Truancy Volume 145: Tasha

For our 145th Truancy Volume, we’ve brought in a DJ who has become a regular fixture in both clubs and on the airwaves in London over the past decade. A former Rinse FM DJ, who now finds herself hosting a regular show on Radar Radio, Tasha has been the mind behind London-based club night NeighbourhoodWe caught up with Tasha to discuss her formative years as a DJ and promoter, the launch of her new Neighbourhood label, her extensive time on London radio and how she is planning on taking Neighbourhood on the road in the future. Her Truancy Volume sees her traversing techno, new and old, featuring cuts from the likes of Robert Hood, Drexicya, Pysk, Donato Dozzy and more. The mix also features music from Randomer and Cadans who will be heading up the first release on Neighbourhood, which gets set to drop next month. Having popped down to Dance Tunnel on a number of occasions for Neighbourhood for our dosage of techno, this week’s Truancy Volume is in extremely capable hands. 

Hey Tasha, seeing as this is the first time we speak I thought we’d start by going way back. I understand your friends Reeda and Digga kicked things in motion whilst you were studying at university? Can you tell us a bit about that time? “Haha, yes! I guess going to garage raves in Northampton when I was 14 kicked things off. But in terms of DJing, yes, Reeda is the brother of one my old university friends and Digga is still one of my closest friends. Reeda was a drum and bass DJ and Digga was his MC. We used to go to their gigs and they gave me a couple of banging mixtapes, which I rinsed. We all used to go to lots of different parties together, especially The End which was the best – I always wanted to DJ. I started buying records and learning to mix in 2001, played at the university parties, which I ended up promoting in my final year. DJ Flight and Storm gave me my first break as Flight aired my mix on 1Xtra and Storm booked me as resident at her party, where I played regularly with my friends Mantra and Panka.”

You’ve been throwing parties in London for almost a decade. For people who might be hearing about you for the first time can you talk about your past night Medium? “Wow, I guess it has been nearly a decade! Medium was a party I promoted with Sigha and FD. We all came from drum and bass backgrounds and we wanted to put on a party that catered for our varied music tastes and to curate line ups that mixed things up a bit, which wasn’t really being done at the time. We wanted to bring people together who were into different styles of music and for them to discover more. It was a medium for DJs to play any music they wanted to play, and lots were up for playing different sets to what they would normally play out. It had to be at Plastic People, as we’d been going to parties there and were in love with the club, the sound system, the gut-wrenching bass and the atmosphere. Everyone going there to party was there for the music, it was just right for the kind of party we wanted to do. We had a tough time getting in there but we were very persistent and Ade and Charlotte, the club managers felt our passion – our passion and persistence made it happen! I remember a lad who came to Medium to hear Marcus Intalex play and he said “why the hell is Marcus Intalex playing techno?”, haha. But by the end of it he said he was really into it and is probably listening to all Trevino’s music now, hopefully! A lot of people would come down to check one DJ and may not have heard the rest of the line up but were open to it and enjoyed dancing to something new for them, which is exactly what we hoped for.”

How did Neighbourhood develop out of Medium? You’ve organised around twenty Neighbourhood parties so far and taking it on the road to Brighton soon. Do you feel like you’ve achieved what you set out to do since starting it? “Medium came to an end when the other guys decided they didn’t want to promote anymore, they wanted to focus on their music production. I wanted to carry on promoting at Plastic People but with my own new venture, and was actually really excited to do it by myself as I didn’t have to compromise on lineups! I wanted to book more techno producers/DJs/live shows. That was when Neighbourhood was born. The whole idea is for the guests to play the music that represents what they are about in an intimate space and for people to enjoy it, discover the beauty, go and see them play more and ultimately buy their music. It’s important for me to book great DJs as well as producers. I wanted to book Henning Baer because he’s an amazing DJ. I caught him play at Berghain and it was his captivating set that inspired me to book him. It’s been a great five years, with so many amazing guests having played so many special parties. Neighbourhood has a great following who bring good, warm energy! I’m really grateful for all the support. I’m really looking forward to taking Neighbourhood to Brighton on 24th June, with Ben Sims, Randomer and Metrist who’s based in Brighton! Patterns is consistently booking great parties and it’s nice to be a part of their programming and I had a lot of fun playing down there a couple of months ago. Neighbourhood has evolved into something more than what I set out to. I really enjoy bringing DJs over from other countries who I’m really feeling. It was great hosting at Field Maneuvers last year. I’d like to take Neighbourhood to other parts of the UK and the rest of the world!”

