The Project Club interview

Steve and Slim talk to us about their musical backgrounds, writing music together and getting up to mischief on the beaches in Ibiza...

Words by Mark Limb • October 22, 2009

Hey Steve / Andy (Slim), first up thanks for taking the time out to talk to The Electric Disco!

Howʼs it going?


Steve - Cheers and thank you – Slim has got the coffee on, so itʼs all good here in the studio.


Can you give is a bit of background about yourselves and The Project Club?


Steve - We formed “The Project Club” back in March of this year after I moved into a huge house-share with Slimʼs loft studio. I gave up my day job in film/TV production two years ago with an aim to get back into music production, along with full time DJʼing – and moving-in was a chance to save some money before getting my own place, and to make some music.


Iʼve also been DJʼing since the late 80ʼs when I was still at school, starting out as a turntablist spinning funk, hip hop and block party breaks. In addition, I trained as a sound / lighting engineer gaining an apprenticeship after leaving school. So, I guess I had some kind of mid-career crisis. Anyway, I hooked up with Andy after writing a few tracks and it all went from there. Itʼs a really nice balance of electronic meets indie-guitar and two musicians who also know their way around a studio.


Slim - Iʼve lived and breathed music forever, and itʼs been my only passion for the last ten years. ʻBeen running my own studio (www.myspace.com/studioslim) for the last 5 years too. Always like to collaborate and guest on other peopleʼs projects, and when Steve hit me up with a bit of session guitar work, it could have just started and finished there. But we soon realised we had something really special.


The ʻprojectʼ became a lot bigger than weʼd planned – and to be honest the last few months with Steve have been immense. Seriously good...


So is The Project Club the first group you've released music with?


Steve - In my time as a studio Engineer / Editor, I was involved with programming, recording and editing for a number of pop acts, indie bands and classical artists. But, Iʼd never done anything on my own, probably due to my career in New Media, TV & Film. Itʼs certainly been a long time coming.


Slim - Iʼve been in bands / solo projects / live work / studio projects for ages. But The Project Club is my first electronic dance collaboration. Thatʼs why for me itʼs so fresh.


Everything Iʼm putting into this is box-fresh – techniques, ideas, grooves, all that. Iʼve been an indie, singer-songwriter kid all my life, so what weʼre doing now is total kick up the backside – you can hear this in everything weʼre doing I think.


Definitely, your music has that really nice laid back feel about it, minimal, grooving electronica with those subtle hints of acoustic guitar and piano progressions chilling it out even further.


It seems like it would work just as well on the dance floor as it would by a sunset or after hours on the sofa. What or where do you have in mind when you start work on a new track?


Steve - That was the brief from the start and one we try to stick to – We want to do everything from blissed out electronics / guitars to out-an-out 4/4 club music. How we start depends on my inspiration, mood and any new music which is exciting me at that time.


Slim - The best way to work is to just let it flow. Que sera etc. We often have a brief in mind, but once weʼre flying we can end up anywhere. Yeah I love the chill-out element to our stuff but we are equally as home on the dance floor as the sofa. Most of our stuff comes out with different mixes anyhow. I like the idea of us putting out club / dub / acoustic mixes of songs too. Pick a mix to suit your mood!.

Thatʼs cool that youʼre not trying to pigeon hole yourselves like a lot of artists seem to, giving your music and your creativity a chance to find itʼs own direction, rather than just saying - “this one will be house”...


Steve - Yeah, I think weʼll find the perfect balance once weʼve got more material in the bag



Are either of you musically trained?


Steve - Yes, I studied with London Trinity College Of Music in Piano, I can find my way round a guitar, drums and I have also have a formal qualification in sound engineering which I achieved in my apprenticeship.”


Slim - Not really no. Taught myself guitar, and learnt the studio thing through trial and error. I do it all by ear, intuition, blind faith and belief in the great beyond! I need to learn how to play records on decks though – next year....


That sounds like the perfect skill set, classical training, full production know how and a natural musical ear! It must have helped a lot with setting your studios up and then quickly being able to realise the sounds and arrangements that you have in your heads...


Steve - I guess so... However, in the last two years Iʼve had to re-train and get my head around logic and ableton. Itʼs been a while since the days when I was using the original pro-tools system, a DAT machine and various analogue outboard gear. But, I think Iʼm pretty much up to speed on most recording / programming software we use. But, itʼs equally valuable to understand analogue recording techniques and I can still cut, splice and edit on a studer 1⁄4 inch Reel To Reel machine, which is a skill most people donʼt ever get to learn.


Slim - Yeah itʼs all about pooling talent and experience. Thatʼs why the stuff weʼre creating is so fresh. Itʼs like pissing about with the chemistry set – seeing what happens when you dump a load of the funny red power in with the iron filings and Bunsen burning it! Ha ha ha!


