Year Full Of Truants

A few of our writers tell us about how their 2015 worked out and what their plans are for this year. They collaboratively share their favourite music-related memories and tell you about their favourite upcoming artists, record sleeves, local venues and record labels. Shouts out to everyone who didn’t hand in their answers, we still love you. To kick off the proceedings we’ll just leave ‘Gym Full of Truants’ below; not from 2015, but the soundtrack to those new year resolutions maybe. Donate to Truants here. <3

 TAYYAB AMIN, HYPE MAN AT TRUANTS | ABOUT.ME

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “It’s been one of the toughest years, though I think it’s also been rewarding in ways I don’t yet fully comprehend. As for future plans, I’ll quote Margiela: “Continuity.””

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “There’s a moment in the “Man Don’t Care” video where JME takes a lighter to a university qualification certificate. That piece of paper, so flimsy and so fragile, is a glass cannon that can hold a special importance to people of different diaspora in Britain. JME wilfully burns the treacherous degree and uses it to set alight his microphone. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it for the first time, so inspiring it was, and I think about it a lot.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “The Truancy Volume Samrai & Platt sent us was something I really loved. I’d heard Murlo’s “Furnace” at July’s Swing Ting and I was so excited for everyone else to hear it in the mix before the EP dropped. Similarly, The Large’s TV was pure kamehameha. Nidia Minaj and Kamixlo’s respective mixes for Dazed blew my mind, as did the recording of Total Freedom at Bambi’s and Voices From The Lake’s take for The Bunker. Whilst rushing to complete my university project, ANGEL-HO’s Death Drop From Heaven kept me going, and I celebrated with Paula Temple’s set at Bloc – I needed their bravery. Due to severe nostalgia of their set with Gyða Valtýsdóttir at Unsound 2014, I watched this clip of Zs breaking and rebuilding their math rock shit in Milan, 2013 a lot too.”

What was your favorite record artwork? “I would normally have several lists on the go – favourite visual work, best album art, best press photography etc. But that hasn’t been the case this year – it’s been a strange year for me and the way I perceive things. However I did really like the choosing of the artwork for Future’s DS2, if not the artwork itself. It is in fact a stock image by Sanja Tošić, not created with purpose for the album. Its selection for the album speaks to me: There are others who may have already expressed that which we wish to express, and that we have the power to imbue iconic status into something that has previously gone inconspicuous and tucked away.”

JOEY LINDEN, IN HOUSE MEME TEAM COORDINATOR AT TRUANTS | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next?  “Year was weird but good, relocated back to Detroit from NYC.  My plan for next year is to get the Paris of the Midwest its swag back!!!!!”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year?  Seeing all of my friends grow as artists and find success in the pursuit of their craft and art.  Djing for Pitchfork in Detroit.  Call it peak but it was nice Djing for skepta with ratking on Know-Wave when no one knew about him in America and then going on to see him take over America. Elysia Paul Crampton gaining the notoriety she deserves! Diverse, fearless and intelligent artists gaining a voice and starting to dismantle the un-intellectual bro-y industrial complex.  Anything involving Nicki Minaj.  Following Akash on vine.  

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? Probably anything by Total Freedom and Ikonika, because they show you the beauty in the chaos, and help make sense of this world.

What is your favorite venue, tell us about a fond memory of that place?  Spending the amount of time I did at brooklyn’s 285 kent for its last year of existence was essential to my understanding of electronic music.  My first week living in NYC, I had no friends, and I went to 285 kent alone and saw DJ rashad and DJ manny do a b2b set before opening up for Zomby.  There were probably 15 people at the venue.  Seeing Rashad and Manny spin footwork that one time changed my entire views/understanding of electronic music forever.  After that I never missed DJ rashad when he played in NYC – and the feeling I felt watching him that in that time period is something I look for, through music, almost every day.”

