It takes time. A long time. It takes time to get anywhere in this beautiful country we live in. It takes time to travel. It takes time to pack. To sleep. It takes time to get to know somewhere, people, yourself. The one thing I can be sure of, whatever it is I am trying to achieve will take some time. Nothing comes quick or easy or ever goes exactly to plan. I just wrapped in Philadelphia on the movie Miss Atkins’ Army (working title). I knew there would be a week in the middle when I was ‘on hold’ – the term given to an actor told to stay town just in case you’re needed, which you never RARELY are. – and I knew therefore I’d have some some time on my hands.  As coincidence would have it,  my first short film I directed, ‘The Break’ was to play just a few original colonies* away  at the Richmond International Film and Music Festival during this gap.  Being on hold meant I was able to attend the screening and throw another edition of Voltage, my pop-up nightclub born in RVA just the year prior. It was an intense day that became two.  Prepping the party, introducing my film and then DJing into early hours of the next morning. Incredible talent from as far as Italy and as local as Richmond graced the stage and we delivered to a killer crowd. The Richmond trip turned into an unexpected celebration as we were awarded the Audience Award for Best Short Film. Combined, the Break & Voltage represent years made up of (often) agonizing hours of preparation. That, my friends, is why we play. Why we dance. Hard. I’m so proud of the team that brought the film to life with me and we are working to make it available online as soon as we can, so watch this space. Knowing I would be on the East Coast for some time meant I was able to play 4 gigs over the two weeks —  two parties in Philly with a new promoter, donnerstag,  who is now a friend, (we even wrote a track together during a 4-hour challenge we set ourselves, so keep an eye out for that soon) and a kickass party at Warehouse on Watts alongside the epic Christian Martin of Dirty Bird, and finally a return to one of my all time favourite clubs for Residents Night at Flash in DC for a Cinco de Mayo gig. I pulled in some killer DC DJs, for a Voltage takeover of Flash’s first floor. As always it was a popping night that pushed all the way on to 4am. Now, as I sit here on a plane, flying back to Los Angeles to reunite with my family who I miss like crazy, I am feeling grateful for the knowledge that time presents not just hours, but opportunity, to be filled with whatever it is that fuels your engine. It’s taken me years to look at these stretches of time as a blank canvas, availing itself to whatever I want to throw on it. And now, time has brought me back to my loved ones where I intend to dissolve for however much time I am able to do so. Fill every minute, it’s time well spent. 

*I’m taking my immigration civics test this week! Results forthcoming.

 

Hi

This is a quick update to my schedule and to let you know of some killer shows I will be a part of over the next couple of weeks.

First, this Saturday night at BAR X in Philadelphia – where I am shooting a new movie about female spies in World War II called Miss. Atkins’ Army – I will be joining the lineup for the incomparable EXIT. This should be a lot of fun.

EXIT

Then I am on to the Richmond International Film and Music Festival where my film The Break is playing and the next edition of VOLTAGE. The Pop-Up Nightclub tears it up at The Hof.

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A new date just added is MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU at Warehouse on Watts back in Philly.

may the 4th be with yu

The next day I will be jetting over to DC for ROUKIN & FRIENDS at FLASH. I will be joined by two of my favourite DJs in DC, RAPTORSTEIN and THE BARBER STREISAND.

CINCO DE MAYO PARTYWITH ROUKINTHE BARBER STREISAND RAPTORSTEINsaturday • may 5, 2018 • 9 pm -3 AMFLASH NIGHTCLUB645 Florida Ave NW Washington, DC 20001 (4)

Hope to see as many of you as I can at one or all of the events. All 4?! There will have to be some sort of prize for that!

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It’s possible you don’t know this about me — and why would you?— but here’s a fun fact: I am an EXCELLENT packer. Not to be confused with any 2nd Amendment nonsense, I’m talking about well-regulated packing with purpose. Packing that makes life BETTER.  The Boot (aka trunk), car, case, truck, backpack, snackpack…give it here, I’ll make it work. With, dare I say, scientific precision, I can determine weight, bulk, stackability, foldability, factor in need and joy potential and divide all that by the smallest iota of space available for what tends to be an epic trip. AND it affords me the chance to use a favourite motto with satisfying frequency:  Give it here. It’ll Fit.

Whether this trait is one gifted by Nature or nurtured during youth camp drills where we had to pack a car quickly, you know, just in case (thanks, Lads and Girls Brigade), it’s become how I tend to view my life. What’s next?? Give it here. Hence, April 2018…

This month is already packed tight, with more things to come daily, so stay tuned. First, my new mix is just about to land with some beautiful new music that’s rocking my world right now, so please check it out and tell me what you think, compliments first, of course

And if you happen to be in Richmond, VA, or plan to be now that you’re reading this, I’m thrilled to announce the debut film I wrote and directed, The Break, about a young DJ getting his, screens at the 2018 Richmond International Film Festival on April 26th at The Byrd Theatre. After its world premiere at the Austin Film Festival in October, I’m honoured its journey continues, because The Break gave life to another big event in my world as a DJ, the pop-up night club I run called VOLTAGE. Another fun fact: VOLTAGE is named after the club in the movie.

