FROM FAULDHOUSE TO FLY CLUB: THE STORY OF LF SYSTEM

By David Gerrard 

Edinburgh is a city flourishing with talent and LF System are waving the capital’s flag into the new decade. Conor Larkman and Sean Finnigan comprise of the prolific duo.

Conor and Sean, both 24 years old, grew up just miles apart in West Lothian. “There’s not much happening here, so there’s nobody interested in electronic music. It’s a quiet place” said Sean, as he reminisced about his younger days in Winchburgh. 

Sean’s curiosity began after listening to Daft Punk in high school – “I wondered, how do they make that sound? I went down this rabbit hole trying to figure it all out when I was 13. Production came first, and DJing sort-of stemmed from producing.”

Conor, who hails from “The mighty Fauldhouse” as he proudly dubs it, took a different route. “I was at my pals, and I used a DJ app at a gaff playing EDM. We were all steaming, and I was like ‘Fuck it, I’m getting decks. I started using Traktor DJ with a wee controller, and I thought I was the dug’s baws like. Finally, I got CDJs and went into production.”

The blending of their taste allows them to produce exciting and energetic rhythmic house music. Sean discussed using anything as a source of creativity. “It’s all inspiration” as he spoke about his music taste ranging from soul & disco to pop & hip-hop. “I was always listening to a wide range, and I think that’s good for ideas in electronic music where you can make anything happen.” 

Conor agreed with Sean’s ethos on inspiration and recalled how his taste has evolved. His father was into disco, and his sister’s boyfriend introduced him to house music. “That got me into the mindset that EDM’s shite. I just loved house music.” Amen to that.

After his sister’s boyfriend visited Sub Club to see Detroit Swindle, Conor grew more intrigued. “I asked for an ID, and it turned out to be Floorplan. I was right into techno from then on.” This amalgamation of tastes leaves the boys with innovation-on-tap; a never-ending stream of ingenious artistry.

The duos first venture into club culture came in the form of the collective: HYBRiD Events. The group put on some of the most unique events in Scotland; events which were compared to illegal 90s raves in the UK. “We used to put on events everywhere – once at an abandoned Victorian swimming pool. We tried to do things differently” said Sean.

HYBRiD was never about making money, as the two made clear. “We just wanted to get playing and get steaming!” added Conor. “The way I see it: do you get paid to play football with your pals? You just do it and enjoy it. They ask me all the time if I get paid, and I argue with them ‘cause that’s not what it’s about.” 

Unfortunately, the story of HYBRiD events came to an end, and the group went their separate ways. However, this wasn’t the end. It was merely the beginning. The two praised FLY Club’s Head Booker Fergus Myer, who brought them together. Sean said: “He’s been there from the start, and he’s one of our best mates. Our manager, our agent; just everything rolled into one. He pushed us together to become a duo.”

LF SYSTEM are FLY Club residents alongside Scotland’s most prolific DJ’s. Their first residency night in January 2020 invigorated the duo. It helped them realise how far they can go. “Seeing LF System main room at Cab Vol for FLY on a poster is insane” laughed Conor. Sean still seemed in awe of how far the pair had come from their early days of mixing at gaffs and producing in their bedrooms. “It felt at the time, if we can keep pushing it, this might happen.” 

The pair also revealed their pre-gig superstitions that they follow to calm their nerves. “We have a bite to eat, and a glass of red wine. We tell ourselves ‘we’re not getting steaming’, then we get there, and we’re fucked,” laughed Conor. Sean added, “We always have tequila before the gig!” They both erupted into a fit of guilty hysterics as they recognized the true reason for getting rowdy. “Sometimes we get into the mindset where we say we won’t, but you get carried away. If the DJs aren’t the life of the party, then there’ll be no life at the party at all.”

LF SYSTEM are highly talented producers, with their featuring on three different BBC Radio 1 shows. Sean explained “We sent the tracks out, around five or six to Annie Mac and Pete Tong. They responded saying we had a good chance of getting played.” Their tracks were played for five weeks straight over the airwaves. “It was surreal, and it all happened so fast,” said Sean in disbelief.

One of the tracks that played, ‘Feel It’, was only finished within a week before being sent. Sean stated, “It’s crazy that you can sit for weeks and get nowhere, and that only took a week, and it was live on air.” If anything, that’s a testament to their amazing work ethic. “We’re sitting on a good number of tracks, we’re speaking to labels, trying to find something that fits. We’ve also got plans for self-releases” Sean exclaimed.

Sean was quick to tease another announcement as well – “We’ve got a Radio 1 thing happening in August, but we can’t say anything right now.” Excitement is an understatement for what these boys have in store for the future, and as for a potential spot on one of the FLY Weekenders abroad? “Definitely something that might happen.” With new releases coming soon we will be seeing a lot more from LF SYSTEM. Quite frankly, we are ecstatic at the prospect of more music from the duo. 

KEEPING IT REAL WITH JEZZ SIMPSON

By Bill Rah

Modula Records label boss and FLY Club Resident Jezz Simpson is one of one Scotland’s unique producers exploring the Minimal House sound.

Jezz grew up in Leith, a popular port district in the capital. “It was quite a dodgy place to grow up in.” he remarked before commenting on the current state of the area. He noted it’s transformed into an up and coming area.