RICCARDO VILLELLA, SOLID SNAKE AT TRUANTS | TWITTER & SOUNDCLOUD

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “Apart from getting far too inebriated at Bloc to remember anything substantial for the post-festival review, musically my year hasn’t been the most exciting of one’s; it has however been one of the busiest 12 months. As a third year Graphic Design student my time has been divided between Adobe programs and planning the Truancy Volumes, so having managed both to a reasonably decent degree is a great feeling to close the year out on. Plans for next year include finishing my studies, producing more music to a level where I can finally feel confident in sharing, and getting out the UK at least once which would already be more than I did in 2015. Maybe finally complete all Crash Bandicoot games 100% too.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “Bicep closing out their XOYO residency without a doubt. You only have to watch this video of the confetti canon going off to their Dominca edit to catch a small glimpse of how up for it the crowd was all night. Getting to also hear Art Crime – Release on a system with that Ellis D acapella over the top was a true clubbing moment for me. I really wish there was a photo of my face at that particular minute – my arms have never been that high in the air. My younger brother had also just moved to London and having really bonded musically with him over the last couple of years, getting to go with him and experience this great night together just adds to the memory. Coupled with the fact that their Truancy Volume was going live a few days after, amidst a barrage of excited messages between me and Soraya,  it was a really good week.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “I feel like I’ve listened to more mixes than actual singular tracks this year so this is a hard one to pick out. First one I’m going to pick is a mix by Laurent Garnier which was actually recorded live in 2003 from a Welcome To The Rave! party but got posted by the Phonographe Corp web site last year as part of their mix series. Banging old school techno that proves you don’t need to sound industrial to play a banging, hard techno set. I only found out about this mix this year and it’s been one of my most played recordings that’s led me to so many bombs. 2 Rare People – Time and D-Shake – Techno Trance (Paradise Is Now Mix) being two particular standouts. Come to think of it a lot of my favourite mixes are old recordings that have been posted online in recent times. DJ Pooch – Seducation (April 1993) mix and Kemistry & Storm Live at the Edge (1995) being two others. I’ve also listened to that State Of Me track at 28 minutes in that DJ Metatron track like a hundred times. The whole mix has soundtracked many night time bus journeys home.”

Which new artists are you most excited about (and why)? “Denis Sulta has had a fantastic year especially towards the end there with the Numbers release, so that probably gets set to continue next year. Duckett was another new name to appear this year whom I’ve been following closely. His release for UntilMyHeartStops is amazing and he recently did a live recording for Snare featuring lots of live Duckett material that’s definitely worth checking out. Then there’s people like Umfang, Shinra, the other Andrea, Vidock, Shape Worship that should all be doing good stuff.”

JESS MELIA, TOMMY SHELBY AT TRUANTS | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? I’ve had a pretty crazy year to be honest; finally got a job that I’m actually interested in and out of a string of retail jobs that were destroying me. I’ve been asked to work on some questionable stuff like this but largely, it’s pretty good. My boyfriend and I moved into a house in Leeds city centre and we just got a sausage dog! Unfortunately all that meant my role as TT scheduling soulja took a bit of a hit but hopefully January will see me back in the mix. Some friends and I also started a night in Leeds called Come Thru – we hope it promotes more diversity in clubs and aim to create an equal platform for people to play the music they love. Next year we’ve got Come Thru’s 1st birthday so we’ll be planning something good for that as well as looking for like minded nights or people to collab with so holler if you’re keen!”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “Definitely the time that Sophie Kindreich came down to play at Come Thru – the crowd went crazy for her set. The best bit was when she dropped a happy hardcore mix of Body Party, it went off. I just remember glancing around, mouth wide-open at the incredible reaction.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “I need to get back into my TT mix mode and write some more but I was super stoked to have interviewed Nightwave this year, her Truancy Volume was great and she’s such a humble person. Probably also this Leonce b2b Helix – Fade To Mind Rinse FM mix, mostly for my obsession with the Rihanna refix – took me so long to track that one down. Oh and The Large’s TV definitely, that was my summer Jam!”

ANTOIN LINDSAY, AUBERGINE EMOJI AT TRUANTS | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “On balance, probably the best I’ve had so far. Got a job, moved back to a city I love after being away for a few years, embraced parts of my identity that I could never have foreseen myself embracing. Downside has meant I’ve been busier than ever and I’ve not had the chance to listen to as much music, but I feel like that makes it more precious when I do. Moving to a bigger city has also lent itself to me seeing a broader spectrum of DJs which in turn has widened my appreciation for more sounds I’d never really given time to. Next year I hope this will continue and maybe get to travel a bit more. If I don’t get smothered completely by letting agent fees I’ll hopefully get Stateside to see my crew there!”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “Being sent completely catatonic by Hessle Audio closing Freerotation. Honorary mention to Swing Ting for routinely creating a fun and welcoming environment in a city I was basically starting afresh in.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “Too much! I wish I could have got involved with more Truancy Volumes this year but incredibly chuffed that Truancy Volume 109: Leif turned out to be so special and I’ve probably listened this and his other mixes at Freerotation and for Phonica more than anything else. My guys Samrai & Platt turned in a really special Truancy Volume, as did The Large. Shouts to the Dekmantel crew for putting together a really strong mix series, with Midland, Sassy J and Beautiful Swimmers getting the heaviest rotation at Chez Lindsay. It goes without saying I’m still listening to the Hessle Audio Rinse FM show every week too. But the most important listening of the year for me was Principe Discos’ month long residency at Rinse FM. They enlightened me with so much music, sent me off on so many tangents and left me excited for whatever they’ve got up their sleeve next.”

