Interview by Rob Chadwick
Tell us about your Absolution parties you started last year, how have the events been received over in Berlin?
Absolution in Berlin is a new, off-location party catering for Berlin’s musically discerning gay Underground. It is is the brainchild of me and my partner in crime, Jonathan Marguiles. He is founder of Berlin institution “Tape Club” and producer of Berlin’s “Horse Meat Disco” outpost. We’ve joined forces to explore the nightclub experience in it’s rawest, purest, deepest form. Absolution provides a dark & intimate space for Berlin’s Deep House devotees in secret, off location venues that we transform for each party. Berlin still has great undiscovered gems where we can create our own environments and play for a dedicated crowd. With Berlin’s club landscape becoming more and more commercial, it’s time to go back to the roots and get off the conventional club grid. The last Absolution was amazing… a pared down blackbox environment for sophisticated Deep House from the darker, dubbier, sleazier end of the spectrum. We are going to do around 4 or 5 dates in 2016 to take place in unique, ‘one off’ venues around the city.
What next for you in Berlin?
Well, I just got back yesterday from doing Absolution#2 with Andy Butler, Seth Troxler & Jus Ed. The party was off the hook, really amazing. The location was a huge, semi-derelict construction site in the middle of Mitte, hidden inside a huge cube of scaffolding. After we had taken down the party, we went off to look at some more locations. We have found this incredible old building we are trying to secure now…so what’s next for us is another dope party!
And obviously Block9 and Glastonbury are just around the corner, what can we expect this year from you guys?
There’s a whole bunch of pretty amazing stuff going to happen in the Block9 field this year. There is a new NYC Downlow and a very exciting lineup, including:
ROGER SANCHEZ, DUNGEON MEAT, HONEY SOUNDSYSTEM, THE BLACK MADONNA, ANDY BUTLER (HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR), PROSUMER, CHEZ DAMIER, MIDLAND, JOEY BERTRAM, MIKE DUNN, MR G, DJ DEEON, DE SLUWE VOS, SETH TROXLER & CRAIG RICHARDS.
HOT CHIP are gonna do a TRIBUTE TO PRINCE too, a DJ set…it’s gonna be great!
Are there any fresh designs and unexpected announcements we can get a cheeky heads up on?
We can’t give everything away! But here’s a taster of what to expect from the new NYC Downlow…
After ten years on New York’s East 7th Street, rampant gentrification has resulted in eviction of the infamous gay nightclub NYC Downlow, forcing it to relocate across town to the Meatpacking District. The club now shares premises with the notorious West Side Bath House in a fully functioning Meatpacker’s warehouse; two worlds colliding under one roof. Now darker, seedier and moodier, get ready to experience a new chapter in the ongoing NYC Downlow story that continues to delve deep into the fleeting space between art and music. An authentic reproduction of a meatpacker’s warehouse circa 1982, the new design also features a second dance room called THE MEAT RACK, a hidden blackout play space for the more adventurous partygoer, and an army of go go boy butchers.
Was it always something you wanted to do, set designs? How did it all come around?
I had been travelling around Europe in a bus with a sound system for a while and then living in San Francisco. I’d also been going to Burning Man for a few years in a row. When I moved back to London, I met Steve (Gallagher – the other half of Block9) working in a set build workshop in West London and we decided to work together. We conceived the NYC Downlow together because there was no decent homo stuff at UK festivals. What I’d seen at Burning Man really opened my eyes to gay underground sound system stuff…and the rest is history. Block9 as a creative partnership grew out of the NYC Downlow and expanded from there.
You’ve collaborated with some big names, who was your favourite and what have been the major challenges?
Banksy was fun last year. We created the ruined fairytale castle centrepiece for his show Dismaland. It was really challenging because we were working on Glastonbury, Lana Del Rey, Utopia at The Roundhouse all at the same time and it was kinda too much…but the Block9 team swells significantly when we have big projects…we all work seriously hard on delivering the vision…it’s a team effort.
Do you have any plans for other festivals with the Block9 theme or are you looking at completely fresh project designs?
We are working on a new touring project at the moment…no more festivals please!
You’re also quite the DJ and we can happily say we are bringing you to Leeds in a few weeks, have you played here before?
I’ve played in Leeds a few times now. The last party I played was Michael Upson’s “Love Muscle”. It was a lovely do in a lovely old building, not a swanky, purpose-built club. I really enjoy the Leeds vibe, so much more up front and real than London!
The Dirty Disco has been one of the major factors in the historic Leeds club scene, do you know much about the events and their antics?
I’ve heard rumours of the party but never been. I’m really looking forward to it…can’t wait!
And finally, where else can we see you over summer DJing?
I’ll play Saturday night in the NYC Downlow in the Block9 field at Glastonbury. Then I’m then heading straight off to Croatia for the Love International festival the week afterwards to play there….can’t wait for that either!
Gideön plays The Dirty Disco 4th June at Distrikt Leeds…