Animaux | UK

Alga – Aralia EP – Inter-re-view

May
25

Available for free on Lost Oscillation’s website, Dan Egdell’s first outing as Alga is a 2 track EP showcasing an original and inventive mind.

Four Tet, Caribou and other associated acts have a lot to answer for when it comes to the current crop of SoundCloud wannabes. Luckily, sometimes the slew of homebrewed imitations and rip-offs is interrupted by tracks or EPs which genuinely develop and respect the fundamental successes of their inspirations. Aralia is one such EP.

By avoiding the temptation to smash random sonic textures together in pursuit of a rich and lush soundscape, Alga sidesteps the type of error a lesser producer would leap headfirst into. Still a student, his promising work thus far has shown him maturing into a canny aesthetic operator. Bringing his skill as a DJ to bear on these tracks, elements transition seamlessly; in fact, it seems like the main aim of both pieces to effortlessly end up far from where they started.

“This Is Your Carnival” spins itself a semi-demented fairground ride out of some propulsive brassy pomp. The selection and deployment of instrumentation is ingenious, allowing the track to retain its character even as the constituent parts are piled up, taken away, demand attention, or subtly change the direction. It pays rich dividends here as the midpoint of the track finds the layered pieces stripped away. The hand drumming, satisfying kick and rising mania of the synths is the highlight of its 8 minutes (and it truly is the better for being that long).

Moreso than simply grasping at sound and texture, Aralia illustrates Egdell working as a songwriter and a selector. The joy of “This Is Your Carnival” is in the details: the slight dissonance of the climax; the interplay of the reverbing horn blasts in the introduction; and the finely woven percussive textures that underpin the whole thing.

“Patina” relies even more heavily on Egdell’s percussion work. However, for much of the track these elements are foregrounded in the mix, rather than underpinning. Synth chords, rich basslines and ethereal vocal samples slowly emerge from beneath and behind them. This inverts the formula of the first track and though it leaves some sections feeling paradoxically sparse considering the variety of percussion instruments present, the payoff more than makes up for it.

At just two tracks (albeit two eight-minute tracks) long, Aralia is a teaser of what’s to come from Egdell. Having emerged from an album containing 8 tracks, it is a little disappointing not to be able to hear more of that body of work just yet.

I sat down with Dan (albeit over Skype) to discuss the EP, his musical history, and his inspirations.

EM: So you weren’t Alga to start with, you started out as Slyside?

DE: Yeah, I started as Slyside about 2 years ago when I was in second year. I just kinda decided to start making music, needed a name, went with Slyside and then released something through Anonymous Records in York. Which was great, I really liked the Slyside stuff, but it felt like I’d finished, and it didn’t seem right with the kind of stuff I was writing. So I decided to start from scratch.

EM: Would you say there’s been an obvious progression since your Slyside material? It’s no longer on SoundCloud, so it’s hard to view the material that came before Aralia.

DE: Well yeah, I kinda wanted to ditch the whole thing. Maybe it was a bit of a rash decision looking back but I didn’t want anyone to be able to find out about me and go “oh, you used to be Slyside”; I liked the whole anonymous thing.

EM: Would you change your name again for another project or EP?

DE: Well, probably not because I’ve found a sound and Alga seems to make sense with it. You can still find the Slyside stuff on YouTube. I’m not too happy with that. I like that stuff, but I felt like I needed to progress and it was holding me back to try to sound like Slyside.

EM: When it comes to creating, do you have a procedure? Are there particular elements that you start with, or things you like to have in your mind at the start of a project?

DE: I wish I did! It would make my life a lot easier. No, I don’t. I get ideas when I’m walking around and I record a little bit on my phone, or I find a sample that I like or I find a groove that I like. There’s no real routine, what happens – happens and some tracks dissolve into nothing and others take off.

EM: Were there a lot more tracks that you could have put on this EP?

DE: Yeah, there was actually 8 tracks. I was writing an album in my 3rd year as an equivalent to a dissertation. I handed it in and I was happy with the results but I felt that there were some tracks that could be chipped away and weren’t really needed. And when I sat down it turned out there were 6 tracks that weren’t needed.