“It’s quite cool Leith because you’ve got all that going on but you’ve still got the ‘old Leith’ as well with Junkies kicking about so it’s pretty fucking mental.” Growing up in a sketchy area didn’t hold him back from doing what he loves.  

He first purchased decks when he was only 14 however admits that he only serious invested himself in DJ’ing at 18. He recalled his first ever set which was in a run-down bar in Stirling. “I drove out there fucking shitting myself.” Natural for anyone’s first set. It was his mother’s friend who arranged the gig. “It was sketchy as fuck.” That probably added to the nerves.  

He had to bring along his own decks because they didn’t have their own. Quite an inconvenience. When the set kicked off it led to a memorable affair. “I just finished my set and came off and the cunts who were on at the back came in and they were going mental. Next thing, the music got cut off and the promoters got caught in the toilets taking gear so they fucking scrapped.” 

After that first set Jezz slowly established himself as a high caliber selector in Edinburgh. He is predominately influenced by Minimal House. “I like to think that’s my signature sound when I’m playing my sets. I’ve kind of got my own wee sound going on in Scotland.” 

As a DJ he used groovy minimal selections to soundtrack his sets and has built a reputation in the capital through his unique style. That style is showcased in his production. “I’ve been producing for 7 years. But I’ve been on and off, so I’ve probably been doing it properly since about 2014. It’s only now that I’m starting to be happy with the shit I’m making.” 

He commented on how he invested himself into club culture. “I got into DJ’ing for the love of the music, so I decided to stick to my guns and luckily for me Fergus and Tom at FLY Club appreciate what I do. They put me up in the café and it kind of sets the bar for the café.” Jezz appreciates the opportunity he was given to become a resident in the cafe for FLY Club.  

He reflected on how he became involved with FLY. Five years ago, Jezz ran a night alongside his close friend Gave Miller. “We ran a night in Hanover street called citizens disco. That’s where our friendship kind of blossomed.” They know of each other before this however this helped strengthen their relationship.  

Gav asked Jezz to play Room 2 with him for FLY. Gav normally played Hip-Hop which Jezz wasn’t accustomed to. “We decided to play disco and it was absolutely rammed.” After a couple more sets Tom Ketely offered him a residency at Cabaret Voltaire. “Shoutout to Tom and Fergus for giving me that platform to showcase my sound. If it weren’t for them I would be sitting here doing fuck all.” 

Jezz progressed and is now one of the most revered local residents in Edinburgh. “I did the residences in room 2 and gradually got moved upstairs. I was kind of scared that I was going to be tagged as a disco DJ which I really wasn’t, so I started playing my own kind of stuff in the café and it just started going down well.”  

He will be playing at FLY Amsterdam Weekender alongside his Leith comrade Gav Miller. When they play together it’s usually an impromptu set. “When we come together to play there’s no doubt in my mind how it’s going to go down. We don’t have to tell each other what we’re going to play. Just fucking play it and it works.”  

DJ’ing comes easy to veteran selectors such as Jezz. It’s running a label that presents challenges. Jezz struggles to stay on top of his DM’s and emails being flooded with music. It’s difficult to narrow down selections and choose one for release.  

He collaborated with Joe Wheeler to establish Modula Records. They gravitated towards each other as they shared a love of minimal groove. It took them years to establish the right contacts and gain the knowledge to release Vinyl. “It took us two years to get the foundations in place and get a team to work with us It was 2 years ago that we released our first record MR001.” 

That first release went better than anticipated. “After we first released Jamie Jones was playing it at Kappa Future Festival and It just went fucking off. Our record sold out instantly. That’s kind of when I realised that although we’ve got no clue what were doing, we’re doing it fucking right.” 

When he isn’t spinning tunes behind the decks he works as Head of Maintenance in a care home. Fortunately they didn’t record any cases of COVID-19. For Jezz life in lockdown has been a challenge. Modula records began as Vinyl only however switched to digital in order to survive the current economic climate.

He misses the dance floor especially the community aspect of club culture. “Seeing those faces that you wouldn’t normally see outside the clubs. You know you’ve got those people that you’re really close with but you wouldn’t go on a walk with or any of that shit.” One of the hardest things for him was missing out on an opportunity of play Boiler Room alongside Gav Millar.

Despite the lockdown Jezz has been occupied with his production. “Solo release on distinct and a collab with Gregg Dunsmore which came out on Lacuna recordings, been working on a lot of stuff with him lately, he’s a wicked producer and one of my good mates.”

Jezz is one the real ones. Constantly scouting for talented producers to feature on his label and grafting to ensure his production remains on an upward trajectory. He has managed to build a reputation throughout Scotland by keeping it real.

Check out Modula Records latest VA

Check out Digital 002

Jezz Simpson Nasty Edit

WE SHOULD HANG OUT MORE RELEASE NEW EP

By Bill Rah

We Should Hang Out More. The renowned Glasgow duo host some of the cities finest parties. The duo are key pillars of Glasgow club culture. Their new EP ‘March Last Year’ is out today.

The new three-track EP is exquisitely produced house grooves which will be released on rising label Jackie Knows Karate Records. John Markey and Oliver Melling have built a notorious reputation for their parties. In the good sense.

Oliver Melling said “These tracks were conceived at a time when we were playing longer, heavier sets in all manner of weird and wonderful places. Taking to the booth often three times a weekend was frenetic.”

Their production might be just as good as their parties. Their latest EP was written during a time there were lots of raves happening in Glasgow. “We were playing loads of massive parties, sometimes playing three times in one weekend.”

