The sound and culture of the Old Skool is something that appeals to me immensely. Illegal raves, hoover sounds, rave stabs, baby grows -it’s all something I look on with great romanticism and would have loved to have been apart of it. Don’t get me wrong – I love what’s happening now in electronic music and I’m constantly blown away by new producers but you’ve got to love the Old Skool.
Distant Planet is an all day event that keeps it very much alive by throwing some excellent parties around London with a strictly 88-92 music policy, a rave quiz and some lovely punters. Louise Plus One is a DJ that has been there since the club’s inception and having seen her lash out a few sets, she always destroys the dance floor (and my already dodgy knees!). As one of the main Promoter’s for Distant Planet we sent some questions her way ahead of the next one tomorrow to find out more about how the event came to fruition and how old skool is still alive and well!!
You’ve been on the scene for almost twenty years. Despite the obvious shift to downloading/buying music online, whats the biggest change you’ve seen happen in this time? How do you think the dance since has evolved since then?
I have been out raving on a regular basis since 1993 but was listening to pirates and going to events and clubs here and there since I was 14 years old.
One of the biggest changes has been the way that music genres have become splintered, years ago you could go to a party and hear all sorts of music and everybody knew everybody else even if they played Psy-Trance. Record shops were great places for bumping into people, I used to work in Trackheads Records in Kentish Town, it was an excellent meeting point. The most amazing thing is now that people are starting to merge with each other’s scenes again. I know many people who would listen to Acid Techno who are branching out and listening to other styles of music. I think the scene now is the healthiest it has been for many years.
Distant came about 2 years ago. For some reason I had this vision of Simon (Dexorcist) playing Acid House in a basement in Stoke Newington, I told him about this and he asked me if I wanted to put on a party, So myself and Hughesee had a met up with Simon in the Stokey Records Bar in Stoke Newington which had recently opened. It was a freezing cold January night, Dexorcist had brought along Ben from the band Deadsilence and we were the only punters in the place. We became very drunk and Simon said that he had always wanted to call a party Distant Planet. We all agreed that we wanted to play music from 87 to 93 because for all of us that was golden era of dance music. So Distant Planet was born.
A week or so later Rory Moronik contacted me and asked me if he could play at one of my parties, so I suggested if he could find us a venue for sure. A short while after he suggested the Grand Junction Arms in Willesden an amazing pub with a massive outdoor area which backs onto a canal. When we went to see the pub they thought we were the darts team (obviously we didn’t look like hardcore ravers!). We put on a massive party at the pub with a sound system outdoors and indoors with Lots of DJs including Jerome Hill, Warlock, Rob Stow and No Yeah No to name a few, plus we did our rave quiz for the first time. The party was a massive success with about 300 punters, I don’t think the pub were too happy though as we did cause complete chaos.
We try to make sure that some of our events family friendly in the daytime so we can get kids raving from an early age.
You’ve played at Retro Trax Festival which looks like an absolute laugh. How did you get on? It must be like 3 days of Distant Planet!!
Retro Trax was amazing but we had the 10am slot on Sunday morning so we played to about 8 people. Luckily for me one of the DJs in the afternoon didn’t turn up and I was lucky enough to have another go. The festival had so many amazing artists such as Frank De Wulf, Chris Westbrook aka Bam Bam and Mark Archer.
At the ripe old age of 28, I had not been fortunate enough to experience the glorious heyday of 90’s raves. What are your favourite memories of the time?
The first time I saw people raving was at Glastonbury Festival in 1987 when the travellers were allowed in with Sound systems. I used to listen to Fantasy FM and various other pirate stations, I used to hear the ads on the radio for events but didn’t really know anyone to go with and apart from going to Castle Morton and the odd event, I didn’t start going out raving on a regular basis until 1993.
I was always very much a squat party raver, there were some amazing parties back then in particular Camden Parkway Cinema was on every weekend for several weeks, the whole auditorium would be full of people with the Unsound Sound System and some spectacular visuals. Just up the road there was what we used to call “Kentish Town University”, I remember there were rigs almost as big as the rooms they were in. Back then there was never a shortage of wicked parties in London, People seemed to put in a lot effort in back then with decor, café’s and lots of different music styles. There was no shortage of decent legal venues in London, such as Bagley’s, Club Labyrinth, All Nations Club, and Trends. I suppose we took them for granted and did no for see the day when they would all be gone.
What do you rate of the newer generation of DJ’s coming up? A lot still use records and you see producers like Karenn using Hardware and pushing the old school sounds?
Hmmm I must admit I don’t really know a lot about up and coming DJs. I have a couple of mates DJ’s Gand and Dwarde who are in their early 20’s, they both play for Bang Face and Jungle Syndicate. They are complete vinyl fanatics playing 93 to 95 Jungle and they do it really well. The Drum and Bass night Rupture also features some amazing younger talent such as Diserae, Pessimist and not forgetting DJ Mantra who co runs the night. I would like to check out more Jungle Syndicate nights as the vibe is amazing and the DJs although young have Old Skool values. A good jungle dance floor is wicked, I highly recommend going to Rupture and Jungle Syndicate and checking out the vibes.
You also have a show on Origin UK. It’s great to know radio shows and stations like Origin are still going? What can people expect to hear when they tune in?
I am part of a collective of DJ’s playing in rotation on Friday mornings from 9am – 1pm called “Let the Bass Kick Crew” which consists of Myself, DJ Moocha, Hughesee, DJ Gand and Ben Deadsilence. I normally play stuff starting from 87 through to 93 including Acid House, Belgian Techno, Hardcore and Jungle Techno. It has been an amazing experience playing on Origin and I feel truly blessed to have such an opportunity and to be part of such an amazing community. There are so many good Old Skool shows on there in particular Jerome Hill’s show on Monday called “The Roots of Rave” which provides an excellent history Lesson in Dance Music.
What three records never leave your DJ bag?
I don’t consciously leave any tunes in my bag permanently but there are few which always seem to turn up without me ever knowingly pack them.
Bobby Konders,- House Rhythms (Nu Groove Records). There is a killer dark Acid Tune on this EP called Nervous Acid.
Acen – Trip II to the Moon – Kaleidoscopiklimax (Production House Records). Both sides of this are amazing! The production on both of these tracks is excellent. One side is really dark and the other side is very powerful.
The Atmosphere EP by Chaos and Julia set (Recoil Records) This is Mark Pritchard from Africa Hitech. This has four excellent stand out Jungle Techno Tunes.
What can people expect from Distant Planet tomorrow?
Distant Planet always draws a really nice crowd of enthusiastic punters. As well as there being lots of Old Skool fans there are a lot of people who come who have never heard Old Skool music but they get a good buzz from the music. The rave quiz is very entertaining even if people don’t enter it’s a good crack just to observe. So come along if you fancy checking out some quality Old Skool tunes which have really stood the test of time.
Big up to Louise for the interview and make sure and head along to Distant Planet in The George Tavern in East London tomorrow for a right hootananny. Click the poster below for more information!!