ITM's Honour Roll
Thu 22nd Sep, 2011 Lists and Guidesin
ITM’s Honour Roll is a feature series that lets us delve a little deeper into some of the most respected names in dance music. Instead of the standard 15-minute interview block, we’ll be spending more time on the phone or face-to-face with our Honour Rollers. The series features a mix of luminaries from home and abroad, all linked by their hard-earned esteem.
If you’re a fan of electronic dance music, you’re probably aware of Andrew Weatherall’s legacy – even if you were born after he rose to prominence at the end of the last century. A Renaissance man in the early days of the UK’s seminal acid-house and warehouse-party scene, Weatherall wrote and edited his own fanzine while developing a reputation as a top-notch DJ, known for impeccable taste and a sense of adventure.
Weatherall took some time out shortly before Christmas to talk about his current doings as well as his many extracurricular interests – living up to his reputation as a gentleman and a raconteur. Who could be more fitting for the first inthemix Honour Roll feature of 2012?
It’s with good reason that the name Mike Callander is on several parties’ posters on any given weekend. He’s a DJ with, as he’d put it, a wealth of “match practice”. The depth of his collection and innate feel for the dancefloor has made Callander the go-to guy for warm-up sets, back-rooms, club residencies and festival techno tents. As he says in this interview, “Almost anyone can rock a full dancefloor if it’s already full, but it’s the people who fill it up that are doing the best job.”
For this Honour Roll, we went right back to the start and worked up to the current state of Melbourne’s club scene.
When inthemix was granted 30 minutes on the phone to Richie Hawtin, we knew our sixth Honour Roll instalment was in the bag. From his formative experiments of the early ‘90s to his current standing as a techno icon, Hawtin has always been driven by what’s next. It’s what makes him one of the most fascinating (and yes, at times divisive) figures in electronic music.
As focused and thoughtful in conversation as he appears to be onstage, Hawtin is also an easy-going interviewee, willing to talk at length about his career. We delved into DJing, Detroit and the latest chapter of Plastikman with the dance music futurist.
For our fifth Honour Roll installment we’re welcoming another local to the club but this time there’s a twist. It’s our first band induction; Cut Copy.
While Cut Copy’s membership seemingly goes in the opposite direction of our past Honour Roll features, the band are just as worthy of a spot on the list alongside the aforementioned DJs for their influence and impact on the current dance generation, not to mention their credentials as forward thinking synthetic adventurers.
With a musical trajectory that began as a 14-year-old punk drummer in Cambridge, Harevy has gone on to be many things to many people: cult hero, re-edit revivalist, Balearic don and above all, a DJ who plays from the heart.
When Harvey traded his drum-kit for a set of turntables, it was hip hop that consumed his hours. With the rise of acid house, he shifted focus to feel-good dance music and as the ‘80s became the ‘90s, his open-ended parties with the Tonka collective gained notoriety around the globe and his own Moist club night with distinguished guests like New York City titan Larry Levan.
From producing artists like M.I.A. and Santigold, working with big leaguers like Tiesto and Christina Aguilera, beating the drum for baile funk and dubstep early on and releasing records from Rusko, Blaqstarr and the Major Lazer project on his Mad Decent label, Diplo’s activity over the last decade is prolific.
What’s more Diplo continues to excite in the flesh, regularly visiting Australia on his own – his dropping of TISM in the Boiler Room a few years back was inspired – and recently under the Major Lazer banner. Here he speaks out about his evolution, his detractors and what motivates him to keep going.
A true techno original and the standard-bearer for mixing on three decks, Mills has never been content with a conventional trajectory. As such, he’s confounded or outright infuriated many, but his notion of electronic music as an art-form remains unshakeable.
Commanding a string of ever-more-ambitious performance projects; A Sleeper Wakes, which sees Mills commanding a sci-fi stage set-up over many hours; Tomorrow Plus X, which also presents a futuristic narrative through custom-made vinyl. The craftsmanship is unquestionable.
Simon Caldwell’s sets always affirm that essential thrill of dance music; its history, its unifying potential, its warmth. It’s a special thing when someone of Simon’s calibre plays so regularly in your own city: festivals, bars, warm-ups, four-am slots, day clubs and of course Mad Racket, where his sense for the dancefloor is most at home.
Simon has been spinning around Sydney since the early ‘90s, and it seems as if his convictions have changed little since then. After so many great nights consumed by his sets, it seemed the ideal fit to kick off our Honour Roll series with Simon.