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April 5, 2011 / rocksandgravel

An Interview with Layo & Bushwacka!

The key to longevity in the “blink and you’ll miss it” world of electronic music is adaptability, and doing your own thing. That’s why Layo and Bushwacka are still headlining their own residencies as well as various clubs and festivals around the world. They’ve seen it all and done it all on their own terms: their journey perhaps the blueprint for the idyllic DJ career. Since meeting through mutual friend Andy C, they’ve survived the original acid warehouse raves of the late ’80s, running the institution that was The End, and making top ten hits but still maintaining credibility underground; producing three albums and on top of all that, running End recordings, and now Olmeto Records.

When I spoke to them, the initial answers they gave were vague to say the least, one brief sentence per question, two at a push. After pressing for elaboration, Layo’s closing comment explains why: “I’m in Ibiza and I’ve had too little sleep to come up with anything else”. Still enjoying it then!

What sets them apart from the rest is just doing their own thing, keeping an open mind, and knowing when to move on. Inspired by anything from “a high hat to a jazz track” they encompass what they consider to be the fundamental aspects of electronic music in their production and their epic live sets: “the feeling of warmth, strong rhythms, energy and emotion”. With the evolution of a zillion sub genres of dance music, could they attribute any to themselves? “Space disco, deep house, techno, tech house and some minimal”. In terms of other acts, an enduring fondness for Richie Hawtin is apparent, which is entirely mutual; he cited the last Shake It! event as his favourite gig of the year.

It was a sad day for house lovers when The End shut: thousands of revellers who flocked there over and over again were in despair. As the conversation flows, it would appear that the place still features heavily in their hearts and minds, as Layo cites the opening and closing nights as the two best nights of his life. Why indeed would they do such a thing? “After playing 13 years at The End, it felt right to do something new”.

This Friday sees the latest edition of their bi-monthly Shake It parties, run by the same team behind The End. This one will be held at a rather more intimate location than the previous warehouses – a photography studio in fact, not the most obvious place for a rave, but “Jade Jagger had a party there” a while back, and I understand it was rather good. So why not stay in one place? “We didn’t want to just take up residency in another club, that would’ve felt very wrong for us and for the people who used to come to The End”. Apparently, there wasn’t really a plan, except for it to be their own residency, not tied down, and with “top, top guests that we new would completely rock the party” and, of course, “the best crowd and electric atmosphere.” So essentially, their party, their rules: a tried and trusted formula.


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