EM: Do you do live performance stuff, or do you have any plans to?

DE: I was thinking of getting a band together to do some of the Alga stuff, but now I’m writing again. The plan was to do some gigging but that’s on hold until I have a little more material I think. We might do it after that.

EM: In terms of the EP as a whole, what kind of influences have played a part?

DE: John Talabot, I love the way his tracks progress and his production style and how percussive it all is. I was listening to a lot of his stuff while I was making it. Caribou as well, which is an obvious choice but it was a big influence. Also Nicolas Jaar, even though it doesn’t really sound anything like what I make, it was definitely an influence. And again, jazz, even though it’s not really a direct influence and you might not hear it.

EM: And you play a lot of the instruments on the EP live?

DE: All the drums, all the brass, all the bass is recorded by me. The synth line at the end of TIYC, all the synth stuff was recorded into the computer but the rest was real instruments.

EM: Both tracks are 8+ minutes; did you consciously aim to create a long and smoothly transitioning track?

DE: It wasn’t a deliberate choice, like I didn’t sit down and say let’s create a 10-minute track that’s gonna evolve. It might just be because I’m bad at being concise, I don’t know. It starts with an idea and then I couldn’t end the idea without it changing. I started with it and it was like, this isn’t done yet. I kept going until it felt done and it felt like it morphed into a different song in the second half, but I kinda like that. They both do a similar thing as well which I think works, they both match that pattern.

EM: Thanks for your time Dan.

You can download Alga’s Aralia EP for free from Lost Oscillation’s website.

Gottwax EP 3 – Review (with Ponty Mython)

Apr
16

Ah, April… The sun is finally starting to come out from under the clouds, thus warming our hearts and minds, as well as reminding us that the best season is almost upon us! Summer? No, of course not, it’s the festival season! With April comes Gottwood Festival vinyl imprint Gottwax‘s yearly offering of their carefully selected grooves.

This year we are treated to a bright orange four track EP with grooves coming in from Appleblim, Bonar Bradberry, Ponty Mython and Krywald & Farrer. “Phosphene” by Appleblim eases us in with a lovely slow crawler. Layers upon layers of synth goodness peppered with incredible drum programming, have a listen:

Next up, we have one-half of PBR Streetgang‘s Bonar Bradberry with his dreamy entry – “MOD”. Slow and steady rhythm oozes TRON – futuristic synths intertwine with a slow kick drum and very minute percussion to deliver what I can only describe as that feeling you get just after a good festival. Echoes of a storm.

On the flip, Lithuania’s fast up and coming star Ponty Mython picks the mood up with “Ruddy’s Loop”. Disassembled breaks, a powerful jazzy double bass, clever piano samples as well as an uplifting synth line drive in the “summer is here!” feel. A clever vocal cut about sampling makes the whole effort quite cheeky in the best sense of the word.

Ponty Mython

Ponty Mython

I managed to catch up with Ponty Mython and ask him a few questions:

Mantas: How did the partnership with Gottwax come about?

Ponty Mython: Tom from Gottwax found one of my unreleased tunes in some podcast and asked me to play it. I sent him a 4 track playlist with “Ruddy’s Loop” on it. He liked it so much that we decided to release it.

Mantas: What is the idea behind “Ruddy’s Loop”? Where is the quote in the song from?

Ponty Mython:  I thought a lot about Roni Size’s 90s stuff while making the tune. Wanted to make something with a live bassline, classic breakbeats, but served as a house song. Then I found that quote about sampling in an interview with Roni Size. So it is like an ode to sampling. Every time I play it people ask “what is that?!”, haha. I guess it is a very bright spot in my discography. 🙂

Mantas: Who’s Ruddy?

Ponty Mython: It is just my imagination – it is a guy from the 90s, who just found that fat bassline loop and was excited to do something with it.

