The line between live music and its electronic flip side blurs more every year. Guys who call themselves bands are actually just the one dude with a synth, while producers huddled in the studio most weeks of the month get their performance kicks with a live set for the dancefloor.
Amirali is the second, a DJ and a producer with a killer live show made of on-the-fly cuts, loops and re-edits. The Iranian/Canadian is relatively fresh to the scene, a recent signing to Crosstown Rebels who blew up on underground house music radar when he caught the eye of Rebels head honcho Damian Lazarus simply by ‘sending in a few tracks’.
A relative newcomer to the exploding Crosstown Rebels label, Amirali managed to catch the attention of head Rebel Damian Lazarus with nary a commercial release, while studying for his architecture degree. Students’ dreams probably don’t come truer than that – based a few unreleased tracks, Lazarus then signed Amirali on for a full length album.
There is a rumbling and a growing excitement in dance music’s underground surrounding an act that is primed and ready to explode onto the scene. Little is known about Iranian/Canadian Amirali but one thing is for sure: he will soon have the world at his feet and the universe in his pocket, with his debut artist album “In Time” released on Crosstown Rebels on 14 May 2012.
fabric… 12 years and counting… unlike so many clubs that start-up with a big bang but then fizzle out just as fast, it simply refuses to be forgotten. Is it luck, persistence or something else entirely? We thought having a look at what makes fabric tick might just provide some insight as to why it’s still one of London’s top venues after all this time and looks set to stay there for the foreseeable future.
You may remember some clubs of the past that started around the same time but have since fallen due to reputation or simply lack of money. All of these clubs ensured a great image, lots had great venues and trendy names. So why is fabric still here where other names have fallen?
Part of the reason is that back in ’99 fabric also gave the masses an alternative to the cheesy pop culture that was being forced upon them, and how they loved it! Couple the fact they only book the hottest DJ’s which offer something really great to give their audiences with its open-plan warehouse/labyrinth feel and you have something a bit different from your standard venue. We caught up with good friends of fabric; Ash Subhan aka Subb-an (Crosstown Rebels), Jonny White of Art Department (Crosstown Rebels) and Lee Foss (Hot Creations).
As Ash Subhan put it: “when I first started going five years ago I was always amazed how you could walk between all three rooms and not walk through any doors but how it worked. I think this is great. The sound sort of fades out from one room as you walk into the new sound from the next room.”
Okay, so the venue is cool, but what gives it that extra something to entice the biggest crowds and the best DJs from around the world?
Lee Foss provides some insight: “I think the things that make fabric great are the sound system and attention to detail/professionalism that put the artists automatically into a comfort zone. I know I’m not myself when things aren’t right or I’m not in my comfort zone, so to be at ease that everything is going to work and sound right, leaves you with only your job to do instead of someone else’s as well. Throw in the fact that it’s in London with the best music fans in the world and it’s got ‘great’ written all over it.”
Jonny White of Art department thinks: “It’s never any one thing that makes a club one of the great ones. There are so many elements that go into creating that environment that make a venue/night magic. from bookings, to lighting, to sound, staff, and decor… fabric‘s one of very few clubs that size with the right vibe… there’s a reason it is what it is and means so much to all of us.”
Everyone has great memories of fabric, if you ask anyone that has been they always smile that knowing smile that tells you they had a great time but aren’t sure how to explain why it was quite as good as it was. Maybe that is the missing link that draws people back time and time again, searching for that feel-good vibe that comes when all the elements are just right; the most capable DJs, a great atmosphere and space to do whatever you want. All that is really needed is to put your hands in the air and enjoy the music.
“…I will always remember the very first time I went around six years ago, I was only seventeen and it was the first time for me to ever experience a venue on the level as Fabric, and it was also the first time I was ‘musically’ introduced to Craig and Terry. To hear what they were doing in Fabric the first time round for me will always stay in my memory.” (Ash Subhan)
“Aside from our first time playing Fabric, which was a monumental moment in our music career, I would say the most recent Rebel Rave we had there in the main room with Damian and Maceo Plex. Had loads of friends with us and ended up partying with Anthony Rother, one of our major influences growing up in this industry… it was a really special night.” (Jonny White)
“My most memorable moment at fabric I guess would be playing there for the first time, just because it was something I’d looked forward to for so long… I’d held myself to a higher standard for that gig. It was memorable to me because playing there excited me and it went well. There aren’t that many things that excite me about work anymore so when they come along its nice to have that fresh feeling again.” (Lee Foss)
No matter what you say about fabric, it has shown time and time again that it is going nowhere, remaining an underground hotbed for some of the best in musical talent around the world.
