Category Archives: Mixes

Pearsall presents The Mechatronica Story + Mejle Interview (Berlin electro label & party crew under the spotlight)

Pearsall presents The Mechatronica Story

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Mixed in Berlin, September 2020
100% Vinyl
(54:18, 124 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

Cue file
Larger Cover

Direct link to the mix:

http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/mechatronica/Pearsall-TheMechatronicaStory.mp3

  1. Umwelt – Mankind Origin (Mechatronica)
  2. Dez Williams – On The Verge (Mechatronica)
  3. Credit 00 – Streets (Mechatronica)
  4. Le Chocolat Noir – Maximum Capacity Reached (Mechatronica)
  5. Sync 24 & Luke Eargoggle – Broken Electronix (Mechatronica)
  6. Composite Profuse – Ausser Betrieb (Mechatronica)
  7. Kosh – Black Noise (Mechatronica)
  8. Cestrian – Speak & Spell (Mechatronica)
  9. Zeta Reticula – Formation of Life (Mechatronica)
  10. Assembler Code & Jensen Interceptor – HRL6 (Mechatronica)
  11. Norwell – Secret Transmission (Solid Blake Remix) (Mechatronica)
  12. Maelstrom – Heat Wave (Mechatronica)
  13. Zeta Reticula & Helga Neuer – Lumnisferatu (Mechatronica)
  14. Innershades – Aalst to Charlois (Mechatronica)
  15. Innershades – Cycle of Life (Mechatronica)
  16. Assembler Code & Jensen Interceptor – Turnin’ Headz (Mechatronica)
  17. L.F.T. – Red Pyramid (Mechatronica)
  18. No Moon – Bathtub Dub (Mechatronica)
  19. Dez Williams – Layin Down (Mechatronica)

One of my favorite Berlin music collectives is Mechatronica, a record label and party crew run by a multinational crew of electronic music fanatics: Mejle from Denmark, Electrodon from Italy, Daribone from Chile, and Milan Hermess from the Netherlands. They’ve been running parties for years around Berlin, from small venues like Loophole and Sameheads to the infamous Griessmuehle in Neukoelln, which sadly closed at the beginning of the year due to gentrification pressures. I had the great pleasure to play for them several times at Griessmuehle and it was a truly awesome experience! You can check out a promo mix I made for one of the parties here.

They actually have a last minute party happening this week on October 1st at the new Griessmuehle location, Revier Sud-Ost which is deep in south-east Berlin. More details here.

A couple years ago they kicked off their label, which has been a leading light in the electro scene, as well as two sublabels: Mechatronica White for more experimental stuff and Mechatronica Digital for digital-only releases. For this mix I’ve put together a selection of tracks from the first twenty releases, except for number 19, which I didn’t like (sorry!). Anyways, there is one track from each release, so you can get a taste for what the label is all about.

I also decided that it would be fun to interview Mejle (aka Casper Mejlholm) to accompany the mix because, full disclosure, he is a friend of mine, so last week we got together for lunch in Kreuzberg near my office and then went and recorded the interview. We actually first encountered each other online through music, and back in 2012 I invited him to do a guest mix for Sonicrampage.

Funnily enough one year later we were working together in Berlin! I posted on Facebook that I was moving to Berlin to work for a startup and he messaged me to ask if there were any jobs going, so I put him in touch with the senior management, he got a job and we both arrived in Berlin in autumn 2013 to work as the second and third employees of the Berlin office. We worked together there for around three years, through all kinds of ups and downs, and have kept in touch ever since, meeting up for meals and drinks every few months along with other friends we made there.

So the interview below has been lightly edited for clarity (and to remove my annoying American habit of saying ‘you know’ a lot), but this is a full-length conversation about the label, the parties, Berlin, and beyond.

Me, Casper and our buddy Hank on a night out last year, complete with shitty potato quality

Pearsall
So let’s start with the history of Mechatronica and when did you get involved because I know you weren’t involved from the beginning, you kind of came in later when we both moved to Berlin in 2013 – you came in September and I came in October.

Mejle
Exactly. Yeah, I came to Berlin in September 2013, and Daniel and Federico from Mechatronics had already met some years prior, Daniel is coming from Chile and Federico was coming from Italy, and they met in Berlin and shared the same music tastes and the same kind of visual direction and started organising parties and then created the collective around 2011 / 2012. And I met the guys here in Berlin after we came together, maybe a year after, at a small place called Loophole in Neukoelln.

Pearsall
Oh yeah, I remember that place. Is it still going?

Mejle
Yeah yeah, it’s stil going. I think they changed ownership but I’m not sure. And Federico’s basically putting on Miami Bass and acid house parties, and he asked me to play. And I got a bit involved with the guys through that and played for them a couple times in Griessmuehle, they were doing parties there back in 2013 as well, when it was just the Silo and a bit more underground, until it became bigger. And finally, they asked me to join them I think in 2014. So there were the three of us and in the beginning we were just organising parties and making music and DJing. And Federico was DJing and Daniel was playing live, and I was DJing as well, so we were just making the parties and inviting some friends to play.

Pearsall
What was the sound at the beginning, was it similar to what it became later? Because of course the label is now known for electro, was that always defined from the beginning or was that something that kind of evolved over time?

Mejle
I think it evolved over time, because our backgrounds musically are broader than just this one genre.

Mejle in action in the Silo in Griessmuehle

Pearsall
Right, when I first met you you played a very different style.

Mejle
Yeah, and Federico comes from playing a lot of dub and roots reggae in Italy. And Dani comes from a more synth, electroclash, wavey, EBM sound. And I came from a bass music background, so drum n’ bass, 140, garage and all kinds of stuff, but we all started buying electro records and listening a bit more to electro and blending that into our sets. So, I think it also had to do with the first release we put out, which was very electro-driven. But in our parties and in our sets, in our musical discovery, we always try to blend it in throughout the night. So in the beginning we would play more wavey stuff and more easygoing, and then you would move into harder sounds and faster sounds and stuff to get kind of a broader sound. It’s not a fun night for me if it’s all one thing.

Pearsall
Yeah, I think unless you’ve consumed certain refreshments, it’s hard to listen to the same sound all night.

Mejle
Yeah, yeah. I like the surprising element of DJing, I think that’s also why you and me linked up together, and the DJs I go see myself I like if they can surprise me. I like the hypnotic trips too, the techno sets that take you on a journey, I get why people want to listen to that and get lost in it. But I like the opposite version of that too.

Pearsall
At the beginning was there kind of an idea to react against this, say, prominence or prevalence of four/four kick stuff in Berlin? Was that part of the thinking or was that just something that was happening organically because that’s what you guys were interested in?

Mejle
I think it’s a mix. I really missed nights with some other music at that point when we started making parties. So we wanted to push that. And we could feel also when we started the label that in other cities in Europe, people were also coming to Berlin looking for these kind of nights, not just for the straight techno or house nights. I think you also see younger kids coming out now and not looking for the same thing that they were looking for seven years ago when I came to Berlin.

Pearsall
So was it the plan to make Mechatronics a quote unquote ‘electro’ label from the beginning? I know that you said the first release was very electro, was that sort of like “Okay we got it, it’s working. Let’s go in this direction”?

