A tradition of Jerome Hill’s DON’T nights in London for the past few years have been the “Warm up to DON’T” radio show, which are hosted online the night before by London DJ Wotta Mess. A part of the London rave scene since his teens, he’s a solid DJ with a passion for playing real techno and a true promoter of the “wonky sound”. We are delighted to have him up next in the Skirmix series and sent some questions his way to find out more about the show and his DJing ethos.
Q: What would you say are your musical roots? What led you to the sound you play now?
My first real interest in music was old-school hardcore and jungle, other than Slayer who I was into for a short time.
After this I got in to happy hardcore for a little while until I heard techno. I then discovered acid techno, which I obsessed about until I went to a squat party on New Year’s Eve in 2001 and heard the wonk and realized “Yeah, this is the sound for me”.
Q: What is it about the wonky sound that appeals to you?
There’s nothing else quite like it really. Its funky, it’s fun, its party music, it doesn’t take its self too seriously but also manages to be hard, heavy, experimental and strange plus so much more.
So many wonky tunes take influence from other styles and genres so you can really mix anything with it. But my main love is the weirdness of it. Some tunes are just plain odd, and these are the tunes that really get under my skin and stroke my nerve endings, but in a good way if you get what I mean.
Q: Where did you get your first rave experiences?
First time was when I was 16 in early 97. I went to a jungle party in Linford Film Studio in Battersea, South London hosted by a pirate radio station called Dream FM.
Next time I went out, a week or two later, me and my mates got turned away from 3 different clubs and ended up at Cloud 9 in Vauxhall. The acid techno party called Trancentral was there and that was pretty much the only party I went to, following it all over London to the various venues they used- Tyson Street Studios, 4 Aces, Pleasure Rooms, The Mass – until they finished in about 2001.
Q: You run an occasional radio show on Wonky FM? How long has it been running and what’s the premise behind the shows?
Twisted Giblet Radio (which is the name of my internet radio station) will be 5 years old, although I started on mixlr.com. A friend from Finland set up the site wonkyfm.info and gave me an account to broadcast from there.
I do two shows:
One is “The Warm Up To DON’T” which is the warm up show for Jerome Hill’s club night DON’T where I usually have one or more of the people playing at that months night as guests, sort of like a preview of some of the music that will be played that month.
The other is “The Mid-Week WonkFest” where I have one or more DJ’s/producers who I personally like as guests. Not every guest plays the wonky sound, but they are people who I listen to and also people who may have influenced me. I guess you could say it’s a show to host the artists I’m a fan of.
Q: Would you consider yourself a vinyl purist?
I would say I’m a 99.9% vinyl purist. When I play out I only play vinyl but on the radio I might use 1 or 2 tunes that are not on vinyl.
In terms of my collection, I would say there is currently around 500 that I play, another 150-200 of various other stuff such as styles of techno I no longer play, there’s some Drum and Bass in there, and probably 80-100 of my dead grans collection of records including such bangers as sing along with Max Bygraves, Cilla Black, The Sound of Ireland and stuff like that.
I’m always buying more new and old records though so the collection is always rising. Although I did give a friend around 200 acid techno records a few years back.
Q: How do you approach putting a set together?
Like a military operation to be honest. Im a bit of a perfectionist with OCD tendencies so I will pick the first tune, listen to it and think “OK, so this next tune will go well with this”, then listen to the next tune and repeat until I have enough for the length of the set.
I then play the set and record it and listen back. If I’m not happy with the way any of the tunes go together I will change some of them for others or rearrange the order of some, then rerecord the whole set and listen back. I then repeat this until I’m completely satisfied with the way the set sounds as a whole.
Q: How do you find the current state of techno? Any producers you digging at the moment?
There’s loads of great stuff out there, especially from people who are lesser known. Sadly though, not enough is being released on vinyl. That would be my only real complaint.
Who do I like? Well there’s a lot to many to mention but off the top of my head, in no particular order-
Fedka The Irritant, Ben Pest, TSR, Jerome Hill, Joe Farr, Blacknecks, Mylar, Bintus, Paul Birken, Sunil Sharpe, Defect Data, Dualit, Whirling Hall of Knives, Lukes Anger, Scott Robinson, Berk Offset, DJ Tag, Der Totmacher, Sane, defect, Blackmass Plastics, Bona M, Oliver Rosemann, Mason, C Mantle, Kamikaze Space Programme, Faetch, Mietech, Chris Moss Acid, G23, Dize7 (the owner of wonky.fm, Singing in the Brain, Nox, Kinky Bastards
Q: What advice would you have for new DJS trying to learn their craft?
Practice. When I was learning i would play for hours every day. I would get home after work and mix for a few hours, have some food, then mix until I went to bed. I’d also recommend just listening to the tunes you have from start to finish without mixing them. I used to do this with every new record I got and would try to learn how the tune progresses and when the change will come. I found this helped me to structure mixes and learn what tunes go best together.
I would also say record when you’re practicing and listen back. Doing so means you can hear how you improve and also where you’re going wrong, messing up (sometimes when learning it can get confusing trying to know if the tune mixing in should be sped up or slowed down. I found listening back made it easier to understand where I was going wrong).
Big thanks to Wotta Mess for the interview. Those in London can catch him playing at the Resonate All Nighter in Dalston on March 12th.
001. Zubid- Data Mining- Hdry 004
002. Edit- Pusherman (original mix)- Shed 02
003. Mark Hawkins- Saab’s Dead Fucker- Shed 03
004. Jerome Hill- Restraint- DON’T 30
005. Carsten Rechenberger & Recall 8- Buzz One- SR 007
006. Tobias Schmidt- Punishment- DON’T 029
007. Bintus- Toyota Henge- Power Vaccum 007
008. Anklepants- Icky Wicky Lolly Pop- SLR 010
009. Black Mass Plastics- Twitchpitch- Uglyfunk preview
010. Jerome Hill- Goatwerk- DON’T 023
011. Kit- Shoot Kit – Fix 5
012. Metabomban & Large M – Sumchord- Wakkler 04
013. Sueme – C’est comme ca – NH 31
014. Aeox – 2:0 – NH 32
015. Aeox – For Mum – MIR 002.2
016. Aeox – Helly Mellow – nh 19
017. Patrick DSP vs Booty Slave – I Robot- Emetic xxvi
018. Myler – Slack Your Rave – Mindcut 04
019. Manni Dee – Repeating Rituals – Ear 012
020. Myler – Cold Without a Hood- Mindcut 08
021. Larynx Tompkins – Roast Head- Hoof 002
022. Sunil Sharpe – Owecha – Hoof 001
023. The Flying Lurinskys – Frogger – Midi 008
024. Cannibal Cooking Club – Comm.ma – Midi 002
025. The Legendary Stardust Cowboy – Paralyzed – RNLP 809