Jan 31, 2008
You first entered our Top 100 at No. 75 in 2005 then rose to No. 41 in 2006. Now No. 18, would you say the awards have helped your career at all? Now that you’ve broken into the Top 20, what are your goals for the future?
"Being a member of the top 100 DJs worldwide is surely a satisfying statement, but it’s not that I feel that bigger things have happened to me since, as much as I feel that thanks to DJmag’s Top 100 polls more people get to know about my work and acknowledge my achievements."
Your incredible set after Paul van Dyk at Brixton’s Academy’s SW4 afterparty during last year’s August bank holiday weekend cemented your place as one of the world’s top DJs. It must’ve been quite an honour to play after PvD! How did playing after the world’s then No.1 DJ — and a trance DJ at that — influence what and how you played?
"I’ve been a big fan of Paul Van Dyk for years. It was an honour and an experience to get to play after him in such a great event. I can say for sure that his presence there and the prestige of the event did make me invest more time in the build up of my set, as I tried to create a certain atmospheric change before I shifted into high energy gear."
It’s a well-known fact in the music industry that the third album is the most difficult for any band or artist. You’ve been working on your difficult third album for a while now and released some wicked singles such as ‘Future Music’ and ‘Adventure Mode’. Dare I ask how the finished product is going? And with two awesome albums behind you already, how are you dealing with the pressure on you to produce an amazing third?
"My new album ‘Red Means Distortion’ is nearly done. It will include new tracks and a couple of remixes of some great Trancefloor anthems. It has taken a long time to finish this album as I am touring the world non-stop and it is hard to maintain the continuity of studio work when you are at home only for a few days between weekends, mostly jetlagged. There are a lot of compliments I can say on my albums… but I prefer to let the fans decide. After all, my music is done for them."
You’ve promised your fans that once the third album is released, there’ll be some new tracks with a harder edge and believe me we’re waiting! Do you have any new harder tracks ready for Turnmills on Saturday night?
"My live set will focus on tracks from my new album and some of my greatest hits. My DJ set might include a few more surprises…you’ll have to wait and hear!"
Historically the best art has come from those writing, composing or painting in times of stress or siege. Do you reckon this might be why the best psy trance comes out of Israel? Do you think this had an impact on your work at all?
"I spend almost all my time either locked away in my studio with my music or travelling around the world. As a result, although I am aware of the fragile situation in our region, I also manage to avoid the stress that it brings on my area. I do wish for a universal solution and would love to play a victory of peace party of all nations."
In an interview in 2006 on HarderFaster.net you once said that: “In every track I make I open at least 150 channels and on every channel I use a minimum of three plug-ins, so it’s hard to say what the “special” plug-ins are since there are so many.” Is that still the case? What software and hardware do you prefer to use in the studio?
"I still use the best plug-ins in the market…that hasn’t changed. My computer is the digital heart of my studio and a hardware instrument that I really enjoyed getting lately is the Virus Ti… recommended!"
You’re headlining the We Love Astrix event at Turnmills this Saturday night and with Turnmills set to close soon, this is going to be a one-off event at that venue. Why did you choose Turnmills for the first ‘We Love Astrix’ party? Is there anyone else in the line-up you’re looking forward to checking out? And with the chill out room being held in the Turnmills Jack Daniels Bar, does this mean we can expect to see you in the chill out more than usual?!
"I’ve heard a lot of good things about Turnmills and I’m very happy to be part of its legacy before it closes down. I hope to hear some new tracks from Dejavoo and I’m sure to stop by (more then once) in Jack’s Bar for a drop of chill!"
Between 2nd-5th February, Sirena club in Brazil’s sprawling metropolis Sao Paulo gets its annual Carnaval groove on, welcoming a host of top talent over the course of five nights of frolics.
Sets from such world beating DJs as progressive house kings Deep Dish, popular French houser David Guetta, the funk soul brother himself Fatboy Slim and Dutch tech trance dude Sander van Doorn are all primed to raise the roof. Sirena, known internationally as one of the planet’s best clubs, is the perfect setting for what promises to be a suitably world-beating party. Check out www.sirena.com and get there if you can!
