Monday, 30 July 2007

London Paper 34


ON THE SCENE Chantelle Fiddy

My heart goes out to male clubbers again this week. When it comes to selecting an outfit to wear of an evening, your choices are already somewhat limited, unless you’re into drag of course. And it was only recently some of you were crying into your Moet, pushing your Prada loefahs and such to the back of the wardrobe and here I am again with news that another brand has fallen foul of the footwear police. Join me in a moment of silence for Timbaland's, the latest soles to be given the boot (pun intended). Once again it seems to be an attack on urban culture, the ban making it’s mark on R&B and hip hop nights. One such event where Timb's are resigned to the black list and only ‘hard soles’ are allowed is How Does It Feel, taking place this Saturday at Silks & Spice Temple Court, EC4. If you get your Sunday best out and are over the age of 21, DJs on the night include Hotsteppa, Pioneer, Elliot Ness and Cold As Ice.

With the rain still lashing the fun out of weekend evenings, maybe we need to worry about the fate of flip flops and whether wellies have a chance of becoming the latest club fad. It’s not that absurd an idea either given reports from some Soho clubs that, thanks to the on-going success of Rihanna’s smash hit ‘Umbrella’, punters are getting their brollies out on the dancefloor. Hattie Collins, editor of RWD Magazine, couldn’t believe her eyes (possibly due to nearly having them poked out by a crazed umbrella dancer), when she witnessed it first-hand last week. “It’s the most random thing I’ve ever seen in a club, about four people spontaneously opened their umbrellas and began swishing around the dancefloor. I guess it’s slightly more inventive than dancing around your handbag.” According to Collins, who spoke to management at The Kingly Club, it’s not the first time it’s happened either.

But If, like me, you’re getting sick of hearing Rihanna and simply can’t contend with all this shoe department crisis, this weekend is awash with big house events. Check out new material from dance legends Shut Up & Dance, who will be playing at Plan B in Brixton on the 27th July and at Corsica Studio’s on the 28th. On a slightly larger scale, Strictly Rhythm, the label that defined house in the 1990s, are returning to the Ministry of Sound on the 28th after a four year hiatus. Headlining are Kenny Dope and Strictly’s latest signing, Osunland. A fully ordained priest in the African religion Ifa, it’s no wonder his signature sound is melodic, deep and soulful. Simon Dunmore will take over the bar with DJ Spen, while Phil Cheeseman and 1Xtra’s Aaron Ross will be spinning classics in the lounge. This event will also be the launch of Ministry's new sound system, which without getting technical, promises to be loud and proud. Leave your trainers at home.

Damon Albarn, Kano and Scratch Africa Express

Monday, 23 July 2007

New! Tank out now


Catch another of my Wiley features in Tank magazine, out now.

Friday, 20 July 2007

London Paper 33


ON THE SCENE Chantelle Fiddy

Fans of cult grime night Dirty Canvas should know by now that they’ve left the icy-white interior of the ICA behind and moved to The Rhythm Factory on Whitechapel Road. And this is to be celebrated. While the ICA consistently push boundaries and take risks – it’s unlikely a night such as this would have found an east end club willing to do business if it hadn’t been for a successful run there – the event used to feel like a showcase in a city bar. Expect much dimmer surroundings at The Rhythm Factory where across two rooms you’ll hear the best in real British dance music. Celebrating the launch of the new mixtape R U Dumb Vol.2, from Jammer (a street star who you may recognise as the dreadlocked MC who jumps around wearing a super-hero outfit in his ‘Murkleman’ video), room 1 will boast Newham Generals, Neckle Camp, Slew Dem, Badness, Coki, Magic and Kiss 100s Logan Sama. There’s rumoured to be a special guest appearing too, my money’s on it been Dizzee Rascal but don’t expect a refund if I’m wrong. Over in room 2, where you’ll find me with my whistle at the front, Hot Chip are going to be playing an exclusive old skool garage set, plus there’s Zombie Disco Squad, Real Gold, Tapedeck and Reecha. Tickets costs £9 in advance from www.myspace.com/dirtycanvas (where you can also hear audio).

Mixing up a vast array of underground sounds on Saturday at Corsica Studios are 7 Year Glitch Vs Do It, Corsica Studios. Detroit’s DJ Assault, one of the most recognised DJs from the world of ghettotech and booty house music will be headlining this event which boasts a deck-stopping line-up of grime, bashment, electro, hardcore punk, 4/4 garage, dubstep and more. Those supplying the goods include Starkey, Ruff Sqwad, Vice Magazine’s Prancehall, Faggatronix, Matthew WowWow!, Easychord and Rekless – and all for only £7.

Equally as essential this weekend, but more on the house tip, are the Lovebox afterparties. Don’t worry about necessarily having to head to the official ones though – after a day of debauchery at Victoria Park stumble to 93 Feet East, Brick Lane. Put on by the guys who do Burn Out at Bar54, this Saturday is a one off where nu-disco kings Rub ‘n’ Tug from NYC will make a rare London appearance. K.I.M from Australian electo-punk outfit The Presets will be making his UK debut, there’s also soundsystem faves Rub-N-Tug, Punks Jump Up and resident Zak Frost playing through till the extended license runs out at 3am.

Keeping it going through till Sunday morning are Halo @ The Cross. The main event boasts classically trained former Jazz musician Dan Berkson and James What doing their acclaimed live show. And If the main event’s not enough for you, Halo are also throwing an alfresco garden party, kicking off at 6am which is free to anyone who’s been at the club that night. Book the Monday off now.

Dirty Canvas

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Smoking


Read my Wiley feature in the new issue of Big Smoke, out now. www.bigsmokelive.co.uk for more info.

Camels A Gwan?

London Paper 32



ON THE SCENE Chantelle Fiddy

Who said you can’t get an education from clubbing? This week we’re getting our edutainment on.

The first lesson takes place at Need2Soul & K Swiss Presents Body&SOUL on Saturday night. Basically, a rather historical moment in UK dance music is on the cards as Body&SOUL, the ground-breaking New York music event, has never hit our shores before. Founded in 1996 by legendary house pioneers Danny Krivit, Fran├žois K and Joe Claussell, Body&SOUL parties became the ultimate destination for dance music lovers who want to let loose in unity. The trio have gone on to throw outdoor events in America and do live tours in Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Japan and now their hitting London where they’ll play a marathon 10 hour set, back to back. As a result revellers from all over the country are expected to travel to the Canvas Warehouse at King’s Cross Freight Depot which is being transformed to create a New York vibe – with surprises on the way. And smokers delight, the roof-top terrace will be back in effect too. It’s not too late to get an advance ticket, £20 from www.ticketweb.co.uk or try your luck on the night. If you haven’t had a big night out In a while, then this promises to be a fix and a half running from 9pm-6am.

Historians might also be interested in celebrating Bastille Day at Vive Le France,
7-9 Crucifix Lane, London Bridge. Pulling in an all-French line-up to mark 218 years of a democratic France, David K headlines with La Noiraude & Stiff (Dialect Records), Muriel Monero, Isa GT, Cherise Got Loki (Girlcore) and Eel, Modsleep, Greg & Attan (Reverb) doing the rest. With this event running till 7am, they’ll be plenty of time to celebrate. Top tip – there’s also a pre-party at the Horse & Groom pub where you’ll be able to collect tickets for £7 instead of £9.

If you’re more interested in geography, Latin won’t get more exciting than La Bomba at Ministry of Sound on Friday night. DJ Mesta (Bum Squad), the world renowned hip hop, R&B and dancehall specialist, will be dropping reggaeton bombs alongside London’s elite Latin force Jose Luis, El Moreno, Sami Sanchez and Loco. The last event in March was a sell-out, so get their early.

Linguistics ahoy at 93 Feet East in Brick Lane tonight, where London MCs Ghetto, Bashy, Scorcher and Wretch 32 will be showcasing grime performed with a live band. A rare treat, it’s over by 11pm and the the only notes you’re going to need to take are of the currency variety.

A version of this article appeared in The London Paper.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Kano & Craig David 'This Is The Girl' (Acoustic)

Watch the acoustic version here OUT on August 27th, album London Town follows on 3rd September.

Monday, 9 July 2007

London Paper 31


ON THE SCENE Chantelle Fiddy

It’s the first week where the full effects of the smoking ban will be felt in the capitals nightclubs. Despite being a smoker myself, I can’t say the lead-up to the ban had me wallowing in a carbon monoxide mist of nostalgia at a favourite club.
But somethings caught my attention – and it’s not the £50 fine.

