When you put the bands on was there a policy of who you booked, or was it just your own internal logic?
JG Wilkes: I remember Keith was saying lets book Whitehouse at the club and I looked up at the calender and I was like, “It’s a bank holiday Sunday,” and it’s when you get a few disco betties down and all that… and I phoned you back up and I was like, that’s a Bank Holiday and… that’s fucking genius… you know, if you ever wanted an insane night….
JD Twitch: I remember these two totally working-class Glasgow girls – 18, 19, looked like they were in the wrong club; looked like they would never into what we were doing. This girl comes up and just as Whitehouse has finished and I go, “Oh here we go, she’s gonnna give me a load of abuse for what the fuck was that about,” and she was, “That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I’ve never heard anything like that ever. where can I buy a CD?” On the other hand you’d have people you’d think that would be really into it just getting so angry.
JD Wilkes & JD Twitch of the Optimo club, (We love the smell of Napalm in the morning: Interview with Optimo, LOOPS Journal, Issue 1)
You know, I went to Optimo quite a few times in the late ’90s during the last years of uni when I lived in Glasgow. Very weird club night, rather mental especially as it was on a Sunday, the loneliest of all clubbing nights (It’s not the new Thursday). Even though I was in my early ’20s it was the very first time I’d actually seen people having sex in the open and not giving a metaphorical fuck (in the men’s toilets no less). It was also the first time I would hear some truly weird DJ mashes, such as taking guitar sounds from Nirvana and placing them with Detroit techno. Not the riff to “Smells Like…” mind you, more like the rumbling bits from “Negative Creep.” Blew my mind it did.
Before I go further a major caveat here – Many of the DJs in Iceland are really good at what they do and they work very hard at their craft. You could say that we’re spoiled a little for choice, eh?
But are we? To be honest you really don’t hear that much crazy stuff being played that much these days, do you. Or at least things getting mixed up in intriguing ways. It´s certainly felt that way to me over the last 12 months. Oh there are DJs who definitely know their stuff and get to mix it up, mainly because they simply are able to do pretty much what they want (Maggi Lego, KGB, the boys from Breakbeat.is and a few others), but with many others, you get this nagging sense of music as background wash, just something to nod your head/tap your feet with while having a pint while seeing people and being seen.
Mind you, can you blame them? After all Reykjavik doesn’t have a club culture right now, more a bar culture instead. And there’s a difference.
Meanwhile in lieu of me rambling on, here’s a fine mix from SURGEON at the boiler room from late last year. Some really shitty dancers I know, but the music is immense, and he too uses Whitehouse to proper effect (Track listing can be found HERE).
To be continued for a little while longer…