Jan 29, 2008
The grand cities of Liverpool and Manchester have always enjoyed a simmering, sibling rivalry - always trying to outdo one another, whether with nightclubs or football clubs. Football and house music remain the twin religions of these cities; made manifest in bricks-and-mortar by Anfield and Cream; Old Trafford and the Haçienda.
3Beat is in much the same vein – a record store opened 18 years ago by Jon Barlow (a Mancunian based in Liverpool) to stem the tide of record buyers heading down the M62 to Eastern Bloc in Manchester. A lot has gone on in the intervening 18 years – a lot of reasons to celebrate. Most of us have 18th birthdays, so why not a record store? The party – Back To The Old Pool – involves a lot more than some limp balloons and crumbling cake. 3Beat have taken over the Carling Academy venue, and flown in one of the true originators, Marshall Jefferson, as well as tempting legendary vocalist Ce Ce Rogers to join him on stage for a rare PA. Inside, the venue is big and it’s wall-to-wall wrongness - stripped-down, bare-knuckle raving of the finest order. The main room involves a bar at the back, stage at the front and all manner of weird and wonderful Scousers in-between.
“A lot of people have come through those doors,” says Jon, “and we wanted to give them a reason to come out and have a bit of fun with us again.” They’re having that, Mr Barlow - a mix of old heads who have dusted their dancing trousers for one last waltz with a sprinkling of young bucks who have come out to see what all the fuss is about. Marshall delivers big time, spinning massive classic after classic and it’s rewarding to discover, through the fug of a life spent in discos, that you can still remember the words to ‘Where Love Lives’.
Things really take off when Ce Ce Rogers takes to the stage. In between chats with the crowd about love and life he belts out ‘Someday’, the track he recorded with Jefferson some 20 years ago. They love a good sing song, do the Scousers. There is something in the water of the Mersey, in the genes of Liverpudlians, that makes them impossibly, infectiously melodic. It would seem the Mersey beat is now three-times as strong. 3Beat is the heartbeat of Liverpool, an urbane metronome to which the city ticks.
* The next Back To The Old Pool party is on Saturday 1st March at the Carling Academy in Liverpool, with Alex Paterson (The Orb), the FBI Project from Italy and Voodoo DJs.
DJ Yoda interview
There are two Yodas. One is a short green dude, and part of the rebel alliance. The other is a world famous DJ known for his decks-terity and humourous, irreverent mixing between hip hop classics, ’80s pop, and TV soundtracks. Recently, he’s moved away from the hip hop, spinning a more party-centric blend of B-More, ghetto house, electro and eclectic beats. DJ Yoda plays during the incomparable Snowbombing, which takes place between 31st March-6th April in Mayrhofen, Austria, and mixes the next edition in the Fabric Live series, due in April. We grabbed the man in question to talk changing times, soundtrack faves and his little green counterpart…
So you’re playing Snowbombing this year – are you looking forward to it?
“I’ve done it a couple of times before, and it’s just a classic one isn’t it? It’s really grown to become one of these standard annual fixtures, to become something like Ibiza. It’s nothing like any of the other festivals because of the location. I also associate it with Jagermeister now!”
Is there anyone playing that you’re looking forward to seeing yourself?
“Cuban Brothers, of course! Annie Mac, I’ve been playing out a lot with Annie at the moment, we’re both musically in a very similar place. Craze and Clever should be amazing. Those are the main ones.”
You’re known primarily as a hip hop DJ, but I saw you at Get Loaded last year and you were really mixing it up with electro, B-More, and all sorts. Have you moved in a new direction?
“I’ve totally gone in that direction, and so have a lot of hip hop DJs, mainly because hip hop has got so uninspiring recently. The good music is outside of that. One in a hundred tracks will be worth playing hip hop wise. And I’ve gone a lot more uptempo, and a lot more varied, and that Baltimore stuff fits in with what I was doing anyway because it’s taking stuff that people know but chopping it up and sticking a beat behind it, making it into a genre of its own. And I’m playing a lot of dancehall, a lot of Brazilian stuff, and trying to keep a hip hop attitude to it. The Cool Kids are good, everything they do is exciting, and I still like the stuff that Kanye does. But it’s few and far between hip hop wise.”
