SIREN exists to challenge and re-define current preconceptions within dance music, whilst bringing to the fore those underrepresented in the scene. Over the past few years, the collective have thrown queer parties, run radio shows, workshops and published a zine. Their next UK party is RECURSION, a collaboration with Bristol’s ‘Intervention’ on the 27th of May in South London. In preparation for the show, we invited the members of SIREN to contribute to our That Time When series, looking at the shows and events that influenced the formation of the collective.
Probably my favourite SIREN event to date. It was utter madness, our ‘chillout’ room consisted of pink and silver decor, a large amount of sex toys and a old school arcade machine with free games of ‘Metal Slug’. It was absolutely priceless watching wide eyed dancers take time away from the dancefloor to play a classic shooter game. Billed as DJ JD, I played an all acid set at 1 o’clock as the warehouse hit capacity. I was wondering where the rest of the gang were as I waited for the build up to Rhythm is Rhythm - Beyond The Dance. I later find out that outside there was a man with a dog threatening to call the police and generally terrorizing the people queuing to get in, which had led to manically sneaking people in the back and having a temporary party lock in…
Possibly one of the sickest line ups I’ve ever witnessed at a festival - navigating the clashfinder of Animal Collective’s ATP Festival in 2011 was endlessly challenging. It’s rare that you can see acts as varied and obscure as Terry Riley, Actress, Black Dice, Micachu & The Shapes, Kria Brekkan, Oneohtrix Point Never and Big Boi all on one lineup. I even credit this festival to my introduction to Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace as one of many TV shows they screened on their own curated channel in the Butlin’s chalet rooms, alongside meeting some of my now-best-friends, Flamingods, by being invited to climb through their chalet window for a mass jam on the final night - which in fact became the formation of their band! One of the highlight performances of the weekend was seeing Grouper play as part of Wet Sounds’ installation in the holiday park swimming pool. The sounds that the audience heard varied whether you were out of the water, floating on the surface, or beneath the water in the pool. With a heightened sense of hearing below the water, her soundscapes blended perfectly with the bubbling and sloshing water and the echoes of excited festival goers as their voices reverberated off the walls above surface. I’m a sucker for gigs in unusual spaces that are really sensitive to thinking “OK, so where would really compliment this artist’s sound? What kind of space reignites people’s excitement to see live music IRL?” - and this gig balanced that perfectly.
Growing up in a tiny rural village where most people probably thought dubstep was a type of equestrian footwear, my access to underground music nights was severely limited. After months of blasting Scuba, Skream et al out of my car on the way to and from school c/o a compilation CD of my Dad’s, A Levels were over, and my best mates and I wasted no time in booking tickets to Outlook Festival 2010, when the festival was in its second year and felt fresh and intimate (alas no longer). Considering the genre had its peak in the mid-noughties, I guess we were late to the party, but being in an abandoned Croatian moat with the bass of The Bug’s ‘Skeng’ vibrating through my ribcage still gives me shivers today, and was the shape of things to come as I went on to live in London and become a regular at Plastic People’s legendary FWD parties.
This is both an embarrassing and life changing memory. I was about 17, at the beginnings of my forays into electronic music from an obsessive indie nerd teenagehood. Nero, if anyone remembers, were a popular brostep duo at the genre’s peak. My best friend and I went along with our respective boyfriends at the time to see Nero at the University of Hertfordshire’s music venue, the Hatfield Forum. It was (obviously) absolutely rammed full of pumped up bros moshing everywhere. To avoid being crushed by this testosterone fuelled madness we were pressed against the barrier at the front for the entire gig. Nero’s set-up was a giant stack of television screens and speakers, with them playing behind it, added to the venue’s sound system. I remember thinking it was the loudest thing I had ever heard. After this gig our ears wouldn’t stop ringing very loudly for a whole month, making even hearing what teachers said in lessons difficult. After that it quietened down to a constant background noise, but it’s never gone away since for either of us, and it’s been steadily getting worse. As an underground electronic music fanatic having tinnitus for life because of Nero is a deeply cruel irony, and hard learned lesson to always always wear earplugs !!
Having heard from multiple sources that Dirty Talk was the best party in the world, Lauren (re:ni) & I decided to head up to Bristol to attempt to verify this. I don’t know if I can give it no 1 slot but it’s definitely in the top 5 - it was pretty incredible. Owing to Dirty Talk’s popularity, you need a degree of inside knowledge even to get a ticket, as once online they sell out within hours. The party essentially takes place in a cave: the upstairs is a brightly lit, beers-on-tap bar area, while the downstairs is basically a dungeon, complete with stone walls and an extreme downwards slant to the dancefloor. The largely disco and house set perfectly complemented the dark environment- can imagine that bleak techno in that space would have been slightly too predictable- and the crowd went for it with the usual Bristol enthusiasm. This is so cheesy I can’t believe I’m writing it but it was one of those nights where you feel like putty in the hands of the DJ. As with many great parties details are quite blurry but one definitive high point was either Jan Schulte or Gib’r dropping Michael Palmer’s She Sexy circa 4am.
Listen to the latest SIREN show on NTS below: