The Pickle Factory – 2020 Residents

Over the past four years, our club residents - currently Jane Fitz, Josey Rebelle, Leif and Gwenan - have been instrumental in defining the sound and vibe of The Pickle Factory. We move into a new decade with this ethos at our core, and are thrilled to welcome Berlin-based REEF founder Darwin, and legend of the deep digging UK scene, Truly Madly, into the family alongside our on-running residencies. In anticipation of the next twelve months, we sat down with Darwin and Truly to chat inspirational residencies, lineup concepts and the state of the scene.

Darwin

1) Tell us about a DJ resident or residency you've experienced from the dancefloor which holds a special place in your heart. Any particular tunes that still ring in your ears from this time?

Cassy at Panorama Bar circa 2010. She completely inspired me to become a DJ, alongside Sonja Moonear. Back then I was terrified to even express my interest in music. After moving to Berlin and seeing her stand behind the decks with such grace and power it made me think "Fuck, I wanna be like her." I came from that scene and spent long hours in Pbar and Club Der Visionaere during my early days in Berlin. Cassy had a way of selecting hi-hats in her records to create a signature palette that was subtly jacking and super infectious. She was also incorporating DMZ and Shackleton records in her sets back then, which made me experience them on a trippier level than the wobble wobble bro'ey reputation of dubstep at the time. This was the dubstep I dug for years and years after and still love today.

My mind-blowing moment with Cassy was when she played "Soul Control" by Theo Parrish as her last track during a closing set in Pbar 2011. This was always a favourite of mine and I had never heard it played out before. At that point I had been there for close to 24 hours and was hanging off the metal bar around the DJ booth because my legs were so tired from dancing... when the vocal came in "do you want to control meeee" I just burst out crying lol. I was definitely under her spell that night.

2) For those who may not be familiar with your Berlin-based party REEF, could you please give a run down of it? Its ethos, booking policy and how Griessmuehle has fit into this narrative over the past few years?

REEF was created as a platform for me to connect the dots between all of the genres I love, but with a primary focus on sub-heavy soundsystem music and breakbeat-centric styles. It was also an opportunity for my crew and me to play what we wanted and not pander to Berlin 4/4-leaning floors. I was already a resident at Griessmuehle at the time and was slowly starting to seed these sounds into my techno sets. I decided to double down and try it out on a 24-hour party format. We've had a slew of incredible guests over the years like Kode9, A Made Up Sound, Evan Baggs, Instra:mental, dBridge, Storm and many more.

3) Are you stepping into 2020 with a clear idea of what you want the residency at Pickle to represent, through bookings or otherwise?

My idea is to bring artists I really love and to play completely different sets each night to compliment them. I've already got a nice spread of DnB, Jungle, Dubstep, Footwork, 2-step and more contemporary leaning strains of bass in the pipes. I like the idea of putting big acts in a really intimate space for longer sets, as well as artists who are more under the radar gems I want to highlight.

4) There's a striking affection for UK dance music culture in the records you play. As someone who comes from Edmonton and lives in Berlin, how has this come about? What does the UK represent for you musically, and does a first club residency here offer you something different than previous opportunities?

Like I mentioned before, I love soundsystem music and broken beats, a lot of those styles were bred in the UK so it was a gravitation that came quite naturally. Sub pressure, full-body experiences of sound, the space between the beats... it doesn't matter where I'm from, it's what I'm drawn to on a way deeper level.

I'm excited to share this with the people at Pickle Factory :)

For a taste of Darwin's sound, check her excellent podcast for NYC"s The Bunker.

Truly Madly

1) Tell us about a DJ resident or residency you've experienced from the dancefloor which holds a special place in your heart. Any particular tunes that still ring in your ears from this time?

It’s difficult to pick just one out but I’ll go for Space at Bar Rhumba and the residents Kenny Hawkes and Luke Solomon. It was 1995 and I was studying in London. At that time there was surprisingly little going on in London for the deep heads – DJ Harvey in the back room at the MOS was good (and that was another amazing residency) but apart from that and the odd one-off party I struggled. These two had shows on Girls FM, a pirate radio station that influenced me a lot, so I knew how good they were and how much of what I was buying they were playing. So when they started Space it was a real blessing and me and few friends of similar music minds went most weeks. The crowd was a mix of old and young and because it was a Wednesday night it was just even more illicit, and the music suited this perfectly. Although I don’t remember it being that busy for the first few months it was eventually quite hedonistic at times and finally being able to dance to the music I was so into at a club was pretty amazing. This became our main night out of the week and needless to say we rarely made college on a Thursday.

I remember the two Fresh And Low EPs on Westside (Take Your Time and Little 'i' EP) being played a lot. They might seem obvious now but back them when they came out, with no internet, you still had to be in the right place at the right time to find them. I absolutely rinsed them!

2) By this point, you're a longtime member of the Pickle family. How have your experiences of the club been over the past few years? Are there any aspects of the venue that make it a special place for you? And any particular highlights?

I honestly think the club has got steadily better and better over the last few years. Because it’s quite a dry functional space (in a good way) it used to seem at times difficult to get an atmosphere in there, but that’s changed now. The sound has always been amazing and that for me is the key and a big reason I am excited about doing this. Sound has always been important but as I’ve got older it’s now the singular most important thing by far. If I walk into a club and the sound is sub-standard my heart drops. It really can be the difference between a good and bad night, it affects what I play a lot and I’m sure a lot of other DJs too.

The Limousine Dream party a few months back was a real highlight. It helps that everyone who was playing has got such good taste! But the crowd were all up for it right until the end, and that atmosphere isn’t something I’d seen at Pickle before. Likewise Gwenan’s last residency party with the 2 x b2b actions was a really good one too.

3) Are you stepping into 2020 with a clear idea of what you want the residency to represent, through bookings or otherwise?

I just want it to be about amazing music, both new and old – simple as that really. Inviting people I respect and in some cases share similar tastes with, but not every time. Some interesting live sets on the list and possibly b2bs too!

4) You've been a feature of the UK club scene for three decades, both as a punter and DJ. How is it today in London, compared to ten or twenty years ago? And as you're also gigging a lot more abroad these days - what do you see abroad that you feel London can learn from?

I think the main difference is how diverse things are now, scenes within scenes. There is so much choice musically it’s a lot easier to find that niche you are looking for. I’m not one of these ‘back in the day’ types (although you can sometimes find me reminiscing about Quadrant Park!), I think it’s better now than it ever was, the big change is you and your outlook. That said London does suffer from draconian rules and regs when it comes to licensing, etc. The emphasis from the authorities seems to be one of shut-down rather than set-up. A lot of places, in Europe especially, seem to understand the subcultures of nightlife much more. There’s an atmosphere and attitude that is much more free. London could definitely learn from this…

Truly has a wealth of incredible podcasts to dig through, here's his RA Podcast from earlier this year for starters.