Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston have announced that they will extend their monthly party at The Drop through till December.
Hosted by both Andrew Weatherall and his long-term friend and accomplice Sean Johnston, the party at The Drop in Stoke Newington has become an outlet for showcasing their vast musical knowledge, taking in everything from post-punk to techno. Don't go expecting any guest DJs, as the pair are the only artists on the bill for each and every night, taking turns on the decks for the full five hour duration of the party. Currently they're slotted in to do the third Thursday of each month, with events planned for October 21st, November 18th, and December 16th.
We caught up with Sean Johnston to get the lowdown on how things have been going so far, why they picked The Drop, and what their future plans are.
You and Andrew go back a long way. Can you explain how your relationship came about?
Andrew and I have been acquainted for some time. We knew each other from DJing way back to the acid house days, in fact (except he moved in much more fashionable circles than me). Even back then we both shared a pretty varied taste in music, and I used to run into him at gigs from time to time, but it was Jeff Barrett from Heavenly Records––a mutual friend––that really introduced us properly. Later on he put out some of our earlier work as Flash Faction on Sabres of Paradise, and we've been mates ever since. I think it's a shared interest in rooting out weird and wonderful music and making ridiculous noises that made us click.
What can attendees expect from a typical night out at A Love From Outer Space?
The thing you've got to understand about ALFOS is that there isn't a typical one, and often we don't know what to expect ourselves. The only rule we set was that anything that gets played has to be sub-122bpm. Both of us have a lot of music both old and new that we're really excited about, but that we'd hardly ever get chance to air on a Friday or Saturday night, and we wanted to invent something where we could... Sometimes I start, some times Andrew starts but generally we kick off at around 80bpm and go from there. You could expect to hear pretty much anything, which is what makes it exciting. Generally we play for an hour each. The first two hours are pretty eclectic––I've played older stuff from the '70s like Richard Wahnfried, Chris and Cosey, ON-U Sound records, Gang Of Four; but you can just as easily hear Raudive, DFA stuff or dub techno records. From about midnight onwards it's pretty lively with some disco, proto-house, old house, and new stuff that we've dug up. An ALFOS aesthetic is definitely emerging. From our point of view it's great to have a room full of people really going for it to mid-tempo music.
What was it that drew you two to The Drop?
The Drop just came about at the right time. Andrew and I had talked for a while about doing something like this, but we wanted somewhere with a good sound that was the right size, and a bit off the beaten track so people had to make an effort to get there and not just have another late drink in Shoreditch. A mutual mate (Nathan Gregory Wilkins of History Clock) is the booker there, and he invited us into the fold. We get a really good mixed crowd up there that's a nice mixture of longstanding Weatherall fans, Dalston and Shoreditch refugees, trendy girls, big gay bears, bemused locals and quite a few off-duty DJs and rock'n'rollers. The one defining thing is that they're all there for the music and up for a party which is exactly what we'd hoped for. Obviously it's a school night, so you can't go on all night and there's a finite window of opportunity, but I think that helps to make it special too.
Are you working on any productions with Andrew at the moment?
As it stands, Andrew and I have no current plans to work on any productions together (although there is a Hardway Bros remix of "Walk Of Shame" in the can). I think the club has been pretty influential on the work that both of us have done recently though, you can certainly hear A Love From Outer Space in Andrew's remixes of Grinderman and Trentemoller and the remix of Finite Source's "Evolution" that I worked on with my friends Haules Baules from Romania recently.