2013 was Daniel Avery’s breakthrough year. The London producer’s debut album ‘Drone Logic’ (review) attracted rave reviews far beyond his electronic heartland, with subsequent shows taking him across the globe.
Now it’s time to go home. Avery launches a new residency at Fabric this evening (August 15th), with his Divided Love night renewing his love affair with the London nightspot.
“I’ve been playing records there for about seven years now, and I feel like it’s my London home,” he says. “They’ve been supportive of me from the very beginning so it feels very natural and very exciting to be doing it. The timing just seems to have happened perfectly.”
Maintaining a close relationship with the Fabric team, Avery readily names it as one of his favourite places to play. “It’s a club which has supported underground music on a pretty big scale, an impressive scale, for a long time now,” he enthuses. “The soundsystem, the lights, the crowd, the booking – there’s a certain energy in there which I haven’t really felt in many other places.”
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Daniel Avery, ‘Drone Logic’
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Designed to showcase leftfield electronic music, Divided Love will open with a hugely eclectic bill. Fabric will welcome live sets from both Factory Floor and Dopplereffekt, while Helena Hauff and BleeD resident Volte-Face will grab hold of the 1s and 2s.
“It’s absolute freedom,” he says. “I wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise. I wouldn’t choose to do it otherwise. There’s a trust between myself and the Fabric team, and I think this is the perfect definition of what I want to do with the night. The perfect starting point. I’m really excited.”
Speaking to Avery, it’s clear that his passion for electronic music has not dimmed. “I think everything happens in cycles. I think now, more so than ever, there’s just an abundance of really exciting stuff again,” he explains.
“It’s funny how it all happens at once sometimes, but it really feels like there are loads of really interesting labels who aren’t really interested in becoming superstars. They just want to do something that interests them. Record shopping feels incredibly exciting again.”
Thumbing his nose at the increasingly bland big room house scene, Avery believes that this eruption of creative energy from the underground is in direct conflict with a monochrome mainstream.
“I think if you look, you’ll probably find 50 examples of this throughout the last 50 years of music: whenever people get bored of the mainstream, the underground in response to it becomes a lot more exciting.
“Firstly, that happens so the underground can survive – and also just because it can. [These artists] don’t want any part of that thing that’s happening up there, so when people do look elsewhere for more interesting ideas and sounds, then it’s right there for the taking.”
Deeply eclectic, the artists who perform at Divided Love are united by a shared mindset. “I guess it’s an approach,” confirms Avery. “There’s a definite line to be drawn between all of them, and hopefully with myself too. I’m kind of reluctant to use the word ‘leftfield’, because it can sometimes be misconstrued as something a bit wacky. But I think it is the case.”
Avery admits that he has been probed about a potential live set – but insists that he finds the craft of the DJ to be more exciting and flexible than ever. “Everyone asks me, but at the moment I am more than happy with DJing. I feel as if... I don’t know how to put it properly, but I see an awful lot of live acts at the moment who have ‘live’ after their name on a poster and there’s zero live about it. Pressing the space bar is not live.
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Daniel Avery, ‘All I Need’
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“DJing shouldn’t be forgotten as an artform – and I’m going to pretentiously use that word – because I do believe it’s an art form, when done well. The idea that you can change the entire atmosphere of a room within minutes… for one, it’s a communal experience, you feel the energy go a certain way and you feed off that and you can change it and to me that’s a million times more ‘live’ than 75% of the live acts I’ve seen recently. For me, I’ve been DJing for 10 years and I’m enjoying it now more than I ever have done.”
Which isn’t to presume that Avery isn’t itching to work on fresh material. “The next thing is working on my own stuff,” he adds. “I’m actually really desperate to get back in the studio. I really do mean it when I say I feel inspired. The club nights, the artists and labels, DJing and seeing different crowds and everything – it’s been a really interesting and inspiring year.”
Set to be a quarterly residency at Fabric, Avery also has plans to bring Divided Love to selected venues across Europe. However, the producer is fastidious about the circumstances that would allow him to venture beyond his London headquarters.
“There’s nowhere like Fabric on Earth, so it’s not about finding an equivalent, it’s more to do with places that have a very strong idea of who they are and what they do. Generally, that means they have one thing that they do very well rather than trying to cater to everyone – they know what their strengths lie in, that’s what they do.”
“I think that’s actually a definition of Fabric,” he muses. “Even though their music policy spans quite a wide range, I believe it’s had quite a singular vision and I guess you could say that’s exactly what links all the artists on the first night. A singular vision of knowing what they are, and doing what they do extremely well. ‘Identity’. ‘Identity’ is the word.”
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Words: Robin Murray
Photo (this page): Steve Gullick