Have you noticed a change in atmosphere or approach in the past ten years or so?
It is the same in Germany, and I think it is the same all over the world. Which is why the recent negative implications of the event weigh in so heavily. Hard Wax decidedly never took part. We stated from early on that for us every day is a record store day, and that is basically it. But we feel the fallout from RSD as anybody else in the business nonetheless, especially the delays with the pressing plants, which affect our distribution as well, for example, and the releases we buy from other distributors. That has improved a bit lately, but it is still a tremendously hypocritical event, and that does not seem to improve. Nearly everybody’s trying to cash in now on a format that was willfully pronounced dead before, and nearly everything is blocked by back catalogue you can find around every corner, just in different layouts and for a much lesser price. Old wine in new skins. And the new grapes cannot be harvested because of it. It is totally absurd. There may have been some respectable thought implied with it once, but as soon as the major labels entered it predictably withered away into nothing. They want to gentrify vinyl into pricier artifacts instead, for customers that care more about the item itself than the music it contains.
At Acetate, you’ll be playing on a 1970s Bozak mixer and two turntables. Do you think that the way forward for club culture is to retain, or return to, these kinds of formats? Do you approach partying with a sense of history?
I actually approach anything related little people dating to music with a sense of history. I am just interested where things are coming from, and how they connect with each other, and how they connect to current developments. I roughly work with a two steps forward, one step back approach. Sometimes I even skip forward, and only step back. It depends on the purpose. I think you can only keep things going in a good direction if you have a wider perspective of what has already happened. Not only to avoid mistakes, but also in order to not repeat too much of what has already been done before. I usually use a crossfader when mixing, because I mainly played Soul and Disco when I started out as a DJ, and thus cutting was an integral part of the process. I played a Bozak mixer or other vintage mixers before, and while the handling may not always be comparably convenient, the sound of mixers from that era is mostly unmatched. They were made for vinyl, and you can hear that. And I always have played vinyl only, I do not even know how to handle CDJs. I will probably play a lot of overlooked gems from the past at Acetate as well, so I am sure that will work out just fine.
There was controversy in the British clubbing community recently when the Bloc organiser said that young punters aren’t doing it properly. What’s your view on this?
I had the privilege to belong to a generation that witnessed a lot of what is still resonating today right on the floor, but pioneering days are always easier
I strongly believe that it is a prerogative of youth to not care about what older people think, say and do. When I was younger I was interested in the music of previous generations but it did not match my interest for new music. But if you are not interested in what your parents did at all, bless you. If anybody would be convinced that it really was better back in the days, there would be no progress at all. I still do not think it was better. It was just different. And as some people get older, that difference becomes a problem. They get sentimental about their youth, and they miss what they did and were back then. And then glorification creeps in, and comparisons, and disrespect for what became of the experiences you had. In any case, if you are convinced that something has changed for the worse, try to change it for the better, and not just complain about it. It makes more sense to me to encourage than to discourage. And I do not like it had when people generalize the past. There were good and bad parties now and then. People get down as much as they did before when they feel like it. That will never change, only the clubs and the music do. Thankfully. Club culture needs to move fast, and before you criticize the direction it is moving to, better check if your criticism really holds up, or if it is just nonsense that does not help anybody except your own tired and bitter ego.