This week on this week's Weekly Review of Dance Music I am experimenting the fuck out of a proven format. MASSIVE QUESTIONS, the section in WRDM where I pursue lines of inquiry with dance music superstars, has proved to be so successful, popular, desirable, incredible, sensational, successful and popular that I have even had regular punters asking me to interview them about club life, after I put out a note on Twitter asking if regular punters would be interested in answering questions about club life for this blog; the Weekly Review of Dance Music.
I haven't had time to reply to all three of them so I put the emails in a blue velvet bag, donned a white satin glove, shuffled the emails around and then plucked one of them out whilst listening to A Guy Called Gerald's RA303 podcast and browsing this blog. "Wicked tracks, wack mixing", I muttered to myself.
This week's Medium Questions are answered by a young man called Stephen F*y**. Here's a picture of him dancing with Luciano in what looks like a fucking office.
Q) Stephen, what do you expect from a typical night out clubbing?
A) Exciting music and like-minded people.
Q) Do you take Ecstasy E tablets? If so, where and when did you first try it and what was your night like?
A) Only very occasionally now. First time was at a university black-tie party headlined by Erol Alkan and Justice of all people. Yes, I realise that's not a very underground setting, but it was a pretty amazing night to be fair.
Q) Are you someone who won't shut the fuck up in the club or do you prefer to fuck off to a corner and lose yourself?
A) Depends on my state - I've been known to do both.
Q) Tell me about the best night out clubbing you've ever had.
A) Villalobos in Watergate, Josh Wink in Paramount and Tama Sumo/Steffi in Fabric all immediately spring to mind as fairly recent examples anyway.
Q) What are your plans for the rest of the year (clubbing wise)?
A) An extended stay in Ibiza - and no doubt a few trips to 'Club Fabric' before then.
Q) Would you support a campaign for more topless lady DJs in UK clubs?
A) Stephen did not comment on this question. I can only assume by his silence that he agrees that this is a sound concept and will be a shot in the arm to the UK economy for reasons he's not quite figured out yet.
There we go, WRDM pushing boundaries YET again. Apart from the annual Mixmag national drug survey, this year aided and abetted by The Guardian newspaper, WRDM is the ONLY media source brave enough to confront drug use in British society in a realistic and mature way. Hopefully, when David Cameron reads this week's WRDM, he'll be straight on the phone to whichever minister looks after drugs, sacks the fucker, emails me on email@example.com and offers me the vacant post. Who's with me?
Alternatively, Prime Minister David Cameron can offer me the job on Twitter by ringing THIS number: @tonkawrdm
ALSO, thanks a thousand for Stephen *l*nn for answering this week's Medium Questions. More to come in the coming weeks. If any other regular punters want to get involved contact Tonka (me).
Coming soon is WRDM12 (Festival special), a Miami Music Conference round-up and an interview with Claude VonStroke.
After Fabric @ Club Fabric, Warm, Secretsundaze, Superfreq, The Gallery, Death Disco, Jaded, Malibu Stacey and Wetyourself we can all agree that Electric Minds is the coolest and best club night in London. Agreed? Agreed. Electric Minds put on regular parties in loft spaces where people like Move D, Appleblim, Ame and Prosumer have all guested. In April this year, they host a warehouse party with Ostgut Ton and Sub:stance. Ben Klock, etc, will be etc, etc. I've never been to an Electric Minds night but I know a few people who have, so I was keen to meet with the man at the top. I dug out my Yellow Pages and thumbed my way to the E chapter. I found the number for Electric Minds and dialled. I was answered promptly by reception and spoke to a nice young lady called Lorraine, I explained who I was and what I wanted so she said she'd put me through to the press office. After a few seconds on hold I was speaking to a man called Alan in IT. He apologised and asked me to hold whilst he finds the number for the press office. True to his word, Alan returned and said he'd put me through now. I was on hold for what felt like minutes listening to Christmas songs (change the tape, guys - its March!) before hearing Lorraine's voice again. I'd been on the phone now for at least 3 minutes and I was beginning to lose my rag. I explained to Lorraine in an assertive manner, and in no uncertain terms, that I am a busy man and that my world famous blog will increase revenue for Electric Minds ten fold. I added that in the current economic climate, and with redundancies flying around faster that hot eyeballs on a frozen lake, it is in her interest to put me through to whoever it is that runs Electric Minds thisinstance. She apologised profusely for the inconvenience caused by her slippy fingers, asked for my contact details and with the words, "I'll find out exactly who can help you and if I don't call you back, one of my colleagues will. If you've heard nothing by half past two please feel free to call back and ask for Lorraine", she was gone. Ten minutes later I received a phone call from the Managing Director of Electric Minds, Dolan Bergin. He invited me over to the east London Electric Minds HQ that afternoon for a tour and a chat. "Help yourself to tea, coffee, bitter, shots...whatever you like, mate", said Dolan as he opened the oak panel door to his swish oak panel office. I drank all four.
