***UPDATE*** All of the sets have been uploaded now. All of the artworks have been sold, raising £500 for the Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation, massive shout out to everyone who bought one, and everyone involved, you all smashed it. I've embedded all the sets below to listen and cherish, each is so unique from the other, you're guaranteed to find something for you in there. We also have a couple of aftermovies, watchable here and here. Enjoy.
6:30-8pm, artwork by the Hidden Printer.
5-6:30pm, artwork by Shabala Parabala.
4-5pm, artwork by Tiesign.
3-4pm, artwork by Steffi Will.
2-3pm, artwork by Brooks Paintings.
1-2pm, artwork by Malissa.
*** und now back to that write up I did after the event :) ***
I felt really weird the day before my first event. I say ‘my’ event, I organised it with Frederick Sugden, a guy from Devon in his mid20s who stayed in London after studying here, a guy whose sheer force of will created a multilayered universe around him of DJs, musicians, promoters and other odd people who fucking love music. He came up with the idea for a Loose Lips collective with his mates after a big night out with his mates, a ‘diverse music collective’ with no genre-focus, no music policy, just events, mixes and record label releases from a whole spectrum of under-the-radar sound. Such was his enthusiasm that he co-founded an entire radio station with the same aim focus (first named 199 Radio, now Threads), based in this mad venue named the Cause, somewhere that - again - hosts a mad variety of music, and almost exclusively runs fundraisers for community causes. The Tottenham venue exists in the runoff of gentrification, an industrial building due to be destroyed in a few years (who knows when it’ll happen now), a cheap but sturdy canvas. Freddie runs The Cause’s social media. The result of this is that he can make things happen, things I dream about.
I have co-edited the Loose Lips blog for the last 3ish years, first meeting the guys at an event by hey organised in Edinburgh back when I was doing a 1 year Social Anthropology masters up in the peaky city. About 2 years ago Freddie asked me to come up with a new monthly editorial feature, my mind fizzed like a Berocca (‘what even is music journalism anymore???’), and I came up with ‘Deep Cuts’, a format wherein a variety of people respond to a shared theme, once a month. I like themes. Back during my undergrad I started playing this game (now sure where it came from) with mates where one of us chooses a theme, and then finds a video on YouTube whilst another person finds a song, then we play them together. It’s partly fun because themes are interesting, they get at the things we commonly understand and recognise and combining responses can help you get closer to these abstract ideas. More importantly, it’s fun to see how people individually respond to themes, what they make of them, what they do. And really it’s people I want to understand, thats why I love music, I wanna get inside your heads.
ANYWAY Deep Cuts has soaked up hundreds if not thousand of my hours but Deep Cuts has been going for nearly a year now, and it’s great, like really really good. Freddie is essential to that, he knows so many funny people from so many walks of life, and moreover he gets them. He’s connected me with everyone from Trav, an artist who truly exists in some higher realm of conceptual clarity (meaning that he can pull off incredible Deep Cuts illustrations every time) through to Kathleen, Freddie’s 95-year pls great aunt, who contributed to our ‘Wordless Tone’ Deep Cuts article. People who collaboratively make something cohesive and yet deeply, messily human. (the original sketch for Trav's Connection artwork is above, he does them freehand, madness)
ANYWAY ANYWAY ANYWAY basically - sorry this is a very long introduction, I’ll speed things up - I’ve come across a few DJs in this time who play amazing music that I never hear out in London (ie music that isn’t grumpy techno :D ), and I’ve chatted to Freddie a lot about how cool it would be to organise an event with a distinctly warm, light tone, perhaps it could be part of a Loose Lips night, like a chillout room. THEN the world turned upside down and we stopped thinking about events for a bit, until late July, when I went to see LCY and Sherrelle play the Brixton Courtyard on July 31st, a socially distanced event where you get to sit at a table with your mates, order drinks to your table and enjoy a DJ set, for a mere £16. Problem is you can't reeeaally hear the DJ set, it's basically just a bar with music. Of course this didn't stop the gals from fucking smashing it, to the extent that a nearby table of lads had to be told multiple times by security to stop jumping up and down and screaming, but STILL, my mates agreed that we probably wouldn't come back. Part of the issue was the awkwardness of sitting down to a DJ set that would work so well in a club, it felt more like a reminder of clubbing than an event in and of itself. I can handle not being able to go out clubbing, but come ON, please can we have some kind of music event where you can hear the music?? British people would proceed to consume 100 million half priced meals in restaurents over the next 31 days, but the few music events seemed to be more like fundraisers for the clubs than anything else, buoyed by the swealtering weather.
Anyway, at the end of July I sent Freddie these messages:
We talked it over and worked out a format whereby each DJ set has a theme, and during each set an artist makes an artwork on the spot. I had a bunch of DJs in mind (including Freddie and myself), but knew barely any artists, cue Freddie-universe. The next event I went to was a UKG event (best genre of music on earth, no backchat) at The Cause's open air 'Costa Del Tottenham' space, and Freddie walked me through to the Cause's smoking area, an outdoor corridor now named 'The Yard', one that he thought we could use for our event, particularly as its architecture makes it much easier to facilitate clear sound. We agreed it should be a fundraiser for the Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation, a charity that helps young people develop careers in music. I was fucking gassed.
