Secret warehouse party with PvD and interview with a special guest Mark Landragin
Reported by Agnes Klos
Submitted 07-10-10 19:26
Usually secret warehouse parties are associated with illegal events on London scene but not this time. Party promoters Proactive, who are renowned for booking the biggest names on the clubbing circuit such as Infected Mushroom, managed to get hold of the Grammy-nominated trance superstar Paul van Dyk. It was the first time ever for the German artist to play at a warehouse party in the capital. Agnes Klos went out to check what the new venue had in store for clubbers, while being there she did not miss a chance to interview the very special guest of the evening: Mark Landragin.
When it comes to such trance legends as Paul van Dyk the majority of clubbers never get a chance to get even close to them. The most common environment where those ‘superstar-animals’ live and display their skills are festivals or huge venues, such as the 02 Arena, Brixton Academy or matter. Therefore, the news of PVD performing in an intimate setting of the arches of the Ewer Street Car Park was welcomed with a great delight from his devoted fans. Those who attended Eric Prydz warehouse party in July knew that the party will be nothing short of extraordinary.
The last time when I saw Paul van Dyk was during his unique show at Brixton Academy in May 2010 which was a part of the UK Club Tour celebrating 10 years of his successful label brand Vandit and marking the release of his Gatecrasher Anthems album. He delivered an outstanding performance that night and I was thrilled to be able to hear him again in September, playing an exclusive 4-hour set. Looking at the DJbox I saw a music icon, voted twice the world's No.1 DJ, but I also knew that the night must have reminded Paul van Dyk of his early days when he started off in the vaults of an East Berlin department store at legendary techno night Tresor. Paul’s visible joy of being able to connect with his fans and see closely their reaction to each track created a true magic in the basement on that one September night.
When I got in at 10.30pm the main room was already buzzing even though an amazing artist from New Zealand Bruce Gainsford did not turn up. Bruce was replaced by Helen Cooper from Bootleg Social and Hat Club. I have to say, that girl who has been DJing for only about six months (one may say, it seems like little experience behind the decks) won everyone’s hearts and got the main dancefloor moving and grooving in no time. Rolling funky beats through to the big room, Helen revealed her natural talent of knowing exactly what the crowd wanted to hear. Maybe that is why she gets rebooked at such famous venues on Ibiza as Es paradis, Bora Bora, Kanya and in London at Ministry of Sound. If you want to hear her again, check out her set at Brixton Academy on 30th October with Above & Beyond headlining the event and Bootleg Social hosting the foyer.
Next up was another inspiring DJ/producer who has already established an international fanbase and whose releases on the major reputed label Toolroom Records have gained support from likes of Pete Tong and Armin van Buuren, the man in question is of course one and only Funkagenda. With his smashing hit ‘What the fuck’ he transported clubbers straight away to the memories of the recent SW4 where FatboySlim dropped the tune on the raving crowd.
Paul van Dyk’s set was a good mixture of slower melodic tunes, followed by some proper trance bangers. Among the tunes played were of course the crowd-pleasers such as ‘For an Angel’, ‘Time of our lives’ and the moving track 'Home' feat. Johnny McDaid with everyone shouting at the top of their voice: “My home is where you are, in every beat, in every beat, we’re closer”.
To top off a great night the very special guest of the evening, Mark Landragin, played a storming set which kept us raving till the early hours of a new day. I did not think that anything could be equally good as Van Dyk’s set but Mark had displayed a real talent behind the decks, taking us for a journey from slower tunes to bass-driven banging tracks. All I can say is: “Top job Mark” and if you have not heard him yet it is definitely worth chasing him up.
Meantime Arch Two was hosted by Bootleg Social with such legends as Tim Healey whose energetic set was a proper mash-up of ghetto-house, electro and quality club-sounds. He was followed by the strong Bootleg crew, among others Tobie Allen, Rich Nicolas and Efas. Bootleg boys created a perfect environment which served as an alternative to those who got tired with the music in the main room. Whenever I walked in the vibe was uplifting, with groups of people hopping around to some memorable tune or electro beats.
