DJ Disasters: JD Twitch (Optimo)

When it all goes wrong...
optimo new.jpg
Every DJ has one.

A night when everything that can possibly go wrong does - and it does so in spectacular fashion. ClashMusic brings you DJ Disasters, featuring some of the most respected figures in the dance world reminiscing about those moments when it all went badly wrong.

Next up: Optimo. Based in Glasgow, the duo's long running residency at the city's Sub Club has entered clubbing folklore. A mental, up for it crowd inspired the DJ team to try their hand at anything.

As a result, Optimo sets would move from No Wave and South American disco to classic house and edgy industrial. Now leaving their weekly residency behind, the pair have been able to indulge in more esoteric projects.

JD Twitch is responsible for some stunning edits, remixes and - in the case of 'Mirror Mirror' by Sons & Daughters - an entire album. However even he can't escape a full blown DJ Disaster, as he explains...

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Jonny and I used to play this club – now closed – in Madrid about four times a year. We’d been a few times and once you go somewhere a few times you begin to get to know the crowd a little bit. I had just done this remix and I wanted to test it out, so I played it to this Spanish audience to get some feedback. It had been playing for like a minute and then people were literally running off the dancefloor – and I mean running! Jonny is coming up in hysterics saying ‘what the hell were you doing? What the hell were you doing?’ I couldn’t believe that people hated it that much!

About 30 seconds later it hit us that someone had let off a teargas canister in the club. It was a 1000 capacity club and within five minutes the club had emptied. I kept playing but I was puking, I couldn’t see anything because the gas was in my eyes. I kept playing and kept playing until the audience came back. I think because I kept going they were even more into it. We thought ‘that’s crazy!’ The owner of the club was saying this has never happened before, I’m so sorry, so sorry!

Then three months later we went back to the same club and Jonny’s playing. Suddenly everyone starts running off the dancefloor and I realise that exactly the same thing had happened. I think what had happened was that the very first time we ever went I ended the set with this song from the Spanish Civil War – this really, really beautiful piece of music. There were two sides in the Spanish Civil War, of course you had the South – where Madrid was – fighting the North, particularly Barcelona. This song was like a Northern song and I think still waters obviously still run deep. I think someone who had been there had got really, really upset that I had played this and so the next two times we went they decided to let off a tear gas canister. I guess the moral is don’t dabble in local politics!

Ay Carmela




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It’s called ‘Ay Carmeya’ and it’s by the Anarchist Brigade of Catalonia. It’s like a folk song. It’s really beautiful, it’s just one of these stirring types of music. I had played it in Barcelona before and everyone there knew if but obviously I didn’t really think out that even though it’s 70 years later maybe it still rouses. I just played it because I thought it was a beautiful piece of music and I was interested in the Spanish Civil War. But it would be like some American DJ coming here and playing something. Or going to Ireland and playing a Republican song.

Looking back, I think most DJs would have just walked off and went ‘fuck this’. My motto is the show has to go on unless the building is burning down around you.

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