I've said it once (see post of 18.08.07), but I'll say it again. Secretsundaze is the best summer club in London. Here's an interview piece - I did for Metro - with its residents and promoters James Priestley (R) and Giles Smith (L). Top lads the pair of them.
This Sunday Ame guest - Ame are my favourite electronic DJs of the moment, their 'Mixing' CD on Sonar Kollektiv is the finest dance music compilation I've heard in years. All the underground clubs across Europe doing the whole deep warm, fuzzy, electro, techno, house blend, well Ame were doing it tiiiiiime ago. And Mixing, as well as, the single Rej is ample proof. My only issue is braving Canvas.
Here's the set times for this Sunday: 2-3 giles;3-5.30 james; 5.30-7 einzelkind; 7-9 ame; 9-10.30 giles.
I had a brief chat with Giles this morning about the Metro piece, where the wrong release date for the album was published. Doh. The LP - which is superb - is out on September 17th not October 1st. Sincere apologies. My bad. Tardy journalism. (Though I've since discovered this date was inserted in the editing process, and I didn't put the wrong date - even more annoying, but shit happens)
By all accounts SSD was the place to be at last weekend's TDK Festival. Secretsundaze's outdoor arena went on til noon on Monday. That's midday, when the finish time was 7am. Giles carried on DJing til 8am, but literally couldn't manage it due to fatigue and er, other, factors. So then it was find a DJ. Loco Dice's flight was imminent so that was a no no. but one half of Tiefschwarz, Ali I think and Geddes (Mulletover) went back to back and saved the day. It sounds like a very special moment... the sun coming up on Bank Holiday Monday morning and not just one more tune but five more hours...
Hosting outdoor summer parties on Sundays afternoons in London probably seems like insanity considering the unpredictable weather, yet Secretsundaze is the capital’s leading ‘destination club’ of recent years.
Secretsundaze was born out of accident rather than design. ‘We wanted to do a party with our friends and our music and we saw 93 Feet East's loft room: it was hidden, there was great lighting and a roof terrace, and it had a beautiful feel,’ explains Giles Smith, Secretsundaze’s co-promoter/resident with James Priestley. ‘We ended up doing a Sunday club because that was the only day we could get the loft room, so it happened organically and naturally.’
In 2002 Secretsundaze left 93 Feet East but continued to host unlicensed parties in the garden of a Spitalfields pub. Preistley and Smith realized they were onto something and simultaneously organized legitimate parties at Shoreditch’s The Light Bar. At the time, Smith and Priestley were 'anti press' and spread the word through mouth.
Now it’s known across Europe as a party phenomenon: this summer Secretsundaze’s taken residence on Canvas roof terrace, organized al fresco raves during Barcelona’s Sonar festival and is now a vital staple element of London festivals Cross Central and Lovebox.
‘A year ago we took a decision to do something with Secretsundaze: make it better organized, launch a label, release compilations, do parties abroad and bring on new talent,’ explains Priestley.
‘Guys who are huge now, like Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano and Tobi Neumann played with us in our second year, they were hardly known then,’ says Smith.
Secretsundaze’s biggest draw is it’s unique in London clubbing terms: dancing in sunshine, with a mixed flamboyant European crowd (the recent roof party at Brixton’s Dex there was a guy with a fur stole on his shoulders, a woman in a bikini and a man in a kimono and panama hat). Whether it’s because it’s light Secretsundaze seems less inhibited and more social, and there’s also the dynamic of the music getting darker as the sun goes down.
Secretsundaze feels more like Ibiza than London and there are just three dates remaining this summer: this Sunday features German duo Ame, September 16’s album launch party has Cassy (live) and Rahdoo, and September 30th’s closing party headliner is Steve Bug.
Like the party, the first Secretsundaze’s mix (two CDs mixed by Smithand Priestley, respectively, the first on Secretsundaze record label) flies in the face of club compilation wisdom. It’s a tantalizing super-slo motion mix of lush electronic music that wouldn’t be out of place on a chill compilation and is full of timeless house, techno and electropop from the last two decades.
‘It’s deeply confident music that we believe in, the music we’ve included doesn’t need to do this or that to be in our mix’, says Smith. ‘What we do comes very naturally, we do what we like and we don’t compromise - it comes from the heart and we wear our heart on our sleeve, with our venues and musically.’