From the venue perspective, the warehouse is a must-see venue for all clubbers. It appears that London scene has come back to its roots of underground parties with the raw interior, hidden corners and laid-back clubbing attitude. This new club can be described as nothing more than a long corridor branching into four arches of plain brown bricks. But it is the roughness of the place that gives each event a totally original feel.
The main room is where all the magic happens. Although it is not huge, which means that when the main act comes up the space is totally rammed, the standards of production could be compared to a small version of Trane Energy in Holland. Mind-blowing lasers which spread above our heads changed colours throughout the entire night, creating visuals on the ceiling similar to auroras of light. The best place to grab the full view of that beauty was at the end of the room, where you had enough space to see the long arms of lasers stretching on the walls. Unrivalled production value is definitely a factor which currently makes this venue stand out on the market.
On a negative note, it has to be mentioned that even though the venue offers a chance to get a glimpse of your favourite DJ from up close, the place gets so crowded and hot that usually one ends up moving further from the DJ box anyway. It was almost impossible to dance at the front during PvD's set and the stuffiness of the air due to the fact that clubbers smoked at the end of the main room did not help at all. The venue has its own spacious smoking area outside with seats but perhaps the cold weather that night made clubbers stay inside. Despite all the negatives, the venue is definitely one of my new favourites and the striking visuals have to be seen to be believed.
After the party I tracked Mark Landragin down to find out more about his past, present and the bright, beckoning future.
Hi Mark, thank you for finding time to answer some questions for HarderFaster readers. You were invited as a special guest to Paul van Dyk (UK Club Tour 2010) Warehouse Party on 24th September. How are you feeling after your set? Was it your first time playing there and what were your impressions of the club and the crowd? You must have been thrilled playing next to such a trance legend as Paul van Dyk.
I had played at a Warehouse Party a few years back for Planet Angel but this was on a bigger scale. I loved the fact that it was at a venue which was completely different to where you would usually go clubbing. It was an absolute pleasure playing after Paul Van Dyk who is so highly thought in the world of dance music. When I first got on the decks I felt I had something to prove as I was the guy who was taking over from a successful PVD set, but thankfully the crowd were were really receptive to my Trance set.
Tell us about the moment when you fell in love with music. How has that amazing journey started for you? Who has had the biggest influence on your career choice over the years?
I first started to take an interest dance music from listening to Dance Anthems on Radio 1 and it really grew from there. On a regular basis I bought compilations from the likes of Ministry Of Sound, Euphoria and Gatecrasher so I began taking a real interest in my mid teenage years.
How long have you been DJing? Can you remember your very first set? Where was it and was it hard for you to get booked at the beginning?
My first ever set was in December 2005 at the Legendary Southside Bar in Warren Street. The event was called Prehab which was run by David Murtagh and Dave Irvine. Graham and a young Ben Gold headlined and it was a great starting point to play my first set at. I regularly attended the events so that's how I got my first set. Prehab has since evolved into a record label, which is going from strength to strength.
Could you describe your musical style to those who have never heard you play before?
I play House and Trance across the board and will play a particular sound that I feel is right for the party I'm booked for. For instance I played Deep/Tech House when I was fortunate enough to warm up for X-Press 2 at Ministry Of Sound, however at the Paul Van Dyk Warehouse event, I played Euphoric Trance.
This question is from all aspiring DJs: Describe your journey from the first DJing steps to playing in the main rooms of clubs such as Ministry Of Sound, Pacha and Hidden. Which clubs have you played at during your career and how have you been advertising yourself?
I've played at clubs such as diverse as The Honey Club, Heaven and Club 414 and got my big break playing in the The Gallery DJ Competition. I made it to the final and it helped me gain future bookings at The Gallery, Ministry Of Sound. I've have gone on to play there over a dozen times now in the past couple of years and that itself has lead to other bookings including my first international gig out in Canada.