What is your favorite venue, tell us about a fond memory of that place? “Shouts to Soup Kitchen forever. I’ve had so many amazing moments there this year but what stands out for me was very specific in hearing Jon K play a Dopplereffekt record that I hadn’t heard out before, and considering I’m thinking about getting some kind of Drexciya tattoo next year, things like that will always resonate.”

SOPHIE KINDREICH | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? It’s been my first year spent out of full-time education since I was a wee girl. Although the circumstances that led to my dropping out were less than ideal, the ease with which I was able to accept that university wasn’t the right place for me (definitely not now, possibly not ever) came as a relief and a surprise. I celebrated my mum’s 60th and my gran’s 80th, and appreciated more keenly than ever before their strength and resilience. I’ve been djing more regularly than I did in 2014 and doing my best to get over imposter syndrome; being given the opportunity to become a resident somewhere has really helped on that front. 2015 was also the year I managed to close an overdraft that had become a major source of anxiety. I’m not really sure what 2016 holds for me yet but I’d like for my health to become less erratic, *Thugger voice* that’s allllll…”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? Getting an overwhelmingly positive reaction when I finished my set at Free Pride, a local alternative pride event. The Black Madonna playing a soulful, heady set in Sub Club; what made it more special is that it happened to be the first time I’ve managed to catch a woman djing in there. Making two pilgrimages to Swing Ting and getting to dance to tracks I don’t have a hope of hearing played out in Glasgow. Finally meeting more of the Truants family: Tobias by complete chance in a basement in Dalston; Jess, Tayyab and Matt C at the first Come Thru party.”

AKASH CHOHAN, MARTH AT TRUANTS | TWITTER & TUMBLR

 How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? Really dumb I started writing and it’s been a steep learning process, but slowly and surely getting the hang of it. As for next year I’m going to try to be as brown and equally mediocre as possible.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “Seeing Kanye perform for the first time.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “MA_DJ and Manara’s Rinse Mix. Hearing Dej, Strings Hoe, Holler and(!) Freeze Tag Booty alongside songs of South Asian background, (mixing these all seamlessly together seems inherently difficult in itself) that I don’t know the title of but recognise, for example, being heard emanating from the kitchen while sitting on my living room rug growing up is so cool to me. Finding tracks such as Rangeela Re again through friends, Twitter or BBC AXN NETWORK shows almost makes up for (what i now know was) relative coconut assimilation life for about 20 years. Like, I often know all of the words even if i don’t know the name of the track, almost akin to Hwoarang’s 10-hit combo in Tekken 3 that I can’t for the life of me recite, but it’s still stored safely as muscle memory in my thumbs. This mix resonated with of all of that relearning this year, the selection being in addition to the thought and skill required to make those transitions flawless. In fact, I remember vividly being at Earthly IV at Corsica when the Das Ja vs Loyal (thank you Nikesh Parmar) mix was being played by Manara and everyone on the dancefloor suddenly could breathe a little easier because many a person (mainly white) had vacated to Room 2. (For the record, I fully believe there would have been a different reaction if any popular white dj had blindly parachuted the same songs into their set) But those who stayed, whatever skin colour were poppin off together to such. a. rare. moment; especially to the diaspora with a vague af sense of home. So that night in taking the rest of the year into account, was definitely a turning point and an early indication of the type of person to be unable to enjoy it being left behind in their own pretending, tired and poisonous spaces, starved of the kind of music in this 2 hour mix. Easily racked up a Final Fantasy VII average playtime listening to this cross-atlantic desi b2b since it dropped so, tl;dr, much respect and thank you.”

Which new artist(s) are you most excited about (and why)? Lexxi, Nkisi and AJ Tracey. Just a matter of when not if.”

