You know those parties when no matter how long the journey has been, how tired you are or what you’re feeling when you walk in, as soon as you step inside the doors some kind of warmth envelops you and the beats make your feet start moving and the bass shakes and all of a sudden you’re throwing some crazy shapes with a silly grin on your face and you can’t stop all night? No. 19 presents Social Experiment at Sonar was like that.
Ali Love‘s voice, Deniz Kurtel‘s sexy basslines, and the strange-yet-winning combination of Art Department then the secret guest Dubfire worked like a charm; impeccably interweaving hard and fast tech beats with moody deep-house melodies that had a dancefloor going absolutely crazy; just one look at the people’s faces on the podium was enough, and absolutely no-one was leaving or slowing down in any way as it carried on through to 7am.
WIP started as a one-year Barcelona venue in a disused early 1900s warehouse in 2009, and since then have gone on to host screenings, art exhibitions, fashion shows, start a record label and organise events worldwide (they’re heading to London soon so watch this space). The parties this year were held at the newly renovated Wolf Club; Almogavers 86, which hosts their weekly WERK IT parties (no recovery time for them as they’ve got Amirali and Dia on Friday 29 June), and they’re remodeling their new venue to open October this year.
If this is what we can expect from the team whose events in 2010 set an all-time record for attendance at an off-Sonar event then I’m booking some October flights now.
Magda, Troy Pierce and Marc Houle are part of a rare breed who can tread the line between being über-cool minimal Berlin DJs whilst not being afraid to pack some bass and beats and funk into their sets. They understand that a crowd wants to be forced to move; to dance as if they can’t help themselves. The three had been using their label imprint Items & Things sporadically to release records by friends (including Jimmy Edgar), and then in Summer 2011 they decided it was time to relaunch and focus on their productions. Since then there has been a flurry of activity, including Marc Houle’s album Undercover in February this year, as well as the Various Items EPs.
So it’s time for a full-length collective compilation, and it comes in the form of a beautifully designed four-piece cream vinyl box-set Variables, out 13 July, featuring tracks by Throne of Blood‘s Populette, Click Box, Nyma and Madato, with Magda in charge of the accompanying mix CD (to be released along with the digital tracks on 27 July). Have a listen to the preview here:
Of course, it’s only fitting that a trio with an understanding that the key to success is all about the details should venture into the foray of party-organising. The concept behind their boutique Down & Out nights is “the intimate. The dark & dirty. The underground…Big music for sweatier spaces.” They take their decor seriously; transforming venues into something secret and new, including two parties at Sonar this year; Thursday 14 June Items & Things meets Get The Curse at Zt Hotel, and Friday 15 June Down & Out at City Hall.
So we’ll be seeing you on a sweaty, well-decorated Spanish dancefloor soon, and then we can re-live the moments forever on cream vinyl.
Nathaniel is a man you just can’t miss. Standing at a towering 6’5″ (with a couple of inches extra for the hair) and usually to be found in the centre of the dancefloor, talking animatedly, waving arms, throwing shapes, and grinning at everyone. As a testament to the super-friendly vibe at Sonar we met him at a cash point, no less, and have been friends ever since.
His style on the decks is damn smooth, and he’s been playing at the Art House in Worcester while organising the Not For Squares nights all over the midlands. He’s sent us a recent mix back to back with 2manyidiots, and we’re promised a Sonar special in honour of our first meeting.
I’m not a fan of retrospectives: it’s not very inclusive to harp on about a brilliant night/festival/set for too long, unless there’s some sort of constructive end to it. Go and see so-and-so here, etc.
BUT festivals like Sonar and Miami WMC are tastemakers and fixers for the rest of the year’s musical delights, and a precursor for the Summer’s selection in Ibiza, so I thought I’d let you know what tracks we heard out and about in Barcelona. Plus, it allows me to re-live it a little bit, so indulge me.
Particular highlights were the RA by Day party on Thursday, poolside on the roof of Hotel Diagonal, which started chilled in the sun, was moved up a level to fun old skool hip-hop and disco by Space Dimenson Controller, then brought to a sundown sweat-fest frenzy by Claude VonStroke. So many new tracks and highlights which we managed to ask him about later, but he warned us we’d have quite a wait, in particular for the release of Justin Martin and Ardalan’s epic follow-up to Mr Spock; LEZGO. I found a very small taster here – only 21 seconds but thank you to ‘Rainingcaps‘ and his dancing-while-filming brother.
A few other greats which you can get hold of now are Claude’s Take a Trip mix of Chilly Gonzales - I Am Europe, and J Phlip‘s new track with Claude under his Grizzl moniker for his vinyl imprint Krush Groov, BkupGrl, and of course my favourite, (another one I’ve been waiting patiently for) J Phlip’s OMG Remix of Russ Yallop‘s Rock Me, which is a bootleg and sadly not due for release (I think)… but you can hear it 12 minutes into this mix from March this year: Claude VonStroke – March 2011 Tour Mix by Rainbow Venues
Fun fun fun was the Jackmode party on Thursday night in a tennis club high in the hills overlooking the city (complete with a slide and see-saw) and it was nice to see Oliver $ drop his own Doin’ Ya Thang to a crowd very happy to try to sing/shout along. Oliver $_Doin´ Ya Thang by oliverdollar
A-Trak at Sonar Night on Friday was ridiculous. His hands were moving so fast on the decks he looked like a smartly-dressed robot. He gave us a little taster of his new ‘mystery’ track Big Bad Wolf, which when it comes out on Fool’s Gold is going to be immense.