Steve - My mum wasnʼt to happy about my chemistry set – I ruined our very new and lovely Healʼs of London carpet.... Whoops!


Can you tell us a bit about your studio setup?


Steve - We have two studios – Slimʼs being the “live” room studio and my studio which is

more electronic for editing, programming and final arrangement.


In the studio I run Logic 8 and also Ableton on two macs with various soft synths and plug- inʼs.


Iʼve also recently moved home and in the process of setting up a new production room and I have made a decision to move from passive to active speakers and Iʼve purchased some Yamaha HS50Mʼs running via my Mackie firewire desk. On the synth side, I have a Roland SH-201, Roland Juno Di, Korg Electribe Mk II and the Arturia synth. I also have an M-Audio Axium controller, which comes in handy. And in the next few weeks, Iʼll be purchasing a waldorf rack synth.


Slim - Techy bit! Err. Iʼm old school PC man – deep breath .... Windows XP! Cubase. My weapons of choice (guitars) are Fender Telecaster Deluxe (electric) and a Taylor 210e (acoustic). Some nice outboard (Focusrite / Joe Meek) a classy-as Rode NTK mike and youʼre good to go. On the software side Iʼm a sucker for the Waves plug-ins they seriously are the best in the business and I would totally be lost without them...

 

Thatʼs quite an armoury of equipment youʼve got there... anything you just couldnʼt work without?


Steve - Our Coffee Machine... (Laughs)


Slim - ...and a coffee grinder man! Itʼs all about fresh beans. You lose all the oils after you grind, so youʼve gotta get it straight into the pot! No going back now...


Can you tell us a bit about your working process and how you go about writing a new track?


Steve - I start with deciding on a tempo and tend to play around with chord structures, then focus on the beats/drums, then the pad & lead sounds and thus, build layers around that. Once it takes shape and canʼt add anything more at that stage - I hand it over to Slim for guitar parts or live room recording along with a rough brief.


Once thatʼs done, it then comes back to me for final arrangement, editing and adding FX and then a few bounces down the line we get to a finished track. Slim always takes care of final mastering and any de-noising processes. However, we are changing our writing ways to ensure both of our influences are captured – Therefore, Slim will now be writing some guitar/bass parts for me to work around – which Iʼm excited about and provides a new way of working.


Slim - Yeah it works well with two studio setups – we do work together in the studio of course but a lot of our creative march forward has been found working alone, and then hitting each other up with the results. This kind of ping-pong process keeps it all fresh. Digitalʼs great – gimme a BPM and some nicely synced audio stems and we can import / export forever!

I was gonna say, working digitally must make it easy to bounce things back and forth between the pair of you...


Has something ever come back from either of you thatʼs taken a track in a completely unexpected direction?


Steve - Yeah, when Slim recorded the guitars on the Mainstem Remix for “NO LOVE” – The track totally changed and I re-wrote pretty much 90 percent of my keys, drums etc... And, it made sense from that point.


Slim - A lot of the time, ʻcause weʼre both putting loads into a track, we have to sit back and pull stuff out, to let the tune breathe, give some space etc. So you have to make sure youʼre not too precious about your licks and beats. The song is king, not the individual parts...


Slim, you come more a more traditional live band environment as opposed to the DJ, electronic music background of Steve. Do you think the two different influences addʼs anything to the way that you work or the resulting sounds?


Slim - Of course – itʼs like conjuring up a new cocktail. Steveʼs scene and background is obviously alien to me (but Iʼm learning...) and vice verse - and you can hear this in our mixes. This said, we do have common points of interest. Disco, dancing, grooves, melody, harmony, time and space – all those things...


Thatʼs the perfect cocktail for dance music though isnʼt it... groove, melody, harmony, time, space... and I think itʼs probably true for all good music, without those elements thereʼs no point really is there!


Slim - Nope!” Thatʼs it...


Have you thought about stepping away from the synths and taking The Project Club in a more live band direction? Or alternatively adding a couple of squelching acid lines to Slimʼs music?


Steve - This is our actual aim – In 2010, we want to take The Project Club on the road with a full band. Itʼs just a question of building a catalogue of music at the moment and thatʼll follow, for sure. Weʼre both musicians and actually enjoy playing live – itʼs much more inspiring than sat in front of a computer screen.


Slim - Watch this space. Our stuff will rock live. Seriously...”


That must be a pretty exciting prospect for you, to take your music to a completely different arena. Watching ʻbandsʼ like The Chemical Brothers, Prodigy or Basement Jaxx tear the roof off festivals to hundreds of thousands of people... thatʼs got to be some kind of crazy buzz to experience on stage...


