This week’s podcast is a trip through the record collection of JD Twitch, one half of Glasgow institution Optimo.
Optimo, the now legendary Sunday night party at the Sub Club in Glasgow, is one of the most successful long-running leftfield nights in the world. Hosted by veteran Glasgow DJs JD Twitch and JG Wilkes, Optimo has its own way of doing things: the night doesn’t book DJs, it books live acts, a policy which has seen the likes of Richie Hawtin, Lee Scratch Perry, LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and even Grace Jones squeeze through its doors. Nowadays Twitch and Wilkes are a bit of a roadshow, too, taking Optimo to Japan, New York, Europe as well as around the UK to spread the Glasgow love around.
Optimo also cater for stay at home types too with regular mix CDs, the latest of which ‘Walkabout’ scored the #8 spot on RA’s top 10 comps of 2007. That mix was a trip through the darker side of proto-techno, but these are men of many facets—you’re as equally likely to hear punk rock cuts, Tropicalia or disco as straight up dance music at an Optimo night. As far as his RA mix goes—and we’re very excited to present this one after nagging Twitch for ages for it—it’s a lovely trip indeed, making sense of golden house cuts, African-inflected techno and even a spazzed out Rod Stewart cover in fine Optimo fashion. It’s also very, very well mixed, as you’d expect from a DJ who has been doing this since in the eighties. Enjoy!
What have you been working on recently?
We recently celebrated ten years of Optimo and had a couple of parties in Glasgow with some of our favourite acts who have played the club over the years performing. We never anticipated that Optimo would last so long and we always said we would stop if it reached ten years but we enjoy doing it so much and have such a loyal, enthusiastic crowd that it felt wrong to end just for the sake of an arbitrary point in time and space. Nothing lasts forever but hopefully it will last for a wee while longer yet.
Scotland is probably the home of celebrating New Year (or Hogmanay as we Scots call it) so every year we do a huge party for 1500 people in this amazing old converted fruitmarket in the city centre. This year we had Dan Deacon live and Tim Sweeney playing records. It was off the scale and reaffirms my belief that Glasgow is the greatest city for partying on the planet. (Dodgy Youtube footage here)
Apart from that, always touring and working on music, working on things for the club, listening to music, searching for music, doing remixes etc.
Where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded in my studio at home right at the very start of January. I had been DJing almost every night from New Year's Eve through to the 6th of January and was pretty much clubbed out. The mix was going to have no drums at all but I started messing around in this almost trance like state and this is what came out. I was also going through relationship break up hell and was only listening to Cumbia and heart wrenching torch songs so it's possibly fortunate for your listeners that the mix didn't go down that route, although both of those sneak in there somewhere. A couple of the records in the mix are perhaps suffering from night club fatigue (drinks spilled on them etc.) so apologies if the fidelity is a little low in a couple of places.
What are you up to next?
Lots and lots of touring though hopefully a bit less than previous years so I have time to fit a bit of a life in there too! I have a few remixes I'm working on but myself and Dave who I work with also want to have some time this year to do our own project which will hopefully be something a little bit different to everything that is going on musically at the moment. I also hope to find some time to go to Brazil to produce some music with Os Mutantes, though I have so much love and respect for their music that I find the idea a little daunting to say the least.
I have run our label OSCARR for many years now but never really got any momentum going with it so I definitely aim to change that this year too and provide another much needed outlet in Glasgow for the wealth of creativity that exists here.
We have an Optimo compilation due on Domino later in the year that features the kind of music you'd hear if you came "back to mine" which will probably explain why people tend to leave fairly quickly if they do come back to mine! We also have a mix coming out on Soma in conjunction with The Sub Club (where we do Optimo) to celebrate the twentieth birthday of the Sub Club. We will do one CD and Harri and Domenic who do the Saturday night will do the other. Apart from that, running a weekly club and booking interesting live acts of all musical persuasions to come and play takes up an awful lot of time and for the foreseeable future that will probably take up the bulk of my love and energy. Optimo, the club, is our playground and our first love.