Taimur Agha has been engorged in the rapidly growing shape of New York’s techno community since it’s 90’s heyday. Whether he’s DJing at one of his legendary Blkmarket Membership events, hosting his radio show, The Bandwagon, or working as the house & techno buyer at the fabled Halycon record store, his hunt for fresh music is entirely dedicated. Having honed his DJ skills over the years he’s graced the decks alongside some of the world’s biggest names, including artists like Tyrant, Craig Richards, Ivan Smagghe, Marco Carola, Sasha, Three and Dixon - just to name a few.
Ahead of his debut here on April 16th, we caught up with the man who has his finger in every conceivable musical pie in North America to chat in depth about why New York’s techno scene is on fire, the launch of his Blkmarket Membership label and the curious role of scoundrels, bandits and robbers on his highly-recommended radio show.
You co-run Blkmarket Membership and famed underground Blkmarket Membership parties in New York, tell us a little bit on how they first started and where they stand in New York’s techno scene today?
It was really born out of frustration from suffering from below average sound, bad equipment and promoters not paying up. So I hooked up with Fahad and we came up with the name Blkmarket Membership and our mission was that we bring in talent that inspires us as DJs in the music we play.
Today, our party is one of the best in North America hands down. Fahad and I both have played alongside every artist you can imagine at our very own residency. Memo recently has joined the team handling all things production. New York's techno scene is on fire these days, I consider New York a major clubbing destination of the world. It’s great to hear from all your artist friends that where ever they go in the world people speak highly about Blkmarket Membership. That for me is an amazing feeling.
What’s your BlkMarket secret for keeping the dancefloor filled to sunrise?
What it came down to was that we love to hear our favorite DJ's and producers do extended sets. Stack the lineup with about 3-5 amazing acts, a good sound system and you’ve got a long party. We run a very tight ship and have a team all of who help make such an event so special. I can't thank them enough for their dedication and efforts that they put into it. The vibe at our parties is INCREDIBLE.
You are the buyer of all things house & techno at Brooklyn’s Halycon Record Store. What’s been the most popular record this year with Halycon staff? What about its customers?
Yes. I've been the buyer for about 3 1/2 years now at Halcyon. The most popular record this year with the staff and customers was the limited edition Sandwell District Feed Forward LP. We sold out before the shipment even made it to the shop. Runner up would be the new James Blake album which is doing really well.
Tell us about the concept behind your radio show, The Bandwagon which is now running past its 40th episode and where do you see its future? I’ve always wanted to have my own radio show in New York and it was just a matter of finding the right timing for it. Working at Halcyon most of the week as the buyer and just being there, it felt right to do it at the record shop I call a second home. I remember the days of going to Satellite records in 1999 when I first started DJing, and the vibe was amazing every Wednesday. It wasn't a radio show, it was the day all the new records came in. I came up with calling it The Bandwagon. Shawn Schwartz (Halcyon owner) and I came up with the concept of it being an old traveling show featuring myself as master of ceremonies where I invite all sorts of scoundrels, bandits, robbers to come be part of the ride. We have a big crowd coming down, hanging out, and meeting people in all sorts of industries, buying records, having food and drinks. I think I will be doing this for a long time that’s for sure. If you are interested you can also subscribe for all The Bandwagon podcasts on iTunes here.
Who would you love to have as a guest on your radio show that you haven’t already and why?
It would be the duo Instra:mental. I absolutely love what they pushing musically. Also their label Nonplus and Autonomic which they run with dBridge is amazing. They are pushing boundaries in so many different genres either themselves or the sound coming out on their labels and we’ve got them at Blkmarket this August.
What do you have in the pipeline for 2011?
I’m excited to be playing Fabric on April 16th and visiting London after quite some time. In mid August, I will be coming to Europe for a full tour. Blkmarket Membership label will be launching later this year as well and we have a lot of great artists coming to play for our party in New York this year. We just had Laurent Garnier's L.B.S show which was phenomenal. A sneak preview of some of the artists include Sandwell District, Three, Dan Berkson & James What Live, Gregorythme, Lee Jones, Mark Henning, Federico Molinari, Matt John, Sven Vath, Paco Osuna, Instra:mental, Scuba, and Appleblim. It’s hard to leave New York because we’re doing like 2 parties a month here.
What are your thoughts on home-clubbing?
Its funny you mention that because I do use Ustream to broadcast live from Halcyon for my radioshow. I think it’s a pretty cool concept to do for things like that but nothing beats actually being there at a live show to get the proper experience. This is the same kind of discussion where many kids are literary sitting at home in their underwear and download music instead of walking over to the record shop and finding some good music there.
Finally, what’s your favourite thing to do in New York away from the darkness of the club?
I’m hunting everyday for music so that would be my favorite thing. Also going to art shows, just walking around Manhattan and fine dining at good restaurants. Even after being here for 11 years there is always something new to see and experience.