Friday, November 12, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Interview w/ Danny Howells - The true DJ's DJ

In Pic: Danny Howells
Actually getting goosebumps typing this out. Danny '12 hour set' Howells. That's what I used to call him, in honour of his many marathon sets I had the absolute pleasure dancing my nuts off to. The more times I watched him DJ, and this will sound embarrassingly cliche, the closer I felt to him as a person. Through the brilliantly programmed music that spans a variety of deepsexyfuturisitictechfunk sounds. Through his intimate vibe with the punters where he literally is just one of the boys. By the third time I watched him play (lol and this might very well be because of the various intoxicants I had ingested) - I use to wave at him like a little girl in hopes that he would look up and wave back... to the point where my friends would be, "WTF are you doing?" It was only a matter of time before I started calling him, 'Danny - He's everyone's friend'.

The thing about Danny Howells - he's an honest DJ... he knows what he likes and that's what he's going to stick with. There are a plethora of DJs who have jumped mindlessly on bandwagons (some more convincingly than others) and gorged their fans with the flavours of the month, and yet if you've heard Danny's music from the past decade - you'll notice it's been consistently timeless. He's very much a mood DJ and that's what sets him apart; where genres are essentially irrelevant, but the feel of the tune is all important. Very few DJs have mastered this art and Mr. Howells is one of them. He'll be playing the deepest darkest prog set and just to see you smile, he'll bust out an 80s influenced disco beast and it will make sense. That is the magic of Danny Howells.

Danny reigns supreme in my books for a variety of reasons. I can't think of any DJ who can program a set better than him... it's literally like he's picked tunes that have been made to make love with each other. More to the point, he doesn't blow his load. He knows exactly how to build a night; deep and sexy early, groovy bouncy to pick things up and throbbing madness to cap things off. It's all about pace and Danny Howells is the boss of pacing a night, always making sure to snugly grip on to his listener.

Forget that I've had my best nights (my thighs and calves aching from all the dancing the morning/afternoon after), to this day I can put on his NuBreed, GU Miami, GU 24/7 and his Renaissance mixes among others... and it will still sound fresher and groovier than ever. Even when he's putting together a mix that isn't dance music, it still sounds distinctly special and Howells-like (please, please, download his Essential Mix from 2002, it could potentially change your  life).

Do yourself a favour and get some Danny Howells in you - it's not just music to dance to, it's music for the soul.

In an exclusive interview with YHIHF, Danny Howells talks about his humble beginnings as a DJ in South England, his mentor John Digweed, his favourites from his illustrious list of compilations, his upcoming projects with Dig Deeper and much more! 

In a nutshell – who is Danny Howells and what kind of DJ/artist is he?
A 39 year old DJ, producer and label owner. Living in London. Not sure what kind of "artist" I am though - I suppose someone who puts music first and isn't too fussed about the glam! I'm also one who takes forever to answer interview requests, sorry!

In your lifetime, who and what have been your main sources of inspiration?
From an early age, my family who introduced me to a wide range of music - from classical to funk and pop. When I started DJing, John Digweed was a big influence. In more recent years my main inspiration has mainly been the music I have been exposed to, as well as the crowds I play it to.

Tell us about your childhood and what lead to you pursuing DJing as a career.
My Dad was nowhere to be seen, so my Mum raised me on her own, with help from my Nan, Grandad, aunts and uncles etc. That was one of the reasons I got to hear so many different styles of music from an early age as all my family members had different tastes, and I would spend days just listening to their records with them. There'd sometimes be three record players in different rooms all banging it out - pop, rock, classical, everything.

You must have tackled the age-old conflict of juggling ‘DJing as a hobby that feeds passion versus DJing as a profession that puts food on the table.’
I've had struggles in the past but I think I've been quite careful so that I've put myself in a nice situation where I can be a bit more picky and less reliant on non-stop touring, which i find hard as my age increases!

I’ve read somewhere, long time ago, you were once a nurse… besides being the brunt of bad ‘male nurse’ jokes, what was that experience like?
It was a great experience for me. I worked as an assistant psychiatric nurse for nine years in an acute ward in Hastings. It was so unpredictable and extremely depressing at times but also very rewarding. I would definitely consider dipping my toe into it again when I'm too old to travel.

Tell us about your label Dig Deeper, what kind of sound are you striving to push?
The label reflects any style of music that you could expect to hear in one of my extended DJ sets - anything from downtempo, eclectic, deep house through to techno. I've been a bit slow production-wise over the last year so I've been signing up some exciting new music from a range of artists, both known and upcoming, which I'll be putting together along with some of my own productions for a Dig Deeper compilation early next year.

You’ve done your fair share of mixed compilations, which three do you hold closest to your heart?
Probably the first disc of my 24/7 album, the Choice CD for Azuli, and even though it wasn't a CD I'll include my 2002 Essential Mix.

Give us insight on the legendary Bedrock nights on the South coasts of England during the 90s – you were Digweed’s go to DJ for warm ups. What was the scene and music like in those times, besides the bad hairdos and fluorescent clothing?  
For me they started on Hastings Pier, which sadly got burnt by arsonists just a few weeks ago. The scene was amazing - mainly because it was so fresh and new to us all, and less of an industry. I learnt so much from John and those warm-ups - the main thing was about sculpting a night, building it slowly from the start, not just musically but the lights, sound, etc. It showed me that a night doesn't need to be a full-on in-your-face experience from the moment the doors open, that it can be a creative process that slowly sucks people in and slowly develops into mayhem!

What was it like working with John Digweed so early in both your careers? 
He was exactly the same as he is now, very kind and supportive, as well as always being on hand to give advice on all matters. I loved working with him then and I still do now, nearly 20 years on. He was always so hard working and dedicated and that was very inspiring.

When you play around the world as much as you do… do you tend to categorize the crowds you play for? What kind of subtle differences and expectations can you tell between the crowds in Europe, America and Asia?
I never know how to answer this question really - there are always certain places where my sound goes down better, but then everywhere is different and I can have totally different experiences in the same place - it can be unpredictable which I suppose keeps me on my toes!

Tell us about your famous eclectic mixes – the Essential Mix from 2002 and the RA Mix from a couple of years back? What equipment do you use and how do you go about compiling those particular mixes?
The 2002 mix was done with turntables, one cdj500s (I couldn't afford two!), lots of looping and re-editing, and a piece of VERY basic software called Cakewalk Club Tracks. It was an 8 track audio editor which limited me extremely but also forced me to be more creative. The RA mix started from a small leftover from the 2002 mix, and I completed it on Logic 8, as I was touring South America at the time. It kind of restricted me a bit as I wasn't at home with my music collection, so found myself having to extract tunes from my ipod for the mix!

There a lot of mixed opinions regarding the state of dance music - the indefinite future of clubs and record labels, DJs not blagging as many gigs, is it currently in a bit of a recession or is it still blossoming? 
I think I've always kind of operated on the outskirts a bit ... just doing my own thing, so I've never really felt qualified to comment on the state of the industry as a whole. I only really see the things I'm involved in and obviously there are a lot of changes happening. Sometimes things have to be shaken up a bit though for things to move forward.

