With Found Festival fever in full swing the team at Movement Magazine decided to interview the creators of the brand, James Beneson and Will Paterson, who have tirelessly provided London with underground dance events since…well since it began. As well as Found they have shaped Urban Nerdz and Eastern Electrics into the forces they are today. Always looking for the cutting edge, slicing their way through the music industry and diving off in to the unknown is what they do for a living. So it comes as no surprise that the events they put on sell out time after time and their most recent project Found Festival seems to be no different!
How are things going to plan with Found Festival at the moment?
James: Half way to sell out in a week which is always good news. Bit speechless by how quickly it has sold to be honest. We are really pleased with the response!
I think you’ve filled that underground electronic niche in London really well. Before Found Festival you were doing events at Hidden, Vauxhall in London?
James: We started at Hidden in September 2011 and we did a series of 15 consecutive nights on a Friday which was stressful but a really exciting way to launch the brand. At that time it was less explicitly about house and techno and it was more a mash of bass and grime. There was also house and darker sounds like that whole Swamp81 vibe. It was at a time when it was all coming together and we showcased different bits of those scenes. Crucially we involved a lot or promoters and brands who had been doing stuff in London for a long time. So everyone brought their own program, ethos and vibe. The festival at Haggerston Park in June is that whole ethos in a bottle as it were. We’ve taken the best brands that are doing parties in London at the moment and programmed their best line ups with no holds barred.
Who are some of the partners that you’re working with?
James: Audio Doughnuts, RBMA, Clone Records and smaller up and coming labels.
James you’re one of the co-founders of Urban Nerdz and Will one of the co- founders of Eastern Electrics. How did it all begin?
Will: It started a long time ago for me now. I’ve run about 1200 events over the last 16 years. 8 years ago I started getting involved on the operational side of venues. I met James about 5 years ago. He had lost his NYE venue for Urban Nerdz and gave me a call out of the blue. It was too close for me to help at the time but after that we just started doing some work together and ever since we’ve done a whole series of things. I started off doing hard dance and hard trance then moved on to doing other rave styles jungle, dnb, hardcore then house and techno.
I read that you helped out with the Frantic and Moondance events?
Will: They started around 1997. The guy who set it up, Funki, who also set up Innovation and Elevation and loads of other really famous raves, he did Moondance at the beginning. I started helping out half way through its history so about 8 years ago. Me, Funki and Gordi still do those events but not as often as we used to. Probably about 4 per year.
I used to see it advertised in my slightly younger days. Hidden was one of my favourite venues. Been Manchester 3 years now so don’t get to experience the London scene as much as I’d like to. Talking about origins how did Urban Nerdz start?
James: Urban Nerdz came up because the time was right and exciting things were happening. When we started Urban Nerdz it was 4 years into the dubstep scene and it had left the very early days at Forward. Forward moved over to Plastic People and was becoming, not commercial, but slightly more known. At the same time grime was reaching its peak and there was this really exciting cross section of sounds in the middle where the grime MCs would meet the dubstep producers. The three of us who started Urban Nerdz all came from different musical backgrounds. Whether it was dubstep and grime, garage and dnb or even reggae and hip hop. The only nights we had come across that fused those different sounds were tacky, cheesy, shirts and shoes, ladies free before 9 kind of nights. It wasn’t really about the music and more about the look, champagne and the rest of it. We thought there was room in East London to do something that was genuinely incredible that brought those sounds together under one roof. That’s how Urban Nerdz started. We would like to think it was one of the most influential nights in forming what eventually became the UK bass sound. That melting pot of different genres is a similar way of thinking of what we put to the Found brand when we started that 2 years ago.
What made you differentiate into Found? Why not keep focusing on the core of Urban Nerdz and Eastern Electrics?
