In the booth with Andrew Weatherall

Listen back to a live mix from Andrew Weatherall recorded in Jæger’s basement.

Andrew Weatherall fans are loyal to the point of obsession. Right now on Facebook there is a page dedicated to inducting Weatherall into the hallowed spot of John Peel’s original Radio 1 slot, suggesting, in no subtle way that Weatherall is the reverent spirit of Peel incarnate today… and they’re possibly right.

In Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton’s glossary, The Record Players: DJ Revolutionaries, Weatherall stakes his rightful claim as the “electronic punk” only a few pages away from the revered Peel, aptly bridging a gap between the likes of Francis De Grasso and Sasha, a position that at the age of 55 continues to make him an enduring presence that pursues a singular path in music.

In the early nineties after Acid House was firmly instated as part of popular culture and shortly after his success with Primal Scream on the 1991 record Screamadelica, Andrew Weatherall could have easily taken a position amongst the Oakenfolds and Sashas of the world as a superstar DJ, but feigned the spotlight in favour of something more substantial.

“It’s a lot of work, once you go up that slippery showbiz pole”, he told The Independent in a 2016 interview with Fiona Sturges. “(I)t would keep me away from what I like which is making things. I mean, I had a little look in the early Nineties. I stood at the bottom of that pole and looked up and thought to myself ‘The view’s pretty good. But it’s very greasy and there are a lot of bottoms up there that I might have to brush my lips against. So, maybe I’ll give it a miss’.”

It was from this position where Weatherall had an epiphany that would set him on the trajectory that lands him here today in is spot as a bonafide DJ Revolutionary.

“I was kind of in on the bottom rung playing Cream and all those clubs and I nearly went with it” he tells The Ransom Note. “But I was in these clubs thinking I should be playing better music than I’m playing. I was thinking ‘I shouldn’t really be playing this music, there are far better records in my bag’.”

Even when Andrew Weatherall was playing to audiences always in anticipation of a hands in the air moment his record bag remained consistently eclectic and weird.

Weatherall grew up in the suburbs on the outer fringes of London, and he would spend his weekends going on “raiding parties” in the city. Trips like these would usually involve some “skirmishes” he told Bill Brewster in The Record Players, but ultimately they would involve buying records. In Beaufort Market in the Kings Road, the same road which Sex Pistols came to the fore and Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren owned and ran the Sex Shop, Weatherall bought post punk records from a place called the Cage. In the week Weatherall would be engaged in all manner of jobs just to make enough money for a weekend jaunt into the city. By the age of 13 he had become known as the “bloke with the weird records” and as he came of age he would start being asked to “come play some music”, stepping into the role of DJ as that role became more defined through the 1980’s.

And then Acid House happened, and it was like: “call that bloke with weird records to come and play in six in the morning!” Andrew Weatherall stepped into that role at Shoom; “the place that kicked off rave culture” according to Rolling Stone Magazine. “I wasn’t skilled” admits Weatherall to Brewster, “I was playing such varied music, you couldn’t mix it”. Even so, Shoom was the launch pad that put Weatherall’s career on a trajectory to DJing, and bookings followed where he crafted his skill in a trial by fire, going from the weird records he would play at six in the morning at Shoom to mixing House and Disco. By 1990 his presence had been established in the echelons of Acid House, where his legacy as a DJ and producer would eventually be cemented with Screamadelica and all the records and remixes that followed from there.

Today Andrew Weatherall continues to enjoy a legacy as the “bolshie bastard” he cultivated during those early years; the perpetual outsider that has elevated him to become the rightful heir to John Peel, but also perhaps not. Although his sets on the radio and the music he makes across various projects certainly entertain this comparison, he’s very much a DJ born into the world of Rave and Acid House and as a DJ few compare to Andrew Weatherall as you can hear in this mix we’re streaming exclusively on our website today.

His set eschews the formulaic functionalism of modern House and Techno for those “weird” records in his bag, but today they’re not weird in the sense of The Woodleigh Research Facility, one of the more leftfield project he is currently engaged in, but rather weird in the sense of that “bolshie bastard” attitude, with designs on the booth.

He knows his audience, and at Jæger his set favoured a 4/4 proclivity, but it combined guitars, synthesis and melodic vocal hooks in ways that you don’t often hear on the dance floor. His tracks come from vastly different sonic spheres but in the context of the mix they all find a disjointed relationship with each other bolstered by the unique artistic identity behind it.   “Even if you’re playing wildly different music, I try to make some sort of connection or some sort of flow”, Weatherall told Brewster when the latter asked what makes a good DJ.

