FROM HOMETOWN BOY TO HOUSEHOLD NAME

By Jo Dargie

Seven years ago he sparked a desire to turn his hand at DJing with the hope of bringing a new sound to Ayr. Now, he’s ditched the makeshift decks balanced on an ironing board and released with respected underground labels. Meet Ewan McVicar.

He started out experimenting with flavours of Hip-Hop “before naturally progressing into House music.” Early musical influences included The Game, Dr Dre and Kanye West.

A few years down the line, and in collaboration with Steven Simpson, came the creation of Granary 12. An Acid duo formed in the way that all best ideas are formed, “absolutely wrecked one night.” Ewan explained the conception of the collective. “My flat was in a place in Ayr called The Granary and I lived in number 12, so us being the mangled masterminds we were we just started shouting GRANARY 12 at each other and the rest is history!”

Recalling the pair’s first live set at renowned La Cheetah for Electric Salsa x TEN Crossover, Ewan hails it as one of their best to date.“TEN was a night I started with my mates in Ayr and I made Steven a resident. We grew closer from there and I can honestly say if there was no TEN there’d be no G12. It really was the catalyst for most of our music!”

Fast forward to the final months of 2020. The year where hot and sweaty club nights are illegal. Ewan looks back fondly and beams a real sense of pride in his incredible achievements over the last 12 months despite the challenging circumstances. “My whole year has been a highlight, to be honest.”

He’s enjoyed numerous plays on BBC Radio 1, signed and released with Patrick Topping’s label ‘Trick’, released on Nervous Records, nominated for DJ Mag’s Breakthrough DJ 2020 and built his own studio. As for playing live, Ewan still managed to secure some seminal sets throughout the year. Including Bangface Weekender in March where he played alongside Steven under G12.

Then in September Ewan made his debut STREETrave appearance at their live stream event. Joining Dream Frequency, Michael Kilkie and the legendary Carl Cox. A line-up that Ewan says put him alongside many of his “original heroes.” In summer Ewan celebrated his debut release on Patrick Topping’s label ‘Trick’ with the 3-track ‘Street Rave EP.’ A title that pays homage to the iconic club night associated with his local clubs.

Photography by Agata Urbanska

Ewan explained that he sent in what is now known as ‘Dorian’ as a demo and was asked to send over more. “From there I sent tonnes of tracks and Street Rave was one of them. Patrick loved it and said I should meet him at Creamfields as I said I was already going as a punter. I got security checked and eventually got backstage in my camping gear. Met Patrick for the first time in person, genuinely the nicest guy about!”

The meeting was about to get even more memorable for Ewan. After quizzing Topping on whether or not he’d spin ‘Street Rave’ in his set. He alluded to being uncertain but only a short while later Ewan’s track would open a set at Creamfields.“To this day the most memorable, surreal moment of my life. It was like everything I’d worked for came to that point!”

This year Ewan was scheduled to play alongside Topping at ‘Patrick Topping presents::Trick Terminal V All Nighters.’ However, like many other live sets Ewan had planned for 2020 such as ‘Radio 1’s Big Weekend,’ he’s had to postpone. “It is gutting but if you dwell on stuff like that you never progress.” For everyone in the nightlife industry, we can only hope for live events to return in 2021 after the treacherous year that the pandemic brought us.

In a pre-Covid world, being a DJ at times could feel like you were in fact on top of the world. The connection with a buzzing crowd. The radiating energy of hungry ravers hanging on your every beat. Surrounded by like-minded people, simply there for a good time no matter how messy it gets. Something which is prominent in Ewan’s attitude when he’s behind the decks. “G12 played Corsica Studios in London and I was on top of the decks pouring bucky into folks mouths then the bouncer told me to get down. I said naw and he ran round to get me so I swan dived into the crowd to get away from him. It didn’t work! I was out the front on my back in a matter of minutes.”

G12 partner Steven shares the same high energy as Ewan recalls another personal highlight. “Steven got panelled before a set in Glasgow and genuinely couldn’t see what he was doing. I played a tune and it went down well, he got too excited, jumped on me and I fell over and cut all the music out. Some buzz man.”

