It’s the 5th year of one of SF’s favorite party Lights Down Low, so it’s only fitting that its organizers book some of the biggest electronic feel-good acts guaranteed to make you dance, drink, and do things you might not remember the next morning. In this April edition, which arrives Friday at SOM., look out for favorites Jokers on the Scene, currently on A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold label.
We got a chance to speak with one half the duo, Linus Booth, about their defunct Disorganised party and what’s in store for them this year.
It must be nice being on a label with friends. What’s the best part of being part of Fool’s Gold label?
The family aspect. When we became involved during the labels inception in 2007, Nick and Alain expressed they wanted the label to feel more like a family or collective, unifying the artists in a certain way, and I think they have achieved and sustained that. When we all get together for Fool’s Gold events it’s always a guaranteed blast. Everyone has remained good friends while being peers in the industry, and that’s central to the Fool’s Gold approach.
The Disorganised party was a wonderful creation. It must have been quite difficult to shut it down, but are there plans to start another party like that anytime soon?
To be honest, it wasn’t very difficult to make the decision, because we had already been touring extensively for about a year before we actually put it to rest. Because of our busy schedule, we had to bring on others to help us run the event in our absence, and our involvement became limited. As time passed, the event evolved into something different than what it used to be. Not necessarily better or worse, just not really aligned with where we were at that time. Thus, it was a pretty easy choice. As for starting something else, we would want it to be again something special. We’re not interested in throwing a party for the sake of hosting another event. Ideally, we’re looking to run a series of sweaty late night warehouse events when the right time and space comes along.
Is it hard to keep a party like that small and intimate? Many electronic parties have blown up into full stadium deals.
It was, yes. After our 2nd month there were more people outside the club trying to get in than inside. We had to move venues twice, both times because of capacity issues. We were shut down and fined at the second venue. Obviously, we were thrilled that so many people were interested, but it’s true, a level of intimacy is removed in situations like that.
Speaking of which, what do you think of big electronic music festivals? Do you think they’re harder or easier to play?
Festivals are great. When dealing with a massive audience, there’s a different kind of swelling vibe. When you’re in front of thousands of people the weight of your influence is far greater, so you can really take them places. That’s not to say it’s harder or easier, just a different kind of approach. We also like to play all sorts of different DJ sets in different contexts, so we always try to challenge ourselves in any setting.
For many DJs, it’s hard to keep away from trends in music. How do you guys manage to stray away from that?
It’s hard to say because I think we’re not really conscious of trying to be different or anything. I think it has something to do with not feeling like we have to create something that is easily digested, or perhaps an “easy sell.” We try to challenge ourselves as much as our audience, and if anything, we will reject an idea that seems to close to something that has been done repeatedly. I also think that we’ve gotten to a point that our core audience accepts our unpredictability, so that keeps the walls down in the studio.
It seems like you guys have been working on a ton of remixes lately. Are we going to hear any of new singles anytime soon?
We’ve enjoyed spending the last six months or so working on a diverse group of remixes, but lately our focus has shifted towards creating originals. In fact, right now we are in the studio working on a near-final mixdown of a brand new JOTS song that will be part of an upcoming multi-track EP we hope to release in the summer/fall ahead. There are also numerous other works-in-progress that will be put towards various projects in the near future, so you can expect lots of new original stuff in the second half of 2011.
Since you guys live for part of the year in Berlin, and so many electronic artists are migrating there, can you share with us what is it about that city that’s so appealing?
Berlin is wonderful for a number of reasons, but mainly because of it’s “open-ness” which spans various aspects of the city. The huge size of the city keeps the population sparse, so it has a relaxed vibe. The fact that the city center was largely abandoned after the wall came down attracted an art crowd, and from that point, the city was transformed by artists and squatters into a creative hub open to new ideas. 20 years later, the general mentality there is forward-thinking and futuristic, therefore the art is always on the cutting edge. It truly is a special place to us because it inspires us so much to be in a community of both originators and innovators.
I heard you guys never play the same set twice! Do you guys have any ideas for Friday?
That’s impossible to answer because we have no idea what we’re going play. I guess we’ll all be surprised!
Lights Down Low is this Friday at SOM, $10 at the door.