Forward thinking talent, Subb-an gives his take on the underground house scene…
Subb-an has been pathing his way through the underground house scene releasing cool cutting edge music alongside Kiki, Adam Shelton and Santos Resiak, plus a string on remixes for people like Kiki, 2020SoundSystem and Manuel De Lorenzi. It seems that Subb-an’s productions has been showing up on the Crosstown Rebels’ radar and lead to the release of what can only be described as a deep, soulful, mood setting piece featuring Anomaly Jones.
Inlight of Subb-an’s latest release on Crosstown Rebel’s, Guerilla Sounds took the opportunity to probe Subb-an about his work with Crosstown Rebels and his place in the music scene…
How did you first get involved in music?
For me, it was mainly radio then I progressed onto music magazines and record stores. It was before the Internet had really taken off and finding music through the radio was how I started to get a basic knowledge that soon evolved.
How did your involvement with Crosstown Rebels come about?
I met Damian three to four years ago when he invited me down to London for a chat, over the years my production matured more and I started to play out more. I was then taken on by The Rebel Agency and I worked on making an EP for the label and a Rebel Podcast. I knew a few of the guys on the agency and it was all within the same circles so it was a more organic process when the time was right.
Your latest release “Misleading” is a real testament to a forward thinking sound, where did you get your inspiration from?
I found the vocals first which inspired the whole setting and mood for the track, and its definitely moody. Her voice is deep, sexy and soulful and soon as I heard it I fell in love with it. The lyrics are deep and I wanted to create and produce something to reflect that so I used a deep bass, a lot of reverb and some synths that cut right through in the club. I wanted something that in a club environment really catches you but still has the drive to make you want to dance like crazy. The reverb moves around the club so really excite things.
The so called, “new house sound” that people are talking about, do you really think it’s new, or that it has been around for a long time but dance floors have just become more open to hearing sets that cross genres and boundaries and so it’s become more popular?
I don’t think its new no. It’s more an adaptation of sounds and genres that have been around for years. I do agree people are more open-minded but I think that has come with how strong the house, techno and electronic scene has become. Its a lot bigger now so there’s more scope to try new things and more audience to appreciate it.
Why do you think this change in attitude has come about and how has this new ‘openness’ impacted the way you play, if at all?
As I said before I think a lot of it is down to there being a much bigger audience. I can certainly try new things; if anything I mainly notice that not every gig is the same. One night you can see the crowd is completely different to the last night. It’s important to have your style and sound but you need to be able to cater in different environments, things move fast but you need to stay true to what you play.
This is an exciting point in time in the evolution of electronic music, the sound that is becoming prevalent is crossing age boundaries, you go out and you can’t predict the kind of set you’re going to hear, tracks are generally a lot more interesting and although they’ve been around for a long time already, a new ‘core’ of DJs pushing this sound has come to the forefront, not least the Crosstown boys – do you share this enthusiasm and how does it feel to be labelled as one of those people?
I would say for me personally, I just enjoy what I’m doing. There has been a big transition over the last few years whether it’s for the good or whether its for the bad time will only tell. I think its good that there is a lot more music but it comes with drawbacks such as too much sometimes, and this can reflect in the quality of music. However I’m a massive supporter of great, well produced music and people moving forward
Whereas DJs used to be able to make money from releasing mix CDs, club mixes are all over the net and by the time a mix gets into the shops people have been listening to the tunes for months, possibly up to a year. Damian Lazarus recently talked about the release of a new Maceo Plex track having to be brought forward and a new edit even made due to it being ripped and so many already having a copy. How do you think the commercial challenges can be addressed?
Well these things are important, and things have changed a lot. These things can be sorted but just by finding new solutions. I was talking to someone the other day about how much I used to love buying a double pack compilation CD, it was great and it’s a shame this has been lost. You can still get them, for instance Dan Ghenacia’s ‘Sound of Paris’ is amazing, but the whole download culture has lost that specialness of the CD compilation
In what ways do you think UK clubs are different to how they were say 5 – 10 years ago and what is your favourite club to go to as a punter?
Hard to say really, I’ve only been in clubs for 5 years, so have no idea what they were like 10 years ago. The main thing I notice is that there are a lot of smaller parties in ‘spaces’ not nightclubs. But it’s hard for me to say. When I went out years ago I went to big clubs and I reckon these are still the same. My favourite places to go to at the minute have to be Half Baked in London, Katerhaltz in Berlin, DC10 on the right parties and Panorama Bar again on the right parties.
What direction do your want your music to take in the future?
You will find that out when you hear it
Is there anyone in particular you would really like to work with?
Oooh, loads of people. Here are a few: Martin Buttrich, Tom Trago, Jamie Woon, Morgan Geist, The Whitest Boy Alive and Hercules & Love Affair.
What do you have planned in the near future?