One of my favourite internet moments happened when you felt compelled to voice your opinion on an Australian forum regarding warm up sets. You were upset with a few DJs who were playing before you. When you’re headlining a night, what in your opinion is a perfect warm up set for you? How do you go about warming up a night for other headline DJs?
My favourite warm-up DJs are the ones who get me totally itching to get on the decks, where I feel I can play what I want without being forced into just "banging it out", and who get me constantly asking what tunes they're playing! Warming up is about setting the tone, getting the crowd slowly immersed into the night without hitting a climax musically when there's still another 6 hours of clubbing to be had! You can't burn the crowd out in the first few hours - you would see the Stones opening a set with their five biggest tunes! Maybe tease them with one or two, but they'll always save the big guns until the end! Warm up DJs should have an idea of how the headline DJ sounds, and not resort to showing off as it kind of looks a bit idiotic, and can totally spoil the flow and energy of a potentially great night.

What has been your most memorable experience DJing, there have got to be some crazy stories… tell us one!
There were many hotel-room experiences and airport vomit experiences, passing out on planes etc, but that was all years ago when I was drinking and partying. I still have a few beers and the occasional champagne but my party nights are very few and far between these days. My body can't cope with it any more!

You’ve played alongside many DJs where you’ve been known to gel and tag team with them (Lee Burridge comes to mind). Given the occasion asks for it, who are some of your favourite DJs to play with and why?
I always enjoy playing with Lee as we do get on and generally vibe off each other musically, plus it all happens without any planning - we just turn up and go for it! There's many other guys I've played with in the past, but I suppose Lee is one I've tagged with the most.

Have there been points of excess and chaos in your career where you look back and think “Alright, that was a bit too Led Zeppelin.”
I was definitely hitting the tequila too much for a while. I think it was probably out of nerves that I started getting into it, but there were quite a few Zep style incidents as a result, some of which affected my gigs and were extremely unprofessional. Today I think I'm pretty boring although I do still (very) occasionally have my Zep moments!

Who are the producers and record labels in dance music you think have truly stood the test of time?
It's too hard to name names but I think any good quality house music that has never sounded totally "current" tends to age better than anything uber-trendy. Take Ashley Beedle's remix of Bent, "Always", which I still play. It's just timeless, quality house music and I can't imagine it ever sounding totally "old". Unlike certain genres like 90s prog and Deadmau5y sounding electro - it's always going to sound of it's time and will date immensely.

Name a DJ who you think is ridiculously underrated and one DJ who you think is overtly hyped.
Most of the DJs who focus on playing quality house/deep house are underrated. If you want to know who I think is over-hyped, just pick any name at random out of DJ Mag's Pop 100 list!

Can you name a few of the secret thrift stores in London/South England where we can find those vintage tees and outrageous shirts you’re always sporting?
They mainly come from the States - New York and LA, as well as ebay. I prefer buying them in vintage stores as I can feel the fit and make sure they'll be tight enough without exposing my beer belly! It's a bit harder online as I'm very fussy about the fit!

Three clubs around the world that you have consistently had amazing nights at.
Good gosh ... a bit predictable but Warung in Brazil, Womb in Tokyo, and Moonpark in Buenos Aires.

Three movies that you can watch over and over again.
Aah my movie taste is pretty bad and I won't tell you some of the monstrosities lurking in my collection! My most-watched movies are usually rock/music related. The Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter" is amazing... The Beatles "Let It Be" is pretty fascinating but hard to find. My favourite non-rock movies are usually the old classics, things like "Midnight Cowboy" etc. I like films from the 60s and 70s.

You are stuck on a deserted island with a life supply of batteries and a boom box, list out 6 life changing must-have albums you’d like to have with you and why?
I hate this question!!! I'm not going to answer it properly but I will tell you that Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" is the first album I will grab and I could live with that one alone. I will never, ever tire of it, it's simply beautiful.

A huge thank you to Danny Howells for taking the time to do this. As you can see I didn't really hold back on the questions!  But he truly is my hero and one of a kind.  He's taught me what it means to be a DJ and for this I'll be forever grateful. Can someone please bring him down on a massive India tour? Please? And thank you to my old roommate from college Deniz - he took the photos here from one of my most memorable nights partying it up with Danny on the decks (Los Angeles, Nacional, 2005)! - SG

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tours and Festivals: Sunburn tickets go on sale!

Sunburn tickets went on sale Friday... VIP tickets too. Wouldn't say the line up is my cup of tea, though Anil Chawla, Jalebee Cartel, Pearl (she threw down one of the best sets I've heard this year at the Smirnoff Exchange Party), Vachan, Dheeraj Sareen should do the business. Very nice to see GMS back for their second Sunburn appearance, they killed in 2008 and I see them destroying again. If BT drops some sick remix of Fibonacci Sequence, I'd be pretty happy.

Nadia Ali just got confirmed too, and I'm yet to find anyone who doesn't dig her. Loved io's Rapture. Deep Dish GU Moscow was one of my first house CD purchases, in which that tune was very hot for its time. haha Never been a fan of Sultan, but I think it should be very cool to have a live act at the festival, with Nadia on vocals, Sultan and Ned Shepard doing their thing on instruments... saw Ned Shepard DJ here in Bangalore during my blog hiatus, and I must say he did a good job.

Definitely need a few more underground names in there though. Word is spreading that Dave Seaman will be playing at an After Dark night, that should be cool. I agree with friend, mentor and festival director Nikhil Chinapa when he says that Sunburn isn't just about the music, it's about the whole experience, but for some the music is also an important factor and they shouldn't be entirely ignored. As for ticket prices, ummm, no comment really.  I do feel for the people who are really big into the music, but just don't have the means to spend that kind of money on tickets.

What I have a problem with, the wankers who bitch out the line up and the ticket prices, and then start foaming at the mouth for AVB, Tiesto, Deadmau5 and Guetta. Are you fucking serious? I'm under the impression, if you like the DJs mentioned; Ferry Corsten, BT and Axwell, possibly Funkyagenda (though I hope not, DANNY HOWELLS OR LEE BURRIDGE OR ONE OF THE GUYS FROM SOS - my attempt at subliminal campaigning lol) are right up your alley! They're fucking legends in their own right, even if they don't happen to be the flavour of the month. And seriously, count yourself lucky the lot of you got the opportunity to watch AVB and Roger Sanchez at the price that you did last year.

I'll echo Nik and say it really is all about the experience. It's about good music being played through the day, it's about chilling with friends getting progressively plastered in the sand and it's about being surrounded by a very very cool bunch of people who pretty much appreciate all the same things that you do. Not to mention, it's Goa, it's December, it's the beach and delicious food.

PS - There's also a very cool Sunburn Anthem and Video contest, where they are rolling out the red carpet for the winners. A really great opportunity for both emerging producers and VJs from India... you guys have to check it out!   

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Month That Was (SEPT-OCT): It's been a while since I first saw you...

