It is the 20th of September 1990. I am drinking in a bar (possibly Irish) on the infamous strip in the West End of San Antonio Abad, Ibiza, Balearic islands it is around 00:48.
As the saying goes; three’s a crowd.Well it certainly seemed to be for me in this instance.I was the tender age of just seventeen and had gone away on my first holiday abroad (without parents) with two close pals to follow the pilgrimage to this white island in the sun that everyone back home was raving about.
Our two week tarriance was drawing to a close and in true teenage form I had virtually spent my entire holiday fund with more than a few days to go.My two friends were, at this point considerably more flush than me and had buggered off to one of the clubs leaving me sitting on the exceptionally squeaky bed in the hot, sweaty confines of our rather tired, shabby little room at the hotel Florida in San Antonio, just up from The Egg.
Sitting there alone, sipping warm San Miguel and smoking cheap Spanish cigarettes I grew quickly bored and decided to take some of my last remaining pesata’s and investigate some of the cheaper bars in the West End.
It was heaving as usual and I ended up wandering into a random bar and ordering a grande cerveza.After a while a slight, flamboyant Spanish bloke approached me at the bar and we started chatting.His name was un-stereotypically Juan and as it turns out was a purveyor of various illicit substances which he attempted unsuccessfully to sell me.I informed him of my current plight and he was shocked;‘We cant have this!” he announced loudly in very broken English and with a brotherly arm tight around my shoulder he told me that he was going to Amnesia that night and I was to accompany him.He was waiting for a “friend” who would be able to get us into the club and get us free drinks all night (evidently).
At first I was extremely reluctant to join this virtual stranger on a trip to a club in the middle of the island with no money and no way of getting back home.But then came the realisation that my pesetas were running exceptionally low, and the thought of returning to that humid, Turkish bath of a room was becoming less and less appealing by the moment.After a few seconds of careful, deliberate thought I agreed tojoin him.
His “friend” arrived loudly half an hour or so later in an ageing Citroen 2CV, thickly covered in chalky island dust, honking his horn loudly and repeatedly outside the bar.Juan ran out and greeted him warmly.As he stepped out of the ageing vehicle I realised to my horror that he was wearing a blue local police uniform.
Juan walked back over to me in the bar, obviously concerned I asked Juan worriedly about the fact that his friend was the law and he merely winked and smiled at me;“dont worry, he is the chief of police.” tapping his nose.
I was readily introduced but due to my abject terror of the situation that was rapidly unfolding before my very eyes, I have absolutely no recollection at all of his name.
I was hurriedly bundled into the back of the car and soon found myself hurtling down the side alleys of San Antonio at break neck speed whilst my two new found amigos engaged in loud, passionate Spanish conversation, gesticulating wildly, potentially killing all three of us at every turn of the wheel.
Here I was, absolutely bricking it, sitting in the back of a yellow, beaten up 2CV, being driven by the supposed local Chief of Police and his drug dealer friend, speeding towards an island nightclub.
Not only did we get in, but ended up having quite the night, copious amounts of free booze courtesy of El Capitain and plenty of “the other” from Juan. In typical island fashion Im not quite sure what became of my two newly acquired friends, or even how I ended stumbling back into the foyer of the Florida, bleary eyed the next morning, but the one thing I do remember was that the night was an exceptionally good one.
A dawn ride home. A sunrise of pink mountains, white sky. Peaks tear at cloud like a knife, allowing morning through. As innocence sleeps, I imagine her without clothes.
My companion is twenty years my junior. She had a little too much to drink at the party and was ill prior to boarding the shinkansen. She is now nestled against my warmth, my comfort. Smiling, almost purring. She is thirty-two, but it still feels wrong. I tell myself she`s an adult and can make her own decisions but I continue to feel as guilty as hell. Hell is where I`m going. I remember when such a liaison felt legitimate, when the women were my own age. That time has passed. Her neck is so thin. She is so fragile undressed, and gives herself so completely, selflessly, as if dreaming. And I am so old. Old, lonely and in need. She…
As most of my close friends know, I’m a little bit partial to a small island off the southern coast of Spain called Ibiza, some may even say obsessed.
From my very first visit back in 1990 to every subsequent yearly summer sojourn my obsession with the island and everything to do with that early heady balearic period only intensifies.
