MASSIVE QUESTIONS with TRUSS

Anybody who says that the Weekly Review of Dance Music is running out of steam after four years of relentlessly impressive, laser-focused and singular dance music penmanship with little-to-no financial gain or professional progression aside from the occasional RA Feed spot or an interview in Britain's biggest-selling news and current affairs magazine, Private Eye, or that I'm spreading myself too thin with the Tonka's Week stuff on Ran$om Note every Friday, or that WRDM is now simply a vanity project dumping ground for interviews with DJs and artists I'm friendly online with, plugs for music I haven't listened to and lazy, half-finished and pointless ideas, and is no longer a credible alternative to the popular, but similarly faceless, dance magazine powerhouses who don't really care about their readership in the way that I do, needs their fucking heads testing.

The Weekly Review of Dance Music is so much more than all of that. Tonka is still brimming with new ideas, not pointless and recycled ones. I've got so many forks in the pie that it's not even a pie anymore; it's just a load of forks with gravy and pastry all over them. I've got so many features in the pipeline, the pipeline has got all clogged up and I'm having to pour baking soda, vinegar and kettles full of boiling water down it from head height. Yes, the Weekly Review of Dance Music STILL has a purpose. If you're not reading WRDM, you're reading those weird reviews in Mixmag written by people who are told what to write by an editor, or those useless, click-bait shit meals that get served up on Thump...

...I've got to get over these petty, personal problems I've got with people at Mixmag and Thump. It's not doing me any good, and I mustn't let a couple of bad apples spoil the whole bunch. Sorry.



Anyway, over the weekend, I met up with a DJ and producer called Truss. He's doing very well for himself at the moment, travelling the world and playing in nightclubs like Dude Club in Italy and Berghain in Germany. He's off to Australia next month. Can you imagine how brilliant it must be to be an international DJ? I should have asked him that, but I forgot.

I caught up with Truss as he was mentally preparing for his upcoming headline slot at House of God next week. I rushed to grab the yoga mat next to his, which made Ali Wells tut at the time, but this is London; you snooze, you lose.

We shared a whispered conversation whilst his middle-aged, but very, very fit instructor barked orders at us over the top of Diabolis Ex Machina by Arcane Device. Here is the transcript:
Q) For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Truss, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A) I'm Thomas Benson Russell, and I play music at parties because I'm shit at socialising.

Q) Why did you choose the moniker, Truss, as a DJ name? Did you ever toy with the idea of prefixing it with DJ, like a proper DJ (DJ Truss), or suffixing it with something more exciting like Pentrych Scratch Kid (DJ Pentrych Scratch Kid) or Master of Beatz (DJ Master of Beatz)?
A) Truss has been my nickname since my early teens (T from Tom and Russ from Russell), so it was the easy option when it came to deciding my DJ name. I've never considered prefixing it with DJ.
Q) Growing up in the traditional Welsh county town of Monmouth, were there any local influences, club nights, DJs or promoters that made you consider what you do now an option? Or did you look beyond the Trefynwy for inspiration?
A) Crusty acid tekno free parties and mix CDs stolen off the cover of DJ Mag in WHSmith were the biggest sources of information available locally. Beyond Trefynwy, we traveled to the Hippo Club in Cardiff or the Crystal Rooms in Hereford when we wanted to go "clubbing."

Q) At what point did you realise you could be a DJ professionally? Were you able to enjoy the satisfaction of giving up a job for it?
A) I was able to enjoy the satisfaction of not having to get a proper job in the first place when I secured a weekly residency in the back room of The Queen's Head with my mate, Chinner. We used his turntables, my sound-system, enjoyed free booze and got paid fifty quid each.

 Q) What got you into playing and making acid, techno and snatches of Italo? Do you reckon you’ll always play and make acid, techno and the odd bit of Italo, or do you want to branch out into other genres when you get older, like chill-out, ambient and sad vocal gloop?
A) Not sure really. I've always been down to particular sounds, I guess. Acid and techno have been a passion of mine since my teens. Italo is something I've been getting into more recently. The sounds and melodies are confident and overt, and there's a real honesty in the music. It's just great pop.

At some point, my tastes will no doubt mature and I'll get into more down-tempo stuff. I'll move back to South Wales and open up a beach-front bar/club called Café Del Barry Island or something.