Steve - Yeah, this is the part Iʼm looking forward too... You canʼt beat a live audience and both Slim and I have encountered this, but just not together in our band.


Slim - The great thing about dance music live is that itʼs totally about the sound, the beats, the sonic thing – so itʼs a job for life. Faithless, Massive Attack, Groove Armada, Chemicals – theyʼll go forever. Fill fields at festivals forever. No-one cares about the wrinkles and grey hair!


Steve, youʼre involved in the Mondo Disco, Disco not Disco and Balearica nights, can you tell us a bit more about them?


Steve - Yeah, well Disco Not Disco and residency has been running for the last 8 years in Kings cross. The night itself is held in a quirky small art-media type bar, which suits my music policy. Itʼs basically my home for a personal choice of music and we have a lot of fun on a Friday night.


As mentioned, I also run Mondo Disco with David Bumpstead (Twisted Tongue – Acid Jazz). Weʼve been running the monthly parties at the Horse & Groom for a year, concentrating on the disco re-edit scene, various cosmic oddities and good old fashioned acid and deeper grooves. The night is probably more geared towards the dancefloor crowd and weʼve had some great guest DJʼs. The party initially was born out of the facebook group which just blew up, now with over 2000 members and we felt it was right to put on a party to represent the music shared on the group.


And Balearica is my own little gathering with fellow spinner Graeme Fisher and in essence, itʼs a mini Sunday Social with some of the big names in the world of the Balearic spirit.


The bar has a wonderful sunshine terrace and we provide beautiful Sunday music for a laid back crowd. This month Iʼve stepped up the game and have invited Richard Norris (BTWS/Grid/The Time & Space Machine), Toby Tobias (Rekids) and Balearic legend Phil Mison (Cantoma) to come down and play in October


Do you ever feel like taking it out to Ibiza or somewhere a bit warmer, or perhaps closer to its roots for a season or are you happy just keeping it local?


Steve - Well, we kind of did in Croatia... I kicked off the Friday night with a Balearic set whilst the sun went down. But, to have a local night on the beach with a cheap bar has to be happy days, indeed... But, perhaps not Ibiza – I think the Balearic spirit has changed in Ibiza.


Slim - Croatia is ours soon...


Is DJʼing important to you and is it a useful arena to try out new material and see whatʼs working?


Steve - DJʼing has been part of my life for a long time and I love introducing new music to people on and off the dancefloor – and, yes, It certainly helps being able to test tracks prior to completion and getting feedback from the floor or fellow DJʼs / Producers.


Have you tried anything out thatʼs just bombed?


Steve - Not yet. I wouldnʼt play anything I wasnʼt 100% confident about. And we do have a track (“Our Town – Lights Go Down”), which Iʼm not confident about and thatʼs being reviewed and re-worked by Ray Mang. The track is just missing something and itʼs too good to shelve. We feel it just needs new ears on the project and some new direction and Raj (Mang) is up for re-working the recorded elements.


Slim - Actually there are two or three things already that have been filed under ʻwork-in- progressʼ which we seriously need to revisit, and will. ʻOur Townʼ is going to be mega – weʼre sitting on it tight – but it will fly soon. I have a tendency to push things towards the poppy end of the market. I love humour and groove and harmony and the element of surprise in mixes.


I did this club mix of the 808 State song ʻPacific Stateʼ which I was proper chuffed with – Steve dubbed it the ʻWKD stiletto club mixʼ – which I think is a complement!


Obviously our stuff for Balearic labels doesnʼt fit this, but we will have many faces in the future. ʻRunning Scaredʼ is another one that will soar – watch this space...


Steve - Yeah, “Running Scared” is a great track and one I feel will work better in a “live” environment.


Iʼm looking forward to hearing it!!


Slim - Itʼs on the myspace player I think, in demo form. Iʼm gonna put it into some better

shape soon actually. Get it rolling again...


So conversely have you tried out anything thatʼs been an instant success?


Steve - INTRO hit the mark the first time I played it at Mondo Disco. I was also with Ray Mang when he dropped his mix – and the crowd reaction was great on both occasions, with people asking how to purchase the track.


Slim - And just a few weeks ago, the NO LOVE remix for Mainstem did the same... Huge reaction and a lot of interest from the crowd and DJʼs, alike.


Weʼre like a couple of kids still with our tunes at present. Mixing down – playing rough cuts to our mates in bars just to see the reaction. Uploading to Soundcloud.com constantly. Connection is what itʼs all about right?


Thatʼs gotta be pretty satisfying, people asking what that killer tune was that you just played and being able to tell them that itʼs your latest track!