I have always had a habit of collecting any and every old piece of memorabilia (Ibiza tat) I can lay my hands on; old posters pulled from the walls of Amnesia, a wealth of pictures from Facebook groups such as Ku – Ibiza Best Years, postcards by Luis Amor of his detailed artistic interpretation of the indigenous Ibizencos, maps, flags you name it and of course books, lots and lots of books.
Last year I came across one such book by author Damien Enright – Dope In The Age Of Innocence.
Its a tale of a young man and his family arriving on the island in the early sixties when it was a haven for the hedonistic hippie cultural rejects of society.It’s a captivating read and paints a picture of what the island was like before the gratuitous explosion of consumerism and the frankly obscene displays of wealth from the influx of Russian oligarch money and property developers such as the Candy brothers that the island sadly now suffers from.
Here is a brief synopsis:
Ibiza, 1960: on the beautiful Mediterranean island, the high-rise resorts are still decades away. By chance, Damien Enright, twenty-one-years old and Irish, arrives there with his wife and two children and finds a handful of down-at-heel foreign Bohemians leading wild, hedonistic lives. He and his wife get involved; their marriage quickly breaks down and he spends two heartbroken years in London before returning to Ibiza with a new partner and another child. They take LSD and inspired by dreams of a brave new world, cross to the remote island of Formentera to lead alternative lives.This is a decade before Howard Marks becameMr. Nice: the embryonic drug culture in the west motivated not by profit but by idealism. Sometimes, that early search for freedom ventured not just beyond the mind but beyond the law. To sustain their families on Formentera, Enright and two desperado pals head to London in a beat-up car and do some risky travellers cheque scams. Then, restless and unsure of his love for his partner, he makes a hair-raising trek to Turkey in the depths of winter to find hashish for the group. Things go badly awry and he find himself a fugitive, at the mercy of unreliable friends. Part road story, drug story, love story,Dope in the Age of Innocenceis fundamentally a parable about drug enlightenment, the loss and rediscovery of love and the tempering of innocence.
It’s an absolutely cracking read and held me until the very end, a definite must for those of the Balearic way inclined.
Much to my delight I very recently received news that Mr Phil Mison, Balearic mainstay and resident DJ at The Cafe Del Mar in the early nineties has organised a talk and a Q&A with the author, on all things Ibiza and book related.The illustrious Mr Enright himself will be holding court on an evening of most excellent music to be held on the 20th of February at The Three Kings in Clerkenwell:
To guarantee entrance on the night email Phil himself on; email@example.com
The night is also blessed with the musical accompaniment of Colorama and Shawn Lee, a must and not one to be missed for the Balearic faithful.
We are all culture junkies, just by the fact that you are reading this indicates that there’s a fair to middling chance that you are a keen lover of both music and fashion.
I personally am a fully fledged tee shirt addict, I live my life in the things, I’ve got literally hundreds of them. For me there are a few basic staple ingredients of what makes a top notch tee:
Durable and comfortable fabric
Looks and feels good
Mix all of the above with collaborations of some of the most forefront and influential artists in today’s electronic music scene with one of the finest tee shirt manufacturers around and you can only be onto a good thing.
I was lucky enough recently to put my inquisitive ruminations to Helen Dukes, co owner and founder of the effervescent online tee shirt proprietors NoWayBack;
So H, where did it all begin?
We basically started NoWayBack after Chris & I realised between us we had all the elements to set up the brand and do something we were both really passionate about. Chris is a graphic designer / web designer / artist & had the vision for the brand. I have worked in retail for most of my working career – in fashion, then music retail.
The name NoWayBack came from the classic Adonis track and a track that we both love. Chris played with the logo one night and it all just seemed right. And here we are! What started as an enjoyable hobby is now a business but we intend to keep it all about quality, limited edition, hand printed and eco-friendly merchandise. We spent a long time sourcing the right t-shirts to use as we desperately wanted to avoid the poor quality often associated with music t-shirts.
The electronic music crossover is obviously key to the brand, where did your love of this music stem from?
We both have a real passion for house music and where it’s come from and how it’s made, its a real pleasure to be working with people we admire and a scene we love. Chris has always had a real interest in making music and is constantly working on a new track up in his home studio & I was DJ’ing through the 90’s with a big love of vinyl. I was resident at Wobble in Birmingham and guested around the UK & Europe.
Sounds like you had some great experiences! Any in particular that stand out?