Like any DJ, I still have a lot to learn. So when I'm lucky enough to speak with DJs with different skills to my own, I ask them questions about what they do well, and pay attention to their advice.
Advertising wise, I make regular mixes which are made available to download via Soundcloud and I keep my Myspace, Twitter and Facebook Fan pages up to date with the latest developments.
What are your tips for getting booked time after time?
I think it's important to know what the promoter wants from your set and what particular sound goes down well at the parties you are booked to play at.
Playing the right sound at the right time has been my motto and so far it's worked for me. So for instance if I've been booked to play an early set, then I've played more of a warm up sound and not hammer it out. I think you gain more respect and trust this way which can lead to being booked again.
Can you remember the biggest crowd that you played for and where it was?
Playing in the main rooms at Ministry Of Sound - London and Pacha - London were to large crowds but the biggest I've ever played to was at the recent Paul Van Dyk Warehouse Party. There were over 1700 clubbers and it was a real experience to play in such a large room.
Do you usually plan your sets ahead or do you choose tracks on the spot?
I don't usually plan my sets to exactly what tune I will play after the other but I will have an idea of particular tracks I'd like to play at certain stages of my sets. For instance if I'm playing a set with a lot of progression, I'll know which tracks will work better at the start and towards the end.
How do you think your sound has evolved over the years and what has driven the process?
I used to only be into Trance music, but through listening to artists such as Pryda, Ozgur Can and Jay Lumen I've had a big interest in playing House as well. So I now play both House and Trance which has increased bookings as I'm willing to play more than just one style.
Tell us about your debut release called ‘In Between Two’. It was remixed by Gary Optim and has also gained support from the likes of Jaytech, Airwave and many others. How did you get involved with producing?
I decided to take things to another level by getting involved in producing as I wanted to play out something that was mine. I started learning how to use Logic and gained a lot of advice and invaluable tips from professional Producers. 'In Between Two' was a track that I wanted to be able to play in either a House or early Trance set. It's been nice to get some good response from DJs I respect. My next track is a collaboration with another producer called James Rae, and is called One Hour Journey. I hope people will like!
Every DJ has a defining moment in their career. So far, what has been yours and why?
Playing after Paul Van Dyk at his Warehouse Party was an incredible experience. However flying to an international gig at the Ontario Electronic Music Festival in Canada early this summer has been the highlight for me. Headlining the event was an honour and it was great to play to the Canadian crowd that really knows how to party.
What are your top 5 tracks of all times that you always carry with you?
I actually carry every track I own to each gig every just in case I'm asked to play a different set or I get a request. Some big tracks though that I like to dip into from time to time are:
1. Energy 52 - Cafe Del Mar (Three N One Remix)
2. Motorcycle - As The Rush Comes (Armin Van Buuren Remix)
3. Ferry Corsten - Galaxia
4. Sasha - Xpander
5. Joonas Hahmo - Cocktail Bar
If you could play back to back with any one DJ who would it be?
I'd say Armin Van Buuren. His 8 hour sets at Turnmills were legendary, playing from Progressive right up to full-on Trance. That sort of sound floats my boat as well, so I'd be keen to play that sort of set with him.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I'd really like to have more releases under my belt with several collaborations along the way, and hopefully the opportunity to have played a more international gigs. Who knows though what the future may hold? Most of all, I hope I'm still enojying the music as much!
Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2010? Will we be seeing lots more of you?
Next up for me will be playing at the Odyssey birthday party at Bar Ember on the 9th October. I'll also be on the decks at the ElectronicSessions NYE Boat Party along the River Thames which should be a great way to celebrate the new year.
Thank you for your time Mark. It was a great pleasure talking to you.
If you would like to find out more about this artist visit: www.myspace.com/marklandragin
Photos courtesy of Agnes Klos (event), Caio Salvagno and James Rae (Mark Landragin ). Not to be reproduced without permission.
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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.