Minilogue – Certain Things Part 1 (Freska Merged Mix)
El Mundo and Satori - Lubimaja 
Arjun Vagale – Kill The String
Rainer Weichhold – Reis (Carl Lio Remix)
Ryan Davis – The Wolve (Max Cooper remix)
Dominik Eulberg - Sansula (Max Cooper’s Lost In Sound Remix)
Gary Beck – Timeline
Cari Lekebusch – State of the Art
Tom Mangan – Chutney (Size 9 Reinterpretation)
Quivver – 2 Notes N A Beat

in the bedroom
Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You (How The West Was Won)
Led Zeppelin – Going to California (How The West Was Won)
Cannonball Adderly (and Miles Davis) – Autumn Leaves
Animal Collective - My Girls
The xx - Crystalised

  • Working with Flipkart. It’s honestly like a fat kid working in a cake shop. I can’t describe it any other way. The evening snacks, it’s all about the evening snacks. 
  • The lovely missus bringing me a ton of goodies from London.
  • The Nightshift boys featuring on FriskyRadio for the first Submerge Says Dance radio show w/ Shubs. Pretty sick, made a very cool deep house mix. 
  • The Nightshift boys playing a warm up set at the Smirnoff Exchange party with Pearl, BREED, Nikhil Chinapa, Rohit Barker, Inferno. Best night all year without a doubt. Musically, it was crazy, pure quality. Got completely pasted as well… back on the sauce after 4 months (lol, snuck in a beer at Azhar’s birthday, that was total peer pressure). 
  • Getting my hands on some new vinyl after two years! Chemical Brothers’ Further and Cannonball Adderly’s Somethin’ Else.
  • Slowly but surely making the Submerge Sunday Matchbox a Nightshift monster.
  • Getting my hands on the complete collection of Peter Bagge’s Hate comics. Has me in splits. Buddy changed the way I perceived life.
  • Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Mad Men – TV is back.
  • Magnolia – watched it for the second time after nearly five years… it’s a masterpiece.
  • Exit Through The Gift Shop – genius documentary on street art. Long live Banksy.

Not much really. It’s been a good couple of months. Err, take that back. Hating not blogging and DJing as much as I used to when I was unemployed. Lol. The bohemian lifestyle is overrated though. Call me a sell out a bitch, but I’m loving the 9 to 5 way. Oh yeah, fuck the DJ Mag Poll and all that it stands for. One more, people who know fuck all about music working the music industry. I look forward to the implosion.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bangalore Events: Black Cascade presents Nightshift w/ Sailen & Azhar - Warm Up from Bluesky

Flyer Design: Pia Alize Hazarika

Azhar and I seriously had the most fun playing at Black Cascade last night - we encored with MFA's 'The Difference It Makes' - CHOON! Such a wicked and intimate crowd, just loving the music... people who genuinely enjoy underground music. The cherry on top? It went on till about 12:15AM, unheard of in these times! We were actually saying, a lot of the tunes we play in other venues sounded so much clearer and warmer at Black Cascade... we are huge fans of the sound system there. It's a beautiful space with trippy as fuck lighting.

This week we're bringing in Bluesky to do a warm up set for Nightshift, to be perfectly honest given our history - we might as well refer to him as a Nightshift boy. Back in 2007, Bluesky actually came over with me to a house party and we DJed the night - who was in the audience and drove Bluey down? Azhar. haha First time I met the guy, good times. Bluesky has got a ridiculous vinyl collection and just like us, only plays on turntables. He plays a lovely blend of minimal, tech house and deep... very eclectic taste. I remember he came over to my house and had forgotten his bag of vinyl, so he just went through mine, haha threw down quite a few Nightshift records. Good times.  We're really looking forward to playing Saturday night and honestly, you're going to love the space.  We have something really amazing going on for us at Black Cascade and we'd like to share the experience with you - get there early to check out Bluesky's set...

RSVP Nightshift w/ Azhar & Sailen, Bluesky @ Black Cascade, Saturday, August 28th: Click here

Friday, August 20, 2010

Downloads: Lopan's (AKA Nick Jamieson) Latest Mix

My home boy in Australia Nick Jamieson just did a dirty disco mix - as usual good shit... If you like make sure to listen to his mix with ADD. Party like it's 1999? haha sorry.

1. Kolombo - Come Closer 
2. KZA - Unfaithful (Fernando Remix Version 1) 
3. Diamond Lights Feat. Amy B - Disco Dancer (Monday Dub) 
4. Roland Schwarz - Step In (Faze Action Dub) 
5. Franc Spangler - Forever and a Day 
6. The Revenge - Forever In Their Debt 
7. Cole Medina - Do What You Like (Cole's OG Mix) 
8. Rick Wilhite - Drum Patterns and Memories (Moodyman's Unreleased Remix) 
9. Flatwound - Tickle Me Disco

Download Lopan's latest mix: Click here

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Burn & MTV present The Ultimate DJ Championship 2010 - A Submerge Property

After the complete fail that was the Kingfisher Flyp DJ Academy, I'm a little bit weary about DJ competitions.  However, this seems to be the real deal. Usually when Submerge are connected to these kinds of initiatives, it means it's going to be done right. A part of me wants to do this, all gung ho and shit, but unfortunately, fortunately, however you want to look at it, I'm employed and I'm loving it, drowning in work and couldn't be happier. Let's see though... :) 

Nikhil Chinapa teased this on the Submerge Forum and it was pretty cool to see how the idea developed into this massive monster. The winner earns himself a year long residency as a Submerge DJ - that will obviously mean multiple cities, the lucky bastard. haha, Well hardly lucky, because whoever it is, they're going to have to earn it. The winner also gets money - gets paid, a slot at a UK festival (that's fucking huge!) and professional DJ gear too. Might be Pioneer stuff, I'm not really sure on that though.

This is big and if interested, the best place to follow up on the rules, deadline dates, if you have questions for Nikhil or Submerge admin Tuhin Mehta, then I'd suggest you sign up now and get on that Submerge forum.  They've been promoting this on Twitter and there's quite a bit of interest in it.

Check out all the details on Burn & MTV's The Ultimate DJ Championship 2010 (A Submerge Property): Click here
Check out the official website for the Ultimate DJ Championship: Click here

Bangalore Events: Black Cascade presents Nightshift w/ Sailen & Azhar

Flyer Design: Pia Alize Hazarika

So we just played the iDANCE 2010 and the next night we did our first Submerge Sunday gig at Fuga opening for Vachan. Good times. Surreal times. But we're lapping it up. I was reminded that playing a Submerge gig means you're golden... and it really does.  

We've got a gig tomorrow at Black Cascade, gotta say, I love the sound system there. It's a great space, lots of seating, good food... you should come on over. It'll be nice to play out an extended deep house set, but I'm sure we'll get to a harder space towards the end.

RSVP Nightshift @ Black Cascade w/ Sailen & Azhar, August 20th: Click here

Friday, August 13, 2010

Downloads: Praveen Achary - Artist of the Week - FriskyRadio Mix

In Pic: Praveen Achary

Meant to do this earlier. Home boy, Praveen Achary, who helps run The Sound Faction and premier DJ equipment hub The Inventory (alongside equally talented DJ and producer Tanseer Jabbar) was voted Artist of the Week at FriskyRadio about a month back.  Let me mention, I think it's absolutely awesome how Frisky have been supporting Indian acts... a massive big up to chiefFrisky Faisal Sultan. If you're big into this music, FriskyRadio is the place you should to be tuning into.  