I started DJing back in the early 90s when I was a student in Liverpool spending most of my my student loan on 12”s from 3Beat records on Bold St.I was hearing all these great records at the clubs I was going to – Back to Basics, Quadrant Park, LuvDup nights in Manchester & Monroes in Blackburn.Then when I was home down South during the holidays going to the Milk Bar, Sign of the times & The Gardening Club in London when I returned from Polytechnic. I had some great times in these clubs and I wanted to share all the records I was buying at the time and play them all out in a club myself.
I bumped into Phil Gifford at a party around this time and he was looking for a new resident to play at his all-nighter club Wobble. I played there on a weekly basis alongside the likes of Derrick Carter, Andrew Weatherall, Justin Robertson, Jon Dasilva to name but a few.That lead to me guesting at other clubs around the country.
And then the infamous ‘Wobble’ trip to Ibiza where Phil & Si put on Wobble night with Josh Wink & Dimitri (Delite) which we all went over for. A very memorable trip in many ways!
I’m a massive fan of vinyl – I much prefer my monthly vinyl orders to a download of files. I buy all sorts now probably more down tempo stuff and tracks which I somehow missed along the way on Discogs. With social media and the amount of good new music that’s out there it’s a constant battle to get hold of everything I’m after. My ‘want list’ gets bigger not smaller.
Where do the ideas/collaborations come from?
We started the brand with our own designs which we still add to alongside the collaborations which has become a big part of the business. We approached DJ Pierre to see if he’d like one of our t-shirts – as a lot of the design influences were based around the Roland 303 & 808 drum machines and other early acid house stuff. He was keen to partner up and launch his own range of t-shirts with us as he respected what we were doing.
Later that year Mark E got in touch and asked if we’d do a MERC t-shirt with him for his label. We’d not met Mark even though a fellow Brummie. After that collaboration, one thing led to another and we’re now releasing our own designs alongside collaborations with DJ’s & labels we love.
It must be great to work with such seminal artists, anything exciting in the pipeline?
We have been privileged to work with Junior Boys Own, Greg Wilson, Kelvin & Mike’s ‘Down to the Sea & Back’, Dicky Trisco – Disco Deviance, Secret Squirrels & most recently Brighton’s SKINT label for their 20th anniversary.
Where is your target market based?
We now sell our T’s to customers all over the world and have a range in Phonica London.
There are bound to be comparisons drawn between you and other retailers such as the inimitable Millionhands, what is it that sets NoWayBack apart from the completion and how do you think you differ?
I guess the emphasis is on limited editions with us. We have never printed more than 200 t-shirts of one design. We like being small at the moment and our market is quite niche so it suits that. We also take a lot of pride in the shopping experience for the customer, because we are small they almost certainly deal with me if they have any questions or feedback, its always a nice feeling for a customer knowing they are not dealing with a faceless robot!
We really admire what Millionhands do, but we are very different and mostly catering for a different and often older market.
What are your plans for the future?
We aim to keep the balance between producing our own designs and working with DJ’s labels we like. Autumn and winter will see some sweatshirts / hoodies again & after the limited JBO patches we did ( Terry Farley’s idea) we’d like to do something like that again as it was really nice to offer that bit extra to our customers.
The brand has grown and grown over the last 2 years since we launched and its taken us in unexpected directions, we would like to grow of course and offer a wider range of garments but at the moment we are very happy to be working with some key figures of the scene who we admire greatly in fact we’ve just had a DJ / label that we’d love to work with approach us this week – but that’s all I can say for now.
Over the past few years one name has repeatedly sprang to my attention, his productions; tight, honed, highly polished with a distinctly timeless vibe. I first stumbled over him via the most excellent Swiss imprint; Drumpoet Community, where he keeps company with such luminaries as John Daly, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Manuel Tur, Agnés aka Cavalier, Ray Okpara and Brame.
The über talented individual in question is of course none other than Mr Ly Sander. I managed to get in contact with him and discovered that not only is he a killer producer but he also has a vast rich musical history steeped in the very origins of house music. I decided that a musical mind like this needed to be completely and fully explored, so decided to tie him down for an hour or so over a nice cup of maté and really pick his brains.
So Ly, where did it all start for you?