What a time to be alive. Soul searching and reflecting during the lockdown truly makes us appreciate the parties where we danced the hardest. Thou cut shapes until the end. “It was a mad time of energy and creativity. We released two disco orientated releases on Midnight Riot and decided to make some house music to reflect the venues we were playing in.” said Markey

He went on to elaborate on the significance and meaning of their latest EP. “The tunes you hear are our representation of those venues that mean so much to the city’s cultural fabric.” The duo are residents in Sub Club and The Berkeley Suite.

They are local legends within the cities club culture. The noted they compliment each other in different ways which contribute to their success. Oliver has a degree in Audio Engineering while Markey has a PhD in Music. They each bring their unique skillset to the table.

Markey grew up in a small town called Warrenpoint in Ireland. Oliver in a small town called
Selkirk in the Scottish Borders. “We’re pan-Celtic.” The duo added. A critical detail that shouldn’t be overlooked especially in a city like Glasgow. The duo met in unconventional circumstances.

Markey worked in a pub in Glasgow and Oliver worked across the road in a coffee shop.”We bonded over borrowing petty change from each other and then started going clubbing together. Then we played at flat parties together before taking the leap into the highly competitive gladiatorial arena that is Glasgow club nights” said Markey.

They both reflected on their first ever set together. It was August 2014. Glasgow was buzzing at that time. The Commonwealth Gamers were on that summer as was the first Independence Referendum. They performed a wild set together in La Cheetah.

“The city was an incredible ball of energy, it was an amazing place to be at the time. We sold out in under an hour, probably squeezing more than we should have into that outrageously hot basement. It was sweaty, incredibly energetic and totally solidified our want to keep doing this for as long as we can.” said Oliver

Since then they haven’t looked back and have catapulted their brand to incredible heights. Their previous booking include Honey Dijon, Folamour, Late Night Tuff Guy and other high calibre selectors.

However due to the lockdown they have been impacted substantially. Although this has given the duo time to focus on production. “We’ve worked really hard on production over the lockdown, and the fruits of it are very close to harvesting.” said Markey

He added “Our release schedule from the end of 2020 onwards is going to be hectic. We’ve been collabing with some amazing producers remotely, as well as some seriously talented topliners too. We’ve also established our own record label In The Event Of Capture to release some of the unheard talent in Glasgow.”

Despite there parties being halted due to COVID-19 the WSHOM boys have been honing their skills and will be releasing more music to share with the world. As staples of Glasgow club culture it’s great to see the duo scout the city for unheralded talent to focus on.

Send Demos to intheeventofcapture@wshom.club

Check out their new EP here

WSHOM Studio

EVA CRYSTALTIPS BRINGING THE DISCO

By Bill Rah

Eva Crystaltips, the French Disco DJ was once a protege of Artwork. In the wake of COVID-19 she began preparing for her next step. Moving to Berlin. 

In a city dominated by industrial Techno, Eva wants to bring something different to the European epicenter of club culture. “I’m aware it’s going to be difficult to impose myself as a DJ over there but if I don’t try how will I know.” She understands the competitive landscape of the industry yet that won’t stop her from trying. Eva holds a deep affection for Berlin as she has visited her sister who lives there many times.  

“My sister was telling me people are bored of techno. They are asking for something else.” Eva wants to bring in a Disco revolution to Berlin. She noted that morning, afternoon and night DJ’s are performing in Berlin. “At some point you want different music. I’m the French Girl. I bring you the disco.”  

Growing up in Normandy she listened to Psychedelic rock however when she invested herself in DJ’ing, she developed a taste for Disco. In 2015 Eva began her DJ’ing career in the Bongo Club in Edinburgh. “I used to go to the same night for a year every month so I approached the DJ’s asking them if they needed help to do some PR. After a few months they were like do you want DJ.” 

Eva had never stepped foot inside a club until she turned 24. However, once she entered it was difficult to get her to leave. Eva initially learned behind the decks from Steve Austin and Trendy Wendy. They run a night in the Bongo Club and pushed Eva towards pursuing her DJ’ing career. That isn’t the only person who taught her about DJ’ing and the music industry.  

Photography By Ben Glasgow

The fierce and talented French DJ applied for the Smirnoff Equaliser Programme. An initiative that promoted equality in the industry. The winners were given the opportunity of performing at Lost Village, Printworks and other prestigious events. They were also given the chance to be mentored by their choice of DJ.  

Between Honey Dijon, Peggy Gou, Nastia, The Blessed Madonna, and Artwork. Eva selected Artwork due to his style and sound. “I choose Artwork because of the music he played. It was the closest to what I was doing.” At that time Eva had never heard of Artwork. However, after watching one his sets on YouTube she was enamored by his skillset and style.

“It’s not about DJ’ing it’s about the industry and life.” That’s why she selected Artwork over the other high caliber selectors. Artwork helped mold and craft Eva into the sharp and witty DJ she is today. He spent 3 hours teaching her Ableton although she noted that production isn’t her more refined skill. As she reflected upon her early career, she stressed that she didn’t plan on becoming a DJ. “I never wanted to become a DJ. I was a dancer.”  

Every DJ needs their sound identity and for Eva disco is what gets her grooving. “It’s the way people dance. People dancing together and singing along with hands up in the air.” That’s what she truly adores. Nothing puts a smile on her face than watching dancers enjoying themselves to her selections.

