Andrew Weatherall

 

Friday 17th February 2012
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Now, Andrew Weatherall isn't just your regular DJ. This is a man who made his mark producing "Screamadelica", Primal Scream's pinnacle album, and in doing so, hurtling himself towards international critical acclaim. This however, is not necessarily a path to instant success. This man has grafted for over 20 years, constantly evolving and setting a standard in DJ'ing others can only dream of achieving.

After quickly speaking to the man in question, it was easy to see how he got to be in his position. He has a calm energy about him. Utterly confident in what he says, with clear passion for his craft. He may have appeared composed, but exuded an unhinged determination to get on stage. This is clearly his passion and will not stop until physically forced to do so.

So, to the decks. Slap bang in the middle of the room, halfway between stage and bar, Andrew's turntables were begging for attention. Already having Andrew's partner in crime Sean Johnston working his magic, the crowd were anxious for Weatherall's unique brand of eclectic stylings.

The way he holds himself when behind his wheels is one of authority, puppet master if you will, of the whole room. As soon as he hit play, the crowd were at his command, rendering it a real sight to behold. It honestly felt as if you were at that one rave you always dreamt of going to. In conclusion to that last point, if you want a party, a real party, it's as easy as going to the next Weatherall set.

This wasn't just your average 2 hour shindig. Andrew relentlessly flowed from one track to the next with perfect precision. By the time the clock stuck three, he was still holding momentum with no signs of slowing down. With curfew already behind us, it made you wonder, if there was no curfew, would it have gone on until sunrise?

There was a certain energy about this night that you just couldn't quite put your finger on, but whatever it was, it was fast, hard and inimitable. Quite possibly the best night's mix we have ever listened to.

Andrew Weatherall has always been good for a quote. From the deep, dark days of early acid house to the modern-day Two Lone Swordsmen: if you're looking for an opinion on the largely insipid world of dance music then Andrew's always had that happy knack of cutting straight to the chase; delighting and upsetting in roughly equal measures. The swaggering original moody DJ. The pop-star producer. Bastion of the underground. One-time (ahem) Balearic figure-head. Electronic experimentalist. Peerless explorer of the minimal techno sound. Arch grumbler. Londoner. Honorary Yorkshireman. All these notions have been bandied about by punters and critics alike in a bid to pin down Weatherall's role in music, yet none of them quite fit the bill. And even when they do hit the mark they're often far too paradoxical to make much sense. In the dull as ditch-water world of dance music, Andrew Weatherall comes across as a refreshing and involving character. This has always been reflected in his musical output since those formative days remixing Primal Scream's rocky original into the pivotal 'Loaded'.

Weatherall's history goes back far to the beginning of the British acid house scene, having swung gigs for himself at Danny Rampling's legendary Shoom night off the back of the sort of sounds recently showcased on the compilation for Nuphonic – entitled 9 O'Clock Drop. Subsequently, his connections with the original Boys Own record label (and fanzine) led to artist releases, remixes and a string of legendary London clubs such as Blood Sugar, Circulation and of course Sabresonic (where the fledgling David Holmes cut his teeth). It was through Primal Scream though that Andrew first made his name. As the producer of Screamadelica he took The Primals, twisted them (best not to ask how) and in turn created the hybrid of narcotically-challenged rock and acid house now seen as a generation-defining release.

It was through the club Sabresonic and Andrew's remix productions that he tied in with Jagz and Burns, forming the live/studio Sabres of Paradise band. More often than not shows would see Andrew standing at the side of the stage, possibly doing fuck all other than smoking fags; no one was quite sure. What is certain is that these experiences drew Andrew away from the Screamadelica-inspired limelight that beckoned and back into the sub-terrain to develop the dark, experimental sounds he has become known and respected for. After the demise of Sabres (and the record label inspired by the outfit) following a string of albums and singles (on Warp), Andrew teamed up with fellow Sabres cohort Keith Tenniswood to form Two Lone Swordsmen. Keith himself has a string of prior musical convictions working with The Aloof, David Holmes and Red Snapper. More recently he has made really fucked electro breaks to wrong-foot the dance-floor under the names Bargecharge and Radioactive Man for the Fuel label. Keith's ear for the production of low-end frequencies is unrivalled.