I started as a typical mid nineties eclectically bred DJ in Geneva, Switzerland, heavily influenced by the London scene, playing Hip Hop, Trip Hop, Funk, Drum’N’Bass, Broken Beats and House. This would sometimes make it difficult for my crowd to know what to expect from me! My fellow DJ friend and somewhat mentor at the time was DJ Tao, later and still currently known as Quarion. We played in basement parties, squats, bars and clubs and I would sometimes join him for a late night studio session, listening and commenting on his productions, thus usually being locked out of home by my mom for returning too late. Throughout this period I sensed I needed to come up with something that yet wasn’t available to dancers or offered by other DJs around. A first attempt was setting up a collective with Quarion and Lo’. Under the Boogie Knights moniker we assembled six turntables, 3 mixers and a couple of samplers on stage for a number of routines that would mix funk loops, accapellas, scratches and back to backs. Although we shared a couple of great gigs and even opened for Grandmaster Flash, something was obviously missing to take parties to the next level. Most probably did it really have to do with focusing more on the experience a night can bring rather than the DJ skills.
Ly deep in discussion with Quarion;
Was it then that you decided to centre on a particular sound?
Yes, somehow. Throughout the end of the nineties, I started collecting 12” disco records that no one was playing around. I quickly became an avid buyer and was able to go through collections first when stores would buy any.
In the year 2000 a record was released that was probably a turning point in my DJ career: Larry Levan live at the Paradise Garage. I would play this double CD mix relentlessly, somehow absorbing the energy and meaning of the music. I also was listening to all the old mixes of legends such as Tony Humphries, Walter Gibbons, Tee Scott, Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy through deephouspage.com or via a friend who was collecting physical DJ set mixtapes which were still traded throughout the world at the time.
At that point, what had been slowly building up came as an evidence, I wanted to throw a party that would focus on the New York dance music heritage of the 70s and beginning of the 80s. I first started incorporating more and more of that music in my sets before launching my “New York Disco Club” party in october 2002. It started pretty strong and quickly became the most popular party of the month in Geneva’s club “Bout du Monde”.
The club, with an official capacity of 250 would sometimes welcome over 700 dancers. I would take care of the promotion, design the flyers (I had to learn how to master Illustrator) and set up the decoration. I would usually spin alone from beginning to end. 2 or 3 times a year, I would invite a special guest.
Among these were Danny Krivit, later David DePino, who was the only resident DJ at the Paradise Garage besides Larry Levan and Hippie Torrales, the Zanzibar’s first DJ. They all accepted to play in this tiny venue based on the reputation of the party.
Ly and Hippie Torrales;
That’s some serious line ups! Any favourites that really made an impression?
They are some of most amazing DJs I know. You have to witness once in your life the way Hippie Torrales does his amazing wizardry behind the decks with his special cueing technics and in tone mixes. That being said, it is Danny Krivit that quickly started having a heavy influence for me. He has this unique ability of getting non drug intaking dancers to just go on forever. I know that he plays sets of over twenty hours on regular in Japan. I behold one of my fondest memories on a night out playing with him in Lyon, France in a club called l’Ambassade. That venue closes at 5 am every week no matter what happens. The owner and the resident DJ Manoo are great people, but rather laid back on organisation which is somehow hard to handle with a DJ such as Danny Krivit who likes everything to be really tight so he can totally focus on the music he will play. So although it was stated on his rider when we arrived it turned up that they didn’t have an isolator. And if you’ve seen Danny play, although he doesn’t use it as extensively as Joe Claussel, he still really makes a heavy use of it to “dramatise” the music and bring specific focus on parts.
So Danny was really disappointed and it seemed nobody owned an Isolator in Lyon at the time. So Danny started his set being really unhappy about the situation and you could feel the tension in the music. But the party was still good and he slowly started to relax. Then, at 4:30AM he played “This could be the place” by Talking Heads and if you listen to the lyrics they describe precisely what was happening to Danny that night it was amazing how pinpoint it was;
Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb – burn with a weak heart
(So I) guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It’s ok I know nothing’s wrong . . nothing
Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up say goodnight . . . say goodnight
Home – is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can’t tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time Before we were born
If someone asks, this where I’ll be . . . where I’ll be
Hi yo We drift in and out
Hi yo sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I’m just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I’m dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head Ah ooh
And at that point it was just obvious to everyone, the owner of the club included, that there was just no way the club could close half an hour later, it was precisely the point at which the party was starting. So Danny went on doing his thing, and the people who usually went home at 5am latest stayed until noon. It was one of my most amazing experiences of having the feeling of being under the effects of drugs without having taken any and I guess the other guests felt the same way. His unique way of conducting a party and “closing” a party made me conceive my sets differently than I would have in the past. Also, since then I pay even a lot more attention to the lyrics of songs and make sure I send the right messages.
