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Blahnket is thrilled to welcome two of the most forefront figures in club music today, direct from the bass filled streets of London.
Night Slugs is a collaboration between the like-minded London DJs / producers Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990. The Night Slugs name first came into existence in early 2008 when, inspired by a variety of experimental club music from around the globe, the duo linked up to start a club night dedicated to a brand new hybrid sound.
This new aesthetic fused international gutter house styles with London’s unique soundsystem heritage. The emphasis was on innovation, breaking new producers, debuting fresh tracks, uncompromising bass weight, and above all a functionalist dancefloor-friendly vibe. The Night Slugs party quickly gained a reputation for being amongst the freshest in London. Two years down the line, Night Slugs is an unstoppable brand. Their club parties are a London staple, a cornerstone of the UK’s bass mutation scene. Bok Bok and L-Vis’ record label of the same name is several releases into a series of groundbreaking EPs, showcasing fresh new sounds from the collective that has crystalised around the duo. The Slugs’ own productions – international club anthems like “United Groove”, “Ripe Banana”, “Compass” and “Citizens” – have appears on a variety of boutique labels such as Mad Decent, Dress 2 Sweat and Sound Pellegrino.2010 sees the duo join London’s leading underground music station Rinse FM. With an unparalleled pirate radio vintage of 15 years, Rinse is a bastion of the UK scene’s unique tendency towards self-reinvention, an ethos that deeply resonates with Night Slugs’ own drive for innovation.
As L-Vis 1990, James Connolly has been releasing a singular brand of club music free of rules and genres since dropping his eponymous debut EP in 2008. Yes, we understand if you’re sceptical—everyone claims to be a rule-breaker these days. But try putting into words the music on his and Bok Bok’s inimitable Night Slugs label or any of his tracks and remixes over the past few years and it should quickly become apparent that L-Vis 1990 has been doing things just a little bit differently.
James grew up in Brighton, UK, where during his teenage years he began to DJ, produce and promote club nights. He co-founded the Fallout night, while picking up gigs across the city and experimenting with music production software. The booking of NYC producer Drop The Lime for another of his club nights, So Loud!, would prove to be an epiphanic moment, in that it reconnected James with a love for bass music, inspiring him to write his standout first release, the L-Vis 1990 EP.
As though setting in motion a domino effect, the track “Change The Game” from that release piqued the interest of Alex Sushon, AKA Bok Bok, who got in contact with James, thus beginning an enduring creative relationship that would indeed change the game. James relocated to London soon after, although the pair quickly concluded that the city’s music scene was, to quote Alex, “shit and we weren’t feeling it.” The by-product of their vexation was Night Slugs. The first party went down in March 2008 at Camberwell’s Redstar, and went on to take up primary residence at East Village (among many other raves at one-off venues) with guests like Oneman, Lil Silva, Geeneus, Christian Martin, Roska and Kode9 feeding into the night’s freewheeling attitude.
As Night Slugs began to properly establish itself, as did James as a producer. In 2009 Compass / Zahonda for Sound Pellegrino and the colossal United Groove for Mad Decent were supplemented by a slew of remixes for artists like Laidback Luke & Diplo, Riton & Primary 1 and Gucci Vump. Acting as a precursor for all that was to come the following year, James and Alex also dropped The Night Slugs EP through Glasgow imprint Dress 2 Sweat, introducing Alex’s now famed style of artwork and their common interest in eschewing any sort of formulas.
The energy and creativity surrounding the Night Slugs party had reached critical mass by the end of that year: at the start of 2010 the Night Slugs label was launched via Mosca’s Square One. By the time James had made his full NS debut with the anthemic Forever You in August, the imprint had put-out peerless music from Girl Unit, Egyptrixx, Lil Silva and Jam City, and was already being spoken of in terms of ‘label of the year’. A tumultuous first year was encapsulated on Night Slugs Allstars Volume One, while James and the extended NS family had successfully cultivated a vibe and an outlook that was entirely sui genius.
This considerable momentum spilled over into 2011—killer releases from Kingdom, Bok Bok, Pearson Sound and Jam City made sure of that. In the studio, meanwhile, James had begun to further explore the groove-based exploits outlined on “Forever You” and his remix of Gucci Vump, via re-rubs of Cassius and Round Table Knights. In fact, the real result of these endeavours could be thought of as a lifetime in the making as James released his debut album, Neon Dreams, through PMR Records. Using exclusively hardware (Roland’s 707 drum machine features on every track), James has crafted a deeply personal record that, through the voices of Javeon McCarthy and Samantha Lim, conveys the story of a year in his life. Neon Dreams brings 15 years’ worth of musical influences to bear, while shifting into focus the love of classic house music that has transcended all of James’s output to date.
Never one to let the dust settle 2012 see’s James dive further into the House music whirlpool, with an anthemic remix for dance legends Orbital and his first release for NIght Slugs since 2010′s ‘Forever You’. Club Constructions Vol.1 is part of a a new series of releases that will operate alongside Night Slugs’ main EPs and white label series, a home for their most direct productions, aimed straight for the dancefloor. With CC Vol.1 James draws on classic Dance Mania and Underground Construction vibes to deliver 5 tape-saturated, strictly-analog slices of modern-day ghetto hard house that have been supported by DJ’s across the world of house and techno. 2012 looks set to be the year that James and Night Slugs reaffirm their place at the forefront of progressive club music.
Bok Bok aka Alex Sushon is a London based DJ, producer, remixer and director of the incendiary Night Slugs record label.
DJing since 2004, Sushon started to make his name on London’s underground scene around the time Grime music was first emerging from the capitol’s tower blocks, and for the first years of his career he played little else. The unique inventiveness and raw energy of that music has remained with Sushon ever since those early days, as he discovered the wider world of club music, seeing many parallels between the homegrown music of London and House music from Chicago to South Africa, Techno, Baltimore/Jersey/Philly Club, 80s funk and a myriad other music styles across many eras. For Sushon, all these musics came together to form a seamless timeline, all complimenting, echoging and supplementing each other.
This pan-genre, time-irreverent mentality was the foundation of the Night Slugs movement. In 2008 Sushon would join forces with like-minded producer and DJ L-Vis 1990 to form Night Slugs (NS), initially a club night in South London. From day 1 the ethos was fiercely open-minded and DIY, as Bok and L-Vis dedicated themselves to club music. Through the events series and their DJ sets around the UK and Europe, the duo cultivated a unique sound, cross-polynating ideas from their various influences until a distinct community of producers crystalised around them.
In 2010 Night Slugs re-launched as a record label. Since then NS has been a non-stop source of cutting-edge, challenging and ambitious music for the club, launching the careers of artists such as Mosca, Jam City and Girl Unit and providing a context-rich platform for like-minded producers such as Kingdom, Egyptrixx and Lil Silva. The label’s sound may be diverse but it’s FEEL is distinctive, injecting its myriad influences back into the UK soundsystem heritage that inspired Sushon way back in his early days as a Grime DJ. In the process, Night Slugs has become a truly cult label, with a reputation for quality and innovation rivaled by few others and with a fan base as globally spread as Bok and L-Vis’ inspirations.
Sushon plays a key curatorial role in the Night Slugs project, undertaking everything from the label’s music and art-direction to engineering and mixing releases.
In 2009, Bok Bok & L-Vis 1990 joined London’s leading underground radio station Rinse FM – then a pirate. Rinse has since gained a broadcasting license and remains a cornerstone of London’s music scene.
Catch the Night Slugs Mix Show on Rinse every 4th Sunday of the month, 11pm-1am GMT on 106.8FM around London and Rinse.FM elsewhere.