Jul 11, 2011
The first time I met Marco, one half of genre-spanning radio show and anything-goes DJ duo Tarantism, it was in the toilets of the now sadly closed Research Club. He’d just finished his set with partner Nathan and was pouring with sweat, the duo were on warm up duty that night yet still jumped into it with all the energy of a peak-time slot at the Sub Club . It was after witnessing that passion I booked them for one of our own club nights in the Brunswick Hotel basement. Their ability to get people on the floor and dancing like it was five minutes from home time was quite astonishing – especially when it was infact only 11pm. Ending their set with a suped-up House version of Enya – ‘Sail Away’, I personally don’t think I’ve seen a dancefloor reaction like it. But of course their music taste is far deeper and more considered than dancefloor friendly re-rubs of late 80’s Irish New Age…
Tarantism love music, and you need only listen to their weekly show on Subcity to realise that. Giving each show a theme, they’ve covered everything from leftfield female vocalists to the wildly varying sounds of America – digging out forgotten classics and overlooked album tracks in the process. Taking this vast musical obsession to the club means everything from Hip Hop to House, Dubstep to Techno, mixed perfectly and always aimed squarely a the dancefloor. Unfortunately we don’t see as much of the duo behind the decks as we’d like – Marco is often busy promoting House & Techno night Kollektiv – but we’re promised more from the boys soon. In the meantime we’ve rounded them up for an interview and of course that all important mix from one of Glasgow’s finest tag teams.
Synth: As a DJ duo you were probably originally best known for your love of House & Techno, however your radio show on Subcity explores a vast range of styles and themes. For those who may not have heard the show can you give us an idea of what it’s all about?
Marco: Tarantism's music policy is so wide and accepting that you'd be hard-pushed to find a genre that we wouldn't play. Over the past 2 years on Subcity Radio, I [Marco] feel I've learned more about music than I have done over the rest of my life. The enormous variation in musical styles that are made accessible by Subcity render it almost impossible to ignore the good songs and tunes played by other radio shows.
Resultantly, I feel that our style has developed for the better since we started DJing together. When we first started DJing as a duo, I think we focused on House/Techno/Electro since it was an easy middle ground to hit between Nathan and myself. Firstly, a 4x4 beat is the easiest thing to mix, and on top of that, our preferences in dancefloor-orientated music were slightly different: I was very into my tech-house and techno, whereas Nathan preferred to play out disco, lounge and house. The natural meeting point was a techy-disco-house fusion.
However, as we've DJed together more frequently, and have done more and more radio shows together (we've done 43 now, which feels a lot for 2 years) we have gradually come to understand each others' tastes and styles. Resultantly, our DJ sets now incorporate more of the wide range of musical styles we play on the radio show... they're now much more of a reflection on our eclectic tastes.
Nathan & Mark play Synth March 2010 Photo: Johnny Burke
Synth: As well as the Tarantism radio show, Marco also promotes club night Kollektiv which has showcased a number of incredible guests including Oliver $ and Fabrizio Maurizi. What do you have planned for the night over the rest of 2011?
Marco: Kollektiv's next big date will be in August. We plan to do a double-night birthday party celebration. We debuted our official clubnight on 28th August 2010, so one year later we'd like to do something special to celebrate the fact that we're still going strong.
The first part of this celebration will be at the Admiral Bar on Friday 12th August. We have Ben UFO of Hessel Audio coming up. We chose him because he's a great DJ and he doesn't play by the rules when it comes to genre selection. The second part is scheduled for early September... details will follow.
In addition to this, we have a residency, at The Ivy Bar on Argyll St, on rotation with Codeine Drums every 2nd Wednesday. Through this we have developed the building blocks to a new Kollektiv Podcast named 'The Ivy Sessions', where we ask our many talented friends to come down, play some music at the bar, and record an hour of it. These hour-long recordings will be podcasted, and added to over the weeks, with the release of our newly designed club website ( www.clubkollektiv.com) in a few week's time.
Synth: Obviously Glasgow is renowned for having a strong foundation of Techno with long running night’s like Pressure and Subculture still very popular, do you feel there is room for similar, smaller night’s to flourish in 2011?
Marco: Yes and no. I firmly believe that there should be nothing holding back a young promoter with the dream of running his or her own night. Glasgow's a city with an enormous amount of talent, some of which would remain undiscovered if it weren't for the large number of clubnights, venues and promoters.
However, over the last few years there has been an increasingly large problem with over-saturation. There are simply too many clubnights for Glasgow's comparatively low population of "music-savvy" club-goers to fit into one weekend! As a result, I feel a lot of nights are accidentally competing against each other, as well as against the veteran promoters like Pressure and Subculture. Times are therefore very difficult for young promoters like myself and Doug (Kollektiv) as well as the older, more experienced nights, like Pressure.