I hadn’t considered the impact the ban would have on other aspects of club culture. While house and dance music as a whole is still commonly associated with drugs such as pills, ketamin or MDMA, there are a number of smaller scenes which staunchly advocate the use of cannabis. Now you may consider my point as slightly redundant given weed is of course illegal, but this is about reality.
How many dubstep, grime, reggae, bashment, garage or late-night dances have you been to where there’s no weed? Not that many in my experience. The first time I got to experience grime without the weed, or any smoke for that matter, was at the ICA. It’s gave a some-what clinical feel to the night, their stainless white walls and bright lights not helping the situation. And the first time I got to hear dubstep without weed, I left after an hour. Anyone who prefers weed to alcohol will tell you that not only do you wake up the next day without a hangover, but it adds another dimension to the music, often making it sound a whole lot better. Wistfulness I know, but the lack of weed in certain (nameless) clubs is as unimaginable as Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club minus the cigarette smoke.

So what does this mean for club culture? A lot of people will no doubt re-sign themselves to giving up the green stuff along with the cigarettes, while others look for alternatives. Will we see a rise in other drugs being used in London clubs? No doubt. Likewise we can expect to see more illegal parties, warehouse and field raves and a bigger underworld scene emerging (although don’t be thinking corruption on the scale of prohibition). Legalities aside, as a supposedly free country, we have to question how long it’s going to be until laws are imposed on alcohol consumption too. In the same way non-smokers shouldn’t be expected to chance getting secondary lung cancer, surely no-one should have to put up with drunks in nightclubs who can’t clean up their own sick and attempt death defying stunts like going to the toilet standing up.

If on the otherhand you’re full of optimism and would like to be one of the first punters to check out the fresh-smelling dubstep, head to DOTS at Plan B in Brixton tonight where, from 8pm-3am, Loefah, Jamie Vex’D, Elemental, Oneman, Subeena and Dot will playing the sounds that have inspired their musical output. They’ll also be live music in Room 1 hosted by Different Strokes. Handily, it costs a fiver – the same amount as that packet of fags you won’t need to buy.

A version of this article appeared in The London Paper (July 2007)

London Paper 30


ON THE SCENE Chantelle Fiddy
It would be easy to think that Glastonbury was only about mud, mud, mud and mud. But mud aside, one of the festival season highlights is of course getting to hear new music. If however you’re looking for fresh music action minus the sludge, Corsica Studios, in Elephant & Castle is the current venue everyone seems to want to throw parties at or check out. Not strictly a nightclub, it’s a community-encompassing, independent, not-for-profits art organisation run by Amanda Moss and Adrian Jones. “As artists ourselves we have always created unique environments which have allowed us to combine our own studio practices with locations for cross-platform art, music and club events… We are not ( and never have been ) interested in running a nightclub and commercial motivation is not our main priority,” explained Jones. “Corsica is definitely getting more attention at this moment but we've been here for five years and have had amazing nights from day one, its just that they've usually been word of mouth events which have never been advertised. Sometimes its just better that the general public doesn't know that much about us…”

But just like a good man, there’s no holding Corsica down, especially with promotions like tXtXtXt presents Born Under Punches, kicking off tonight. Critically acclaimed, Eel Pie Island based band, the Mystery Jets, are going to be unveiling forthcoming material from their second album (not due until next year) for the first time ever, anywhere. If you’ve heard ‘Elizabeth’ on their myspace page then you’ll know that alone is worth the £7.50 entrance fee. Two other bands tipped for success this year, Late Of The Pier and Noah & The Whale, also make appearances. If you want to keep it more dance-based, then go for DJ Riton who’s following in the footsteps of his good friend Erol Alkan (voted the Worlds Best DJ by Mixmag and founder of the legendary club night Trash). If he doesn’t get in any hot lists in 2008 then I’ll bin my leggings and start wearing high heels. Also on the decks are Matthew !WOWOW!, Tapedeck, Fallout and (given the rise of Chlymida) the excellently named STDJS. Check the blog over at www.txtxtxt.typepad.com for more.

Switching up the program on Friday it’s Electric Storm which is described by the team as ‘a fusion of Gothic Victorian decadence with a twit of late 60s beatnik pop and futuristic jazz. Live performances come from Polar Beat, Trost and 1927 with a DJ and VJ set by The Clerkenwell Kid who plays a selection of 1920s and 30s dancehall. They’ll also be designer cakes, cucumber sandwiches, truffles and absinthe served in the Absinthe Parlour.

With NYC disco legends in the wings and hot new acts doing their Reading warm up shows at Corsica over the next six months, you won’t need to worry about your sanity – or wellies for that matter.