Finally, it is Krywald & Farrer‘s turn to close the proceedings with “Innacamo”. The end, however, is tropical and the jubilant African vocals are what keep a smile on my face when the dreaded April showers loom. A guitar sample helps keep things interesting and the bassline mixed with copious amounts of bongos flesh this one out into a truly fun floor filler.

As a whole this is a great entry yet another year by Gottwax and annoyingly is getting me even more excited about Gottwood – most of these guys will be performing there. Why annoyingly? Because it is still April and Gottwood cannot come fast enough.

Available 16th April 2016 – Record Store Day release, record available from selected RSD outlets and Gottwax online store. You can pre-order online via the Gottwood shop.

Meet “Thing” – Lithuania’s Klock [Naktiniai Paukščiai]

Mar
10

Thing (Alex Krell) has been making absolutely massive waves in the Lithuanian techno scene. Alex listened to lots of hip-hop and rap while growing up but his passion for Techno came from his dad who owned and played him records throughout the 90’s. Currently he is one of the hosts to ZIP FM’s (national radio) show – “Naktiniai Paukščiai“, is finishing up his newest EP and is heading to Belfast on April 9th among countless local performances with local and foreign talent alongside him.

Mantas: Hi Alex – what are you up to these days?

Alex: Hey! Right now I’m finishing my new EP which should be released next month, so I’m putting final touches on it.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut”?

Alex: Inspirations…Wow, there are a lot of them! Maybe I will be banal at this point but Berlin and it’s Berghain music and residents inspire me the most. I couldn’t name only ONE of them… But if there’s anyone I would aspire to be as – it’s Ben Klock. I mean he is more than 40 years old and he tours like a 20 year-old dude. Despite that his production and dj sets are just amazing. 🙂 I produced my EP just after listening to his Essential Mix so this tells how much he inspires me.

Mantas: Why ‘Thing’?

Alex: Oh wow, that`s a funny one! We have to go back to 2012, when I was studying  in Belgium via the ERASMUS programme and I started my solo career as Thing. I’ve made a couple of tracks and one label offered me to release it, so I had to think of a stage name that is easy, sounds good and is easy to remember… There was Adam`s Family TV show on in the background and I heard “THING!” there. I wrote it down, it looked cool and I decided to keep it.

Mantas: Lithuania and Eastern Europe are not generally well-known in the techno scene. Could you tell us why – or what steps are you taking to amend that?

Alex: I don’t know what the situation in Latvia and Estonia is, but Lithuania? I would deny that! We had Ø [Phase], Function, Ben Klock, Tadeo, Kobosil, Par Grindvik, Gary Beck, Regal, Deadbass, Benjamin Damage and many others since summer of 2015 till now, so I think techno is “on its wave” now and everybody’s loving it. Many thanks to such promoters as HOOKED:ON, Minimal.lt, ResoluteDAI and my colleagues from Naktiniai Paukščiai (Nocturnal Birds) for making this happen in our country

If I look to this question as a producer – yes, there are many great producers that make good music, but it’s very hard to release your own productions on big labels when you don’t have “friends” there. If labels paid more attention to production from talented people as opposed to their “friends” we would have been taken techno market in Europe, haha! Anyway, I’m trying to produce as much quality music as I can and I often send it to techno “big-heads” on SoundCloud and sometimes they give me feedback, they download it and etc., so maybe I would say little step by step moves and we`ll make it. 🙂

Mantas: Future plans?

Alex: I have some projects started for my future EPs, I even have some tracks for my 1st album but an album is a lot like wine: the more it gets saved in the basement – the more delicious and expensive it gets. It’s the same in music industry. 🙂 I also have a project for my live show, but it needs time and more hardware to make it a stunning one, so we’ll see about that.
Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Alex: Oh my. I have a radio show with my colleagues Roads and Pakas called Naktiniai Paukščiai so I played b2b sets with them only once and both sets for me ended with drinks spilled on the CDJs. Thank God my colleagues are playing with vinyl – they saved my ass from silence. 🙂

Mantas: Thanks Alex!

We have a chat with Longman [Texture]

Mar
08

What is texture?