Photography by Agata Urbanska

In the studio, Ewan’s writing process mirrors his ethos of there no rules. “I use everything across the board, samples, vsts, hardware. I enjoy making my music so much because I have given myself the freedom to express myself.” Taking the same hedonistic approach when it comes to genres. Ewan’s expansive tastes shine through in his tracks and sets.

Over the years as we’ve watched him develop as an artist, Ewan’s own personality has become a pillar to his production style. “Emotion, passion and energy is something I always try and portray in all my tracks. Comparing his music to a personal journal of memories and moments in time, he claims that “as soon as I put one of my tracks on it takes me straight back to how I was feeling when I made it. It’s a class feeling.”

Expect Ewan to take the next step in 2021, climbing the ladders of elite Scottish producers. “I’m not even sure I’m allowed to tell you most of them but fuck it.” In the early months Ewan will be releasing a Minimix with Annie Mac and providing that live events get the go-ahead next year, expect to see him taking Glasgow, Dubai, and Budapest by storm.

Along with a long list of new releases coming our way. Including UTTU EP, a Trick remix and new EP, a release on Food Music and “hopefully Mele’s label Club Bad. It’s looking class, I’m so happy!” There’s one thing playing on his mind more than anything. Getting back on the dancefloor.“My goals would be to play Subby, do my own show, and run an all-day summer event in Ayr down the beach with a stage near the old Pavilion. That’s my Madison Square Garden!”

Overall, it can’t be denied that Ewan McVicar is carving himself a legacy within club culture. Showcasing to aspiring DJs that opportunities are out there if you “stick at it” and that “the only person that needs to believe in you is you.” He’s the type of figure that the industry needs. Someone who not only forges a path but turns around and helps others to follow. Ewan believes strongly in sharing advice where he can for the sole reason that he was in the exact same place not long ago. Contacting DJs and labels, waiting for the right one to take a chance on him.

When prompted to talk about his own future as an artist Ewan added: “Decades from now I want to look back and know that I did everything I could to get to where I wanted to be as a respected DJ and producer whilst staying grounded and humble.”Through his stylistic production, he has established himself within the industry. However, it’s his attitude that makes him unique. “Aye that Ewan McVicar, what a sound cunt – if folk are saying that about me when my career is over, I’ve done everything I wanted to.”

Check out his latest EP Love Trip released on Nervous Records

Photography by Agata Urbanska

THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

By Ralph Roberts

Trance Trailblazer Will Atkinson discussed his album The Last King of Scotland and his recent live stream.

How did it feel to release your debut artist album, Last King of Scotland, earlier this month?

In short it’s a massive relief. Committing myself to an artist album was never something I took lightly. It’s such an intimate process – like a journal – pouring in every experience, feeling, emotion – for some stranger to judge and intemperate in their own way. So, to spend as long as I did perfecting, fine tuning, obsessing to the point where there wasn’t a single note Id change, I’m immensely proud.

What has the reaction been like from fans?

The reaction has blown my mind. All expectations I had in my head have been blown to pieces. I’m extremely humbled and incredibly grateful for everyone and anyone that’s taken the time to stream/listen/buy a copy.

What’s the inspiration behind the title?

Scotland is the ground that I grew up on. The air that I breathe. My music is so rooted to my surroundings. I only have to get halfway up the A9 and a million melodies come into my head. It would be treason not to dedicate this album to the country this incredible country I call home.

The 17-track album features some huge names like Paul Van Dyk, Gary Go and DC Breaks. How did these collaborations come about?

When it came to collaborations, I wanted to find a balance between artists. Some have inspired me; some I’ve grown up listening too. Others are incredible songwriters. But all of them are compatible – they all compliment my sound. For me that is the most important factor when it comes to collaborating. Not doing it for the sake of doing it. Otherwise, it’s not art.

What’s your favourite track from the album and why?

