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Dalston

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Aesthetic Kid shelling it down at his night, Yung held at The Nest in Dalston
Aesthetic Kid shelling it down at his night, Yung

It wasn’t that long ago when people were claiming that grime is dead. As per usual, the fickle nature of both public opinion and most of the media, both mainstream and niche gave way to such ridiculous claims. There really wasn’t much support for the music up until the last couple of years, but those at the centre of it kept strong. Here at DLTM, we’ve been listening to grime since before it was even given that genre label and we’re very pleased to see that people are finally giving the music the appreciation it deserves. Just recently we hit two events that have grime at their foundation, Yung and Jack’Em, here’s a little bit about both nights…

Yung:

Ducati Boi blazes a trail in the booth at Yung, held at The Nest in Dalston
Ducati Boi blazes a trail in the booth at Yung

Run by Aesthetic Kid, Yung is a fledgling event that focuses on grime, trap and wave, with an emphasis on the former. Only very recently launched, Yung is centred around a collective of musicians and visual artists, photographers and associates – all highly creative, technology-savvy and musically diverse in their tastes. The first event, a free-entry showcase, was held at Hub16 in Stoke Newington, with their ‘club nights’ taking place at The Nest.

Kareful laces the crowd with a mix of wave, trap and grime instrumentals
Kareful laces the crowd with a mix of wave, trap and grime instrumentals

Having the two public outlets allows Yung’s organisers to cultivate two different but intrinsically-linked events; the showcases allow for more experimental music, with an earlier closing time (11pm) and a more intimate atmosphere. Here we saw wave represented to the fullest, as well as grime.

The club nights are more energetic, with more of a focus on grime. At The Nest, heads like Ducati Boi, Glacci, Break and Vacant were joined by a gaggle of MCs who all pumped the space full of rowdy vibes; from more recent stuff to older classics. The crowd was young, fashionable and a good ratio of male to female, which was a surprisingly refreshing sight.

Vacant turns the atmosphere darkside at Yung
Vacant turns the atmosphere darkside at Yung

Still in its infancy, Yung definitely has the potential to grow into something a lot bigger. For the moment though, the heads behind it are allowing it to build organically, trusting in the power of the music and their creative energies to attract a strong following. The foundations are already in place, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on this little shindig.

Jack’Em:

Before the madness ensued at Visions in Dalston
Before the madness ensued at Visions in Dalston

Just down the road from The Nest and Hub16 is Visions, a basement club that has been open for about 20 years. One of those late-night places where you always wind up at about three in the morning, trying to squeeze a few more hours from your night out. It’s also the setting for a new night called Jack’Em being put on by 1Xtra selector Sian (pronounced Sigh-Ann) Anderson, a powerhouse within the grime world who’s been working like a trooper for a long time now supporting the scene, promoting artists, writing about them, and generally being an all-round don.

Jack’Em’s heart beats to the riddims of grime, though it will be hosted at different venues around the capital, the basement at Visions certainly felt like a home for the night. We were there to catch some of grime’s new breed in action, including the excellent Alia Loren, who warmed things up neatly. Other young bucks putting in the work at the party were Jack Dat, NTS’ A.G and Sian herself.

MCs Capo Lee, Nico Lindsay and Mic Ty get things hyped up
MCs Capo Lee, Nico Lindsay and Mic Ty get things hyped up

A few familiar faces were knocking around the venue while we were there including P Money, who got on the mic quite early on, and Maximum – DJ from the world-conquering Boy Better Know crew. Sadly we had to duck out early, though the night was on until 6am, but we could tell it was going to be a banger of a night from the few hours we spent there. Again, there was a good ratio of men to women, which we believe is crucial to the ongoing success of these nights… regardless of the music that’s playing, too much testosterone in a venue is never a good thing. This was not a problem at Jack’Em or Yung.

