The opening of the Warehouse Project is the perfect antidote to the winter blues. The nights draw in, beach parties become warehouse parties and the torch passes from Space to Store Street. Behind any good club night is a good resident and in no partnership is that more evident than the one between Krysko and the Warehouse Project. This Saturday 19 November, Ibiza favourite Circoloco visits Manchester and we took the opportunity to fire some questions at Krysko, who has been bringing the party to the Warehouse Project longer than anyone else. Read on to hear untold memories, new labels and what to expect when one of Ibiza's clubbing institutions comes to the north of England.
You’re one of Manchester’s most revered DJs and the Warehouse Project’s longest serving resident. This suggests an enormous amount of versatility and a deep record collection. Does your set and style change depending on which particular DJ or event you are supporting?
"Naturally it does, but I think the versatility and tone can come from the pace of the set, and not just the style. It’s been almost 18 years of being a resident, so I don’t really think about it anymore. I suppose it’s like some kind of brain muscle memory. Now more than ever the lines are so much more blurred, which is definitely a good thing. There’s so much more freedom and choice now than in the late 90s or early 2000s, so you can still play a warm up in the traditional sense, but still have a great deal of freedom within the music you actually play. I tend to focus a lot more on the changes of pace now, worrying less about the mixing than I used to do, and of course the selection, it’s all about the selection."
The WHP program has thrown up some interesting b2b performances. Heavyweight combinations like Seth Troxler and Ricardo Villalobos have grabbed headlines. Jackmaster and Gerd Jansen continue their blossoming relationship, and Apollonia touch down for Circoloco as one of the industry’s tightest units. You yourself have regularly performed alongside Greg Lord and your b2b Essential Mix with Derrick Carter was hue, but is there anyone else you would love to share a spot with?
"You see back-to-back sets these days now more than ever, and it completely comes down to personal preference between DJs. I’ve seen plenty of them between two DJs that you think would work brilliantly, and didn’t, and also vice versa. I think it’s about knowing who you are playing with, and not really about the matching of two people you think will go together. The first time I played with Theo Parrish at the old Sankeys Soap, the DJ who played before me wanted to jump back on to play a track for Theo, and Theo saw what was happening and pulled me to one side and said ‘Once you get on your mother-fucking musical bus, never get off!’ That always stuck with me, and from that advice I’ve always concentrated on the flow.
I’ve played with Greg for so long, and we play one on, one off, and it’s something I don’t even think about anymore as it’s so natural, that’s the aim. But it’s a difficult one, the one I did with Derrick I know I wasn’t very good, and I was disappointed in myself, I didn’t play with my usual confidence I suppose. Looking back, I tried to think too much about playing like him, and the only person who can play like Derrick, is Derrick! That said, myself and Jackmaster are planning something together, so I’ll be learning from my previous experience."
Next up for WHP is Circoloco, when one of Ibiza’s clubbing institutions arrives to take over Store Street. Do you have any memories of Ibiza in general or Circoloco in particular?
"I have memories but they’re somewhat hazy of back then… my first trips to Ibiza were in 97/98 is, and the obvious place to go then was We Love at Space. It was an incredible place. In fact, the Manumission carry-on at Space was the main thing we travelled over for, it was a much freer place than what it is now. We were lucky to host a WHP night for We Love at Space a few years ago and I got the chance to play the Terraza and the Discoteca. With its closing this year I’m glad I got to close the book on the place personally by playing there, it was always an ambition of mine and will always hold a special place for many.
The other place we stumbled upon a few years later was DC-10, when it was basically a dusty shack. We went to the early Circoloco parties there on a Monday, and well, if I thought that Space was free, that was pretty much fucking lawless! But it’s all a bit blurry that time, a time before social media and pictures of every night everywhere being posted in incredible detail, I like just having the broken memories. That’s how things become legend, when the stories are passed by word of mouth and aren’t necessarily documented."
You are somebody who has devoted a lot of time to the Manchester clubbing scene and WHP is an enormous part of that, just as fabric was with London. What are your opinions on the issues faced by the industry and are there any lessons that Warehouse Project can learn?
"I think the issues at present tend to come from an external source, and not to do with the venue itself. fabric is a prime example of this. I used to go there regularly and was lucky enough to play there and it is THE most professionally run outfit. Everything from top to bottom was managed with absolute attention to detail in terms of operations and safety. The issues seem to have come from a council/police agenda, the reason of which only they really know so I’m not going to speculate. If a place a slick as fabric can come under fire and have its licence revoked, then anywhere in the UK the same can happen. It’s very worrying. Drugs are prevalent in every aspect of nightlife, whether that’s in bars or clubs. I’m proud to be part of something at the WHP where the local council, the venue, licence holder, and drug charities work together to keep people safe, as opposed to demonising them and thinking the law is more important than the welfare of the people attending. The WHP has been the first place in the UK to do on-site drug tested, then live feeding through social media the results of any particular pill (for example) that are a cause for concern. Giving the people attending this information gives them the power of choice knowing they could be in danger. How is this not something that should be rolled out nationwide? I just don’t understand it."
