My latest London clubbing round-up for Metro UK, originally published in the paper out on May 9.
My latest London clubbing round-up for Metro UK, originally published in the paper out on May 9.
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.
I'm shifting all of my favouritist old Time Out columns onto here before they end up in the Internet cemetery. First up: this feature from 2007 on the new wave of clubbing photographers snapping the fashion kidz in east London. It originally appeared in Time Out London in March 2007. Read it after the jump.Read More
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
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.
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.
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.'
Miaow. I am writing this from the future, even though it will (hopefully) publish in the past. I've been so terrible at updating this blog with all my work over the summer, but there's no time to start like a cold Sunday night in on the sofa, and I'm going to backlog as much as I can.
I can't believe I haven't updated since Febs. UGH. But, due to onset of further lazi-nests, here's a linkstastic round-up off things I've liked in late February and March. And when I say liked, I mean, written about.
An interview with Miss Beth Ditto
“Can you give me a minute? I need to do a number two. You can put that in your article – Beth Ditto needs a poo!” the singer in question howls down the corridor after me.
And so, as instructed by Miss Ditto herself, I do. Here you have it. The journalist I greet as I leave her hotel room, however, looks bemused. Whatever he was hoping for, for his first impressions of the popstar, it certainly wasn’t that she washes her hands afterwards.
Read the full interview on Drowned in Sound here.
An article on Lady Gaga's favourite latex couturier, Atusko Kudo
A version of this article first appeared in Time Out's Valentine's Issue, 2011.
It's the weekend before Valentine's Day and everybody is doing it. DJing, we mean. You filthy lot. Like rockland, clubland also has its Gwen Stefanis and Gavin Rossdales (minus the love children, we imagine) and many of them are playing at parties this weekend, just like house duo Bearweasel at Fabric on Saturday and this frisky lot below.
As it happens, I'll also be spinning in, erm, the name of love: in the 'kissing booth' at Nauti.Cool at The Book Club on Friday with my better half, where there will also be couples-only sets from the likes of Zara from Peanut Butter Jelly Time and her beau, Tim of the Filthy Dukes.
But is it all just a good excuse for a grope behind the turntables? Or does the relationship dynamic lend itself to skillz outside the sheets? We grilled four couples to find out what makes them tick…
Read the full piece after the jump or on Time Out's website here.
Valentine's DJs: It takes two baby…
Richard Young and Sophie Ellis-Bextor (above) Pop siren Sophie and her husband Richard, from indie band The Feeling, are resident DJs at Love to Love at The Bathhouse in Liverpool Street.
Sophie 'We have a nocturnal lifestyle, as do many of our friends, so we started a club night, Modern Love, and did whatever DJing we could around that. I've collaborated with many DJs on songs over the years and have picked up tips where I can. Richard and I are still learning, but we've come on a lot since the early days, and now we're always at Love to Love. We once did a Guilty Pleasures night: I took the whole thing a bit too literally and played some Daphne and Celeste. I don't think I'll ever revisit that!' Richard 'We have similar tastes, but I'm more into the heavy stuff, whether that's dubstep or Rage Against The Machine and, when it comes down to it, Sophie can be quite typically girly: she'd rather have something fun to dance to over something clever. We get excited about playing new things very loudly and having a bit of a dance - and if one of us wants to have a boogie on the dancefloor or needs a refill, there's always one of us left to play the next song, which is great. But, like a typical boy, sometimes I hog the mixer and Sophie doesn't get a look-in!'
Top Valentine track Candi Staton's 'Young Hearts Run Free'. See them next at Addicted to Love to Love: The Masked Ball at The Bathhouse on Friday February 11.
Sunta Templeton and Liam Young Sunta, an Xfm host, and her DJ boyfriend Liam can usually be found at the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch and at indie parties across the world.
Sunta 'We met at Xfm's New Year's Eve party in 2008, where we were both booked to DJ. It was gone midnight, I was quite drunk and all my mates were getting a New Year's kiss from somebody, so I went to find the cocky but very-good-looking guy, Liam, that I'd met in the dressing-room earlier. He was wasted, but I got my kiss before he threw up and passed out on a couch. Now we DJ everywhere together: promoters will get us two-for-one because neither of us is very good at staying at home. But Mat Horne's Session at the Queen of Hoxton is our monthly residency: we've celebrated two anniversaries behind the decks there!'