Alia Loren warming things up neatly at Jack'Em, held at Visions video bar, Dalston
Alia Loren warming things up neatly at Jack’Em

Nights like these are of huge importance to London’s club industry, particularly because grime events have been shut down time and again by the authorities over the years, limiting the progress of the genre, which is undoubtedly one of the main voices of London’s inner city. Now that it seems as though grime is being accepted by the mainstream media, DLTM hopes that the scene will flourish and nights like Yung and Jack’Em will become hubs for the DJs, MCs and ravers who make grime such an exciting form of music.

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Some time ago DLTM heard that Prosumer and Tama Sumo, two of Berlin’s finest DJs, organise their own pub quiz somewhere in Kreuzberg. It took us a little while but we finally managed to assemble some troops during a whistlestop visit to the German city in November 2014. We arrived late, but between three of us we managed to come third from bottom. The experience left us thinking that we should give it another try and maybe win next time. It took over a year, but we went back in January 2016, here’s the story of that night interspersed with words from Prosumer and Tama, who we spoke to when they brought the pub quiz to the Dalston Superstore in London not long ago. Before you start reading, make sure you hit the play button on Prosumer’s ‘Grower mix’ below, too.

“I was in North America on a nice road trip heading north with three friends. At a certain point we decided we needed to get some dinner and we passed a huge sign saying ‘Trivia Night’. In unison the three of us said, ‘Let’s do that!’. We had a great time, I’d been to pub quizzes before in the past, a few in Berlin and I thought there was potential in doing something,” says Prosumer, speaking about the beginnings of the now infamous pub quiz moments after the first ever London edition has come to an end. “I love stacking up piles of useless knowledge and then I told Tama about the idea…”

Tama continues, “Yes, you told me about it. The thing is, in Germany, pub quizzes are not so common plus we also love Sudblock. We didn’t have any great expectations, we just thought, ‘It’s fun and, well, if 10 or 20 people come then that’s fine!'”

Sascha, Prosumer and Mysti at the pub quiz held at Südblock in Kreuzberg, Berlin
Prosumer was joined by guest Sascha and hostess Mysti

Sudblock is found right in the middle of Kreuzberg, at the famous junction next to Kottbusser Tor U-Bahn station. It’s well-known for its support for the local community. Sudblock is a large L-shaped bar serving up pizza and other such bar food, with cakes also on offer, plus a decent selection of alcoholic drinks. The sparkling ceiling is decorated with a collection of disco balls and the audience is a mix of young and old, internationals who have clearly tagged on a few extra days to a weekend trip and Berliners. “I like the community idea behind the quiz, it brings people together; people from the nightlife, local people from Kreuzberg… I like that. Sometimes things can be too exclusive – this event for the twenty-somethings, that event for the older crowd, which makes no sense really,” says Tama.

“Let’s face it, we’re getting older and we have a lot of friends who we don’t see at club events anymore. People who prefer to go out midweek and be in bed by midnight and I really love the crowd that we attract,” says Prosumer. “In Berlin there are a lot of places I miss, that no longer exist, Sudblock represents what a lot of those places stood for. You have this mixture of people; you have Turkish grandmas knitting, next to people who’ve straight from Berghain on Sunday morning.”

“Sudblock always wanted to integrate the neighbourhood. In the beginning when it started to become a gentrified district, they tried to keep it so it wasn’t just for the trendy people who were moving there. They do a lot for the locals, organising political discussions, anti-racism work and anti-homophobia projects,” Tama adds.

Tama Sumo, Prosumer and Mysti at Dalston Superstore in London
Tama Sumo, Prosumer and Mysti at the Dalston Superstore in London
Prosumer and Tama Sumo pub quiz held at Südblock in Kreuzberg, Berlin
DLTM team members deep in deliberation

Inside Sudblock DLTM have gathered up a group of eight friends, an international cast of miscreants from London, Ireland, Russia, Japan, France and the UK. We call ourselves ‘Too Late To Hate’ after getting to the venue a little after the starting time. The hostess with the mostest, Mysti, hands us our answers sheets and the quiz begins seconds after we sit down. “After the first couple of quizzes we were looking to shake things up, so we spoke to Dennis at Sudblock and he connected us with Mysti. It made perfect sense as Tama and I are not really ‘stage people’,” Prosumer says. “We’re a bit better now and it’s fun, but it’s very helpful having Mysti, too.”