This sounds like an incredible experience, have you booked Danny since?
I did stay in close connection and ended up befriending Danny Krivit. He would generously provide me with huge amounts of records and his own edits. We played together about a dozen times over the years. He is very low profile, but when you start digging, you realise that he is really a backbone to everything that has to do with the memory and heritage of New York’s dance music scene.
Danny Krivit at Ly Sander’s New York Disco Club in 2004;
So it seems like New York meant a lot to you, did you ever go there?
I went several times to NY at the beginning of the 00’s, even being invited by Mel Cheren (West End records owner and Paradise Garage early Financial backer) at his home for Thanksgiving dinner. He had the original Paradise Garage sign that was outside of the building in his living room and I have a picture of me with it that was taken. (see below).
I was impressed by the energy Mel Cheren had. He was 72 years old back then and was on the dancefloor until 5 am to listen to his “protégé” Kevin Hedge from Blaze who was then running West End Records. Then, at 8 he woke to cook 20 different dishes for his guests.
“You hold in your hands the ashes of Larry Levan!”
But what surprised me even more is what I got for desert if I can allow myself this expression… After dinner two of the guests (one I can’t recall the name, the other was film maker Francis Legge who had just shot the tour on stage films for Madonna) asked me to follow them down a narrow staircase leading to the basement which served as a bedroom for Mel. And one of them hands me over a metal box and says “You hold in hands the ashes of Larry Levan”! This was so weird. Mel had actually some form of bookshelf with the ashes of Larry Levan and Michael Brody (the owner of the Paradise Garage and former lover of Mel Cheren) along with plenty of pictures and personnal effects!
That is pretty strange! So it would this be safe to say that this was a pivotal moment in your musical career?
That period was exciting, but frustrating in some way because although my party was huge on a local level, and probably one of the only of this scale in Europe for that kind of music at the time, Geneva is a small city that doesn’t offer the same visibility as London, Berlin or Paris can, so therefore my activities in the Disco scene mainly stayed confined to Geneva. Then, the venue where I was holding the party was to close in february 2006.
That must of been of tough one
Well it gave me a reason to throw a special closing party which was pretty epic. Many people came from afar and even abroad to be there on that special night. I played a very deep and emotional set. At the end, the people just literally refused to leave the party, singing and cheering for close to an hour after the party had stopped and me behind the turntables not knowing what to do about the situation as I wasn’t able to put the music back on as the police was outside of the building.
At some point the crowed started tearing off the flower decoration (over 400 real flowers were used to decorate the venue on that night) and throwing them at me which made everybody crazy. At some point some guests even unhooked the disco mirror ball to offer it to me as a “disco” trophy, which obviously made everybody even wilder. This was probably my strongest DJ experience. One of which I remember leaving totally emptied of having given all I could possibly give. I could hardly get my thoughts together as people would talk to me after the party. Things just didn’t click anymore in my head. Luckily, a few good friends (Kalabrese and Gallo who had come over from Zurich for the party, Crowdpleaser and a few others) came over at home for an after party that would help bring that night to a good landing.
Where did you go from here?
The party then moved on to the much larger club; Zoo, with a capacity of 1000 people. Requested to have a special guest for each party in this venue, I did so at the condition of playing back to back with them, which I did with Maurice Fulton, Hippie Torrales and DJ Deep for instance. At some point, I was in touch with David Morales who in his early days had played a couple of times in the Paradise Garage. He was a superstar back then with fees well over the $10,000 mark (I’ve heard figures of close to $30,000 per night in some clubs at the time). Based on the credentials of the party and because I was offering him an opportunity to play classics, he offered to jump in a low cost from another european city to come and spin. I could hardly believe it.
This was a such an amazing opportunity. Unfortunately, the new managers of club Zoo didn’t have the same understanding as the previous. Viewing themselves as so to say underground, they couldn’t imagine having a “mainstream” DJ in their venue even if it was to play classics. This decision came as a shock and I decided that it was time to stop my party there. This is something that I’ve learned over the years. If you want to have a successful residency anywhere, you need to make sure that the people running the club fully understand you and support you. Especially if you go into a specific musical direction, ask for a specific soundcheck, different lighting, decoration, etc….