Praveen actually threw down my favourite set in the Frisky Loves India line up - one of the few DJs who slowly built a groove instead of just busting a nut. We're going to be playing alongside him at the iDANCE festival and honestly, it's been a long time coming. Was really happy to see him get Artist of the Week with Frisky and thought it would be cool to feature it on YHIHF.  The track listing is delicious and the prog heads should enjoy this one. Power prog as we use to call it on the GU Forum. We use to also call this sound muscular. haha. :)

Frisky Artist of the Week - Praveen Achary
01. Lusine ft Vilja Larjos - Two Dots (Original Mix) - 
02. Wehbba - Depois (Original Mix) - Tronic
03. Francesco Pico - Smashed Into The Sky (Roger Martinez Re-Interpretation) - Outside The Box Music
04. Teva - Kapoor (Original Mix) - Roomba Music
05. Monaque - Dos3000 (Quivver Remix) - microCastle
06. Sahar Z, Guy Mantzur - Estimated Time (Stephan Bazbaz Remix) - Definitive
07. Vinayaka - Never Turn Your Back (Ben Coda Remix) - Spherax
08. 16 Bit Lolitas - Alien Fraud (Original Mix) - Bits & Pieces
09. Henry Saiz - The Rider (Original Mix) - Renaissance
10. Francesco Pico - Like The Old Days (Lank Remix) - Outside The Box Music
11. DJ Tarkan & V-Sag - Sea Through (Tan Atalar Remix) - No Smoking
12. Saints & Sinners - Pushing Too Hard (Nic Fanciulli Remix) - Bedrock
13. Sander Kleinenberg - M.A.N.I.A.C. (5K Original Mix) - Little Mountain
14. Solarity - Diophantine (Original Mix) - Anjunadeep
15. Monaque - Resolutions (Spooky Remix) - microCastle
16. Triangle - Five (We've Found It) (King Unique Remix) - Flow Vinyl
17. Neil Quigley & Cylon - Clear For Take Off (Neil Quigley Mix) - AudioTherapy
18. Lank - Run On Fumes (Monaque Remix) - microCastle
19. Leon Raes - Aruba Garden (Eelke Kleijn Space Mix) - Outside The Box Music
20. 16 Bit Lolitas - Perry & Peggy Have Twins (Original Mix) - Bits & Pieces
21. King Unique - Feniksas (Fergie Remix) - Bedrock
22. Tonnsaied & Mario Kahn - Voided (Silinder Remix) - Sudbeat

Download Praveen Achary's Frisky Radio Artist of the Week mix: Click here
Follow Praveen Achary on Twitter: Click here

Festival: iDANCE 2010 w/ Ma Faiza, Jalebee Cartel, Vachan, Sailen & Azhar, Praveen, Yash

Words can't express how excited I am about this festival.  Forget that the Nightshift boys are playing a slot, just look at how insane that line up is. This isn't cheesy shit, not one fucking hint of cheddar. This is just grimy good. One of my most favourite DJs is playing - Vachan (madness at the Ned Shepard gig) and we're finally getting to see a couple of different Jalebees behind the decks. It's always a pleasure to catch Jalebee Cartel's Arjun Vagale (click for the YHIHF interview) do his DJ sets, but not many of us in Bangalore get the opportunity to catch Ash and Ashvin do the DJing thing, so really can't wait to hear them play. Heard only stellar reports about Ash's set when he opened for Sasha in Blue Frog. What's really special, the dutchess of psy Ma Faiza is headlining the event as well - I got to catch her set at the Sunburn 2008 festival, and it was one beastly tune after the other. The SF Show's Praveen Achary is also playing, he just got voted frisky's artist of the week and put up a set, which was awesome, will be posting it here next. I haven't been to the venue, but I hear really really good things about Clarks, it's pretty much a holiday resort and we'll be playing pool side.  The organizers at Overture keep reminding us to bring swimming gear... hahaha.

So yeah, GET THE FUCK IN!  It's happening this Saturday, August 14th and I hope to see you all there.

RSVP iDANCE 2010 @ Clarks Exotica, New Airport Road, Saturday August 14th: Click here

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Month That Was (JULY): Things are coming together

Atnarko ft. Nica Brooke - Solid Ground (Fred Everything's Lazy Dub)
Maayan Nidam - Perplexday
Santos - Llania Inesperada (Paul Ritch Remix)
Sander Kleinenberg - M.A.N.I.A.C.
Vinayaka - Never Turn Your Back (Ben Coda Remix)
Carl Craig - At Les (Christian Smith's Tronic Treatment Remix)
Chemical Brothers - Escape Velocity
Louis Armstrong - Nobody Knows (Monkey Safari Remix)
Sharkslayer - Who is he?
Cubiq - BOR-DOM

in the bedroom
Mumford & Sons - The Cave
Erlend Oye's DJ Kicks Mix
Matthew Dear - Soil to Seed
Jose Gonzalez - Heart Beats
The Roots - Somebodys Gotta Do It
Paul Wall - Sittin' Sidewayz
Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra
The Clash - Magnificent 7

  • Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010). Read my review HERE.
  • Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – a wonderful take on a fun Roald Dahl story.
  • “The Rebel Who Would Be King” by Philip Auclair – the long awaited Eric Cantona biography that is simply spot on. It’s beautifully written, which can be a rarity in sports writing. Watch this goal and know why he is King Eric (click).
  • TV is hot as fire! Mad Men (back with a vengeance), Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie, you must feel like a twat),  Louie CK (quirky very non-PC comedy), True Blood (slow start to the season but shit is definitely hitting the fan) and Entourage (possibly the second last season?).
  • Guilty pleasures on Star World - Masterchef Australia and Moment of Truth
  • The new Rupee symbol and my friend Alok Shetty’s take on it – VIEW HERE!
  • The Nightshift boys playing at Pebble for the first time; we’re also playing alongside Vachan, Jalebee Cartel and Ma Faiza at the iDANCE festival, August 14th – what what?! RSVP NOW! CLICK HERE!
  • Clips of Spanish captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas being interviewed by his very hot reporter girlfriend right after winning the World Cup – adorable.
  • The Formula One season notching up a gear; the top five drivers are separated by a mere 20 points – the second half of the season is going to be exciting. Fingers crossed Vettel’s luck changes, Schumi keeps being Schumi and Ferrari rub team orders in everyone’s face. 
  • Cricket 2010 on the PS 3 – four straight days of yorkers and sixers, unhealthy but definitely worth a buy if you’re a fan of the sport.
  • Wearing sweaters in July, only in Bangalore (and maybe Australia).
  • Chancery Pavilion's Midnight buffet (Lavelle Road, Bangalore) - shhhh! This is our secret, don't want the pigs to get a whiff. Rs. 350 all you can eat. Drunken-stoner nights will never be the same.
  • Tuhin Mehta’s Back to School Mix – house like it used to be. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD!
  • This is very cool - SUBMERGE & MTV have joined hands to launch a DJ Talent Hunt - click here for all the details...
  • Dude, I’m employed – joined the editorial team of FlipKart, couldn’t be happier. Think of a book, any book, search and buy! :) Gwan, wish me success.

  • Angelina Jolie’s Salt (2010) – horribly stale Cold War sentiments, what did Russia do to piss off Hollywood? And ffs, enough with the Jason Bourne comparisons, Bourne would ass rape Salt if he wanted to.
  • Reports of the Commonwealth Games costing – this should be in 'LOVING,' purely for its comedic value.
  • The Confluence Festival getting cancelled for various reasons (Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll, it seems). Sign the petition: CLICK HERE It must be said though, considering the recent events of flash floods in Ladakh, this is all rather secondary.
  • Had the misfortune of watching the first two episodes of 'Persons Unknown' - I could imagine two fat writers pitching this to networks, 'It's Saw meets Lost...' Please avoid.
  • Not blogging enough for the month of July - job interviews kinda held me back. My bad homies.
  • The Dutch performance in the World Cup final - this wasn't football, it was a bloody war.
  • The DJ Mag Poll - with your trance propaganda vote for me bullshit. Having said that, my vote goes to: Danny Howells, John Digweed, Jalebee Cartel, Chloe Harris and Neil Quigley.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bangalore Events: Pebble presents NIGHTSHIFT w/ Sailen & Azhar and DJ Inferno

Well, what can I say?  This is big. A sorta coming of age for the Nightshift boys. Anyone who plays underground music in this city, knows that Pebble is the place for underground music. Really excited about this. What's even more special?  We've got DJ Inferno warming up, so this should be ace music all round. I think ummm, haha, chunky tech-house and mean techno will be on the menu... Az and I are pretty much sorted on the programming department.  We're in a good space and it's showing in our music and it would be great to have you judge for yourself. Got some absolute crackers lined up. Here's to Wednesdays being the new Fridays. IT'S ON.