However, there is more to DJ’ing than shit hot tune selection. According to Eva you need the confidence to go out and ask for gigs. It’s not easy “finding the guts to show that you can do it.” She acknowledged some women may find this difficult due to a lack of confidence. You need to be able to go out and say to promoters, give me a gig.  

 Photography by Annabel Staff

“I don’t think there is less women DJ’ing there is just so much pressure on women. A lot of women don’t try because it’s asking a lot to be able to impose yourself in such a male dominated industry. Not everyone has the confidence to do so.” This is an interesting analysis by Eva and she shared her thoughts on the disadvantages women face in the music industry.  

“If you’re not wearing certain clothes, makeup or posing and showing you’re a cute woman, you don’t get followers and gigs and that’s a major issue.” In the age of social media, Women face intense scrutiny on what they wear, say and act. Now that’s wrong but it won’t stop people from being judgmental. “You can be a man and wear whatever you want.”  

In the music industry it’s much more difficult for women to get their name out there. Unless you are a pretty white boy. Sex sells. “You’re not going to get booked because you’re not showing yourself wearing a bikini on a boat. Promoters won’t book you because they think you won’t be bringing the crowd. I hate Instagram.”  

Promoters are for the most part greedy people obsessed with making money. They care about how many Instagram followers DJ’s have and who will attract a crowd. That isn’t right and all promoters should take note. Scottish promoters need to offer residences to more women and minorities.  

Fortunately for Eva she has never experienced sexism within the music industry. “I think I’ve got an attitude of don’t mess with me.” She said in a stone-cold voice before chuckling and exclaiming how approachable she is.  

Eva is serious about furthering her music career and anyone who has witnessed her sets will understand how skilled she is. Eva has the mental fortitude to thrive in a highly competitive industry. As she prepares for her move to Berlin, she understands she will need to work twice as hard to make an impact over there. 

Papajgun Photography

FLY ANNOUNCE PHASE 1 AMSTERDAM LINEUP

By Bill Rah

FLY Open Air have announced the Phase 1 lineup for the Amsterdam Weekender in 2021.

This will include Big Miz, DJ Tennis and Skream. Joining them will be La La, Theo Kottis and Special Request.

Local FLY Club residents Gave and Jezz will be rounding out the Phase 1 lineup.

The Amsterdam edition will be the festivals first event abroad.

FLY Amsterdam Weekender will be held between the 5th and 8th of March next year.

The events will be held across multiple unique intimate venues across Amsterdam.

Due to the high demand extra tickets are being released tomorrow at 2PM.

Click here to sign up for tickets

THE LIFE OF LOUISE CHEN

By Mollie Denton

Louise Chen the French and Taiwanese DJ is a pillar of Parisian music culture. She is an ultimate variety of a DJ, collective founder, fashion icon, record collector and an all-round kick ass female within the electronic music industry.

With her adoration for music beginning from an early age growing up in Luxembourg, where she would create mixtapes for her family in Taiwan, Louise has been bouncing within her busy schedule of NTS radio shows, DJing at fashion parties and running a female music and arts collective. As the lockdown is slowly being lifted, Louise is in the middle of moving from Paris to London.

Growing up in Luxembourg, Louise spent a lot of her childhood backstage at TV shoots due to her aunt being a singer and actress and explained how that felt very normal for her. Another major part of her childhood was receiving mixtapes from her dad. “That was my way of having him around even though he was physically away – and so very quickly that fed my passion for music, because all of a sudden that was connected to feelings of love and longing and wanting to be with your family. So now, I just equate music to people.”

After being shown how to record her own mixtapes, Louise described how it was ‘game over’, as her obsession with music began. “Because in Luxembourg, you didn’t have the spice girls or whatever big group that were touring, they would never come there. That’s why it felt like everything I’d see on MTV or on television or hear on the radio felt so out of reach – but in some ways, I’m really glad that I had that because it just made me more obsessed! It just made into the collective that I am, the hoarder!” 

At the beginning of 2012, Louise started up her own club night, in response to the lack of females DJing and being in clubs within Paris at the time. To put it into context, Louise mentioned that she rarely saw women DJ, and it was the likes of Miss Kittin and Ellen Alien who were around at the time. “Even then, it was too few, and we never really felt that we could look up to anyone except dudes which was really frustrating.” 

Louise commented on when she did go out to clubs, she felt no sense of belonging, and that the guys thought she was there for them – not because she cared about the music that was playing. “Back then my boyfriend was a DJ, and he was always saying to me ‘You don’t come see me play!’ And eventually I had to explain – ‘Well, it’s not exactly for me is it, if you look around you, it’s a bunch of dudes playing to a bunch of other dudes, and there are absolutely no girls around you – the girls that are around are backstage.”  

After starting up the night and DJing a couple of times, Louise noticed that it was the same group of girls that were returning, they knew the music, and they were dancing and singing along to the tracks she was playing. “They created the identity of the night, they were the crowd I wanted there, they were the crowd that other people wanted to come see. I guess very quickly I just offered to them, would you like to make this a collective and this way everyone has a role to play and can have input, and that’s how it started.”

Eventually becoming a music and art collective with the name ‘Girls Girls Girls’, Louise was relieved at how she had finally found her people, sharing the love for music instead of being assumed that she was in the club to find guys. “It was more of a like, this is me and my girlfriends, almost like the party was a call to arms – and then whoever answered the call, was like oh my god I’ve found my people!”  