You’re named after the vertically challenged green mystic from the Star Wars films. What do you think of the all action fighting Yoda in the modern Star Wars films – inspired or just plain wrong?
“Plain wrong, not feeling it! I was excited about it, but the reason I’m called Yoda is really nostalgia related, growing up as a kid, collecting Star Wars figures, and the newer films tarnished that a little bit.”
What’s next for Yoda?
“This first thing to come out this year will be the Fabric mix, then after that I’ve got the next ‘How to Cut and Paste’ which is the Country and Western edition! Then I’ll be sorting out another artist album, and in between I’ll be touring with my AV show, scratching DVDs.”
What’s your favourite TV theme?
“I’d have to go for Twin Peaks, classic programme, classic theme, and I still listen to it now.”
Jan 28, 2008
H 'two' O, DJ's Solution & Oz aka Selim and Simon, have enlisted the help of Platnum, a young trio made up of hip hop / RnB / garage vocalists Aron, Mina and Michelle, for the early 2008 Bassline House monster 'What's It Gonna Be'. The squeaky clean, almost bubble-gum, house track, mostly resembling Speed Garage, is helping launch the new Bassline House genre across the UK.
Although the track will be tough to swallow by House purists and underground loyalists, it has a hook tough to ignore and will undoubtedly do much to merge electronic music with mainstream acceptance. A super-sexy music video reminiscent of Britney Spears' earlier faux-innocence certainly won't hurt. In fact, students at the college where the music video was filmed were outraged over the racy video. Commentators state difficulties concentrating on studies after viewing the superb strip sequence in the video.
Radio 1 and Kiss have jumped on the support bandwagon already. A remix pack, featuring Thomas Gold, Vandalism and Jason Herd, will be availabe in mid-February. Although nothing totally revolutionary, the Thomas Gold and Vandalism remixes are the clear stand-outs here.
"What's It Gonna Be"
Artists: HtwoO feat. Platnum
Label: Ministry of Sound
Released: February 2008
Format: Physical and Digital
1. Original Mix
2. Thomas Gold remix
3. Jason Herd's J Funk remix
4. Vandalism remix
5. Agent X re-rub club mix
6. Jamie Duggan Meets Da Booda refix
7. DJ Q remix
H 'two' O Feat. Platnum "What's It Gonna Be"
Jan 23, 2008
You may have heard rumblings, felt a change in the wind and seen a darkening of the clouds.
Get ready; big things are happening as northern giants and promotional powerhouse Metropolis prepare to move south for 10 years of the Valve Soundsystem at Ministry of Sound on Friday March 14th, 2008.
Having conquered Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield there isn't a clubber up there who hasn't felt the awesome power of these the undisputed kings of Northern Drum and Bass, and now it's our turn! Powered by one of the best soundsystems in the world, Valve founding fathers Dillinja & Lemon D will be leading an audio assault alongside a roll call that will have your knees trembling with excitement! Hype, Goldie, Pendulum, Friction, Noisia, Prophecy and Steppa will all be appearing, accompanied by MCs Eksman, SP:MC, Verse, Tonn Piper, Evil B and Switch Skeez.
It has now been a staggering 10 years since the Valve Soundsystem was born, and in celebration, at this huge one off event the speakers will be tested as they never have before, thanks to not one but two Valve rooms! In the second room the Dubstep revolution continues played out to you by N Type, Rusko, Youngsta, Hatcha, Henny G, Slaughter Mob, Exodus and The Steppahs.
Website abunchofcuts host the third room, delivering the most upfront deep and progressive beats courtesy of leaders of the new school Marcus Intalex, Calibre, Commix, Alix Perez and many more. Popular really doesn’t cover the impact Valve and the mighty Metropolis have had and quite frankly, we’re itching to see what’s going to happen when they sit on the undisputed thrown of Clubland - Ministry of Sound!
10.30pm – 6am
Pendulum (DJ Set)
Dillinja & Lemon D
Verse and more…
MCs Mighty Moe
Alix Pirez b2b Lynx
Earlybird £15 + Booking fee
Advance £17.50 + BF
LTD Entry on the door.
Jedi Knight of electronic music brings together a top mix package.
