The Bristol and Berlin-based DJs have a new label to go with their radio show.
The label's title is an acronym for "There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch," a phrase from Robert A/ Heinlein's sci-fi novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It goes hand in hand with TANSTAAFL Signal, Osborn and October's Sunday night radio show on TwenFM in Berlin. The label kicks off with Epoch 4, a 12-inch by Osborn that was mastered by October in Bristol and features Appleblim on keys. The duo have penciled in future releases by various Bristol and Berlin-based artists, such as Ripperton, Kowton, Borai and Jilt van Moorst. The project will soon evolve into a Berlin party as well, called TANSTAAFL Nights.
Chatting via email earlier this week, Osborn and October talked about the differences and similarities between Bristol and Berlin, and why DJing on the radio can be more fun than in the clubs:
How do you two know each other?Epoch 4 will be released in a run of 500 copies, all on marbled vinyl.
John Osborn: It was an online love affair! Around 2006 or 2007 I was at a friend's house in London and he dragged me into his front room to listen to this track. It was Caravan number one by October. When I heard this I stopped dead, I had never heard anything like this before and I forced my friend to give me this record, I would not leave back to Berlin without it. He gracefully gave it to me and I then found October on MySpace and basically told him that he was god for making this record. I then sent him some of my mixtapes which he freaked out on and loved. Due to our mutual admiration club I eventually got October to come and play at one of my JackOff parties, the first one actually, and since then our bond and understanding of each other has grown considerably. We understand each other on a very high level, but not without differences.
DJ October: What John said.
Do you feel there's a creative dialog between Bristol and Berlin these days?
DJ October: Kind of yeah but I feel it's only been a recent thing. Dubstep was and still is big in Bristol but the house and techno resurrection that has been happening over the past year or so has helped start a dialog for sure. No one has yet to firmly bridge the gap between the two cities but John Osborn and I are working on it with our new TANSTAAFL label, radio show and soon club night.
John Osborn: I have been closely involved with Scuba & Paul Spymania with the SUB:STANCE parties at Berghain from the start three years ago. I do all the curation and layout for the flyer & poster art. From this standpoint I can say that Scuba certainly is to be accredited with bringing dubstep to a larger audience in Berlin and later fusing this sound with the Berlin/Berghain techno sound. And as Bristol is well known for its dubstep scene the obvious connections have been made, and producers from each city have looked to each other for further influences and inspirations. I have been acutely aware of this happening but the fact that I met October and he is from Bristol is a coincidence, like a lot of things in my life. So October is right by saying that we are the first two people based in these two cities actually making a concrete, solid connection between the two. Obviously we are both influenced by our immediate surroundings and we then fuse these vibes together in a very direct and immediate way.
What do the two cities share in common?
DJ October: Berlin is quite flat and Bristol has got a lot of hills. In Berlin smoking in clubs is tolerated but not in Bristol. Hence all clubs in the UK smell of sweat, farts, puke, stale ale and piss. You definitely don't get that in Berlin and it makes a big difference. If you play a track that is not as banging, everyone leaves the dance floor to go outside for a cigarette. That really sucks and has changed clubbing in the UK big time. But like Berlin, Bristol is THE creative hot spot in the UK with loads of great studios, rehearsal spaces, musicians, DJs and artists. The difference is if you're a musician, artist or DJ in Berlin, it's considered a real job. In Bristol it's just a struggle to survive sometimes as it's way more expensive to live there than in Berlin. Basically both cities are artistically driven, centred and very green.
John Osborn: Both cities are steeped in musical history, both cities have been places for creative types to runaway to and hide in or even the actual opposite: both have been cites that creative people have tried to escape from. This history makes for an invisible smog that is composed of very similar elements & minerals. Unfortunately Bristol is throttled by the UK nanny state Government's licensing laws which without a doubt puts a massive dent in the landscape of the bristolian club culture, but these restrictions mean that the people of this city have an even stronger desire for what they "cannot have" and forces them to be even more creative. Rules and restrictions are the mother of creativity.
As a DJ, what's satisfying about a radio show that you don't get from club gigs?
DJ October: John will have more to say on this as he's done more radio shows than I, but my few experiences with the radio is you can really curate your show and play stuff you wouldn't normally play out. It's more relaxing and less stressful than playing out in a sweaty loud jacking' club night.
John Osborn: I love radio and always have done. I get quite dewy eyed about it all when I think of some lonely soul burning the midnight oil listening to my show and getting pleasure from, not just great music, but from the very real fact that somebody is "there". Unfortunately I do not get this feeling from net streamed radio shows, for me it is all about FM analogue airwaves. I have been involved with TwenFM, Berlin's first and only ever pirate radio, since 2002. TwenFM got given a FM frequency about a year ago due to the constant hard work from Sacha Beneditti (TwenFM's founder) he asked me to get back involved with them as Sacha recognised my passion for radio and that I really try hard to program a show. This to me, means that there has to be talking, and some younger dance music fans find this annoying as they have had no real radio relationship. They, sadly, have been brought up on a diet of podcasts and promo mixes that the internet is awash with. Unlike the days when I was cutting my teeth on electronic music, when it was hard to get a mix tape from our favourite Djs , and when we did, it would cost us money that we did not mind parting with as it was so special. We would then try to dissect that mix and work out what the hell the tracks were. Now people bitch if a DJ posts a free downloadable mix but without a track list… LOL. So due to this I have had to explain to some people that have moaned; "a talking dj totally ruins the mix, man"… that this is not a mix, not a podcast, not a recording of a club night but a real radio show!!
A radio show allows me to play other stuff I am really passionate about but I would not often, if at all, have the chance to play in a club environment. More ambient drone stuff for example. Obviously most of what i play is dance music related and as the TANSTAAFL SIGNAL is from 11pm Sunday evening till 1am Monday morning, and being broadcast in Berlin it means that this is a very after-hours time slot, there fore I try to program the show with that in mind.
A1 Epoch 4 Version
B1 Epoch 4
TANSTAAFL will release Epoch 4 on August 31st, 2011.