It seems like your both just really enjoying yourselves with it all at the moment... itʼs cool to see, Iʼm sure that the success of your nights has got a lot to do with that.


Steve - Yeah, Itʼs always wonderful to get really upfront positive feedback... And crowd reaction helps as it draws in people to the music which is being played – even better when itʼs your own track.

Have you thought about or even tried combining your Project Club music with your DJʼing? Perhaps mixing and remixing stuff live through Ableton?


Steve - Iʼve done a few nights at Disco Not Disco where Iʼve done a live TPC set along using Ableton. I also performed LIVE at the Futuresonic Festival in Manchester – where I did my own re-version of INTRO using Ableton after spinning a 2 hour DJ set. I like to embrace various technology and formats when DJʼing, it makes it much more fun and challenging. But, Iʼm equally happy with two technics and a beat up old mixer at parties.


However, Technology is moving in the right direction in terms of DJʼing which excites me as youʼre able to perform in a more unique way, edit ʻliveʼ on-the-fly, scratch and cut up your own samples and offer more of a show as a DJ – But, secretly, I probably just embrace technology to keep up with the kids. I certainly donʼt want to be left behind...


Yeah, I hear that... Iʼm still vinyl only and I see adverts for these handheld wifi mp3 deck controllers and feel a bit like I must be living in the dark ages! “Look at granddad over there with his old crackly records....”


Steve - Yeah, Absolutely... DJ Technology is moving at a rapid rate at the moment... A lot of new products coming out each month. You only have to go to your local DJ hardware store to be blown away by the gear available.”


Slim - I could get into Serrato actually. Steveʼs bank balance is drained constantly by new vinyl buys. So I think Iʼll just dip into my ocean of mp3s for now...


Who are some of your favorite guest DJʼs so far?


Steve - In terms of friends, my fellow resident Graeme Fisher always excites me with his blend of disco, Balearic, acid and prog-rock sounds – he has a great ear for music and I feel a natural bond to his music selection.


And, studio friend Raj (Ray Mang) – A man who can play his own material/edits for 10 hours, with everything being of the highest quality. “Not many guys can do this...”


But everyone involved in my parties are deeply talented and serve up wonderful playlists, which enables us to constantly push forward in terms of musical diversity.

Anyone that youʼd like to get down to DJ that hasnʼt yet?


Steve - Iʼd love to get Harvey, Mark E and for pure self indulgence - Ewan Pearson.

And, Rob J (Mainstem), so I can finally get to spin with him – that would be a great night.


Harvey is always a winner... I remember hearing him at The Electric Chair years ago and right in the middle of a killer set of edits and disco obscurities, totally out of nowhere, he drops LFO... the place went mental!

Itʼs amazing how fresh LFO still sounds today though...


Steve - Christ... Yeah, that takes me right back. Harvey never fails to impress. I used to be a regular when he had his Ministry residency – simply amazing night of music which inspired me a lot to think outside the box in terms of house music, disco and what he called ʻsex musicʼ.


Slim - Totally out of price range (no pun intended), but Iʼd love Stuart Price, or Norman Jay at the drop of a hat!


What kind of thing would we be likely to hear you playing at Balearica / Mondo Disco?


Steve - For mondo I drop nothing but new music and will start, for example.. With the latest Claremont release going thru to new disco edits and then on to the latest Compost release. I always provide a mixed bag of new music.


“As for Balearica – I try a lot of my own material with a mix of ambient, guitar driven electronica mixed with slo-disco elements – and towards the end of the night I move into some slo-mo deeper grooves around the 115bpm tempo range.


Yeah, itʼs good when youʼve got control of the night as a whole rather than just a two hour slot or something... you can spend longer creating and working a vibe canʼt you


Steve - Oh yeah, I much prefer a 6 hour set... But then, I did Mondo at the Weekend and had an enjoyable 2 hour set. And this weekend Iʼm in Manchester doing 6 hours on my own – where I can create the clichéd journey... (laughs)


So what does Balearic mean to you?


Steve - (Laughs) It was the hippy party I went to in Ibiza in the late 80ʼs. I was only 16. I danced all night on some very strong lsd, whilst listening to an eclectic and wonderful DJ set by a local DJ. And yeah, it was certainly a liberating night coming from the sweaty rave parties which were happening in the UK. I also had a night of passion on the beach. So, to sum it all up for me – LSD, IBIZA, SEX & HIPPY DANCE ORIENTATED MUSIC.


Slim: A warm sonic bath in magic hour – sunsets over the sea, horizontal dancing, classy records, head-nodding, fuzzy memories, and tunes you have to get the names of to put in your phone... going down / coming back up and passing people going the other way. Squelchy stuff, warm pads, filters, and MASSIVE reverbs and delays. And NO grime or bad vibe or nasty angular stuff!