So after your departure from Zoo did you decide to try and pick things up elsewhere?
Unfortunately there weren’t any suitable alternatives in the small city of Geneva (250,000 inhabitants) and I was starting to feel uncomfortable being catalogued solely as a Disco DJ in that city when I was besides that playing house sets in some of the best european clubs of the time such as Berlin’s Panorama Bar or Zurich’s Dachkantine. This was around 2005-2006, when Luciano and Ricardo Villalobos were at the height of their fame among die hard club heads. Since then I only did a couple of New York Disco Club reunion parties, the latest being for the 10th anniversary of the party with NY legend Nicky Siano who proved to a totally packed audience that his fame came out of amazing energy, skills and programming.
And after that?
A lot of my gigs out of the Geneva started coming through my relationship with Crowdpleaser. I don’t exactly remember how this came up, but around 2003, Petrol Records, which was run by the team that now runs Future Classic (home of the amazingly successful Flume and Chet Faker) asked me to do a compilation of local artists for the “The Sex, The City, The Music” series. It never came out in the end (I guess Geneva finally wasn’t considered as sexy enough!). But this made get in closer relation to Crowdpleaser whom I asked for a track to insert on the comp.
I had already met him previously when I had a radio show on Switzerland first internet radio, basic.ch as of 2000 I believe. The studio was the door opposite to his office as a graphic designer. He stepped in once as I was playing Cultural Vibe “Ma Foom Bey”. It turned it was one of our common favourites and the beginning of a long history of sharing music and making each other discover stuff.
He also always had this way of trying to include people in his network and give them opportunities which I benefited from in the electronic music scene where I from far wasn’t as relevant than on the disco scene. We then became very close friends and he invited me to come over to his studio and work on some music with him. I had no real production experience, so I would say like ; ”We should add some of this” and “this track could make good use of this kind of sample”.
We would then pick up a percussion loop or something from my disco classics. It made me feel like mastering the Tools myself. I seized the opportunity of taking an Ableton Live production lesson that Quarion was offering. This was shortly before he left to live in Berlin. From then on, Crowdpleaser and I really started to produce together, although obviously he brought in more of the skills and talent.
I believe I had more to do with the vibe and arrangements, some shitty improvisations of mine that we would try and arrange in loops and saying when something was bouncy or not. Over the years I got more involved in our mutual productions and we made a string of these on various labels including our biggest “hit” “Walking Home” on Drumpoet Community which was probably rather cutting edge at the time with it’s “folk-house” vibe. It landed on many major comps, including M.A.N.D.Y.’s Renaissance which was selling in the 10s of thousands. Beyond all these production collaborations, Crowdpleaser was also trying to bring the Mental Groove label to the next level by organizing label parties in various venues. Among them was Panorama Bar where I got to play.
Panorama Bar / Berghain has to be regarded as the best club in the world right now, what was it like to play there?
Playing Panorama Bar is obviously special. Not having slept much the two nights before from partying and being incapable of sleeping before playing (I’m always too excited), I spent the hours before my set at 10am drinking maté.
With that help and you name it other substances, I started being rather freaked out before playing. Especially that back then, there was no backstage and only one space you could relax in, but which was totally empty and couldn’t be opened from the inside. So if the club’s staff would forget you, you could just stay locked in for hours!
How did your set go down? Did you enjoy it?
It was amazing. I really had the feeling that I had managed to bring something special as back then it was all minimal. You had to really fight to bring any other music in at the time but it worked great, people were really into it, dancing like wild tribes with their arms in the air. I remember playing a mix of afro-disco, new disco, house classics and new house releases of the time. I can still recall most of the tracks I played on that night. Among these were a crazy live from Osibisa recorded in India in 1981, Quentin Harris “Let’s Be Young” which was released that week, Voyage “Point Zero”, In The Kitchen 95′ “I’m A Freak”.
What other clubs have you played in that have really stuck in your mind?
