A barrage of influences, references and styles, Django Django are – at heart – crate diggers. The band’s Dave MacLean is a notorious vinyl fiend, DJing at long running Bethnal Green party Bad To The Bone amongst a plethora of other dancefloor commitments.
Taking advantage of a short break in the band’s schedule, Dave is able to spark a long-held daydream into reality. Launching new imprint Kick + Clap, the producer aims to release material from maverick talents who sit at the fringes of dance culture.
“I guess it’s been on the back burner for years and years” he tells Clash. “Getting the first Django Django album done and dusted, and touring, getting all of that out the way and getting into the second album it just seemed like I had a bit of time to think about it. Tommy (Grace) from the band had been working on some great artwork for it and it just seemed like a good time to approach people and start to get the ball rolling.”
Opening with some seismic cuts from Neil Landstrumm, Dave is returning to one of his formative influences. “I’ve followed him since the Peacefrog days, his progression through Chicago house and getting into, I guess, weirder stuff,” he explains. “Landstrumm’s always kind of been at the forefront of dance music production, really. I remember thinking he was from Frankfurt or Detroit, Chicago and then someone told me he lived in Edinburgh! I found out that people knew him!”
‘Knights Of Shame’ is typically inventive, with Landstrumm supplying four tracks, which – though dense – have the energy to work in the most demanding of environments. Available digitally, the vinyl edition has the feeling of an object which has much invested in it – from the artwork to the wax itself, it seems that the physical product sits at the heart of what Kick + Clap does.
“I mean, I only DJ with vinyl, I’ve only ever DJ’d with vinyl” he says. “I’m a big record collector and it’s important for me, I guess. I’m one of those people who feels like they never really own a bit of music until they’ve got it on vinyl. I can add mp3s on the computer but it doesn’t mean much to me unless you get it on vinyl. From the artwork to the sound it’s still really important to me.”
An avid music fan, Dave MacLean continually returned to certain labels, certain outlets whose voice he trusts. It’s this, above all else, which he aims to impact on his own Kick + Clap project.
“The first label I kind of experienced that with was Relief Records, the Chicago label. I’ve always tried to collect that catalogue, nerdishly. Def Jam I was always super keen on, growing up I’d try to follow them,” he states. “Throughout the years I have honed in on labels. A good label is something that you can trust and you’ll check out what’s on there. I guess recently, like Ben UFO’s label Hessle Audio. A good label is something that you should have trust in. It should have a certain sound but then also things that you know are going to be worthwhile.”
Currently plotting future releases, Dave admits that a new club night to capture the energy of the label’s output is definitely a priority. With Django Django back in the studio, there’s no shortage of things to be done – or material which could potentially see the light of day.
“I mean, I guess before Django Django I was making dancehall riddims and acid house so I would like to re-visit those” the producer muses. “I recently did a track with Tommy, a kind of techno track which was used in the Royal Shakespeare Production that I did the score for and it was kind of... it seemed to fit in with what I have in mind for the label so maybe we’ll release that under a new name. Or maybe a Django thing under a new name. Or just a Django dance EP. There’s definitely an opportunity to do things like that with this label.”
For now, though, Dave is keen to work on this new Neil Landstrumm release – and, of course, the new Django Django album. “We’ve got one week left” he sighs. “We’re in a studio in the countryside at the moment, in Oxfordshire. We did a lot of recording here and now we’re mixing it here - there’s one week left of mixing and then that’ll be it done. We just need to get this last week out the way.”
As for how it will sound, the Django Django mixture appears to be typically diverse. “I don’ t know!” he laughs. “These things get filtered in. With Django Django, I guess, there’s four people in the band that bring four different things to the table, and a lot of things filter in on the production. We never really want to make tracks which are genre based, it always ends up being a mish mash of different things. It’s always kind of my job to try and make sense of what people in the band come to me with. If it’s a rockabilly riff and a dancehall beat, it’s always making sense of all these ideas, trying to mould it into something.”
Stream Neil Landstrumm's 'Knights Of Shame' below.
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Kick + Claps inaugural release 'Knights Of Shame' EP by Neil Landstrumm is out on Monday (October 20th)