind me. But it works for watching intently. I've just moved to south London so I go there quite a lot to hang out.'