Playing in Zurich’s Dachkantine was also quite an experience, for very different reasons. It was at the time one of wildest european clubs, that would often stay open with no break from the friday evening to the monday. I remember Ricardo Villalobos showing up there with his drug guru, most people were high on ecstasy, ketamine or whatever else. The night I played there the sound engineer had left for Brazil and he was the only one to have the codes to access the second room’s limiter which was stuck on -35db. Thus, the sound of the room wasn’t louder than that of a car radio for a room that could welcome maybe 300-400 people. But I don’t know, I was really into it that night. I decided to turn the music even lower than it was, so that I would have some margin to surprise the crowd by turning it up later. And things just started building and building. People were going crazy. The intensity was such (especially given the tiny volume level), that the next DJ let me play 4 hours instead of 2 because there was just no way this could be stopped. And when I finally came out of the room and went back to the Dachkantine’s main room, I saw that it was empty, everybody was in my room to listen to music at this ridiculously low level.
And are you still putting on events now?
Nowadays, I throw a party a few times per year in Geneva called “C” Party in a crazy loft space in Geneva called Motel Campo. It’s a concept, each party is “C” as in something. The last one was “C” as in “Clap” with Till von Sein. I do the opening, then let the guest play alone for a while and then we share the decks for the last couple of hours which is real cool. I usually work with DJs that I either know or have been recommended by DJs I can trust. My previous guests for this party were Alex From Tokyo, Trickski, DJ Deep and Danny Krivit and I’m already looking forward to the next editions!
How have you found production? A lot of people say that it is two very different things, being a DJ and being a producer
Oh yeah. These are really two different things. It must be the reason why they are so few that are good at both. I had been willing to produce music for a very long time, but I was just too much into DJing for years to bother really starting to produce. Then as I mentioned, I started with Crowdpleaser, got a few classes with Quarion and I was up and running. I must admit though that I didn’t start going seriously into my own productions before I was forced to do so when asked alongside Toby Tobias to remix Nick Solé’s track “Earth”. Unfortunately ma laptop got stolen right before finishing that remix so it never got released, but at least by then I was up and running!
Do you have a set way of working?
Not really. It really depends on my mood and setting. Sometimes I try and match up old impro sessions, sometimes I try starting a track by recording a musician or have an idea in mind based on a sample I have no specific way of working except for the fact that I generally have between 5 and 10 unfinished tracks side by side.
Production wise what are your plans for the future? Do you have anything coming up?
I’m currently remixing a track from Larytta’s new album, I’m really excited about it. I also finished my own first solo album. I would love to say I’m trying to get it signed, but I so much hate that aspect of the business that I must admit that I’m not doing much to make this happen. It’s a shame, because I believe it’s really good and it really surprised the friends I had listen to it. I guess I’m too afraid that after all that work it gets released by a label who just doesn’t care and it make a day and half noise and then over! So if you’re a label owner out there and read this, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Ly Sander can be found on soundcloud.com/ly-sander or on Facebook. He doesn’t have a fan page but if you display nice music interests he’ll surely confirm your friend request.
Just the other day a good friend of mine sent me a YouTube clip of an “orbital rave” that occurred in 1989:
I am really happy to say that I actually attended this event.I was sixteen years of age and relishing this new surge of youth culture that was freshly emerging; exciting and heady, a time to be thoroughly enjoyed and that we did.
However looking back on it now I was struck with just one thing.Throughout the entire ten minutes of the video clip there is not one shot of the DJ.
Instead we are treated to a visual feast of the real stars of the show, namely us, the punters.Sweating and grinning and gyrating insanely and giving themselves up to the music as you really are supposed to. Feeling the music and actually dancing to it.
For me, this shows us how far we have come, and how far we have lost our way.At any given venue of late, the crowd can be seen almost praying to the altar of the DJ box, the very worst culprits to be found in one of the places where this music takes its origins; Ibiza.
The kids now stand in the throngs at Ushuaia, entranced, doing the obligatory pointy finger dance at yet another relentless breakdown. iPhones held aloft filming the whole event, or Shazaming the tune, or Uploading pictures to Facebook.I’m all for the internet and using technology to share the love but have we lost the main reason for the whole thing?
Real clubs with a respect and love for the music are rapidly realising this.Berghain/Panorama Bar have always enforced a strict no camera policy, and Fabric have recently released the below image:
At the excellent upcoming Black Atlantic event, Mister Sunday at Oval Space on the 9th of November there are even hard and fast rules for the dancefloor;
A COUPLE OF RULES FOR OUR DANCEFLOOR:
1. Please don’t take photos.
2. Please don’t text or make calls or any of that stuff.
You can do all these things off of the dancefloor, but when you’re inside the speakers, get down.
This seems to me like the perfect advice, lets go back to our roots and really enjoy the music we’re “supposed” to be listening to!