TAYLOR TROSTLE, EXPANSION PACK AT TRUANTS TWITTER, TUMBLR & SITE

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? It’s been a learning experience, as always. I know myself better than I did a year ago. I feel there has been significant development in the DC electronic music scene with labels like 1432 R, Future Times, and People’s Potential Unlimited, venues such as Flash and U Street, and monthly parties like ROAM. It’s been tough getting to shows since I live in the suburbs and work full-time, but I hope to be more involved in contributing to DC’s growth next year. I plan to record more mixes, work on tracks and create more artwork in general. I would really like to do the artwork for a vinyl release sometime soon.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “As far as live performances go, Holly Herndon at DC9 was the most memorable; the whirring of a helicopter about to crash through the roof, the audience wide-eyed at the interactive and evolving projections, answering crowd questions like “what should I say to the girl next to me?” with “respect her space,” and the encompassing power of Herndon’s voice layered and looped. Personally, I loved mixing records at home, learning about production and making music with Pcoat, an incredibly talented producer and my best friend :)”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “Thinking about it now, I guess I spent about 50 hours per week listening to music, so that’s a lot of mixes. Some favorites were 1432 R for Radar Radio, Dekmantel and Freerotation sets, Extended Family mix series, система | system mix series, Gost Zvuk for Raid, Field Records mix by Mark du Mosch, Truancy Volumes by Bicep and Endian, and anything by Ben UFO, Call Super or Objekt. I really like mixes that are eclectic, show an emotional range, and highlight the DJ’s influences and personality, and feel these selections exemplify that.”

Tell us about a label that you think is doing exciting things right now, visually or otherwise? A few labels out of Russia have me really excited. Gost Zvuk, their sub label, Gost Instrument, and Johns’ Kingdom have this sort of hybrid sound that feels really new and introspective. I also really like the typography on the hand-stamped labels, and the image of a drafting compass for Gost Instrument reminds me of playing with my dad’s architectural drawing tools as a kid. Between their artwork, mixes, productions and unique perspective, I think the Moscow electronic scene has a lot to offer. Out of DC, I think 1432 R have a definitive sound and strength of vision, and their artwork is unique with its delicate lines and bold imagery. They just have me really excited about the future of electronic music in DC.”

TOBIAS SHINE | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “Year has been super lush!! Started up a party called EVE in Sydney w my friends and also finished my undergrad degree :P but it has been fkd to live in a country whose government is pure evil, pursuing a very open/publicly consented/centuries-long genocide of Aboriginal folk and rly rly awful and disturbing refugee policy. Australia is in a very dark place atm, as I guess a lot of other places are.. but I’m also so lucky and grateful to be surrounded by ppl who continue to rally and bloom together and who are so generous with their time and thoughts!!”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “Had such a fun weekend in berlin w lotic, why be, dangelxxx one nite then mesh kablam + tomas urquieta the next.. also seeing team amr haha go tf in on a big F1 rig to like 20 ppl in the back of a ldn pub, with Simon. Cooking and smoking grey haze w Soraya while listening to ds2. Getting imaabs to Aus!!”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “I love to listen to rave tapes when I’m out so on a nice day i always rinse Mumdance b2b Loefah hardcore special, Untold’s fact mix or Slimzee’s tape for us. Slimzee’s fader mix on Sundays!! At home: Wavejumper’s soundtrack for quiet kettle or Venus X and Fatima al Qadiri superego or the silk bless tape / all bekele tbh. b4 club: The Large for the astral plane or for us. after club: TF wrong choice mixfile duh!!!”

What is your favorite venue, tell us about a fond memory of that place? “OK so this is pretty deep rn!!! It’s gotta be goodgod and they closed like last weekend :’( been shaking my butt on the df there at least once a month for the past 4 yrs so feeling v broken rn!! Litch too many fond memories.. but two would have to be the first Night Slugz takeover in early 2013  and DJ Rashad going offfff on a Thursday nite ahhh rip goodgod rip Rashad!! :’’’( But can’t even describe how instrumental this place has been for me and my family and for so many ppl here in Syd lol now we have nothing !!!! Internationally: horst krzbrg but thats closed as well fkkk.”

