That's one of the longest post titles on this blog up to now, necessary I think, because I have thoughtfully separated Rick's mix from the first hour of last night's show, which had a bit of a bumpy start but was soon put on its way after some helpful technical advice. You need not worry though, as each sound file of said broadcast contains no such deviations, and sounds as pristine as its possible to sound. Many thanks to Rick Hopkins, who provided a wonderfully deep and understated mix, full of brooding, powerful undercurrent.
Here's a track list for part one:
A Monster So Beautiful - Legowelt
Next To You - George Issakidis (Kill The DJ)
Give me The Night - Mark Du Mosch (Tape)
Crave - Gerry Read (4th Wave)
Wake Up Call - Elef (Local Talk)
Wrong Way - Ark & Pit Spector (Thema)
The M-Theory - J.C. (Greener)
Untitled 6 - Tripeo
Hastag - Carl Finlow (Electrix)
Citronella (John Tejada Remix) - Add Noise (Modular Cowboy)
Rick Hopkins Interview & Mix:
You were the first winner of Muzik's 'Bedroom Bedlam' competition. How do you think your DJing career might have turned out differently had you not won?
I was indeed all those years ago. It was more a case of right place right time and the folk I was knocking about with in the seedy underbelly of so called ‘night clubbing’ and obviously a hint of *coughs* talent playing records one after the other. The only thing that might have been different honestly would’ve been the fact I didn’ t, excuse the pun, cross swords with Lord Sabre at Sabresonic which then led on to our beautiful relationship down at The Blue Note and BloodSugar, which was Andrew’s follow on from Sabres.
If Andrew hadn’ t offered me that gig at BloodSugar I’ d have still been as keen as mustard to try and push myself on any promoter/deejay that I admired to try and get something or try and get in with them, with my wit and charm and that meagre amount of talent playing said records one after the other. I’ve always had the passion to play music to friends old and new, from playing early electro in various mates’ bedrooms at the age of 13, to playing to fat bald middle age blokes in nightclubs who still have that same passion as I did then I do now.
Is there a "golden age" of house/techno etc . . . and if so, when?
The so called ‘golden age’ of techno most London-centric folk would say was in the mid 90’s when one Jeff Mills started to play for Steve Bicknell at the Lost parties. There was something raw about the whole time and the energy was relentless and most of us going out were either in our early to late twenties with still the right amount of testosterone pumping through our veins to have that limitless energy to pretty much be out almost every weekend pending decent evenings of music being on. Clubs like Sabresonic, Club UK, Knowledge, Eurobeat 2000,The Drum Club, Open All Hours, Sex love & Motion and Strutt were all ploughing the good trance & banging techno pre the days of Axis & M-Plant. It’s just like I say when Jeff arrived over here in the early 90’s he was known due to his time with UR but no one really knew of the ferocity and energy that featured in his sets. The first time I saw Jeff it blew my mind literally, to me he was playing hip hop with the two copies and the trickery, but the 909 just sounded a lot heavier than Schooly D or Marley Marl ever got one to sound.
What has been your best moment behind the decks up to now?
Every time I’ m behind the turntables I love it, so for me anytime I get to inflict my own personal take on House And Techno to the paying public is the best. Playing Bloodsugar will always be a special moment[s] as I was playing alongside someone I’’d looked up to for a very long time in Andrew. Another would’ve been after playing at Tribal Gathering at Luton Hoo and seeing a lot of the Detroit crew behind the tent vibing off my set and knowing I’d played on the same bill as Kraftwerk, that was special. More recently having Chicago legend Mr Gene Hunt who we’ d booked to play for us at Thunder shouting ‘Rickster’ in my ear whilst I warmed up for him. Gene’ s one of the nicest chaps you could meet so that was also rather special. On the the Thunder tip playing all the Thunders over the last two years (nearly) and Farr Festival last year were all pretty special also. Having a great time with like-minded souls . . . what’s not to like?
Unless I'm mistaken, you got into music through listening to electro and hip-hop. Which records shaped your taste?
Hearing Hip Hop Be Bop by Man Parrish played by Peter Powell one Saturday afternoon in ‘83 on Radio One was life changing, and then hearing Streetsounds Electro 1 was another musical milestone in one’s life. That album was played constantly for that year, it changed the way that I listened to music forever.
How much fun/hard work is running "Thunder"?
