Birthday party take 20
Rinse FM took over Tate Britain on Dec 5th for the last of the radio stations’ mammoth 20th birthday celebrations.
Home to multiple genres and long-reigning DJs. Rinse has been there since the beginning for artists like Dizzee Rascal, Katy B, and Novelist, and has been massively influential to London dance music.
Rinse celebrated 20 years in style with birthday parties at fabric, Ibiza Rocks and Notting Hill Carnival, with a pop-up radio station and store in Brick Lane. Last on the agenda was to mark the anniversary at the art gallery.
Entering via the portico entranceway, looking up to the inside of the dome entailed spotting a panoramic installation of photographs by Shaun Bloodworth. Aerial shots from where it all began, the rooftop of the tower block in Bow, the lifeblood to the Rinse station in the early years.
Given we’re in an institution for contemporary art it would be rude for Rinse to not curate some themselves. Attendees passing through could partake in their own artwork with interactive photo-shoot Shape Studio. Snapped holding geometric shapes by Joceline Howe, inspired by the constructivist shapes and colours from artist Marlow Moss. A GIF of a baby dancing in a diaper fromClaudia Maté and Katie Torn’s video art ‘The Calm Before the Storm’ were on display inside ready for the Snapchatters.
A video loop made by Eva Papamargariti, ‘Displace’ is projected onto the back of the Duveen gallery, a backdrop for the performances of Koreless and SOPHIE. Koreless delivered a mix of ambient electronic and futuristic synths, with the occasional bassline to wobble the building. SOPHIE provided rattling and screeching samples with thudding off-beat kick drums. The climatic point was the playing of cheesy pop track ‘Hey QT’, collaboration with PC Music, released on XL back in August.
There was a panel discussing the links between music and fashion, with fashion designers Nasir Mazhar and Katie Eary, Rinse regulars Ben UFO and DJ Spoony, plus promoter and DJ Venus X. Spoony said at events like Garage Nation, during the mid 90’s there was the perfect combination of people still partying hard but wanting to be well dressed. “As a DJ, I prefer people not to be dressed well, dancing their pants off, than to dress really well and not make an effort on the dancefloor.” He says people more concerned with how they look, should be listening to the music and dancing. Ben UFO raved about dark venues, where you can’t see the face of the person standing next to you, let alone their outfit. Word.
MJ Cole sound bites
Mumdance, Krust and MJ Cole gave a master class over at the auditorium. I scurried off in time to catch MJ Cole’s. After playing an upcoming track of his, with vocalist Eliza Doolittle, MJ Cole took questions from the audience.
Going from a classical music background, playing the piano and oboe, he got into drum & bass and jungle after going out. Originally a sound engineer at drum & bass label SOUR, he went on to make LP Sincere in 1998, the track a frequent addition to plenty of Garage compilations ever since.
“I started making garage because my boss at the studio put me in the studio with some garage guys and said ‘make this’. I didn’t necessarily want to do that, but I really got into it. Basically, I was rubbish at making drum & bass, although I loved it. When the beat slowed down at 128BPM, I could play keys and chords, use these sounds where drum & bass filled it up too much. It’s kind of a gift that I got made to do something, with a specific discipline that I ended up loving.”
ON WORKING WITH VOCALISTS
“It’s nice when you’re in the room with someone good on lyrics, then you can be on the computer. I chopped up the vocals, I love sampling and doing remixes, having a nice palette to work from, its quite labor intensive but it’s good.”
CLUB VS. STUDIO
“A mixture of the two is good. In the studio, you can get a little bit lazy and think what you’re doing is really great. It’s nice to play in clubs, you can get a proper picture of what’s going on outside. Although I’ve taken four months off recently which has been nice, I’m starting on NYE again.”
“The best thing is when you hear someone else’s tune and you think ‘I wish I made that’, that’s part of the vibe and hunger of making studio music for me. Listening to someone else’s record and think, ‘how’d he do that?’ Or ‘what have they done there?’ Not to mimic it. But it’s kind of competitive, you listen to something, and you think ‘right I’m going to go into the studio and knock it out the park and do something better.’”
WHAT HE RATED
“In the beginning, Zed Bias, Wookie and Roof Chronicles were making some killer stuff. Little bits that popped up and made me jealous, that gave me the fire to get back in and try to smash it. It still happens now. The competitive studio thing kind of drives me.”
“Momentum is really important.”
ON SINCERE: “A few people turned their nose up at it, it’s quite a sincere record from my view.”