Mejle
No it worked a bit differently. On the first one those were all people whose music we had been playing, and they had been playing our parties in the first place, and it just made sense. We felt connected to them and their sound and wanted to put them out. And the same actually went for a lot of the other releases, it was more like a relationship with the artist, where we’ve been with them, seen their live sets, their dj sets, and we would like them to be part of the label and not just make one record but maybe in the future make more records, and have them come back to Berlin and play new and different sets. And that’s kind of how the label has been developing. I think it’s interesting to release music from people who were also interested in moving their artistic direction, in challenging themselves.

Pearsall
Yeah, cuz it’s not been just electro, right. I mean, all of the releases have four tracks, and there is usually at least one thing that’s something else, like a weird break-beaty mellow thing.

Mejle
Yeah, yeah. I think there’s gonna be even more in the future. Because our tastes change as well, like my taste changes and the other people in the crew changes too, that’s the way of things.

A little clip from the end of one of my sets – banging acid at almost 11am!

Pearsall
Yeah, it’s hard to keep doing the same thing over and over. Can you imagine being some of these elderly house DJs who’ve been playing the same stuff for 25-30 years every weekend?

Mejle
Totally! So it’s kind of exciting to see what happens.

Pearsall
What actually what led you to start the label? Was it that these people that you were working with had a lot of unreleased music and you wanted to provide a venue for it, or you wanted to do something that was more than just the parties? And also, why did you decide to do vinyl as opposed to just digital? Because of course so many labels these days are purely digital.

Mejle
First off the reason for doing vinyl was that we all used to play more vinyl than we do now, but we are all collectors in the crew and we still collect a lot of records, and still play records, and it was important for us to have a physical product anyway.

Pearsall
We’re both terrible junkies.

Mejle
Haha! So even if we don’t press as much as we used to, especially now in these days with the current situation, it’s still an important part of the label identity to have the physical availability, but digital also plays slowly a bigger and bigger role in the releases. Forgot the other question.

Pearsall
Ah OK. The first one is why vinyl and then the other was about why did you start the label in the first place, like was there was a lot of unreleased music, etc.

Mejle
Yeah, well first off I felt there was definitely something missing. That’s the first part and secondly, I personally had so much fun after I moved here and was able to work on these events and meet the people producing the music I was playing. And we kind of developed creatively together, they really liked to come play our parties, we liked to play their music, and it felt like a natural next step to not just see these people once a year in a party we booked them for, but work on a project together and help spread their music more than just coming to play every once in a while.

Pearsall
Were you working with a lot of Berlin-based producers or people from all over the place, from all over Europe?

Mejle
All over the place.

Vibing by the canal with some geese, Kreuzberg, summer 2019

Pearsall
For people who are not familiar with Berlin, who have not never been here, would you say there is some kind of an x factor that makes Berlin so special in terms of the electronic music scene? Of course you’ve been not just a punter, but also as a DJ and a label owner and a party promoter, so you’ve kind of experienced Berlin from many different angles. Is there something special about Berlin itself that may has made it such a big city for this music?

Mejle
Just the amount of diversity in the scene, that’s been the standout really clearly for me as one of the reasons why electronic music is thriving in Berlin. Every single sub-genre is represented here. I think that’s where Berlin is actually good, it’s not so much the big clubs, but this fact that you have so many venues around the city where you fit like fifty to a hundred people, the entry is five euro, there’s some decks in the corner, and there’s a dance floor for like 50 people. Those are the places where I met the other guys from Mechatronica in the beginning, that’s where I know that a lot of other crews have made their first steps. That’s where a lot of people play their first sets and meet other people who they were surprised are also into this weird stuff that they were playing, who then create something together. And that just happens because here it’s possible.

It’s becoming less possible to a certain extent because yeah Berlin is now more expensive and stuff like that but it’s still way ahead of other places in Europe in terms of availability of some decks and a mixer and a dance floor and in places that are accessible, where you don’t have to stand in line, you can just go there and you meet people, and play your first sets and I think that’s definitely what sets us apart.

Pearsall
Very interesting, so it’s not just the techno temples, right, it’s the huge number of little spaces. That’s cool, that’s interesting – I never thought of it like that but it makes sense. You mentioned something that was interesting, and it was one thing I wanted to ask you about anyway, which was about the whole club tourism thing. Was this a phenomenon that was something that was important to your parties, these club tourists? Because I remember reading that I think Tresor was getting like 80% of its audience with tourists, which is kind of wild. Is this also something that was important to you, getting people from other countries or was your crowd more local?

Mejle
I think with time, especially at the end of last year, more people started travelling to our parties.

Pearsall
Specifically travelling for your party.

Mejle
Yeah. So I think we had three different kinds of people. There were local people from Berlin. And then there were followers of our label who would come from Amsterdam or London or these kind of places to go to the party every three months. And then there would be the other tourists who were in town. So it would be a big mix of all those things. Griessmuehle obviously became a much bigger club in the last few years.

The alley leading from Sonnenallee to Griessmuehle

Pearsall
True. Actually I noticed this because when I first started going to your parties there it was very relaxed, even at the door, for example, it was sort of like, okay, in you come, and then it became stricter over time.

Mejle
It definitely became much much more popular. I find it a really good club, so it was well deserved. And, of course, it has its downsides and upsides like any other place. It’s not black and white like that. Anyways I think the clubs can’t take the tourism for granted, at least if you want to operate on this pre-Corona level. But on the other hand, maybe it’s also not too bad that there’s now more of a ground zero vibe, new crews coming out and new venues opening up, and the whole foundation has kind of been shattered a bit.

Pearsall
Instead of 10 to 15,000 people arriving every weekend by EasyJet to fill all the venues.

Mejle
Yeah, I think you could say that maybe it can become a bit more sustainable now. If I have to look at the good side of it, I would say the good thing is that now you have to book a lot more locally at least for a while, you have to look at where you are and who is there to play, and maybe it can help to build a stronger local community, so you don’t have to rely so heavily on an out of country headliner every weekend.

Pearsall
It definitely seemed like over time you started getting bigger and bigger names. How did that process happen, was it just that the parties got bigger and that became like a natural evolution or was this sort of a direction you’d wanted to go in any way.

Mejle
It’s something we talked a lot about in the crew.

And it’s something that’s been really important to us because a big part of our vision is to discover new music and to help people grow and become bigger, and we realized that with the location where we’re making parties in Griessmuehle, it was possible for us to pull in and book many lesser-known artists from the local scene and around the world, if we also had one or two maybe stronger headliners to pull in the amount of people we needed to break even.

Electrodon and Milan Hermess b2b in the Silo at Griessmuehle

Pearsall
So you were also interested in getting people that you wanted to hear. Maybe less well-known, and giving them a platform.

Mejle
Exactly, because we were operating in a big venue and it wasn’t possible for us to fill it without some larger artists on the bill, and we tried that a couple of times, but eventually we also lost money quite a few times and realised okay, it’s just not sustainable. And so, a really good combination came about in the last couple of years where we thought there are big dj’s that we want to see, that play amazing stuff. And it can enable us to more safely invite a handful lesser known artists as well.

Pearsall
Like The Hacker.

Mejle
Yeah The Hacker, or Truss for instance. Truss played some amazing sets for us, he would play everything. And yeah, there were some big names that we would still like to come and see, and then with them on the bill we could all of a sudden get like three, four, five more middle upcoming people from around the Europe that would not so often play in Berlin, and give them a platform in the city.

