This coming Friday we’re launching the first in a new series of events in Farringdon - Curates. It’s all part of a wider refresh of what we do on that first night of the weekend.
Curates in particular, will see artists that we hold huge respect for digging deep into their own personal tastes, hand picking who will join them in EC1. Be that producers who have floored them with their live sets or those DJs who have been of significant influence on their careers.
Undeniably, the success of how this will come off rests entirely on who we hand the torch to on the programming front, that’s why we felt that Minneapolis grown DJ DVS1 was best placed to kick off the series. DVS1’s an artist who - after years of graft and localised notoriety in the USA Midwest electronic music community - has seen the respect he holds in the wider reaches of the international techno vista soar. It’s a respect he fully deserves. Just this week he announced plans to mark 20 years of his label Hush with a ream of his own rare and on point productions, he’s also earned a place among Berghain’s high class of residents and from our own experience is one of the most dedicated and able DJs in moving dancefloors active today.
DVS1’s approach to spinning comes bolstered with a whole load of passion, too. The way he came into putting together his take on Curates was approached a real belief in each artist on the bill. What soon became apparent when we chatted over his choices for the line up, was a particular affinity he held for Mr. G’s high energy live sets and crate digging activities. So, we set them head to head to find out where their approaches to record collecting and the dance floor meet in our latest In Conversation feature...
DVS1: When I saw you recently in Portugal you reminded me of when you were in Minneapolis a good while back and we had actually met. I’d forgotten all about it until you brought it up. I'm trying to remember it, do you know what year that actually was?
Mr G: Dates and years at my age! You forget that. It would have be somewhere like '96 or '97.
DVS1: In my head I wanted to say 97 or 98. So as much as I've been a fanboy I realised we actually got a chance to play together so it made it more interesting for sure!
Mr G: It was a special night that's why I remember it. The venue was weird, that kind of fetish thing. The sound was ok but I remember thinking 'Oh God this place is wrong' and then the warm up came on it was you, I was like ‘Ooh, OK’. The people were really cool, it was really intimate and I remember it wasn't necessarily packed but it was a really cool vibe.
DVS1: That's the thing with the Minneapolis crowd, and why I always appreciate it. A lot of the guests that come through the city always seem to have left with nice things to say about the people and the vibe there.
Mr. G: Yeah, it does have a different vibe. I think it's that cold thing you've got going on there, the people respect they come and see that side of the world cos it's so bloody cold!
DVS1: [Laughs] It's really cold in the winter and really nice in the summer so at least we've got a little nice contrast. Something I wanted to chat to you about as well is the one thing I think that both you and I have in common, that we're both record addicts with our record collections. How many records are you sitting on?
Mr. G: I would say, the last count was 56... thousand.
DVS1: You got me beat.
Mr. G: I go up every couple of months and take out ten boxes, then I put the ten back in labelled and I just find gems. It's like Christmas day for me because you pull out a box of records and the ones you automatically go to and you’re like 'Yeah, I remember this’ but you stick it on and you're like, 'Oh, actually maybe not' but there's tons that you've never seen before in your life, you play those and you think 'Oh my God these are amazing'. I love my collection, it's like a walking, breathing library.
DVS1: You used the exact word I was going to, 'library'. Somebody asked me how I deal with my collection and I said that it's like having access to a library at any time. I can check out anything I want, there's no late fees and I can do whatever I want with it. It's not to say that I'm ever going to be able to even get through all of it in my lifetime but it's the access that I have that's priceless.
Mr. G: The long term goal is to go through the lot and weed them out to sell and keep but it's the moments when you find a record that you remember. That for me is House Conductor I remember the exact party in London where some guy looked at the record and his smoke fell out and burned it - but that's its moment. I've got another copy but that one will always stay with me because of that skip in the wax!
That's what you get from records all that cold sweat when you [make that discovery]. For example that place in Toronto that was an old sex shop and he had amazing records. I found the most amazing things there for a pittance, when you come back across those records you remember exactly the feeling when you found it.
