Interviews

A New Tradition, Starting With RL Burnside’s First Recordings

RLIf you’ve ever gotten to the party early, you’ve probably heard Eamon or Justin play a full album or two. We’ve got a pretty nice sound system, and it’s a treat to hear a good long player over the PA before the dancefloor fills up. This year we’re making something official of our casual tradition with one of the guys selecting an album in advance and telling a little about why they’re going to play it. Justin’s taking the first turn. The record he’s chosen is RL Burnside’s First Recordings:

Back in October of 2011, I took a trip through the south that landed me in Clarksdale, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. Before then I had the cursory blues knowledge that any music fan might, but the stops in those two towns made me fall deeply in love with the music. (I made a short mix of some of my first blues infatuations back in January in 2012 in case you’re interested.) Since then, I’ve grown my collection, and I’ve become particularly interested in the blues as dance music.

In its heyday, the blues were played in many ways and served many purposes, but my favorite recordings are the ones that put me in a trance, where the guitars drone and the vocals punctuate. Even when there’s no percussive elements in a recording, you can almost hear how dancers would’ve clapped along or stomped their feet to fill in the space.

The first recordings of RL Burnside contain some of the hardest dance tunes I’ve heard in the blues. Absolutely crushing stuff. (I played “Skinny Blues” at peak time at one of the most recent Mister Sundays.) Even the songs that aren’t dancers are full of groove and swagger. I can’t help but nod my head through the whole record.

The story of how this album was recorded is also very cool. George Mitchell, one of the great blues scholars and field recorders, was in Mississippi in 1968, searching for unknown players. He was led to RL by Othar Turner, a legendary blues man himself. When Mitchell arrived at Burnside’s small home, his wife, nine of his ten kids, and a few local friends were squeezed inside. Mitchell took a seat on their couch, and RL started up. After the first song, George Mitchell, mesmerized, hit record on his tape machine and captured the album we’ll listen to Sunday.

If you’re interested in any more of the story, feel free to come to the booth and ask to see the jacket. (I also have the first issue of some of the recordings, which has a little more back story. I’ll bring that, too.) I’m really looking forward to playing it for you – and, selfishly, taking yet another opportunity to listen to it myself!

–Justin Carter

Mister Boiler Room

We’ve teamed up with Boiler Room to start a regular Mister Saturday Night show. It’s a big first for MSN and Boiler Room – for us, because, well, we’ve never done a TV show; and for Boiler Room because the focus is almost exclusively on dancers, kind of like a sweatier Soul Train. The first episode was shot at The Lab, a regular NYC House Dance session. You can watch the show above, and you can check a background interview with Eamon, Justin and a couple of the dancers from The Lab here.

For anyone interested in the tunes in the episode, here’s the full tracklist:

01. Freedom Williams – Voice Of Freedom (Bass Hit Dub) – Columbia
02. Eamon Harkin – Innit – Wurst
03. Aphex Twin – Windowlicker – Warp
04. Farm Boy – Jackin’ Me Around (House Mix) – Trax
05. Trankilou – Atom Funk – Kif Recordings
06. Kerri Chandler – The Old Office – Downtown 161
07. DJ Duke – Can You Feel It (Pump The Parade Mix) – Power Music Trax
08. Phyllis Nelson – I Like You – Carrere
09. White Label – White Label
10. MFSB – Love Is The Message (DJ Romain Mix) – ITH Records
11. Michael Watford – As (U.S. Dub Mix) – Soundmen on Wax
12. Omar S – The Sh*t Baby – FXHE

Looking Back On 2014: Justin Carter

Here We Go Magic’s A Different Ship

So I’m starting my look back on 2014 with a record from 2012. Here’s why: Beyond trying to stay somewhat on top of what’s happening in current dance music (which I can barely manage), I tend not to pay much much attention to new releases. It’s nice, because I end up discovering things through conversations, record store trips and other happenstance. All that is to say that my look back on 2014 is more about my own musical experiences this year than it is about music that actually got released this year.

Anyway, no matter when it came out, Here We Go Magic’s A Different Ship is brilliant. The lyrics,  song structures, singing, playing and, not least of all, the production (courtesy of Nigel Godrich), are impeccable. Every song got stuck in my head at some point, and the title track of the album (above) graduated quickly to my favorite-tracks-of-all-time list. I liked the album so much I bought it digitally so I didn’t have to stop listening when I left the record player. There’s only one other album I bought digitally this year…

D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s Black Messiah

Not only did I buy this on iTunes the night it came out, I pre-ordered the vinyl, bought a CD as a gift, AND, when I found out it was available for download as a wav (the format recommended by Russ Elevado), I bought it again.

It only came out two weeks ago, but I’ve already listened to Black Messiah plenty enough times to know it’s one of the best things I’ve heard, not just this year, but ever. Sonically genius, lyrically powerful, socially relevant, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Also amazing is that the album feels so directly connected to Voodoo, while at the same time, completely fresh. If you haven’t gotten caught up in the hype yet, please do.

Baba Stiltz’s “Palats”

A permanent fixture in my record bag the moment I heard it. What a tune. An ebullient melody and warm drums that build until BOOM! CRAZY PITCHED DOWN AIR RAID SIREN! Go Baba, go.

Universal Togetherness Band’s Upcoming Album on Numero

This Universal Togetherness Band album isn’t coming out until the end of January, but since my best buddy, Jon Kirby, is doing the heavy lifting for the record, I had the pleasure of getting an early copy. If you listen to the Beats In Space or NTS Radio shows that Eamon and I did, you’ll hear a couple of the tracks.

The album was recorded between 1979 and 1982 and then totally forgotten about, never mixed and never released. As they somehow do, Numero has unearthed it. The album an amazing concoction of raw modern soul and disco, and though it’s almost thoroughly a record of dance songs, you can listen to it from end to end. Pre-order it, and if you don’t like it, I’LL give you your money back.

HVCK’s “Domino”

Great new music from Adelaide. Man I love this.

Photay’s “Illusion of Seclusion”

TJ, who helps us run the label and the parties, hipped me to this one, and I’m so glad he did. Photay is a 21-year-old, New York-based producer who’s spent time in Guinea, where he clearly picked up a thing or two about polyrhythm. I can’t wait to hear more.

Mississippi Records’ Reissue of the American Folk Music Anthology

Moses Asch‘s original intention with all Folkways records was that they should never, ever go out of print. And while this seminal collection of American folk music was only truly unavailable for ten years, until Mississipi reissued the collection on vinyl this year, the only wax copies you could get cost upwards of $100 apiece. What a treat to have the full, three-volume collection (plus one more volume that only surfaced in 2000) of songs that launched modern music, along with reprints of the original book Harry Smith made to accompany the set. It’s an education, but it’s a very fun one.

**A highly recommended companion piece is this Folkways podcast series, specifically episodes four to six, which go into great detail on Harry Smith and Moe Asch’s making of the Anthology.

U’s “The Kids Will Take Care Of Themselves”

When we did Beats In Space, Tim Sweeney played this, and it blew me away. Crazy good slow house.

Solaris’s “Music Mind”

A slow disco jam from 1980. It starts off as a mellow head-nodder, but by about four-and-a-half minutes in, the string section starts to stab, and I go nuts. I don’t remember how I found this song this year, but I’m so glad I did.

718Playing 718 Sessions

I’ll spare you the full history, but for anyone who hasn’t already heard me go on about it, Body and Soul played a huge part in my life. Danny Krivit, a B&S resident, has run another party called 718 Sessions for over ten years now, and it was a real honor that he asked Eamon and me to play there this month. The night lived up to all my fantasies, an amazing group of dancers, many of whom I recognized from my days on the Body and Soul dancefloor, intermingling with the Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday regulars. Crazy good energy, so special. It’s a night I’ll remember as long as I live.

Looking Back on 2014: Eamon Harkin

Daniel Lanois’ Flesh & Machine

Some of the first records I obsessed over growing up where U2’s Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree (pretty standard for a teenager in the 80s in Ireland). Daniel Lanois, alongside Brian Eno, produced both of those records, and in later years he’s come to be one of my favorite artists and producers. In October he released, what is for me, the year’s best ambient record, Flesh & Machine, a beautiful collection of scattered piano, haunting vocal snippets, screeching electric guitar and orchestration.

IMG_3586Record Shopping in Rio

I got married this year, and my wife and I decided to go to Rio for our honeymoon. This provided an excellent opportunity to dig into Brazilian music deeper than I had before. I got in touch with Mister Millos Kaiser (pictured above), a true gent, DJ and promoter who runs the Selvagem parties out of Sao Paulo. As he was going to be in Rio when I was there, he generously offered to take me record shopping. We went to Super Nut Mara records a secret record store of sorts which can be freely shooped online but only visited by appointment. It’s such a great experience to explore music you know little about with someone who does and is SO enthusiastic to teach you all about it. Millos tipped me to so much great stuff that I’m still working my way through. I made a great new friend and came home with some amazing music. THANK YOU, MILLOS!

Metá Metá 

On that same trip to Rio (right after our record shopping binge), Millos took us to a Favela to see a band called Metá Metá. I was really taken with the their story and sound. They blend influences from Candomble, an old Brazilian religion with links back to pre-slavery Africa, with jazz, punk and samba. The gig was part of ongoing effort to integrate arts into the communities of the favelas, and the crowd they drew was a mix of locals and music fans who travelled across the city to see them. It was my favorite live show of the year.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetMister Sunday in London

Before I came to New York, I lived in London for eight years. I have many old, dear friends there, and my brother and two sisters live there. In many ways it’s home for me. Those reasons alone have made it great to be able to DJ there over the past few years, but this year, I really felt things went to a new level, cementing London as a real home for the party. Our friends at Black Atlantic helped us put together two parties (one in May, one in November) at Oval Space that were very much in keeping with the ethos, energy and vibe of our parties in New York – sun streaming into the room during the early hours, good people, nice food, a really chill environment. I couldn’t have been more pleased. We plan on doing more in 2015. A big shout out to Gareth, Kim, Ben, Patrick, Ahsan for all the help in making it happen.

Ben Sims’ “Days of Snow”

My favorite techno track of the year.

OB Ignitt’s “Oh Jabba”

I love all of OB Ignitt’s records, and though this one came out last year, it became a real favorite on the floor at Mister Sunday this summer. Check him out on Facebook. He seems a super cool dude.

Mr G’s “P Bar Jam”

I really took to the music of Colin McBean this year and played many of his releases in my sets. We also featured his haunting “Morning Prayer” on Weekends & Beginnings. What I love about his records is how loopy he can make his songs without being the least bit boring – the grooves are so good and the production so well crafted. His records, if timed right, can be devastating tools on the dancefloor.

Herbert’s “One Two Three”

Matthew Herbert returned to his Parts series this year after an 18-year hiatus with this beautiful vocal number. Good thing.

Beck’s Morning Phase

A beautiful, cinematic, melancholy return to form from Beck. I really loved this record.

Weekends_Beginnings_PromoMaking an Official Mix

When I first discovered dance music, mix CDs played a huge part in my discovery and learning. I would research the artists and labels on the tracklists, and from there my own tastes would develop. Optimo’s Psyche Out, the Body & Soul’s Mixes, Jeff Mills’ Choice Mix, Michael Mayer’s Immer, and Harvey’s Sarcastic Study Masters were all huge for me. It was super exciting to put together and release our own official mix this year.

Justin & Eamon On Beats In Space

A big thanks to Tim Sweeney for hosting Justin and Eamon on Beats in Space last night. You can stream their mix via the soundcloud embed above and check out the tracklist over on Tim’s site here.

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  • Upcoming Parties & Gigs

    Mister Saturday Night or Mister Sunday parties are in bold. Non-bold listings are for Justin Carter & Eamon Harkin DJ sets.

    Sunday, May 24th // Mister Sunday Returns To Industry City // with Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter // all ages // more info and advance tickets // advance tickets are a really good idea

    Sunday, May 31st // Mister Sunday with Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Sunday, June 7th // Mister Sunday with Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Friday, June 12th // Justin Carter at Kanala in Tallinn, Estonia

    Saturday, June 13th // Justin Carter at La Machine in Paris, France

    Sunday, June 14th // Mister Sunday with Eamon Harkin solo all day // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Sunday, June 14th // Mister Sunday London with Justin Carter solo all day long // at Oval Space // all ages // advance tickets available here

    Sunday, June 21st // Mister Sunday with Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Sunday, June 28th // Mister Sunday with Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin // at Industry City // all ages // more info and advance tickets

    Saturday, August 1st // Eamon Harkin with JG Wilkes at Twisted Pepper in Dublin, Ireland

    Sunday, August 2nd // Mister Sunday London with Eamon Harkin solo all day long // at Oval Space // all ages // more info available here