Suddi Raval Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Suddi. How excited are you about the launch of your new book: A Brief History Of Acid House? And what is it about the Acid sound that is so special to you?

Excitement levels are pretty high. I really wanted to get this out this year due to the 30 year thing. The main reason why Acid is so special to me, is because of the impact it had on me when I was just a kid. I discovered it when I was 15 years old and fell in love with it immediately. I was just the right ages to get totally consumed by it. I had hundreds of smiley t-shirts and embraced it like it was the most important thing in the world. I never could have imagined all the controversy surrounding it would have happened after it spread across the UK and then for there to be huge parties revolving around the music just as I was turning 18. It was a wake-up call for me as it was for many others and nothing was ever the same again.

(photo by Paul Husband)

Can you tell us about who are the founding figures in Acid House for you and who would you say were the key electronic music producers before then?

One of the most important figures has to be DJ Ron Hardy. As the legend goes, he played Acid Trax 4 times in one night causing the early House scene to shift in direction. Ron was always more abstract than Frankie Knuckles and after Acid Trax things blew up in Chicago things moved more in Ron’s musical direction. After the first night he played Acid Trax he continued to hammer it without anyone knowing what it was so his followers called it Ron Hardy’s Acid Trax accidentally giving the track and the genre a name. Another great for me is Armando Gallup. He was renowned for his parties in Chicago before he made one of the first Acid House records 151, very shortly after the very first one was made by Phuture.

Obviously Phuture for they created the genre and went to create more absolute gems. Mike Dunn isn’t talked about as much as some of the acid originators but if you listen to tracks such as Face The Nation and Personal Problem, I find his unique take on Acid so beautifully melodic I am amazed he isn’t praised more. Adonis is one of the great unsung heroes of not just Acid but House. Some of his House records were essentially Acid before the genre was even born. I firmly believe that Phuture were listening to Adonis before they created Acid House. Larry Heard, although he has made some of the best Acid House music with tracks such as Sun Don’t Compare, it is his House music that is the most inventive because again, like with Adonis he was making Acid House before it even existed with tracks such as Washing Machine and Ecstasy. I am a firm believer that Acid is both a genre of music and an electronic instrument sound too that can be made on machines other than a TB-303. Larry Heard proves that with some of his Mr. Fingers productions. I never expected Acid House to become as popular as it is again today but the great thing about that is, new music by new producers. Paranoid London are making some blinding new music as is Marquis Hawkes.

Prior to Acid House, I was obsessed with Electro with producers such as Arthur Baker and Juan Atkins with his Model 500 outfit who later went on to give the world Techno.

A Brief History of Acid House Teaser #1

Teaser for the book A Brief History Of Acid House.

Posted by A Brief History Of Acid House on Thursday, September 13, 2018

 

How long has it taken to research the book? And what inspired you to write it?

Research for the book began many years ago, possibly up to around 10 years ago but as I got busy with musical projects and having a day job things got put on hold. The final product has evolved somewhat as I scaled down the original plan of making an “Acid encyclopedia” called Encyclopedia Acidica. Depending on how things go with this, I will look at finishing that rather ambition project again but much of the work I did researching it has resulted in this smaller project.

Tell us about three of your favourite electronic instruments (drum machines, synthesisers etc) and why their sound resonates with you?

The TB-303 is the single greatest machine ever made. Although there are now a million clones and imitation and some of them replicate it very well, nothing else out there has the same depth of bass and more importantly despite boasting being computer controlled, in a way, it sounds so organic and alive. I absolutely love some of the newer machines that have been built to cash in on the demand. I have bought as many as I can afford. I have 6 now I think. I also think the Korg Monologue is one of the most amazing machines I have ever heard. They got Aphex Twin to create some of the patches and he has even included some of his riffs on there. I have played live sets and incorporated them into the sets they are that good! And finally, the Jupiter 8. I used to have one but had to sell it when I got laid off from work to pay the bills. As depressing as that was, it was possibly the first and most mature thing I’d ever done. People say I am mad to have sold it but it really was a question of house or synth.

You have self published the book. Tell us about that process and what’s happening with the books distribution?

I am going to do a limited edition larger version in A4 to offer something to collect as people who love Acid House and 303’s are so fond of their scene I figured a limited edition version would be a good idea then the book will be available in standard A5 on Amazon.

What is your favourite memory from Together?