So, I think that that cocktail was working really well, and I’m hoping to continue that in the new Griessmuehle.

The bill where I played last in the main room – a fantastic experience!

Pearsall
One thing I really liked in Griessmuehle in your parties there, was you had the two quite distinct rooms, you have the big room with the heavy stuff, and then the downstairs area was still pretty pumping but not as hard .

Thank you as well for having me play a few times because that was just great, actually, I just ended up playing like banging acid techno in the middle of the morning, which is maybe … maybe I could have played some other stuff, but I got carried away.

But I liked that you had these quite different vibes, I mean could you describe a bit about what you were trying to achieve with doing the two different rooms in Griessmuehle?

Mejle
In the end we also added the third room and the outdoor garden. So the upstairs main room we would have a bit more driving and heavy sound, between breaks, techno, acid, electro, EBM, rave etc.. Usually we booked someone who we knew would be able to play broadly and move the vibe. It’s dark up there, and it’s a pounding system. And then in the Silo, we would always start the night there, play some slow stuff in the beginning and then as the night evolved, it would be more in the direction of acid house, Detroit stuff, and also some breaks and some wave, maybe some italo and new beat or some liquid electro.

Pearsall
Kind of groovier.

Mejle
Exactly. And you also have to remember that some people are there who are not necessarily into your sound, or maybe there for the first time and want to see some different stuff, so we really try to set those two rooms apart, both in tempo, and then in vibe. And then in the outdoor garden we would open usually at eight or nine in the morning and play some ambient at the beginning and experimental and then as the day kind of moved on, pretty much everything would be played, whatever people were down for, because that’s the thing about the garden, it was really hard to expect what kind of vibe it would be. It depended on the people there. We would always bring crates of records to be able to move anywhere.

Pearsall
Was it generally pretty consistent how many people would be there in the garden or would it vary a lot?

Mejle
It would vary a lot. Also, depending on the time of year, obviously summer was a pretty good choice. And sometimes in the winter we would play for very few people. And it also took some time for Griessmuehle as a club to cement itself as a place where people go on Sundays; for years in Berlin it’s been pretty solid where you go on Sunday if you want to go out and dance.

Pearsall
So would you get people arriving for these afternoon sessions and expecting like really heavy pounding shirts-off techno?

Mejle
Sometimes it would happen yeah, and you can change the vibe to just make the party kind of go into that direction. I mean it was usually 10 hours or something like that.

Pearsall
Oh wow, geez.

Mejle
Yeah, it was a good place, a good mix of vibes, I think. Now we’ll see in the new place.

Pearsall
Yeah, so you plan to continue to work with Griessmuehle?

Mejle
We are talking to them now. And the new location looks great. So, I don’t see why not?

We have to do it in a way where it’s still safe, and it’s still reasonable and it will really stick to the guidelines.

Pearsall
I’ve definitely seen some videos on Instagram of big name techno DJs that I follow and they’re playing parties, not in Germany, but in other countries like in Italy, and it’s all very crowded, no masks, everybody’s sweaty bodies rubbing together.

Mejle
I have to go see the new place tomorrow but we had a meeting and they take it very seriously, obviously they want it to be a place people can go to, that will stay open.

Mejle dropping the Wax Doctor classic ‘New Direction’ at Mechatronica

Pearsall
I know you had a big party lined up for March that you had to cancel last minute, right?

Mejle
Yeah, yeah. Last minute. The party was supposed to be on March 14th, everything kind of started in the beginning of March, maybe a bit before in late February.

Pearsall
So what’s been the impact on labels and parties like yourself? What’s happened to you in this time, I mean okay we just talked about this over lunch, but now let’s put it in the interview.

Mejle
I kept focusing on finding some good music for the label, and am working with some artists to get some records out now and in the fall and the winter. And we made a support compilation for the artists called the Aid EP, and we’re gonna do a second one too, I think in the fall or in the winter.

Pearsall
Has it’s been a tough time for a lot of the artists you work with?

Mejle
Yeah definitely, definitely. Luckily Germany offered some support for the artists and venues.

Pearsall
Here in Germany was the support coming from the federal government or from the local government or a bit of both?

Mejle
I think it was a bit of both. And so in the meantime, we’ve taken some good time to think about where we want to move the label in the future and what we want to do when it’s possible to open up the dance floor again… it looks promising if we, collectively as a species, can figure out how to get this thing down, then maybe next year we can be back.

Pearsall
Can you can you see things going back to the status quo ante of Berlin having these thousands of tourists every weekend just for parties or is it going to be something different?

Mejle
That’s a good question. I guess time will tell. It’s definitely going to be less, of course, over the next six months. But whether or not things are going to go back to normal, it’s hard for me to say. But I would be surprised if it wouldn’t come back again, because the clubs are still there and the music is still here.

Possibly my favorite release on the label so far, just fantastic stuff

Pearsall
That’s true because actually not too many of the clubs have really completely shut down. They might be closed but I guess they’re being kept on life support and then they can go back when the moment comes.

Mejle
We just have to see how it works when they open up if people are actually able to follow those guidelines properly.

Pearsall
I guess it’s hard to see people doing this. It’s like in America one of the things that’s been such a issue this summer is that they opened in many places bars, and people are inside in air-conditioned spaces, drunk and yelling at each other’s faces and it just spreads very easily in those circumstances.

Mejle
So I’m kind of worried about that, but I saw a good example in Poland – a friend of mine was playing there, and I saw some videos and that looked, from what I saw, so on point. Everybody on the dance floor was masked with one and a half metre between each other, dancing and having a really good time, and I was thinking, “Okay it’s definitely possible”. So I think it’s just a lot of work and it really comes down to the promoter and the venue if they want to do the work.

Pearsall
Did you play any parties at all since since the start of this?

Mejle
No.

Pearsall
So what do you think about people who are playing parties? Like either these illegal things in Hasenheide Park or going abroad to play in packed clubs, what do you think about this stuff?

Mejle
I think, to be honest, it’s not black and white. Big artists have responsibility because of their influence obviously. But on the other hand I think also people have been a bit tough on some DJs, because the guy or girl who’s playing is not in charge of maintaining safety regulations in the venue.

Pearsall
Easy just to say this DJ is responsible when it’s not realistic to expect someone who plays banging techno to have an insightful opinion on, you know, crowd safety.

Mejle
Totally, and who’s to know how many parties these dj’s have played where afterwards, they tell the promoter that they never want to play for them again. Or maybe the DJ requested safety instructions from the venue, but the venue didn’t hold up their part of the deal.

Anyways it’s great to see djs who really give much more consideration to what they’re being offered right now; what is their policy, what are the standards, everyone wants to avoid playing in these kind of places, also for their own safety.

It’s impossible for me to see which direction it’s gonna go to. It’s really hard. I think with these fines, if the fines are going to be really hefty for the clubs and for the venues, I think people are really gonna take it seriously.

Sadly money rules these things, because if the venues fear that there’s gonna come the police and give them 10, 20,000 euro fines I think you can be sure that they’re going to hire more staff and set up a hygiene concept.

