Q&A 017 – Kirk Degiorgio
"the place was full of drunken people looking to be cheered up....."
Our seventeenth interview features UK Techno legend Kirk Degiorgio. His Machine events which he runs alongside his partner in crime Ben Sims, are still one of the most forward thinking parties in the country. To showcase and promote them he is now presenting his latest compilation ‘Mixed by Machine’ out on the 23rd of September via Sound Obsession.. He told us more about it in the interview below…. .Enjoy it.
First of all thank you very much for taking some times and answer our questions today. Normally we start our interviews by asking things to our guests about the concept of ‘Downstairs’ and what lies below ground level. what’s the first thing that comes in to your mind when you hear the word ‘Downstairs’?
A dark, dingy basement club.
In your great career you’ve released music on some pioneering and still forward thinking labels such as Planet E, Rush Hour, R&S and then launched ART… Which one of these is the one you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of all of them but the biggest achievement was probably my two Beauty Room albums for Peacefrog and Far Out, closely followed by my Planetary Folklore album for Mo Wax.
Talking more about music and your work, tell us about your favourite downstairs venue you’ve played / been to, whether in London or elsewhere. Why was it special?
there are a couple of clubs that come to mind with a downstairs entrance-way. Bar Rhumba in Shaftsbury Avenue where I once played one of the best sets of my career. It was at Gilles Peterson’s That’s How It Is on a Monday night and England had just lost to Romania in the 1998 World Cup… the place was full of drunken people looking to be cheered up – and we had an insane night. Another was the Blue Note in Hoxton Square where the basement held Metalheadz… and Plastic People… I’m sure there’s loads more. Fabric too!
Now onto this ‘Mixed By Machine’ for Sound Obsession.. How did this project start and with what intention?
The intention was to give a wider audience the opportunity to hear a typical Machine type DJ set – outside of coming down to the various venues. I also wanted to showcase a lot of the modern tracks that have become Machine favourites over the past few years. We don’t play anything older than a year at the events so I like to think of them as “modern classics”.
Are you still having fun running Machine’s events with Ben?
Absolutely! Every event is pretty special – we’re lucky that we haven’t had a duff night yet in four years – and I really do think that’s because you’ll be hard pushed to find people who care more about music policy than myself and Ben. All the guests are carefully selected and the venues too.
As we run events too we know a lot about the pre gig stress… Do you have any ritual or anything that you guys tend to do the day before or even an hour before the night starts?
I’m usually the calm one actually. I generally get like an excited kid – which I think is a good sign after all these years of DJing! I usually sleep most of the day and we have an artist dinner before the event starts so we’re all generally in a humorous mood. We have a serious music policy but first and foremost it’s a party.
Which of the artist you booked along these years was the one impressed you the most and why?
Impossible to say as we only choose our favourite DJ’s who are available but maybe I can choose Untold as we took a chance as we hadn’t heard as many sets from him as others. He blew the place apart.
Back in Milan we booked Cosmin TRG and we took him out for dinner. He loved the ‘Burrata’ cheese and since then apparently asked to go only to that particular restaurant… Has something similar this happened to you and Ben with one of your re-current guests?
No, but I have a similar ritual myself whenever I get booked in Skopje, Macedonia. The Sector 909 crew always take me to the the best lamb restaurant in the Balkans.. it’s insane.
Could you tell us about three of your most essential ‘downstairs’ tracks?
Talking a little bit more about yourself, what’s the most unique or interesting experience you’ve ever had while below ground level?
I went down an underground neolithic flint mine in Norfolk once.
If you had a basement, what would you hide in it?
And finally something that involves your creativity. Draw anything that comes into your mind when you think about ‘downstairs’ – don’t worry, it could take you up to 1 minute!