Leeds’ most exciting festival, Mint Festival, arrives on September 23rd to finish the season with a bang. Poppie Platt had a chat with Mint Club and Mosaic records resident Annie Errez ahead of her set at the festival.
Hi, Annie! I thought I’d begin with a few questions about Leeds, what with this being the Leeds student newspaper, and you being both a past student and a resident at the city’s Mint Club! Do you think that Leeds and its clubs are still a haven for dance music fans, or are larger nationwide venues/events such as Printworks London and The Warehouse Project dominating the scene?
- Well, I’m from Middlesbrough, and came to Leeds as a student at Uni of, then just never really left! My first proper introduction to music was at events in Leeds, and it’s at these that I was inspired to learn more about music myself, through collecting records and going to club nights. I went to places like Back to Basics, Technique at Mint Club, the West Indian Centre, and there used to be a cool night called Chunky underneath the Merrion Centre. So, through these events and living in the city for so long (17 years I think it’s been now), I’ve been lucky enough to really see the Leeds scene grow.
There are so many cool nights to cater for any type of music fan if you’re a student in the city, and so many different venues, from Mint Club, Mint Warehouse, and now the festival, to Wire, Hifi, Distrikt, Canal Mills, The Faversham, and 212 Bar. In terms of music, it’s great for anyone getting into or already a fan of electronic stuff, there’s such variety and loads going on.
Leeds obviously has the KMAH radio station that features a lot of new, up-and-coming, as well as more established DJs, and you’ve played on air yourself. Is radio as importance as it once was for electronic and dance music, or less so because of internet sites like YouTube, SoundCloud, Facebook, etc.?
- I think radio is definitely still important, yeah. It’s always been important for dance music in particular, because it opens the music up to a lot of people who wouldn’t usually be ‘included’ in the scene. People too young to get into clubs or too far away to travel to club nights are still able to partake in the culture and that’s really amazing. Radio was responsible for getting me into dance music, too; when I first started listening to electronic stuff, it was DJs like Pete Tong when I was 14 or 15, on a Friday night I think it was, and that type of music was introduced to me even though I was too young.
Pirate radio stations seemed to have dropped off because of the internet over the last few years, but KMAH has been good because its projected Leeds onto a national stage. The Leeds Uni radio station, LSR, is really good too, because it gets students involved. Radio stations and shows are often funded by charities and grants so yeah, it’s all really good and important, because it continues to nurture the scene.
Instead of coming in with the broad “what has been the highlight of your career”, I thought I’d ask for your personal highlight of the last year. As in your favourite festival, club night, or even recording?
- I know I’m biased, but Mint Club really is always a highlight, and is always fantastic. There aren’t many other clubs like it. The atmosphere, people, security, bar staff – they all contribute to this amazingly ‘free’ environment, and the music is great. The sound quality is amazing, and it’s impossible to have a bad night there, it’s just a really nice club to play in.
Another highlight for this year was playing in Moscow for a Mosaic record label party, which was an all-round amazing experience because the label is so great and it’s not a city I’d ever visited before, and it was my first time in Russia, so, yeah, that was fun.
So, you meet someone who knows nothing about electronic music. Which 3 favourite DJs or tracks do you point them in the direction of?
- Wow, this is hard. We’ll go with DJs. Uh, I’d have to go with: Ricardo Villalobos, he’s a genius – so unpredictable, and you always come away from his sets feeling like you’ve learnt something, almost. He’s amazing, the unpredictability just makes you want to keep going back for more. Then, I’d say Steve O’Sullivan; he performs as a live act with all this hardware, and he just has a massive, amazing discography that influenced a lot of the music we listen to now. Finally, DJ Bone is more of a Detroit, upfront sound, not as minimal, particularly when he makes records. He has this “sound” that can’t be recreated, and his DJ sets are always exciting and surprising. He’s just a legend of his scene, and has totally mastered the whole art of his craft.
Image Credits: Annie Errez (Facebook)