Enthralling a festival of muddy revelers with his amped up techno and peaktime electro, Erol Alkan headlined the Pulse Radio stage at last weekend's SW4 festival. Speaking to Ellie Hewitt backstage he chats about new release 'Sydney Jook', his label Phantasy, and told her why he only eats fish.
Explain your label Phantasy to us, what’s the ethos behind it? Well, it began as a singles club but developed into something far more creative, a collective if you will. It’s really nice to be able to work closely with people, develop a proper relationship and a network of like minded people.
So is it a family vibe then? Yeah absolutely. A very dysfunctional family but a family all the same.
What’s your ultimate 'Phantasy'? I don’t actually have one to be honest.
Have you lived out all your 'Phantasy’s'? [Laughs]. No, I’m so transfixed by reality, I really don’t need anything bigger than that. Reality is a fantasy for me.
So your new release is with Switch ‘Sydney Jook’ out on Phantasy, what was it like working with Dave? Dave is a total enigma, it was brilliant making the release together, making music and spending time with him is very much the same thing, there is little divide. We’ve been friends for quite a while and we were pretty much two peas in a pod when it came to the release. Dave works really fast, literally he’s coming up with ideas all the time, moves on very quickly. It’s refreshing to be in the studio with him.
Why is it called ‘Sydney Jook’? Well it was originally called ‘Acid Cuts’, so Acid sounds like ‘Sid’ hence the ‘Sydney’ and the Jook bit is a word for ‘cut’. Got it?
Yes, got it. So it’s coming out on some pretty special looking limited edition acid splashed vinyl, how important do you think aesthetics are to a release? So important, music is a very physical thing, the physical look of it has to be up to par otherwise what’s the point. I want people to touch, feel and look at my music, not just download it and it to get lost in the ether.
Like your ‘Lemonade’ release with Boys Noize that looked like a CDr? Yeah I mean, that took a long long time, three different pressing plants, several months, to get it just right, but it was worth it in the end.
You’ve remixed a lot of huge names, from Metronomy to MGMT, have you had any favourites? Why didn’t you say I’ve remixed everyone from Connan Mockasin to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Why did you use to artists beginning with M?
Because I like alliteration? Oh right, [laughs] to be honest, every project is completely different, I don’t necessarily have any favourites.
How have you found SW4 today? I’ve had a lot of fun, it’s been really good, really well organized. The Pulse DJ Mag tent was good, the crowd seemed to be really enjoying themselves.
Top tracks that went down well in your set today? 'Lemonade’ went down really well. Then ‘Be Above It’ by Tame Impala and some Daniel Avery was loved.
You’ve played nine hour sets at Bugged Out before, how do you keep going? By not panicking, remaining absolutely focused and having a serious variety of music to keep you going. No one wants to hear a nine hour set of the same genre.
Will you be DJing in 30 years? No.
Any records that have changed your life? Blue Monday – New Order. Definitely. That record, alone.
Later on, we caught Erol by the food section. He asked us to take a photo of him with Green Velvet and Annie Mac. He apologised that he didn’t have a meal ticket to give us and we noticed he was eating some salmon. So Erol, are you a pescetarian? Yeah, I am. Because with fish, you can only see half their faces at once, so it’s not so bad.
Listen to Erol Alkan on Pulse Radio.