I finished off last year’s intro with “What does 2017 hold? Gawd knows but it’s surely gotta be a better one than last year” got that wrong didn’t I? But hey we did get Blue Planet II, more Stranger Things, fidget spinners and salt bae , so you’ve gotta cling on to what you can, right? Top Ten House Tracks
Most Memorable DJ Gig Deeptrak @ Klub Kokoo, Lodz, Poland
This was a bittersweet gig. Great, in that it was Tony and my first gig abroad as Deeptrak and the gig itself felt very fluid with us having 4 CDJ2000s to mess about with and we even had the club owner dancing on the bar. Always a sign of a good gig. Warming up for us was a DJ called Lukespin (Lukasz to his friends), a guy that has been very supportive of me (and Kinky Malinki) in Poland for about 10 years. Lukasz had been very ill the past few years, but meeting us from the airport and during the gig he was still all smiles, even though he had mentioned he was in quite some pain. I obviously didn’t know it at the time, but that was to be the last time I saw Lukasz as he passed away later on in the year. A harsh reminder that life is so short and to enjoy it whilst you can, just as Lucasz was that night. A great guy, great DJ and someone that will be sorely missed.
It’s pretty fair to say that 2016 isn’t going to go down as a classic, or if it does it’s for the wrong reasons: Brexit, Trump and the unfortunate passing of many iconic musicians.
To look at the positives on a personal tip, I’ve enjoyed interviewing individuals that I’ve respected and looked up to for years and enjoyed some interesting opportunities with Deeptrak, the production team I’m part of.
What does 2017 hold? Gawd knows but it’s surely gotta be a better one than last year so onwards and upwards…….
Top Ten House Tracks
TIEKS – Sunshine
Full crossover, happiness vibes ahoy. This tune just puts a smile on my face & yeah OK it initially came out last year but it’s given me sunshine through 2016 .
KDA feat. Tinashe – Just Say
Just Say is only KDAs 2nd original track and doesn’t seem to have had the same impact as Rumble, but that shouldn’t detract away from how good the track actually is.
Rudimental – Healing
Not sure what the deal with this track was? It came through originally as an unknown promo and you’d never guess it was a Rudimental track if you heard it didn’t know, which makes it all the more interesting to me.
The Chemical Brothers – Sometimes I Feel So Deserted (Skream Mix)
Skream can put his hand to creating a real variety of different sounds and for that I tip my hat. This Chems remix is epic as you like.
Duke Dumont – Be Here
I admire how DD can straddle the chart fodder and club cuts effortlessly and Be Here sounds quite reminiscent of old Kim English cuts on Nervous back in the 90s.
Sonny Fodera feat. Janai – You & I
A stand out cut from an awesome album. A wonderful intro that lures you in, ready to smack you round the chops when the beat drops.
Marquis Hawkes feat. Jocelyn Brown – I’m So Glad (Paul Woolford Mix)
Paul used a similar piano riff in his Nimmo remix this year but it works so much better on this remix with Jocelyn Brown’s topline and pulsating bassline.
Fono – Feet On The Ground (Got Some Stomper Mix)
Got Some got the right idea calling this mix a stomper! The marching band drum rolls give plenty of energy to a track that has plenty in its OG guise anyway.
Infinity Ink feat. Yasmin – How Do I Love You
This is just a beautiful, poignant piece of music. I always thought it would come with a raft of remixes but as yet there have only been a couple, either way it’s fine in its original form.
Dua Lipa – Hotter Than Hell (Shadow Child Dub Mix)
You’d find it hard to even really find Dua Lipa under this fantastic glitch twisted dub remix from Shadow Child. There is a vocal mix but this dub mix is where it’s at.
Best DJ Gig
I may well have got a random grapevine dance going at my Kinky Malinki set at Ocean Beach in Ibiza, my fav gig was something else. Now I’ve never really been big on back to back gigs unless it was with someone I know and trust musically, as it can often be a musical mess for the clubbers, but with Deeptrak moving in the right direction Tony and I came together to actually DJ as Deeptrak a few times this year. My most enjoyable gig of the year was with Tony at Circuit (which is now Sankeys East) and he was jamming along playing some popular riffs over our set.
I’ve had some frank and honest interviews this year (along with those can’t be arsed ones you get from time to time) and some of those have been with idols, like Roger Sanchez but my favourite had to be sitting down with Defected big boss man Simon Dunmore. To discuss the thoughts and business acumen behind such an iconic label was an honour even if I was shitting my pants a little bit at the start. Simon Dunmore Interview
Best Party El Row / Nightowl – Space Ibiza
Even though it was a struggle to get a proper groove on in the main room at Space due to how busy it was, there was a great atmosphere across the club, as there always is at El Row events and to top it off good pals Nightowl were hosting a room and I was also able to witness Dominic Longley play at Space , which is a long way from him learning to DJ in my flat every Monday a few years back. A poignant evening and even more so as it was the last time I’d step inside the legendary club that is Space.
Best House Album Sonny Fodera – Frequently Flying
There have been some fine house efforts this year with Eli Escobar, Justin Martin, Soul Clap, Mr Oizo but Sonny Fodera has the most well rounded album of 2016 to me.