Ha, Iʼm not keen on bad vibe or nasty angular stuff either! (laughs) Fond memories for you then Steve, did you get her number?!


Steve - (Laughs) “Nah, she was some crazy Glaswegian girl – very sexy – but equally mental – Not one to take home to see mum.”


Have you been back there much since? The vibeʼs changed a fair bit between then and now hasnʼt it...


Steve - Since my first time in Ibiza Iʼve been back quite a few times, but the last was a few years ago when I played at Mambo and the vibe had changed from the early days – Still good fun, but equally I felt quite saddened by the bigger clubs and their stance on the music being played. I havenʼt been back since.


Youʼve travelled quite a lot with your DJʼing, can you tell us about some of your favourite gigs?


Steve - Airbound Festival this year was a major highlight – Simply wonderful venue, weather, music and people – and the Mondo team have been asked back next year... So, we mustʼve done a good job.


Yeah I was there this year to watch – an amazing place that – The Garden in Petrcane in Croatia where Airbound was. Weʼre hoping to go back there in 2010 to do a full live set which will be crazy.


And for out-an-out crazy – It would have to be The Firehouse in Los Angeles. I spun reggae, dub and funk 45ʼs in this slight edgy gated private club, which was filled with gangsters, Beverley Hills 90210 type kids and the odd Hollywood celebrity. All of which were freely smoking dope, head-nodding whilst drinking Red Stripe. It was quite insane for LA – but an enjoyable evening of music and dope.


Slim - My out-and-out two favourites have to be Groove Armada at the Scala about 10 years ago. Amazing club – getting lost in the stairwells, and I had complete memory loss due to various consumption errors, but I can remember it was Stella.


The funniest thing was coming round to my senses just as they were dropping the trombone break in ʻAt The River” and I remember thinking – what happened to the rest of the gig! I had a very bizarre UDI (unidentified drug / drink injury!) too that night, which involved two great big teeth mark cuts scored into my chin, and no memory of how, and then dripping blood all over the dancefloor, getting hauled into the club office, and refusing to go to hospital, so they slapped a whopping great blue surgical plaster on me and sent me back out. No regrets at all – I still have the scars to prove it...


And only a couple of years ago, seeing Daft Punk in Hyde Park – they were absolutely phenomenal – the best outdoor sound rig Iʼve ever heard, a massive neon pyramid for the decks, and the most mass-dancing in a field in Zone 1 London thereʼs ever been! If you ever get the chance to see Daft Punk live outside, drop everything. Seriously...


Your LA gig sounds awesome! I donʼt know a lot about the US scene, but nights like Harveyʼs Sarcastic Disco are massively popular so thereʼs obviously a really healthy vibe out there...

Any plans to go back?


Slim - My best friend lives in New York – but the scene in New York is very different to London – In comparison to London, there is certainly less choice in terms of disco parties – but when they go off, they are the best parties in the world. And, I love the laid back vibe of California and would love to get out there again.


I was just lucky to play out there as my day job took me out to LA for weeks on end – where I doubled it up with DJʼing thru contacts I met at record shops etc... Soon, I hope... Soon


Croatia seems to be rapidly becoming a destination of choice for Balearic heads looking for a change from Ibiza, Airbound (that you mentioned) and the Electric Elephant seem to be getting more popular year after year...


Slim - Itʼs an incredibly beautiful country and the vibe of The Garden (Pinia) is perfect for that kind of music. I just hope the louts that litter other popular European music destinations donʼt spoil it.


Airbound was great with my highlights being our MONDO night, Alexander Robotnik, Danny Wang and everyone who we hooked up with. Slim even got out there and I think he found it a refreshing festival, vibe and country.

Slim - Robotnik was really cool. What a great bloke – he must be drawing his pension soon but still has so much passion.


My highlight in his set was his first track to drop – a rework of Le Freak by Chic and he was MCing random encouragement to everyone as it rolled – brilliant – and such an intimate festival too – these often are the best – we bumped into Robotnik on the way home at about 8am after his set. Did the embarrassing hugs and all that – very cool!


Steve - I couldnʼt attend the Electric Elephant as I had UK commitments – but I think I felt the vibe through Luke Unabomberʼs tweets on Twitter – I certainly think they had fun.


Lukeʼs an incredible character isnʼt he! - Did you ever make it to The Electric Chair while it was running? What a night that was.... an anything goes music policy in a dark sweaty basement in the crappy end of Manchester... brilliant!


Steve - Yeah, my father lives up that way and I attended a couple of times on my own – but never knew anyone, but still enjoyable sweaty-dance-fueled nights.