Tom Middleton, of Jedi Knights and Global Communication fame, takes the reigns from Faithless to release the next installment of Renaissance's 3D series on January 28, 2008. The 3 CD package features a set each from the CLUB, the STUDIO and the HOME. Out of the massive 47-track collection, Tom throws in some great selections from Ben Watt, Groove Armada, James Zabiela and Orbital; the STUDIO set features some exclusive mixes from Tom and his pseudonyms.
Says Tom of the project, "I love the 3D concept. The club, studio and home discs provide me with the perfect platform to showcase my musical diversity. In fact, I think this is the closest thing I've ever done to my 'Cosmos' compilation. I'm frequently asked if I'd ever follow that up and I guess this is finally it! I am certainly very happy with the end result."
"Renaissance Presents: 3D"
Mixed By: Tom Middleton
Released: January 28, 2008
CD1 - CLUB
1. Funk D’Void Feat. Jay Leblone - Lovin' (Your Body Remix)
2. Kenny Hawkes & David Parr – Gemini 3. Rhythm Plate – Remember The Days
4. Hipp-e – Fade (Palm Skin Productions Smooth Edit)
5. Shur-i-kan vs. Milton Jackson – Swap Shop (Shur-i-kan’s Swaparama Dub)
6. Mike Acetate / Carlos Gibbs Feat. Roy Davis – Jus’ Move (Jimpster Mix)
7. Mona Lisa – Dancin’ (1200 Warriors NYC Mix)
8. Ben Watt – Lone Cat (Dennis Ferrer & Steve Martinez Special Re-rub)
9. Mood II Swing Feat. Tara J – Passing Time (Main Vocal Mix)
10. Groove Armada – Love Sweet Sound (Mark Knight & Funkagenda’s R.H.B Remix)
11. Mari Boine – Voui Voui Mui (Henrik Schwarz Mix)
12. Aya – Sean (Eric’s 2WFU Dub)
13. Trackheadz – Our Music
14. The Timewriter Introducing Sid Thomson - Life Is Just A Timeless Motion
15. James Zabiela – Human (Intro Mix)
16. Artec - Nine Times The Speed Of Sound
17. Wink - Swirl
18. Slg – Nine Hours
19. Simian Mobile Disco – Clock
CD2 - STUDIO (unmixed)
1. Cosmos – Take Me With You (Tom’s Y2K 3D Edit)
2. Cosmos – Lost Inside (Tom Middleton 3D Dub – Unreleased)
3. Ulrich Schnauss – In All The Wrong Places (TM’s 3D VIP Mix)
4. Lamb – What Sound (Tom Middleton Vox)
5. The Modwheel - Jungle Drums (Tom Middleton 3D Dub)
6. The Modwheel - Spiritcatcher
7. Kerri Chandler – Bar A Thym (Tom Middleton Cosmos Vox)
8. François DuBois - Blood (Tom Middleton Deep Mix)
9. Hefner vs. Cosmos – Dive Into You (Tom Middleton Vox)
10. The Modwheel – Into The Deep (Tom Middleton 3D Dub)
CD3 - HOME
1. Middlewood Sessions – Fall Back (Spiritual South Remix)
2. System 7 & Derrick May - Altitude
3. Speakeasy - Allright
4. Orbital - Halcyon
5. Irresistible Force – Nepalese Bliss (Fila Brazilia Mix)
6. Incognito – I Can See The Future
7. Mudd – 54B
8. Crazy P – Music’s My Love
9. The Vogado Projects Feat. Lucy Gale – Never Come Back
10. The Foreign Exchange – Come Around (Edit)
11. Danny Breaks – Junkie For Beatz
12. Fenomenon - Out Of Control
13. Harmonic 33 – Rainsong
14. Jon Hopkins – Second Sense
15. Blu Mar Ten – Ghost Trio
16. Groovecatcher - Castaway
17. Edward Sheamur – Grand Central
18. Alucidnation - Pedal Steal
19. LA Synthesis – Zyllvakrynn
About Tom Middleton
Over the years Tom has cut a respected musical swathe under a host of pseudonyms such as Global Communication, Cosmos and The Modwheel, not to mention his own righteous moniker. As a DJ he has toured the world; held a much-coveted residency at Manumission; produce landmark Essential Mixes and, of course, establish himself as one of the worlds most exciting compilation artists via diverse series such as Crazy Covers, The Trip and now legendary Sounds Of The Cosmos.