Best Remix Alyss – The Talking Palm Tree (T. Williams Mix)
Have a listen to the original version, then take a listen to T. Williams massively slept on remix. Now you’ll realise why I’ve picked this as my fav remix of the year. Heavyweight business
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Top Ten Non-House Tracks
Fatima Yamaha – Love Invaders
From the minute I heard this I was in(vader) love. It’s basically a slice of modern lo fi boogie. I squeezed in a few sets over the year too with the pitch set to warp speed.
Maggie Rogers – Alaska
I found out about this artists from the video with Pharell (below) who caught dem feels from this track. As did I.
Sampha – Blood On Me
I can give you a fact here, Sampha has never featured on a duff track, EVER. How’d you like those apples?
Adibanti – Pearls
Basically a modern slice of subtle UKG, one that would definite be a tune for the ‘gyal dem’ if the radio MC was introducing it.
Whilk & Misky – All By Myself (Mall Grab Mix)
Them slowed down rave broken beats have me all weak at the knees, or kneak at the wees? See what I did there?
Rag & Bone Man – Human
One of those artists who’s voice doesn’t match up to what you think they look like, but you know what? Who cares what he looks like? Just check that voice out.
Children Of Zeus – Still Standing (Lenzman Mix)
If this didn’t come out in 2016 don’t cuss me as I only found it this year and it’s a D&B slice of beauty.
Mura Masa – What If I Go?
TBH I could listen any Mura Masa track. What a talent but I really dig the sweet vocal and twisted drum programming.
ROMANS – Pacify
I seem to have slept on this guy but Roc Nation obviously haven’t as that’s who he’s signed to. An artists that does the lot.
Folly Rae – Hard To Love
Sounding a bit like Delilah, which is never an issue to me, with skittering beats & a pop tinged vocal this track isn’t hard to love at all.
Best Non-House Album Avalanches – Wildflower
Spotify suggests that I’ve listened to this album the most this year and for good reason. Carrying on seamlessly from where their debut album left off all those years ago.
Best Twitter Follow
The account that has given me the most joy this year has to be @jeansandsheaux so simple but so effective. Picture after picture of terrible jeans and shoe combos. Check it, you won’t regret it.
I don’t think Bruno Mars comes in to this category any more, does he? If he does it would be him but I think 24K Gold is just a great piece of throwback infused music that everyone should enjoy, thus not making it a guilty pleasure. So I’ll go with me enjoying the duet of Robbie Williams and Emma Bunton singing Spice Girls ‘2 Become 1’ for some Christmas Charity bash.
This year’s proudest achievement came about by fluke really, but fluke or not, I stuck together 30 odd seconds of our Deeptrak remix of B15 Project’s classic ‘Girls Like Us’ over a couple of kids dancing like crazy and 6 months later that video clip has been watched close to 2.9 million times and has helped Deeptrak get that remix signed to Armada Music.
Allen Stone @ The Scala
I’d seen Allen before at the more intimate Village Underground and been blown away, so I was expecting great things. I was not left disappointed. He really is the most engaging artist I have ever seen and I’ve seen a hell of a lot of acts from the greats like Stevie Wonder and The Rolling Stones to new kids on the block like Ed Sheeran. A lot of people in the UK hardly know who he is but watch this and you’ll get an idea on how great he is…..
One thing 2016 has been good for is movies, or I think so anyway from epics like Tarantino’s Hateful Eight to DiCaprio finally winning an Oscar in The Revenant. I also loved Deadpool and was fan boying out to the latest Star Wars instalment Rogue One but my fav film of the year is something that has possibly passed most of you by and it’s a New Zealand poignant comedy flick called Hunt For The Wilderpeople. It has laughs, Sam Neil and an underpinning story that’s rather endearing. If you get a chance, watch it, you won’t regret it.
2016 was the year of the NMD and Adidas continuing to bully Nike in ways I’ve never seen before, mainly with the help of everyone’s fav headline demanding rapper: Kanye West. My fav drop had to be the re-re-release of the Air Zoom Spiridon and this time around the Hypebeast/Resellers were on full alert so I’ve not managed to pick more up yet.
Tips For The Future
On a house tip I think I’m going to go with FONO I’ve heard an album sampler (or it may have just been an EP?) but every cut was of a superior level and it’s really only a matter of time before he reaches that next level up where Disclosure sit comfortably.
On a pop tip I’m gonna go with Rag & Bone Man, I’ve been catching up on his older material after catching him on Jools Holland and he is one talented guy with a great voice.
If you have reached your mid-30s, dabbled in London life and been a clubber or DJ (or both), there is a high chance that your musical progression went something along the lines of this: Rave/Jungle/D&B to UK Garage to House Music. This was my musical path and there are still a legion of white van drivers listening to pirate radio, caught in gridlocked traffic and tooting their horns to poor passers-by, that will attest to something similar.
Over the past few month’s I’ve done some articles for Decoded Magazine that I’ve been really chuffed with. With interviews, you never quite know how they’ll turn out. They are only as good as the questions I ask. Those questions generally shape the way the interviewee will respond. I’ll be honest, I’ve had a few flat one’s over the years, but this round up features a definite highlight of my writing ‘career’ for me.