‘The feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or substance.’

Loz Waring, better known as Longman among York’s clubbers, is the self-titled “Captain of the Texture ship”. From funky Saturday grooves at Sotano to truly massive events as Texture’s recent collab with Closed Circuit bringing the likes of Hunee, Loz has been busy pushing York’s house scene for the past two years. We managed to pick his brain about the past, present and future of both Longman and Texture.

Texture in action.

Mantas: Hi Loz, let’s get down to it – what are you up to these days?

Loz: Just working for myself. I like to spend my time spread out between music, events, gardening, dog walking & some designing. Just generally try to create a nice balance of all my interests & business ideas that all help pave the way/pay the bills.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut” in your sets / production?

Loz: Inspired by people that think outside the box, using new spaces for parties, people that think about the layout & flow of a venue, how the decor can help create a mood, the mix of people, all the things that can combine to create a really good party.

Soundcloud is a great tool, being able to connect with people across the globe with a similar taste in music is really exciting. I follow a lot of upcoming guys & girls that support each other, play each others music out & in sets and its nice to see. Everyone coming up together…

As for sets, my taste is always developing, but hypnotic grooves really do it for me. When an endless loop can lock you in for 8 mins you know its pretty special.

Mantas: How / why did you start producing?

Loz: Thanks to Fruity Loops (software) and the energy & rawness of grime music at the time, which had me hooked from the age of about 14 (2006), probably started making loops a year after that. First grime tune I was introduced to was:

Alongside this (thanks to my parents) I was in an african hand drumming group. From there I got into more instrumental based music, Idea3 was born and that was the outlet for some of the deeper listening stuff.

Euphoria –

Plus a love for a lot of the 140 stuff.

Silkie –

Mantas: How did Texture start? What are your plans for Spring / Summer?

Loz: It started when I was living in Huddersfield. It was first and foremost just an excuse to get friends together and a chance for us dj’s to play out. I would come over to York on weekends to play at Sotano, and me & Sam (the manager at the time) would share ideas. So we brought Texture over to York a few months later and it went down a treat!

Tex – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIs3M2H2-u8

Summer plans are loose at the moment, but outdoor spaces are being looked into.

Mantas: What are you up to next?

Loz: Just wanna focus a bit more on production, do bit of travelling and eventually set up shop in a new city.

Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Loz: Not absurd, but it did give us a good giggle… one of the Textures at Sotano we were joined by a random middle-aged man in a suit who got himself stuck in on the dance floor, I think he was doing some kind of squat dance, he made a few friends anyway.

Mantas: Thanks Loz!

You can follow Texture on Facebook they have also just launched a blog!

Chats with Gareth Whitehead, founder of Bullet:dodge Records

Nov
04

As Animaux and Bullet:dodge present: Inxec draws closer, we are very excited to chat with Bullet:dodge Records founder Gareth Whitehead, about the label, music selection and his newest venture – The Brood which him and Michael Greig will perform LIVE (drum machines and all!) in front of our trusty crowd.

Mantas: Hi Gareth! Let us find out a bit more about you. Could you tell our readers on how you started off DJing and what attracted you to electronic music as well as what spurred you to start your own label – “Bullet:dodge Records”?

Gareth: Hi there, my focus was never to be a DJ, quite the opposite in fact. For me, I started producing and writing electronic music which then transpired into me performing live and then DJ-ing.

As a teenager I was very much an avid rock fan, preferring guitar based music, however, as my late teens dawned I was attracted to the sounds of the Prodigy, Faithless, Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Massive Attack. These acts transformed my musical outlook and soon lead me to discover house and techno.

I was part of Edit Select records initially but then about mid 2007 I decided to establish my own label to showcase a different sound and provide a platform for my own output.

Mantas: “Bullet:dodge Records”, “The Brood” – you are killing it at the naming game, what inspired you – any specific theme / story behind the names?