Jan 19, 2008
Every January for the past 6 years, we develop a unique formula to calculate the top 100 songs released on InternetDJ within the previous year. We combine a variety of algrebra to concoct this list, mixing popularity with ratings and a dash of Bayesian averaging. This year our formula is the most accurate to date.
I've hidden the top 10 to start this off, and will add a new rank each day until we have the full list published in this article.
Here are some fun facts about InternetDJ:
Years Live: 11
Accounts Created (since 2002): 50,504
Reviews Published (since 2002): 91,323
Songs/Media Uploaded (since 2002): 41,457
Total Plays (since 2002): 21,584,695
Total MP3 Downloads by Members (since 2002): 2,920,116
Gilles spans two decades on this three CD release.
Defected will release their latest installment of the IN THE HOUSE series, "Gilles Peterson...In the House", on January 28, 2008. This triple CD selection is based on over two decades of deep DJ experiences. Not what you'd consider a club album, as some of the ITH predecessors have been.
Gilles submits his take on the contemporary house scene on CD1. It's a soulful, upfront, and collects together a wicked selection he's picked up on his worldwide travels. There's Mario Vidis, Phil Asher (Phlash & friends) and Simbad feat. Abdul Shylion. Says Gilles of CD1, "Tone 7’s ‘Dubdub 2’ is kind of tribal meets Ame while Blaze’s ‘Wishing You Were Here’ brings back good memories of
ing to Louie Vega in New York City and of those afternoon sessions at Body & Soul. Nice, thumping. Techy tunes. I like to go there."
CD2 features more Peterson gems. His disco side shows up with tracks like Earth, Wind & Fire 'Let Your Feelings Show' and A Taste Of Honey 'Boogie Oogie Oogie'. CD 3 is a bonus CD containing a selection of exclusive unmixed tracks specially commissioned by Gilles by some of his closest contemporaries. Artists in this selection include tracks by DJ Sneak, Karizma, Switch and Carl Craig.
"Gilles Peterson...In The House"
Mixed By: Gilles Peterson
Released: January 28, 2008
1. Don`t Take It Personal (Georg Levins Edit) - Wahoo
2. You Rock Me (Long Version) - Larry Heard presents Mr. White
3. Can’t Change Me (Ron Trent Remix) - N'Dambi
4. Spinnin' - Bernard Wright
5. Wishing You Were Here (Joey Negro Remix) - Blaze
6. Supersonic Revelation (Marathon Men Remix) - Simbad feat. Abdul Shyllon
7. Let The Rhythm Get In (Unreleased Dub Version) - Alex Attias presents Mustang
8. Dub Dub - Tone 7
9. The African Track (Louis Benedetti Mix) - Vincent Montana, Jr
10. Revolution = Solution - Phlash & Friends
11. I Cling - Deetron feat. Ovasoul7
12. This Here Is House Muzik (from Gilles Peterson In the House) - Mike Dunn presents The Md X-Spress
13. This Will Change It - Sandy Rivera & Jose Burgos
14. Black Man in Space (Sax Mix) - Dennis Ferrer
15. Funkworm - Stimming
16. Dark Soldier (from Gilles Peterson In the House) - Roland Appel
17. Time (Six Series Dub) - Nick Holder feat. Sacha
18. Test - Mario Basanov & Vidis
19. You Make Me Dizzy - The Young Lovers
20. Thank You (replayed by Sleep Walker) - Shuya Okino feat. Navasha Daya
1. We Gettin’ Down - Weldon Irvine
2. Tell Me What To Do - Johnny Hammond
3. Slick Eddie - Sonny Stitt
4. Could Heaven Ever Be Like This - Idris Muhammad
5. People Make The World Go Round (from Gilles Peterson In the House) - Angela Bofill
6. Boogie Oogie Oogie - A Taste Of Honey
7. Can't Fake The Feeling - Geraldine Hunt
8. Got To Get Your Love - Clyde Alexander & Sanction
9. Let Your Feelings Show - Earth, Wind & Fire
10. Space Bass - Slick
11. Cosmic Lust - Mass Production
12. Brother's Gonna Work It Out - Willie Hutch
13. Happiness Is Just Around The Bend (from Gilles Peterson In the House) - The Main Ingredient
14. Keep On Singing - Keni Burke
15. Circles - Rufus Feat. Chaka Khan
16. Move Me No Mountain - Love Unlimited
17. Didn't You Know It - One Way
18. Goin' Crazy - Heatwave
19. Music Of Life - Cerrone
20. Mi Vida - Jon Lucien
1. Open to Love - Season & Sygaire feat. Randolph Matthews
2. Can't Stop - Kings of Tomorrow feat. Rae
