We’ve come a long way since James Murphy told us rock kids were trading guitars for turntables. No longer does throwing a few synths into a punk band merely constitute a rock-rave crossover. Now it’s a little more nuanced than that. The same month we hear Kele from Bloc Party is releasing a deep house track on Crosstown Rebels, we are presented with the third release on Deep Shit, the label set up by Edwin (Congreve) from Foals and Jack (Savidge) of Friendly Fires. Two bands you wouldn’t immediately associate with functional, no-nonsense house and techno music.
“It goes without saying that our backgrounds are similar enough for the partnership to appear to mean something,” Ed tells DJ Mag. “I mean people will say, 'Shit, there's that guy from that band, and that guy from that other band, shit, what does this mean?' I'm not sure what it means, but I do think we make a great DJ team.”
Deep Shit, for both involved, represents the pair’s combined descent into a dark, indigo realm governed entirely by dancefloor values. Starting out as a show on NTS Radio mixing mainly house and techno in 2012, Deep Shit sprung up as a party at East London’s Plastic People and has welcomed the likes of Luke Solomon, Andy Blake and Leon Vynehall to The Hive Project, Bussey Building and Corsica Studios since. With Ed sitting on 'Heal', a deep melodic slice of tech house, the label emerged as a place for it.
“We’ve had the NTS radio show for a couple of years now so it grew out of that,” says Jack. “This sounds all quite lackadaisical, but really for me it was all in the name of having a hobby that you can put some passion into but it not be the end of the world if it's a fuck-up. Is that dilettantish? Perhaps, but I see my proper job as the band and Deep Shit as something that’s a bit more free because I’m not gonna starve if it goes up shit creek. But because of that it retains a kind of innocence.”
As DJs, both members of the party are known for exactly that, bringing it to the party. Jack's contribution to Bugged Out!'s 'Suck My Deck' series in 2010 was simply splendiferous. Mixing up tunes from Aeroplane, Luke Solomon and Arnaud Rebotini, it showed a purer, more dance-y side to a band that traditionally err closer to pop than peak-time party bangers.
Edwin's 'Tapes' for !K7 as Foals mix was also a beaut. More a love letter to dance styles across the board than a linear club set, it revealed Edwin's eclectic love of house and techno alongside various forms of electronic pop, names like Jimmy Edgar and Midland sharing the same tracklist as Oni Ayhun and The Invisible. Learning that “most Foals fans had no interest in pure dance music”, Deep Shit emerged as a chance to give his love of dance its own separate identity.
“I think it's fair to say that Friendly Fires are more clearly associated with dance music than Foals,” says Ed. “We started off as a, dare I say it, dance-punk band. We used to listen to that but now it's pretty much anything goes.”
Citing the artist Luomo and leftfield labels like Kompakt and Border Community, Ed and Jack also point to straight-up techno on Perlon and records from Audion as keystone dance influences. With the imprint's third release (following Kiwi's harmonic nu-disco chugger 'Liama') coming from ex-Buzzin' Fly resident Chris Woodward aka Dubinsky — a tough, jazzy disco work-out with techier remixes from Dimitri Veimar and Primitive World — this month, it's clear to see where Deep Shit's priorities lie.
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