Are you inspired by the diversity of the original Balearic and Cosmic pioneers such as say, Baldelli and the way which they worked music across all genreʼs to achieve the sound they were looking for?


Steve - Hmmm, I wouldnʼt say inspired. I appreciate the history of these cosmic pioneers as well as the disco, techno and house pioneers. However, diversity is paramount for me - in every aspect of my life. I think those who know me would certainly agree with that.


Yeah, diversity is definitely key, I totally agree with that, combined with a bit of zero gravity mixing...

Are there any genres that youʼre definitely not into or are you willing to give anything a listen?


Steve - I donʼt get dubstep – I leave that to the kids on Ketamine. And, I never been a fan of drum and bass / Jungle. But, Iʼm open minded and can appreciate a quality production whatever the genre... If it makes me head-nod or dance, then Iʼm into it.


There seems to be a real family vibe around the Mondo, DND and Balearica nights with quite a few people involved with the running of them. Is this group ethic something you encourage with your production, perhaps taking the multiple influences to sculpt your sound in different directions?


Steve - Yes, I agree... We are like a family and thereʼs a real shared passion of disco / Italo / Balearic / house / prog rock / acid and clubbing culture as a whole. There is a lot of music amongst everyone involved – and, I think thatʼs because weʼre all having a mid- thirties crisis and want to remain young and keep the magic alive.


But, seriously, everyone on the scene is connected and weʼre all pretty close, especially in East London. Itʼs a naturally friendly vibe where a lot of parties work alongside each other with mutual respect in what we offer and bring to the clubbing square mile of Shoreditch/ Hoxton.


In Music Terms, I think Iʼm influenced by everything in my life. It would be hard to pin point. But, Iʼm all up for collaborations and moving forward. I mean, look at the DOVES and how they moved forward – They started with Balearic-ambient, then dance music with Sub-Sub finally becoming one of Manchesterʼs loveable indie bands. I can see The Project Club moving in that direction... Yeah, I love digging out old Sub Sub tunes for Doves fans and theyʼre like eh... really?


The secret has just been consistently good music for them though hasnʼt it.


Steve - Yeah, “PAST” was an incredible tune and one I still play today – in fact, I think I have a signed white label in the shelves.

Slim -  ʻSpacefaceʼ by Sub Sub is ace. Theyʼve closed a few Doves sets with that one. The funny thing with that one though is that a lot of the indie-heads donʼt know it, and even though itʼs an in-your-face disco hit, at Doves gigs no-one knows it – so the crowd is a bit static where they should be jumping crazy at it. Maybe thatʼs our mission – to break down the rock / dance barricade and get everybody dancing!


Slim - Iʼm new to this scene as you know but I can safely say Iʼve been taken under various wings – they are a big fuzzy family of friendliness – Mondo, DND, Balearica – all of them. Many messy nights at all the residencies have attested to this!


Steve - Yeah, they do get a bit messy – mainly due to the vast amounts of alcohol we consume over 8 hours....


I canʼt recount the number of messy alcohol related DJʼing catastropheʼs Iʼve had over the years, you got any good oneʼs you can remember?


Steve - Countless... Just the weekend gone past with Phil Mison – I picked up the wrong needle – Always beer related, but yeah... I could tell a million stories.


My best being with Carl Cox, who blew up a bass bin after being told not to go in the red – Anyway this sub bass was mounted in a wall and subsequently it caught fire, in the wall – So we had to get 2500 people evacuated out of a club – And thatʼs 2500 totally spangled people being evacuated on a Sunday morning... Absolute nightmare!


Slim - The ʻwrong needleʼ Steve? Thatʼs dangerous. My DJ experience is confined to playing ʻguilty pleasuresʼ sets at random parties (yeah whatever...) – and the best catastrophe so far is forgetting the power supply to Steveʼs better halfʼs laptop, and the bloody thing launching into this ear-screeching ʻlow batteryʼ warning bleeps half-way through my set. Deafening. Embarrassing too – but being a true pro, she had packed the leads under the decks. Phew...


Steve: “I was more concerned about the tight white tee shirt and the policemans hat you were wearing... talk about G.A.Y. disco – You were only missing the handlebar moustache (Laughs)

Your first release ʻIntroʼ is just about to come out on is it Balearic...? Are you excited, and what has the advance response been like?


Steve - Yes, Iʼm excited.


The advance response so far has been really positive. Luke Unabomber smashed it at the Electric Elephant and has called it “A timeless Balearic classic” and Paathan from BBC radio had it on rotation constantly, dropped it on his show after quoting it as “Out and Out Balearicism”. I personally think INTRO is a great package – and offers a mix for everyone.