3. Livin' In a New Day - Tribe
4. Spirits Above (Simbad Remix) - Jose James
5. Coste - Peter Kruder
6. 33rd Street Anthem - Karizma aka Kaytronik
7. A Test - DJ Sneak
8. Because I Can - Fase
9. Mighty Dub - Zed Bias featuring Randolph
10. Vibrations - Trusme
11. Wonderland - Alexander Hope
12. One Dream - Louie Vega & The Elements Of Life Featuring Anane
Early 2008 will see the release of Gllles Peterson’s ‘in The House’ selection on Defected records and Paul Bradshaw talks to the globally renown eclectic club and radio dj about the pain, the passion and leather pegs!
“I know it sounds like a cliché but it’s all about the passion… the key ingredient is passion. Look, we’re here, listening to Jon Lucien’s ‘Mi Vida’ and I’m loving it. I’m not over it and I simply can’t fake it!” declares a charming but animated Gilles Peterson. Imbued with a boyish swagger and an irrepressible energy Gilles is a goldmine of musical knowledge and when Geraldine Hunt’s ‘’Can’t Fake That Feeling’ fills the room it seems to vindicate his point of view. “This is a TUNE, a mighty vocal. There’s nothing better than seeing the ladies shake to this one!”
The Radio 1 DJ and boss of Brownswood Records, is in the midst of a photo shoot in a small industrial flat conversion just off the City Road and spitting distance from Hoxton Square. The disc in the hi fi is a test press of his latest compilation for Defected and it’s simply entitled ‘Gilles Peterson In The House’. Interestingly it illuminates another side of Peterson’s eclectic outlook and why his roots in soul, funk, disco and fusion have ensured him a place in the higher echelons of global DJ culture.
“I know all the dj’s… on all the scenes!” he says laughing. And he’s not joking. He has notched up millions of air miles and inevitably they all meet up as they criss cross the globe spinning records or doing whatever they do with those lap tops. Plus, his role the founder of Acid Jazz and as the head honcho of Talkin’ Loud records and his own Brownswood label has led him to work with and commission music from all the dons.
He’s good friends with Laurent Garnier – “the only DJ who can join the dots between myself, DJ Marky and Carl Cox” – and, of course with Carl Cox himself. He and Carl go way back to pre rave days and following his most recent annual guest spot with Carl at Space in Ibiza he feels that musically they definitely have a lot in common. However, he still gets those cold shivers as he recalls the first time he played at Space.
“It was ten years ago. That was the most scared I’ve ever been as a DJ. I was close to crying when I went on. There were a couple of thousand Europeans who’d been going ballistic to the hardest techno. It was extreme. Carl had peaked it playing the outer limits of dance music and I had to follow him, on the Terrace, live on Radio 1, and make it feel like it was a smooth transition! I had to drop from 136 to 116 bpms… do you know what that’s like? The people were confused to the point of horror when I played my first tune but I survived and as heavy as the experience was it provided me with yet another valuable dj lesson.
“I’ve done Space every year since then and this year Carl and I have come closer to each other, sharing artists on our play lists and appreciating each other more. I’m definitely feeling the swing and funk in his sets. Also his audience is more likely to understand me now than ten years ago.”
Gilles Peterson is an outernationalist. He lives and works in close proximity to his beloved Arsenal in North London and though his roots are as a south London soul boy, he is also a fluent French speaker with family in both France and Switzerland. However, his second home is Japan. He’s been working there since the Eighties and has been a major force in promoting and cultivating the nu-jazz scene. He has a weekly radio show on the hugely influential J Wave, one of his favourite clubs is Yellow in Tokyo, he has signed punked-out jazzers Soil &”Pimp” Sessions to his Brownswood imprint and he tours there three times a year.