Q) Who’s the best; Truss or Trus’me?
A) Trus, me.
Q) In early October, you played at Fabric. Surgeon was also on the bill. You’re playing at the House of God Halloween party in October. Surgeon, as HoG resident, shares the flyer with you. The following night, you’re at Dude Club in Italy…with Surgeon. Why don’t you guys just get a room?! LOLoutLOUD (the getting a room question is not the MASSIVE QUESTION, the next bit is).

I famously interviewed Surgeon earlier this year. That means Surgeon, NOT Kevin Bacon, is the straw that stirs the shake in most of the degrees of separation in the dance world. So, what I’m trying to say is, what’s it like to be playing regularly, as a contemporary of people like Surgeon (i.e. DJs who must have been your heroes when you were growing up in Monmouth)?
A) It's pretty surreal actually. Over the past few years, I've got to meet a number of my heroes and they've all been absolutely lovely.
Q) Do you have any spooky tunes or outfits planned for the House of God Halloween party (tickets available here)?
A) Well, I've been sent a shit-load of dark techno on promo lately and I was wondering the reason for this deluge of gloomy, gothic-themed dance music, but now I realise that it must be for Halloween. For the occasion, I'll be dressed head-to-toe in black clothes.

Q) Sixteen bar rolling snare fill or thirty two bar rising hoover with cymbal crashes on the final four beats?

A) Hoovers. Every fucking time.




Q) Blacknecks famously split up last year after it was revealed that Daniel Avery was ghost-producing Bleaching Agent’s parts and you were exposed as the artist behind the Bleaching Agent DJ act in a WRDM tabloid feature condemned by Resident Advisor’s Andrew Ryce as “bullshit”, “irresponsible” and “make-believe” on an unusually testy Red Bull Music Academy staged forum discussion with Bill Brewster, Theo Parrish and a bored-looking, well-dressed Japanese club programmer in his twenties.

What is your least favourite Blacknecks song?
A) MASSIVE lol. To answer your question: all of them.

Q) What is Surgeon really like?
A) Smashing.
Q) Last year, I spent an hour drunk on stage at the London Electronic Music Event in Shoreditch twiddling my thumbs, stuttering incomplete responses to members of the audience and staring into space whilst Dan Beaumont, Terry Farley and a couple of proper music journalists made me look like a fucking moron in comparison. Two hours later I was stood at the back of a room upstairs watching Terry Weerasinghe out of Beatport NOT dying on his arse.

When did you last die on your arse?
A) Whenever the last Blacknecks gig was.

Q) Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A) Stone cold terminated.




Q) Is there any advice you can give to the younger readers of WRDM who are looking to get ahead in the dance music industry?
A) Do your own thing. Do it for the right reasons. Do wear the right clothes (all black for techno 2015). Don't pay too much attention to advice dished out by second-rate producers.

Q) Could you sort me out with AAA VIP guest list +1 for House of God, please?
A) Go on then.

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What a lovely young man! Please join me in wishing Truss all the very best for the future and support all of his future endeavours by paying money to go and watch him DJ around the world: Truss/dates

Also:

"Follow" him: @truss_101
"Like" him: facebook/truss.music

I'll be back next week if I can be bothered. I might not be bothered ever again.

Until then:

Please Like me: facebook/tonkawrdm
Please Follow me: @tonkawrdm
Please Email me: tonkawrdm@gmail.com
Please watch Tonka's Week every Friday: theransomnote.co.uk/tonkas-week


WRDM REPEATS


This week's Weekly Review of Dance Music is a repeat of an episode in 2012. An episode in which I explored English patriotism, English DJs and whether or not English DJs are better than foreign DJs. 

Whichever way you look at it, this week's WRDM is the biggest and laziest load of bollocks I've ever fucking done. And I've interviewed a massively disinterested DJ Harvey. LOLoutLOUD.

Enjoy:


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This is an English post for English readers. If you're foreign, CONTENT REMOVED BY WRDM LAWYERS.


Yes, this week's Weekly Review of Dance Music is coming straight from (outside) Buckingham Palace and is the most patriotic post yet. It's St George's Day today and to celebrate the patron saint of being English I'm writing about the best English DJs this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Its what he would have wanted because - fact fans - St George's favourite instruments were the kick drumclosed hi-hat and snare. This English dragon wailer was producing fly beats decades before Andre Young was even born, let alone in the World Class Wreckin' Cru. So, without further ado lets celebrate St George with a tribute to every English DJ under the sun, in England.

