The Cornerstone Tracks of Principals
"I Do Love Those '80s Snare Drums..."

The trio behind London's Principals club night are a pretty powerful force. In a short time the party has become a go-to for stripped back, techno leaning events in the city. The brains behind the dance - residents Bradley Zero, Charles Drakeford and Nic Tasker - have clearly hit the nail on the head in terms of establishing something that can successfully combine a strict music policy with a particularly unadulterated aesthetic. Of course, the success of their individual endeavours have no doubt helped. All three of them work for world renowned music portal, Boiler Room, each host their own show on NTS radio and run their own label; Zero with Rhythm Section (which is also a party based in a pool hall in Peckham), Drakeford with From The Depths and Tasker with Whities. But we'd like think it’s more the synergy the three share and the motivations for presenting the music they each commit to that is the catalyst for the party's prosperity.

Returning to Room Three this Friday (20th March) the guys have kindly talked through some of the tracks that have shaped their existence and the cuts that are instrumental to the Principals sound...

Bradley Zero:

BLORP 93 - Gnork

A standout track from the stable of two criminally underrated dancefloor masterminds. This track, written by Budapest’s Gnork and released on Luv Jam’s Blind Jack Journey’s label, is one of the few records I can keep going back to again and again. Every time the reaction to it is magic. It’s an uplifting anthem, deftly fusing together piano stabs and soft, dreamy chords with a sort of antagonistic genius. It balances deepness and club banger status with panache.

This is an extra special record to me because when I was waxing lyrical about it on some blog at some point in time, Luv Jam reached out to me and we struck up a great friendship that’s resulted in him visiting Rhythm Section twice in the last two years. The last time was for New Years Eve which was pretty special. I’ve also been lucky enough to head over to Budapest to play with Gnork and he’s back at Rhythm Section in May...

You mentioned your friendship with Luv Jam, how important are these personal relationships in everything you do? Can you give us another example?

For me, this is a really big part of what this DJ Game is all about: meeting like minded folk all over the world and being able to maintain real relationships built on a shared passion. Rhythm Section is built upon this principal and that’s exactly what a ‘club’ should be: a place where friends meet! These friendships we make along the way is what makes our world feel like more of a full time hobby than a profession and the social aspect is inextricable from this. Also, I think it’s important to recognise that when there's 2 or 3 DJs in a booth, enjoying each others company and respecting each others music, the mood is infectious and transmits to a crowd making a ‘good’ night into a magical one. It’s something you can’t practice or imitate, it has to be genuine and that’s when I feel most happy. This is why there’s only a few DJs (and friends) who I will book over and over again (Ruf Dug, Myles Mears, Beautiful Swimmers, Jon K, Mood Hut, Eddy Ramich, Gnork, Luv Jam, Babbicka & Mic Mills, Andrew Ashong, Edd Fisher to name a few).

Theo Parrish - First Floor LP:

This is the first record I got that felt distinctively underground to me. It’s an odd word to describe music as subterranean, but there’s something about this album that is absolutely otherworldly. It conjures up images of some bizzare subculture that I felt I absolutely had to be a part of. In hearing this album for the first time, I felt I had found my sound, my groove; something as idiosyncratic as it was sonically effective. It’s hypnotic, dark and effortlessly powerful and is a big inspiration.

What is it about what you do now that correlates with Theo and this album?

I guess it just inspired me to create a certain environment where this mood can be purveyed and willingly consumed. In some way I suppose the album’s aesthetic has influenced my back to basics approach at my own party - one red light, no smoke, no photos, no glamour, just simple, dark and hopefully effective.

Charles Drakeford:

Hiroshi Sato - Sweet Inspiration (Extended Power Club Mix)

I've spent an awful lot of time trawling through Discogs for Japanese records after listening to Japan Blues' NTS shows, and this is one of the things that's come to my attention recently. It's right on the cusp of being sickeningly cheesy but that's the whole reason why I love it.

When you say you’ve spent a lot of time trawling for Japanese records, does the music you pick go beyond what you’ve heard on Japan Blue’s NTS show and/or the sound that’s similar to what you’ve shared with us here? How do you think this record fits in with your current collection?

I think that show just an eye opener to how much amazing Japanese stuff is out there. You pick up on a few names and it leads you on to digging out what other records they've played on or produced. Just from Yellow Magic Orchestra's back catalogue, and the records they've worked on, you land upon a goldmine of amazing stuff. Whether it's the nicest thing you've ever heard, or the weirdest or more often than not just because it's gonna some incredible album cover...

Cyrus - Enforcement

To completely counteract the sweet aftertaste of that Hiroshi Sato, I'd probably listen to this delightful slice of Basic Channel. A real palette cleanser.

Basic Channel have been instrumental in the development of the dub techno sound, how would you say the label and the production team have influenced you personally? What have you taken from their music?  Is this record your favourite from their catalogue?

The Basic Channel back catalogue is something you can keep going back to, nevermind all the other affiliated labels. It's just so diverse, there's always something you didn't really pick up on first time around, or your tastes change slightly. This Cyrus record is one that I've only really come around to recently, and it's probably not something I'd play in a club. Even as a piece of sound design it's phenomenal though. I think that's what you take from it. Keeping sets diverse, even if you're just playing techno, it's playing a spectrum of techno. I find it impossible to hone in on a sound for an extended period, even though that's a really effective way of playing. For me it's those moments that catch you unaware.


A Made Up Sound - Sun Touch

This record is representative of a time when my taste in dance music was changing quite significantly. Up until that point I'd been more interested in slightly more brash and in your face club tunes, so the minimal yet rhythmic approach of this was very appealing. It was also actually the first record I ever bought from Phonica Records, which, considering that I went onto work there for nearly 5 years, has some poignancy on a personal level.

Can you explain why your taste in dance music was changing significantly? Who or what was influencing it?

I think your tastes are constantly changing and fluctuating, particularly when you’re still discovering lots of new styles of music. Phonica was very important in my musical education. I feel like I learnt an awful lot in a short space of time and was lucky to work with some hugely knowledgeable people. I’d recommend that everyone who’s seriously interested in being a part of our culture works in a record shop at some point.

Idiater Edwards - Loving Sweet Devotion (Sweeter Mix)

A favourite of mine that I've been playing for many years now, after I was put on it by Brian Not Brian of Going Good Records. It really cemented my love of instrumental disco tunes as the vocal used is probably the worst I've heard on a recorded piece of music. Though it is hilarious, so you should check out. I generally don’t like vocals that much, unless they’re slightly off kilter in terms of content and delivery or if they’re sample driven. I don’t play that much disco in clubs either to be honest, I find the situation is rarely right to do so at a lot of the gigs I play. However, I do love those '80s snare drums...

Friday 20th March

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