MATT COOMBS, EDM CORRESPONDENT AT TRUANTS | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “Ups and downs for sure! A lot happens in a year, you know? Aced some exams, learned some new skills. In these recent months especially I feel like i’ve learned a lot about myself, cut out the bullshit, and that’s a powerful thing! They don’t want you to learn about yourself. They don’t want you to jet ski. I won’t bore you with specific goals for next year, just keep on growing, be less passive, continue to embrace the absurdity of life. The keys to success. I promise you. Another one.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? Hard to distill down to one! Really enjoyed meeting fellow Truants on the road and sharing experiences with them. Ricc and Simon at Bloc. Sophie, Tayyab and Antoin at Come Thru. In mentioning Come Thru I of course have to give a s/o to Jess and the team. I’m sure she’ll talk about it a little but it’s been a wonderful and necessary introduction. Some of my favourite times in the club this year have been there. Seeing friends thrive >>>. Of course it’s been wonderful again to talk to some really talented people with vital stories to tell, and to present it on this platform that I’m so proud of is a blessing.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? I’m not too sure how much i’ve gone back and listened to mixes. I feel like that’s telling but more about my attention span than anything else. A few stand out for sure though. Zora Jones and Sinjin Hawke’s POINTCLOUDS mix is of course phenomenal. So excited for what they’re cooking up. I’d 100% recommend going in with the visuals if you can spare the time and your internet can handle it. Slackk’s Boxed classics mix for Dazed really hammered home the work that all those guys have done. You only have to look at the tracklist and it blows you away. Classics. It’s too many to mention with the Truancy Volumes to be honest. A few personal highlights: Kid Antoine, Falty DL, Nightwave, Karen Gwyer and Slimzee (!!!). Just looking at that list intoxicates me.”

How have you seen the club culture of your city change, and what would you do to improve it? For as much as I’ve tried, the village I live in still doesn’t have any club culture. You try and book the village hall for a set but the folks need to play their Bingo and do their Zumba, right? Sure i’m joking but being out in the sticks means I just dip into different places, maybe that’s interesting. I don’t really identify with any particular spaces in that way. Do we have Oculus Rift nightclubs yet? Is that a thing? *reseals can of worms* On the real, I think all of us are in agreement on how we can at least start to improve club culture and have voiced these things in the past, whether on Twitter or through talking with artists and writing on Truants. More of that. It’s a must.”

SINDHUJA SHYAM, FUCK BOY IN TRAINING AT TRUANTS 

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “I’ve had better years but it feels oddly good and fruitful, like a boss battle that takes ages and it sucks and you’re almost dead but you know you’re gonna get a lot of EXP after.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? To be honest, I don’t have one specific memory that I carry with me. I’ve had to take a distance from Truants responsibilities to focus on uni but simultaneously have grown closer to love for music again. It’s come back as my best friend in the passenger seat instead of locked up in the trunk like it was last year, which is what I’ll remember this year for. I’ve managed to phase out the overstimulating internet vibes on music and new things and just gone back to keeping up with rap/R&B top 40 and whatever ghazals my mom sends me and that’s been a blessing and a ½.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “Definitely MA Nguzu’s Tobago Tracks mix. I mean it goes from a loyal bhangra refix to Tory Lanez to Immorales. If there’s ever a mix that could sum me up, it’s this one. Obviously also the Kuedo mix for Truants.

Tell us about a label that you think is doing exciting things right now, visually or otherwise? NON Records, BBC AZN Network, we desperately need more diverse narratives that break through the same boring voices that currently dominate the scene, all they’re good for is exoticizing and colombusing subcultures. That’s why I love these collectives because they provide dancefloors hosted by artists that tell their own important stories.”

ERADJ YAKUBOV, DREADED CULTURAL MARXIST AT TRUANTS ☭ | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “I’ve had eventful year with many positives tempered by a few but significant low points, but significantly I’ve moved to (and hopefully settled in – bureaucracy permitting!) Cologne, a city which I’ve come to feel at home in and where I am close to dear friends. As for the coming year – I hope to find the time to write more, read more, to finally finish a long-running research project and to get a cat.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “There have been many special moments, so it is quite hard to pick a single one. But a “short” list – seeing Laurel Halo play a tremendous, captivating live set in the summer, and only a few weeks ago experiencing the live project of Holly Herndon, Mat Dryhurst and Colin Self in the wonderful Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf – a performance that was impressive both in its aesthetic and (non-cliched) political ambition and execution. I was lucky to see Jan Schulte play a DJ set in which his handling of rhythm and melody, not to mention the track selections, left me and several of my friends completely speechless. And a series of fantastic parties here in Cologne – with JD Twitch, Helena Hauff, the Golden Pudel crew, Traxx and others, with support from the many superb local DJs from the city.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? It must be between an Angel Food mix on Radar Radio which featured a guest mix from Kablam, Karen Gweyer’s mix for our of Truancy Volume series, and a radio mix by a very close friend (and one of my favourite DJs). Somewhat less frequent in plays but no lesser in quality or my enjoyment of them were mixes/radio shows from Resom, with her tape special on BCR and her guest appearance on the Hessle Audio Rinse show being my favourites. All of the above I enjoyed in various ways and they affected me differently, but all feel to me as being products of work and reflections of very talented and unique people (and the start of the Kablam mix was – and dozens of listening lates still is, completely emotionally overwhelming for me :D ).”