I guess that’s like asking a mother to choose her favourite child. Or asking me if I prefer a mountain of Indian food or an avalanche of Chinese. Give me it all. I love it. Obligatory prawn toast to start. Ham and chicken chow mein. Chicken satay – on the skewers of course – I’m not an animal. Fried rice. Salt and Chilli chips. An extra tub of satay sauce – I want to be swimming in it ideally – and 2 cans of ice cold coca cola. Sorry what was the question again? 

We can’t dance together right now, so tell us how you’ve decided to mark the launch of the album?

When Covid-19 decimated the music industry – like just about every other – my gig schedule fell on its arse. I had the biggest year of my career shaping and a mammoth album tour spanning pretty much every continent. Of course that all fell away. So how do you launch an entire body of work that you’ve spent most of your life leading up too. With no prospect of any gigs or live events, the only option I had left was to record a unique live stream.

The live stream looked epic! What’s the response been like?

It only seemed right to take it back inside those hallowed brick walls of The Arches. When I moved to Glasgow from Orkney in 2008, it felt like every other night out ended up here. What started out as a hobby turned into an addiction. The addiction led to an education. A pilgrimage to this clubbing mecca we all know and love. Nowhere could be more fitting. I have to say, I had mixed emotions reading back all the comments. So many stories, experiences, shared by people, tagging their circles of friends, clubbers – bringing all that together felt even more special than the stream itself. And it really brought home just how special The Arches was. An institution in it’s own right. Friendships forged, memories set in stone. There was only one place I could have launched this album. Egypt has the Pyramids. China has the Great Wall. Glasgow has oor Arches.

Growing up in Orkney, Scotland, who inspired you to make electronic music? 

My mum. She put me onto Judge Jules’ Radio 1 show in the late 90s. From there I fell in love with Trance. Then subsequently Techno through a northern Irish Dj called Fergie – he used to do Friday nights. My childhood was spent sitting with a Sony tape cassette recording my idols every weekend. Then spending the rest of the week playing it back to the point where I could mouth along to the presenter. 

When the time comes, what track from the album are you most excited to play live?

I think Kismet Energy. Going back to the last question, if I had to choose one, I think this might be it. The melody came to me in a dream when I was on down time in Palm Springs between gigs. I woke up jet lagged at 5am, out of a deep dream, scrambled out of bed with the chords still stuck in my head. Frantically grabbed my laptop, waking my girlfriend in the process. Ran onto the balcony and pieced the chord structure together – whilst the sun started rising over the San Bernardino mountains. I’ll always remember that moment. Satisfaction, relief and an unquenchable thirst to finish the track there and then. From that moment I already had the track finished in my head. The track wrote itself. So it ended up turning into a driving melodic Hard House kind of vibe. I’ve always wanted to make a Hard House record – I grew up listening to loads of it. This dreamy chord structure just fits perfectly. It’s a nod to the past – the era I just missed out on. I would have loved to have been clubbing around the 2000 era. So this is the past reimagined through my eyes. Here’s what you could have won. And probably the one track I’m most looking forward to unleashing live.

We ask all our artists the same closing question. What is the craziest thing you have seen from behind the decks? 

Last year I opened up with the WWF Undertaker Theme tune in front of about 2500 people in Belfast. Rigged out in full gear, make up and hat. That’s definitely up there. Or my mate Krissy spewing his absolute ringer in front of Above & Beyond – a bin backstage whilst I was warming up for them. Strangely I haven’t warmed up for them since.

TURN THE TABLES: HELPING THE HOMELESS

By Bill Rah

Turn the tables. The initiative getting people off the streets and behind the decks by teaching homeless people how to DJ.  

Robbie Tolson, the 27-year-old founder of Turn the Tables is using his platform to help the homeless. The Edinburgh based initiative is expanding to Glasgow. It might be doing more work than our government. “I want to be helping thousands of people.” Before he invested his time in philanthropy, he was chasing the DJ dream.

Born in Glasgow, raised in Stirling and educated in Edinburgh, Robbie is a classically trained violinist. He listened to indie and electro before moving to Edinburgh for university. Robbie was a FLY Club Resident in Room 2 at Cabaret Voltaire for 5 years.  