My first face to face interview & with none other than Defected Records label boss, Simon Dunmore: Simon Dunmore
I’ve interviewed plenty of DJs over the years, but I’ve hardly ever had the chance to interview a club promoter, so I was keen to try and catch up with Kai who run’s Abode, one, if not the most popular house music party in London right now. I’d always noticed on socials that Kai was interestingly verbal about the scene so was keen to get an insight from the man himself ahead of a Secret Abode event on the 16th January on the 28th Floor somewhere in LDN.
Thanks for joining me for a chat Kai, it’s often, and understandable, that it’s the DJ/artists that get the shine with the interviews, but there’s always that person (or people) in the background, putting the pieces of the puzzle together. You’re someone that has not only pieced together some great puzzles over the past few years, you are not what is deemed to be a typical money hungry club promoter, so I’m going to try and delve a bit deeper and see what makes you tick?
You often see either fake positivity (all ‘What a great night’ when it was a total flop) or bitchiness from a lot of club promoters these days on social media, but thankfully you buck that trend. Obviously you have had a huge success with Abode, but would you be any different of you hit a rocky patch?
If I’m totally honest, we didn’t have a great start back in September 2014 when we first started. We launched the party with a huge line-up including Dyed Soundorom , Waff , Audiofly and No Artificial Colours, which cost us an arm and a leg. Even though it made huge noise on the scene, the party went on to lose a lot of money on the launch and the two events that followed.
Luckily for me, I work with most London promoters and promote their nights for free across our socials, so we have a pretty good relationship and try not to get involved in politics and bitchiness etc.
If we were to hit a rocky patch we would sit down as a team and look at where we went wrong and fix the issue to make the next party the best we’ve ever done.
It’s not all been plain sailing of course, you had an unfortunate situation through Summer with the Exodus Ibizan boat parties. Can you elaborate on what went wrong there perhaps and what you learnt from that experience?
Over the past few months I’ve been lucky enough to be part of a triumverate of interviews that, not only am I very proud of, but the interviewees have been rather happy with. With Sam Divine saying her interview was one of the best she’s done and that the questions were frank and searching. It’s those little comments that make me strive to get better at this writing lark.
Admittedly I’ve done Q&As/Interviews for Kinky Malinki for yonks, but I feel with the Decoded Magazine team behind me, it’s helped me gain confidence and ‘go there’ with questions that I may not have asked in the past.
If you’ve not read these already, have a butchers, there is some insightful and informative stuff contained within:
It’s been a huge year of change in 2014 for me. nah, REALLY!! I started a new job after being made redundant from my last role and within a few weeks bought a house with my girlfriend and to top it off I got a cat! Real responsibilities, which have actually led to me growing up a tad. Not too much mind you!
So here’s a load of stuff that really floated my boat in 2014 (along with a let down) and we’re not talking about the England World Cup effort as that goes without saying.
Top Ten House Tracks
Karen Harding – Say Something
A track sung by an X-Factor finalist on Disclosure’s record label. Not the most obvious of bed fellows, but this is by far my favourite track of the year.
Tito Wun – The Way You Do It (Doc Daneeka Mix)
One of those you’ve Shazamed after about 16bars and a track that’s all about the fun, disco vibes.
Franky Rizardo – I Got Feeling
Franky dropped this killer EP on OFF Recordings this year and every tune was serious, with this being my pick and the one I’ve played the most this year.
In between starting a new job, buying a new house and getting a new cat, I’ve somehow managed to knock up several articles that have all been published around the same time, so I thought I should collate them in one place for all of us.
My first, and by a mile, most important article I’ve ever done is featured over at www.thecalmzone.net CALM stands for Campaign Against Living Miserably and was a perfect fit for my piece highlighting the often ignored, but clearly prevalent, subject of depression within the dance industry. My most shared, read and discussed article and I’m glad I managed to get some more awareness for a very real topic effecting a LOT of people!! Read it all HERE
Then there was another post where I wrote about the disappointing closure of one of Brick Lane’s finest, The Vibe Bar which closed it’s doors this weekend – Another One Bites The Dust
Finally I knocked up this little article about my thoughts on complacent producers who are taking the easy route to success (or they hope) SAMPLE THIS
I wouldn’t say that I get asked whether I can get a DJ some work every week, but it does happen regularly. Why come to me? It’s not like I run some sort of DJ agency for hungry DJs (although maybe I should………actually scratch that, I’d rather sandpaper my whole body and tip vinegar over myself, than deal with a constant stream of needy DJs wanting gigs). OK, I have my links to Kinky Malinki who I have been working closely with for 15 years, but I don’t call ANY shots, that’s Paul Kinky’s job. Admittedly if you asked politely, I could have a listen to your mix and if it really stood out (and I’ll be brutally honest, not THAT many do truly stand out) I’d definitely try and open some doors for you. I have done it in the past and I’ll definitely do it again in the future, but not for the guy that has recently asked about me getting him some more gigs through a mate of mine.