Gareth: Forging a pathway for up and coming artists has always been synonymous with the labels ethos, this coupled with releasing tracks from more renowned and experienced producers has given us our identity. I’ve always wanted to work with a variety of artists across the house and techno spectrum so Bulletdodge has always flaunted an assortment of styles.

The Brood album I guess was a continuation of this theme, but instead of just releasing a house and techno album I wanted to create something a bit different. It’s a collaborative album that features a bona fide who’s who of house and techno. From pioneers who helped shape the sound of early Detroit, Chicago, New York and UK scenes in the late 80s and early 90s to the new up and coming talent that the label has to offer. I tried to convey house and techno’s evolution musically by working with some of the people who shaped the scene to the ones who are doing so.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut”?

Gareth: It was my dad that really inspired me to learn to play the guitar in my early teens, even before that he always encouraged me musically. He told me to follow the path in life that would make me happiest, which is what I’ve always tried to do.

I like an assortment of different styles of music, at the moment really enjoying the sounds of Seckou Keita, the alluring Kora player from Senegal.

With regards Bulletdodge we’ve always released predominantly the deeper and darker sounds of house and techno. We try not to succumb to current trends, or certainly allow them to dictate our direction. That’s not to say we won’t release a trending track at times but we’ll release it because we feel it has longevity and portrays something Bulletdodge.

Music shouldnt have a sell-by date!

If the music is good it will make the cut! There’s two types of music, good and bad – and all subjective of course! ha ha

Mantas: We are all eagerly awaiting your arrival in York to play at Animaux – any hints on what people should expect?

Gareth: Yes, we’re all looking forward to playing on Friday. This is the first time I’ve played York so very excited.
As it’s The Brood party, the idea is to showcase the talents of Bulletdodge and deliver the Brood live set, whereby Michael and myself will rework and perform the Brood album live using a combination of hardware and software. The night will fuse house, techno and everything in between.

Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Gareth: I heard recently at a gig what the promoters had previously paid for a DJ! They were commanding a fee to play music for two hours that the average person struggles to earn in a few months! That was completely absurd!

Animaux and Bullet:dodge present: Inxec is on Friday, 6th of November at Mansion.

You can still get tickets online via Resident Advisor or from Earworm Records / The Nook as well as our promoters all across York (check the event page). See you there!

 

We chat up Beatsofreen about his new Dimensions EP

Jun
26

“The process of Bloom started with the idea that the world we perceive is a reflection of what’s inside us, subconsciously or not. It is about coming out of your shell, about expanding into the space around you. We just have to take the walls down, and bloom.” – Joanna Borromeo

Born and raised in The Netherlands, producer Beatsofreen has gained major attention by releasing his first well-received beattape “Future Memories” back in 2011 at the age of 17.

After a successful collaboration (Global Soul EP) with Medaforacle (USA), he was signed to the Darker Than Wax family, celebrating his new EP “Coloured Dreams” (2013), a little tribute to the late & great J Dilla. With his alter ego Stan Forebee , Beatsofreen also creates more jazz-orientated beats, and most recently landed himself a feature on Okayplayer for his remix of Flying Lotus’ ‘Siren song’.

We managed to have a quick chat with Mr. Beatsofreen as he is prepping for his newest release – “Dimensions EP”.

Mantas: Why Beatsofreen? Was the name inspired by something or was it just something you thought would be memorable to people?

Beatsofreen: The alias Beatsofreen originally comes from a Dutch pronunciation of the word schizophrenia. Given the fact that my head is musically inspired in so many different ways, I’m referring to that term by deriving Beatsofreen from schizophrenic. A friend once came up with that one and it actually never got out of my head.

Mantas: Could you shed some light for us on how the whole production game started for you?

Beatsofreen: I grew into the production thing naturally. I played a few instruments before realizing I could create beats and record instruments myself. At the time I started, I was triggered by this dude who moved to my little village, a few blocks away. We were the only two listening to hiphop in our neighbourhood back then. Imagine: green flat landscapes, farmers, mills and cows, local folk people, and two strange guys rapping and making beats together.

Mantas: Could you guide us a little through your sound? What makes the cut?

