Swarbs

You may know Swarbs, aka David Swarbrick, from his barnstorming sets at Grandma Groove and OOX. He links rose-tinted disco with the tightness of garage, to deliver swaying, hedonistic sets to heaving dancefloors. Here, he starts off somewhere familiar, before leading us down to deeper house and skittery techno, before emerging back where we started with a euphoric rendition of Jill Scott’s 'Golden'. A huge mood-lifter for those in the library. 

What were you trying to do with this mix? 

Originally I’d planned a full arc to the mix starting at a Floating Points track and wandering through some of the latest releases I’m enjoying at the moment, from some Kornél Kovács to Mac DeMarco, but I realised the pre-planned tracks didn’t fit together in the way I’d hoped they might. I guess good playlists don’t necessarily make good mixes.

The hour or so posted here begins a while into the recording session, from which point I was mainly exploring mixing in key and doing some long transitions into tracks I really enjoy but some of which I wouldn’t usually play out.

The mix has a pretty constant thumping energy, but goes from disco to funk to house to Skee Mask’s unique brand of dark breaks. As you’ve mentioned, people might not be familiar with the deeper side of the mix, is that something you might try to incorporate in a set?  

It’s quite easy to move from classic disco to brand new house/garage and back again, and I do that quite often, but you can only stray further into some techno if the crowd are really behind you & it wouldn’t be too off-brand for the night. I think my ideal DJ set would sound something like this mix, but I have no idea what sort of night that would be or whether anyone would actually want to come.

David at Grandma Groove in JanuaryGrandma Groove/Facebook

A night you’ve played, that has been wildly successful this year, is Grandma Groove. While the popularity has been hugely positive for the Cambridge music/student DJ scene, it’s renowned for people selling tickets on for vastly more than they bought them for. Have you noticed this ‘Ticketbridge’ trend have an effect on the people able to go to the nights? Do you think there’s anything that can be done to combat it?

I’ve definitely noticed the hype created by the increased demand for tickets, it’s really great that a student run night making money for charity sells out within a matter of minutes.

I think the excitement on Facebook can sometimes add to the atmosphere of a night; people generally arrive earlier, meaning the energy gets to a good level more quickly and sustains for longer.

"My ideal DJ set would sound something like this mix, but I have no idea what sort of night that would be"

For GG, I know the organisers have been trying lots of different ways to counteract ticket reselling, they’ve put a limit on the number of tickets people can purchase and included more ticket options, but there’s only so much a promoter can do in preventing resale for profit. At the moment I think lots of the frustration lies with the speed at which tickets sell out, so it would be interesting to see if an announcement of the ticket release time would help, such as Arcsoc used to do.

What was the best party you’ve played? 

Djing to a 2000 capacity club on the Varsity Trip has to be one of the best parties I’ve played and one of the most surreal opportunities I’ve received, but I’d probably say one of my favourite moments when djing was at an earlier Grandma Groove in Revs when I mixed a disco remix of the Star Wars theme tune (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWRWYYt47RI) into the end of a funk track. The slow realisation in the room of what had just happened was such a fun moment.

What have you got planned for the future?

I’ve got a super packed fortnight coming up, with another Grandma Groove, Strawberries & Creem, the Turf All-Nighter at Junction, then a whole host of May Balls & other smaller nights. After that, a lot of sleep.

CO3

CO3, aka Timi Sotire, is a relative newcomer to the Cambridge scene, but has made a name for herself in the short time it’s been. From starting out playing around at Rudie, to turning it up early at Avant Gardening and closing out Reclaim the Decks, she’s taken to mixing like a duck to water and can count Sherelle (mad Boiler Room here) among her admirers. As she looks to move up and out into the London scene, check out her euphoric blend of gospel, disco, soul, house and funk.

What were you trying to do with the mix?

I just wanted to showcase some of the songs I’ve been listening to throughout exam term. Although this term has been stressful, I like how having plenty of study time gives me a chance to listen to some new music. It sounds weird but listening to new music actually helps me concentrate, so in a way it was the perfect time to make a new mix. I really struggle keeping to one genre when doing a mix so thought I’d try it here (I know there’s some rogue songs on there but it’s a process lol)

One of the themes I noticed was a gospel sound running through some of the vocals, noticeably the one or two that have been sampled by Floorplan among others. Do you think that sound comes a lot in the stuff you’re into?

"As a kid, there was a strict christian-music-only rule in the house, so most of the CDs we had were Gospel"

Yes! The song sampled by Floorplan is ‘Lovin is Really my Game’ by Ann Nesby which is actually a cover of a song originally sang by Brainstorm. A lot of the music that I listen to and use for mixing is either Gospel or has Gospel/Soul/R&B influences. I definitely think that this is because of my upbringing. My parents are strong Christians, and as a kid there was a strict christian-music-only rule in the house, so most of the CDs we had at home and in the car were Gospel.

Now that I’m older, I find Gospel music therapeutic because of its nostalgic element. Gospel has influenced so much of the music that we listen to today, but is really under-appreciated, and I want my mixes to show how incredible a genre it is. When it comes to vocals, I think the voice is the best instrument and I want my mixes to show that. And on a more practical note, I’m not really a fan of music with no words. I have a few exceptions, but overall I find that songs with a strong vocal track just hit differently.

Ann Nesby's 'Lovin' Is Really My Game' is sampled in Timi's mix@annnesby/Instagram

You have played in both Bristol and Cambridge, at Reclaim the Decks, Hip Hop Soc. After-Party and Avant Gardening. How have those nights gone? How do you go about preparing to play a set?

I’ve done a few sets now, but I still get incredibly nervous before I do one since I’m so new to the game and the DJs in Cambridge are amazing! My favourite set by far was Avant Gardening because it was my first time using CDJs and it didn’t actually go awfully!

I normally prepare a set by creating a playlist of like 50-60 songs from my iTunes that I want to include in the mix and just spend a couple of hours playing around on my decks. By that point I’ve found like 4-5 songs that mix really well together and create the rest of my mix based off of the BPM and genre of those few songs.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

'You Are The Music In Me' by Troy and Gabriella (from High School Musical 2).

Who is your favourite producer/performer at the moment? 


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Mountain View

Milk & Alcohol: William Gore and Princess Banga

I love Bosq, he has been one of my favourite producers since I was in school and has some great releases this year, one of his new songs is in my mix!

What is your go to tune to bring a party up/banger?

'American Boy' by Estelle and Kanye!

What was the best party you’ve played?

I DJed in Bristol in front of Sherelle in March which was terrifying as she is one of my favourite DJs. But she loved my set, she said I was really good and had an amazing song choice, so yeah, I was gassed!

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