The guests have outstayed their welcome – this year is all about the residents. We celebrate the stamina of London's live-in DJs
Mon Jan 20 2014
Let’s face it – London’s clubbers are spoilt for choice. The brightest DJ stars from around the world jet into the city every weekend, playing fast-and-furious sets and leaving punters flitting between venues like rave-addled moths.
There is another way, however: a return to the regular faces and slow-burning sets of clubbing’s heyday. Some London venues are turning to their residents to build not only great atmospheres, but also enduring reputations.
One such resident is Dan Pearce, aka Eats Everything (pictured, below). Ironically, the big guy from Bristol has turned his nose up at the all-you-can-scoff DJ buffet that is London nightlife, and is instead holding down a groove at Shoreditch clubbing beacon XOYO. He’s just begun a run of 12 consecutive Saturday nights at the club. A notorious genre-meddler, Pearce will be tearing through house, techno and anything else he fancies in extended solo sets, as well as inviting along a prime cast of DJ pals to back him up, including Skream, Heidi and Justin Martin.
‘I don’t want to be playing the same set every week,’ says Pearce, who cites house and disco pioneer François K and Leeds producer Ralph Lawson as inspirational residents. ‘It’s all about experimentation.’
Photo: Dan Reid
XOYO isn’t alone in its quest to bring a bit of breathing room back to the dancefloor. Soulwax and James Murphy revamped the ethos of golden-age Ibiza clubbing with last year’s Depascio nights at Hammersmith Town Hall, while Bethnal Green venue Oval Space has announced its first-ever resident DJs for 2014: ace London producer Jozif and Berlin house master Fritz Zander.
This seems to represent a step in the right direction: backwards. XOYO’s residency series recalls a time when the regulars were the headliners, and audiences would flock to feel their good vibes week after week. For example Larry Levan, whose decade at New York disco haven Paradise Garage (1977-1987) is the stuff of legend.
While big names might draw big crowds, the resident DJ can work and reward a room like no one else. ‘It had got to a stage where the DJ was bigger than the club,’ says Pearce. ‘I think it’s about taking a little bit of that fame away and bringing it back to the music and back to the venue.’
The era of jam-packed line-ups and superstar DJs is far from over. But at least some Londoners are looking for monogamy. So why not find that special spinner, and go all night long?
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