I’ve just done a new release for Silver Network and Saved. I’m also working on remixes for James Teej’s label, something for Maceo Plex and a remix for Get Physical. I’ve got some amazing new releases on One Records from artists such as, Chris Carrier, Ahmet Sisman, Nico Las, Yakine, Jef K. Also a tour coming up in America in November/December featuring some Rebel Rave events and summer dates at Kehakuma at Space, Cocoon Frankfurt, the new Bar 25, Watergate, and Sankeys.
Interview: Adam Fleckney
26 Aug @ Limetree Festival, North Yorkshire, England
27 Aug @ Powder Your Nose, London, England
28 Aug @ Below, Birmingham, England
03 Sep @ Substanz Underground, Glasgow, Scotland
10 Sep @ Festival De Energias Renovables, Gran Canaria
14 Sep @ Sankeys, Ibiza, Spain
16 Sep @ Watergate, Berlin, Germany
17 Sep @ Upgrade, La Ruche, Lausanne, Switzerland
23 Sep @ KaterHolzig, Berlin, Germany
24 Sep @ Connected, London, England
30 Sep @ Them Good Stuffs, Dublin, Ireland
01 Oct @ Be Cool, Barcelona, Spain
07 Oct @ Cirque Bonheir, Paris, France
08 Oct @ Harry Klein, Munich, Germany
15 Oct @ Double Trouble Vision, London, England
21 Oct @ Souloco, Edinburgh, Scotland
22 Oct @ Efir Club, St. Petersburg, Russia
29 Oct @ Below, Birmingham, England
Simon Baker has fast become a major player in the global electronic community producing some class music for such labels as 2020 Vision, Crosstown Rebels, 8bit and Murmur. Class music such as “Moonblock”, “Mamaia Highway”, or his collaboration with Jamie Jones on “Kaskazi”. But most recently he has just released his “Traces” album earlier this year on 2020 Vision, which is attracting some seriously attention and seems to be laying the way for a string of fine releases as Simon explains…
“Singles from my album “Traces” are due across the year. First up “No Pressure” with a wicked Art Department remix and a new dub version from myself. Then the next release is “Grey Area” with an excellent Steve Bug mix and a Burnski and Rob James mix which is excellent. Going to be a biggy I think. I am also busy back in the studio doing some bits for other labels. I also have a remix coming out on Troll Records soon too.”
With a number of things in the pipeline Guerilla Sounds decided to ask Simon Baker on his tastes and musical preferences…
Who were you listening to when you first got into electronic music and how has your taste evolved?
Back when I was in my early teens I was firmly into hip hop and hip- house, some drum and bass. It all started when I found an album called the best of house, with the likes of Royal House, Marshall Jefferson, Frankie Knuckles and so on. That’s when the tables turned into me been a house head, that progressed to me listening to all types of electronic styles.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I listen to varying styles, I don’t really listen to house or techno out of the club/studio/party environment. I listen to everything from folk to rock to classical to soul. I like things that are more calming for the mind. I also like music that makes me escape. The last album I bought was Gayngs – “Ralayted“”. I am also listening to Peter Broderick quite a bit on the rod at the mo, the new James Blake album is nice too, amongst other things.
Who are your favourite producers at the moment?
In this scene, people that jump out initially would be Maya Jane Coles (deserves the hype), Julio Bashmore, Maceo Plex, Tom Trago, Jay Shepherd, Cosmin TRG, Wbeeza, 6th Borough project, Lee Curtiss, Jimpster amongst others.
Best club you’ve played in and why?
Fabric, mainly because I am English, and it’s the homeland flag ship club and all my mates are around which makes things 20 times better, and because of the amazing sound system and atmosphere of the place.
One record that you just can’t get enough of?
Kerri Chandler – “Bar A thym”, been around for years but I never tire of it and never fails to light up the dance floor.
What record labels really stand out for you and why?
Rush Hour are up there with the best for me, solid classic sounds, never throw away. Dial is a very solid label, also really enjoying new label Fina at the moment. I like Dessous for solid deep house sounds and I like Crosstown Rebels because they like to take a few risks, some work for me some don’t, but I respect the label. 2020 Vision have some very strong music coming out this year too. They are just a few.
What DJs do you hold in high regard, both established and up and coming, from a professional perspective?
All depends what mood I am in, I swap and change as love most styles, if I am in a deep disco house mood then The Revenge or Soul Clap boys, if I am in more techno mode then Kenny Larkin or Stacey Pullen, If I am in straight up house mode then maybe Jimpster or Move D spring to mind. Others I respect are Steve Bug, Dan Ghenacia, and I’d say Burnski is a good up and coming guy on the scene.
What has been a priceless tool for you as a DJ?
My ears, and my Mac book pro!