We rounded the week off in fitting style with the Sunday parties, and a massive thanks to Culprit vs Leftroom for good sunny times on the roof at Hotel Catalonia in the day, then Get Physical for putting on a beach party at Mac Arena Mar through to 3am. Just enough time to pack and get to the airport for a Monday morning flight home (those crazy enough to go to work on Monday). So for now, we put Sonar to bed for another year, and content ourselves with hastily booking some flights to Ibiza, stalking producers until we get our grubby mitts on the tunes we heard, and re-living some of the joy at 5 Years of Leftroom (with Room 2 hosted by Hot Natured) at Fabric on 2 July. See you there.
We just can’t get enough of Miguel Puente. He’s one of those people you hear about, download all his mixes, can’t get enough of them, and feel a little bit like you’ve discovered him yourself, only to find everyone else in the know feels exactly the same as you.
Jozif and J Phlip have praised his mixes and productions, his Serious Compassion track featured on Soul Clap‘s Social Experiment 002, and Lee Foss obviously agrees, as he’s signed the next Miguel Puente EP to Hot Creations. What I love most is that there seems to be so many productions in the pipeline – my favourite tracks on his mixes are his own and soon to be released, so expect lots more from Miguel Puente this year.
He’s based in Barcelona, and I’m not even sure how to describe the excitement brewing as One From The Vaults are off to see the boy-wonder (and a few other people besides) play on- and off- Sonar next week. We caught up with him for a few party tips and a delve into his ‘futuristic gangsta club’ sound.
So first things first – can you introduce yourself for our readers? How did it all begin and how would you characterise your sound?
Regarding electronic music, it began in Montreal in 2005 when I was living there for about 7 months. Back in Monterrey (my home city) if you wanted to listen to electronic music there was basically only one place to go, so I was never very attached because it was just the same music all the time. So Montreal showed me a lot; so many options to listen to, and all of them good, plus I was really lucky to always have friends who could tell me a thing or two, let me use their turntables or give me tips for my productions later on.
As for my sound if you come up with a description let me know, because I really don’t have a tag for it, but I like to call it “futuristic gangsta club” if I should call it anything… Futuristic because even though it has quite a few different influences it sounds so fresh to me that as I said I don’t know what to call it, gangsta because it always makes you lean back, and club because I don’t really like to use the terms house or techno, so this way it tells you it’s for the dace floor while being a bit forward-thinking…
You’re based in Barcelona, what’s the kind of sound that characterises the Barcelona clubbing scene?
I would have to say cave man’s techno…
Berlin’s deep and minimal house and that bouncy Dirtybird sound is really taking off in the US. Where else would you work if it wasn’t in Barcelona?
If by work you mean by djing, I can DJ wherever- I love going to new places and showing my sound to new people. But if you mean work as in where I have my studio it definitely has to be a place with good weather! I really like Berlin but I couldn’t live there in the Winter… I feel really good right now in Barcelona, it gets better with time. I guess if I was in America I would be in Mexico because I don’t have to worry about a visa, plus great food and beaches, and you’re just right next to the US.
We’re heading over for Sonar and catching you play alongside Maceo Plex, Robert James and Rob Mello. How does the city change during Sonar festival? What’s your best Sonar memory?
Yes I’m really excited about this party as well: massive line up, awsome venue, everything you see there is just the perfect combination… The city changes a lot as its the best week of the year fo’ shoo its awesome!!! and for some reason my memory when it comes down to Sonar is really blurry…
What are your ‘must-sees’ for Sonar 2011?
Daniel Maloso doing a different live act to his normal show, he will be with another guy that will be playing drums live. He’s an exclusive at the Digital Delight/Struments party on Sonar Week, keep an eye on him!!
How did the releases come about – were you DJ-then-producer or always both? How did the labels first get hold of your stuff?
Yes, I was DJing before I started doing music so the flow just developed naturally. I have just been sending tracks to the people I’ve been meeting lately, no special tricks…
I first noticed your Proton Radio show when J Phlip commented on it on Soundcloud. Do you find that you are getting lots of feedback from other DJs?
Well not lots but I’m definitely getting more feedback then before, some of it by people that I’m being influenced at the moment or have been influenced by…
Any collaborations in the pipeline?
The only collaboration I’m doing right now is with my mate Sishi Rösch, half Guatemalan half Italian and one of my best friends here in Barcelona. I help him with the parties we are doing as Digital Delight but apart from the parties its also his label. He also has another label (Sultry Vibes) which we just released a hip hop EP on, with 2 west coast tracks that I really love … so right now its the only serious collaboration I’m working on.
What’s the next project or release for 2011?
Well i got a few tracks signed by Hot Creations and No.19 so hopefully the EPs will come out this year but I have no dates on any of them still.
Miguel Puente’s latest EP West Coast Feel with Sishi Rösch came out last week – buy it on Beatport here.