What is your favorite venue, tell us about a fond memory of that place? A lot has been written about it, much by people who will have done a much better job than I ever could in putting across how great it is, but for me there is no place better than Hamburg’s Golden Pudel. The building itself is very special – with its old wooden walls that creak along to the music, but what really makes it great are the wonderful people, from the super-diverse audience to the Pudel family who work and DJ there, and who are not just some of the best, most interesting DJs I’ve seen play but are also incredibly welcoming and good-hearted people.”

SIMON DOCHERTY, TECHNO LOGICIAN AT TRUANTS | TWITTER & SOUNDCLOUD

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “Full of love. Besides proving lots of theorems, next year I’m starting a night with my partner Maya. It’s called Wild Combination and the first party will be on January 29th with Nidia Minaj, Debonair and Reckonwrong. You can buy tickets here.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year?Performing at Unsound.

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “This Toxe set for NTS, Nidia Minaj’s mix for Dazed & Confused and everything by Malin, Avalon Emerson and Lena Willikens As far as Truancy Volumes go: A Made Up Sound, Leif, rRoxymore and Kuedo. I couldn’t possibly choose between the Functions Of The Now mixes.. they’re mine and Tobias’ babies and we love them all equally.”

MATT GIBNEY, FOOT SOLDIER AT TRUANTS

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? Overall, really good. I can’t complain. The final year of my undergrad degree was a bit of a slog at times, and meant I missed out on some parties and festivals that I’d been eyeing up, but it all reached a pretty satisfactory conclusion. Since graduating I’ve been unable to up sticks from Manchester and have started another degree in a different, only very tenuously related field. The change and has been refreshing, giving me some renewed focus.  Next year I’d like to properly find my feet, finish with academia and travel some more, hopefully taking in some overseas festivals and friends on the way!”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? Gottwood Festival was the definite highlight of 2015for ne. From the crew I was with to the programming, setting, stage design and some unusually good Welsh weather, it had it pretty much all. Move D’s three hour set in a mock boat – which managed to encompass everything from The Streets to Rosinha De Valença – was probably the best festival set I’ve seen and one which will definitely be etched into my memory for some time. Aside from that, I’ve had some great times dancing at parties in Manchester. Shouts to the likes of Selective Hearing, Meat Free and meandyou. for providing them.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “I’m going be fairly biased with my first pick and give a nod to Truancy Volume 132. Endian was someone I’d wanted to see a studio mix from for ages and so to get it ourselves was a real coup. That’s been getting rinsed a fair amount since going up a few weeks ago. I’d say the consistency of all the Truancy Volumes and Functions of the Now contributions has been the best we’ve ever had, so shouts to each and every person who delivered or set one up! Radiowise, I’ve made sure to catch each and every Hessle show, while I’ve also discovered loads of great new (to me at least) music through Bake’s new Rinse slot. Sano’s Bedroom Tapes show on Radio Cómeme, which features unreleased music only, has also been great for this.”

What is your favorite venue, tell us about a fond memory of that place? “As great as Manchester is for nights out, one thing which had bugged me slightly was the lack of decent mid-sized venues. At one end of the spectrum you obviously have places like The Warehouse Project while at the other you’ve got the likes of Soup Kitchen, Joshua Brooks and, until recently, the Roadhouse – all great venues which have received plenty of deserved plaudits. The arrival of Hidden, a 650 capacity converted warehouse on the outskirts of the city centre, was something I was delighted to see. Since opening a few months back they’ve got so much right: an excellent soundsystem, security who manage to avoid being overzealous and some consistently excellent bookings. I’ve had great fun there seeing the likes of Floating Points, Craig Richards and Levon Vincent and hope for more of the same in 2016.”