Simon Baker’s debut full length album “Traces” is out now on 2020Vision
Bedlam has it’s eyes on London and plans to hit it hard…
Bedlam started out almost 2 years ago in Maidstone, Kent, being Tim Green’s own little underground night, boasting some of the industries finest DJs playing the most forward thinking house music that can be found. Drafting in such names as M.A.N.D.Y., Martin Buttrich, Audiofly, Leon, Cassy, Lee Burridge, Matthias Tanzmann, Emerson Todd, and 2000 And One, Bedlam has made its mark proving its ability to put on one hell of a party.
Now Tim Green and his Bedlam team are taking the inevitable next step and launching Bedlam for the first time in London. A move which will no doubt receive a warm welcome from the capital. After Guerilla Sounds attended the Bedlam 1st Birthday it was evident that Bedlam was onto something as the atmosphere was electric and it was only a matter of time before they made the move to London.
Bedlam have put together an amazing line-up of some truly ground breaking acts who have taken dance floors across the globe by storm with their unique sounds injected into their music. Joining Tim Green is Cadenza’s Pablo Cahn who will undoubtedly rock the Bedlam night just as much as his Summer hit ‘Elle’ did to countless dance floors and Crosstown Rebels’s duo act Art Department are set to stir things up with their unique dynamic sound. And let’s not forget Rich Adam, co-founder of the East London night Simmer, who will be setting the tone for Bedlam with some impeccable music.
It may be Bedlam’s first appearance in the capital but with Tim Green at the helm and an experienced team of music enthusiasts powering Bedlam, it will be without a doubt the most electrified and freshest night London has seen.
As Nature or Nurture undertake final preparations for their guaranteed to be an energy filled 2nd Birthday at London’s Fabric, they have kindly put out a mix which is tantalisingly teasing.
The mix starts off magically smooth with Loco Dice’s ‘Menina Brasileira’ gently helping you to float to the surface of something which will undoubtably be driving directly to a deep place. The Pushamann blends this magical start into Niner’s ‘My Friends Don’t Understand (Russell Ventilla Remix)’, which just seems to work like bread and butter. That deep steady paced bass just pulsating through the mix.
15 minutes into the mix you can feel The Pushamann gently pushing the mix to up a level with some brighter tones, but just as he does he drops it back down to level deep. The mix as a whole is a fine blend of deeply pulsating sounds and elements of soul coming from Spencer Parker’s version ‘Yes I Need You’ by Kid Culture and Thomas Robson. but it has to be said that the highlight of this mix is ‘Vibe Your Love’ on Crosstown Rebels by Maceo Plex. Pure class!
After a successful 2 years of raucous Nature or Nurture parties, they have put into motion the launch of their label and to launch it in style they are giving away a free download of their first EP. A great gesture by Nature or Nurture as the EP boasts four quality tracks by The Pushamann, S_M Music, Russo and Santos Resiak. ‘I Love You’ by The Pushamann would be the perfect way to start a set, teasing with a deep flexing bass layered with soulful vocals and organs before the bass stretches out and the track picks up pace.
Russo seems to push even further on the deepness with ‘Lot 28 Dub Version’ playing out as a minimal soulful track layered with both male and female vocals, this would be the ideal follow-up to The Pushamann’s ‘I Love You’.
Santos Resiak introduces a funky swinging groove to carry the soulful uplifting elements of this refreshing piece of work. ‘Jectile’ by S_M Music is an intriguing fusion of what seems like Dubstep/Broken-step meets Minimal Tech-House.
In addition to all of this Nature or Nurture material ahead of their 2nd Birthday at Fabric, Santos Resiak has also provided an exclusive Fabric mix ahead of his appearance this Saturday for Nature or Nurture. His 30min mix is a prime example of the rhythmic energy and groove you are likely to experience on Saturday night. Starting off with pulsating stabs and a funky vibe Santos Resiak doesn’t hold back with his quirky style of funky, soulful Tech-House.
01. Lil Louie – Bring Back that feeling (acapella) (The Pushamann Vocal Treat Edit) /// Unreleased
02. Loco Dice – Menina Brasileira (Original Mix) /// Ovum Recordings
03. Niner- My Friends Don’t Understand (Russell Ventilla Remix) /// Scenic-Tones
04. Cisco Cisco - If You Dont Want Me (Jay Shepheard Remix) /// Apersonal Music
05. James Teej - Night Time Story (Original Mix) /// Composite Rrecords
06. Axel Boman – Purple Drank (Original Mix) /// Pampa Germany
07. Maceo Plex – Vibe Your Love (Original Mix) /// Crosstown Rebels
08. David August – Beace of Conscience (Original Mix) /// Diynamic
09. Niner - My Friends Don’t Understand (Moodymanc’s Old’s Cool Mix) /// Scenic-Tones
10. Kid Culture, Thomas Robson – Yes I Need You (Spencer Parker’s A Gun For Hire Remix) /// Suara
11. Russo – Lot 28 (Dub Version) /// Unreleased