Having played one of the Girls Girls Girls parties, NTS Radio’s beloved residents since day one Moxie and Louise soon became great friends. “She invited me on to her show a couple of times, then when she went to tour Australia for the first time she asked me if I’d be up for covering her radio show for her.” Louise now has a monthly residency at NTS, where her shows present every music that has stemmed from jazz and Afro-American music. “It’s a lot of gospel, disco, boogie, soul, house, techno, and everything in between. in my head, it’s all connected, it just makes sense. NTS radio has been my favourite radio show since day one, so it was an absolute honour to be covering for Moxie – when that ended NTS very kindly offered me a monthly show.” 

As lockdown has ensued over the globe for the past four months, almost everybody can relate to feeling in and out of their funk, adapting to what is now known as the new normal as we experience a strange, unpredictable time. It is obvious that the lockdown has caused either a spark in creativity, or the complete opposite. “I felt with isolation at any time I’d be a little blue or down, it just took ten times longer to get out of my funk – whereas on a regular day, I’d just be able to go out and see my friends or do something like see some art to cheer me up. But there I couldn’t even escape my own self, I hate it!” Louise exclaimed.

Facing a few obstacles, which is understandable during the lockdown period, Louise spoke of the struggle with artistic expression. “Mixes kept me busy, but in terms of music production, it was a dry spell. I just couldn’t do it – like any kind of obstacle became unbearable, like unsurmountable. Every time I got frustrated, it would just last for way too long, but it just wasn’t worth it.”  

Keeping yourself occupied throughout the day whilst isolating is key to keep yourself in check. It’S easy to lose yourself, especially when you’re spending every second with yourself, sometimes alone, and in one place day in day out. As mixes were her form of escapism, Louise had recorded more mixes during the lockdown than she would have usually done within a year. “I think that’s probably because now, in hindsight, I was isolating completely alone and I think for me, that was a form of escapism, so I wouldn’t have to feel lonely or scared or any of the negative things, so I would make sure I’d be really busy every day.” 

FIGHTING THE POWER WITH MISS WORLD

By Josh FB

The gender disparity needs to be addressed and that’s exactly what Edinburgh based collective Miss World are doing. They have built a strong reputation off the back of their EHFM radio shows and residency at Sneaky Pete’s

Gender inequality is an issue that requires attention. A 2018 review by Pitchfork analysing 20 major festivals found only 19% of DJs were female. Albeit a 5% increase from 2017, the fact that only 3 of the festivals reviewed achieved a 50:50 line-up shows imbalance. On average, only 10% of performers at music festivals are female.  

Julia aka Aphid described their mission “our aim is to promote women and trans/non-binary individuals. We aim to run nights and book these people to give them representation.” The importance of female representation within electronic music is a critical factor in generating future interest. As Feena explained “It gives a platform of expression to people. I met all my female DJ friends through Miss World and EHFM. The scene can be intimidating when it’s full of guys.” 

On top of providing opportunities for female and non-binary artists, Miss World supply a welcoming space. With certain clubs sometimes feeling hostile.  Gemma aka Iced Gem states “We’re always looking around from the booth to see if everyone is safe.”  

Eclectic and diverse selections drive the collective’s sound. Gemma immerses herself in a wide variety of rhythms and vocals from across the globe. Julia and Feena base their style around break beats, bass and techno. Julia candidly admits her early days were influenced by 80s synth and new wave. 

For those interested in electronic music but feel apprehensive, Feena recommends “try and find a group of people who are supportive and encouraging because there are so many people out that have similar mind-sets and want to help.” Gemma added “for me just going out and talking to people was a good starting point and exposing yourself to clubs.”

Gemma explained how difficult it is for women to get invested in DJing. They might feel intimidated by the equipment. For women it’s harder to find female collectives to help. Access to equipment is a major barrier for aspiring DJs, Julia explains “to help combat this we run workshops.” Julia formerly offered workshops to people in the Wee Red Bar as she works at The Edinburgh College of Art.  

The collective emphasized how hard they are working to enforce equality in Edinburgh. Gemma highlights “It’s a very close-knit group and it’s special. You get to know people and there is a great sense of nurturing. When you do a good job you’re also rewarded with opportunities. It gave me confidence in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.” It’s comforting to know that there is such a strong sense of community.  

Many promoters with unbalanced line-ups may argue they select bookings based on talent. Gemma argued “I would say that promoters have become lazy. It’s important to look into community radio and integrate the local scene into bookings.” Julia added “If it was a true meritocracy based on talent, it would represent equality. It’s because there are so many systemic issues at play such as racism and sexism.” 

Actions as simple as choosing what to wear for your set present added complications for women, who face increased judgement and pressure. The group described the sexism female DJs deal with. Gemma shared “someone reaching over the decks to grab my waist, a guy pulling off my record. It’s constant microaggressions”. Julia experienced sexism more frequently in bars when exposed to crowds.  

After building a reputation in the capital Gemma explained “I was a bit naive and I thought now people know who I am, and I feel more respected this won’t happen as much. It’s just not true”. Julia agreed saying “I naively thought as I became more experienced and more confident it will go away.”