Q) What is Electric Minds and what have you got to do with them? A) Electric Minds in short put on electronic music events in London and for festivals in the UK and abroad. Electric Minds is also a small record label and release records 5/6 times a year with the occasional CD here and there.
Q) Was establishing Electric Minds a walk in the park (easy) or like training for a marathon (hard)? A) I think anyone who promotes will tell you its one of the most stressful occupations out there. To run events you have to deal with a lot of people and in my experience (and being a cynic) a good amount of people you deal in the world of ‘entertainment’ are full of shit and unreliable so you need to continually think two steps ahead and make sure there are plans in place to deal with every kind of fuck up imaginable. Even when you have those plans in place something will come along to make your day just that little bit harder. So in answer to your question, building up a reputable party / club in one of the most expensive cities in the world with a serious lack of space and an ever ending amount of neighbours to complain about noise is not easy work ! When it all comes together though there can be a lot of fun to be had.
Q) Before I got married and had a baby I was cool. Do you have to be cool to get into Electric Minds or would I still be welcome if I tried to get in? A) If you’re coming for the music and to be nice to people while willing to pay some money at the door to contribute towards the cost of providing the nights entertainment, you will be most welcome.
Q) Your new website is "arriving early 2011". Explain. A) Ah, that’s top of the things to do list. Facebook seems to have taken over and is the main focal point for our online activity. The new website is coming very soon though...www.electricminds.co.uk
Q) If you had to name your favourite party from past Electric Minds, and you do, which one would it be and why? A) I think it would have to be one of the early parties about 7 years ago. We threw a party in the basement of an empty snooker club on the Kingsland Road. We had a queue round the block, a sound system big enough to make sure all of the neighbours didn't get to sleep that night but when reports started coming in of our hired security charging people in the queue to get in, it was quite clear we were a little out of our depth. Despite having over 1000 people through the door we still lost some money but with a packed room dancing on snooker tables and with things generally’ a bit out of control’ it was a lot of fun. Of course since those early days we've leant from our mistakes and things are bit more organised now.
Q) Is putting on parties something you always had an ambition to do or was it something you fell into? A) I don’t think I knew its what I wanted to do when I was younger but the signs were there. Sneaking out of home at the age of 15 to go to raves, organising coaches to take friends to those raves a year or two later but it wasn’t until I was in my 20s though that I looked at it seriously.