Beatsofreen: I would consider my sound as warm, organic and full with colors. With that approach I always try to create music that is surreal and imaginative.

Mantas: Who inspires you? Flying Lotus is the obvious answer, but do you have any hidden gems?

Beatsofreen: Most of the inspiration comes from nature and other experiences than music at the moment. I’m inspired by not too many artists. But to name a few: Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Ben Frost, Sigur Ros, Thom Yorke.

Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen at a gig?

Beatsofreen: That was at the solo debut release party of Perquisite, former half of the duo Pete Philly and Perquisite, a few years ago. Live band went crazy on stage, solo’s and everything. I don’t know what happened, but in the middle of a massive jam, his self-build setup broke in pieces and half of his gear fell off stage. The other band members didn’t even notice and went on playing.

Beatsofreen’s official first single ‘Bloom’ of his upcoming ‘Dimensions EP’ is out now on electronic music label Darker Than Wax. The track features Canadian songwriter / vocalist Joanna Borromeo. You can stream and download it for free below:

ANNIE ERREZ to play at Animaux: The shocking lack of female DJs/Producers in the York electronic music scene

Apr
04

When you go to a night out in York, you don’t often consider the gender of the person behind the decks. That’s a good thing; we should be focussing on the music and the night rather than what’s in the pants of the person performing, or what gender they identify as.

However, when I heard Annie Errez was going to be headlining next term’s first Animaux, it struck me that we often don’t hear female names discussed when people talk about who is headlining the different nights in York.

I decided to investigate, by asking some promoters from the different electronic nights in York how many women they had booked in the last two years.

Breakz/Nightvision

I spoke to Alex Theodossiadis, who is involved in organising both Breakz and Nightvision, to find out how many women had been booked for them in the last couple of years, and what he said was quite shocking.

Out of 20 acts, only 1 was a woman – B Traits. Now, she’s pretty famous, so holds her own in that male-dominated list, but it’s still pretty shoddy that only 5% of the acts who have played at Breaks/Nightvision have been female.

It’s not a problem to do with the person booking the acts and we can’t put the blame on the night, however. It’s an issue with the fact that there are less female DJs and producers in general and arguably sexism in the industry as a whole.

B.Traits is pretty cool.

On&On

Now on to Jake Hissitt who is one of the people behind popular York night On&On. Out of the 18 acts he named, absolutely none were female.

He told me:

“[There have been] absolutely none. We were going to book Moxie, but just too expensive to justify for the scene in York.”

“There’s not a lack as such, female DJs are becoming more frequent in gracing the decks in York. Sessions have a female resident. However, when it comes to booking female DJs, they could be either unheard of or too expensive. It’s hard to find a midway, especially in our booking range.”

“We’ve heavily inquired into 3 or 4 female DJs, but we couldn’t justify putting them on for the price. They wouldn’t pull as much of a crowd. It shouldn’t be about gender, it is simply about the music.

This shows that it isn’t an issue with the people booking the acts; it’s a wider issue. A worrying part was when Jake said the women “wouldn’t pull as much of a crowd”. It seems that the scene needs to change, and we can’t put the blame on individual nights that struggle to make money, or sometimes even break even, without worrying about gender representation.

Milli Vanilli

Tim Perrera had a chat to me about Milli Vanilli. Out of the 19 acts booked, none were women.

He said: “There’s no bias, I guess it’s a reflection that men are more heavily represented in this kind of music.”

“A lot of the people I book are ones I’ve met personally and asked to come play, which have all happened to be men. There are women djs/producers I’d love to book but either haven’t got round to it, or they are way out of my budget.”

It seems from what he said that there is some demand for more female DJs, and that because you encounter more male DJs and it actually takes conscious consideration to find female DJs a lot of the time, it’s often just easier to book a male one – or the gender balance just isn’t considered.

Sub:Terranea

Annie Errez is no stranger to York- she’s been booked before by Phil Warner for Sub:Terranea, and is the only woman to have played there in the last two years.