“I do enjoy shopping in Japan. I buy all my suits and shirts there. I’ve got definite tastes… Viz Vim for their shoes, Undercover for shirts. I’m also feeling Cool Struttin’ in Aoyama. I loved the couple who used to make the suits for UFO.” says Peterson and adds, “I never feel comfortable shopping here, in London. I only do bookshops, the record shops… the ones that are left!... and wine shops. I like the labels on the bottles… maybe it’s the collector in me.”
Quirky. That’s how I would describe Gilles Peterson and as he describes his youth you realise why.
“On a recent drive to Manchester with my MC, Earl Zinger… he’s also one half of 2 Banks of 4… we were listening to the ‘In The House’ selection,“ say Peterson. “Zinger’s feeling was, ‘That’s your history… right there.’ And I suppose it is.
“I started with disco not quite realising I was being engulfed in future classics at an early age. ‘Jingo’ by Candido, Idris Muhammed’s ‘Could Heaven Be Like This’, Silk’s ‘Space Bass… kind of disco meets jazz. That was my soul boy days: Caister, Goldmine, Cat’s Whiskers, Bogarts. Then there was Prelude records, Sharon Redd’s ‘Can You Handle It, Strikers’ ‘Body Music’… D Train and those Francois K productions.
“As a teenager I used to play a gay club in Croydon called Doctor Crippens on Sundays. I couldn’t tell my mum. Carol Jiani’s ’Hit & Run Lover’ was big but I hated it. Back then I loved all those Cerrone and Change tracks and they still sound really good to me.. In those days it was pre computers and programmed drums, so it was down to really good live drummers, like on Taste Of Honey’s ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’ . The Mizell Brothers produced that. Earth Wind & Fire, that was my house music, that’s when I grew up musically and found myself wearing leather pegs from Jones in the Kings Road, pods from a little shop in Kingston and jazz funk t-shirts that I picked up at the weekenders.
“I used to go to the Venue in Victoria and the Rainbow in Finsbury Park and hear the cream of Brit Funk. Shakatak, Hi Tension, Cache, Touchdown, UK Players… I used to love them… Freeze. I caught Luther Vandross at the Dominion on the corner of Tottenham Court Road… it was down to him and the drummer. I played ‘Never Too Much’ last Saturday in Kings Cross at the end of the session, around 5am. People still love it.
“On the “boogie” front Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson’ is very important to me. He was doing the Electric Ballroom with George Power when I was doing the Jazz Room upstairs. The ballroom was a cross between Crackers and a more modernist electro vibe comin’ in via Whodini and Nucleus. Respect is also due to Frankie Foncett, Noel Watson and, of course Norman Jay. All those guys are important.”
So, that brings us to 1987 and the dawn of Acid House. Rare Groove ruled in London town but it was about to be eclipsed.
“It was radical!” exclaims Peterson. “ But I was sceptical. We were doing our thing. Talking Loud & Saying Something at Dingwalls was kicking off. I wasn’t convinced. Maybe it was the whole association with the drugs but when I saw Michael Knot, a member of IDJ, a brilliant jazz dancer, dancing to ‘Acid Trax’ by Phuture in a dark room at the back of a pub in Teddington I changed my mind and started including it into my sets. I went to few Boys Own parties and loved it. Also, we… Bro Marco and Rob G… had a room at Babylon, Steve Swindell’s club at Heaven. Downstairs, it was Colin Favor playing early electronic techno and next door in the Future Bar was Danny Rampling and Paul Oakenfold. On a Thursday night, for two years, you couldn’t avoid the craziness that was Babylon.”
Twenty years on, the tunes that Gilles Peterson has included in his Defected selection never fail to stand up to the tests of time and reflect both passion and an ability to uplift the spirit. “With compilations… I must be the world record holder!” he says shaking his head. “The record collectors must hate me… ‘Oh no! Not another Peterson compilation!