RSVP Pebble presents Nightshift w/ Sailen & Azhar and DJ Inferno (Wednesday, July 28th): Click here

Friday, July 23, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with RJ/DJ/MC/VJ hipster Rohit Barker

My first party in Bangalore after returning from studying in Los Angeles was a Rohit Barker gig. I vaguely remember seeing him on Channel V during my childhood, but thanks to being brought up in boarding school, TV was pretty much a minimum back then.  At the time, I was depressed at the lack of genre specific music in Bangalore compared to the US and was quite skeptical about a TV host DJing a night. Much to my surprise his music comprised of jacking quality house music and more importantly, the crowd were responding to it like madmen.  Hope was instilled.

Within no time, I would regularly catch him on India's first all english station, Radio Indigo, as he kept me company on my way back from work. Energy always high, never worried to poke fun at important people or himself, a playlist which was tailormade for the city of Bangalore, crackpot discussion topics ranging from his vast shoe collection to his utter disdain for Celine Dion - this RJ had character, for the first time, I would look more forward to the jock talk than the actual music.

Listening to Radio Indigo in general pushed me to follow a career in radio, very clearly wanting to work behind the scenes. Was put in charge of producing Rohit's daily show (among other things) and I must say the experience was an interesting one. He pushed me hard and showed me the way with his very clear understanding of what engaging content is - when his show would be drowned in sales talk, he'd lose his mind and fight the man. Highlights included getting a call from some very angry authorities after we impersonated the so called ghost that was haunting Bangalore's faraway new airport. Telling our listeners it would probably be safer and less time consuming to take a train hahaha. His mantra of 'radio should be fun,' was layered all over the station and it really showed in Cruise Control. I have also followed a lot of his DJ gigs - what sticks out besides the wide spectrum of uplifting bouncy house, mixed with the in your face attitude; dude always had the hottest women in the city attending his gigs. A real ladies' man he is, with a massive fan following.

It's thoroughly impressive how he's managed to get his personality out there on all fronts and with a bang - radio, TV, events, clubs... This is someone special, with a talent to consistently grow on you, put a smile on your face and get you dancing. More to the point after a decade of working radio in India, much of his career ruling the evening drive-time airwaves in Bangalore, he's very much a legend... with some very interesting things to say about the industry and his city.

In an exclusive interview with YHIHF, Bangalore hipster Rohit Barker talks about his home town and childhood, his relationship with India's first all english radio station - Indigo, censorship laws, the difference between interviewing a rap star and Keith Richards, the curfew that currently plagues Bangalore and much more.

In a nutshell, who is Rohit Barker?
I'm a slightly bent individual... nothing dangerous though, just your basic garden variety. I love the entertainment industry with a vengeance and love the fact that mostly everything I do has music in it.

Through your life, who and what have been your main sources of inspiration?
With radio I can safely say that Howard Stern has been a big influence. Although I seriously doubt this country and especially this city (Bangalore) will ever be ready for a shock jock. Another big influence in radio has been a gentleman named John Catlett. He set up Radio City in India and has been in the radio game for 60 years. He started Radio Caroline the world's first pirate station and was instrumental in hiring Howard Stern as well.

As far as my DJing goes my biggest inspiration is Ivan. And Nikhil Chinapa was the one who gave me the final push to actually start. As far as the entire entertainment industry goes, I think my biggest inspiration has to be Jenna Jameson... kidding.

Tell us about your childhood, what was it like growing up in Bangalore?
I was a rebel as a teenager. Got into my fair share of fights and trouble. Well to be honest I got into my fair share, your fair share and the neighborhood's fair share, as well. Mental times and late nights through my final years of school into college. Then in my second year of college, Channel V came calling and I moved to Mumbai and well that's another kettle of fish.

RJ, VJ, DJ, MC - these are all the jobs you've had through your career, what is your favourite role?
That's a hard question. I've loved them all. They all have their ups and downs. Right now, I would have to say being a DJ is on top of the heap. I love that audiences in Bangalore and India, we're very very aware of dance music now. And I love that the hottest spot for any DJ anywhere in the world right now is here.

Have you ever worked a normal 9-5 job?
Never, would you believe. I consider myself blessed. Ever since I started working, music has been at the centre of it all and I hope it stays that way till I'm pushing daisies.

Tell us about Radio Indigo and your relationship with the station... you've been an RJ with them for almost 5 years now, namely working on the daily evening drive time show, Cruise Control.
Radio Indigo has been incredible. To be part of the core group that started the country's first english radio station was a career high. From there to be able to work with some very interesting people, to be able to break new music and basically do new things within radio was nothing short of surreal. Most importantly to know that Bangalore has a very educated audience for english music and loves it like no one else in the country makes me very proud to be Bangalorean.

Why did you finally decide to call it quits on Cruise Control?
After three years of seven day weeks, doing seven radio shows a week and three ground events as a DJ a week and traveling to two cities a week, I just didn't have any time to breathe. I wanted to step back a bit and that's why I stopped doing a daily show on Radio Indigo.

Give us the low down on your new weekend show, The Bangalore Hot 40? What's it all about, what time can we catch it?
It's a Top 40 format show as the name suggests. It's the 40 hottest tunes in Banglaore every week. It airs every Sunday from 3PM-7PM. Besides the countdown, I have celebrity guests such as Deepika Padukone, Amir Khan, Puneet Rajkumar and many many more coming onto the show every week. Plus we have exclusive sound bites from all the big names in the music industry. So it's pretty much a packed fast paced show.

What was your reaction when 99% of radio stations in India decided to completely drop English content and just stick with local languages and music?
Well sadly, in India radio has to be a business and cannot be a passion. With the license fees, the royalty fees etc being insanely high, the industry has no choice but to play music that is mass based. Another sad thing is you're not allowed to have multiple stations in India. For instance a radio station in India can't have a Kannada feed, a Hindi feed and an English feed. I'm hoping that all changes soon. But considering our politicians I'm not holding my breath.

In your opinion, how would you describe the state of radio in India... for one thing, how do you deal with the harsh censorship laws in radio? Essentially, how can radio content be edgy and interesting, when it is against the law to talk politics, sex and religion on air? You don't have half the freedom you have with TV, in radio, why?
Well first of, freedom of speech in India is a joke. It doesn't exist. Couple that with politicians who should be squatting in a field somewhere and voila you have the state of affairs we have now. Another factor is that radio is in its infancy in India. Radio in the US is nearly a 100 years old. In the UK close to 60. Here it is not even a decade old. Let's see how things pan out in the future.

With hindsight and a lot of experience working with India's first all-english FM station, how viable and lucrative do you think it is to start an all-english radio station in India? Do the numbers and sales reflect?
I honest to god don't just think but know that english radio in India can be viable and lucrative. You just need to get the corporate dead heads to butt out and let the creative people run things for a while. That way you get people hooked onto great content as well as good music.