Sun, Secretsundaze, Canvas, York Way N1, 2pm to 10.30pm, £12. Tel: 0870 060 0100. Tube: Kings Cross
A version of this appeared in London Metro on August 30th
I've got a huge amount of respect and admiration for Jazzanova's Sonar Kollektiv imprint: the German collective dabble in everything from nu jazz and broken beat, to folktronica and dub, all in an idiosyncratic, futuristic styleeeeee.
Jazzanova and Sonar Kollektiv has nurtured guys like Dixon, and the irresistible Ame (behind my fave dance music mix of the year, Ame Mixing on the Sonar Kollektiv label) who are rewriting the house rule book as we speak.
Jazzanova/Sonar Kollektiv were also one of the first producers to pick up on Joe Dukie, the frontman of Fat Freddy's Drop, perhaps the most mesmerizing and spell-binding dub/reggae/soul/techno, I've been privileged enough to see live.
It's the Sonar Kollektiv's label tenth anniversary - it's a label not a person so it's an anniversary not a birthday (pedant journo rears its head) - at Cargo on Friday and Peter Kruder guests.
Check it. A video site totally dedicated to UK Rap. From what I can gather this has just launched. It looks tidy too, with videos from Dizzee to Ny to Skinnyman freestyles. A one stop shop for homegrown hip hop videos. Spread the word tell a friend. And support artists like L Man, who is one of the most talented up and coming lyricists/poets in the country.
If I was in London this weekend, I would be going to this: Trevor Loveys, Mala (Digital Mystikz), Soul Jazz, Scandalous Ltd (True Tiger). Man Make Music joins the dots between
bumping underground music whether dubstep, grime and techno, or as with this line up, the fidget/bashment house (Trevor Loveys), dubstep (Mala), grime (Scandalous) while Soul Jazz supply the sounds that are the root for most of these genres.
I will instead be going to Newcastle to hear Benga and Appleblim play at an outdoor free rave. Well I'm going to Toon for a friend's 30th but this happens to be on the same weekend. Result and a half.
I maintain that this gig in March, is easily the best gig I've been to this year. Incredible. Eight a capella singers, four beat boxers, generating an hour of music ranging from Paul Simon to the theme from Starsky & Hutch, ALL FROM THE MOUTH.
Ok so this doesn't do it full justice, but it's enough to get an idea. In short the Swingle Singers and Shlomo are a must see.
This gives you an idea of how crowds react to it (Big Chill 2007). Sick business. The Swingle Singers LP, Beauty And The Beatbox is due in late September. It's good. But LIVE is the medium to see them.
Ok so I've cheated and used the video to Wiley's 50/50 as the image to accompany this brief overview of Rinse/FWD>> at The End last Friday. I hope you can forgive me. Basically this will spur me to get my arse in gear and get my phone to talk to my ye olde world Mac and then I can upload video footage myself, rather than waiting for someone to post the relevant grainy cameraphone shizzle on Youtube.
I digress. So FWD>>/Rinse took over The End on Friday for its second date at the esteemed London nightclub. As I was on my way to the club, just a round the corner from the former car park, I bumped into a mate I play football with - Hutch. He's a bit older than me, and most ravers, and when I told him I was going to the The End. He said, 'What you're going to a gay club? I've never seen so many blokes in a queue in my life.'
I did have to laugh, because the End was bloke-tastic. Why is it that hard underground music (dubstep, techno, d&b) nights are such sausage factories? Of course there's a whole raft of reasons why, which will no doubt covered at some point, but for now dis post is all about FWD>>/Rinse.
So we can start with, it was well blokey. But brilliant nevertheless. The highlight was when we were lurking near the back of the room and could hear a Wiley track being played by Carnage, except the lyrics sounded alive and animated. Duh. We looked up - my sharp eyes and ears I might add - to see Wiley in the DJ booth, on the mic and giving it loads. I've seen Wiley live on stage - as in at gigs - a couple of times and both were ok but nothing special. At all.
This however, with Carnage caning dub after dub, and a baying audience closing in on the DJ booth and slapping the air conditioning shaft to within an inch of its sorry life in approval, was Wiley in his element. And he killed it. Big time.