“Basically, it’s like the alphabet.’ says Gilles. ”Jazz… black music got into my soul and it gave me the foundation. I got a good education because I was immersed in the culture here… pirate radio, warehouse parties, carnival, sound system… there was always a little bit of danger. I’ve had great, long-standing clubs at the Wag, Fridge, Fez, Bar Rumba, Dingwalls… Cargo. I’ve always enjoyed my own clubs but I’m also into those events or venues where I’m going to learn. Playing with Carl, Laurent or Theo Parrish… you need to put yourself outside you comfort zone.
“I’ve had great human satisfaction from what I do. I’ve met all these amazing people and then to be able to help them is as good as being a priest or a doctor. When artists or musicians like Steve Reid or Terry Callier come to London they call me through friendship and that’s great.”
“I suppose I’m a kind of cult famous person,” he continues. ”I’m rarely recognised but there are people who admire me for what I do and that motivates me. I get the best of both worlds. It is odd at times. I was at the Roundhouse for the Verve and this guy, who I had never met before, came up to me and said, ‘Hi Gilles.’ and we shook hands and talked and he turned out to be James Purnell – the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
“I’m always surprised when that happens. But I have dj’d for millions of people. I’ve been on the radio for over 25 years. People do look at me and maybe they do recognise me but sometimes I just think, ‘What are you looking at!?”
The main drum part is almost universally in common time (4/4); meaning 4 quarter note pulses per bar. In its simplest form, time is marked with kicks (bass drum beats) on each quarter note pulse, a snare or clap on the second and fourth pulse of the bar, with an open hi-hat sound every second eight note. This is essentially a disco (or even polka) drum pattern and is common throughout house music and its derivatives (of which techno is one). The tempo tends to vary between approximately 120 bpm (quarter note equals 120 pulses per bar) and 150 bpm depending on the style of techno. Much of the drum programming employed in the original Detroit based techno made use of syncopation and polyrhythm, yet in many cases the basic disco type pattern was used as a foundation; with polyrthythmic elaborations added using other drum machine voices. It is this syncopated feel (funkiness) that initially differentiated the Detroit strain of techno from other variants; indeed this is a feature that many DJs and producers still use to distinguish their music from commercial forms of techno, the majority of which are devoid of syncopation.
Much of this electronic dance music tends to be produced with the aid of interfaces (synthesizer keyboards) that are designed with the Western musical tradition in mind. However, techno does not always adhere to conventional harmonic practice, and such strictures are often ignored in favor of timbral manipulation alone. The use of motivic development (though relatively limited), and the employment of conventional musical frameworks, is more widely found in commercial techno styles, for example Euro-trance; where the template is often an AABA song structure.
There are numerous ways to create techno, but they all depend upon the use of loop based step sequencing as a compositional method . Many techno musicians, or "producers", rather than employing traditional compositional techniques, will work in an improvisatory fashion; often treating the electronic music studio as one large instrument. This assemblage of devices will include units that are capable of producing unique timbres but technical proficiency is required if the technology is to be successfully exploited. The equipment will be synchronised using a hardware or a computer based MIDI sequencer; this enables the producer to combine, in one arrangement, the sequenced output of many devices . A typical approach is to create successive layers of material until a suitable cacophony is achieved. Once a usable palette of material has been generated, a producer may then focus on developing a temporal framework; a process of dictating how the work will unfold in time. Some producers achieve this by adding or removing layers of material at appropriate points in the mix. Quite often this is achieved by physically manipulating the mixer, sequencer, effects, dynamic processing, equalisation, and filtering, while recording to a multi-track device. Other producers achieve similar results by using the automation features of computer based digital audio workstations.
In recent years, as computer technology has become more accessible, and music software has advanced, interacting with music technology is now possible using means that bear no relationship to traditional musical performance practice. Some techno music consists of little more than cleverly programmed rhythmic sequences and looped motifs, combined with signal processing of one variety or another; frequency filtering being a commonly used process.
Instruments utilized by the original techno producers based in Detroit included classic drum machines like the Roland TR-808 and TR-909, devices such as the Roland TB-303 bass line generator, with synthesizers such as the Roland SH-101, Kawai KC10, Yamaha DX7, and Yamaha DX100. Much of the early music sequencing was executed via MIDI using hardware sequencers such as the Korg SQD1, and Roland MC-50 and the limited amount of sampling that was featured in this early style was accomplished using an Akai S900.