A version of this article appeared in The London Paper (June 2007)

London Paper 29


ON THE SCENE: CHANTELLE FIDDY
The first thing I received at the airport in Egypt last week wasn’t a deportation notice, or an offer of marriage, but a flyer for Ministry of Sound at Pacha. Not been one to shirk my responsibilities, that night I headed into the bustling epicentre of Sharm El Sheikh. What’s this got to do with going out in London? Well as good as the music was - Funky House Sessions on the Sunday and then Smoove R&B and hip hop the following Friday - trying to drink, dance and stay alive till 4am in that heat is a mission and a half. I couldn’t even muster the energy to get mad at the DJ for not playing The Game ‘One Blood’. Even the lack of a roof and industrial sized fans hoisted around the club couldn’t save me. Two alcoholic drinks in and it became obvious that many binge drinkers would find this an ample place for recovery. Once the novelty of raving in sandals had worn off, I really began to appreciate clubbing in London. Sure you still have to wipe your top lip but the threat of heat-induced migraines and sweat patches from head to toe aren’t your priorities. Then there was the average entrance price which peaked at £18 on the Friday night – you wouldn’t be paying that at Ministry’s hometurf in Elephant & Castle.

One place that will require £20 on the door this weekend is east London hotspot Turnmills. Despite my tendency for cheap and cheerful, this fee can actually be justified. Nocturnal is the house night run by producers The Shapeshifters (‘Lola’s Theme’, ‘Incredible’) who themselves will be playing a marathon four hour set this Saturday. Joining them are US heavyweights Jon Cutler and Miguel Migs who’s currently on a European tour promoting his current album, Those Things. Although the club holds 1,000 revellers, get their early with your note in hand as the last Nocturnal event here saw queues going around the block. Alternatively save a fiver and some time by booking a ticket in advance via www.clubtickets.com.

Where tonight is concerned, starved grime fans will be having a feast at Cargo. Not your traditional sweaty, rave-all-night club, it’s more commonly regarded as a venue suited to live music and is probably why legendary grime producer and emcee Wiley, has chosen it to showcase his critically acclaimed new album, Playtime Is Over. He may be deemed an underground phenomenon, but music critics from the likes of the NME, Music Week, RWD and style bible I-D are among the many unable to deny the charm of his undiluted grime formula. And with ten years of experience under his belt, this rare London show means expectations are even higher as he promises to play out much of the new material for the first time. Support comes from his Boy Better Know cohorts JME and Skepta, with dubstepper Loefah and Illa Man also making appearances. With tickets only £10 in advance from www.ticketweb.co.uk, you’d better hope Cargo turn the air con on.

A version of this article appeared in The London Paper (June 2007)

London Paper 28


ON THE SCENE: CHANTELLE FIDDY

Banish your hair straighteners, neon jeans or day glow vest. It’s time to get dark up in this bitch (ok, City). This week we need eyeliner and lots of it. Stereotyping aside, It’s still fair to say most people associate clubbing with the banging beats of straight up dance music or more typically commercial sounds. I’m guilty as charged. But there are scores of Londoners who can be found kicking up dust on the dance floor at some of the most (head) banging nights across the capital. If you want it wild and you want it now, then air guitars are where it’s at.

If you’re new to the rock game then a good place to start is Dungaree High, Saturday 16th at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, WC1. The work of Hustler Squad, who claim to be young, gifted and usually drunk, they’re also a collection of uncompromising promoters and musicians who’ve been involved in nights including Karate Boots, Smell The Glove, Vinyl Tap and Dirtfest. Jaded by a city drowning in ironic haircuts and pretentiousness, they resolved to be shining beacons who’d restore faith in those who’d lost their way. They say to expect “a night of fist-punching, ear-bleeding rock, garage, punk, metal and glam carnage shaken up with mass inebriation and boisterous party action for boys and girls with tight lips and loose morals.” What this means to us novices (yes, I’m guilty as charged), is “the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that leaves you on your knees.” On a typical set expect to hear the likes of Motley Crue, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Thin Lizzy, Billy Idol and Skid Row as well as the best from the class of 2007. Delivering the goods this weekend are guest DJ Nicky Borg (Backyard Babies) and residents Stiletto, Nina and Danne. Lives sets come from Lucifer Star Machine, Love And A .45 and Skin-tight Jaguars. It’s £7 entry and runs from 8pm-3am, but you can check www.myspace.com/hustlersquad for more.