Liam 'According to Sunta, I also pretended that Alex Zane had thrown her CDs out of the window that night! Ourtastes are quite similar, but she likes a lot of Britpop and I don't. Apart from that, we'veintroduced each other to a lot of new stuff, which keeps our sets interesting. I'm quite stubborn and if I don't like a song she plays, I sulk. Also, I throw CDs and don't put them back in the right places. But we have an amazing time together; we only need to take one record bag and we're guaranteed a pull at the end of the night!'
Top Valentine track 'Baby I Love You' by The Ramones. See them next at The 25th Hour at the Queen of Hoxton on Friday February 11.
Christian Nockall and Rachel Barton Christian and Rachel DJ from London to Ibiza and run bi-monthly club night Lively at The Nest in Dalston.
Christian 'We play back to back at Lively, although I have been known to leave Rachel to it so I can get pissed. We don't really argue behind the decks, but Rachel usually ends up asking me where all the vodka has gone! We share an appreciation of quality house music: we both love the jackin', boompty, percussive kind. That's why we decided to start Lively, to showcase those kinds of sounds and book DJs we love.'
Rachel 'We've run sold-out parties at Notting Hill Carnival for the last two years, but in 2010 we ran it under the Lively name and thus our joint club night was born. We work together on it really well: it's very democratic and we'll ask each other about the next track to play as we know all of each other's records. It's rare that Christian won't like something I like and vice versa. But Christian is more into house records that build for a long time, whereas I'm a little less patient and like something to happen more quickly!'
Emergency floor-filler Zombie Disco Squad's remix of Black Box's 'Ride on Time'. See them next at Lively at The Nest on Friday February 11. Rachel is also appearing at Annie Mac Presents at Koko on Saturday February 12.
Angie B and Dogtaniaun Funky house DJ Angie and her MC-host husband Michael (aka Dogtaniaun) play all over London and have a weekly show on Rinse FM.
Angie B 'We were doing a radio show together on Deja Vu for eight years, but after two years it progressed into a relationship. He was very persistent! Even when we met, at a night called Freedom at Bagleys, where I was DJing and he was the MC, he was still talking about me on the mic to the audience while I was walking out of the door and another girl was on the decks. She wasn't impressed! Orlando, our four-year-old son, picks up the mic and sings, but he doesn't quite get it at the moment. We take him to the radio show with us and he always wants to get on the mic, but we have to switch him off after a while!'
Dogtaniaun 'Because we weren't in a relationship first, we'd got our set choreographed already and had figured out the way we worked. It's more than a physical attraction with us: she takes the lead, tells me off when she wants to and then we carry on as normal! Sometimes stuff does come out on air, though: two weeks ago, I got two parking tickets in the space of an hour. When I told her about the first one, she took it quite well; but when it came to the second, she lost it a bit.'
Top Valentine track 'Superman' by Black Coffee featuring Bucie. See them next at The Fridge on Sunday February 13 when Angie B DJs at Persona's Valentine's Edition; Angie B and Dogtaniaun are at Sting at Mustard Bar on Saturday February 19; and catch them every Saturday 3-5pm on Rinse FM (www.rinse.fm).
Like Hyperdub, Hotflush, Hemlock and other labels beginning with 'H', Hessle Audio is redefining the sound of UK dance music. It procures a futuristic blend of homegrown genres like dubstep, house, garage and jungle - a genreless smörgåsbord represented in mainstream by BBC Sound of 2011 winner James Blake, who released a single on the label last year - and eschews them for a new school of electronic fans.
The imprint is led by young London-based producers Ramadanman (22-year-old David Kennedy), Pangaea (Kevin McAuley, 25) and Ben UFO (Ben Thomson, 24), who met each other at dubstep night FWD>> in London, and named after the road that the latter two lived on during their university years in Leeds. Now in their early twenties, their output is on everyone from minimal superstar Ricardo Villalobos to techno legend Carl Craig's radar.
Read the full interview with the future stars of London nightlife on Time Out London HERE.
I interviewed dubstep/D&B duo Nero about LARPing, Nero-esque tendencies and their forthcoming album, Welcome Reality.