Q) You are a DJ in your own right. How would you describe your style? Can you develop it further or does your progression as a DJ depend on the quality of tracks put out by producers? I mean, do you sometimes wish that the tracks that come your way are better? I mean, should DJs have to pressure producers into doing their jobs more professionally? Know what I mean? DJs are customer facing and I sometimes feel that the producers just sit in the back room, knock their records out as quickly as possible so that their stats are good and get them delivered to the DJ without testing them fully and there is no way that the punters can express a complaint direct if they're not happy. DJs get the shit for playing a shit record when its not them who made it, they're just doing their job and I feel sorry for them when that happens. Is that what happens? Know what I mean? How would you describe your DJing style (?) is what I'm trying to say. A) Umm...I don’t really know. I think producing and Djing are most certainly separate things. There is a huge amount of skill in learning to make music (of which I'm not able to do) so I really respect people who can come up with something original. There is skill in Djing but the reality is you are just mixing two records made by someone else, there are of course people who do this exceptionally well but a lot more who do it badly. As for myself I just like to buy records that have some depth to them and play them in an environment and on a sound system where they’ll be appreciated.
Q) What does 2012 look like for Electric Minds? More parties, more releases or something else entirely? A) Its looking good so far with lots coming up. There are the loft parties that we continue to run each year and in addition to that we've partnered with a friend to run 15 to 20 label showcases at a new events space in Hackney. Already confirmed are Ostgut Ton, Sub:stance plus loads more in the pipe line which we cant announce just yet. There is also a new roller disco project that will run 4 times this year which is in conjunction with Hackney Downs Studios. Festival wise we’re hosting a tent with Warm at Lovebox, Bestival and Camp Bestival as a well as a club night and boat party for SMS in Croatia. We’re also joining up with Warm and Fina Records to host our first party at Sonar in June.
Q) What is Jay Shepheard REALLY like? A) Ha what have you heard?! Jay is a friend, he’s really nice and getting married soon to his lovely fiancé, Marysia. So a glowing report there : )
Q) Have you ever considered moving to Berlin like EVERYONE else fucking does? A) It does seem to be a bit of a cliché, but when you look at the all night parties, spacious & cheap flats, nice beer, great food and laid back attitude its easy to see why people head there. But as much as id like to loose my mind in Berlin for a year I’m staying put in Stoke Newington with no plans to go anywhere soon.
Q) What is your fantasy line-up for an Electric Minds night? A) I’ve never had the opportunity to book Theo Parrish yet and while he’ll no doubt turn up 5 hrs late he is rather exceptional at what he does so to have him play all night at the loft space would be ace.
Q) Rolling snare fill or that hoover sound where it starts off low and ends up really high? A) I quite like the hoover sound, seems to work especially well in an altered state.
Q) Pauline Quirke? A) Amazing work in Birds Of A Feather.
Q) Do you have any words of advice for any young readers who fancy themselves as future party promoters? A) Expect hard work, fierce competition and some fun times while trying to avoid a burgeoning alcohol and cocaine dependency.
Q) How did you come up with the moniker 'Dolan Bergin' as a DJ name? Did you ever toy with the idea of prefixing it with 'DJ' like a proper DJ (DJ Dolan Bergin)? Or suffixing it with something more exciting like 'Caner D' (DJ Caner D) or 'Spinna Badman' (DJ Spinna Badman)? A) Ha! No, I guess its just my name. Would be worse to make up a pseudo name right?!
Q) What trainers have you got? A) I'm a creature of habit so I have had a pair of converse glued to my feet for the last couple of years.
Q) Do Electric Minds have any upcoming releases? If so, when can we all buy a copy and where can we buy it from? A) Yes we do, well its just come out but here is the new 12” from Ilija Rudman – please go and buy it and support the cause. If you need to know why then watch this amazing film: sounditoutdoc.com What a lovely young man. Please join me in wishing Dolan and Electric Minds all the very best for 2012 and beyond. If he manages to get Theo Parrish down for a set I'll buy myself a front row ticket. Go to the next Loft party on Saturday 24 March to see Dolan spin some discs on the wheels of steel. Buy tickets HERE: residentadvisor.net Listen to Electric Minds releases and party recordings HERE: soundcloud.com/electricminds BUY the fuck out of Cinematic Behaviour by Ilija Rudman... Now, HERE: Ilija Rudman - 'Cinematic Behaviour' Follow ME on Tweeter by ringing THIS number: @tonkawrdm