WRDM38 - What is THEM?

Have you ever heard of THEM? I have. THEM is a proper cool dance thing run by a couple of dance lads who love dance music, dance clubs, dance DJs and dancing in dark dancey nightclubs with people who can't stop fucking dancing once they've got a pill or two down them. I love dance music, dance clubs and DJs so I thought I'd best track down Jack and Oli THEM before the fuckers at RA Exchange get hold of them.

I spent about forty minutes scouring the the internet for contact details (there are about seven million other music outfits in the world called Them) before remembering that my very dear friend only does the fucking public relations for them (THEM)! She handed over the information I needed before I could say the words, 'scratch my back'.

Jack agreed to spend £586.80 on a Polycom IP6000 SIP conference phone because I refused to travel east for almost an hour on the tube from Northolt. After getting the IT department at THEM to install and configure the phone, Jack and Oli spoke confidently into their microphones whilst I shot-gunned question after question after question after question after question after question after question at them over a crystal-clear line, a benefit of Polycom's patented Acoustic Clarity Technology.


Q. For anyone unfamiliar with THEM, could you let THEM know who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A. Jack - THEM started as a club night in London with a broad but dark music policy and affinity with horror movies which would feature on its flyers and in its visuals. Over the years we have moved through different phases musically and since 2012 we have leant more than ever towards a techno sound. Soon after the sound was getting honed, long held plans to evolve into a record label started to take shape, and we have just had our first release, by the very talented Japanese producer Hiroaki Iizuka.

Q. Who are your direct rivals and what weaponry will you employ to keep them at bay?
A. Oli - This sounds to me like you are trying to start beef. You having trouble generating traffic?

Q. What's the best party you've ever thrown and why?
A. Jack - Music wise, I have so many highlights, I couldn’t call one party. Actress, Perc, Rustie, Demdike Stare, Untold, Lone AMUS, Shifted, Redshape, Truss, Remarc these have been some of the highlights but by no means the only ones. We only put on people that we know are going to pull out something special. If I had to go by atmosphere I would say any of the last three birthdays.

Oli - Its a dead tie between the THEM 3rd and 5th Birthdays. The highlight at the third was Rustie, it was just after he had put out Glass Swords and had won the Guardian album of the year album award a couple of days beforehand, the place was buzzing and he delivered! The 5th was Perc’s album launch, and the line up across the board was amazing - the crowd was perfect, a great variety of people and the feedback about the crowd specifically was immense, I think because people were all really into it.

Q. Have you ever had Ricardo Villalobos play at THEM? If not, is he someone you'll be booking in the future?
A. Jack - He’s way too small for us TBH, I’d be concerned about his draw.

Oli - Me and Rick used to go to school together actually, I’m sure he’s game.

Q. The artwork you do for all them THEM flyers and records are proper fucking scary. Why are you trying to scare clubbers?
A. Jack - when I was a kid when I snuck down to watch The Shining in the dark when my parents were asleep and that experience was intense enough to etch itself on my brain. That started a long obsession with horror, and somehow feelings of dread and gore are bound up with me with really nasty club tunes. The artworks actually started pretty tame and jokey, but for a while I took over the design and tried to get them as freaky as possible, which has kind of stuck even as new artists take up our design. As our music policy veered towards darker sounds of recent, this felt right to continue with.

Oli - I also had quite a scarring experience with The Shining. It scared the shit out of me but I was drawn in, I think thats why Scary images work as flyers - Horror movie images in general are freaky but they are also intriguing - we are drawn in. I wouldn’t say the flyers are so scary, but catching an unsuspected glimpse of some of the visuals we’ve played at the nights with a head full of disco biscuits may be.

Q. At House of God in Birmingham, you can buy poppers behind the bar with your pint of lager. Is THEM pro or anti poppers on the dance floor?
A. Jack - I’m all for it. I don’t partake personally but THEM was pretty much the last club event in London that had a nitrous oxide bar to my knowledge. It was at a venue I won’t name but who had not received the memo about its criminalisation. I’m teetotal myself but have not always been so and so can't criticise drug use.

Oli - For. Anything that makes my arsehole loose enough for the long haul techno thrusts is a plus.

Q. What is THEM going to be doing between now and Christmas?
A. Jack - We have one more release before christmas, THEM002 and perhaps some teasers for THEM003 too. Stay tuned.

Oli - Also this year we’re hosting a room at Plex’s annual three room takeover alongside BleeD at Corsica Studios. The line up in our room is mainly made up of artists that have become involved in THEM as a label, which is really exciting and feels right for where we are at now. Plex and Bleed’s rooms are major too. Its on November 7th and is sure to be a great one.


What a lovely couple of young men! I'll be sharing a bottle of Liquid Gold with Oli THEM on the 7th November down Corsica Studios and telling him how great his record label and club night is whilst massaging the back of his head in a friendly, slightly homoerotic fashion as he tells me how amazing the Weekly Review of Dance Music is whilst rolling his jaw around his face and offering me sips of water every two minutes.

Join us but buy tickets first: Plex / Bleed / Them - PBT at Corsica Studios

I'll also be purchasing The Run by Hiroaki Iizuka every day until the release of THEM002. You should too.

- Why, Tonka?
- Because it's a terrific song.

I'll be back next Tuesday with either another Peer to Peer, another MASSIVE QUESTIONS, a hard-hitting exposé on the disgraceful scenes behind the disgraceful scenes at Juno or yet another swampy WRDM post about hard house, ecstasy E tablets and Tony De Vit.

Check out the collection of Tonka's Week pieces on Ransom Note. There, you'll find a year's worth of beauty. Tens of thousands of words, lovingly crafted and considered, presented in the form of an article. Tonka's Week gets poured out of me every fucking week for the love of it, etc etc. I might not be around this Friday so just read every single article I've written since last September and recognise my brilliance.

Until next time, dance fans.

"Like" me: facebook/tonkawrdm
Follow me: @tonkawrdm
Job me: linkedin/tonka

R.I.P. Derren Smart.