When asked why this might happen, Gemma explained “I’ve seen it happen to guys definitely. But the confidence that they seem to have when it’s a woman is just so high. Why Is there that lack of respect? Their conversation is just way more like they’re trying to assert themselves on you”. There should be mutual respect between clubbers, DJs and promoters, regardless of gender. However, often this isn’t the case.

To combat this the group are active within the crowd, making sure everyone is safe. When somebody steps over the line Feena says “I Just don’t tolerate it at all, like leaning over the decks or touching equipment.” 

The best ways to support progressive movements in Gemma opinion is “being a good ally and giving space to women, non-binary and POCs. I think the best allies are those that follow and don’t try to lead minorities.”  

Julia added “I think supporting just by showing out for people as well. If you see a night where women or people of colour, or a trans person is DJing, just showing up to listen. Equally just calling someone out when you see it.”  

While a difficult subject, calling out friends and family will help combat inequality. Feena articulates “what you want is people to later challenge and think about what they’ve said by themselves. It’s important to call out your mates. If you want change, start in small circles. Maybe if someone says something you disagree with just stand up”. These things can become heated therefore Gemma adds “Calling them out in a measured way not in an angry way or on social media. Just face to face and try to be constructive.”  

Everybody makes mistakes, sometimes we say things without truly realising their implications. What’s important is to realise that progressive thinking is the way forward. This will help enforce changes within society and help make our culture more beneficial for women and minorities.  

The collective is busy rescheduling bookings impacted by COVID. They are converting their 5th birthday party, originally scheduled for August to an EHFM radio show. Julia continued “I hope we can just pick up where we left off and keep the momentum going.” As a society we must support local DJ’s and stand up for social injustices.

Let’s fight the power. Together.  

THE REALITY OF IBIZA WITH DAVE BROWNING

By Jo Dargie

Club culture is engraved on the heart and soul of Ibiza. Ravers have travelled from all across the globe for generations to experience the magic of the White Isle’s clubbing scene. Put simply, there is no party island quite like Ibiza. 

Over the years, the island has faced its hardships for various reasons, but it’s always had its loyal party-goers to rely on each summer. Flocking in their millions to hit up top clubs such as Hï IbizaAmnesia and the legendary DC-10. That is until 2020. For Ibiza, the pandemic presents the unimaginable: a summer with no clubbing. At least not on the phenomenal scale that it’s used to. 

With rumors and clickbait headlines rife, we wanted to delve into the reality of how Ibiza’s 2020 summer season is shaping up. So, who better to speak to on the matter than Dave Browning? Once the catalyst behind Carl Cox’s iconic 15 year Space residency, Dave remains a highly respected figure in Ibiza’s clubs scene. Now channeling his energy into Game Over; a joint promotions venture which hails itself ‘by clubbers, for clubbers’. Along with WILDCHILD, Ibiza’s slice of nostalgic fun.  

Hey Dave, thanks for chatting to us. How’s lockdown been treating you and what’s the atmosphere like on Ibiza at the moment? 

“I think that the best way to describe the atmosphere on the island is confused.” 

‘’The information that filters down from the government is confusing. The information that you see everywhere is confusing. I think more and more people are getting a bit pissed off with it all. From the research that I have read, and I’m no medical expert, this whole lockdown was a stupid thing to do. For a lot of people, it’s ruined their whole livelihoods and it’s going to take a long time to recover from.’’ 

“My office is about a kilometre from here and I’ve been going in just for my mental well-being. I’ve been stopped three times by the police saying, ‘what are you doing?’ I’m going from my apartment, into my car, into my office. All on my own, without coming into contact with anyone else. Where on earth is the problem with that?” 

“We’ve broken the system financially and severely impacted many people’s mental health and well-being” 

Moving forward, can you see good can coming from the effects of the pandemic for Ibiza’s clubs scene? 

“At the end of the day, in the face of adversity lots of creative things happen. For anyone who does events, it’s now about looking at other options. We still want to run events and people still want to go out. However, the whole situation is changing people’s perceptions. It’s putting into people’s minds that going out is dangerous. It’s insane.” 

‘’On Ibiza we were locked in our apartments since the 14th of March. No plans, no events, no DJ’s. It’s a crazy situation and now they’re trying to backpedal as rapidly as possible with the government starting to realise that a huge amount of the GDP comes from tourism. They’re trying to welcome tourists, but the damage is done.’’ 

From your perspective as a promoter, what does the overall landscape of the 2020 Ibiza season look like? 

“From a business end, the economics of it have to make sense otherwise there’s no point in hosting events. There will still be parties on the island. People will still party in their villas. Why would you want to stop the party? I think as citizens of the world, we’ve been far too apathetic to let ourselves get pushed around. Nobody stood up. The idea that we can’t all gather in a hot and sweaty room because it’s my choice to do so, is ridiculous. If I choose to go into that club and take that risk that someone might be infected with the flu, I’m going to do it.’’ 

The last few summers have seen more restrictions put in place around Ibiza’s nightlife from the local authorities and there’s talk of more to come. Do you think that the 2020 season, running without some of the biggest clubs, could sway a new perception of how important the industry is to Ibiza’s economy? 

It’s true, for a certain amount of time the authorities have been wanting to get rid of the lower end of mass tourism. The working-class club enthusiasts, the people that originally brought the colour and the flavour to Ibiza. If they don’t come here, then it’s going to cause an absolutely massive hole on Ibiza financially.” 