Pearsall
So, um, another thing that I was interested in, is the sound of the label. Over time what kind of opportunities did having this label lead to for you and the other guys as DJs, because I know you ended up traveling quite a bit. Do you think this came from the party or more from the label, or a bit of both?

Mejle
It’s a bit of both, because I came out to play a bit more outside of Berlin, I realized people were both familiar with the label and some had been to the parties, and I was actually surprised about how many had made the trip to go to Berlin to visit one of the parties.

So it’s been it’s been kind of a mix but now slowly the label is people’s first touch point with Mechatronica.

Pearsall
Neither you nor Federico have ever done any productions for the labels, is that a plan to do so in the future?

Mejle
I would never say never. I can’t speak for Federico but for me I would never close the door to production. I tried to fiddle a little bit with it and got some really good help from my friends who gave me a bootcamp for Ableton, but I never really managed to stick with it.

Pearsall
You know what you need is you need a ghostwriter, and you need a social media consultant or communications guy and you need to do social media shots of looking serious into the distance. Black and white.

Mejle
I need that package! No, I think it’s just time and I guess like you for many years I just spent my time digging, instead of Ableton and had a really hard time finding time to do also production.

Pearsall
Yeah, I mean for me, once you start with production it’s almost like looking up a vertical cliff face, right, because you realise that you have maybe an idea in your head, but making it a reality when you’re starting from scratch is daunting and this is even with the fact that there’s so many soft synths and YouTube tutorials and all that, it’s available. You can kind of fiddle around and make something that’s halfway passable, I guess you could say. But, you know, it’s far away from what you would like.

Mejle
I guess when you have been listening to music for so long you know where your bar is. This can be a big big obstacle. If you want to get into production and you’ve been djing for so many years, you’re too critical and you don’t really want to finish stuff.

Pearsall
When you did these label showcases, because I know you did quite a few of them, how did they come about? Did people specifically seek you out or were you looking for people who would be partners?

Mejle
It was a mix, sometimes we got contacted by some clubs or local guys who wanted to do a showcase and in other cases I would meet some people at our nights and opportunities came from there.

Pearsall
So where did you do the label showcases?

Mejle
We did Moscow together with the Propaganda crew a couple of times. Hopefully again because those nights were really really fun. We did one in Barcelona once, that was the last party I played before the lockdown, beginning of February.

Lunch with Mejle at the Panda Noodle, Kreuzberg

Pearsall
Yeah I think I saw you not too long before that actually, we had lunch.

Mejle
Yeah so that was with Cardopusher and myself. And we had a couple of others planned. We did one in Zurich as well, we did one in Leipzig. And then we had a couple planned which now sadly got moved, we were supposed to do a party in London at Corsica Studios, with Cultivated Electronics, and one in Budapest as well. And they got called off sadly.

Pearsall
When you would travel abroad, as a kind of a representative of Mechtronica, did you feel like there was an expectation on what you were gonna play? I guess when you’re playing in Griessmuehle or Sameheads or Loophole in your own parties, you can just kind of do what you want and follow the vibe. Did you feel when you were traveling abroad that the crowd had an expectation of what you were doing and then it would be kind of hard to stick to it, how would it work, how would it feel?

Mejle
Yeah, it would feel that way for the first couple of shows, when I wasn’t used to playing so much outside, but that was more a mental thing of my own, that I thought people would expect something. Pretty quickly I dropped that, and I just started playing what I wanted to play, which is what I should have done in the first place. I don’t know, I guess I was just being nervous in the beginning, because I was younger and I was playing out abroad, and I wasn’t so used to it. But that’s much better now. That’s also why the label it’s taking a bit of a new direction; I don’t want to limit myself to this one sound.

Pearsall
This really crunchy electro sound.

Mejle
We did some records like that and it’s okay, it’s still part of what I play and it’s also part of the identity of the label, and we are still gonna release it, but it’s opening up more now. It’s also due to what I saw when I was playing out and people came to the label nights and loved seeing different styles being blended together and loved the surprise element – breakbeats and hip-hop and acid and EBM and jungle and italo as well as of course electro. It’s made me happy to play it and it made the people happy who were there to see it, so that’s DJing for me, and that’s having a label for me, that you can do something new, there’s still an identity but also something new.

Pearsall
Yeah, sucks to do the same thing over and over again. Another question would be how did you hook up with Hoer Berlin, because you did a few of these live stream broadcasts for them; how did you connect?

Mejle
I can’t remember how the contact came about initially, we met them online, we didn’t know each other. And we did our first show there and were hanging with the guys a bit, spoke a lot about where we came from and where they come from in Israel, the music there, the opportunities and problems they have compared to here and back and forth.

Pearsall
I didn’t know they were from Israel, that’s interesting. I subscribe to their YouTube channel and a lot of it is pretty straightforward banging techno, how has the feedback been for what you do? It’s pretty different to the normal stuff.

Mejle
I think that’s also what they like, the guys in the station, I think they would like to have a station that’s pretty broad. And I see them booking more broad stuff, young people, upcoming people. But it’s been good yeah, I was playing with Milan last time and Credit 00. Milan Hermess is the last guy in the crew.

Pearsall
When did he join?

Mejle
Milan joined a couple years ago, again as a resident, and now also helps a lot with the releases and the bookings and stuff.

Pearsall
So I guess maybe a last question would be something you’ve hinted a bit at already, which is the new direction of the label is sort of ‘opening up’, as you call it. What do you mean by that?

Mejle
The next one is by Das Ding on the white label.

Pearsall
‘Your Content will Arrive Shortly’.

Mejle
Yes, with a remix by Heap on the b-side.

Pearsall
I didn’t listen to it yet, is it slow?

Mejle
No, it’s not that slow actually.

Pearsall
So a lot of the other Mechatronica White stuff is quite slow so I didn’t listen to it haha.

Mejle
It’s still around the 120s, but at least one of the tracks really really blew my mind, it goes back to the more New Beat / Belgian style, but a bit more left field compared to what Das Ding has produced before. After that we have a record from Maelstrom coming, a couple of electro tracks but on the faster end, one ambient track, and one more IDM-leaning track, like IDM/industrial in a way. And then there’s record from Gamma Intel later in the year which is also really interesting and a new style from him. I think Solid Blake’s maybe gonna remix it.

Solid Blake at Mechatronica, 9:30 am

Pearsall
She’s really good.

Mejle
Really good.

Pearsall
She’s great!

Mejle
And next year we have to see, we have some plans and ideas that are shaping up nicely.

Pearsall
In terms of the labels at the moment, do your sales kind of hold up? I mean obviously you can’t do parties but is the music selling, like the new releases? Are people still buying music, even though the parties aren’t going on?

Mejle
Pretty much, yeah, but I can feel that the DJs who buy are buying a bit less, because there was a scene or industry of DJs who get paid to play and spend their money back on music.

Pearsall
They have to keep up, they have to keep buying new stuff.

Mejle
Yeah and you see those people are buying less now, obviously, because they don’t have any gigs, but then generally people have been so supportive and are still buying music.

Pearsall
All right, that’s it. Those are all the questions. So thank you!

Mejle
Oh wow. Thank you!

