Hannah Holland

HANNAH HOLLAND

Hannah has fomented her own bass-heavy club sound with her Batty Bass label, hosts a regular NTS show, is a resident at Dalston Superstore and previously held a residency at the legendary Trash, so knows a thing or two about working the ‘floor.

I’ll always have my favourite records – records which are classic and have meaning to me, records that have been life changing – but they cross different sounds and will never stop growing. My most valued ones are probably the ones I ‘borrowed’ from my dad when I was a teenager: Kraftwerk, Grace Jones, Roy Ayers, David Bowie, ESG. I couldn’t pick a favourite though.

Deciding what to play is all about the sound system. I know I can delve into my records somewhere like Dance Tunnel

I think the things that have always influenced me are subculture, and punk ethics. The Paranoid London album certainly hits the note for me in that respect. My New York family The Carry Nation, Chicago’s Alinka and Shaun J. Wright and Phil Weeks for the pure beat energy and groove on their records. Also artists like Rebello, Red Axes and Ana Helder are doing really exciting work. I’m always influenced by classic sounds too. ‘The Way to Go’ by Gene Farris is one of my favourite jams at the moment. Derrick Carter – ‘Dreaming’ for gorgeous deep vibes and a beautiful vocal. Martyn’s production really excites me. I love the new record on Dolly, ‘Block The Box’ – it’s the sound of UK bass and breaks heritage. I love labels like Dolly, Classic, London Housing Trust, Comeme, Correspondent, Optimo Trax, Powerhouse – records from these labels really speak to me.

I save certain records for special occasions, but not all these together. Things like ‘Clouds’ by Chaka Khan, ‘Big Love’ – Fleetwood Mac, ‘Deep Burnt’ – Pepe Bradock, ‘Forever More’ (Francois K Remix) – Moloko, ‘Computer Madness’. If I’ve felt the need to play one of these beauties at a gig I know it’s been special.

Deciding what to play is all about the sound system. I know I can delve into my records somewhere like Dance Tunnel, because you are going to get a very well tuned and loved sound system making the tracks sound how they should. Also it depends on what time I’m on. I love doing early sets and super late sets too, which is a great opportunity to delve deeper again. ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ by Roxymore is a nice example of this: intricate and great production.

I’m playing at my residency at Dalston Superstore, I feel totally at ease to go down more of a darker direction, maybe Blue Hour – ‘Parallels’ on Ostgut Ton and dropping in off-key classics like ‘Sharevari’ – A Number Of Names because the crowd will know and love it. I definitely save another favourite like Radio Slave’s mix of ‘Man Made Machine’ by Motor for the right sound system – so gorgeous but subtle.

It’s all about the moment. if the moment calls for it, I’ll play them. To be honest it’s mostly my own tracks I find hard to play. But also that’s why I love doing my show on NTS Radio, because I can play a whole heap of records that wouldn’t necessarily work in a club environment.

Dexter

DEXTER

This Dutch electro specialist is a three deck wizard as competent with modern trickery as he is old school vinyl set ups.

I have few records that have been in my bag for years and I will always bring them with me. I always veer between different sounds ‘cause my style is quite eclectic. I think my sets are always split into three or four styles of music, and I have favourites in all those genres. Lots of times I don’t play them, but I always bring them.

When I go out I always want to do my best set ever, so I always bring the ones I think are special to me at that moment. I have some records that have never left my bag.

I think many people who collect records know you can’t have a favourite because they change all the time. The last new thing I bought and I also really listen to at home, or when I walk my dog, is Luke Vibert’s last album, Kerrier District 4. Furthermore, I’m listening to a lot of funk and boogie and lots of electro at the moment, and try to keep up with all the releases that come out every week. You never know what kind of crowd you have in front of you.

When I go out I always want to do my best set ever, so I always bring the ones I think are special to me at that moment. I have some records that have never left my bag. I think it’s also the memory I have of playing them on certain evenings that means I take them, but they are also records I love to hear myself on a loud system. They are also records that aren’t on Discogs and never get re-pressed or reissued, so it’s also nice to have some real exclusive stuff to play.

I like to think I have few fail safe records that I reach for in an emergency, but I found out that they don’t always work! I do rotate my favourites but also lots of times I don’t bring them. Or I don’t play them for years but still have them in my bag.  As well as this, I have spent quite some money on records that have only been out of the sleeve for listening in the store, and records that I think are the bomb, but didn’t work like I thought they would. And of course sometimes I play tracks that don’t work. But I don’t wait too long with the next track, and don’t think to much about why it didn’t work.

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SIMON BAKER

Former resident DJ turned globe-trotting star, Simon Baker has more experience in the DJ booth than his boyish looks would suggest.

The way I’ve treated favourites over the years has changed. I used to have some vinyl that I would never go anywhere without. With more digital stuff readily available I tend to sift through older favourites and keep folders on them on my USB. Classics, End of Night, Get out of Jail and so on.

I’ve never been a DJ who sticks with one style. My faves are constantly changing and evolving along with my productions and DJ sets. I mean it’s mostly all boom boom boom boom 4/4 at the end of the day, if we’re honest! But I find new tracks in the worlds I delve into at that time. That’s what keeps me ticking. I love finding new sounds, artists, favourites, then I will get into their back catalogue.

you can play certain records in certain clubs that will sound completely different. When I play at Fabric I tend to take more risks just due to the beauty of the sound system.

I have certain records that I would categorise as End Of Nighters. I usually save those for exactly that depending on the gig and crowd, but sometimes I need to dig into those a bit earlier if I feel the need. They are usually classic house or techno records (often Detroit) that I’ve loved for years and have never left my mind or box. I wouldn’t play them to a crowd that I 100% know wouldn’t get it.

Depending on the sound system, you can play certain records in certain clubs that will sound completely different. When I play at Fabric I tend to take more risks just due to the beauty of the sound system. It’s big and rounded and booming – you can play much slower and deeper records that will sound huge.

My records that never leave the bag tend to be the ones that I can drop in at any time to take the night to the next level, so if I feel things need upping a little, I have go-to records that I can put on to do that. They can also work as well as a Get Out Of Jail card. They aren’t usually hits that everyone will know, but they are records I’ve played that much I know the exact reaction they will get.

I never hold certain records back. Music is there to be played. If I get bored on a track I tend to move on and find another to replace it. Admittedly, I have bought certain tracks that just never seem to fit even though I love them. It’s almost like a challenge to myself to play them at some point. If things are flowing nicely sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. I’ve had a few like that. Eventually, they get played, but it might take a few weeks when I’m very comfortable with the crowd and feel like I can drop anything and it will work.

I’m often thinking of certain moments when making tunes. Breakdowns, how the bass would sound, what reaction cutting everything out would get, and so on. All sorts goes through my mind. I must add that’s only when I’m making club music. For my album for 2020 Vision I didn’t really have that in mind so much – it depends what I’m making really.

Not going to lie, there have been times I’ve dropped a track and immediately regretted it. It’s usually when I’m on tour and I’ve been playing a certain record for the past few nights and it’s going down a treat, then all of a sudden it bombs one night, and there’s no explanation other than the crowd just don’t get it! Or when it’s a brand new track I haven’t played before. Risks are to be taken so it’s going to happen sometimes.  I just tend to mix something else in pretty quickly and scratch my head in bemusement.

15th July, 2015

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