Last month we had a right laugh at the launch of W Hotels’ Boiler Room series in London. Disclosure and Skream played a blinding headline set, but earlier in the evening we were also treated to this from TEED and Jack from Friendly Fires (check out the cheeky phone theft at 02:10):
It’s been a massive year for both of them, and we caught up with them afterwards to discuss their year, their approach to success, and what new music they’re listening to.
HD: So first up. Boiler Room works quite well in this kind of scenario, but is it quite weird playing to a camera rather than a crowd?
Jack: I think what’s good about Boiler Room is that they do, you know. When I first came down I was expecting it to be more of a camera-centric kind of thing, but they make it a real party. I’ve been down to see friends play and it’s always been great.
TEED: Also I think for me and for most DJs I grew up with, it’s basically like having a mix in your bedroom. You never had the decks facing out to the room, unless you were aiming at superstardom. You had them facing the wall.
HD: And what about playing in London? It’s a bit of a cliché, but do you notice differences in attitude and enthusiasm amongst London crowds as opposed to elsewhere?
TEED: Yeah, on the whole this is my least favourite place in the UK to play. But you can have a great night, of course.
Jack: It kind of depends when and where. From club to club it really differs. I don’t think you get the same reaction playing in Kensington & Chelsea as you would in Hackney, for example.
HD: In terms of locations generally, does anywhere really stand out in 2012?
Jack: I’ve had some good DJ gigs in Bucharest. Romania’s really good.
TEED: I want to go there…
Jack: Istanbul’s great. I suppose in Europe there are traditional centres of ‘having it’ which are London, Berlin, Paris – they’re still obviously strong but I don’t know if they’re as strong as they were five years ago. I think it’s moved elsewhere. I’ve had great gigs in St Petersburg, Moscow…
HD: I heard Machinedrum talking about playing on top of the old presidential palace in Bucharest and said it was insane…
TEED: Eastern Europeans are great.
HD: Something else we wanted to ask you about, which you have no doubt been asked many times before, is potential tension between mainstream success and some kind of perception of authenticity. With the Nokia ad and the huge success of both your albums, you have become extremely well-known artists: does this affect the way you make music?
TEED: I think people have varying ideas about what it is to keep it real. And I’m not going to diss anyone’s ideas, but just do your thing, make music you’re happy with, put it in places you’re happy with, and present yourself in ways you’re happy with, and there can be nothing wrong with that. It really is your shit so you make the choices. How people take it and run with it is something you can’t really control. I made an album and some people like it who are really into deep house, and some people like it who really like pop music. Whatever, I really couldn’t give a fuck.
HD: So what’s next?
TEED: Continue to make stuff that I like. You can’t predict or worry about people’s reactions. The issues there get heightened by the internet. There are lots of people who like to spend time writing about what a real DJ is, and what’s cool at the moment, and it’s not helpful for anybody at all and it doesn’t produce any good music. The people making the music, I promise you, don’t care.
HD: What about you, Jack? Has your music changed as you guys have become super popular?
Jack: I don’t know. When we were making our second album, that was the first time we had any kind of expectation about either what it was ‘meant’ to sound like or how we wanted to progress it. Before that we didn’t have any kind of agenda. With the stuff we’ve been doing recently and will continue to do next year, I think we’re going back to that kind of ‘no agenda’ feel to it.
HD: Finally, enjoyed the set tonight. What kind of music are you into at the moment? Any favourite up-and-coming artists? Slightly agenda from us in the sense that we are planning our next party for February/March [we are, you know] so we’re on the lookout for young, UK artists to book…
TEED: Young people that I like at the moment? Some guys called Casino Times [whom we had posted about that very day, as it happens] and there’s a guy called fLako, who I really like, who’s putting out an EP on Five Easy Pieces. It’s kind of endless. And of course there are people who aren’t young who are making great music, more importantly. I’ve been thinking recently how weird it is that people now write their age next to producer profiles. They’re like, “I’m a 19 year old producer from Basingstoke”, and it’s like, “Dude, I couldn’t give a fuck how old you are. How does it sound?”
HD: It’s a good point. When we say young, I think what we actually mean is cheap.
TEED: No-one I hang out with is cheap.
Quite right. Whilst you’re here, why not listen to some music from the pair? This remix of TEEDs’ ‘Trouble’ from Montreal man of the moment Lunice is a nervous voyage of tense energy, while Tensnake’s remix of Friendly Fires remix is a much more straightforward disco rework of what was already something of a dancefloor-bothering crowd pleaser. Splendid stuff.