AIDAN HANRATTY, BIG DADA AT TRUANTS | TWITTER & BANDCLOUD

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? This year has been insane. Personally, I became a father, so that’s been a whole trip in itself. Musically, I travelled to Berlin for CTM and Belfast to catch the Hessle trio (shouts to Antoin), meeting some great people on both weekends. Most of my time with music has been intimate and personal; I hope next year I can share the experience again. I hope to get some structure back into my life, while allowing the possibility of random chaos to continue.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? I wrote about all the great stuff at CTM already (particularly the stunning performance of Jenny Hval and Susanna), but apart from that I didn’t get to attend to many musical events. One unexpected highlight was hearing Marcus Price play “Why The Fuck You Lying” during his warm-up set for Hannibal Buress.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? EB Radio Presents: Call Super – The Sound of Basement Q Volume 2Call Super did a few mixes this year, including more a offbeat selection for Blowing Up The Workshop and a tape for Cav Empt under his Ondo Fudd alias, but this one was my personal favourite. It features huge tracks like Fit Siegel’s gorgeous “Carmine”, Call Super’s own “Fluenka’s Shelf” (probably my favourite track this year), the utterly stomping “Aufgang I” from Zum Goldenen Schwarm and the derivative but charming “Wearing” by CC Not. The mix is everything you want from a Call Super: intelligent, emotional and powerful.

Norman Records Podcast #12: Christina Vantzou with John Also Bennett. Another mix I found myself playing again and again was Christina Vantzou’s mix for Norman Records, done with John Also Bennett It’s a languid sequence of tracks, the most gorgeous of which is Steve Hauschildt’s “Eyelids Gently Dreaming” and the most chilling of which, of course, is Popol Vuh’s “Aguirre”. Old soundtracks meet musique concrète, heartfelt yearning meets frivolous play. It’s cleansing, soothing and beautiful, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

What was your favorite record artwork? Where To Now? have been the most consistent label of the year for me, both musically and aesthetically, and one of their most recent releases stunned me. The cover of Manta’s Etra is arresting, stirring, welcoming. To me it seems to signal its own brilliance.”

SORAYA BROUWER, PEP GUARDIOLA AT TRUANTS | PORTFOLIO & TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? “I give 2015 four and a half stars out of five. It is going well with Truants, and I got to meet a lot of our team over the last few months. My plans for the next year: draw more (hire me) and listen to more Sevn Alias. I have a few nice projects going on at the moment so I will keep myself busy for the next few months at least. I am also mentally preparing for the world cup, the new season of Peaky Blinders and the next Rihanna record.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “When Justin Bieber released Purpose, Skepta’s first performance in Amsterdam and The Black Madonna at Lentekabinet. I also liked the Superlekker bungalow at Nachtiville, even though I only remember Michael Jackson tracks being looped for hours at end and I’m not sure this is what really happened.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “I can usually tell how excited I am about mixes by looking at how many texts I sent to other Truants and how many of those are in all caps. I outdid myself when it came to the Truancy Volumes by Kuedo, Bicep and A Made Up Sound. Having my three favourite artists in the mix was very emotionally draining, and I’m still having a difficult time coming to terms with it. Outside of Truants – Kai Alce for Oval Space and Galcher Lustwerk live for RBMA. Also everything Bicep did this year outside their TV, the mixes I go back to most often are the After Hours mix for BBC1 they did – 40 minutes of slowed down trance edits – and Hot Tub Slamz II. When I die bury me inside a Bicep mix .flac file.”

Which new artist are you most excited about (and why)? “I stole this recommendation from Hashman Deejay, but definitely Ta-ha. From one Tuareg shawty to another, I see you. She has such an incredible voice and I can’t wait to hear more from her!”

OLI GRANT, A.W.O.L AT TRUANTS | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? 2015 was the year when my work life finally more than threatened to consume time spent on music stuff – something that needs to get rebalanced next year as a priority.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? I’ve never really been around for the start of any musical movements before – I’ve missed the start of any meaningful green shoots in hiphop, jungle/ drum and bass, the beginnings and formative early FWD events of dubstep and grime. Much of my life has been spent catching up; digging retrospectively to the roots of different sounds and events. Being one of the 20 odd people at the first Boxed event in Peckham finally felt like I caught the start of a little wave, so I feel quite attached to that crew and their music. To see Boxed pack out my favourite London venue for their 2nd birthday, Autumn Street Studios, which was a big step up for them in terms of capacity, and to see them absolutely smash it was probably the most fun I’ve had in the dance this year.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? I keep coming back to the mix Fracture and Chimpo put together for FACT. I have a lot of love for especially Fracture – he’s a top producer, his crate-digging and ear for a good sample is second to none, and I think that really comes through in this mix. Some of the tracks they slow down sound wicked at a lower tempo.”