Thunder is a lot of fun after all I do it alongside two great friends in Miles Simpson & Joe Apted, two friends who both share the same passion for a good night out with decent deejays in decent sized venues and both have a love for great music, good banter and childish humour. It’s not really that hard (waits for phone call from Miles & Joe) when you’ re putting a night on with friends. We each have our opinions, sometimes it gets a little heated between us but it’s water off a duck’s back. We’re all big and ugly enough to move on real quickly. All three of us are genuinely blown away at how quickly we’ve built a decent night and name for ourselves.
How do you balance family life with work and DJing/promoting? Would you be able to do Thunder every month instead of every two?
It’s quite difficult for all of us it has to be said, but we love it enough to work around the family bits to do Thunder. We have spoken about going monthly but that’ll be a decision made between us at one of our boardroom meetings/in the pub.
Has your taste in electronic music changed much through the years?
No not really, still love the sound of an 808, 909 or Juno 6. I just love electronic music, like all music it has to be said. But there’s something about getting such emotion from a machine . . . It takes a real talent to get something so beautiful from a PCB.
Where are we now as far as house/techno are concerned? Still evolving or long-term stasis?
Are house and techno still evolving? Yes I think so, but to evolve there’ s a lot of reference to the past which isn’t that great, especially when it gets to saturation point with everyone trying to do what Mr Larry Heard or Derrick May did all those years back. But I still buy shed loads of decent new music and am constantly blown away at the depth of energy and emotion. In the mid 90’s techno seemed to evolve overnight where as now it’s evolving, but at a much slower pace, which is good. I’m a lot older now so like it a lot slower
What is your usual approach to making a mix? Is there a big difference to recording one at home and playing out?
Whenever I try and do a mix at home I try and make it pretty much perfect in that there’s no double beating or losing time when riding it, as there’s nothing worse than hearing two records clanging together like a drummer falling down some stairs. The minute I make a mistake when doing a mix at home I can press the stop button and redo the mix whereas in the confines of a nightclub you obviously can’ t do that. You make a mistake in a nightclub c’est la vie, its not the end of the world, so long as no-one’s recording said clange. It’s a lot easier I find to get ‘in the zone’ so to speak in a night club when it’s a lot louder. You have folk reacting to what you’re playing and there’s big bucket of bottled beer next to you.
Have you ever thought of producing and, if you did, what could we expect from you?
I’ ve tentatively dabbled in some production using Ableton and NI Maschine, got a few tracks sitting around, nothing really special as yet as I’m still trying to hone my skills. But it’s a real time-consuming thing to lock yourself away for hours on end to try and come up 5-10 minutes of music when you’re juggling long hours in a job and looking after a wife and two boys whilst helping to run a successful evening of music & dance called Thunder. I’ m knackered just reading that last paragraph.
What would be your dream Thunder line-up?
Every line up Miles, Joe & myself organize for Thunder is pretty much a dream one, but the one that we’ re hankering for more than anything and that is the one and only Mr Derrick May. Keep them peeled as Shaw Taylor used to say.
Finally, a current top five and an all-time top five (if possible).
A current top 5 would be as follows:
1. KASSEM MOSSE – BROKEN PATTERNS (NON PLUS)
2. LEGOWLELT – ELEMENTS OF HOUZ MUSIC [ACTRESS REMIX] (JACK FOR DAZE)
3. STEVE SUMMERS – CALL OF THE WILD (LIES)
4. CONTAINER – TREATMENT (MORPHINE RECORDS)
5. B-TRACKS – FLIGHTLESS EP (SUPPLY RECORDS)
All time top 5:
1. 69 – DESIRE (R & S/PLANET E)
2. RHYTHIM is RHYTHIM – BEYOND THE DANCE (TRANSMAT)
3. UR – THE FINAL FRONTIER (UR)
4. MR FINGERS – STARS (ALLEVIATED)
5. RED PLANET – STARDANCER (RED PLANET)
Here's the track list for Rick's Mix, which I've decided to make the second in this blog's podcast series:
1.Generation Next - October Oasis
2.XDB - Frocks
3. Roaming - Our Dream Of...
4. Anthony Naples - El Portal
5. Marquis Hawkes - Higher Forces
6. Martyn - Newspeak
7. Shake - Trackin'
8. Vinalog - ????
9. Chris Mitchell - Fury
10. Ricardo Miranda - Green Line
11. Ability II - Pressure Dub
12. Pepe Braddock - Mujeres Nerviosas