Also paving the rocky road this weekend is Sin City, which takes place most Friday nights at Electric Ballroom, Camden. Spread over three floors is everything from hard rock, metal, ska and punk to the latest brutal riffs and underground sounds. Marilyn Manson, My Chemical Romance, Pantera and System Of The Down can be heard on Level 1 with Level 2 boasting the classics. DJs include Stevie C (Sanctum), Tony Madball (Vanity), Riyad (Wakizashi), Demonic (Santum) Shuff (Decadence) and Vixxxen (Sanctum). If you go to the website www.electric-ballroom.co.uk and take a long a printed version of the listing page, you even get a discount on the £7 entry fee. Given my rant last week about the need for more hoodies, hats and trainers in clubs, I can’t deny how excited I am that punters are advised to dress to depress. I don’t like brushing my hair anyway.

A version of this article appeared in The London Paper (June 2007)

Introducing Caspa Codina…



Q: Who is Caspa Codina and why is he here?
A: Caspa is a true soul survivor, here to bring back some dirt, fantasy & originality into modern soul-funk-electro for the 21st Century.

Q: Where does the name come from?
A: Caspa Codina is my real name... well almost: Caspa is my middle name & Codina was my grandmother's surname, which is just as valid as my dad's surname in these modern times.

Q: Some people may be doing a double take, you're also Medasyn the producer and a member of the group Spektrum - how do all of your aliases vary musically?
A: Well, my Medasyn projects focus on hip-hop, garage & grime; and are usually MC based [I’ve worked with Lady Sovereign, Shystie, Zuz Rock in the past & am currently doing some new shit with Envy from Manchester & Kovas from Brooklyn. Spektrum is a live band and has a rawer electro, punk-soul-funk sound fronted by female vocalist Lola Olafisoye. Caspa Codina is more song & soul based, but with hints of grime, hip hop & electro production and a curious mix of falsetto & baritone vocals.

Q: Is it hard juggling the three projects?
A: Damn right it is. I'm finally, finally finishing the Caspa Codina album this month! But because of the other projects - making the Spektrum albums, writing and producing the Lady Sovereign album [as Medasyn] meant the Caspa project got stuck on the hard drive for a few years. The problem is that, crazy lead vocalists, drunken band members and big labels like Def Jam are much more demanding of my time than my own alias!

Q: So how would you describe the Technology EP?
A: The song is like a twisted electro-soul lament on the danger of getting completely lost in technology - like spending all your life online on myspace or that in virtual world 'second life'. In ‘Technology’ Caspa finds love online, but eventually ends up uploading his brain to try and get closer to his cyber-girlfriend.

Q: How do the remixes vary from the original and do you have a favourite?
A: The remixes are all aimed at the dancefloor, whereas the original has a more laidback hip-hopish groove. It's hard for me to have a favourite cos each remix has such a different mood and all of the remixers are good mates. Tugg's So So Sick remix is a properly sick sounding dirty warehouse electro-techno party tune which brings gurning sweaty 3am ravers to mind. He’s also done a tasty broken-beat remix - I think he's been spending too long in West London. Jonny Rock's remix has got these really 80s sounding Tom-Toms along with a rock'n'roll feel, but all with this Chicago House undercurrent. Laliq's remix is like a forgotten rave/ speed-garage record, complete with that slightly out of tune vocal sample vibe - genius at work. All killers when the mood is right.

Q: Is it your first release on StopStart Records?
A: Yes. StopStart is a new label that's taken on a few artists from my label Nonstop Recordings. StopStart is definitely a label to watch; with some really fresh UK hybrid hip-hop/electo releases from The EarlyMan & Man Like Me lined up for the summer.

Q: I saw in your press release about a 'penchant for Crystal Meth', explain...
A: That's the StopStart press office getting very creative! But I guess that reflects how F***ed up some of the music & lyrics might sound. It's kind of similar to the Chopped & Screwed vibe in Houston, which apparently is credited to taking lots of cough mixture - I just get very high on nasty electronic bleeps & bass noises, lock myself in the studio for days, create stories and get busy with the microphone; that's my addiction…

Q: What are you working on next?
A: Well next week I'll still be finishing the debut Caspa Codina album (which will be out in September). After that, I'm gonna be shooting some promo videos and then getting "The Codinas" [Caspa's band] together.

www.myspace.com/caspacodina

(CF) A version of this appeared in Blues & Soul (June 2007)