Quietly toiling away in their Rotter's Club studio the pair honed their own brand of lo-fi emissions, delighting experimentalists whilst frustrating the folk waiting for Andrew to stop being up his own arse and knock out more of those dubby Balearic tracks he initially made his name with.

Thankfully this never happened. Instead, Fifth Mission – Return to the Flightpath Estate was released: a sprawling, dense double-CD soundtrack lurching between leftfield dance-floor and your fucked head, all shot through with an alarming disregard for genre or expectation. As if to confound admirers further, Andrew also made deep-house releases as Lino Square, Rude Solo and a whole host of yet to be discovered pseudonyms. After a couple more releases on his own Emissions label Andrew and Two Lone Swordsmen re-signed to Warp and became quietly prolific with a string of releases such as 'Sticky/ Gay Spunk', 'A Virus With Shoes' and 'A Bag of Blue Sparks'. He then went back to Primal Scream taking the track 'Stuuka' and re-writing it as a supremely morbid piece of reggae-heavy electro. Next there was the second TLS album ‘Stay Down’, its title as revealing as it was succinct. The third album ‘Tiny Reminders’ and then a fourth ‘Further Reminders’ were the platforms on which Andrew [and Keith] threw the cat amongst the pigeons, making music with machines like no one else. In 2004 they delivered ‘From The Double Gone Chapel’, their final release on Warp.

All the while Andrew has been maintaining his output through various alternative projects, most notably his first EP under his own name: ‘The Bullet Catcher’s Apprentice’ released in September 2006 on Rotters Golf Club. His mix CDs continue to impress: from his heavenly offering with Richard Fearless to his formidable Fabric Mix and the hard to find Rockabilly mixes recorded at his London residency with Ivan Smagghe, aptly titled Wrong Meeting, at the T Bar in Shoreditch. His latest offerings consist of a rockabilly-based compilation for Soma, the first under their Sci.Fi.Lo.Fi branding, and the genre-spanning Watch The Ride on Harmless Recordings.

In between DJing all over the world, with residencies at Fabric (London), Back to Basics (Leeds), and Robert Johnson (Frankfurt), he also finds time to run the monthly A Love From Outer Space night at The Drop in London. After a three year hiatus 2007 saw not one, but two new albums by Two Lone Swordsmen: Wrong Meeting (a limited edition vinyl box set) and Wrong Meeting II. These extended the rock ’n’ roll influence evident on Double Gone Chapel – displaying a base of electronica with layers of garage and rockabilly styling. Andrew is also a prolific remixer and recent outings include Toddla T and The Horrors. He produced the highly acclaimed album Tarot Sport by Fuck Buttons and recently mixed tracks on the debut album by Warpaint for Rough Trade.

2008 witnessed the collaboration between Andrew and The Boardroom – a group of dapper men about town who spend their leisure hours producing aural delights for fans of electronically-informed dance-floor beats. Mr. Weatherall dropped in and, inspired by the tunes he heard, twiddled a knob or two alongside the Boardroom’s resident guru Steve Boardman and came up with the ‘Andrew Weatherall Vs. The Boardroom’ album. Mr. W enjoyed himself so much he invited Mr. B to collaborate on his debut solo album ‘A Pox on the Pioneers’ and a second instalment of Vs. The Boardroom. 2010 was rounded off with DJ appearances on Primal Scream’s Screamadelica tour. 2011 will see Andrew release his second solo album (title and release date tbc) – brace yourself as one of the UK’s few remaining innovators stays uniquely true to his own musical vision when all around him are going soft or running out of things to say.

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