Up on stage Prosumer is joined by special guest host Sascha, in Tama’s absence, and Mysti. The first round has us scratching our heads and having the odd heated debate, but answers seem to come confidently and swiftly. Questions like, ‘The first of January always falls on the same day as the first of which month of the previous year?’ definitely ruffle a few feathers in the crowd. We’re similarly perplexed with some of the questions. At the end of each round we swap answer sheets with another team and mark each others’ efforts.

Some of the obscure questions baffle us, especially during Claudia Bubel’s special ‘Islands’ round. Which is bigger, Taiwan or Ireland? We’re not sure but take an educated guess. In between rounds there’s a raffle – each team gets four tickets when they sign up. Somehow we win four of the six or so raffle draws, taking home a lint roller, a pot plant and bubblegums among other silly items – not forgetting a big kiss from Mysti and a shot of some kind of sweet tasting alcohol.

Prosumer and Tama Sumo pub quiz held at Südblock in Kreuzberg, Berlin
Collecting one of several raffle prizes during the quiz

Beers flow, food is munched, cigarettes smoked and lots of competitive glances are exchanged during the course of the quiz. You can see everyone trying to figure out how their opposition are getting on. The atmosphere is buoyant, some pub quizzes can feel a little bit pompous or staid, not this one – impossible with Mysti flouncing around, Mika Risiko and the rest of the team. Obviously a trivia fiend, Prosumer explains that he and Tama have a variety of sources for their often challenging questions, “The internet is good for this kind of thing, I also have a couple of books, we use interesting things we find in the newspaper sometimes. If we’ve been away, for example if Kerstin (Tama) goes to Australia then we do a round about that. In my case, I think I would do a James Bond every time because I have so much useless James Bond knowledge in my brain,” Prosumer jokes.

In Berlin, DLTM’s team are taking at least eight points out of 10 in each round. There’s a quiet confidence among our crew and the teams we swap scores sheets definitely don’t seem to be doing as well as we are, but there are around 12 teams in the room so we can’t be certain of victory until it’s announced (or not). We’re excited, inebriated and, regardless of a win, having a great time. Looking around the room and speaking to other teams, it’s clear everyone’s having an absolute blast.

Tama Sumo and Prosumer at Dalston Superstore in London
Tama Sumo and Prosumer, quiz masters

Tama and Prosumer recently brought the pub quiz over to London, at Dan Beaumont’s Dalston Superstore on Valentine’s Day, where the concept had a similar effect, attracting a vibrant crowd who spent the evening drinking and giving their brains a workout with questions covering topics from music and geography through to Netflix. “We’d love to take the pub quiz to more places outside of Berlin. We did one at Glastonbury, at Maceo’s, which was really funny as it was an after-party so everyone was probably not in the best condition to answer our difficult questions,” Prosumer laughs.

After handing in our final answer sheet, ‘Too Late To Hate’ wait around as the scores are tallied up by the ever diligent Mysti. One of our crew, producer and DJ Eric Volta, maintains that, since we came third from bottom last time, we had a very good chance of winning this time around. Lo and behold, the results are read out from bottom to top and ‘Too Late To Late’ are victorious. We pick up 106Euros in cash and head out into the Berlin night to celebrate with a naughty late-night karaoke session…

Prosumer and Tama Sumo pub quiz held at Südblock in Kreuzberg, Berlin
Too Late To Hate: Pub quiz winners – January 2016

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Artwork at Art's House, The Nest, Dalston
Credit: Sam Benjafield

