Ahead of their birthday party with John Talabot and Axel Bowman’s collaborative project, Talaboman. Huntleys + Palmers roll back the years with a blow-by-blow retrospective of the past seven years in the business. The label and parties are always breaking artists, and remain on point to this day, check out any of their upcoming tracks on Jackmaster’s Beats in Space mix recently and you’ll know there’s still more to come.
A lot happened in the first year actually. I think in September alone, Kelley Polar, James Holden and Silver Apples all played at different venues. Which, looking back, was quite a lot for a 23 year old to take on without really knowing what he was doing.
James Holden is a huge influence of mine and had been for years, I remember travelling to see him in places prior to his sound blowing up and I guess along with folk like Optimo and Daniele Baldelli (who I discovered around this point) he helped make sense of bringing somewhat disparate strands of music to form something cohesive. That’s something which has always impressed me – he can play something like John Maus at the Panorama Bar and it makes perfect sense to do that. Somewhere therein lies the H+P philosophy.
Anyway, as a big fan, I really couldn’t quite believe that I had managed to book him, especially so early on into promoting. He’s played a few times since, including his last album launch, but the first time will always stick out in my minds eye. Walking past the queue outside of Stereo was a surreal and exciting moment!
This probably sticks out in mind as it was the last party I put on in Glasgow before moving to London. Whilst he was a renown producer, Four Tet wasn’t the established DJ he has since became and with only one or two mixes to go on, I wasn’t sure how this would be musically. I enjoyed the way he jumped between the current sounds of UK Funky, techno and Afrobeat (or his dads Bueno Vista Social Club CD as my mate Neil put it). David’s Shrigley & Barbarossa played upstairs too. Good times.
I think this stands out in my mind as it was quite a risky booking at that time and I still remember the enormous relief when it turned out to be packed. I was dead keen to book Oni Ayhun ever since hearing THAT tune. Beyond the music, I didn’t know that much about him at the time, it was only as the date got closer that I discovered he was Olof from The Knife. Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave label was beginning to come draw some attention and the pair of them plus Alex Smoke and TVO was a pretty good match in the end. I was a bit worried about how many folk would turn up, but there seemingly was an early afternoon evening gig, I think it was with someone like Katy B at the Sub Club and a whole bunch of folk came to Stereo straight afterwards. Oni’s set took a while to get going and I wasn’t sure how it would be received, he ended up over-running and still hadn’t played OAR003 by the time he had to finish.
This turned out to be a bit of a disaster actually. We spent quite some time planning the event in advance with a local promoter and in the end a lot of the things that could go wrong, did. In short, the driver we’d arranged to collect the guest artists, were late, so they understandably bailed. Then the busses were late to collect punters from the city centre. So we had a fairly empty beach for quite a while.
The reason this stands out so much, is because some guy who I’d commissioned to remix the first Auntie Flo record, played to absolutely no one at the start of the evening, and amid the chaos of cancelled artists, ended up playing again at what was probably peak time. He played live and although no one had ever heard of him before, let alone his music, it sounded so familiar and memorable and he absolutely smashed it! His name was SOPHIE and we signed his debut record shortly after that. His star has very much been on the ascendant ever since and it will always be exciting to see where he ends up next, given this fairly random introduction to him.
It’s a toss up between Daphni or Actress album launches in 2012, there’s some good stories behind both. Here’s the recording of the former. After a period of doing the door at Plastic People in 2010 and running the odd event in 2011, we started a monthly residency at the venue.
The initial plan was to book Auntie Flo as resident along with various guests, it was under this aspiration that we booked Actress, having thoroughly enjoyed a set of his in Glasgow the previous year. Shortly after booking him, it was announced that his album was due out the Monday of that week and with the party on the Friday, I floated the notion of him curating a launch party. He suggested booking this girl called Helena Hauff, who I’d never heard of before and without a Facebook account or website, it took a bit longer to track her down. He also enjoyed the sound of SOPHIE who he had played with at a previous event we’d put on in London and with the line up in place, we announced one of the most in demand parties we’ve thrown. With only a 200 capacity, the queue outside ran down the street long before opening. Actress played live, which was a bit unexpected and we’re very grateful to him for introducing us to Helena, who was a revelation on the night and it’s great to see her career take off from there.
2013 was by far the busiest year in terms of events, including our weekly Plastic People Thursdays, the total number was around 60 events over the course of the year, in some cases there was 4 over a weekend, which was a bit daft upon reflection. Again, lots of memorable moments, but the first Studio Barnhus party we hosted with Axel Boman, Kornel Kovacs and Petter playing one track each all night was amazing! The vibe was especially energetic and they never went in any one direction for too long – mixing up jackin’ house-melodic techno-African-Turkish-disco. It was exciting to realise that we shared a very similar ‘if it’s good, it’s good’ attitude and openness to music.
Having spent a large part of the year in Berlin to focus on the label, there wasn’t as much happening on the events front compared to the previous year, but that’s probably a good thing. There’s still been plenty happening though. Golden Teacher’s first appearance in London was particularly great, but Heatsick’s Extended Play experience was just that: a very fun experience.
After a few false starts with dates and venues, we settled on the BGWMC’s, which set the scene nicely for something a bit different, unfamiliar and a real sense of occasion. The evening centred around an extended Heatsick set, where he played on stage accompanied by various musicians, an immense lighting rig and a strawberry scented smoke machine. There was specially made cocktails, food from El Salvador, hoola hoops and all the right ingredients for a right good bank holiday Sunday.