Phil said:

“Well, I’ve only ever booked 1 female DJ – Annie Errez. Bookings based on ability/sound and not gender, just not that many female DJs around though!”

He recommended I listen to Cassy, Steffi, and Laura jones.

Animaux

Mantas Zalepuga is excited for Annie Errez to come and play at Animaux. I asked him how many women he’s had play in the last couple of years.

Three out of the eleven residents and headliners he’s had have been women, which is a better representation than any of the other club nights.

He also said that Animaux has a female-dominated crowd at a lot of the nights.

Also, if you wanted to see a female DJ at York, Kineza (Chloe Stavrou) was a resident there for a year!

Along with her, the two other women he has had play are Victoria Watkins, and Annie Errez.

Mantas told me:

“It is predominantly male bookings as the scene is predominantly male. I book people purely due to their musical taste and if they fit in with what I consider Animaux to be musically.”

Freakin

As a side note- Richard Clark from Freakin said they’d only ever booked 3 female DJs in 17 years.

Not great. However- he did say that they were great and that they were viewed no differently to the male ones.

So, York’s not doing great in terms of representation but it is in terms of attitude and it looks like things might be set to change.

Everyone seemed to want to book more female DJs, and they don’t book mainly men because they think men are better or for other sexist reasons.

This is encouraging and it seems like they would be open to booking a wider range of people in the future.

Still, only four women have played at the electronic nights I looked at in the past two years.

We’ve linked some great female DJs and producers throughout the post, so take a listen – and come and see Annie at Animaux to support gender equality ;).

And if you’re a female DJ and you’re reading this post, have a chat to some of the people I did – they’d probably be more than happy to book you.

Animaux is 2 years old!

Feb
18

It is hard to believe that it has been two years of running Animaux. It stemmed from one party at The Duchess for my friends – as proof of concept that my ideas work and has now spanned 11 nights with no plans to stop.

I clearly remember the whole idea of running a whole night on my own as well as playing at it was ludicrous. At the time I could barely handle the pressure of playing in front of a crowd of people whom I did not know.

But my term at Breakz as a co-chair had ended and I was wanting to do something else, where I could also play out in front of more people. Thus after a few suggestions from close friends this idea of maybe, just maybe this was doable. After countless of questions to promoter friends and many favors I was starting to build a line up. This thing that I was making also needed a name, everyone I knew added in to this pool of random words which were trying do describe something which had not happened yet.

The list got shortened down to a few favorites – “(Black) Lotus” and “Animaux”. The problem was there’s already a quite well-known Flying Lotus but after having to explain that “Animaux” = animals to quite a few people, I was concerned that it would not be memorable either. At the end of the day though, it was supposed to be a one-off so went with what sounded nicer personally.

After promising beers and hugs I managed to assemble some of my favorite student DJs at the time (Biddly & Pu|se), I found two incredible producers (Clifford’s Tower) but still needed to fill the headline slot. At the time, Milli Vanilli was racking over 400 people with their disco/ house nights, thus I felt that I needed someone who would attract at least a few people out on a different night. Milli was on Tuesdays so we went on a Thursday.


The very first Animaux trailer. 

I asked quite a few people who they would like to see and started emailing booking agencies. After countless of calls to friends and then friends of friends we manage to catch Asa – a brilliant electronica producer. It was something that York lacked at the time, something a bit less housy. And we were good to go! We managed to sell around 50 tickets through constant poking of people. Quite a few more showed up on the night, surprisingly, and we managed to get a healthy 150-strong crowd.

It went well – really well. I was chuffed and people started asking for more thus came the next one with then newcomer to the scene Alex T. and Milli’s favorite Harry J. I headlined and was committed to this from then on. Coming back for a new term year, the Animaux team was joined by the incredible Kineza. We started booking bigger names such as Arka and even managed to get Randomer to York as well as doing a collab with Anonymous Records. There was also that one time when I went back to back with Kineza for two hours (the sweatiest night of 2014).