We confirmed the venue with three weeks to spare, which was so exciting, though I did happen to be re-watching the Fyre festival documentary with my brother and his boyfriend around then, eeeeeeeeek will this be enough time to organise an event with 8 DJs and 8 visual artists whilst also keeping it covid-friendly, not to mention Freddie having a million different jobs and me starting a full-time job 2 weeks before the event. This anxiety increased as it was announced that our date, the 13th of September, would be the last day British people are legally allowed to hang out in groups of more than 6, unless they're doing something very safe that totally prevents disease transmission, you know, sports, rush hour travel, desk-work, buying Pret sandwhiches, that stuff. Would people pull out?
The weather forecast was fucking lush, but this threatened to be a bad thing as - in this short period of time - the Cause built a roof over their smoking area. I sent a LOT of voice memos to Freddie in that time, the most extreme being a request, sent the day before the event, that he ask if the Cause could fucking remove the roof from the Yard. Ridiculous. Also small thing, but neither of us could access a printer for some reason, so I spent a weirdly large amount of time hand-writing 8 sets of set-times. Massive shout out to Freddie's girlfriend and DJing partner-in-crime Malissa, who went down to their local artshop to buy us canvasses and easels, before painting the first artwork of the day in response to Freddie's opening set. Also massive shout out - obviously - to Freddie, who was up until 3am the day before the event organising a Threads radio takeover, and was back in the Threads studio opening it up at 10am. Poor lad hadn't eaten, I had to get him a Subway en route to the venue.
As it turned out, a whole bunch of factors outside us conspired to make it a perfect day. Of course the most important factor was that all the artists absolutely smashed it. The only cancellation was Don Sinini, whose flight back home was delayed a full 24 hours, next time... My personal favourite music + visuals combination was my best mate Lian Brooks' response to Rosy Ross' set, whose theme was 'En Vacances'. I listened to Rosy's sets more than any other DJ through lockdown, and Lian's artwork totally captured why; they're escapist but personal, warm but faded, 'faded seaside glam' as Rosy puts it. Lian's paintings are usually incredibly detailed portraits, so I had no idea what she would do, but as you can see below she smashed it. Having said that, Freddie and I knew that the first set we should upload was Ifeoluwa's 'Sunset' performance, illustrated by Greg the Hidden Printer. Embedded at the top of the article, it was the first time Ifeoluwa has played at a Loose Lips event, but their set perfectly reflects Loose Lips' no-genre, anything-goes philosophy, ranging from post-Dubstep through to Kylie through to Kisstory through to Nirvana and making it WERK. One of Julia Star's mates, Juju Malaha, did a portrait during the set, see below, what an utter treat.
Aside from that, there was so much great stuff. Costa Del Tottenham was hosting a 'Rave Rabbit' event that was thankfully under capacity, meaning that Deep Cut attendees could catch the sun in that gorgeous front area without stepping on any stray rabbits. In total contrast to this was the event happening right next to us, inside the Cause's indoors space, a bunch of quiet teenagers in black hoodies stood around a replica of a skate park, each armed with tiny replica skate-boards, 'fingerboarding'. I had to walk past them whenever I went to/from the DJ area, and the clicking sound of tiny ollies made my heart soar, fucking amazing. Of course Trav turns out to have loads of experience fingerboarding too, brilliant. We sold out, which was a pity for some who couldn't make it, but those who did come seemed to be in great spirits. I was worried people would feel nervous - or even cancel - because of the restrictions kicking in tomorrow, but instead they seemed happy to enjoy one last chance to experience something resembling normality, the vibe was great.
There was one point in the runnup to the event when I was pushing Freddie a bit too hard and getting a bit high-minded in my messages about how this needs to be right because the event needs to be like this and that, and he responded by reminding me that he's not going to make any money from this, that all he ever wants when organising an event is for people to leave with a smile on their face. I had so many things I wanted from this event, for the format to work, to be leftover with great sets and artworks, to deliver on the event description's promises, I hadn't really thought about that one central goal, but thanks to so many amazing people, particularly Frederick Sugden, it happened, we smiled and we expressed ourself as we do in our dreams. Thank you so much to everyone involved, lord knows what the future looks like, but I know at some point we'll have to do this again.
In the meantime, I'll update this article with the sets and artworks as we upload them and get our photos developed. I do have one little treat; each DJ's favourite track from their own set. I hope you enjoy the tunes, and everything else. Much love, Will.
Medallion Man's favourite track from the set is below:
Rosy Ross; "This song is where dreamy balearic and disco sentiments meet, magically."
Felix Raman, it feels important to mention that it was bakingly hot at this point in the day.
Tem;"After playing all those tracks from around the world I wanted to put on something more grounded in like my childhood, my mum loves that song and I knew she was tuned in on Threads."
My favourite tracks that I played out were Julia Star's unreleased Evilboi (with her live vocals), and this track by Taylor Swift YEAH THAT'S RIGHT, I fucking love this track.
Ifeoluwa's favourite track of her set was its opener;
MarshmeLLo's pick - Not Around by Uffe - is currently unreleased, but it appears at 18:55 in the mix. Here's one of my favourites, partly because I first heard it on a Josey Rebelle compilation, and I first heard MarshmeLLo play out at a Josey Rebelle night. God I love this kind of House music.