First up he shouted out to both Dizzee and Kano (respect), before spitting fire for about 40minutes. I've been going to The End for over a decade, and I've never seen the club so hype as Wiley tore through Gangsterz, 50/50, Bow E3 and jumping on an Igloo and Ice Rink riddims too. Everyone knew the words to all his tunes, and it was the first time it dawned on me, how much of a hero he is to so many people.
Wiley rounded it off with a ferocious vocal outpouring over Benga's stone cold techno-dubstep-house anthem, Nite. It was an absolute pleasure to witness, though with a cracked rib from playing football the dubstep mosh pit perhaps wasn't the most sensible place to be at this point. Ruckus just about sums it up.
And what else of the night? Grime and dubstep worked very well together, the mix of DJs actually broke up some of dubstep's sleepy monotony, and gave it a much more hype, rave feel. The only other thing to report is how much weed was being caned. Loads and loads, and cigarettes too. Smoking ban my arse?!
Are you going to volunteer to walk across a dancefloor of 700 people going mad to collar someone for smoking? Not even gorilla bouncers are that foolish. How long before we get CCTV IN CLUBS so smokers can be spotted remotely and ejected? I reckon about 12months.
Big up to the most committed dubstep soldier I know, Markle. Respect for Friday and good luck with the 2nd Drop night down in 'Ding on Friday.
I finally made it to a Secretsundaze party last Sunday, on the roof terrace of the Prince. The pub next to KFC on Coldharbour Lane. And it was frigging fantastic, on many fronts. Quite how they managed to bring a big dollop of sexy Mediterannean cool to Brixton's grimiest corner, is beyond me.
This was a glam, cosmopolitan, international and mixed crowd. We didn't hear an English voice for the first half hour of arrriving - we did hear plenty of Italian and Spanish. Plenty of people had made an effort with what they were wearing - ladies especially, for example one saucy minx was in a bikini, mind you a guy with a fur stole and a 15 stone guy in kimono and panama hat were pretty peacockish too - and then there was the whole dynamic of dancing outdoors, worshipping the sun. Just as the sun went down, Craig Richards played Sean Escoffery's early noughties soulful house classic Days Like This (chorus I love days like this/here comes the sun), with Lambeth Town Hall's clocktower in the skyline, tore the non existent roof off.
Personally I loved the sounds - deep, funky, warm, fuzzy, soulful house and techno and electro, mirroring how boundaries have really come crashing down between different styles. There was a time you would never hear soulful, funky house at a tech house night, or any sort of house at a techno night. Thankfully that era's over which makes it far more interesting for the raver who isn't off their nut (and there were plenty of people necking pills come 9pm on Sunday)
There's undoubtedly something more social and less inhibited with al fresco daytime raving, perhaps because you make eye contact with more people. I would strongly suggest checking out a Secretsundaze - summer sundays only - party, but I wouldn't set foot in Canvas, it's not worth the hassle, grief and perma-queue crush.
Check Secretsundaze for dates and to sign up to the mailing list. Giles Smith and James Priestley have a compilation due in early October, be sure to keep an ear out for that too.
Big shout to Rav.e for being a dedicated raving wingman last weekend: Secretsundaze followed the dubstep squat/House Party in Hackney Wick on Saturday night and an hour at Get Diverted at Babalou at 4am on Sunday morning.
Kids - drugs are bad (says Mr Mackie from South Park). And here's proof, in the shape of footage, from the first aid tent at Global Gathering 2007. It's one of those where you don't know whether to laugh or gasp. Hat tip - or New Era cap tip - to grime soldier RossB for the link.
UPDATE: this has been removed by youtube. Because Global Gathering has said it's illegal as permission hadn't been given. It's funny they chase down the only footage that casts Global Gathering in a slightly negative light. There are thousands - ok hundreds - of videos on youtube from Global Gathering 2007, where people's permission obviously hasn't been sought. Anyways if you wack this URL (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g9k7jLTjlM>) into google and click on the cache link, it's still viewable.
The Jump Off
Four years ago today brothers Ara and Harold Anthony, adapted the format of their fledgling live urban music night to incorporate ‘battles’ between rappers (think Eminem’s 8Mile) with the winner defending their title the following week. It transformed The Jump Off from just another grassroots urban music night into the UK’s No.1 platform for up and coming hip-hop talent.