Speaking of numbers, could you comment on the way radio listenership is determined in the industry? I remember the method in which the metrics are collected having several flaws during my time in Radio Indigo.
Well to be honest I really don't know what the numbers are at the moment and I really don't care. I do radio for the love of radio and music. I've never strayed into the whole numbers/sales game and never will. There are more than enough suit and tie types crunching numbers. :)

Satellite radio has pretty much died in this country, while slowly but surely Indian online radio stations are coming up with a vengeance - is there a future left for FM radio in a time when the digital revolution is taking the world by storm?
How radio is carried to you never really counted. Whether it was conventional FM, or satellite radio or over the internet or carrier pigeon. What does matter is whether it's a good radio station or not. Everyone has access to the music. Not everyone has access to the on air talent. As soon as the industry here matures a bit and gets more competitive your gonna see talent shining.

For a laugh, tell us about your biggest on air goof up... was there anyway you could save the moment.
Damn... there has been quite a few goof ups on air. That the nature of the circus that is live radio and that's where the electricity comes from as well. Being on air live is like nothing else. But I digress. Let's see, one of the fun ones was when I was doing a one hour Dido special right after her first album came out and everyone was talking about Dido. I hadn't taken my medication that day and spent the hour on air calling her 'Dildo.'

I've had the pleasure of seeing you work your magic behind the mic on a daily basis, but it was the way you use to nail your interviews that really stood out for me. Who have been some of your most favourite and interesting people to interview over the years?
Firstly, thanks for the compliment. My favourite people to interview are the ones who can just be themselves and don't try too hard. For some reason most of the new breed of rappers think they ARE the music industry and want their managers to vett the questions and tell you that you have exactly 5 minutes and want to talk about their new piece of bling instead of their music. Then you have someone like Keith Richards or Madonna who just settle in and say 'Ask me anything.' Now tell me who would you get a better interview from and end up respecting more?

Tell us about your time working with Channel V? What were the good old days like working there, when Channel V had nailed the perfect combination of both local and western content and lot less reality TV.
It was incredible. The atmosphere. The people. The travelling. The unisex green rooms. :) Some of my favourite people and closest friends came from that time in TV. Nikhil Chinapa, Gaurav Kapoor, Yudi, Meghana Reddy, Laila. To be surrounded by extremely creative people all day everyday is an experience I will treasure. Oh and did I mention the unisex green rooms?

Given the choice, would you have liked to spend more time working in television or were you more than happy to just focus your career in radio and DJing?
Very simply, radio and DJing. It's just a lot more personal and you have a lot more control on what you're doing and how.

The Hot Mix with DJ Ivan and yourself is pretty much a staple on FM radio for many many years now - what's the story behind this show and your relationship with Ivan, how do you guys go about compiling the mixes?
Ivan and I have been friends for a decade and a half now. One day we pitched an all dance music show to a radio station. The programme director at the time had the fore sight to know it was gonna be huge and just said go ahead and do it, give it your best shot. And it just snowballed from there. Every week Ivan and I meet mid week to take a look at the new white labels that have been sent to us. We take a look at what's hot in the dance music world for that week and then we structure the set. After which it's all on the fly.

How long have you been DJing and describe the sound you strive to push?
I've been DJing for about 4 years now. I make it my life's work to make sure that house music in all its forms gets to where it belongs in India. Which by the way is right above anything Bollywood has to offer. Let's subvert Bollywood together... what say?

You worked a ton of parties and have heard a ton of local talent, which DJ in India do you really think stands out as great talent?
Well besides the established biggies, two names that stand out for me in Banglaore is DJ Rohan Kapoor and DJ Blaque.

If there is one thing you could change about Bangalore, what would it be?
The government.

In your opinion, why the hell is it taking so long to push Bangalore's night time deadline by a couple of hours? It's not so much a deadline as it is a curfew. Years have gone by, is there really anyway we can fight it?
When you have a government that only cares about where the big money is coming from and just how much of that money they can make disappear, well then you dont really stand a chance do you. What can you do when you have ministers publicly stating that any woman who is out in Banglalore after 11:30PM is a 'bad' person... I guess they say bad person because they really can't spell or pronounce prostitute. Don't get me started on our govt. Or lack of.

What are three Bangalore restaurant recommendations (in different price ranges) you would give and why?
Sunny's, Shiros and the nearest Shanti Sagar

Three movies you can watch over and over again?
Serendipity, Lord of the Rings, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

You are stuck on a deserted island with a life supply of batteries and a boom box, list out 6 life changing must-have albums you’d like to have with you and why?
Christ, that's a hard one. Where do you come up with this stuff ? :) I would include my 6 favourite women to listen to those albums with naked, but hey... this is your interview, so here goes:

1. The Joshua Tree: U2
2. Legend: Bob Marley and the Wailers
3. Appetite for Destruction: Guns N Roses
4. Hell Freezes Over: The Eagles
5. Division Bell: Pink Floyd
6. Greatest Hits: Bruce Springsteen

A massive thank you to Rohit (my old boss :P), for taking the time to do this interview and giving us a little insight on his life and the radio industry! - SG

Follow Rohit Barker on Twitter: Click here

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tours and Festivals: Submerge presents Gordon Edge (The Trumpet Man)

Flyer Design: Namita Sekhar

Submerge are at it again, bringing down one of their favourite DJs and Sunburn regular, the trumpet toting Bora Bora (Ibiza) resident - Gordon Edge. It's a proper 5 city tour and should be good times. Haven't really heard him before, but from what I see on youtube, his sound is a heady blend of beach house and tech-house laid with funky grooves, whilst playing, you guessed it, his trumpet over the beats. A friend laughs and tells me "I don't want to see you smirk when he plays Funkagenda's cover of 'Man With The Red Face' and does a live trumpet solo over it." Not so much the Funkagenda cover, but getting to see a live rendition of Laurent Garnier's classic straight from the DJ console has got to be pretty epic.

The good news for us? The Bangalore leg of this tour will be held by the pool side at the Chancery Pavilion. Get there early to catch Bangalore's own DJ Inferno and Vinod K as they warm up what's hoping to be a wicked cool party. Oh, one more thing, Submerge have got a pretty cool contest where they're giving away a signed Gordon Edge trumpet... make sure to check out the details!

July 21st - Touch, Hyderabad
July 22nd - 1 Lounge, Pune
July 23rd - Mambos, Goa
July 24th - Blue Frog, Mumbai
July 25th - Chancery Poolside, Bangalore

All the details on the latest Submerge Gordon Edge tour: Click here
RSVP the Gordon Edge India Tour on Facebook: Click here 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Movie Review: Inception - What dreams may come

Butterflies would be the only way to describe how I felt before, during and after watching Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010). It really isn't too often when you watch a film and immediately want to watch it again because there is so much more to understand. He's now past the hat-trick, leaving me in this state on four straight occasions, constantly asking myself; did I miss anything, did I get it? The movie going experience has always been enhanced two folds when he is handling things; camera work that leaves you with goose bumps as much as it leaves you dizzy, intricate plot structures and scripts drenched in ambiguously subjective themes, just enough magic realism to make his movies seem real, settings of epic proportions matched by equally epic production outfits. To say he's the entire cinematic package (and more) would be painfully cliche and yet completely appropriate.

When The Dark Knight (2008) got released, it became Heath Ledger's Dark Knight... I cannot disagree with this because Ledger's Joker well and truly owned the movie - yet it was sad that Nolan's credit got lost - he was after all responsible for taking Batman (and the Joker) where he did. With Inception however, the stellar cast matched by their stellar performance is completely and utterly secondary. The real winner of this movie is Christopher Nolan and his vision - take into consideration this is a script he has worked on for over a decade. Throw in heavy themes dealing with the mind and it's functions, the power of dreams and the effect it has on life decisions; throw in corporate espionage, the demons of a widower, deep seeded daddy issues and what you have is without a doubt a contemporary, psychological, action packed classic. 

