It seems strange to think that Sub:Terranea, a night dedicated to the sound of deep house and techno, has only just celebrated its first birthday. The house heads of York filled the champagne lounge of Mansion, where residents Rory Flynn and Dan Jackson spent the first two hours opening the night with upbeat vibes that fashioned a slightly playful atmosphere right from the start.
When the clock struck twelve, Buckley Boland took over the decks. After what Subby:T called “smashing it” last September, Buckley’s return was well anticipated on all accounts. As a well-respected DJ that professionally began his venture in ’92 – the birth of acid house – there is something undeniably original about Buckley’s performance. Maybe it’s his collection of compact discs that’s thick enough to stun an ox; maybe it was incredibly smooth transitions that explored all different moods house music can inspire.
The sound that arguably made Buckley distinct from previous sets I’d seen at Mansion was the tinge of something Latinate in house beats. I got chatting to the music machine after he’d finished up and learnt that he’d recently spent a chunk of time in Costa Rica and Ibiza – I can only wonder if this experience gave Buckley an innovative edge to the recognised sound of acid house. After chatting to Mr. B, he told us about his own technique to the sound of his set: “for me, the key is to be able to try and play as many different flavours as possible, but blend them together, so it doesn’t sound disjointed.” The spice of life, some might say.
Speaking with Buckley not only gave an insight to his method in the music, but the procedure and all the work behind his shows. “There are two types of records: Country and Western. Good or bad. I either like it, or I don’t. I’ve spent so much time listening, even just as a collector, never mind as a DJ. You spend all week and so much effort listening to what will get spat out in two hours. It’s never-ending – it’s a lifestyle. After all these years, I always want to be the best that I can be.
“Some people do it for money, that’s fine. When I first started, there was no money in it for me; there was only love.”
Where, then, does a man who had been DJing long enough to inspire himself get his innovations and muse?
“If I ever find myself stuck, I’ll just go back to old mixes. I’ll think, what the fuck’s that? That’s ace. It’s so easy to be in the moment. I didn’t play one old record tonight; I played records that had references to older records. Everything I played was new.” Bar two, all of what was revealed to Subby:T’s crowd was played for the very first time. Buckley’s mature approach to Saturday’s set may have involved recent releases, but with the nature with which he plays has an authentic feel that is still deeply rooted in the 90’s underground music scene. Even after 10 months away from the decks, where he calls himself “well rusty”, his skill is potent and shines through.
So what advice does a veteran of house music give to those aspiring to take to the decks themselves and help find their own sound?
“Listen to as much music as possible. And not just house music – I listen to all kinds of stuff, but then I’ll find traces or references from something that maybe your parents might listen to, whether its early disco, whether its something from when I was a kid – maybe I’ll hear that sample in a track. It’s about playing as many different styles as possible, but the way you mix them […] creates a wall of sound.” The collection of CDs Buckley had come armed to Sub:Terranea with was spectacular, showing a readiness for anything.
There is substance to Buckley Boland that’s more than being an acclaimed DJ today. Yes, there was the two-hour seemingly seamless set. People danced – not just a slight bopping to the music, but dancing. Still, something engaging and thought-provoking is in what Buckley has to say, not to mention his music. The fact that his DJ name is his actual first name suggests something personal and humble. And what’s more, when you get to the point of having to Shazam your own mix? I guess that’s what 23 years of DJing will do for you.