‘We realised we had something unique in the battle element so we introduced B-boy, street dance, singer and DJ battles,’ explains Ara, at the Jump Off HQ in Old Street. ‘Finding the Mean Fiddler venue gave us a real sporting arena: I was watching football and thought, ‘This doesn’t happen on a stage - why don’t we put on our battles in a sporting environment with the audience all around?’ The energy that created really took us up.’
The roll call of rappers, producers and dancers that has graduated from The Jump Off include reigning MC champion Professor Green (20 weeks) who is now signed to Mike Skinner’s The Beats label, Mr Hudson (winner of a producer contest) passed a demo to Sway who gave it to DJ Semtex, resulting in a deal with Universal. Dancer Kymberlee Jay went on to star in Nike’s Tell Me I’m Not An Athlete ad campaign and has krumped in two of Madonna’s videos, and Mukhter from dance crew K.I. is currently in Las Vegas with Cirque Du Soliel.
The Jump Off’s a welcoming environment that encourages networking and constructive feedback from judges that have included Wu Tang’s Inspectah Deck, Guru (Gang Starr), Sway and Melle Mel. It can also generate a viral buzz that major label budgets couldn’t buy: Geordie rapper Stig embarrassing ex-So Solid rapper and actor Asher D at the Jump Off has been viewed over 100, 000 times on Youtube.
Ara and Harold’s early adoption of Internet video broadcasting (www.jumpoff.tv has been streaming battles since March 2004) is why The Jump Off is now a formidable hip-hop entertainment/sports brand that syndicates to Channel U and H20 (Russell Simmons’ urban TV channel in America). Jump Off content will also be available on Joost (the forthcoming Internet TV download service from the makers of Skype and Kazaa).
But it’s in the flesh that you truly appreciate the art, craft and bravery of a rap battle: it’s a modern day gladiatorial contest with a frenzied audience baying for sharp, witty put downs (or ‘punch lines’). Tonight’s fourth birthday party features MC Sam K, B-boy duo Mouse and Bugz, and street dance collective Funky Crew defending their respective crowns. Body popping, pillow fighting and booty shaking battles offer light relief, with Manny Norte (Kiss) DJing.
‘All we ever wanted to do was make hip-hop fun and give people something positive to look forward to and get involved in,’ concludes Ara.
Tonight, The Jump Off, Meanfiddler, Charing Cross Road WC2E, 8pm to late, £8 adv. Tel: 0870 060 3777. Tube: Tottenham Court Road
A version of this appeared in London Metro newspaper on August 6th
Update: After going to the Jump Off on Monday, I have to say it's one of the most LIVE hip hop events I've EVER been to. B-boy battles were heavy, crew dances were funny - a combination of theatre, dance and comedy, the pillow fighting was vicious, the popping battle was jokes but the MC battle was arguably the weakest element. come on MCs there's more to this than getting angry, screaming and mum/pussy/gay jokes. Ridiculous. I will be regularly attending the Jump Off from here on in.
Kelis at Defected In The House at Pacha Ibiza eight days ago. Mrs Nasir Jones was at Ibiza Rocks on the Monday, and unexpectedly turned up Defected at Pacha on the Tuesday, and promptly performed Milk Shake and Trick Me.
Pacha seems to be the Ibiza venue of choice for A-list US urban stars... P Diddy did the same at Pacha a few years ago, before his ill-feted (but actually quite good) dance LP. Why Pacha? Probably coz it's the most blinging club in the world, or at least has a reputation as such.
In other urban Ibiza news, Twice As Nice has competition, with LoveDough, the Newcastle night and label that is now hosting blockbusting line ups right across the road from Twice As Nice.
Galaxy's Steve Sutherland rocks Pacha's Global Room every Monday with anything from UKG to jungle via hip hop, R&B and ragga bangers. It gets steamy in there. And Trevor Nelson does every Wednesday at Pacha, Ibiza too.
But from what I keep hearing from various peeps is that Aya Napa is kicking, with half of Rinse FM out there and Boy Better Know with a weekly residency. After interviewing Geeneus from Rinse yesterday it seems UKG is bubbling up again, with a different name, that hasn't yet been discovered. Think of Fish Go Deep's The Cure & The Cause, and it's on that tip. bassy, winding with icey cool vocals.
Many thanks to the nutter like Tambo, who is going to swim to Bestival on the Isle of Wight for charity, for the Kelis info.