Words: Chester Cornford
As their online presence suggests, the Healthy crew do not take themselves too seriously. Their parties are clearly meant to be accessible, diverse, open-minded and most of all, fun. Their booking policy also hints at a love of all things Balearic, with past guests including Tamo Sumo, Andy Blake and Kornel Kovacs.
For those reasons, Joakim a.k.a Joakim Bouaziz, was an excellent candidate for a Healthy party. I must admit, Joakim was almost anonymous to me before researching him ahead of his Berkeley Suite debut. My past experience of him stretched to his remix of Todd Terje’s ‘Strandbar’ and his very recent appearance in Rush Hour’s free zine, providing a photo tour of his studio.
There was a lot to learn. The French-born, New York-based producer/label head/DJ/fashion designer/graphic designer/artist has so much creative material in so many different forms that is hard to fathom how much output he is responsible for. He also has a strong link with Glasgow, having played in the city on numerous occasions, and he can claim Optimo as fans, which is a commendable accolade. Joakim then, on paper and by reputation, is a formidable talent.
Arriving towards the end of Healthy resident, Ewan Chambers’ set, The Berkeley was perhaps not as busy as usual. The intimate crowd were warming to the selections though, and with all bodies moving, the dancefloor still had a lot of energy. Chambers set the tone perfectly, moving between slow acid, electro-tinged house and darker disco, and his track selection made me wish I arrived a little earlier.
Behind the booth, a big pair of sunglasses had what seemed like retro-arcade footage projected on to them, adding to the Berkeley’s quite often minimal production. The extra little touches really make a night stand out from the saturation of the Glasgow club scene.
With his name flashing across sunglasses, Joakim stepped up to the booth. A light round of applause celebrated Chambers’ warm up and welcomed the Frenchman to the decks. He instantly reset the crowd, opening with Tata’s ‘Afro Breakdance’, an obscure electro-funk number from 1985 South Africa. For the first half hour or so, Joakim moved through numerous genres, playing everything from dreamy house to West African disco. Dropping cult-classic ‘Oh Yeh Soweto’ by Teaspoon & The Waves received a particularly good response.
The selection was tight, but some of the transitions were a tad unhinged: a minor fault. After all, Joakim was moving between a variety of different genres and exposed the crowd to more sounds than most big name DJs could do over eight hours. The set constantly changed direction, displaying his vast musical knowledge and ability to take risks and make them pay off.
As the North Street venue filled, Joakim quickly found his way, and got deeper and heavier, hitting more acidic house numbers. There were a few outstanding sections, such as when he played a personal favourite, the Master’s at Work Dub of Saint Etienne’s phenomenal ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’, with the bass of the previous track looped in and out underneath, teasing a return but never quite peaking.
The dancefloor was now packed, and Joakim had clearly settled into his set, moving between darker, disco-leaning house, a few Chicago classics and deep vocal acid, such as The Black Madonna’s mix of Da Posse’s ‘In The Heat of the Night’. The dancefloor was attentive throughout.
My first visit to Healthy has ensured my return, with a booking policy which encourages musical exploration and more than a few dancefloor surprises. If Joakim’s set was testament to what Healthy are aiming for, then strangers to the night would be wise to acquaint themselves.
Healthy returns to The Berkeley Suite on the 11th of November with a Reviveher showcase. Joakim 'Boipepa' is available now via Mareh Music.