After a summer’s break we came back with Vacuum Systems (first live techno set at Mansion), Troy Gunner, Roughion, Alex T, TAIM and Palace. All of whom did not want to stop playing and kept asking to play “just one more!”. All of these nights were incredibly memorable. Musically, visually and emotionally.

It is hard to believe how much Animaux has grown – two event series (both our club night as well as biweekly pre-party destination Animaux: Apéritif), this website where we have quite a few writers working and the widely requested podcasts, all of which stemmed from a single event.

We are now only a few days away from our second birthday bash with Mr. Chris I’Anson and Jax from Freakin as well as our trusted residents Habitual and Endeser.

I managed to catch up with Chris I’Anson and ask him a few questions about the upcoming Animaux birthday gig:

Mantas: Hi Chris! Let us find out a bit more about you. Could you tell our readers on how you started off DJing and what attracted you to electronic music as well as what spurred you to start your own label – “Slipstone Records”?

Chris:  Well I grew up in the dales, where there’s no music scene and if you said you listen to house music most people wouldn’t have a clue what you were talking about, so my exposure to music was very limited apart from the radio really. Eventually a few friends introduced me to house music, which looking back was really euro electro, but it was early days. From there we just messed about and tried to find more songs, which was difficult as we were pretty much the only ones listening to this stuff in a small town in the hills. Over the next year or two I got a midi controller and just continued to find more music and develop my tastes but I was still disconnected from any scene being in the hills, relying on a handful of blogs for any new music.

The big change was uni and Leeds, this was the first time I was exposed to the underground and a music community. I spent a lot of my first year down at Therapy The Hub record shop, digging through the thousands of records, finding my taste and generally immersing myself in the scene and its community. BPM, the Unis electronic music society played a big part for me. Aside from the parties we played at, it was a great place to meet loads of people who are now good friends and discover more tastes and styles. From all this immersion of different styles I started to lean towards techno more and more and left pure house sound behind.

I decided to do the label in my 3rd year of uni when I really wanted to get involved more with the music I love and actually have an active role in the community. Another reason for it was my frustration with the scene, I was hearing the house sound become increasingly stale with the same big names moving from label to label but nothing new or initiative was being made. I knew of Kesper’s productions so I got in touch and it all went from there. Thankfully I managed to do it as part of my course which was great as it meant I could concentrate 100% on getting it started up.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut”?

Chris: I listen to a lot of different styles and genres so my inspiration is always changing and evolving but currently I’m loving the sounds from Joel Alter, Nils Frahm and Edanticonf. Joel Alter’s album ‘2’ is amazing, I massively recommend it. When I was starting the label I was heavily influenced by a trip to Berlin and also the style and attitude of Innervisions and Oliver Schories’s album ‘Exit’, I had that on loop the whole time I was over there.

In terms of ‘the cut’ the atmosphere and ambience of the track is key, but the track also needs feel like it’s going somewhere, I love tracks that are a journey through different sounds. Listening to music whilst travelling, either on a bus, train or walking for me, is one of the best ways to experience this music.

Mantas: We are all eagerly awaiting your arrival to York to play at Animaux – any hints on what people should expect?

Chris: Well I’m going to bring a mixed bag I reckon, but as this is a birthday party expect some fun tracks, it might get a bit darker throughout the set, but let’s see how we go. I’ve just done a chart of some of the stuff I’m into at the moment http://www.juno.co.uk/charts/dj/1076404-Slipstone_Records/1413027-Chart/
One of my fav picks is this one:

Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Chris: A few years ago we were playing a basement in Leeds, the whole basement was being powered off one extension cable from upstairs, it was an electrical nightmare. Unfortunately the fuse in the amp blew, killing the basement. Luckily a friend had the idea to take the fuse out of the kettle and to replace the one in the amp. Well it worked, and the party continued 🙂

Facebook event can be found: HERE for tickets either use the numbers provided on the event or head to either The Nook or Earworm records.

Resident Advisor event + online tickets can be found: HERE.

Both Slipstone Records EPs are available to purchase at Earworm Records.

You can listen to one of Chris’ quality mixes below: