Sami gets his Norq!s out: let the birthday shenanigens begin!
Reported by Tara
Submitted 02-02-07 03:25
This Saturday Norq! returns for a special one-off party to celebrate Voodoobass and Andy Harkin’s birthdays, which means it’s that time of year... yes it’s Norq!’s birthday! To celebrate Norq! and Marbles present Scrambled!! with the guys having booked some of their favourite names from the breaks, house and d&b scenes, including Merka (interviewed in the latest DJmag), Steve Lee, Paul Louth, Steelo and the mysterious Red Eel, playing a classics set from the golden age of d&b, as well as Andy Harkin and Sami himself. It’s exactly a year to the day since Voodoobass was last interviewed on HF. In that time a lot has happened, but what’s really been going on in Norq!land over the last 12 months?
You’ve got an awesome party organised for this Saturday night. How did you put the line-up together? And how did you manage to score so many awesome names?!
Well, over the years, Norq! has hosted some quite special guests, considering its small size. The lineup was picked to reflect Andy and my tastes, and it was really just a matter of thinking who our favourite DJs were, then finding which ones were available, then booking them!
Norq! was renowned for its hedonistic Sunday afternoon parties. Do you think the transition from Sunday arvos to Saturday nights is going to work?
Yeah, I think Norq! would be awesome any night of the week really — I’m hoping that more people will be up for it since they don’t have to work the next day… I’m sure there’ll be more Sunday parties at some point though. I do like the idea of Sunday clubbing, and not everyone works Monday-Friday!
For those who don’t know you, how did Norq! start? What have been the highlights of the last coupla years? And where the hell did the time go?
Norq! kicked off as a bit of an experiment really — I wanted to throw a party which had the same atmosphere as the better quality hard dance and house parties, but instead of sticking with one genre of music, just mix it up a bit. The music policy’s still very much based around breaks but I like to keep my line-ups eclectic, and throw in the odd curveball.
I’m a music lover who was getting jaded by the lack of diversity on a lot of club line-ups, clone DJs all rinsing the same three labels, so I thought other people would feel the same… and they do, because they’ve been regulars since the first party.
Norq! has also just had a considerable break. Why the sabbatical? And after such a long period of rejuvenation, what fresh ideas are you bringing to the party?
Well, the first blow was losing our beloved venue: The old Southside Bar finally had to give way due to pressure from the local council and I just didn’t know of any other central venues that would be worth the move to. The Southside Bar was a special place.
I’ve seen other promotions weakened when they’ve had patches of moving around between venues, so I thought the best thing to do would be to hold off for a while until I found somewhere else that would be a step up from the old venue. But also a place I think will suit the character of Norq!.
This Saturday sees Norq! moving from the much-loved Southside Bar (R.I.P) to Corsica Studios, a relatively unknown venue. Why Corsica Studios? What do you feel it can offer the Norq! massive?
I think Corsica Studios will be perfect for Norq! It’s quite an underground-y feeling venue; basic, unpretentious. It’s a bit like a legal warehouse party. It’s very no-frills, but the sound systems are absolutely excellent, and the atmosphere is very friendly. I’m hoping the Norq! faithful will love it as much as I do.
Norq!’s slogan was “Dirty vibes for filthy minds.” Is this still the case?
Absolutely! I don’t think I’m going to be doing any housework for a while.
In fact, a new slogan could be “NORQ! — dirtier than a student’s bedroom…”
In your last interview on HF you alluded to there being a deeper meaning to the name ‘Norq!’ Are you ready to share that with HF readers yet?
Not yet! Ask me again this time next year!
Do you have a favourite Norq! party or were they all equally special?
They’ve all been pretty special, I suppose the first one will always be my favourite as it was the event that marked my passage from a regular dude to being able to consider myself a promoter, much as your first proper gig makes you feel like you can actually call yourself a DJ.
Where would your dream Norq! be held and who would you book to play?
Oooh, tricky question! But actually at the moment my dream would be to take Norq! on a world tour. Those of you who remember Norq! from the early days will no doubt remember the awesome skills of resident DJ Lika Marques who is preaching the Norq! gospel over in her native Brazil at the moment, so I’m sure there’ll be the chance to go over there and do some gigs at some point.
I’m really digging the Lawgiverz at the moment, so they’d definitely get booked. I’m a BIG fan of Pendulum’s breaks sets as well… I’d love to get Noisia, Aquasky or some of the Hardcore Beats guys. Chris Carter, BLIM, Si Begg…
Aside from a few gigs at The Telegraph, The Fridge and HF’s own Thirsty Thursdays, you haven’t really been pushing your dj’ing lately. Have you lost your passion for it or have you just been having a well earned rest?
Well, I would say the gap in my schedule was Norq!-shaped! But also I’ve been working weekend nights which curtailed my being able to go out and network as much. I’m not one of these people that sends out endless demos to people trying to get myself gigs. The way I’ve always worked it is the cheeky way really, start my own night, get myself on a line-up with some decent, respectable talent, and if people like what I do on the night, word will get round and bookings follow!
In fact I am actually feeling more upbeat than usual as I have finally manage to conquer my mistrust of CDJs, which means I can be a bit more upfront with my selections as well.
Playing out is great, but when it’s your own night, it’s even better, I love playing for ‘my people’.
You’ve dabbled in production and finished a couple of tracks, including (add link). How’s it all going in that department? What goals do you have this year and beyond?
Well, I’m still learning, learning, learning. I’ve had an offer to go and work on a track with someone who’s one of my favourite producers, which I’m really excited about but obviously, that’s in the early stages so I don’t wanna talk about it until work is in progress. The tracks I’ve finished on my own aren’t really representative of my DJ style though, they tend to be more house-flavoured, or even on a more ambient tip.
But definitely, production is the next step for me, and I aim to have submitted to a few labels as soon as I can.
Your eclectic taste in music points to someone who’s had a lifelong love of the stuff. Did you always plan on becoming a dj, or was it a gradual thing that you realised you were afflicted with over the years?
Yeah, I’ve always loved music, although I never thought I’d be a DJ. Mind you, I didn’t really ‘get’ the point of being a DJ until I was 19 or so anyway. When I was into the rock scene, I barely spared a thought for who was in the booth, unless it was a mate of mine. It was about the tunes, not the person playing them, and I think that often people lose sight of that.
Growing up, what music do you remember inspiring you? And who would you class as your formative musical influences today?
Well, my parents weren’t really into much modern stuff — my mother loved classical music, and my dad listened to mostly Arabic music… As a rebellious teenager, I got lured into metal, by the gory album covers and eventually into punk and industrial. I started learning guitar at 16, and that really opened my ears up to jazz and more weird and out-there things.
But yeah, I’ve always been totally obsessed with music for as long as I can remember,
As a regular tune reviewer for HF, you regularly listen to the latest cutting edge tracks. Who’ve you listed to recently that’s really floated your boat?
Well, Merka’s new artist album is absolutely wicked, I’m going to be doing a full review of that very soon. ‘Gutterpump’ by Noisia’s an excellent track, really huge, pumping, dirty bit of filth-disco, total contrast to the D&B stuff they do. Hardcore Beats have been putting out some suitably beefy tuneage this year too and Screwface and Ctrl-Z have come out with some crackers.
Part of being a good reviewer is providing constructive criticism, and you’ve been brutally honest on a number of occasions. Has it hurt your career sticking your neck out? And have you ever had any feedback or death threats from the artists you’ve given bad reviews?
Well, I generally don’t review things that I’m not that keen on, unless I really know WHY I don’t like something. I don’t just dismiss stuff out of hand if I don’t understand. I prefer a review to be extolling the virtues of good stuff rather than wasting the time of the reader banging on about why the bad stuff is as bad as it is…
Every so often, though, some track will feel my wrath as I can’t give all good reviews all the time!
You’re also known for being an outspoken voice on the HF forums, yet somehow manage to stay clear of the usual politics that afflict many promotions. How do you manage to keep a sense of humour and stay on the fence, so to speak? If you could change anything about the dance music scene today, what would it be?
I think the secret is just to keep to my principles which have always involved being nice to people and not getting into arguments that aren’t strictly necessary. I feel that time’s too valuable to squander on negativity and pointless bickering, so if I find I don’t see eye-to-eye with someone, I’d rather go do something else productive! I’m in the industry to help people have a good time, and as far as I’m concerned, airing dirty laundry in public isn’t on really.
Turning thirty is quite a milestone. Are you embracing this new found maturity or do you reckon age is just a number? Do you have any words of wisdom for the yoof out there reading this?
Hmm, a bit of both. I decided to responsibly give up tobacco, with the exception of the odd cigar from time to time. But age is just a number really…
Given that it’s a triple birthday celebration on Saturday, are there any presents you’d like your fans to bring on the night? Or will our presence be present enough?
I love presents but I like them best when they’re surprises! But to be surrounded by my friends, listening to tunes I really rate is the real present!
Finally, what can we get you at the bar on Saturday night? Have you got a few spare contact lenses on hand for the inevitable messiness?
Probably beer till after I play my set… then maybe move onto the Sambucca! Or Havana 7 Year Old with coke and lots of fresh lime. Mmm!
Cheers and happy birthday Sami! See you at the bar with the other Norq! lackeys!
Photos courtesy of the HF archive. Not to be reproduced without permission.
NORQ! & MARBLES present SCRAMBLE!!!
Saturday 3rd February
Corsica Studios [map]
22.00 - 06.00
£8 on the door, £5 advance + £much cheaper guestlist - contact us
Call/Text 07837 578901 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, here it is! You know what the beginning of February is?
Yes, that's right. Time to break your New Years Resolutions!
Get your party hats on as NORQ! joins forces with MARBLES for a Saturday all-night lashup of truly epic proportions.
We've picked Corsica Studios in Elephant and Castle to hold the event. A great little venue with a proper warehousey vibe, Corsica's been coming on strong for a while now. One of South London's best kept secrets, the recent addition of Funktion One sound means that it's ideal for the sort of gnarly bass-fest you'll be used to with NORQ!.
The line-up will naturally reflect the quality and diversity you've come to expect from our promotions, and across the two rooms will take in everything proggy, techy, filthy, housey and breakbeaty that you dare think of.
So, put the date in your diary now, and get in touch with me for any extra info/guestlist requests etc. via the usual channels.
Oh, and in case you needed any more persuading, here's another three reasons why you should come:
1) It's NORQ's 3rd Birthday
2) It's Andy Harkin aka SleeplessAndy's birthday
3) It's Sami aka Voodoobass's birthday
so git yo asses down to help us celebrate!
Psy Trance. House. Prog House. Breaks.
Paul Louth (Prologue)
Steve Lee (The Gallery)
QuantumVoodoo (VoodooBass B2B quantumluke)
The Red Eel
Andy Harkin (Marbles)
Wub (NORQ!, bijoubreaks.com)
The Evil Hypnotist
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.