Top: The scene at PS1
Bottom: Yeah, I think that girl crowd surfing got dropped.
New York City LGA
July 8, 11 PM: Tomorrow I am playing a MoMA PS1 Warm Up show. I have been to one PS1 Warm Up in the past. I think Questlove was DJing. I thought it was OK. The crowd seemed a little too transfixed on the man, rather than the selection though. What was dope about the event was the installation surrounding everyone. Every year it's different. The courtyard they hold it in has some water mist fountains and giant hammocks. The museum itself has an incredible collection, and when it gets too hot you can retreat inside for a fresh air-conditioned break. I'm both excited and nervous at the same time. Really happy to be playing with my friends the TURRBOTAX® DJs and also SBTRKT and Four Tet.
I've known SBTRKT for a few years now and I remember playing with him in Antwerp. (Having to recognize him without a mask on in the hotel lobby was difficult at the time.) It's been amazing to watch his live set grow into a complete experience with drums and vocalist Sampha. Jesus, I really need to sort out my live show. I want something that's both coherent on the dance and an honest look into my own productions. That's what I look forward to in other live shows at least.
Anyway, this will be the biggest show in NYC I have ever played. I never tell my friends when I am playing in New York. Well I rarely do. Something about playing for them makes me anxious. But I fill my 15 spot guest list with them all. Doesn't help my nerves. I'm sorting my tunes for tomorrow and have a rough idea of what I would like to do: Start with a bunch of old NY house and feel the crowd out, maybe play a little harder by the end. I'll see… Every time I have a "plan" it ends up going out the window after the first tune. I hope it goes well. I'm not sure what to expect. Maybe this will be the gig that rejuvenates my love for New York music gatherings. Maybe it won't. Probably won't.
July 10, 1 AM: Yeah, it was dope. Rejuvenated enough of a love for going out in this city. The crowd definitely showed up. I heard attendance numbers were 5,600. Nice. Some friends definitely took refuge in the air-conditioned museum by the stage. Was so hot out... Burgers after didn't help much. Nor did the beer. Four Tet did his thing, and he did it well. Wonder what tune that is in the video to the right... I should ask him. The best thing was that people were dancing with each other. Not just facing the DJ. How did that start I wonder? It really is a great feeling to turn out a crowd and have them fall for one another, not you. That doesn't help your ego in the long run. Seen that destroy a lot of creative minds.
Top: Cosmin TRG and Machinedrum.
Bottom: No sushi tonight.
July 14, 1 AM: The past few days have been spent getting ready for my quick weekend to Berlin and Bristol. I've settled nicely from the PS1 gig and had some time to make a few tunes. If I have a really hectic schedule ahead of me, there is nothing I like to do more than ignore all responsibilities and make tunes. It's how I deal with stress. Got masters back on two more 12-inches for the end of the year. Also nice. Became a level 70 in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for the second time. Less nice, more pathetic.
I have a red eye flight to Berlin tomorrow—the 15th. Well 14th at night, I suppose. I only fly through the night. I hate the feeling of getting up early to start a tour. I'd rather lose some sleep and have a whole day to pack and get ready. Never really a good idea though, as I will arrive with actual red eyes and need to play a 4 AM set at Sub:Stance's 3rd birthday party at the Berghain. The fucking Berghain. I'm not gonna sleep when I land. I need to see people and enjoy the city as I leave 24 hours later. It's not only my first time playing the Berghain, but I'm playing right before Dillinja. Yep that Dillinja. Capone, Basic Influence, D-Type, etc... Can't wait to see him play. See some friends from Brooklyn too. Machinedrum and Praveen, also playing that night as Sepalcure at 6 AM. Fucking 6 AM. Not jealous of them. Or should I be?
July 15, 5 PM: I just wanted to sleep when I arrive, but I also really wanted to go to Overkill, a shoe shop in Kreuzberg, and pick up a pair of Adidas' I have had my eye on for months... I'll sleep though, for now. It's raining and cold. I left 35 degrees for 16. No one told me it was this cold! It's a refresher from the NYC heat that gets trapped between the buildings for three months. I need to go see my friends, get some food and chill before the Berghain. I already did my sound check. It's what? Four or five Funktion One stacks, with the matching monitors in the booth? Sounds so heavy.
July 16, 4 AM: The db meter in the booth is not to be fucked with, and at this point I remind myself that what happens at the Berghain stays at the Berghain. This includes sound levels and dirty corners. You need to witness this. A real rave. Both intimidating, exciting and welcoming at the same time. The bouncers are interesting... That being said, no photos.
I got a minute or two earlier today with my pals Cosmin and Travis. Good people living in a good place with a lot at their fingertips. Including a cell phone without a data plan...Gilles Peterson played Panorama at 2. He told me my music "is half jazz, man." Thank you. He plays jazz around 3:30 AM. George Fitzgerald steals the show, though. Need to get more of his music.
I love Berlin.
July 16, 7 AM: I leave the club after Dillinja smacks it, to find the sun is up and warm. A beautiful day, but of course it's on to the next stop. Bristol. Start The Bus with Morgan Zarate and Lone. I'm happy about my set, but deliriously tired. I drank a Club Mate at the club and went to bed hearing a small explosion in my right ear every 12 minutes. I wonder if someone put something in my drink. Really. I am a little uncomfortable, but it sort of sounds amazing at the same time. I need to sleep. This is sorta like that weird movie where Pacino is chasing Robin Williams around Alaska in 24 hour daylight. Maybe I should tape the blinds shut?
The pigeons of Bristol.
July 16, 2 PM: Airport travel is really boring. I do get a few hours with Dillinja and a coffee to chat about tunes which is nice, but mostly this part of touring is just boring. People love to tweet about this, or facebook update this shit. It is what it is. Sleep deprived thoughts are far more entertaining. I wouldn't mind telling that dude over there to shut up and just kiss his girlfriend for instance. Anyway, I digress. We landed at Heathrow and it's now a two hour coach to Bristol. Easy bus ride, no people, AC and my laptop has a full charge. Warp about 10 new tunes into Ableton for tonight's set. Why didn't I play these last night? I need more sleep. Gosh, she's cute.
July 16, 9 PM: I love Bristol. I just saw the video here on RA and I recognized a few faces and places from my last visit in 2009. The trouble with having producers and DJs as friends is you never see them in their own town. It's always random and on the road. I'd love to meet Julio and catch up with Addison, but I think most people are at Melt! or Lovebox in London. Lone checks in, his ear is completely fucked, has to cancel his appearance last minute. I understand. I've made that trip to the doctor a few times. Second time missing him on a gig though. Shame.
July 17, 5 AM: I could live in Bristol. I could live in Berlin too, but the vibe is really amazing around here. Morgan showed up a little late. Both the promoter and I were sweating it a little, wondering if my set would be 4 hours. The rain pissed down for a few hours, and Zarate showed up finally. Turns out he drove. I can't blame him for taking his time in that weather. What a dude. So talented. I'm reminded of his projects and how much time I have actually spent listening to his productions. When he gets on to DJ, he pretty much takes us all to school. Vibe is so heavy and sweaty, but intimate at the same time. Best mix a small club can ask for. I had the best set I've played in maybe a year tonight too. I can't believe I'm gonna get at least 4 hours of sleep tonight. So blessed at this point. I forget that my mix goes live on Mary Anne Hobbs show on XFM while I am in Bristol. No chance to stream it yet. Data roaming is a bitch.
July 17, 9 AM: I woke up slightly refreshed. It's a two and a half hour coach then a three hour layover, and a seven hour flight back home to NYC today. But fuck it, I once again got paid to travel around the world to do what I love. It seems this is the only job I am cut out for. I hate bosses. I hate 9-5. I hate bringing your "work" home with you. I am always working, but it never feels like work. Anyway, if I hated what I do, you would be the last to hear about it. Why moan about this? Have a little perspective on life. No one is hacking my cell phone or laying me off. Yet. Need to make some more tunes. And sleep.