MICHAEL SCALA, SOLDIER AT TRUANTS | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? It’s been my first full year out of school/university – going in and out of school is how my mind has delimited time in the year since preschool, so it’s been weird being stationary in that sense (this was the fastest year ever). I’ve found a nice and stuffy 9-5 that’s treated me relatively ok, and it will pay my rent when I decide to move (my foremost plan for 2016) – that thought and Truancy Volumes tend to keep me happy. What I’d like to see myself doing more of next year is going out and experiencing music in live settings. My job (unrelated to music industry/journalism) has been pretty constricting and alienating in the way that it’s cut away from the time I’d like to spend with music. When I move I’ll still be in Jersey but closer to NY, so I’ll have a better chance to work on that. I’m only a 40 minute bus ride away from the city as is, but sometimes I feel like I might as well be in Montana or some shit.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? Cashing out on a Spotify account.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? Nothing truly jumps out as #1, which is an ode to the unfortunate amount of time I’ve been able to spend listening to one. I remember really (naturally) loving the sets that were part of the Jersey special on Boiler Room – I think that was this year. I wake up on Sundays, put on NTS and have a coffee.”

TABITHA THORLU-BANGURA, THE NOT SO SILENT MINORITY AT TRUANTS | TWITTER

How has your year been, and what are your plans for the next? It’s been a really challenging year, in incredible ways and in fucking awful ways. Definitely spent way too much time in hospitals, not into that! But I’ve learned a lot, made some moves I needed to make… Plans for next year: world domination.”

What is your favourite music-related memory of this year? “Staycore playing Tropical Waste, haven’t danced like that in way too long. Was really grateful to be able to program some of a really cool NTS collaboration with the artist Zhang Ding at the ICA – I dreamed up a couple of brand new, totally experimental live collaborations and seeing/hearing the gambles pay off was completely exhilarating. Extra special shouts to Throwing Shade & Tapes and Lukid & Heatsick for getting up there and doing it. Also I think I can say that this year I’ve bent my radio show to my will more often than it’s bent me out of shape. I’m not always happy with it, or in the right headspace for it…but when I am and I get to share the music I love, in a way that does it justice, with people all over the world – it’s pure joy.”

What mixes did you listen to most often this year (and why)? “I don’t really listen to mixes that much, full disclosure – at least not if you don’t count radio shows going out live. Having said that I had Ony’s first NTS show on repeat for a minute, keep an eye on this guy: http://www.nts.live/shows/guests/episodes/ony-3rd-november-2015 Shit, I lied – I did listen to that DJ Metatron mix a lot. And if we are counting radio shows going out live, I listen to Rroundhere’s Saturday morning show almost every week and she amazes me every time, it’s always an education.   

I did get back into listening to albums towards the end of this year; the new Bullion album is wicked – totally perfect pop music. I listened to the daring, rhythmic and abrasive new Joane Skyler album in a very serious way, and the Tuareg Shawty EP by Ta-Ha I had on repeat because of its insanely addictive, globecrossing, ride-or-die sensuality. Late pass for Larry B’s 8 Tunes By Larry B which he released for free a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t heard it yet trust me you’re not ready. But you need it in your life, no matter what kind of music you think you’re into: http://8tunesbylarryb.tumblr.com/  

Actually 2015 I got back into listening to songs on repeat, that’s really the main way I consumed music this year – selectively but obsessively. Maybe because I spent a lot of the year in love, with all the ups and downs which that state of existence comes with. Special mentions and occasional hyperlinks for: ‘Fly Higher’ by Organ Tapes, ‘Try Me’ by Dej Loaf, ‘Blue Notion’ by Laurel Halo, ‘Palm Whine’ by 5 Gate Temple/Tribe of Colin, ‘More Bite Than Bark, First Light After Dark’ by Afrikan Sciences, ‘The Lesson // Recovery’ by The Neighborhood Character, ‘Priéremix’ by Kablam, ‘Our Building On Fire’ by Trevor Lee Larson, ‘Mela’ by Ta-Ha and ‘Johnny’ by Yemi Alade.”

Which new artist are you most excited about (and why)? I think Klein is completely incredible – a young iconoclast bringing elements of noise, ambient and experimental music together with R’n’B and gospel and so much other stuff besides. I’m in love with her fearlessness in that respect. Her voice is beautiful and versatile, and her vision, musically and otherwise, is so fucking fresh. Everyone needs to hear her music, believe it. I genuinely can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Soraya Brouwer
Soraya Brouwer

LONDON / soraya @ truantsblog.com / @sorayea Soundcloud

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