“Now they want people to come here, stay in a nice villa, go to a nice restaurant. Maybe go to one of the superclubs, then go home and behave themselves.” 

“Mass tourism has been coming to the island since the 80s and it’s very short sighted to think ‘we want to get rid of them.’I get that nobody wants a load of drunken Brits making a mess everywhere but young people want to drink, party, do drugs and get loose. It’s part of growing up.” 

“So, in my opinion, the best thing to do is let them do it in a safe environment. Educate them about behaviour and what they can and can’t do. Beating them with a stick doesn’t work. It has never worked.” 

“The idea is that people go out, bust themselves and go home with not a penny in their pocket thinking ‘that was worth it.’ For me as a promoter, that’s alway my intention. If you see someone walking out of a club in the early hours of the morning without a penny in their pocket but a huge smile on their face. Then we know we’ve done a great job as a promoter.” 

What about Ibiza itself as an island, I know for one I fell in love with the place instantly. Do you think that a new kind of season could highlight lesser known parts of the island to visitors, away from clubbing?  

“Probably. Speaking to a lot of villa rental owners this ‘experience’ type of thing is going to be what’s more popular this year.” 

‘’Everyone who lives here is going to be looking to see how they can get some kind of revenue stream. People will discover all of the beautiful parts of the island that are generally only known by residents.’’ 

“Before we lived here I used to always say that when you come down the steps of the plane you could feel that little bit of magic. If one day they squeeze the magic out of this island then we’re screwed because you can’t get that back. Even during this crazy time, the magic is still here. You walk along the beach and it’s just beautiful.” 

You’re right. The magic of Ibiza is what has brought tourists back year on year but money is an ever growing factor on the island now. 

“They need to understand that the streets aren’t paved with gold. The prices need to come down. It was pricing itself out of the market. It’s beautiful, it’s amazing but the costs are going through the roof. People that come on holiday have a certain budget and the majority of people don’t have 5000 euros to spend on their week’s holiday. Why should they?” 

“This place doesn’t warrant spending 5000 euros to have a good time. I’ve had some of the best nights ever where I’ve not even known who was playing. If you’re with the right people and the sound system is good then it’s amazing.” 

“As an industry we made the mistake a few years ago where we slowly started to put DJs higher and higher on a pedestal. From a marketing perspective I kind of get it but now it’s come to bite us on the arse. It’s primarily driven by the agents rather than the DJs. People are booking people by how many followers they have on Instagram these days. I couldn’t give a shit how many followers you have. I want someone who’s going to come down and do the job.” 

Looking back on your early days clubbing on Ibiza. What are the main differences now and what key things will always remain the same? 

“Good music will always be good music. I hope that the reasons people go clubbing remain the same but it seems to be changing. There’s a new generation of people who are going out for different reasons than I did. I went to a club because the music really drove me there. Now, the way things are heading, the most important thing is to get in there, get your shot and get the fuck out of there. They get their ‘Instagram moment’ and off they go.” 

“We tried out a rule a few years ago of ‘no phones allowed on the dancefloor.’ It’s quite a difficult stance to adopt but for me it was perfect. It had gotten to the stage where Carl (Cox) would come on and there would be this sea of phones in the crowd. It really was like the Pope was coming to give a sermon!” 

“They were in that moment and they lost it because they were so intent on getting that shot to share with their mates. That’s one of the fundamental changes. It’s more important for people to say that they were there, than actually being there.” 

“The backlash of this is that it’s very difficult to develop an underground scene because as soon as everyone is in that scene, they want to tell the world about it. The underground scene is the foundations of it all and if we squeeze the underground scene too hard then this whole building is going to collapse

ALL GOOD WITH VAN DAMN

By Bill Rah

Jordan Alexander Wyness aka Van Damn is the 31-year-old MC we never asked for but always needed. The All Good Dundee chief is a veteran of Scottish club culture as he has been spinning tracks since he was 15.  

During the lockdown he has delivered hilarious drunken live streams. Berating fans begging for tune requests live and direct. The Dundee Don is at the forefront of electronic music culture in the city. His tracks have been featured on BBC RADIO 1 Introducing by Jaguar. He is rising the ranks and might be the funniest DJ in Scotland.

In order to understand how he arrived to where he is today, we must look backwards. He reminisced on his childhood sharing fond memories. His mother was into proper old school retro 80s classics. His aunts on the other hand were a lot more invested in partying. “They were heavy into going to all the rumbas and illegal raves.” 

There was one occasion when his aunts were babysitting him during a fried affair. “I’ve got photos of me being dropped off by my mum to an afters they were hosting.” Van Damn was raised in the den. Although he noted “Nothing bad or anything, but it was mental.” Family is important to him. During the lockdown he has went back to the basics by helping his mother run her cafe in Arbroath. 

Jordan is a single father and holds a close bond with his son. However, at first, he was frightened by the prospect of parenthood. “When I got told I was going to be a dad, I total shat myself.” At the time he was 24 in Aberdeen living the life and doing what he wanted.  

However, the reality check of fatherhood helped him realize how important family is. He candidly reflected as he overcame the absence of his father. “I never really knew my biological dad, I never met him before growing up. I just wanted to fill the gap that he left.” Thats exactly what he did by being a good father and supporting his son.  

