EXCLUSIVE Interview w/ Horse Meat Disco
Now approaching their tenth year of existence, the four man dj club collective from London, UK Horse Meat Disco (aka James Hillard, Jim Stanton, Filthy Luka, Severino) have continued to lead the way in the disco field with packed residencies at their HQ Eagle London in London’s inner city Vauxhall, Cielo and verious venues in New York, Prince Charles in Berlin and Silencio/Wanderlust in Paris. Inspired by the music and inclusive ethos of New York’s heady club scene in the 80s & 90s the collective have garnered a unique reputation for throwing amazing parties with unmatchable sets. Production wise, the boys have had various successful compilation LPs out on Strut / K7! Records. And with their latest compilation via Strut out now on Traxsource. The collective sit down with us to chat about it and much more.
1) Hi gents, thanks for sitting down with us to talk about the new compilation “Horse Meat Disco 4” – tell us in your words a little bit about how you guys approached and compiled the selections and what you were trying to convey to your listeners…
Well this is going to be our fourth compilation with Strut. It’s a great time for our compilations as Strut has consistently been one of the best labels out there for classic music – they put out great reissues. I guess what we are trying to get over is our love of disco music across the spectrum in all its metronomic glory. Due to some constraints with licensing, it’s not easy to include all of the big tunes we play at the club but it’s always fun really digging deep in our collections for the more obscure and easily licensable tunes that are both great to listen / dance to and which reflect our sound.
2) Where does the catchy artist name emanate from, what’s its meaning & why did you choose it?
The name Horse Meat Disco came from a headline in a newspaper about ten years ago. The full headline was “Horse Meat Discovered In Salami” but it was partially covered to reveal our future club name. In the UK, horse meat is still considered quite taboo meat but I come from a long line of butchers so the name conjured up images of my upbringing, coupled with ideas of the subversive. It’s the best eureka moment I’ve ever had!!!
3) Apart from the obvious quality factor, how does a dj/producer garnish support from the industry both from the studio chair to the nightclub floor?
I think we fulfil a desire for a lot of disco DJs to play a really good gay party. Many DJs kind of fantasise about it and many, even the biggest names, get really nervous. In the end they have a great time and go back and spread the word. For a collective that doesn’t really produce much new music, it has proved the best promotion for our party. I think that, at the end of the day, we are passionate about music and that resonates with all the DJs who support us.
4) What are some of your personal favourite cuts from “Horse Meat Disco 4” and why?
The process of selecting tracks for the compilation is a very secret affair. Think of it as a disco conclave! Seriously though, it’s a group effort with lots of heated debates – there are four DJs who make up HMD (me, Jim Stanton, Luke Howard and Severino) and we all have a say. Personally, a couple of my favourite tracks on the album are Hot Toddy’s mix of the Sunburst Band’s ‘Taste the Groove’ which always works on the dancefloor and is guaranteed to get hands in the air. I also really love the Laura Taylor track, ‘Some Love’. It’s swishy and quite camp which are always good qualities. I am always dismayed when re-edits take all of the campness out of records. Whilst I’m sure many producers think they are the worst bits, I’ve always found that they are parts of records that get a great response with dancers. Make of that what you will!
5) What sure-fire classics always bring down the house in club-land?
I’m very much out of the loop when it comes to new music as I’m so obsessed with the old tunes but, in terms of classic records, you can pretty much always get a good response playing Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle and Donna Summer or the songs of Ashford & Simpson. Talent like that never fails.
6) What is the one piece of kit that you simply cannot do without?
With all the travelling I have to do, I don’t think I could do without my travel pillow!
7) Where can your fans catch you in playing over the next few months and what is next for you?
Chances are that we are coming to a town near you soon. We have residencies in Berlin and New York and are constantly touring in Europe and the US. You can always catch us at our weekly party in London at Eagle London in Vauxhall. 11 years there and still going strong! If you happen to be in London on a Bank Holiday then it really is the party to go to. It’s intense but a lot of fun!
8) Best gig of 2014 so far and why?
Recently we celebrated our 5th Birthday in Berlin. All four of us were out there to play – something that doesn’t happen very often. But it was just like old times with all of us playing together. The turnout in Berlin is always overwhelming and the vibe is unique. I don’t think I’ve danced so much in a long time!
9) What DJ’s inspires YOU?
DJs like Harvey and Danielle Baldelli inspire us. They’re unique and have a style that really stands out. They aren’t constrained by playing single genres of music. They play across the board musically and that, in my opinion, is much more exciting than watching a DJ play one style all night. Other than that, digging for records in the towns and cities we play in is always the best inspiration.
10) What’s next for Horse Meat Disco?
We have a weekly radio show on Rinse FM in London www.rinse.fm – the show goes out every Sunday at 1-3pm GMT. It’s the facet of HMD that i’m really enjoying at the moment. Radio is still a great way of reaching people and it’s a totally different way of sharing the music we love. Plus I really get to dig deep into my record collection and pull out all the album tracks and tracks that most likely won’t work on a packed dancefloor without someone coming up and asking, “when are you gonna play some techno”!
11) And finally, what would be your short list of dream collaborations, past or present – dead or alive?
We’ve been pretty lucky to have almost everyone that we could have wished for to DJ at the club. We were in talks for a long time to have Frankie Knuckles come and spin and one of the dates we had pencilled in was the day he sadly passed away. Having Frankie at the club would have been amazing and definitely one to remember…