In so little words, Inception is a visual embodiment of the human subconscious and the effect when you have a sneaky group of colourful characters who are able to immerse themselves into it. It takes lucid to a whole new level, where the protagonist and his team, control and manipulate their counterpart's psyche through the medium of dreams. The process revolves around the notion of planting a simple yet life altering idea in one's being, resulting in a complete change in the way one will live out his or her life. 

From the perspective of creating a movie, the concept is vast and infinite. When you are thrust into the dream world setting that our lead characters put themselves in, you are given a visual extravaganza that is literally breathtaking - not so much surprise as you are dumbfounded with what is being shown to you. Paradoxical labyrinth architecture that embodies infinity and the dream world (you're climbing up and yet being led below) is the star of this movie, it's what will stop you from blinking, it's what will keep playing in your mind, it's what will blow you away. From an imagery perspective, this isn't just clever, it's bloody genius. Taking the setting and dialogue into consideration, it's remarkable the way in which Nolan is able to connect his viewers to their own dreams and subconscious aspirations - you can't help but feel an affinity because a lot of what is discussed and what we see is an explanation to questions we constantly ask ourselves when we awake from slumber. 

One can imagine Hollywood actors literally wetting themselves with anticipation at the thought of working with Christopher Nolan - which is why the casting in this movie is ridiculously strong. I've had my say about Leo in my Shutter Island (2010) review from last month and yet again he delivers. Here he is a little more restrained. Compared to his past roles, his character Dom Cobb is subtle and the intensity is within - it really works given the context of the movie. Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the controlling roles well, they made for relieving and didactic elements in this highly charged movie... the former coming of age and the latter really leaving his mark as a heavy weight. The Scarecrow, Cillian Murphy gives an understated performance as the team's target - you couldn't fake his inner battles with his father. Marion Cotillard was haunting as the deceased Mal Cobb and nailed the femme fatale role... she was powerful. Watanabe was a bit dopey and I felt a bit of a weak link compared to the other supporting roles. He was a bit flat - his character in this is just as important as his character in Last Samurai (2003), thought he should have done more with it. A big oi oi, must go to our Desi brother Dileep Rao who stars as 'The Chemist' Yusuf, who is responsible for inducing the characters into sleep for the mission - he along with Tom Hardy who plays 'The Forger' Eames, were effective in bringing in the humour and gluing the chemistry between Cobb's team of mind manipulators.

Inception is a culmination of an outstanding script, brilliant directing, powerful acting and awe inspiring visual effects. Step aside James Cameron, Christopher Nolan is here and even Kubrick would be impressed. Watching his movies is like reading a Dostoevsky novel; a dense, complex story telling process where a tragic anti-hero's obsessions are morphed into his surroundings; matched, visualized and created in a medium rooted by the author's obsession with detailing in imagery, dialogue and character development. He has essentially achieved a form of art where the visual medium carries the same weight of meaning that only a book could achieve.

With Nolan, the viewer is no longer a spectator but a participant - there's always a strong sense that everything is up for interpretation; are you a good or bad person, an optimist or a pessimist, a believer or a non-believer, these are usually the questions you ask yourself when the credits start rolling up at the end. Essentially, it's your own answers that determines the eventual outcome of the movie and when that happens, it's nothing short of magic. 

Watch.Inception.NOW. You're late already. Five movie reviews in and I've hit 9/10. Watching it on Monday again, might have to notch it up to 9.5. A massive kudos to the distributors in India, technically we were one of the few nations to catch this movie FIRST. :) Epic release date for India. haha. IN YOUR FACE AUSSIES! Will this lead to a Matrix type trilogy/franchise? We can only hope so.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bangalore Events: Black Cascade presents Nightshift w/ Sailen & Azhar

Flyer Design: Pia Alize Hazarika

So it's kinda cool we've blagged a gig in a new venue... big sound system, warm wooden dance floor, really cushy seating area and ridiculous lighting. Very happy to be playing our first gig in Black Cascade. It's on a Sunday too, which is another first for us, so we're looking for a chiller vibe. Maybe you'll be reeling for more after the Nick Warren gig on Saturday - so we can bang it out a bit. 

After a harrowing experience playing to a bunch of teenyboppers last week, it'll be a relief to have Azhar with me keeping control of things. haha. By 'things,' I mean we're not fucking playing Akon or David Guetta. Anyways, I understand it is a bit of a bitch to walk through a mall when you're looking to party, but once you make it inside Black Cascade, it'll make sense. Drop on by this Sunday and get a few drinks in you... it should be a good night. :)

PS - How dope is that flyer? Star Wars stripper bitch. *insert pervy light saber punch line*

Directions: Old Airport Road, Total Mall, 1st Floor.

RSVP Black Cascade presents Nightshift w/ Sailen & Azhar, Sunday, June 18th: Click here

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tours and Festivals: Ciroc presents Nick Warren (India Tour)

We've got a big two weeks lined up for us on the DJ front - Bristol's proghouse legend Nick Warren is doing a three city tour THIS week! It's a bit late and hardly 'youhearditherefirst,' but for God's sake, don't miss Nick Warren. For once I can say, haven't actually heard him live yet. Got rejected by a cowboy bouncer for being underage, the one time I tried. I do have all his Global Underground mixes (it's all about his Amsterdam mix) and a ton of his live sets and they're stellar, proper journey music. Not to mention, his production outfit with Jody Wisternoff as Way Out West is considered the genre's finest production act. It's a pity they're not coming as WOW, but from the many many reviews I've read, Nick is an absolutely devastating DJ. Got to interact with him once in a while, on the GU forum when it was actually worth visiting - great sense of humour. Let's be fair, he's an old school legend who is very much sitting with the likes of Sasha and Digweed as a pioneer in all things progressive - I repeat, do not miss this!

Blue Frog, Mumbai, July 15th
FBar, Delhi, July 16th
Pebbles, Bangalore, July 17th

RSVP Ciroc presents Nick Warren on Facebook: Click here
Buy tickets online for the Nick Warren event in Blue Frog, Mumbai: Click here

Friday, July 9, 2010

Movie Review: A-Team - So bad it's good...

Was kinda sketch when I heard this was being released, had my doubts as I do with most remakes. The cast especially... Liam Neeson playing a white haired extremely American Hannibal? Plus, how do you find a suitable replacement for Mr. T? Hmm. The silver lining being Michael Bay wasn't involved in this, but rather Ridley and Tony Scott, which in my opinion makes the world of difference. Remake or not, a movie based on what I remember to be the first TV series I truly followed besides M*A*S*H, this definitely needed to be watched.

A-Team (2010) is a popcorn flick based around a fairly camp 80s TV show, so one can't really complain about a weak script (as I usually do) or talk about symbolic editing and cinematography. You can't go into this expecting a deep plot and Oscar worthy acting, which is basically why I thoroughly enjoyed it. You watch this kind of movie with a bunch of rowdy friends on a big screen and reminisce about your childhood when your parents still had a say about how much TV you watched. The kind of movie, where you see multiple people being blown to bits and cheer, rather than grimace with horror. Where you see your heroes being put in positions where death is nothing but inevitable, but they still come out of it with a mere scratch, a bloody nose and a bit of grime. You got it, think Die Hard with four dudes instead of just Bruce Willis.