I don't think they were quite ready for this:
I read a tweet the other day about a famous band whose rider stipulated that it must include 'a locally sourced present'. 'We had something like that in New Zealand. I got given a mug that someone had customised with paints and glitter, which said “We love Nero” on it. Then they gave us a teapot to go with it and it contained the cheapest, most horrible vodka ever. But I took the mug home, because it was nice to remember our fans out there want to customise mugs for us.'
That sounds a bit 'Blue Peter'. 'Yeah, I know. Giving a DJ a mug on a big night out is a bit weird.'
Read the full interview on Time Out here.
Ever heard of Cheryl? It'll ruin your life, apparently. I caught up with one of the party's founders, Nick Schiarizzi, about Lady Gaga, crafting up your outfits and Anne Hathaway-in-tin-foil.
Read some more – go on, it's fun, after the jump. Or on Time Out, here.
The Big Apple's most outrageous party, Cheryl, is coming to London this weekend. It's been a huge success in Brooklyn, straddling the arty-party divide since 2008, and the Cheryl foursome, Destiny, Stina, Nick and Sarah, are known for their DIY attitude, wacky themes (from pizza to 'Sasquatch on Broadway') and glitter-splattered promotional videos, which give you an insight into the warped night ahead.
We're no strangers to after-dark nuttiness here, but Cheryl evokes a bewitching scene that's one part polysexual Gutterslut hedonism, three parts Duotard's Dance Party 3000 at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, with a dusting of Jonny Woo-sized irony and a BoomBox soundtrack. And we simply can't resist a party that promises, as they do, that it will 'ruin your life'. Bring it on, New York!
We talk with Cheryl member Nick Schiarizzi, about what to expect.
Cheryl sounds like the kind of party that Lady Gaga would throw for her friends… 'Often people think that we're trying to be like the dress-up club creatures of the '90s in New York, or high fashion like Lady Gaga, but it's not like that. These groups are very creative, but, at the core of it, they're being very serious even if they look outrageous.'
Your videos are a cult thing now… 'Yeah, for our second party, we did an instructional dance video to teach people how to do “The Cheryl”, which is the dance we created. It's like "The Hustle" or a line dance: anybody can learn. Since then, every party has had a video before it to introduce each the theme. They've been screened in a bunch of museums.'
And you do those dance routines at your parties? 'Yeah, it'll be 'time to do “The Cheryl” and everyone will get on to the dancefloor to try to figure out how to do it. Destiny, one of the Cheryls, will be screaming at people to do “The Cheryl” through a megaphone.'
What's been your favourite theme? 'It was probably Nausea. It's the feeling of, as a kid, being stuck in the back of your mother's car while she's out doing errands and listening to her bad music. It's that complete lack of control. A lot of that was reflected in the aesthetic of the party, in its 1970s colour palette - there was lots of yellow, orange and brown - and its bland disco music. Everyone had on metallic orange facepaint too, to look like they had bad tans. We shot the video in an office block, where we threw a cocktail party and people we eating food and puking everywhere. We just pick the theme that makes us laugh the most. The last party we had was Europe-themed to kick off our tour this month in Lisbon, Barcelona, Berlin and, of course, London.'
Yes, you're coming to the Star of Bethnal Green. What's the theme for this night? 'We haven't been to Europe before, so the theme is just going to be Cheryl and will introduce its main elements, like the craft table. Early on we realised that it wasn't just about playing good music and showing off, but also about making the whole thing about the attendees and not about us. The craft table is essential because it lets them be creative and because people are willing to be uninhibited if they're wearing something that disguises them. It's about “how much stuff can I put on myself?” and “how funny can I make it?”.'
Have you had many celebrities rock up in a bin bag? 'Anne Hathaway came to one of the parties and she put some tin foil on her head! And my friend spotted Norah Jones at our Halloween party - 1,000 people showed up for it, so it was hard to see who was there.'
http://vimeo.com/9297468 What should people wear this time, then? 'The defining look of Cheryl is lots of glitter, shoulder pads, fake hair and fake blood. I always tell people that you should walk into the party like you escaped from an asylum and robbed a dollar store on your way. I llooked on Google Earth and there's a dollar store - what do you call it, a pound shop? - opposite the Star of Bethnal Green, so we'll go shopping in there before the night! It's about looking completely insane and using cheap stuff to make it happen.'