Pearsall presents That Pirate Energy (A Mix for Begrime)

Pearsall presents That Pirate Energy

right-click, save as to download this free mp3 mix

Mixed in Berlin, September 2020
100% Vinyl
(62:13, 142 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

Cue file
Larger Cover

Direct link to the mix:

http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/begrime/Pearsall-ThatPirateEnergy(MixForBegrime).mp3

  1. DJ Garna – Swordstyle (Instrumental) (DVS Recordings)
  2. Big E-D – Zoanoid (After Shock)
  3. Mr Keaz – Gunfight (Southside)
  4. Geeneus – Parasite (Soulja)
  5. Wonder – Arabian Knights (Bingo Beats)
  6. Agent X – Galaxy (Heatseeker)
  7. DPM – Slow VIP (DPM)
  8. Shotz – Creep (Dump Valve)
  9. Wiley – Dragon Stout (Eskiboy)
  10. Wiley – Ice Cream Man (Eskiboy)
  11. Davinche – Mega Drive (Paperchase)
  12. Ruff Sqwad – Hear Dis (Ruff Sqwad Recordings)
  13. DJ Dread D – Siege (Black Ops)
  14. Dizzee Rascal – Stop Dat (Instrumental) (XL Recordings)
  15. DJ Oddz – Nightmare VIP (Black Majik)
  16. Shotz – Untitled (Shot City)
  17. Ruff Sqwad – Burial (Ruff Sqwad Recordings)
  18. Terror Danjah – Juggling (After Shock)
  19. Danny Weed – Combat (Dump Valve)
  20. Rapid – Wide Awake (Instrumental) (Ruff Sqwad Recordings)
  21. Ruff Sqwad – Future (Ruff Sqwad Recordings)
  22. Silkie – No Help Or Handouts (Instrumental) (Unorthodox)
  23. Mr. Slash – Firearm (A.R.M.Y. Bullet)
  24. Jon E Cash – War (Black Ops)
  25. Youngstar – Bongo (DDJs Productions)
  26. Youngstar – Bongo Madness (DDJs Productions)
  27. General LOK – Grover (Instrumental) (Total Package)
  28. Cotti – Erkle Riddim (4N Format)
  29. Dexplicit – Blazer (DXP Recordings)
  30. DJ Dread D – Invasion VIP (Black Ops)
  31. Alias – Warriors (Alias)
  32. Dexplicit – Roll Wid Us (Remix Instrumental) (Illa State)
  33. Kano – Ghetto Kyote (Kamikaze)
  34. Dizzee Rascal – I Luv U (Remix feat. Wiley & Sharkey Major) (XL Recordings)

A bit of news:

I made this mix a few weeks back as a guest mix for the Begrime crew’s radio show on Sub.fm, and they liked it so much they invited me to join the crew and contribute more regularly, so I said sure, why not.

If you’re not familiar with Begrime, it’s a Berlin-based collective founded by Scotland’s DJ Typewriter, and it focuses more on a darker, more underground grime sound as played by Typewriter and the other residents; they have put on a series of parties at small venues around Berlin over the last two years as well as running a regular radio show on Sub.fm.

The exact details of what this will involve are still being hammered out, but basically it means that I will take responsibility for about three broadcasts per year (as the show is moving from biweekly to monthly), and I will be responsible for making a mix and booking a guest, as well as streaming the mix (I would definitely pre-record), plus I will probably also contribute some write-ups about each episode, and when parties start happening again I will play as well, or at least sometimes.

Should be fun!

I mean grime isn’t my main thing at all, but I’ve always enjoyed it, so it will be nice to do a couple grime mixes per year and see where I can go with it.

As for this mix specifically, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t got around to – a mix of early grime on vinyl. I have a fair amount of the stuff and really like it, but for various reasons I’ve never done it. In fact up to now the only mix I’d ever done in this style was Drop The Hammer 8, which I recorded in 2011. Nine years ago!

It was time for a new one, so when Typewriter asked me, I immediately thought of this idea which I had been kicking around for a while.

There were two specific inspirations for this mix: the first is the kind of crazy energy you would hear on old pirate radio sets (hence the title), and the second was my all-time favorite grime mix, the mix by Plastician (or Plasticman as he was called then), for the Rinsesessions compilation pack. If you’ve never heard it before, do yourselves the favor and check it out above … it’s amazing! There’s like over fifty tracks used, which is just bonkers.

One thing I’ve always loved about that mix is that despite there being tons of records used it never feels jarring or rushed, the transitions are quick but they make sense, and although it’s mostly instrumental when vocals are dropped they make sense. It’s just great!

So with my mix I tried to channel that approach and it was a fairly technical process – I had to take all the records out of their sleeves before hitting play so I wouldn’t need to do that while in the mix, and then I was always quickly mixing in new tracks, adjusting the pitch on the fly as opposed to carefully matching the pitch before bringing in the new track. And then when the mix was done I was literally ripping the old record off the deck and tossing it to the little sofa that is behind my decks in my music room / home office (no records were damaged though!), so that I could focus on getting the next record in quickly.

It was an intense recording experience!

I’m very happy with the outcome – I really like the flow of the mix, the way that the energy builds over the course of the hour, from relatively sedate steppers to frantic skeletal beats, and then how it ends with two relatively obscure vocals from two of grime’s biggest mc’s.

The biggest question mark for me when putting together the mix was whether to include any tracks from Wiley, in light of his recent appalling anti-Semitic comments. Honestly this was a tough one, and I guess it’s always a challenge to decide how to separate the art from the artist, when the artist says or does terrible things. In this case, I decided that since Wiley is clearly the single most important person in the history of the genre it would be unrealistic, if not bizarre, to make a mix of early grime and not include any of his tracks, also because the tracks featured here were made at least 15 years before his recent comments.

In my opinion you can’t write him out of the history of grime, given how central he is to it, but this is not a simple topic, and I totally respect people who would come down on the other side of this issue.

Besides that, I hope you enjoy the mix – as I’m turning 40 soon (omg!) I have a bunch of music lined up for you over the next few weeks, culminating in a very epic mix to be released on my actual birthday – the longest single mix I’ve ever done, and one that I am super proud of.

Pearsall presents Yaman 1993 Hardcore

Pearsall presents Yaman 1993 Hardcore

right-click, save as to download this free mp3 mix

Mixed in Berlin, August 2020
100% Vinyl
(85:51, 196 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