Funnily enough, the casting did work in a somewhat surreal way. Bradley Cooper played the role of Face well. I'm hetero, but I can see why he's being branded as the new 'pretty boy' in the industry. When you have your girlfriend squeezing your hand tightly during his swimsuit scene and then going on to tweet about how there weren't enough topless scenes, you begin to think maybe he was under utilized. District 9's Sharlto Copley (his resemblance with Luke Wilson in this is uncanny) was wacky enough to play the mad genius pilot Murdock. Copley is going places, no doubt. It would be wrong and disrespectful if I was to compare anyone with Mr. T, so that should tell you what I thought about the UFC fighter playing the role of BA Baracus. Liam Neeson was cool, but a wrong casting choice... he's a great actor; you just don't pick Rob Roy to play the role of GI Joe, if you get my drift. What did work, the team had chemistry and more often than not, it resulted in some laugh out loud moments.

The plot structure of the movie follows the format of the classic TV show. Hannibal devises what seems to be a near impossible suicide mission, which is followed by 30-minute bursts of ludicrous action, where against all instances of reality, the plan is successful.  You are peppered with funny one-liners through it all, while you feast on epic albeit bizarre violence that Tamil superstar Rajnikanth would approve of. The format did have its shortcomings though, with such a choppy structure, the overall story is lost. The plot is far too loose and isn't tied up as well as it could have been. Which is why as a viewer, you're not really taken aback by any of the twists and turns.

I'm not saying this movie will tap into your intellect or even get you talking. It is however, a whole lot of fun and will take you back to your childhood. Watch it with a bunch of friends and have a laugh, that's exactly what it's worth. A good laugh. Just be sure to keep reminding yourself, this is a remake of an 80s TV show, you get what you ask for.

This got panned by critics and didn't do very well in the box office considering its budget, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have fun. If you're not familiar with the show, maybe its aloofness will go over your head. If you've been a fan back in the day, then it's definitely worth a watch. As a remake, it did the original justice. 7/10 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bangalore Events: B52 presents NIGHTSHIFT w/ Sailen Ghosh, July 10th

Flyer Design: Pia Alize Hazarika (click image to enlarge)

Yay! Nighshift @ B52 is back... if you were there last time, you must have witnessed the laptop meltdown (keep your drinks away from the DJ console peeps, haha can't say that enough) right at the peak of our set. Well, let's just say, the laptop is one piece, my digital crates are in one piece and I'm ready to bring the house down. Unfortunately, Azhar is in Udupi,  he's taking a bit of a breather in his hometown (dude has earned it ;)), so I'll be playing out the whole night. Bit of a challenge, but I'm really looking forward to it. We've been working our asses off on our promos as well, fingers crossed it will be up for your listening pleasure in exactly two weeks. 

Directions to B52: Get on to Inner Ring Road heading into Koramangala, pass the Oasis Mall/Sony World traffic light, it's the fourth building on your left towards the BDA complex, it's the floor above Ambrosia. Valet service is available so don't trip about parking.

We've also tied up with a promoter, Subeesh Zeni, so if you have any inquiries, make sure to contact him at 9886122458.

One more thing, our in house flyer artiste Pia, has put up some really dope artwork on her blog... Check it out! 

RSVP B52 presents Nightshift w/ Sailen Ghosh, July 10th, 2010: Click here
Join the B52 network on Facebook: Click here
Check out Zeni Entertainments on Facebook: Click here

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Month That Was (JUNE): Too much sports for one's own good

Kaiserdisco & Flavio Diaz - Juane
Edit Select - Beneath (Mark Broom Remix)
Audiofly - Salioelsol (Kabuto and Koji Remix)
Matt Cooper - The Brazen Bull
Layo & Bushwacka! - Now Is The Time (Emerson Todd Remix)
Slam - Room 2 (Pan Pot Rave Tool Remix)
Jalebee Cartel - Dub Drop - The Beat
Neil Quigley - Aerica
Martinez - Passerby

in the bedroom
Phoenix - If I Ever Feel Better
Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks (Diplo Youngest Folks Remix)
French Kicks - When You Heard You
Jack White - Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground ('It Might Get Loud' Version)
Jaime Jones - Summertime (Extended Vocal Mix)
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Garden
Delphic - Halcyon (Michael Mayer Remix)

  • It Might Get Loud (2009) I suspect this documentary got lost during Michael Jackson's death, which was around the time it was released. A must watch for guitar/rock lovers. A deep study of three legendary guitarists and their relationship with the instrument. So many great moments in this. Basically, ask yourself, what happens when you put Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White in the same room? Need I say more?
  • You Heard It First has just set up its SoundCloud page and who better to do a mix for us than the lovely Chloe Harris! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE SET!
  • The MADDECENT podcasts - a haven for Diplo sets, how can you not respect a DJ who can can blend Petter, Rihanna and Justice? Mashed up, remixed, fucked up. Genius. The Diplo Diesel Party China set recorded 5 years back and everything else are highlights.
  • The PowerBook G4 - so I know the lot of you have the macbook and the macbook pro, but I'm sorry, the PowerBook G4 is classic, indestructible, machinery. A lot of you jumped on the Mac bandwagon a bit too late IMO. (haha, my upgrade should happen at the end of the year)
  • Super comfy Lazy Boys, blankets and pillows, hot caramel popcorn, the missus and A-Team (2010). Gold Class in Fame, Value Mall (Bangalore) is the only way to watch a movie.
  • Breaking Bad - Did a marathon. Amazing TV. Served with a heavy dose of irony. Brilliant acting, brilliant plot structure, brilliant cliff hangers... think Weeds without the weed and crystal meth instead. Shout out for How To Make It In America, also great TV... think Entourage minus Hollywood and Ari Gold.
  • The sports on offer - World Cup, Wimbledon, Formula One, Asia Cup - who said it's boring to stay at home?
  • Mark Webber surviving his horrific crash with Heikki Kovalainen in Valencia - thought he was a dead man.
  • Germany thrashing Argentina 4-0 in the World Cup quarterfinals. The result? Not feeling so bad about England's shite performance. Good to see Ghana get as far as they did. Here's to the Dutch winning it? #youhearditherefirst
  • Pajama bottoms and flip flops - they're so in, maaaan.
  • We can all agree June was typical awesome Bangalore weather? Warm, sunny days; cool drizzling nights. 
  • Kenko Fish Spa (Lavelle Road, Bangalore) - 100s of fishies that suck your feet. Total trip. Guaranteed laughs. Never thought I'd say it, but it's therapeutic. 

  • Claytopia Bistro Cafe (Indira Nagar, Bangalore) - Stay away from this piece of shit excuse for a 'bistro.' Burger fell apart, the chicken patty was half frozen and the missus and I felt nauseous for the rest of the day. When has a 'Rocky Road Milkshake' ever been a Nescafe instamix Cold Coffee? Stick to selling pottery and not duping your customers with shit food.
  • The age old balancing act of watching a variety of sports through the night and at the same time giving the significant other some attention, haha got a bit messy this month. <3
  • The possibility of the R-Fed era in tennis coming to an end? How many Grand Slams does Federer have left? 
  • England putting me off football for the entire World Cup. Get your fucking act together you overpaid weapons.
  • Beer+Laptop = NOT HAPPENING (unless it's a PowerBook G4 ;)) - watch your fucking drinks when you're around the DJ console peeps.
  • Being sick for two weeks straight. Cold, fever, congestion.  Is it me, or was there a bug around town?
  • Yet another cocktease about the 11:30PM deadline from the wanker politicians running Bangalore. 
Sorry this was a little late peeps... June wasn't such a bad month aye? Kinda slow though. - SG
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