Yawn…yet another poor Robert Owens re-edit released….. Or so I thought.When flicking through the glut of promos that land in my inbox I came across; “Brighter Day” by Horixon Featuring Robert Owens.
Expecting the worst imagine my surprise when not only was I treated to a completely fresh production it was actually VERY good indeed!
I’ll hold my hands up and say in shame that I have never heard of Horixon before today.A London based collective, Andrew Armstrong & Joe Sambrooke who “fell” into producing through no more than a pure love for music and wanting to have some fun with music production.
This really shows in the music and as it turns out (in my humble opinion) they have created one of the best original tracks of recent memory featuring the legendary voice of Mr Robert Owens. With a release date; 22/09/2014 these chaps are ones to watch!
Here’s a chance to catch the unbridled talent that is the ever amazing Todd Terje live in concert at the Øya Festival in his native Norway.
This 75 minute live set does not fail to disappoint, he performs alongside a full band, playing tracks from the new album along with some of his previous dancefloor stormers, Ragysh and Inspector Norse, a very worthwhile look.
I was born in April of 1973.This makes me (at the current time of writing) forty one years of age.
For as long as I can remember, electronic music with repetitive beats has dominated my life, I grew up on a diet of force fed electronic music, it completely dominated the charts; Yazoo, Kraftwerk, Yello, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, The Human League.Even the latest blockbuster films had synth heavy soundtracks, for example John Carpenter’s Escape From New York And Alan Parker’s Midnight Express, I could literally go on forever.
This broad introduction of the electronic synthesiser into modern day media caused a seismic change in youth culture and the way the way that young people interacted with each other.
There have been many changes in youth culture, all wide and varied and all inextricably linked to both music and fashion.The first real example we see of it was in the 1940’s beginning most notably with Rock and Roll, leading onto the Teddy Boys of the 50’s, the Mods and Rockers of The 60’s, The Skin/Suedeheads and Punks of the 70’s and then the Acid House explosion of the 80’s.
Since then (in my humble opinion) there has been a drought with no really significant changes in youth culture, with Simon Cowell et al totally dominating the charts with their pre-fabricated churned out pop dirge, purely designed to do nothing but make the major record labels obscenely rich stockpiling gargantuan piles of cash.
Then the question occurs to me; where did all the creativity go?
For me an epiphany moment was in the late eighties hearing “Voodoo Ray” by A Guy Called Gerald.
This music was unlike anything I had heard before, totally fresh and completely new, I still to this day count my lucky stars to be involved in such a burgeoning scene so early in its conception.At fifteen years of age I attended various warehouse parties in and around the capital.Acid House Music was everywhere and I was firmly bitten by the bug.This was my time, my own youth culture moment.My time to jump on something new and make it my own.
So here I find myself at the grand old age of 41 and still just as obsessed (if not more) with this incredible music.But for me it is all about pushing forward, listening to all the incredible new talent that is rising through the ranks.I believe there is more really, really great music around today than ever before.
So now we arrive in 2014.What has happened to youth culture in the UK today?For the last fews years we have seen young people “shuffling” at parties/raves/festivals.
This dance movement has received some really bad press and received extreme ridicule, even accused of racism in some cases, however, I believe it is the single most exciting thing to happen in UK youth culture since Acid House and I applaud and encourage it’s arrival in equal amounts. Its really, really great and refreshing to see something new and genuine being born out of the current UK House Music scene, but is it really new?
I read an amazing article written by a DJ so deeply entrenched in the UK electronic music scene that he literally has become an integral working part; Mr Greg Wilson.Last summer he pointed out on his blog that foot shuffling has indeed been around a lot longer than most people think.Below is a youtube video of a recording made in the Moss Side Community Centre in Manchester on September 27th 1987, so well before messers. Oakenfold, Holloway, Rampling and Walker returned from that genre spawning trip to The White Island
Here we see young black teens enjoying some very early house and breaking out some very similar moves to today’s shufflers.Food for thought.
There is always and will always be a glut of “back to 88” or old school nights.I personally have nothing against these events and agree that we should never ignore the past, however, I don’t think its healthy to live in it.
Absorb the past and use it as inspiration for creating something new, push the boundaries of this wonderful sound.It would be truly extraordinary and inspiring to see the youth of today create a new exciting culture to give Cowell and his cronies a run for their money and bring creativity back to the masses.