He had a release lined up with a record label before they failed to honor the agreement. After the label dropped the EP, he was left in a precarious position. This left him devastated. “My own mental health deteriorated because of that. I wanted to do something more positive. Started volunteering for social bite.”  

He anticipated he would only be there to clean up. Little did he realize his trajectory would be forever altered. After revealing to other volunteers, he was a DJ, they requested he do a workshop for society’s less fortunate. That spiraled into Turn the Tables.  

It is critical that the men he trained performed in a safe environment. He had liaison with bar staff to ensure they were not given alcohol or drugs. There was one individual who stood out. Ryan, a homeless man whom Robbie took under his wing has evolved as a DJ. He learned to mix Vinyl, a notoriously difficult endeavor before going on to support Shapeshifters at La Belle Angelle.  

“Everyone I’ve met doing this had family issues, or issues with alcoholism and addiction.” There is clear demand for Mental Health support for individuals with substance abuse issues. It is one of the harsh realities of life. When you do something in excess, it can have a catastrophic effect on your state of mind. 

Turn The Tables is supported by Red Bull. “We do gigs with Red Bull and the proceeds go straight back to Thunder Project.” However, they are very selective of where they perform as Robbie commented. “We can’t be inside some sweaty nightclub full of drugs.” 

It has also attracted support from legendary House DJ Bushwacka. “He is a therapist which is perfect for us.” Having a multifaceted talent and prolific DJ on board has helped raise the brands profile.  

The scope of this initiative is limitless. “Anywhere that’s got a banging music scene and a homeless problem.” That is the criteria for a city where they will consider expansion. It will be expanding to Glasgow this year and Sub Club have signed up as Ambassadors for the brand.  

“We are changing the public’s perception of homelessness. The DJ’ing has its own social status. Young people look up to DJs. Then you see someone who was once an alcoholic achieve that, It’s quite powerful.” Music can be a robust weapon that shifts the public’s view on issues. With Robbie’s leadership the programme has the potential to change the lives of thousands.  

IN CONVERSATION WITH COUSN

By Josh FB

The duo COUSN from Bristol comprises of cousins Alfie and Billy Goffey. They are among Bristols finest and most unique artists. Their electric production ranges from House and Acid to Disco and Punk. Through their production they have managed to elevate their reputation. They have played in prestigious events such as Glastonbury, WHP and DC10. The duo provided an insight into their life.

How did you guys get into music?

We’d been in bands and around music our whole lives, but started making electronic tunes together when we were 16 after an eye opening weekend at Glastonbury. The first time we touched a set of decks to a crowd would have been the Pioneer DDJ-Ergo at our mate Fat John’s 16th birthday party. We called ourselves A2B and opened with a birthday tune we made for the man himself, followed by the almost self titled tune ‘The A the B’ – a staple in A2B sets for the next few months until we changed our name to ‘Caped Crusaders’ and always wore sparkly capes. The first proper DJ set we got booked for was 2 years later at the Rabbit Hole at Glastonbury so it was mad it went full circle.

To those who might not know, how would you describe your sound and style of production and DJing?

Our DJ style is consistently erratic, we don’t have the biggest attention spans so we like to jump around between genres, styles and tempo depending on how up for it the crowd is. This definitely reflects in our production as well as it also jumps around a lot of different styles, it’s always been hard to pin point the Cousn sound but we feel it is live, punky, analogue heavy dance music.

Who have been your major inspirations over the years?

We like all things renegade, the people who’ve inspired us the most have always done things their own way, you can tell there’s no label calling the shots on their look or videos, it comes straight from them as artists such as The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Leftfield, Burial and more recently acts like Snapped Ankles, Lynks Afrikka, Giant Swan have been inspiring us.

Did the music production come earlier/later, or did you find the two went hand in hand from the get-go?

