Sadly, on New Year’s Day, Canal Mills will close its doors for the last time.
The warehouse space in Leeds has been a vital cub that has hosted a wide range of parties, live shows and mini-festival style raves, and after two final ones on December 31st and January 1st, it will be consigned to the history books. On NYD, the party plays out across two spaces plus one new, never before used room called the Hanger Warehouse.
Gerd Jansen, Danny Howard, Pal Woolford, PBR Streetgang, Maceo Plex, HAAi, Fort Romeau and Daniel Avery all play with reliable residents People Get Real also bring all their local knowledge.
The house, tech and disco duo are long time regards at the club and here we speak to them about the very specific art of their craft.
For more informaiton on the party head to the Canal Mills Facebook page.
Can you remember the first time you tried to mix records? What were they are where were you? Whose decks did you use?
First time would have been summer of 97, We’d been buying records for a bit, collecting them as oppose to wanting to DJ, but had only played them on our Dad’s record players! Wilson met a lad at work who had some belt drive decks and a mixer he was looking to sell, so he bought them… so that would have been the first time either one of us tried…
How long did it take until you play out? And how long then until you really felt comfortable behind the decks?
We started playing at mates parties almost straight away really, any excuse to try and practice in front of people, think the first proper party we played we organised ourselves at Foundation, a great late 90s, early 2000s club in Newcastle, it was on a Sunday night. The club had a small room upstairs and we did it in there, think we booked Charles Webster as a guest… that was the first time we played as “People Get Real”…. after that party we promoted a few more but then we started getting regular bookings at other clubs in the city and decided to focus on being residents for them.
What is your personal style, do you like long slow mixes, choppy cuts, hard and fast etc?
We generally both play for longer/slower mixes, but it can depend on what you’re playing, not every track is suitable for long blends so shorter or choppy/quicker ones might be the way if we need to, they’re also handy for changing pace or genre….. You kind of need to be able to do both when you’re warming up.
What is the art of the resident? How is it different to headlining?
The big thing is to really start the night off properly, make everyone fell welcome, get them bobbing their heads and slowly start to creep onto the dance floor, it’s a totally different art to headlining, they’re not really comparable, you shouldn’t ever really be looking to play anything that the headliners would play in our opinion, just keeping it warm and getting the crown ready for the screamers later on...
Are there any residents you really look up to, really take inspiration from?
There have been some great ones just in Newcastle, Scott and Scooby from Shindig, Tony “586” Daly from Reverb/Suono, they are guys we’ve really looked up to, others are the likes of Paul Woolford at Basics, Harri and Domenic at Sub-Club, brilliant residents and still going strong now. Canal mills have great ones too, PBR, Grainger, Reg Naylor, Matt Long, all these guys have been brilliant at the club.
What are some key experiences you have had, crazy moments, weird situations etc that have helped you grow and become a better resident?
The biggest one for us and it’s happened a few times; is the headliner not turning up, we’ve had to play all night on a few occasions thanks to storms, cancelled flights and ash clouds! They can be tricky as you’ve got a packed club, and people who’ve been expecting to see some hero of theirs play…. you’ve got to use all your skills to transition from the warm-up you planned, to make the set something more and play for 2-3 hours longer than expected… so they are the trickiest but also most fun and most exhilarating sets because they generally come totally out of the blue.
What are the key things to remember and to be thinking of when playing?
Generally that there is someone on after you so don’t be trying to steal their thunder, keep an eye on what is working in the crowd, this in turn helps you plan your set as the crowd will inspire your selections.
Do you ever plan the first record, or first few records, just to remove the nerves?
Occasionally yes but usually we just turn up and make our choice for first track just before we start.
What are some records that really work at your party, that you closely associate with the crowd?
Artist wise we probably always play a Deadbeat track, something from Larry Heard and a track that is close to our hearts that we could pretty much listen to on repeat for a whole set would be an old Mathew Jonson track from 2009.
How often do you look for new music, and where? Are you always picking records for your residency, ones you know will work in that certain space?
You have to be looking for music all of the time, online and in record shops, there’s nothing better than going to a record shop and listening to a pile of vinyl, the interaction with the guys selling is it always great and if they get to know you they’ll make selections on your behalf many times for things you wouldn’t have necessarily picked up.
Do you ever have requests from the headliners as to what style or tempo or whatever they want you to play?
Not usually, if we’re not sure who they are which is usually not a problem with headliners, we’ll check out recording of them DJIng and make a judgement from there…. they mostly just appreciate you not going right in with a load of banging, high tempo tracks, in our experience most headliners prefer the resident just getting it at that point where the crowd is ready to go but are just waiting on them taking over from us.
What have you got moving up/are you looking forward to?
NYD at Canal Mills for sure! Next year we’ve got Beat Hotel in Morocco and our usual Residency at Hideout too so 2019 is shaping up pretty well already.