“I want to listen to something in slightly open-mouthed wonder, doesn’t matter whether it’s a rockabilly track or techno. I got hooked in the idea that everything has to be new and original for a while. Originality is not what’s important, it’s authenticity.


*Frædag is back this week with Anja Schneider

Album of the Week: Skatebård – Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989

Skatebård’s debut album Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989 has become a coveted gem for the Discogs community in recent years. Fetching anywhere between €50 to €200 its collector’s appeal has installed the fairly inconspicuous album into the realm of left-field treasure, and with good reason. Originally a limited release on the small Tellé records sub-label Tellektro, the mini album is a modern classic today, but until now, you’ve only been able to find the record floating around on Discogs at eye-watering prices, traded like a commodity rather than the endearing electronic dance record it is.

Fortunately today we can finally get our hands on a relatively inexpensive copy of Skatebård’s debut with the first re-issue of Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989 in 2017 making its way onto record shelves everywhere.

The mini LP has stood the test of time and Skatebård’s analogue sequenced sound has only aged like a fine wine. The comparative energetic tempos to today’s standards are the only thing that eludes to its age, and densely textural compositions still stand-out amongst modern day contemporaries; utilising the same sonic palette that’s been informing electronic music since the eighties, but combining them in a way where they truly come alive off the temporal recorded format.

Skateboarding might have been a crime in 1989, but in 2002 in Norway’s electronic music scene, everything went anywhere and this album went some way in establishing a new Norwegian sound alongside records from Bjørn Torske and Prins Thomas & Lindstrøm, a sound that the media coined Space Disco, but travelled much further into unknown dimensions. Incorporating everything from Trance to Disco and House, records like Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989, laid the foundation for a whole new generation of music producer in Norway that would take the entire globe by storm throughout the first decade of this century.

Records like Trøbbel,  Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas and Skateboarding was a Crime: in 1989 installed Norwegian electronica into the alternative popular consciousness at an international level, but unlike the aforementioned records it might have been somewhat overlooked in the past, appearing on a sub label in a limited pressing. The collector community never doubted its importance however and it’s due to those passionate heads that the album stayed relevant and probably in some part due to the excessive prices they were asking for their rare copies that the reissue eventually saw the light of day.

Today’s Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989 is ready for a whole new generation of music enthusiast to enjoy, while some of us to become reacquainted with an old friend.

In the Booth with Karina

With a bag full of records and a  badabing in her step Karina joined Vinny Villbass in the booth one Saturday night in May. Bringing some soul to the cold electronic palette of  House and Disco, she laid down some melodic bass-lines and old-school beats to a receptive audience on a packed dance floor in our courtyard. Karina brought an infectious physicality to her music, playing through the broad history of the dance floor from Marshall Jefferson to Boo Williams. Like a librarian, she catalogued everything from Hi-NRG to Electro House, the familiar crack of a needle on vinyl pulling the dust off old favourites and bringing them to a new audience, and putting us  in the right mood for the weekend ahead.

Album of the Week: Nosizwe – In Fragments

This week’s album of the week comes at the behest of MC Kaman, who applauded Nosizwe’s debut album for its Jazz-touches and it’s approachable sonic nature. “In Fragments” sees the Norwegian/South-African songstress cement something definitive in the long player format, with her voice the guiding light for a musical accompaniment that saunters around elements of Hip Hop, Jazz and R&B. What she first established on “Do You” in the recorded format, sounds more moulded than ever around Nosizwe’s voice, emphasising the unique character of her vocal and proving new ground for pop music in the way of someone like Solange Knowles, the Weekend or Blood Orange.

The South African connection also feels stronger than ever with Nosizwe channeling everything from Miriam Makemba to Ma’Sibongile  Khumalo and especially Brenda Fassie through her music, putting her own twist on this heritage through processed beats and harmonic-and melodic movements that step much further outside of any common musical language. From the walking double bass jazz lines of “Lesson” to the dusty sampled drums and horns of “Breathe”, Nosizwe paints broad strokes through her music and somehow they all conspire around her singular voice. Nosizwe’s vocals, whose dynamic range can go from sweet subtle serenade to a determined soulful eruption, are the bedrock from which all these elements are built and shape the album. And even with these diverse aspects informing the music there’s something complete and resolute about the album and Nosizwe.

Her musical identity is as complex as her own, and her lyrics offering some social commentary talks of  subjects like the recent social unrest around South Africa’s universities through “Lesson”; #blacklivesmatter  through”Breathe”, and touches on feminist themes in “Keep a good Woman down”. She weaves these politically motivations through her musical narrative like Erika Badu, not as a protest album, but rather an observational commentary on the current situation. It’s the amendable nature of the music that keeps you tuned into these themes with Nosizwe’s voice offering that human, visceral connection for the entirety of “In Fragments”.