VOLTAGE features a night of local electronic talent (and me) wherever the club pops up, often with a kick-back to local charity. This will be the 3rd, to take place right after the screening, in Downtown Richmond at The Hofheimer Building. Tickets available HERE!! As it is folded into the festival, some of the ‘local talent’ are acts from around the world attending the festival, alongside those from RVA. It’s going to, as the kids say, blow your fucking head off (in a good way) so be there.  Especially exciting about this one – as an homage to the film, this month’s VOLTAGE has a contest that gives a local DJ her/his big break – a set at the club.  Because, life, like turntables, is circular. (See what I did there?) Contest info. can be found here.

Following that for Cinco de Mayo I’ll also be doing a set at FLASH in DC. Important question: Have you been to this club? It rivals the best night clubs I’ve been to around the world with highest scores possible in vibe, system, talent & turnout. Thrilled to be back there and will look for your lovely faces.

Next?! I’ve also been logging major time in the studio and working with some greats I’ll tell you about later, composing some new tracks I can’t wait to share with you guys.

April, pretty packed, with more to come.  Give it here. It’ll fit.  But remember, as with most things, just don’t put the Diet Coke on top or you’ll have a right mess.

After some unexpected technical acrobatics, today brings the drop of my February Hot Mix appropriately entitled Falling Into March (The Facebook Poll decided this, so thank you to all that voted!).

It’s  a delve into the more trippy side of my music. It’s really carved to take you on a journey.

From the layering drum build of Martyn Bootyspoon’s ‘Spread That Kat‘ to the percussive acid banger that is Lawler’s remix of ‘Humanity‘ by Re. You and Floyd Ravine, all the way to the gorgeous, melodic ‘Pennywise‘ from Ken Hayakawa, this is a set that really gives you permission to close your eyes and disappear for a while.

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You know that feeling. You are standing, drink in hand at a party you came to just to ‘show your face’, more or less hanging on in a conversation you didn’t need to have and then some part of you internally starts pulsing to the song that just came on. You look around and you’re not the only one. Before you can say ‘I’m calling my Uber’ you are with a group of people – most of whom you don’t know-  letting it all hang out on the dance floor and for a suspended moment, nothing matters. It’s you and the music. And then, it could be ten minutes or three hours but sometime later there’s a moment when your system tells you to stop, so you do. And you are different. Emotionally and physically, you have been changed. This is why we dance.

There have of course been numerous studies into why human beings dance and if you want to dig into that, there is a really good one here, from The University of Exeter, that studied music from around the world looking for universal traits and charted the triggers for movement in human beings. But I am not a scientist. I am a DJ. I am an actor. So for me, it’s emotional.

Growing up, the music you are in to really defines you. In the North West of England in the 90’s amongst my friends you were either into Oasis or Blur. I was into neither. My brothers were slipping me mix tapes that had circulated at warehouse parties. Big piano driven House music with a pounding beat. And it hit me right in the feels. I was too young to go to any of these parties of course but the rhythm, structure and pure emotional triggers it pulled were powerful and I knew I had found my place. It was like a dirty little secret amongst my Indie friends but I discovered a couple of friends at school in Liverpool who were also quietly raving in their headphones during assembly and when we finally could, we made our first trip (fake IDs in hand) to ‘Cream’ in Liverpool and that was it.

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Merseyside like many urban areas across the UK can be tough. In Southport, a relatively genteel town about 20 miles north of Liverpool where I grew up, the clubs and bars were always violent. The feeling before any night out was always an equal measure of excitement and trepidation. So many places in the near vicinity of ‘Cream’ were also just like that but once you were inside that party at the infamous club, ‘Nation’ in, it felt safe. All the worries melted away and you could lose yourself in the music. The bass line pounding through your system, literally flapping your trousers, then a moment of eye contact with a stranger confirms that yes, you are not the only one feeling it, this is happening now, to all of us. 

And yes, so many people are high in a club but this is a great misconception about the House Music scene. Of course drugs are prevalent (as they are in every bar and club, regardless of genre) but It’s not that the night club is a safe place to take drugs, it is a safe place to feel something and express it through your body. It’s a connection, I believe, to something primal. You see the crowd in electronic music is very specific. They don’t know the music they are going to hear, they often don’t even know who the DJ is, in fact they go often to specifically hear things they have never heard before but the one thing they are sure of is they will be in a room of people all there for the same reason. To dance, without inhibition or judgement.

This feeling led me to DJ. I was a performer from a young age. Acting was a bug that bit me early and I am fortunate enough that it is how I make a living today. DJing was a natural extension of this. I  thought to myself ‘I understand this feeling that makes us dance together and I think I know how to make other people feel it too’. I recently went to a club in Los Angeles to see one of my all time favourite DJs play and the set before he came on was a very stop- start affair. The music flowed continuously but the dance floor was not united. I soon figured out why. The person having the best time in that room was the DJ. Rocking to his own beat, uninhibited but disconnected with the party. The fascinating thing was there were still passages of time, when undeniably the whole room unified and had these short episodes of euphoric movement, like steam bursts from a pressure cooker. The potential was there. Then the main event showed up, the lights went out in the booth, he put his head down and slowly moulded us all into one homogenous sculpture and only when the dance floor exploded the mould did he join in with us.

This is the art of the DJ. To understand the need to be together in order to  express ourselves through movement. To find the beat, melody and groove to unify our heartbeats. This primal need transcends age, culture or identity and I feel that impulse every bit now as I did when I listened to that first mix tape.