Tributes have been pouring in from all corners of the dance music community for the late David Mancuso. His work in establishing the Loft and advancing the LGBT cause has had a profound effect on the industry and he influenced you as much as anyone else. What effect did he have on you as an artist and as a person?
"A massive effect. I’ve always been obsessed with history, and especially within our scene. Unfortunately I never went to the Loft in New York, but I went to see him quite a few times when he held Loft parties at The Light in Shoreditch years ago. He stopped touring years ago and never played there again, so that's where I got to see him play and meet him. I was very fortunate. I have since been pretty obsessed, been to New York loads and visited all the sites, 647 Broadway, Prince Street and recently went to a Joy party in Queens New York, which is of direct lineage to the Loft parties and held in a Japanese guy’s huge loft apartment and has the same incredible sound-system used at early Loft parties, when you can only go if you are a member or invited by a member themselves, using the same membership system the Loft used, a very egalitarian ethos of inclusivity. To clarify, the membership system may make it seem 'exclusive', but it was originally used to get around it not being licensed, and it was never a 'club' it was a private party held in a private residence. You were never refused entry for reason of looks, clothes, sexual orientation, everyone was welcome. I got to meet a lady there who was good friends with him and she told me what it was like at the very first Loft in 1970 at Mancuso's apartment at 647 Broadway, I was completely in awe and hanging on every word she said. Mancuso often used to do the door at Joy, that was pretty much run with the same ideals, and it was just mindblowing!
There was a great piece on Mancuso by Joe Muggs recently in which he said about looking back at the history, that Mancuso’s way of doing things has never been superseded or bettered. He emphasised that this is not to undervalue any subsequent innovations, like jungle or club, handbag or dubstep, and that each new movement has provided a new set off perspectives on what nightlife and musical immersion can mean. But parties modelled on the Loft have never stopped being a particular or special place to be, and not because they hark back to a golden age, but because they are right in the here and now. I thought what he said summed it up perfectly with the above. The way I see it is that it’s all about a model of inclusiveness, not exclusiveness. Exclusivity has a shelf life; you are deliberately excluding people for a particular set of reasons and that creates division. What Mancuso created was musical utopia where EVERYONE was welcome to come and dance to music. Black white, gay, straight, transgender, rich or poor and any mix of the above and more. That’s his legacy."
You’ve recently launched your own label, I Walked by Night. What can we expect from it?
"The only thing you can do when running a label is put music out that you have an affinity with. If you started to think about an output based on what you think people would like then that’s just a black hole. I’m happy to just please some of the people, some of the time. In a time of obsession for ‘likes’, people forget it’s okay for people not to like something you do. My focus is to find artists who have not had a platform to release their music and release stuff from friends who I have admired myself. It’s exciting to know I have carte-blanche to take it where I like, and scary at the same time."
You’ve been a high profile DJ and performer for over 15 years but your back catalogue of releases is relatively small. Will we be seeing more of your own material on the label, or is it predominantly a platform for other artists?
"I came though at a time when there were much fewer people jostling for a position. And because of that I found a place for myself and have continued down that route, and didn’t have to produce to get gigs. That isn’t the case in these times. Personally, I have put out a few bits but I never felt a pressure to do so. But fucking hell, I have my own label now, maybe it’s time to step up. We’ll see."
What prompted the decision to make Tristan Grace’s ‘The Furse' EP the first release on the label?
"It’s been a completely natural process. It was in fact getting in touch with Tristan through social media and friends that gave me the idea and desire to do the label. The quality of what he is doing is SO high, and he’s never released anything. His knowledge of the hardware and equipment he uses and his ability to use them is ridiculous, he’s learnt his craft through many years, so imagine how many producers out there that have the same talent but haven’t got the outlet, or an idea of how to go about releasing it. That’s the exciting bit for me, the search, the digging, it’s very similar to record collecting I suppose, always looking for something that hasn’t been brought to the fore."
What can we expect in the near future from the label? Are there any other releases or artists we ought to keep an eye out for?
"Absolutely, after Tristan the second release is going to be The Burrell Connection, a very talented young lad from Glasgow who I first heard of thanks to his track on West End Communications, ‘Articulate’, which I play all the time. Then the third will be an EP by Neville Watson, a genuine legend in the scene, and someone I’ve looked up to for years. After that I have a few things in the pipeline, but you know, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so I’ll take my time and hopefully get it right and continue to please just some of the people…"
Circoloco takes over the Warehouse Project on Saturday 19 November with performances from Dixon, Apollonia, Nicole Moudaber and Krysko himself. Final remaining tickets can be found here.
WORDS | Jonno Coll
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