Cue file
Larger Cover

Direct link to the mix:

http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/yaman/Pearsall-Yaman1993Hardcore.mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. DJ Trace – Definition Of Living (Unreleased Amen Dubplate Remake) (Dubplate)
  2. Nasty Habits – Here Comes The Drumz (Remix) (Reinforced)
  3. Tronikhouse – Straight Outta Hell (Simon ‘Bassline’ Smith Remix) (Absolute 2)
  4. Cool Hand Flex – Complete Control (In Touch)
  5. Gappa G & Hypa Hype – Information Centre (DJ Ron Remix) (Ruff Kut)
  6. Sound of the Future – Fearless Wonder (Formation)
  7. Hardware – X Amount of Shots (Bizzy B Remix) (Face)
  8. DJ Hype – Hardswing (Hardsoft Mix) (Suburban Base)
  9. 4 Hero – In The Shadow Part III (Stalker Mix) (Reinforced)
  10. 2 Bad Mice – Pitch Black (Boom Boom Version) (Moving Shadow)
  11. Future Sound of Hardcore – Desire (Dee Jay Recordings)
  12. Roni Size & DJ Die – Music Box (Full Cycle)
  13. Skanna – This Way (Sublogic)
  14. DJ Buz – Slave (No U-Turn)
  15. Inta-Warriors – Aqua-Pura (Dee Jay Recordings)
  16. Doc Scott – NHS (Reinforced Shout) (Reinforced)
  17. DJ Windmill – Divine Inspiration (Legend)
  18. Ment 4 Bass – Strings Free (Liquid Wax)
  19. Simon ‘Bassline’ Smith – Palomino (Absolute 2)
  20. Scott & Keith – Deranged Part II (Reinforced)
  21. Tango & Ratty – Tales from the Darkside (Micky Finn & Bay B Kane Remix) (Tango & Ratty)
  22. Peshay – Catch It (After Dark)
  23. Bizzy B – Twisted Mentazm (Brain Progression)
  24. Bizzy B – Dark III (White House)
  25. Origin Unknown – Valley of the Shadows (Ram)
  26. Peshay – Gangster (Reinforced)
  27. The Invisible Man – The Beginning (Timeless)
  28. DJ Pulse – Stay Calm (Creative Wax)
  29. 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Drowning in Her (Tone Def)
  30. DJ Crystl – Crystlize (Dee Jay Recordings)

What a year 1993 was.

I just can’t stay away from it recently!

It’s hard to put into words just how incredibly musically fertile this year was for the UK rave scene … so in this blog post I will sort of half-heartedly try, meaning I will dig up stuff I wrote before, as well as stuff other people wrote.

Victory!

Anyways, the main event is the mix, which makes it very very clear just how awesome the music produced by the hardcore scene in 1993 was.

1993 is the inflection point, where the original rave euphoria that powered the years from 1988 to 1992 started to splinter into many shards, spinning off into new directions. This would soon give birth to jungle, which led directly to the development of drum n’ bass and big beat, and then further down the line to UK garage, dubstep, and grime, and in another direction the rave scene headed away from breakbeat to more 4/4 based pleasures via happy hardcore, hardcore techno, acid techno, and hard trance. Many of the people who went on to define all these different scenes were already active as dj’s, producers, and ravers in 1993.

1993 was the last moment when the rave scene was truly unified, and the darker, wilder, crazier aesthetic that defined the sound of 1993 – higher bpm’s, deeper bass, ever more inventive drum programming, visionary sampling – would echo through UK dance subcultures for decades to come.

1993 is the key!

In commercial terms, 1992 was the height of the rave scene, the year of the biggest raves, the most pop chart-bothering records, the closest to the national zeitgeist, but for me personally 1993 was a year of even more baroquely extravagant creativity, the embodiment of what Simon Reynolds calls ‘scenius’, a moment of collectively created and shared genius, where friendly competition and an unslakeable thirst for the new pushed music into a point of hyperspeed development.

Where was I in 1993? Well, I was only 12 for most of it, so I had no idea about the momentous goings on – rave music was just weird to me, “hurr durr stupid computers and anyone can do it” (and why is that a bad thing, small Pearsall?), and it wasn’t until 1995 that I first got into electronic music. And even then I don’t think I really got the magic of 1993 hardcore for a while (I wish I had sooner, as it would have been cheaper to build a collection!), nor why it was a year of such seismic importance.

My first electronic music love was techstep, and I loved the sleek linearity of those records, the sharp right angles and hard edges. In comparison, the old hardcore sounded so, well, messy; a seething mass of rhythmic shrapnel and haunted house synths. Funhouse mirror distortions and manic bass. It was just weird!

Over time, of course, I learned.

A few years back I wrote a little piece about what made 1993 hardcore so great:

What were the characteristics of the 1993 sound that made it so exciting, and that have kept it fresh for so many years? For one thing, it was a point when producers began to push in a ‘darker’ direction, away from the relentless euphoria that was the hallmark of the early rave scene. This was perhaps a nod to the fact that after years of chemical abuse, the ravers on the dancefloor weren’t so easily swept away in an MDMA-driven serotonin flood. In effect this meant a few different sonic changes. One was simply a raising of the bpm’s, making the sound ‘speedier’ and continuing the move away from the disco/funk elements of the original house music sound. This was music to go nuts to, ‘strictly for the headstrong’, per one of the scene’s slogans. No tasteful grooving in a silk shirt here! A second element was a new focus on percussion, as new technology and production techniques enabled the producers to more effectively layer percussive elements and chop them up – over the course of 1993 and 1994 this technical focus would lead to the emergence of jungle music as a revolutionary sound focused mostly on drums and bass. The last distinctive element of 1993 hardcore was the use of ‘dark’ sounds to fire up the ravers’ rushes, such as menacing strings, horror movie samples, threatening stabs, and the ubiquitous hoover synth, as initially popularized on Second Phase’s Mentasm. Part of what makes ’93 hardcore so thrilling was that none of these elements were set in stone – everything was in flux.

Really dedicated fans of old skool hardcore are probably familiar with Yaman Productions, a tape series specializing in studio mixes by some of the genre’s biggest names, including LTJ Bukem, DJ Hype, Randall, Jumping Jack Frost, and Peshay. At a moment in time where most ravers had to put up with live recordings from raves, complete with mc’s and dodgy mixes, Yaman stood out by pursuing high quality audio with top dj’s playing the latest tunes, as described in this Discogs comment:

Legendary mix tapes from back in the day.

All tapes featured studio mixes from artists at the forefront of the UK hardcore/jungle scene and included an up to the minute selection of fresh tracks and dubplates.

Tapes were professionally turned out with covers, labels and release numbers.

You could get hold of these from a vendor outside Camden Market and check out brand new tunes that you’d hear next at the rave that night. Many of these became classics that are now highly sought after.

Since this mix series features really the creme de la creme of hardcore, I decided to focus on all the tapes that were released in 1993 to build this mix. I added all the tracklistings from Discogs to a Google Sheet and then went through it in painstaking detail to see which tracks I owned on vinyl, and then I used that to build the tracklisting you see above. To make things balanced, I made sure that I included tracks from each dj that featured during the year, and I tried to make sure that each 1993 mix was represented with at least one track.

One nice result of taking this approach is that it helps illustrate how much 1993 was a hinge year, as there are tracks on here that would normally be considered to be either 1992 hardcore or 1994 jungle (or at least I wouldn’t normally include them in my idea of a ‘1993 hardcore mix’), but they all featured on mixes released during the year, so this mix is an exercise in joining the dots between the future and the past and the present, or at least from the perspective of the 1993 raver.

This concept also manifests itself in the mix programming. I kick things off with a slice of classic unreleased 1993 darkside (a remake of which I’ve cut to dubplate), as played by LTJ Bukem, before moving into some more classically 1992-ish rave sounds, before a short shift into rippling beats and dark sounds. At ten tracks in the mix shifts again to a short selection of rolling beats that anticipated the drum n’ bass to come. Although slower than later drum n’ bass, tracks 10 to 15 are shockingly ahead of their time, yet amazingly featured in the same year’s mixes as the darkside rave mayhem that immediately follows them.

And sure, let’s talk about featuring Valley of the Shadows.

Is it a big huge anthem that’s featured on like every commercial old skool jungle mix ever?

True.

Could you argue it’s overplayed?

