After a year of living in Newcastle I’ve come to call it home and bigging it up to my friends at home has become a regular pastime. I can’t have one of these conversations without dropping in the city’s proudest achievement – that Digital is ranked at no. 35 of DJ Mag’s Top 100 nightclubs in the whole wide world. Reflecting on a summer of gallivanting around the globe, I have a clearer sense of how accurate this accolade actually is. My first adventure took place in Dublin and as we limited ourselves to Temple Bar, that trip just consisted of Guinness and lots of hairy Irishmen playing James Bay’s ‘Hold Back the River’, over, and over, and over again. Therefore, I can’t really comment on Ireland’s club culture. As for the rest of Europe; Dekmantel in Amsterdam helped those who didn’t have a gap year find themselves, and with Autechre and Four Tet on the bill I’m hardly surprised. Summer time sees every-one jump on the inter-rail wagon looking for a party time, but these snap-back clad revellers will have limited chance of crossing the threshold of Berlin’s Berghain, which is DJ Mag’s number 11. Surely Digital is better because it opens its doors to anyone? The highlight of my summer was going to LA, where I experienced an 18+ club night called Low End Theory. I applauded resident The Gaslamp Killer who told the crowd to ‘use their eyes not their motherfuckin’ iPhones’, so maybe American DJs have the right idea? Avoiding being the star of 1500 people’s Snapchat stories, the aftermath of EVERY Digi event. Obviously the world stage is bigger than the one they have at Digital, but it’s our humble stage has been walked all over by the likes of Seth Troxler and Fatboy Slim, so I think it’s up there with the best.
Recently graduated Amy Becker is the one-to-watch for a student like myself balancing a degree and booming career as a new member of NU:DJ. Her debut compilation for label Reload mixes the best elements of grime, garage and house, so this multi-genre genius will be reeling in an eclectic crowd at this week’s Ill Behaviour. Having played Digital before beside Hannah Wants and My Nu Leng, you’d think that Cosmic would be a walk in the park. ut at any rate, the air pressure will be heavier once Amy gets behind the decks of Newcastle’s more intimate dance venue. Her experience as a 1Xtra residency-holder and far-travelled festival favourite will be of value to our very own residents. I can’t wait for the Ballroom to be transformed into a construction site of thumping bass and hammering percussion.
As the title of this column suggests, ‘electronic music’ isn’t just something to shake your booty to. ‘Electronic’ of course, is a massive, multi-purpose blanket term which doesn’t just constitute EDM. It can also be the beat-match made in heaven for lazy Sunday’s in bed and essay-writing stress. A recent understanding of this concept is perhaps why Fatima Yamaha’s slow-burner ‘What’s A Girl To Do’ was unexpectedly reissued in June on a Dekmantel 12”. The track was welcomed with little success when it was originally released over 10 years ago in 2004 by Dutch producer Bas Bron who works under a female pseudonym on this particular project. After a subtly energising Boiler Room set at Dekmantel festival in August which incorporated live synths, Bas Bron has helped revolutionise techno despite the fact that many of the tracks played were dated. Fans can only hope that the hype surrounding this comeback will lead to compulsion on Bas Bron’s part to make more music. But regardless of this, take the time to bask in this newly-confirmed Classic’s revival.