In discussion with Call Super on “My Answer” by Charley’s Vault (2000).
How did you come across „My Answer“? Was it in a record store, or in a club?
A club. The End in London.
Why does this record mean so much to you? Is this a time capsule of a certain kind? What is its appeal?
It very much is. Although it is of its time in certain ways I don’t really feel it has dated. It was a record that I heard quite a few times before I had any idea who it was. I was usually too shy to ask DJs back then and there were lots of tracks that you would hear and just know because you’d heard them before and maybe one day you’d actually turn it up in a store, or meet someone in the club who could tell you, or it got used on a mix. Which is how I found out what this one was.
The thing I love so much about it is it creates a mood that is perfect at any time of the night or morning. It has the exact balance of menace, tension, joy and release that the perfect DJ tool needs. The mixdown is really nicely done, the way it ebbs, flows and kicks at certain points. I have a distinction between what often gets called ‘tools’ which to my ear are usually just drum tracks with a stab or a pad or something and the really useful stuff which usually has a fair bit more going on and can always take you up, down, reset, roll out, maintain… anything that you ask of it. This is one of those tracks.
I guess most people stay true to their formative years in the clubs of their youth. What made The End so special?
It was a club that was very well designed. Loosely based upon The Tunnel in New York but with a crucial difference of placing the booth in the middle of the floor so the DJ was cocooned by the crowd, who were in turn were cocooned by the sound system. The fact that this set up existed in a tunnel created two opportunities. The first was that it was very easy to lose yourself at the back by the system without feeling any disconnection from the place. The second was that this architecture created a particular atmosphere that I think must have meant certain DJs would have fun in a way that more disconnected settings don’t encourage. Its obviously a truism to say that good DJs play to the setting they are in, whilst bad DJs do the same thing no matter where they are. Well, this was a space that I feel coaxed the best from people.
I went maybe twice a month on average for about two years, then less frequently for the next few years because I had relocated to Glasgow, but in that time almost every night held surprises at what had been played, or how it had been played. The video of Mills covers a little of that ground. You cannot understate the importance of having these experiences to draw on when you end up doing this for a living, your own constellation of places and people that inspired you. That’s what gives you your distinct voice and I feel massively grateful to have had that club incubating me. Read the rest of this entry »