It is obviously impossible and completely unacceptable to regulate promotion in this city... or any city - every person has as much of a right to put on a night as the next person. This however is unfortunately where the problem of over-saturation has arisen from. Subsequently, we at Kollektiv have found that it's harder than ever to stand out among the mass of nights in this city, and have come to realise that in order to be a successful promoter you have to bring something different to the table... something that your night can be identified by. People in this city are getting bored of the classic "dancefloor, bar, DJ booth, soundsystem" approach to events, as it's been done to death and frankly, with modern laptop-DJing technology, anyone can do it.
So, yes, there is always more room for more promoters and clubnights, but only as long as they are doing
something original... or really, really good!
Synth: Concentrating on the mix, was there a particular influence behind your track selection and how closely does it represent your live sets?
Marco: We bounced a few ideas off each other before we got together to do this mix. We had ideas to make it really summery, then had ideas of focusing everything on 'synth-sounds' or tracks that portray really good use of synthesisers... you know, a kind of play on the fact that it was a mix we were doing for Synth! But when we finally met to get the mix underway, we found ourselves just going into a rhythm and suddenly ended up with a big collection of tracks from both of us that somehow we felt went together. We found ourselves using a lot of samples, and a lot of this mix is done on 4-decks as well... sounds great but can be confusing having two big MIDI controllers on front of you. 4-deck mixing is something we did for the previous Synth mix as well as the last two Vitamins parties we played at, but this time round we've made it even more of a task by incorporating things like fast BPM changes into the mix. We like making things difficult for ourselves, so it seems.
So, relating back to our answer to Q.1 of this interview, this mix really does represent what we're doing as a duo right now. We no longer seem to find ourselves focusing on dancefloor 4x4 beats, but nor do we particularly decide on it beforehand, either. It just seems to happen that way, and we like it!
A good example would be the Japan Fundraiser that our friend put on in Club 520 to raise money for the Japan Crisis in April 2011. Nathan and I were given a 4 hour slot that night... and I personally think that was when we really came together as DJs. We got a lot of nice compliments that night, everything just seemed to flow really nicely and we played so many different styles of music- everything from ambient drone at the start, through lounge, hip-hop, disco, house, dubstep to pure techno at the very end. Then we finished with "Girl Like You" by Edwyn Collins... so, yeah, you get the picture.
Synth: Finally, as Subcity takes it’s summer break from broadcast, what can we expect when Tarantism returns and when can we next see you behind the decks?
Marco: Subcity will be back on air after maintenance at some point during this summer, and we will most likely use it as an opportunity to get some mid-summer broadcasting done before the new schedule starts up in September. We'll continue to just do what we do in the studio, and present radio shows on music that we like to listen to. We're always hearing new songs, artists and styles of music, so we'll hopefully always be able to keep the radio show fresh.
Outwith the radio show, we've been discussing the possibility of doing a little bit more as Tarantism in the
future. I have a lot more free time having graduated this summer, so this will hopefully translate into bigger things for Nathan and myself.
Synth: Maintaining the vibe created by our first mix from Raksha, you'll feel a true impression of summer running throughout this mix. Balearic chill-out, ambient House and deep-grooving basslines provide the perfect soundtrack to those special moments only summer can create - a glimmering sunset over crystal-clear waters, relaxing in the shade on a stiflingly hot day or rising to an early-morning warmth at 8am. This is the sound of Tarantism finding a golden rhythm and running away it. Sit back in the sun and enjoy...
Synth Presents...Tarantism by synthmixes
1. Chaz Jankel - Dawn *intro*
2. Boards of Canada - Happy Cycling
3. Chaz Jankel - Dawn
4. Eddie C. - My Woman (Wolf Mix)
5. Drrtyhaze - Hey Mama
6. Badmarsh & Shri - Salsa Gharana *sample*
7. Architeq - Mind Games (ft. Ilija Rudman)
8. Badmarsh & Shri - Salsa Gharana *sample*
9. Silver Convention - Get Up And Boogie *sample*
10. Mark E - Ray Gun
11. St. Germain - Rose Rouge
12. Glenn Underground - Head of House
13. Mr. Scruff - Cheeky *sample*
14. Hird - Keep You Hird (Plej Remix)
15. Elgato - Blue
16. Matias Aguayo - I Don't Smoke
17. From P60 - Over The Sea (Instrumental Version)
18. Iz & Diz - Mouth (Brad Peep's Remix For Friends)
19. Massive Attack - Unifnished Sympathy *sample*
20. Blue Six - Music and Wine (Teksoul Dub)
Tarantism on Facebook
Tarantism on Subcity
Words: Colin 'Alaska' Brownbill