Slim - Itʼs great because it was the first one we took out of The Project Club box. Itʼs fresh, yes timeless. Itʼs what we do but itʼs also a promise of much more to come. And itʼs my first ever work on vinyl which I canʼt wait to run my hands over!


How did you get involved with the is it Balearic guys?


Steve - I had booked the guys to DJ at Balearica, but that fell thru, so I booked them for Mondo, purely on the basis that I was a fan of their label and had seen Timʼs name around since the Venus days. Ampo had listened to our myspace page and instantly took a liking to INTRO. So, the deal was done over a beer when they came to play at Mondo.


How did the Mainstem and Ray Mang remixes come about?


Steve - I met Raj (Ray Mang) at a night where we were both DJʼing. We then discovered that we were in-fact neighbours. So, I invited him over for a coffee and it all went from there. Iʼve always been a fan of his work and still now I keep finding music he has been involved with. Anyway, Weʼve become good friends and even at the start it was a natural choice to get him involved. Iʼve also used his studio to QA our final mixes and to get a second opinion on working progress mixes.


I discovered Mainstem via some mysterious MP3ʼs hitting my inbox. And, I liked what they were doing, but didnʼt actually know the guys behind the name. However, over time and via network connections, Rob hooked up with me and we had lengthy online chats about the current scene, history, and our own productions and by mutual respect - we agreed for them to remix INTRO. And subsequently, weʼve just finished a remix for them, which will be released later in the year.


Your musical network and this family vibe are obviously a big part of what youʼre about. Youʼve got the contacts, the studio and the reputation, have you ever considered just starting your own label and taking it to the next level?


Slim - Yeah weʼre almost a one-stop-shop. We can do the audio recording, the mixing, the programming, the mastering, even the artwork, so itʼs nearly there already.


Steve - Iʼm in the process of starting an agency for DJʼs in our field, I guess the label follows that...


What other artists are doing it for you at the moment?


Steve - Iʼm really loving where floating points are coming from and feel Iʼm on the same wavelength in my DJ sets. On a similar vibe - Mark Eʼs output always has my support. “Still Going” “Holy Ghost” & “House Of House” offer great music along with pretty much all of DFAʼs output.


On the 4/4 deeper house side of things, people like Ewan Pearson, John Daly, Zwicker, A Mountain Of One and labels like Mule, Tirk, Nang, Permanent Vacation, Mood, Drumpoet Community and Compost always hit the mark.


Richard Norrisʼs “The Time & Space Machine” and “The Phenomenal hand clap band” are great – And, I can see The Project Club going down that direction – more live sounding, big drums and guitars. Adult-orientated-Prog-disco.

AOPD! I like it!! - Itʼs tricky thought isnʼt... adult orientated dance music thatʼs credible but still has a commercial edge thatʼs gonna shift units.


Youʼre right about DFA, theyʼve done it brilliantly, what with The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, Juan Mclean.... Can you see any similarities with what theyʼre doing and your vision for The Project Club?


Steve - I think of DFA being quite raw – Most of their releases always have a raw analogue feel. I donʼt think we quite compare, as we like a lush sound. But you never know... Iʼm in the process of writing a gritty-raw-DFA type track at the moment - whichʼll need live drums and guitars.


Slim - My tips and tracks are a bit more ʻoff-messageʼ or ʻthrow a six and catch upʼ tracks. My favourites over the last few months (and these are all oldies but hey ho) are Riz Ortolaniʼs Cannibal Holocaust theme music – just beautiful and creepy and poetic all at once, the old 90s disco remix of Chris Reaʼs Josephine which is total disco heaven in an Edwards / Rodgers kind of way, Talking Heads ʻThis Must Be The Placeʼ which is a cut from their 80ʼs LP ʻSpeaking In Tonguesʼ which I was blown away by on a boat party in Croatia with Airbound this summer – it mustʼve been massive in Ireland as all the punters knew every word!


Iʼm the mainstream “indie” dude in this so donʼt expect rare 12” tips from Slim – but Iʼm loving Pnau, Empire Of The Sun, and Ladyhawke this year – thereʼs a real class and sense of fun about all those antipodeans making this kind of music at present. In a way though, as I donʼt DJ and Iʼm constantly working on my music or other peopleʼs, I donʼt get to dig that deep in the crates. I still get the biggest hit of all from playing back something Iʼve been working on all day – proper loud in the cans and dancing round the room! The best high out there!

 

I havenʼt heard the Cannibal Holocaust theme music, Iʼll have to check it out.