Now in order to support a family you need to put bread on the table. Now how do you do that. Well DJ’ing can pay the bills. How does one learn in the early 2000s. At 17 Van Damn burned tunes onto CDs and played at The Reading Rooms. Considering the circumstances it was impressive. “Only had 1 CDJ and a mixer. I was mixing tunes from garageband onto CDs.” 

Jordan remarked one of his mother’s friends had decks, but he wasn’t allowed to touch them. However, nothing would stop Van Damn from crafting his art and refining his skill. He got his hands on a controller. Then discovered a set of technics in the basement of his work. 

“They weren’t in great condition, a bit cracked. I told them they were fucked and they just gave them to me, they’re the ones I still use today! Turns out they were completely fine, the guy cleaning them said he found nails inside. They’re total workhorses, still work today.”

In high school Van Damn was a baller helping lead the Arbroath Musketeers alongside his teammates. “Dundee were shite we used to pump them all the time.” His team were going up against Glasgow, Edinburgh and others.  

He then went on an exchange program to play basketball in the United States. “Took my little controller across with me and played a couple wee parties” Frat parties with Van Damn spinning tunes sounds wonderful.  

“Lived in Maddison, near Cleveland, Ohio. I visited Cleveland, DC, even played a gig in Detroit, well Ann Arbor just outside it’s but I can still say I played it.” He has had an interesting life and he remains humble in his journey as a DJ.  

Jordan has build up his brand All Good Dundee by throwing some of the best parties outside of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Alongside his close friend Scott both started gravitating towards DJ’ing. “We wanted to do something together because we had a good following of people in Arbroath and Dundee.”  

“I was getting gigs but I never had my own thing. I tried to do a couple of club nights myself, but it just never felt right. I didn’t put my all into it. We banged heads together and came up with the name. Tried to put on a couple of nights but it was hard because we were fucking skint.” 

They were able to secure Jackmaster for a gig where he brought Denis Sulta. That party propelled his brand and gave them the funds to function. However unfortunately shortly after Scott passed away in a car crash. Before Scott passed away him and Jordan made a list of dream bookings. Within 5 years Van Damn ticked them off the list. Paying homage to his friend in a unique manner.  

Despite the loss Van Damn remains resilient. Transforming All Good into Dundee’s top collective with high profile bookings. “We’re lucky that we’ve got really good relations with DJs like Jack, Hammer and Jasper. For me their fees could be much higher because they attract massive amount of ticket sales without charging us as highly as they could. They do us a favor.”

This camaraderie between artists helps the industry function. The collective All Good is made up of Ethan Bell, Nairn Spink and Head Booker Scott Forrest. Van Damn remarked how lucky he is to have them alongside him. “They usually warm up for me and are so good at building up a room when I get on, I can usually play whatever I want.”

Expect a banging house vibe all the way though Van Damns sets. Regarding his weekly live streams on twitch it was his answer to the lockdown. He felt All Good needed an outlet however he didn’t want to make mixes as they didn’t feel personal enough.

“The weekend before the lockdown I just had a complete stomper in my house. I put the cameras up and everyone was in the studio and yeah it was a total nonsense.” Van Damn started to MC during lockdown live streams. “Oh mate its just cause I’m pished. All I’m doing is getting total pished and doing stupid shite.” Well keep up your pish big man. 

LOCKDOWN TALK WITH MACKA

Behind The Decks caught up with Macka during the lockdown to see how he is dealing with his life in isolation. During the lockdown the Sub Club Resident has become a key worker. When he isn’t feeding the nation he is hammering out production. Expect to see a new release later this year. Like millions his career has been put on hold. Which means he has nothing but time on his hands.

How you been keeping during the lockdown?

Life and music prior to the shock of the pandemic crisis was really on an up for myself personally and with everything being grounded to a total halt so quickly, it really did lead to a massive change in my feelings and plans for this year.

What have you been working on?

I’ve been investing into my production and really enjoying having the time to sit and work on different aspects of my music. I guess a plus side has been all of the fantastic music coming out of lockdown, especially out of Scotland recently.

How much do you miss being behind the decks?

Wish you hadn’t of asked. It’s left a really big void in what I get up to and look forward to constantly. I guess it’s just going to be the norm for the time being.

Will you be dropping any new music later this year?

YES. I’ve got a load of stuff I’m really excited to share with everyone in the near future as well as some collaborations I’ve been planning.

As someone who DJ’s regularly how much has COVID impacted you financially?

This is a difficult question as It’s more of a hobby rather than a job really. To be making money doing something I love so much is a total bonus. Having said that I hope I’m back at parties and not delivering takeaways as soon as possible hahahaha.

Macka b2b with Denis Sulta in Aberdeen in 2019

Hold up. Who you doing deliveries for?

Big up Soul Sushi in Edinburgh. Best sushi in the East Coast. Quote that

Have you discovered a lot of new music during lockdown?

As I’ve said the music coming out of Scotland at the moment is great. Shout out to LF System, Testpress and Jezz Simpson.

Who have been you been listening to the most during lockdown 

I’ve been listening to a variety of stuff during lockdown and I don’t tend to stick to electronic music either. There’s too many choices to pick one.

What’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

My uncle is a massive influence to me and my drive for electronic music. In the 90’s he DJ’d under the alias “The Waxman” and is really clued up. It’s great to be able to chat about how it was back then. Also my wee brother Rory is a shit hot dancer and is going to do big things, check him out.

Who’s your favourite producer right now 

Loving Dance System’s music at the moment.