People assume being in the charts must have been best times. It was great, I am not denying that but for me, the best times of my life were long before Hardcore Uproar got into the charts: it was the period where Hardcore Uproar became the biggest tune at the Hacienda in the summer of 1990. To have shared it with my best friends Jon and Emma means everything to me as I have those memories to hold onto and cherish forever. There was one night when they played the record twice in one night on the 8th Birthday and as it hit midnight Mike Pickering released balloons from the ceiling. It was so un-Hacienda of them but it was possibly the greatest single moment of my life.

How did you first get introduced to House Music? And how would you compare those days with today’s Dance Music culture?

It was really my school friends who introduced me to House Music. I was still into Electro in 1986 and all my friends who were always really ahead of the game were listening to compilation on FFRR/London records. When I heard what they were listening to, my old Electro comps barely got a look in. I always wrote silly raps inspired by my love of Electro so when I got in House I started writing basslines and melodies. I didn’t think any of it would amount to anything until I met Jonathan Donaghy who I formed Together with.

To compare today’s scene to what happened just after 1988 is difficult as the music and the scene was so new back then, it was bound to feel more exciting but having experienced both of them separately I can honestly say some of the best nights today are as good as what was going on back then. There are 2 clubs in London called I Love Acid and Downfall and I feel due to the sincerity of the crowds they pull, the atmosphere is magical. They have such a playful vibe. No idiots. No aggression. Very few camera phones and no pretence, just pure music and dancing. It is just like it used to be and for a while in the 2000’s when things changed quite a bit I never thought it would come back and certainly didn’t think it would get this good again.

And finally. Tell us about The House Sound Of Together series? And any future musical or writing plans you have?

The House Sound of Together EP’s began with the “FFRREE at Last” EP. A celebratory record after getting out of a nightmare record deal I was trapped in. We wanted to sign to Deconstruction but somehow were forced to sign to a label we didn’t want to be on so when I got out of that deal I rushed to release a record after not having had a record out for sometime but the 2nd EP Volume 2, I really took my time with. It featured a few names that have gone on to do big things such as DJ Sasha who produced one track, Phil Kelsey (PKA) produced another and Rohan Heath (who went on to form The Urban Cookie Collective, The Key The Secret) co-wrote 2 tracks on the EP.

I wrote most of this new EP while I was off with a broken leg. Literally itching to get out, I felt inspired and basslines was filling my head whilst I had one leg propped up. The result was this
EP. The House Sound of Together Volume 3. I originally intended to call it the Alkaline EP as I wasn’t planning to have any Acid on it but Matt Sargeant who I co-produced it with in the end, contributed some essential elements to the EP and lots of them ended up being very Acidy so I had to drop the Alkaline tag.

After Together I went on to release some ambient techno under the name The Ultimate Escape Project. I have written new material which will be released under that name soon. I toyed with releasing those tunes under the name Together but I realised they’re just not Together tracks.

Writing-wise, I have been writing a column called One Foot In The Rave for a magazine for sometime and I have been thinking about expanding on those. They are memoirs related to my experiences during the Acid House era. I want to make it clear, this definitely won’t be an autobiography! Nobody would be interested in my personal life but whilst going to the raves I saw and experienced some truly amazing and at times, shocking things so I hope to write a book called something like “Real life stories from the Acid House frontline”. I like the idea of using a war-term like “frontline” as there were tensions at times and it did get quite risky, especially the night there was a riot and someone had the bright idea to blow up a Police van in Blackburn.

http://suddiraval.com

https://www.facebook.com/aftertouchpublications

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Kath McDermott Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Kath. Let’s start by asking about your current involvement with BBC 6 Music. How you got there and why?

I’ve enjoyed being involved in radio over the years first on community radio and then Dave Kendrick and I had a show on Kiss 102 called the Galaxy of Love which I absolutely loved doing, we had a scream. I started working on BBC radio about 5 years ago and always really wanted to work for 6 Music as I’m a listener myself and think it is a fantastic network for music lovers. When I started working on 6 Music I felt at home immediately and I love being a part of the production team there.

*Photo by Mat Norman

And back to the beginning. Can you tell us who inspired you to start DJ’ing and something about the first clubs you played in?
Tim Lennox at the Number One club was a huge inspiration in the late Eighties, he was playing to an absolutely rammed sweatbox of deranged deviants every Saturday. It was incredible to be a part of that dancefloor. I was also going to Nude at the Hacienda and Mike Pickering would play hip-hop alongside disco and acid house, I loved the eclecticism of his sets. Around that time, my partner was organising an Aids Day benefit in Liverpool, but couldn’t get a DJ to play for free, so we decided to do it ourselves. We had a riot, so we started our own monthly night called Loose and there was a real gap in the market in Liverpool for young queer clubbers – they were a brilliantly friendly crowd to play for.