This summer, the man like Artwork, arguably one of the DJ world’s funniest characters (and not half talented too), put on a series of parties at The Nest in Dalston, just up the Kingsland Road, called ‘Art’s House’. The premise was simple: deck out the DJ booth like a front room, put light shades around all the lamps in the club, don’t announce any guests and party like you’re in the comfort of someone’s house. Every single party sold out of tickets as soon as the series was announced, which is a testament to Artwork’s pulling power as well as the allure of a party that bypasses all the usual line-up politics and puts the enjoyment factor above big names. Don’t Lose The Magic popped down to one of the parties to see what all the fuss was about and to spend a bit of time with our old mucker, Artwork…

“I was at an after-party with Skream, Pokes… a few of the gang, and we were saying how great it would be if, instead of always asking to come to our parties via Twitter, we twist on its head and say, “I tell you what, we’ll bring it to you,” Arf tells us as we cotch on in the sun at Dalston Roof Park. He’s explaining how the idea behind ‘Art’s House’ was conceived.

It came as no surprise to us whatsoever to hear that the idea came into being at an after-party, not because Artwork, Skream and all the gang are party animals, but because after-parties are truly where a lot of magic happens, a lot of great ideas are formulated and, nine times out of ten, forgotten the second they come into being.

Artwork Twitter message
Artwork put a call out on Twitter

Fortunately, Arf didn’t forget this one, and he put the idea into action immediately. The response was swift and loads of fans got in touch to say they wanted him at their gaff.

“We chose someone that was close to us, we didn’t want to go all the way to west Wales or something like that. We took an entire soundsystem, lights, smoke machines, lasers. I took TEED, Route94, Skream and myself into a house in the east end and had a party,” he tell us. “It was pretty mental. It was a Wednesday night, the people who lived at the house were so used to having parties that we had to help clear the place up from the one they’d just had, before we get started. It got shut down about half 1ish when the neighbours finally came round banging on the door saying, ‘This is ridiculous!'”.

Poster for Art's House at The Nest, Dalston
Credit: Sam Benjafield

After seeing that one-off party and the slew of photos that hit Twitter the following day, Andy Peyton from XOYO and The Nest got in touch to ask if Artwork fancied doing similar parties, again switching things up by bringing the house party vibe into a club. “We went round buying wood, we built the whole thing; we bought so many things that we actually couldn’t fit them all in that space – fireplaces, the lot! We went to charity shops to buy all the books. We had so much we gave away loads of it every week.”

DLTM were granted access to The Nest before it opened to check out the set that had been built especially for the party and it looked pretty decent, have a look at our pics below.

Set at Artwork's party 'Art's House' at The Nest, Dalston
The set at Art’s House at The Nest
Set at Art's House The Nest Dalston
A selection of the props used at Art’s House

On the day of the party, a pre-party also takes place down the road from The Nest at Dalston Roof Park where the sunshine and drinks get everyone vibing and ready for the night ahead. Artwork’s laid back approach to the whole affair gets everyone at the soiree relaxed and enjoying themselves, there are soul train dancing competitions, a silent disco (to avoid upsetting other residents in the building), Arf jumps on the mic to speak to the crowd every now and then… once it’s all done, a conga line forms down on the street below and everyone dances along Kingsland Road to The Nest, where the party continues.

Art's House at Dalston Roof Park
Arthur jumps on the mic to gee up his day party

“I didn’t want to announce who was playing at all, I didn’t want to sell it on saying, ‘These people are gonna be here’. Whether it’s me on my own, or me and some pals, I wanted to set up a night where you just trust me. Just come along, you know it’s going to be good music,” he says.

You can’t argue with that. The Nest went off, and the pre-party was great fun. A wicked little concept and, above all, a lovely time was had by all.

Big up Artwork and the gang!

Art's House at The Nest, Dalston
Action time at the ‘house party’
Marcus Barnes with Artwork at Dalston Roof Park
Don’t Lose The Magic boss Marcus Barnes with Artwork
Credit: Sam Benjafield

 

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