Also true.

Does using it betray low imagination?

OK, yeah, sure, guilty as charged.

But trust me here, when you hear that bassline drop in the hairs on the back of your neck will pop up. It’s a classic and deservedly so, and I think I’ve done a nice job of presenting it to you here.

Towards the end of the mix we head into that point where hardcore started to morph into ambient jungle – tearing drums and soothing pads, a lethally addictive combination, as described by Simon Reynolds in 1994:

From mid-summer 93, there were the first glimpses of a new direction in Hardcore: away from the dark side, towards a new optimism, albeit fragile and bittersweet. From the influential Moving Shadow label came bliss-drenched, Ambient-tinged releases like Omni Trio’s “Mystic Stepper (Feel Better)” and “Renegade Snares”, Foul Play’s “Open Your Mind” and “Finest Illusion”. With tracks like “Music” and “Atlantis (I Need You)”, LTJ Bukem invented oceanic Hardcore. “Atlantis” was Jungle’s “1983, A Merman I Should Turn To Be”: over a whispery sea of beats float languorous quiet storm-style diva “mmmm”s and moans, rippling harps and strings, scintillating motes and spangle-trails of sound. “Atlantis” showed that speeding up the beat until it bypassed the body altogether could transform hardcore into relaxing music; rhythm itself becomes a susurrating, soothing stream of ambience, a fluid medium in which you immerse yourself, while the body responds to the half-speed, heart-murmur bassline.

Perhaps even more radical than “Atlantis” was “Angel” by Metalheads. With “Terminator”, Metal-man Goldie had pioneered the use of timestretching, a technique that gave breakbeats an eerie metallic crispness. Timestretching also makes it possible to stretch a sample (vocal, whatever) so that it fits any beats per minute ratio, without changing its pitch (thus avoiding the cartoon chipmunk effect that gave happy hardcore its charm but also made it easy to deride). “Angel” fused Diane Charlemagne’s live, jazzy vocal with 150 bpm breaks, samples from Byrne & Eno’s My Life In the Bush Of Ghosts and daemonic synth-vamps. The result – an astonishing soundclash of tenderness and terrorism – showed that Hardcore could become more conventionally ‘musical’ without losing its edge.

That’s it! More music soon, but please enjoy this love letter to the magic of 1993 hardcore …

Pearsall presents Squat Rocking 10: Chris Liberator in the 90’s

Pearsall presents Squat Rocking 10: Chris Liberator in the 90’s

right-click, save as to download this free mp3 mix

Mixed in Berlin, August 2020
100% Vinyl
(106:25, 248 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

Cue file
Larger Cover

Direct link to the mix:

http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/sqr10/Pearsall-SquatRocking10(ChrisLiberatorInThe1990’s).mp3

Tracklisting:

  1. High School Dropouts – Acid Over (Liberator DJ’s Remix) (Boscaland)
  2. CFC-12 – Rest In Hell (Chris Liberator & D.A.V.E. The Drummer Remix) (Noom)
  3. Dot Dash – Bass Equator (Cluster)
  4. Dynamo City – Shape Shift (Stay Up Forever)
  5. Chris Liberator – Test 3 (Smitten)
  6. Punk Floyd – Can’t Breathe (Smitten)
  7. Chris Liberator & D.A.V.E. The Drummer – Happy Birthday (Noom)
  8. Chris Liberator – Black Star Rising (Prolekult)
  9. Watchman – Cut The Midrange (Chris Liberator Remix) (Prolekult)
  10. OS2 & Underground Cyber Movement – Vibrate (Chris Liberator Remix) (Boscaland)
  11. Big In Germany – Green For Go (Stay Up Forever)
  12. Chris Liberator – Soul Mantra (Prolekult)
  13. Ramos & UFO – Dreamesque (Chris Liberator’s Oy Oy Mix) (Balloonheads)
  14. Liberator DJ’s – Radio On One (Stay Up Forever Remix)
  15. Chris Liberator – Test 4 (Smitten)
  16. Cyborg X – This Is The House (Cluster)
  17. Lab 4 – Reformation (Chris Liberator Remix) (Elementary)
  18. Dynamo City – Dynamo City (Stay Up Forever)
  19. Chris Liberator – Cat’s Eye (Prolekult)
  20. Dynamo City – Poison In The Machine (Routemaster)
  21. Lochi – Element (Routemaster)
  22. Punk Floyd – Top Banana (Smitten)
  23. Carbine – Psycho Thrill (Stay Up Forever)
  24. Carbine – Stapled to Bits (Star Up Forever)
  25. Lochi – Vote Techno Party (Routemaster)
  26. Star Power – Nothing Can Save Us London (Stay Up Forever)
  27. D.O.M. – Acid War (Liberator’s 303 Attack Mix) (Stay Up Forever Remix)

Cover image courtesy of Karolina Krasuska: Chris Liberator playing for Underground Sound at an Acton squat party, 2001

Whew! I am very excited to present to you (finally!) the 10th edition of my Squat Rocking series of mixes exploring the sounds of the London squat party scene that I was involved in as a youth in the late 1990’s.

This edition is dedicated to one of the scene’s most beloved figures, the almighty Chris Liberator. He is one third of the Liberator DJ’s alongside Aaron Liberator and Julian Liberator, as well as part of the management (not sure of his role exactly tbh) of the absolutely crucial Stay Up Forever Label Collective, which includes all of the following labels (deep breath): 4 x 4 Recordings, 909 Editions, Abusive 303, Apex Recordings, Bodyshock, Cluster Records, Hazchem, Hive, Hydraulix, Maximum / Minimum, Power Tools, Ripe Analogue Waveforms (RAW), S.U.F. After Hours, Scythe Squadron, Smitten Is Dead, SP Groove Records, Spartek, Stay Up Forever, Stay Up Forever 909, Stay Up Forever Classics, Stay Up Forever Collective Vaults, Stay Up Forever Party Trax, Stay Up Forever Projects, Stay Up Forever Remix, SUF Protest, Superconductor, WahWah, and Yolk.

Phew! That’s a lot of music!

Chris Liberator has played a central role in defining this particular sound and scene – hard, thrilling acid and punishing hard techno echoing around abandoned industrial spaces. Music that takes no prisoners but also has a very English tongue-in-cheek punk edge. Serious, sure, but not po-faced purist techno. No minimal ‘ping-pong ball over soft kickdrum’ bollocks here!

Besides being a great producer, Chris Liberator is also a kickass dj, and has been so for decades. I’ve heard loads of sets from him in places ranging from grimy warehouse free parties to slightly more salubrious (but still underground) legal clubs, and he has always shown a knack for getting a whole room of people to dance like unhinged lunatics.

One point to make is that these guys are still going strong, putting out regular new releases (check out 909London for downloads and SUF for vinyl), running parties, playing sets, and generally having fun. It’s pretty inspiring! I only mention this because the title of the mix might make it seem like Chris only released stuff in the 90’s – that’s far from the truth!

The reality is that if you look at all of his solo productions, collaborations, and remixes, his back catalogue is truly awesome in its size, diversity and scope, so pulling together a proper tribute mix is basically an impossibility. Someone will always complain, ‘hey, you missed this …’

True!