Maya Jane Coles

 


Maya Jane Coles is not only English, she's also a lady (see WRDM5 for my women DJs review). She plays house as it should be played; straight, deep and for hours on end. She also MAKES dance music. She has recently released music on my new favourite record label, Hypercolour. Hypercolour release dance music by artists who are English AND foreign so, as you can imagine, they are a hotchpotch of creativity, different rhythms and languages. Check 'em out.

Maya Jane Coles wears clothes that make you go, "woof!" and a haircut that makes you say, "betcha by golly wow." See the above video of Maya Jane Coles wearing a COMB in her hair and talking to a couple of people who actually take fashion seriously.
Maya Jane Coles - 9/10

Seb Fontaine


Don't be fooled by that French sounding surname, Seb Fontaine is as English as a British Bulldog eating roast beef off of a pub car park floor with Nick Griffin on the 23rd April 1966. Seb Fontaine is the owner and proprietor of Malibu Stacy's in London. He is also their resident DJ and guest DJ each week, every week down at "Malibu's", as Stan Collymore calls it.

Seb Fontaine plays trance-house and his contribution to 'Elements 1st Testament' is fucking brilliant. For anyone interested in knowing what was going on in mainstream clubs in the late 90s get hold of 'Elements.' The tracklist reads like a who's who of something or other to do with trance and the nineties. Da Hool, Mary Kante, Signum, Lost Tribe, Energy 52 and even The Sugarhill Gang (!) feature.
Seb Fontaine - 7/10

Join me after the break for more Weekly Review of Dance Music (repeat).



                             Welcome back to part 2

Andrew Weatherall

 


Andrew Weatherall (above, yesterday) compiled the best Fabric mix of 2004. Andrew Weatherall done Primal Scream up good and made them sound bad, as in good. Andrew Weatherall very often DJs back-to-back and alongside Ivan Smagghe. Andrew Weatherall quite literally created a masterpiece with his latest compilation for the English institution, Ministry of Sound. Andrew Weatherall is so patriotic that he delayed the release of Masterpiece by 18 months to ensure it was released on St George's Day. What a guy! I was lucky enough to get a pre-listen to Masterpiece last week and it quite literally made me turn up the volume on my matte black, Gear 4 iPod dock to 16. It was all that AND a bag of chips!

Masterpiece is a 3 x CD set compiled with love, care and attention by Andrew Weatherall and is based on his A Love From Outer Space night at The Drop in London.

If you don't buy Masterpiece by Andrew Weatherall on Ministry of Sound Records you're an absolute fucking moron and you have a bell end hanging off of your forehead like the fucking dickhead that you are.


Andrew Weatherall - 10/10

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That's your lot for today. Andrew Weatherall is officially England's best DJ with a score of 10/10. Good work, Andy!

I know St George's Day was yesterday but I didn't get around to finishing my review of the terrific Masterpiece by Andrew Weatherall on Ministry of Sound Records (available to buy and download in all good record stores and websites) until this morning. St George won't mind that I'm a day late though because he's dead.


Or is he????


I'll be back next week with my definitive guide to dance music on the internet. In the mean time, have a look at my Tweets on Twitter and become my friend on Facebook, please.


@tonkawrdm

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tonkawrdm@gmail.com

MASSIVE QUESTIONS with MARTYN HARE

Martyn Hare has been around longer that yo mamma's been born, ladies and gentlemen. Martyn Hare makes techno that is so techno, you could cut his records and see the whole of Detroit City escaping out of the middle of them. Martyn Hare sounds a bit like Martyn. He looks a bit like Martyn. Martyn Hare is NOT Martyn. He's Martyn Hare.

I caught up with Martyn Hare in the lobby of WRDMHQ over a nice cup of tea that I'd aggressively ordered my personal assistant to make for us. Strong and black, with a drop of milk, no sugar, like my men, I joked. Martyn smiled nervously, but impressively held my gaze. I like that in a techno DJ and producer, I thought.

This is the transcript of that very conversation, recorded by my idiot personal assistant, Josh Abbott, on his stupid fucking DICKtaphone:
Q) For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Martyn Hare, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A) I am Martyn Hare; Producer, DJ, mixing engineer and boss of the Emetic label.