"I love my collection, it's like a walking, breathing library." - Mr. G
DVS1: I remember half the time the effort it took to find that record even. Digging underneath something, I know you and I have a shared understanding of back pain. I've been bent over, hunched over, dirty knees but it's worth it and like you said it's a tangible memory that you can hold and touch. Nothing can really replace that.
Mr. G: We can go back to the route source and see how it sounded in the beginning, you can pull out a tune from way back that just slaughters everything.
DVS1: I can never really understand when I meet people who I assume know what we do and I thought they're down, who question the fact that I like these other genres outside of what they know me for as a DJ. All this other music is the root and it's the reason why we play the music we do today. It's all rooted in that other music that we collect and we listen to.
Mr. G: I think music for me is either good or bad. I don't care what genre, I just want to hear the best of that genre. And also hunt back - those moments you find old soul records that have amazing analogue synths on them or jazz funk records that have got really clean sounding synths. Then you read the back of these records and learn you were hearing a Prophet or a Moog, they used to label what they were - that's how I got my knowledge.
DVS1: Deep research into your field is what you're doing.
Mr. G: Yeah, constantly. Sigma Sound Studio Philadelphia, how many came out of there? Who produced? Then you'll find let's say Randy Muller, Brass Construction did a heap of white dudes records and gave them the funk - people don't know. I'm the guy with them in my collection.
DVS1: You already talked about the inspiration you’ve gained from the records and you just jumped into how you look on the back sometimes and noticed what instrument was used or what synth might have been used. You come out on stage and you use your MPC so I know that's your central piece of gear for live, but in the studio I know you're moving things in and out all off the time, trying new pieces, seeing what happens. So, what would be the most permanent part of your set up outside of the MPC?
Mr. G: It's a strange one believe it or not, my Korg MS2000 keyboard. I know whatever I do, I can run in there and I'm good to go because the filters are set and they modulate from top to bottom without breaking up the EQ. So that one always stays there, I would say that's the most important piece in there by a mile. It's also because I lost all my sounds off it when it was repaired, I made new sounds again, lost them again when I tried to do an upgrade. I realised that it's only ever going to be the sounds in this machine that I use for some reason as I've messed with all the bits inside. It's a constant learning curve because I've had to rebuild sounds 3,4,5,6 times that I love and I would just have to go in there and go bosh and that's it.
DVS1: The reason why I wanted you to play with us at fabric and one of the many reasons why I admire you is because of your vibe, stage presence and the fact that to me I watch you and I know you're just like how I am - we get lost in the music. I think some people look and make assumptions, but I don't think they really understand that we let ourselves go in the moment.
You need that anxiety to come with your “A” game because if you don't have it something's missing almost. - DVS1
Mr. G: That's why I'm so happy it's going to be London when we play together because you will see it at its best. It's an open stage, I’m right on top of the sound, I can just lose myself. It's home crew so who ain't seen me before sorry this is how we roll. But usually it's a big bomb site and I just control that stage with my sound. For me fabric is one of the few places where it's just like sex, you might as well don't pay me to come there because I am going to get into it to the point where it really becomes personal it's like you get me, you don't get me but it's still good music.
This is my time I'm playing on an amazing sound system and hearing my shit in a way I've never heard it with too much bass with not enough bass with not enough reverb and the interaction of the audience and my friends around me...
DVS1: You've got all the ingredients for everything to go exactly how you want.
Mr. G: Never say exactly! For me the only time I put my mouth on it properly is when I've finished. I'm always entering as a newbie like it’s the first time because I don't take anything for granted. You're the same I've watched you come in. If you're going to be relaxed it's not the way, I want to be edgy I want to be nervous…
DVS1: You need that anxiety to come with your “A” game because if you don't have it something's missing almost. And the reason why I think that I'm enthralled by watching you and hearing you is because the way you move reminds me of 90's Midwest dancers that jacking robotic movement. It takes me back, so when I watch you I'm literally transported to how I grew up dancing.
DVS1 Curates is this Friday night. Tickets are available here.