Hence the need, as I saw it, to introduce some kind of a filtering mechanism to make it easier for myself, which led to me deciding to set 1999 as the end point for this mix, to artificially limit what I could work with and make it a bit easier to pick the tracks.

Even so, Chris’s 90’s catalogue is still pretty vast, so I make precisely zero claims that this is any way shape or form a quote-unquote ‘perfect’ tribute. It’s my tribute, though, and what I did want to do, and what I think I managed to achieve, was to capture the improvised, off-the-cuff vibe that characterized the free party sets I heard from him and the other key players in the scene – that sense that anything could happen next, that keeping up the vibe and intensity was more important than 100% technical perfection. In order to do this, I didn’t actually plan this mix beyond the first two tracks – I simply pulled out all of his 90’s tunes that I could find (admittedly I missed some), roughly separated them by vibe (a totally subjective split to be honest), hit record and just improvised the whole thing.

I think it turned out pretty nice though!

I did miss out on his most famous tune, ‘London Acid City’, which was a shame, but my defense is that … I have no defense. I simply missed it when I was going through my acid techno shelves and then forgot to add it later before I actually started recording. It’s a failure! Anyways, I did use it on my Escape From Samsara Tribute Vol. 1, so you can hear it there if you want.

Even so, this mix is stuffed with goodies, so if you like this style of music, I don’t think you will walk away unsatisfied. Promise.

I’ve been wondering a little bit about what to write in this space – I tried contacting Chris earlier this week about doing an interview but haven’t heard back, I guess because he doesn’t check Facebook that often – so I’ve decided that because this tenth edition is a bit of a milestone for this project, it would be cool to do a bit of a retrospective on the mixes I’ve done so far.

Squat Rocking 1 (November 2005): The first mix in the series was a very squat-tastic multigenre odyssey, pulling together acid techno, hard techno, nu-nrg, hard trance and even some hardcore techno at 33. The idea was to distil an entire squat party experience into one mix.

Squat Rocking 2 (March 2006): The second mix was more oriented to the classic London hard/acid techno sound. No trance! Starts hard and fast, ends even harder and faster – pure peak time madness.

Squat Rocking 3 (September 2008): Same same but a little different. Starts with crunching hard techno, of a style that was pretty ubiquitous on the scene, before transferring to powerful acid. Ends with some of the most insane acid ever committed to wax. Not for the faint-hearted!

Squat Rocking 4 (August 2009): This edition was dedicated entirely to hard techno, and the blog post that I wrote to accompany this was about my time as a university student in Edinburgh where hard techno was the main sound of the underground scene. Acid had its adherents too, of course, but bass-heavy, percussive hard techno was what really got the local juices flowing, and so I smashed together 28 ruthlessly banging techno monsters to capture that special vibe I experienced in Scotland.

Squat Rocking 5 (March 2012): After a three year hiatus I returned to the Squat Rocking series with an acid trance special, showcasing the kind of high-impact NRG-etic sounds that you would hear from rigs like Pendulum and Undertow on the free party scene. To accompany the mix I wrote about the infamous BangingTunes.com forum, where I spent (wasted?) so many hours in the first decade of the century; this was written and mixed right after the forum finally shut down.

Squat Rocking 6: The Other Side of Acid (February 2014): OK so here is where we really start getting into the more esoteric / themed mixes. This one had a bit of a daft theme, but as mentioned above I’m all about creating a filter to help me narrow down what I’m doing. So for this mix, quite literally, I I focused on the ‘other side’, constructing a mix entirely from b-sides. And it’s pretty banging stuff!

Squat Rocking 7: The D.A.V.E The Drummer Tribute (February 2016): The first artist tribute of the series arrived with this selection of slamming tunes from the one and only D.A.V.E The Drummer! As with this Chris Liberator tribute, this is just an intro to the awesomeness of his back catalogue, but rest assured you can find tons of great techno and acid on this mix.

Squat Rocking 8: The Darkside (December 2016): The first non 4/4 mix in the series covered the kind of super dark, super hard drum n’ bass that was a staple of so many squat parties. This is maybe the single most relentless drum n’ bass mix I’ve ever done – a perfect tribute to all those unknown dj’s who shredded ravers’ minds through a fusillade of diamond-hard beats and bowel-bothering bass.

Squat Rocking 9: Tales of Havok (March 2019): The first label tribute in the series was a very fitting one; my loving tribute to Havok, Manchester label and party crew, who were responsible for some of the most bonkers acid ever pressed to wax. Operating several hundred miles north of the London scene they carved out a unique space in the wider scene, where DJ Medicine Man (aka Pharmacy) integrated hard trance influences, while Mick Beatle (aka Charlie Don’t Surf) brought in hard rock and heavy metal influences.

That’s it from me – enjoy the mix!

Pearsall presents Bay Ten (A Third Matty G Tribute)

Pearsall presents Bay Ten (A Third Matty G Tribute)

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Mixed in Berlin, July 2020
100% Vinyl
(28:33, 67.7 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

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Vykhod Sily Podcast – Pearsall Guest Mix (Modern DNB / Jungle)

Vykhod Sily – Pearsall Guest Mix

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Mixed in Berlin, June 2020
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(74:1, 169 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

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Pearsall’s Skelpival Set

This is a set I did a few weeks back for my friend Skelp’s special 50th birthday celebrations – totally unplanned, unpracticed, just a bunch of tunes and a whole lot of fun!

  1. Parasonic – Timeless Worlds of Space (Voltage Controlled Remixes)
  2. Shimmon & Woolfson – Evil Queen (Full Force Mix) (React)
  3. Choci & Jonesy – Resistance (Choci’s Chewns)
  4. DJ Jan – X-Santo (Spencer Freeland & Rob Jeffrey Frantic Mix) (SouthEast)
  5. Chris C & Jon Doe – Mitsubishi Baby (Eurotrance Mix) (Endeavour)
  6. Jonah – Ssst … Listen (Pants & Corset Remix) (VC)
  7. Ian M – Dreamer (Pants & Corset Remix) (Tidy Trax)
  8. Storm – Time To Burn (Nick Sentience Remix) (Data)
  9. Karim / Philip Walsh – Technomove 3 (Tuff Trax)
  10. RR Fierce – Miloude (Vicious Circle)
  11. DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access (KY Jellybabies Remix) (Tripoli Trax)
  12. Lectrolux – Baloney (Baby Doc’s Supernatural Remix) (TeC)
  13. Choci & Geeze – Silver Box (Voltage Controlled Frequencies)
  14. Lab 4 – Genetik Response (Elementary)
  15. Billy ‘Daniel’ Bunter & Jon Doe – Under My Control (UK Hard)

Pearsall presents Lockdown Legends (Classic Hard Dance Mix – Hard Trance, Acid, and Hard House)

Pearsall presents Lockdown Legends

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Mixed in Berlin, June 2020
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(120:02, 274 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

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Pearsall presents Lockdown Sounds (Dubstep / Grime Mix)

Pearsall presents Lockdown Sounds

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Mixed in Berlin, May 2020
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(56:14, 129 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

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Pearsall presents Gimme the Funk Gimme the Funk (DJ Hype 1993-1998)

Pearsall presents Gimme the Funk Gimme the Funk (DJ Hype 1993-1998)

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Mixed in Berlin, April 2020
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(79:36, 182 MB, 320 kbps mp3)

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