James: I think in promotion and events you’ve always got to keep moving forward. Where a brand can grow you want to stay true to that brand and true to what you stated with. Sometimes the best thing to do when you want to start pushing a sound forward is to come up with something new. Not necessarily because it’s any more exciting but because the brand you had defines a certain time and times change. The Found brand wasn’t about Urban Nerdz or Eastern Electrics. It was about a new sound that was mixing all of them together and it just seemed right to come with something new. You were hearing that sound in warehouses and venues like Fabric, Cable and Corsica Studios but there was no-one looking to put it on to a bigger platform. When we started Found, we knew that whether it was in the form of a festival or not, we wanted to eventually do something of that scale where the music we love could be given the platform it deserves even though it was very underground.
How do you keep on top of everything?
James: We’ve got a really good office that’s a mix of the founding Eastern Electrics family. We help each other out with the promotion side of things, fire lots of ideas to each other and listen to a lot of music. Different mixes all day long. There are 8 people here who are all supporting each other with the various different projects we’ve got going on. That’s the core team. Depending on what is most stressful that particular week the numbers for the founding Eastern Electrics may dwindle either way. We may all be working on one thing or another.
You’ve got the festival at Haggerston Park on the 15th June. What else have you got planned further down the line?
James: We wanted something spot on for the sound for people who enjoy that music. We all love East London. I guess Shoreditch has always been the cultural hub for that. It’s a big achievement for us to put on an event like this so close to that hub. It was always the right location from the beginning. It’s also a nice size and has the intimacy which is important to us in our first year. Moving on to the rest of the year we are looking at other outdoor events. We did a great street party last year so we may be doing something similar to that. Going in to Autumn we are going to be returning to doing some really exciting indoor shows which people will be surprised by we hope!
You’ve obviously seen the music scene change over the years. What do you think is the next big sound? As you’re at the centre of it you’re probably best placed to give an opinion on the subject.
James: House and techno has a long way to go in the rebirth. As house gets more popular a lot of the people who were kicking of that rebirth will move over to that techno sound as they crave something a bit deeper and darker. So techno is getting ever popular. The strands of UK bass that were crossing over in to the house sound are getting progressively darker in the music they’re putting out there through people like Boddika and the Swamp81 label. Electronic music aside, as much as we love it, I do think that going in to next year, maybe the year after, we’re going to see a big rise in band culture again. People are going to crave that natural live sound again. It doesn’t mean they’re not going to be listening to electronic music, but I think that it is definitely going to have a part to play in the bigger picture. But we’ll see what that is when it comes!
What inspires the artwork and branding which is obviously very important?
James: In the beginning we were down at Hidden which was virtually unknown within the scene before we started. It had been doing really well doing the rave nights that aren’t familiar to our audience. Also we had found all these different sounds and brands and felt like we were bringing them all together. Found seemed like a great name and we wanted the artwork to reflect that. It needed to have a simplicity and naturalness and was always going to be very minimal because the line ups, artists and promoters were always going to be the colourful side of things. All the main photos were taken in Haggerston Park and we wanted to let the location and line ups speak for themselves.
Who are you looking forward to seeing most?
James: I have to say an obvious one just because I haven’t seen it yet. I’m really looking forward to Lee Foss B2B with MK. This is only the second time they would have done the B2B in London. The first time was at a Hot Natured event. They’re two amazing DJs so together it promises great things. On a more underground tip both me and Will are really excited about Santé. He’s really rising up the ranks. He’s got a great production ethos that lends itself to more than just the dance floor. He’s an act who you’ll be seeing more of in the future across different genres. He’s the producer’s producer. Beyond that what’s great is that there are three distinct styles at the festival. On the Found stage we’ve got something that we’d like to think looks back to the glory days of garage and has the whole 4x4 sound going on. On the darker more leftfield Tief and Troublevision stage you might get anything from techno to disco. And then you’ve got the fiercely underground Magna Carta stage which is the side of the scene that is dominating in London at the moment. There’s something for everyone. It is a genuinely eclectic electronic line up like no other in London this Summer. Whether your roots are in garage, house, techno or bass, if you have a background in 4x4 you will have an understanding of some part of the music that is there and some of it will surprise you.
What have been some of your highlights over the years?
Will: For me there have been different highlights at different times. Doing shows at the Brixton Academy is a personal highlight as it’s such a huge venue. It’s also very challenging as it doesn’t have its own sound system and you have to go in and set it all up. So that was a great space. Some of the Hard House Academy parties. Some of the Moondance parties at SE1 London Bridge. All of them had different sorts of music with people from all over the country coming. Like a good, old fashioned 90’s rave.
Yeah I remember going to some of those SE1 nights. Really good times!
Will: Not all venues can claim to have a certain atmosphere. SE1 like Turnmills, Bagleys, The End had a particular atmosphere. You could put the same DJs or brand on in a different venue and it wouldn’t be the same. That made SE1 a special place. With Eastern Electrics we’ve always tried to push the envelope a bit harder than anyone else. We’ve always booked a bigger line up than we could probably afford and taken more risks musically than our peers. We did two NYE events at an underground car park just down the road from Cable. They were amazing. One year we had the whole Cross Town Rebels crew down. Damian Lazarus, Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler in one room, Matthew Dear and Joker in another and Justin Martin in a tiny little room. That was quite a mad event.
James: For me all the early Urban Nerdz at the now deceased 93 Feet East on Brick Lane were really exciting because of how young, unpretentious and raw the artists were at that stage. To have Goldie, Jack Beats, Foreign Beggars or Professor Green play in such an intimate venue to 500 people. These were some of the acts I had listened to during my teenage years so it was great to be able to tell people I was putting them on and see people so happy. One event that sticks out in my mind was Congo Natty. We were the first brand to have them in London after a 10 year break from doing shows. The energy there was phenomenal. The first warehouses we used through Will were all great and seeing people like Katy B turn up and do something at the start of her career was really thrilling. The most memorable one for me was the very first Room 3 we did at Fabric. We had Tinchy Stryder, 5 months before his first number one and probably his last club show in London. It was a seminal moment for me because my first trips to Fabric, seeing people like Hype and Andy C only a couple years earlier, were the reason I wanted to get into this industry. Everything they’ve done as a club really inspired me from their professionalism and organisation to their line ups and programming. To be asked to come and do something there, only 2 years into Urban Nerdz, was great validation for me and something I will never forget and always be grateful for.
You guys have played at some of the best venues in London. What makes a venue good to you?
James: I think as Haggerston Park shows it’s more than brick and mortar these days. It’s more than a venue now. For me in all honesty I think it will be something unexpected. It might be small. It might be big. But it will be more than 4 walls that’s for sure.
Will: I would say it’s always going to be a mixture of doing events in one off spaces like Haggerston Park and a mixture of what are essentially club spaces. I’ve always been keener on the club spaces than outdoor sites. There is a real magic still, despite what James says, about a space with 4 walls, a low ceiling and a big sound system because ultimately it’s down to the rawest thing then which is the music at the end of the day. Right now there are a lot of very passionate people running venues and more unusual spaces working together with very passionate event organisers to put on shows that gives London the right to say it is the most exciting musical city in the world for underground music. There’s no doubt in my mind. There’s not really anywhere else where you can go and hear as many as 20 different electronic styles in one weekend and hear it right at the height of each of those scenes. There are people who are doing something genuinely innovative in all these different types of dance music in all these different scenes in London in one weekend. It’s a testimony to the amount of hard work that a relatively small number of people, in the electronic music industry, put in.
James: Sadly we’ve lost so many great venues in recent years. Now there are more promoters than there are venues. There are so many nights emerging. What is going to be interesting is to see what these people do when they grow up with their brands and climb their way through the industry. It’s going to be exciting to see if people try to open up different venues in the future, what they do with London and what their take will be in 10 years on the Fabrics, Cables and what not that exist now.
You talk about these younger brands coming up. What words of wisdom would you impart on them?
James: The secret behind good promotion is organisation. It’s all the boring stuff you’ve got to stick with and be on top of. Work 7 days a week. Apart from going to Jaded on a Sunday. That’s allowed haha. The nitty gritty organisation factor is the secret to great events as well as passion. There are people who don’t necessarily have that ethos who are still doing great events. I think it’s a balance between the two. It’s about learning how to harness that passion then, when it comes to big scale events, using it to do something really special.
Will: Don’t be afraid to ask other people who do the same thing if you’re not sure. Traditionally with the dance scene it’s often been overly competitive. What I mean is that in comparison to other industries there’s no official apprenticeship scheme. No official mentoring. Promoters are coming in and making the same mistakes promoters in the generation before them made. Those mistakes can put promoters out of business and make them lose their passion for putting the work in. And genuinely to keep on going and fight really hard for what you want to achieve because one thing is for sure, if you are going to be an event organiser it’s going to be challenging to make it work. But, it’s a lot of fun along the way.
Everything seems very London based in general. Are you going to be spreading out across the country a bit more?
James: Only if the natural opportunity to do so arises. London is our home. It’s what we know and what we do best which is why we do events here. There are some incredible promoters across the country. WHP in Manchester. Motion and Love Saves The Day in Bristol. Some more niche promoters on the south coast in Brighton and Bournemouth. They all do great things and they all have their own take on the nightlife industry. We would consider moving across the country but only if that was a natural progression from what we were doing and if it was right at the time. And no doubt we’d be working in collaboration with these other promoters out there who are doing great things.
I can imagine you guys taking over a room, like those at WHP, easily…
Will: Eastern Electrics has fought for a long time to get to the scale and level that it is at now. The reason for doing it at Knebworth Park is to deliver something bigger, with incredible production values, with a line-up that you can’t get in a club. Because you can’t sell enough tickets to be able to book the line-ups that you get with a festival scale. There’s value in doing rooms in clubs and value in doing festivals. Every brand moves forward to do different things!
Original Article -> http://www.movementmagazine.co.uk/meet-the-founders-of-found/
‘Wasting My Young Years (NDMA Remix)’ by London Grammar
Bring on the Summer…
‘Galaxy Garden’ by Lone
@Lone Galaxy Garden released 1 year ago today. Still sounds amazing. #Timeless
Night Sluggin’ — at Soup Kitchen
Warm up for tonight!!! Mix by @visionist for DIS Magazine.
Tracklist at: http://dismagazine.com/disco/mixes/44171/visionist-only-eye/
Here we are with Blured, known as Bradley Albertides, hailing from Caerdydd in Wales. He’s no stranger to the world of producing but his take on the new house and techno fusion movement comes with unexpected freshness and mind-blowing results. Blured’s first release ‘It’s Quite’ can only be described as an absolute time bomb, on par with Joy Orbison’s first release ‘Hyph Mngo’ on Scuba’s label, Hotflush. The technical fluidity of Blured’s production is jaw dropping. Not many people can release a track and get so much praise in such a short period. Blured’s first release was released in March as a limited vinyl only release. Don’t sleep on it!
So Bradley, how are you doing? How did you as a producer first you get into music?
Yo! Yeah, doing really well fella! Well, back in 98 the Playstation 1 was the must have toy. I got music for the Playstation as a present or I might have pinched it off a friend. I can’t really remember? From then on I got proper involved in the game, if you can call it that? I even used to play it at school Haha!
That is quite the entry! How old are you now and how long have you been producing for?
I’ve not long ago hit the 30 mark, getting old now! I’ve been producing since 98 but to be fair nothing sounded that good till the early noughties. So lets say around 13/14 years.
Quite the experience gained then! Under the guise of Blured, what sound are you seeking to trademark and how would you describe your style?
Yeah, it has been a bit of a journey. Well, Blured is a pretty new project, about 6/7 months I’ve been using this alias. I’m not really seeking a sound. I like to think I have my own sound but obviously I have influences. I kind of like to think I have an earthy approach to my music. It’s sort of muddy but with lots of texture and nice layers. I drive my music with more percussion rather than melodic sounds.
It’s all about techno for me. I’d say I’m more on the experimental side of it though. If you listen to my back catalogue, you will hear that most things I make are not conventional or pinned down to a particular genre.
What stands out for me in ‘It’s Quite’ is the vocal sample used. It’s quite overpowering. ‘No point standing round’. Can you tell us where you acquired it and how you dreamt up its use?
Yeah, it’s the driving force in that track! Basically I was working on an EP with a mate of mine, Illaman. You might know him from Tomb Crew? Well, he sent the stems from a track we had finished for our Wonky Face EP. I was playing bits of the acapella over the beat and melody for ‘It’s Quite’ and it fitted perfectly key’d down a bit. So I sort of worked the space of the track around the vocal. After listening to it on repeat for well over an hour, it sort of hypnotised me. It’s one of those tracks you make and think, fuck yeah, the dance floor will love this!
That’s awesome! So in terms of Blured and this track what kind of audience do you want to reach out to? Where do you want to hear your tracks being played out?
It’s hard to say really. There’s so many fickle nights out there that it’s hard to know who your actual audience are? Still, as a producer I hope everyone who appreciates music on any level, likes what I do. ’It’s Quite’ has been mental to be fair. It’s being played in some of the best techno and house clubs in the world! If my music keeps getting played in these sort of places, I’ll be a happy man.
It has been getting quite the reception! I seem to remember Martyn playing out your track on the WHP x RBMA boiler room show back in November. Your first release ‘It’s Quite’ is being released on a new label Y.C.O. records. Who are the guys behind it and what are the goals and ethos of the label?
Yeah, it’s madness! I’ve been chatting to Martyn for a while now via AIM. He’s in cahoots with a friend of mine, Graham, who runs the Granholme label. Martyn and others have been a major part of the success of ‘It’s Quite’. It’s not often your peers play your first release at their shows, especially on Boiler Room. I was actually celebrating my 30th the same night as the WHP x RBMA boiler room but didn’t realise. Haha!
Y.C.O. are all really good friends of mine. They run one of the best nights in Cardiff called City Bass. The label consists of Ben Hunter, Chris Thomas, Joey P and Mikey H. They are all major vinyl heads and know their onions. They had the label in mind and I think with all our friends being producers or DJs it was the most logical thing to do! The label itself is all about house and techno! Like I said, they all know what they’re doing and they have some amazing artists on their roster. It’s definitely a label to keep an eye on, trust me! https://soundcloud.com/yco-records/blured-its-quite-yco-001
You had Luv Jam, aka Andrew Cole, remix the track. Are there any other artists who you may be working with in the future or would like to?
Luv Jam is a top guy and his music is beautifully bonkers! I work with lots of artists all of the time. It’s mostly local heads but here in Cardiff, local heads are proper heads! I have more stuff in the pipeline with Chesus, Organ Grinder, Elmono, Stagga, Illaman and Dirty Dice. Also expect some sneaky vibes with me, Dirty Dice and Luv Jam. Can’t say much more…
Keeping busy then! On a personal note, I had some comments from friends on the design work of the EP. Who and what inspired the design of the vinyl EP?
Yeah, the art work is top notch! Another good friend of mine, Alex Sullivan (TRON). He designs all the flyers for City Bass and is 1/2 of a clothing label called Cardifferent. The man is beyond talented. As for my input on the design, I had none. Reason being that I trust Tron 100%. When the first draft came through I was mind blown. When the final design landed in my inbox I was amazed. Like I said, the man is talented!
Leave it to the experts right! Do you have any future projects lined up that we can get hyped about?
Sure do! It ranges from releases to general projects. I have a digi album under another alias coming out in a few months. That’s more my soundscape/filmscore type of stuff. I have a couple of 12”s as well as 2 EPs on the way. I’ve just finished a project with my good friend Snowskull who did the most recent artwork for Hackman. I made some lush, melodic soundscape for his website along with my buddies Bodhi and Jauge. This is all pretty exciting. It’s getting pretty mad.
Awesome thanks for giving us your time and congratulations on the new release. Hopefully we’ll be hearing big things from you soon!
Interview by Suthan Logan
Issue 3: Spring Edition – Now Available Online. Check my interview with The Martinez Brothers on page 94.