What can you tell us about the label you’ve got planned? “I came up with the idea of starting a label to run alongside the night, that’s in keeping with the vibe of the party. As a DJ, I love discovering new music to play and to be able to release the music I love is an absolute joy. I guess everything evolved through having great friends making great music and I wanted to book them along with other producers/DJs who I’d discovered and to release their music. Cadans is a good friend of mine, he’s like my older brother, even though he’s younger than me haha but he’s been making techno for years and used to play me his tunes when we were housemates. I was always encouraging him to release his techno and he was always encouraging me to start my label. So I always knew I wanted to release his music. I’ve known Randomer for years, back when he was making drum & bass, wicked producer. They both wanted to give me new tunes for the first release. The A side, Pyramid is 117 bpm, although I play it at about +7 in the mix haha! I was in the studio with them when they laid it down, so it’s a bit special that one, wicked moving synth line, with a lot of groove and crunch to it, My descriptions of tunes are top notch! The B Side Anchor is a straight up banger! They know exactly what I like. Big thank you to Randomer and Cadans. I’ve received really great feedback so far, got to big up Ben Sims for dropping both cuts on his Run it Red Show last month. Really excited to release next month! Really excited to release next month! I uploaded the clips on Soundcloud today for everyone to check out now.”

It seems like the potential closure of clubs seems to follow you around what with Plastic People in 2010 and now Dance Tunnel in 2016. Anything you want to comment on about this or where you guys might move to next? “Haha, the best always die young ey! It’s been an absolute pleasure being at both of these amazing clubs, both perfect homes for Neighbourhood. It’s really sad what happened at both clubs, and both were staple clubs for the London scene. I’ve really enjoyed working with the guys at Dance Tunnel, shouts to Matt, Leon and Dan. The next Neighbourhood in London will be taking place at Pickle Factory on the 6th of August, which I’m very much looking forward to.”

Outside of genres, I’d be curious to hear how you think your DJing has changed in the past five years or so? “It all pretty much changed when I started playing on Rinse in 2009. I played there once a month for four years. I didn’t really want to play two hours of drum and bass. I wanted to play a variety of music that I enjoy. At the time I was getting more and more into techno and was discovering a lot of incredible new and old techno. I spent a lot of time in the exchange, and when I started working at BM Soho I was discovering a lot of new music and buying so many records. Producers were also sending me tunes for the show, and I ended up playing more techno than anything else. I started getting booked to play techno, and for techno parties, such as Jaded. I’m fully in love with it, and I love playing long sets. My hobby is collecting records, I have all different genres of music in my Ikea expedits, haha.”

You’ve pretty much had shows on a lot of the London based radio stations over the years, having now found a regular home at Radar. What does radio mean to you and what have been your aims with the show? “I absolutely love radio, it’s my outlet to play all my favourite music, both new and old every month. It’s so much fun and I love being able to zone out for two hours, inform the listeners of what I’m playing and invite guests to come and play a B2B or do a guest mix, an interview, whatever they fancy. Huge thanks to the amazing guests who have joined me so far. I’m not very strategic when it comes to “aims of the show” it’s all about having fun, playing the music that I love and have found each month. But I will be featuring more over the next few months. Neighbourhood ‘presents’, I guess has a bit more of an aim. I invite a guest to come and host the show, which was great fun, there will be more of those happening but more on an as and when basis. Being part of Radar is the best. Ollie, the station manager, was my broadcast assistant at Rinse FM and his dream was to start his own radio station, so when he called me about six months before the station existed asking me to do a show I was so happy that it was all happening for him and was delighted to come on board. The team are great, I’ve got to big up Ollie, Harriet, Cahal and Ben, they’re all ace! Next month I’ll be doing a label launch show with Randomer and Cadans, which will be a lot of fun. Listen back to the shows either on my Soundcloud or over on Radar.”

What can you tell us about the mix you’ve done for us? “I love the Truants mix series, so was really looking forward to recording this one for you guys. The mix is a mixture of old and new tunes, similar to what I would play on radio or out in a club. I don’t usually plan too much as I like to be in the moment, drawing for tunes that come to mind that I think will work together. That is a lot of the fun of mixing for me but I took this a bit more seriously, haha! I’ve also included the cuts from the first Neighbourhood release! It’s a combination of vinyl and USB.”

Tracklist:

Decon Recon 1 – DR-2 – Noise Manifesto
Randomer & Cadans – Pyramid – Neighbourhood
Donato Dozzy – Rotary- Semantica
Robert Hood – Lockers – Dekmantel
Antigone – Hiraeth – Token
Tripeo & Cadans – Shmutz3 – Schmutz EP
Psyk – Wire- Non Series
Surgeon- Deep – Blueprint
Broken English Club – Vacant – Cititrax
Drexciya – You Don’t Know – Underground Resistance
Helena Hauff – Rupture – Solar One Music
Randomer – Music For Two Kalimbas – Dekmantel
Mr G (Ben Sims Remix)
Kamikaze Space Programme – Thalamic – Osiris Music
Randomer & Cadans – Anchor – Neighbourhood
Stenny – Consumer’s Tool – Ilian Tape
Neil Landstrumm – Takks – Peacefrog
Marcelus – Multiply – Tresor
British Murder Boys – Be Like I am – Counterbalance

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Tasha: Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter

Riccardo Villella
Riccardo Villella

OG at Truants / Graphic Designer / DJ as Melmoth Twitter Soundcloud

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