Music production came first, we started making sort of slow trip hop tunes in the beginning then as we got older and started going out and experiencing more DJ sets our sound became more club focused. Then when our mates parties started getting more freaky we started DJing at them all and playing out the tunes that we’d recently made, so DJing and producing did eventually go hand in hand.

Although undoubtedly there will be huge changes and challenges to overcome, it feels as if the world is returning to somewhat of a semblance of normality. Looking back how have the last few months treated you guys? With stellar multiple back to back releases it seems you have been busy boys!

It’s been a strange few months, but we’ve been making good of a bad situation. Just getting our heads down and taking the time to make tunes, experiment more and really work out where we want to head as an act. We’ve spent the last few months bouncing around different flats and houses like stray dogs, every place we’ve lived in recently has given us different inspiration just by the space of the room and the surroundings, whether we’re working in a open space with windows or a dark dingy dungeon-like bedroom. At the moment we’re living in a place that has no internet or hot water so we’ve been filling up the kettle, and pots and pans on the hob getting just enough hot water to wash ourselves with a flannel.

Your production style has been hailed as being analogue heavy. Which pieces of hardware have become staples of the cousn sound?

We’re really glad our sound has been coined as analog heavy, we’ve always wanted our music to sound real and raw even when we had barely any equipment. Now our setup consists of, the Micro Korg and Bass Station II which have featured in pretty much every Cousn tune. Recently we got a Behringer Poly-D to make some lovely jubbly chords and a Behringer TD-3 which is a 303 emulator for some juicy acid wobbles. For the drums we’ve got a Roland Tr-8s which we put our own samples in and manipulate the sounds and always use our drummer Tom to add live drum layers on top so it’s always got a live edge to it. We’ve also got a Minilogue and an old Korg keyboard which has a real secondary school music class sound to it. “D-D-D-DJ!”.

Since Mixmag’s premiere of ‘Brain Ticker’, and its success in the summer of 2019; you’ve gathered serious momentum with your subsequent releases, which are consistently dripping with juicy acid melodies. The much anticipated ‘are you with us’ is no different. Do you feel this will become a staple of future cousn productions?

Yeah we’ve always been bang into acid, we grew up in bands so have always wanted Cousn to sound punky and erratic but there’s something inherently anti-music theory about dirty acid lines that syncs well with our punky side. Acid is wrong but so right, it’s never strayed far from where it was originally intended and there’s something so nostalgic about an acid line. Our dads grew up in the Second Summer of Love and through the acid era and used to play us tunes like ‘Higher State Of Consciousness’ and ‘Rockin Down The House’ when we were younger, so been we’ve been drawn to it ever since, and it’ll always have a place in the Cousn sound.

As you commented on during the release of ‘ritual’, even the simplest of our daily routines have required adaptation. With a new show on the prestigious Rinse FM, how have you found the “alternative means of DJing”? How does it compare to the real thing?

We absolutely love doing the Rinse radio shows, it’s the only way we’ve been able to flex our DJing triceps since COVID stopped all the fun, genuinely think we’d have gone mad without them. However since all gigs have stopped we’ve really missed having the energy and interactions with sweaty ravers, there’s no feeling like it. We’ve actually stuck a picture of a crowd on the wall in front of our decks to make us feel more at home.

How has the scene in Bristol faired during lockdown?

Same as everywhere else really, fucked. But Bristol’s always been at the forefront of new exciting music and parties so I’m sure if anywhere manages to weather the storm and come back strong it’s gunna be here in the south west.

Both locally in Bristol and in a more global sense, can you envisage any major changes to the established status quo happening once clubs reopen?

Yeah, to be honest we were feeling like the established status quo was getting really stale, music made from Loopmaster packs and the same rehashed ideas over and over again. One of the positives we feel will come from this pandemic is a huge amount of creativity, and hopefully with that a massive new wave of young producers ready to disrupt this status quo, we can’t wait. We also feel like clubbing and dance music will veer more to the fun side, everyone and their nan is gunna need a huge COVID-safe boogie when this is over.

Cousn ‘Are You With Us’ is out on 28th August

Pre order here

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

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