Sublime rhythms from the London selector.
Last year, in a conversation with Hyponik about her party, Night Moves, Jane Fitz casually said something quite radical: "We're not going to do too many because we don't want to be high profile." She expands on the point in the interview below: "[Night Moves] is something that isn't diluted by outside pressure—we have no desire to be hip, or rich, or recognised." This idea seems central to Fitz's MO. For the past 20 years, she's happily plied her trade away from the spotlight, DJing everywhere from Hong Kong (where she lived in the mid-'90s) to Freerotation (where she's currently a resident) to the small clubs scattered across London where she hosts Night Moves with Jade Seatle (they do the occasional daytime party as well, called, naturally, Day Moves).
Her DJ style, meanwhile, has the kind of rich personality that can only come from decades devoted to the craft: whether she's playing raucous acid or soothing ambient, her sets are defined by flawless selection and slick delivery. On RA.477, Fitz showcases her assured style with an hour and 40 minutes of thumping, ethereal house.
What have you been up to recently?
Over the past few months I've been mostly travelling and playing records and hanging out with the people I love—basically living a bit of a nomadic dream and loving every minute of it. I recently came back from a tour of the Balkans by car. I had a few gigs there—in Belgrade, at Meadows In The Mountains festival in Bulgaria and in Montenegro, and decided the best thing would be to string it out into a road trip. It was beautiful; I had great company, I caught up with friends in the region and got to play on a boat, on mountains and on a beach. I came back for Freerotation. Perfect.
How and where was the mix recorded?
At home in my spare room, in London, on my trusty Vestax that everyone who comes to my house hates, and a lovely-sounding secondhand Formula Sound mixer. I just wish I'd had time to change my needles. I did it the other week on a couple of days turnaround between trips because I'd been saying for the past six months I was going to record it, and to be honest, it was becoming a bit of a weight around my neck that I hadn't done it. I was desperate to get it done before I went to Freerotation.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I've been thinking about the mix and making little notes about possible records since about February. My first attempt was OK, but when I listened back the sound was cutting out in one side because of a loose connection. The second one I did was pretty heavy. But when I played it to someone who knows me well, and who has heard a lot of my sets out recently, they said they couldn't hear enough of me in it, and that it was too masculine, and on reflection they were right.
So this was attempt three—a third of the records came straight out of the bag I'd been playing from on the Balkans tour, a third out of my notes and third just off the cuff. Afterwards I thought maybe I hadn't pushed it far enough, because I like to go quite weird and trippy. But then I have been playing a little bit deeper again recently and I wanted that to be in there, too. I wanted something with longevity too, and a few of the tracks are records I have been playing on and off for at least 15 years. They still move me so I thought I should include some because they link to my evolution in playing records, and they fit well against the new tracks that are in there.
Tell us about Night Moves, your party with Jade Seatle. What makes it special?
A combination of good people and free vibes. Since we started the party, I'm not understating it when I say it has developed into a real community. Our crowd are amazing and really loyal. When we started we concentrated on building a crowd first, that was our intention, so that we would be making something that people could feel part of and look forward to and contribute to. It has outstripped our expectations in so many ways. Because of the trust that the people who come to Night Moves (and Day Moves) put in us, we have no pressure—we can book exactly who we want, which means even if you aren't familiar with the guest, you know they'll deliver. There aren't many parties that have that freedom, so even though we made it that way, we are grateful for the opportunity to do that.
We play around with programming, sometimes we play together, or with other people. One time I'll warm up, next time I'll do four hours later on. Nothing is fixed. My background in going out is a mix of free parties, outdoor soundsystems, the old London tech house scene, psy-trance parties, sweaty jazz dances, the party scenes of Asia in the mid-'90s, festivals—all incredibly free-spirited, music-and-good-time rather than headline-DJ-focused experiences, and all of those influences feed into Night Moves and my personal approach to it. We get people coming from all over the country, and from abroad, for the handful of parties we do each year. And they're still only a couple of hundred people, because we don't really shout about it. There is a lot of crossover with the Freerotation crowd and artists, too. Special people make it special.
Putting on intimate parties in London must be an uphill battle. What makes it worthwhile for you?
Freedom and music and people and the pure, unadulterated commitment we have to putting on a good time and making people feel welcome. Loads of promoters say it's not about the money, but then secretly agonise over who to book, who will bring the punters in. That isn't us. Yes, London is expensive, venues are difficult to find, and it's a big city, but there is plenty of opportunity to do things by your own rules. You just need to be brave and creative.
This is the reason we moved our venue from Hackney to Northwest London. No one does parties there, so if you're going to take people out of their comfort zone, you have to be confident it's for a good reason (which is how parties used to be until about seven years ago, when East London became the focus). The result is something that isn't diluted by outside pressure—we have no desire to be hip, or rich, or recognised, so having no financial ties or credibility demands means we're outside of trend, and that helps keep it intimate. We just want to give nice people a nice time in the city where we both grew up. That's what a party is all about. It's easy to do, but only if that is your true motivation.
You've got a well-honed sound and a lot of mysterious records. How do you find your new tunes, and how do they enter your repertoire?
It's funny you say that as I think I take in many sounds and go in all sorts of directions depending on the setting and my mood. But I think whatever style I'm playing—deep, ravey, techno, ambient, soul, disco or whatever—I hope you can always hear me in it. Finding new records is easy but time-consuming. There is so much amazing music to be found across the board—a lot of it hidden in plain site. I get bored very easily so I'm constantly searching for something fresh to play, so I listen to a lot of music online, all the time, across scores of record shops.
I use Discogs. I tend to bulk-buy lots of cheap things and revisit favourite sellers. I always head straight for the bargain bins in record shops when I travel, and I always visit the shops that don't specialise in dance music. I listen for grooves, basslines, weird noises, atmosphere, or for drama and surprises—that's what it takes to make me buy a record, not who it's by or what labels its on or how rare or expensive it is. And I'm constantly revisiting my collection and stripping out the deadwood—that in itself is a constant and reliable source of inspiration. Seriously, you can't beat a B-side you've not listened to in 15 years.
What are you up to next?
More travel and work and adventures. I'm writing these answers on a flight to Japan because I'm playing at Rural festival this weekend. Going from ambient to strange house and more earthy, tribal rhythms, outdoors in the mountains, so I'm absolutely buzzing for it. Then I'm holidaying with the most beautiful souls I know. Then I go back to the quarterly magazine I edit in London, and a few stints behind the counter at Kristina Records where I can be found when I'm in town.
Hopefully we'll squeeze in a couple of Day Moves parties before autumn, then there is the Field Moves tent to host at Field Maneuvers festival, gigs at Audio Farm Festival, in Berlin and then a return to Japan to play again, and a trip to The Labyrinth. After that, plotting Night Moves at the Golden Pudel and in London for autumn, working hard with my new agent to find interesting new places to play, and knuckling down in the studio with Dom to make more Invisible Menders music. We've got a couple of records coming out, on Boe Recordings, and our friend Carl's new label, Animals On Psychedelics. Oh and a new radio show soon. So not much really.