Q) Why did you choose the moniker, Martyn Hare, as a DJ name? Did you ever toy with the idea of prefixing it with DJ, like a proper DJ (DJ Martyn Hare), or suffixing it with something more exciting like Dance Boss (DJ Dance Boss) or Track Puncha (DJ Track Puncha)?
A) My releases on Potential where labelled as DJ Martyn Hare, I think Ben Long thought it might get me more gigs... But I started my techno career back in the day when most DJ’s just used a name (Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke, Luke Slater etc etc). I guess techno was about just letting the music do the talking, no showing off or pretence. I like secret pseudonym’s though, gives artists a chance to spread their wings a little.

Q) At what point did you realise you could be a DJ and producer professionally? Were you able to enjoy the satisfaction of giving up a job for it?
A) It’s when you can live off it without being stressed every month if you’re able to pay your rent/mortgage. But the negative of that is it becomes business, which makes it way less exciting because you have to do it rather than it being an ideal.




Q) All your songs are about industrial techno. Do you ever get a bit down in the dumps about that genre and feel like using your production skills to write a dance pop hit? If nothing else, for the better money it might make you?
A) I could have sold out a loooooong time ago, but making music has always been my one true passion which I don’t want to sully. You can make a living off techno if you’re lucky. I have a side project with Scott James called “Separate Method”, where we write “proper” music with melodies, vocals and everything :-)

Q) Could you tell us a little bit about your latest release?
A) Joe Farr and I collaborated for a release on the new Dutch label Leyla. It’s dead good. You should buy it.




Q) Clap or snare?
A) Both. One for the Funk the other for the Jack.

Q) Is Berghain that good or is it all a load of media-driven bollocks?
A) Don’t know, never been. Though I don’t see how 8 hour sets could ever be fun.
Q) What’s your favourite club to work and what’s your favourite club to party?
A) I really enjoyed my parties with ‘The Influence’ outdoor events over in Brazil. My favourite club to party in will always be Atomic Jam at the Que Club in Birmingham.

Q) What is Joe Farr really like?
A) He’s a jolly nice bloke. We enjoy meeting up to talk shop over a goat curry and a can of Ting. Though that’s not very “techno”, so let’s say I’ve never met him and not even sure he really exists.




Q) What is your favourite Emetic release, and why?
A) The DJ Bam Bam remix of Distotek (Emetic011), as it’s the track I’ve played out the most and always kicks ass.

Q) In 2001, I played for the first hour in the 3rd room at Sundissential and died on my arse. Three hours later, I was stomping around in the main room watching you NOT dying on your arse. When was the last time you died on…shit. Sorry, that question was for an interview I'm doing with Lisa Lashes soon. When was the last time you died on your arse though?
A) Never ;-)
Q) Have you ever been accidentally booked by a promoter who thought that they were booking Martyn? As well as the name, you also look a bit like him, so you could probably make a bit of extra cash either on the DJ lookalike circuit or by illegally impersonating Martyn in order to defraud promoters into paying higher rates.
A) Damn, my secret is out.

Q) Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A) Depends where I am. Both have their merits.




Q) What do you have planned for the rest of the year, work wise?
A) ADE, more tracks with Joe, mixing some high profile dance releases, keep on pushing Emetic, and gigging.

Q) Is there anything else you need the Weekly Review of Dance Music to raise awareness of?
A) Badger culling, or the fact McVitie’s have reduced the number of chocolate Hobnobs from 14 to 13 per packet for the same price.


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What a lovely man! Please join me in wishing Martyn (Hare) all the very best of luck for the future and help fund his artistic lifestyle by ploughing YOUR money into his bank account in exchange for his excellent recent releases and entire back catalogue (also excellent), details of which can be found on his website: martynhare.com and Beatport page.

COMING SOON

Loads more insight into dance music, an interview with Truss, my minimal hard house remix of I Feel Love by Donna Summer, a patriotic special with the Bicep boys, something with Lisa Lashes and a Roger Cook-style door-battering investigation into ghost producing in the industry...people tell me everything...

Please Like me: facebook/tonkawrdm
Please Follow me: @tonkawrdm
Please Email me: tonkawrdm@gmail.com
Please watch Tonka's Week every Friday: theransomnote.co.uk/tonkas-week