Slim - Itʼs deep, dark, and beautiful” I love the juxtaposition of light and shade. Like that Bond film where the villain is feeding some goon to the sharks, and theyʼre playing ʻAir On A G Stringʼ or something. Top stuff – or in Casino where Joe Pesci is getting baseball batted to death and Scorcese drops the beautiful coda outro to Layla. Magic!

Talking horror soundtracks, have you heard the Goblin tracks that have been re- edited recently? Iʼm yet to get hold of them but I bet thereʼs a gold mine of old horror soundtrack stuff thatʼs waiting to be rediscovered...

John Carpenterʼs stuff is amazing too...


Steve - I wouldnʼt say it was my kind of sound I play-out, but I do have a few tracks from Goblin and a lot of John Carpenter stuff.


What do you think about the scene as a whole at the moment?


Steve - I think the whole East London disco-italo -house-balearic scene is great and yet, still feels underground – and the plus is that itʼs all on my doorstep, with so many great producers, parties and DJʼs within the area. Manchester, Glasgow and Leeds also have a strong following for this vibe and I like the intimate following. But yeah, itʼs certainly a refreshing way forward for club music and a nice bunch of people involved.


Can you tell us a bit about the track that youʼve given our readers to download?


Steve - Iʼll let Andy tell you about Do You Remember When? I need to go to the toilet


Slim: This is a re-work of the 808 State classic ʻPacific Stateʼ. That track was built around the sax hook of the original – which is totally unmistakable. We wanted to take it in a ʻProject Clubʼ direction whilst still paying homage. Steve hit me up with some synth pads and acidy arpeggios, I added loads of guitars, and reworked the famous riff on my Telecaster with an ebow and tonnes of delay. Just sort of all slotted into place.


I also went off on one while I was at it and did a disco club mix (the ʻWKD stiletto Club mixʼ!). Steve told me he was calling it ʻDo You Remember When?ʼ in deference to the original and all the memories it will conjure up, and I ended up doing loads of Chic guitars, funky basslines, and stabby vocoder vocal harmonies for that. We need to put this out at some stage too! But yeah the free download is beauty – really classy. It just makes total sense...

I was gonna ask you about this earlier actually when you mentioned Edwards / Rodgers... You can play the instruments, youʼre into the vibe so do you ever get the urge to just get disco with it all more often?


Steve - Slim always wants to go disco... (Laughs)


Slim - Yeah he keeps me in check the bastard. Youʼll never beat ʻGood Timesʼ for a bassline. Itʼs the total blueprint for everything in that scene since. The use of silence, space, rhythm – Bernard Edwards was a bassline god. RIP


So what have you guys got lined up next?


Steve - Iʼm working on a few projects with DJʼs, a hip Hop collaboration with a new up & coming rapper and Iʼve also started on some new TPC material – slightly different from our last few tracks.


Slim - Like Steve said weʼre always up for mixing up the creative process so for the next one Iʼm going to hit him up with some basslines, guitar grooves, a BPM and maybe a vocal hook, and see where he takes it – then heʼll bust it back to me, and we get it good, and we unleash it on you lot! Itʼs gonna be special though – trust me...

 

Ok, letʼs get some quick charts from you both...


All time classics:

E2-E4 – Manuel Gottschling

Gerry Rafferty – “If You Get It Wrong, Get it Right Next Time” Steely Dan – “Do It Again”

Dennis Parker “Fly Like An Eagle”

Tears For Fears – “Pharoahs”

Chris Rea – “Josephine” (the disco remix)


Balearica classics:

Sade – “Paradise”

808 State – “Pacific State”

Business Man – “Dubby Games” 

Anything from Claremont 56

John Martyn – “Sunshines Better” (the Café Del Mar remix) 

Am I allowed The Orbʼs “Little Fluffy Clouds”?


Mondo Hot Tunes:

Floating Points - “Vacuum Boogie e.p.”

Zwicker – Who Are You? Feat. Heidi Happy

Andrew Weatherall – “Built Back Higher” (Radical Majik Remix) Hot Toddy – “I Need Love”

Lusine – Baffle (Steve Lee’s extended Edit)


Any last words?


Steve - Thanks for having us, enjoy the mix, the track and Is it finally time for 3 Oʼclock

beers?


Slim - Followed by bacon sarnies, rocket-fuel coffee, and chats with the neighbours cats, and then back to the guitars and the edits... ahhhh...

More like this

We spoke to Emma Salahi about her Ibiza based art gallery and the launch of the new Oriol Maspons superbook
Gerardo Rubio tells us about his time spent working at KU during the clubs cosmopolitan heyday in the 80's.
Rob Butler chats to Californian legend Ned Doheny ahead of the re-release of three of his classic albums.
DJ Zyron aka Johan Åstrand talks to us about his background as a DJ, producer and record collector.