How would you describe Flesh to somebody who has never been?

The Hacienda was created in the image of American gay clubs like Paradise Garage so it was always going to be a buzz to see it full of queers with Tim Lennox at the helm. Each one was a real event with a different theme or happening taking place, so the punters would go to great efforts to be dressed for the occasion, and the space would be dressed to impress too. It was a massive crowd, always well over a thousand and mixed, you’d see drag queens, dykes, rent boys and even naked people wandering around and it was incredibly friendly. Anything went and I seemed to spend a lot of time laughing at the insanity and debauchery of the scenes there. My Flesh sightings include Leigh Bowery ‘giving birth’ to a woman on stage, the Fire Brigade pushing an ice cream van away from the dancefloor in case the petrol tank blew, a collapsed swimming pool which flooded the place, members of Kraftwerk and the Pet Shop Boys partying and people having sex. Not bad for a Wednesday night.

Which night or club was the most important for you in terms of Manchester’s history that you have DJ’ed at?

I feel tremendously honoured to have played at the Hacienda over the course of 5 years and Flesh is obviously very important to me, but I have a very special place in my heart for Homoelectric. We were getting really tired of the increasingly tired mono-culture around Gaychester in the late nineties and I was lucky enough to be involved right from the start as we tried to create a new club where all misfits were welcome and the music was very eclectic. Notoriously old-school lesbian club Follies outside the Gay Village was our well-matched home and Ryan Minchin’s fanzine The Homoelectric Chronicle was our manifesto. I was the first resident and played there for about 8 glorious years. The crowd were a dream come true, very open to whatever we played: disco, house, pop, jungle, hip-hop, funk. Philippa Jarman and I were running the 2 main record shops in town (Piccadilly and Vinyl Exchange) so we had all the music well stitched-up. I like to think we paved the way for the alt-queer clubbing scene in Manchester and Homoelectric is still going strong 20 years later with an ace team behind it.

What is it about radio and the way it connects with people which has seen the medium endure for so long?

As a lifelong radio consumer I feel it leaves my imagination to run free whilst I’m listening. There is something very passive about watching television but radio is a different kind of experience, it is the perfect companion to our days and nights. The buzz of hearing an old favourite or a brand new track is just as strong for me as it was when I was a kid. I listen to a lot of speech radio too and worked on Radio 4 for several years where the output is very different but equally inspiring at times. I just co-produced Marc Riley’s A-Z of Punk which was a big success and podcasts are going to become increasingly important over time as there is a huge appetite for them and we now love on-demand content.

Which artists, writers and musicians have inspired you most, both within and outside of electronic/ dance music?

When I was a kid I was very into Adam and the Ants, I loved the double drumming and thought he was the ultimate performer. In terms of dance music, when house music caught fire I was hugely inspired by Frankie Knuckles and that led me to seek out soulful house and garage by the likes of Masters at Work, Murk and Mood To Swing. In relation to dance music, I think Norma Jean Bell is an under-rated talent. Away from the decks the artists that have been mainstays over time for me tend to be female singers that plough their own furrow like Bobbie Gentry, Millie Jackson, Nina Simone, Betty Davis and Dusty Springfield.

Has too much nostalgia destroyed the creation of new music and culture?

I think it is disappointing that the emphasis is still on Madchester as so much of what is being portrayed is such a straight, white, male story. The reality was very different, Manchester District Music Archive are doing a lot to redress that balance. Also the City Council trade off the back of the heritage of clubs like the Hacienda whilst closing down most of the independent venues in town to build faceless budget hotels. However I think the club scene in Manchester and increasingly Salford is as vibrant as ever. Bollox is an incredible community space – very inclusive, but hedonistic and subversive. I’m thrilled that I’ll be playing there and the much-loved underground club Kiss Me Again over the next few months.

How did it feel to be included in the Suffragette City MCR exhibition at Refuge? What do you think the benefits will be moving forward?

The exhibition which reflects women from all aspects of the Manchester music scene has been a major success, bringing much-needed profile to some unsung heroines and celebrating the considerable talent in the city, it has been wonderful to meet some of the other women involved too. We had a big closing party with 16 hours of an all-female DJ line-up, it was an extraordinary event, the technical quality of the DJing was very high and we really rocked a great party. We got a mixed, very up-for-it crowd in, it was wonderful to be in such a warm supportive environment and we were all having a great dance to each other sets, there were no egos at all, a proper buzz.

And finally. Which programme have you most enjoyed working on at BBC 6 Music?

I really enjoyed working on Jarvis Cocker’s last live Sunday Service programme on Christmas Eve, we had the lights down low and twiglets on the go, it was very festive. I also produced a documentary about the queer roots of punk with Jon Savage presenting called ‘Queer as Punk’ which was a labour of love that I’m very proud of.

https://twitter.com/kathmcd22

https://www.facebook.com/kath.mcdermott.98

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Moonboots (Aficionado Recordings ) Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Richard. Aficionado is due to celebrate twenty years in 2018. Congratulations and what do you remember about, and the reaction to, those first nights you ran along with Jason Boardman?

Hi. Yeah it was a funny time back then. Both Jason (who I knew as a customer from Eastern Bloc) were both bored with the scene in MCR. We’d tried and failed with a couple of experimental nights before starting Aficionado as a Thursday night party at the (now closed) Agua Bar during the ‘98 World Cup. It was only due to run for the Summer until we ended up moving it to a Sunday at Zumbar. That’s when it really started to kick off. It was crazily packed out in there, if you turned up after eight o’clock you couldn’t get in. Think they paid us £50 each and a pizza. Good times.

What makes the night and its accompanying label, Aficionado Recordings as important to you after such a long time in existence?

The night is definitely the place where myself and Jay can play whatever we like. We’re not restricted by genre, tempo or fashion. If we like it, we’ll play it. The label runs off the same ethos. If we like it, we’ll release it.

You are running an exhibition of artwork at Electrik in Manchester. Tell us about the history of the artwork and who currently has been designing it?

The current exhibition has just finished unfortunately. It was the work of our designer, Topsy Von Salkeld. She’s done all the label design, club/gig flyers and also the cover of my compilation. Super talented.

https://www.sarahsalkeld.com

Tell us about the process of compiling your ‘Moments In Time’ compilation for Music For Dreams? And do you feel it’s more important to listen to the message conveyed by an album’s entirety, rather than random choices generated by streaming?

It’s been a slow burn. Kenneth from the label is a good friend and he asked me to start thinking about it 18 months ago. I came up with around 25 tracks which had been whittled down with a couple of new bits added later.

With regards to listening to the album as a whole, that seems to be a generational thing. I love listening to whole LPs. You pick out tracks you like first listen and the tracks that aren’t the most instant end up being the tracks you love the most. However, I have no problem with people cherry picking tracks on Spotify. It’s the modern way.

Buy https://www.piccadillyrecords.com/counter/product.php?pid=118570

Does DJ’ing and playing vinyl ever feel ‘old-fashioned’, rebellious and simply a good thing to do, in the digital age?

Ha! No not all. It can be a pain in the arse lumping a heavy bag about sometimes. Plus if I’m playing abroad I’ve been know to play the odd CD or two now. No USBs yet though. Proper witchcraft they are.

I remember you telling me about ‪Danny Rampling‬ playing at The Hacienda (I guess in 1988) and you finding yourself the only person dancing to ‪Barry White‬ ‘It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me’. At what point did the club and the music being played there began to lose its appeal?

That was the Shoom night (12th Oct ‘88). I still have the poster. I think it was Mike Pickering on before him, banging out some Latin acid stuff. I was on the stage, Rampling comes on, first track is big Barry and the stage and dance floor pretty much emptied. He totally tear gassed it apart from a bunch of Shoomers who had come up for the night. They were all going crackers on one of the podiums. I loved it. The Hac was an incredible club. Those two Summers of ‘88 & ‘89 were amazing. And yet by 1990 I was happy never to go in there ever again. It got far too moody.

Do you think Dance Music culture has developed in a good way since then? And what appeal, if any, does it still hold for you?

Yeah of course. It’s such a splintered scene now that you can take whatever you like from it, loft parties or mega festivals. I still love getting on a plane, visiting beautiful settings and playing records to people I’ve never met before. Who wouldn’t?

Who are the most influential artists for you, musical and/ or otherwise?

I’m very fortunate to have many talented friends who make incredible music too. People like Begin, Colorama, Cantoma and Brenda Ray who kindly let me listen to their stuff way before it gets released. Hearing great new music develop is what excites me the most

And finally. Please tell us about your and Jason’s plans for moving into 2018?

Not too much I can tell you right now bar our first party of 2018. It’s an intimate live gig with our dear friends John Stammers, Luca Nieri & Miles Copeland from Wonderful Sound: Jan 31st @ Night People. All future events will be announced via our Aficionado Recordings Facebook page though.

https://www.facebook.com/AficionadoRecordings
https://www.instagram.com/aficionado.recordings

 

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