TAKE 10: RICHARD FEARLESS (DEATH IN VEGAS) | DJMag.com Skip to main content

TAKE 10: RICHARD FEARLESS (DEATH IN VEGAS)

Death In Vegas man Richard Fearless gives us his Take 10 — and what a cool selection it is!

Fearless formed Death In Vegas two decades ago, quickly making a mark with the 'Dead Elvis' album of alt.electronica. Becoming a resident at the Heavenly Social club night in London alongside Jon Carter and the Chemical Brothers, his eclectic DJ style led him to recruit Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream, Iggy Pop, Dot Allison and Jim Reid from feedback rockers The Jesus & Mary Chain for the second more rockist DIV album 'The Contino Sessions' in the late '90s.

In 2004 he set up his own label, Drone, to release the fourth DIV album 'Satan's Circus', and as well as some film scores, two more albums followed in the noughties, most recently 'Trans-Love Energies', which Richard toured until a couple of years ago.

“Once that was done, I started Drone up again to put out music that was more reflective of my own DJ style,” he tells DJ Mag. The first new release on Drone is wickedly hypnotic acid-y techno cut 'Higher Electronic States' under Richard's own name.

As well as the music, he's also busy with other art. “I'm working on my conceptual-based abstract photography for a solo show I'm currently putting together,” he reveals. 

01. THE SCIENTIST 'Dematerialized'

“When I was about 12 I found a cassette tape on a bus and fell head over heels for it. I didn't find out what it was for years and it turned out to be a copy of Burning Spear's 'Rocking Time'. That cassette tape started my love of dub/reggae. Many years later down the line my manager at the time Simon, who'd run Skunk Records and Malawi Records, and myself started a dub night called Rockers Disco. We'd get the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Adrian Sherwood and myself to spin. At Rockers this track became a bit of an anthem and was later covered by Death In Vegas.”

 

02. VELVET UNDERGROUND 'White Light White Heat'

“Around my 13th birthday I got an art scholarship and we had to select an artist to write about, and do a piece of work in their style. I picked [Andy] Warhol and did screen prints of Green Shield stamps (none of your readers will have a clue what I'm talking about here). Anyway, as I was reading about him I learnt more about the Velvet Underground, whom he managed. They blew my mind and were my benchmark of cool, growing up. To this day when I listen to them they have such a visceral energy, a broken beauty which I strive for in my productions.”

03. THROBBING GRISTLE '20 Jazz Funk Greats/ Hot On the Heels of Love'

“TG are up there with my favourite bands. The whole image, their industrial-inspired artwork, the whole COUM art movement, Chris & Cosey's solo work, Genesis P.Orridge's slow transformation into his now-deceased partner by plastic surgery — all mind-melting stuff. A former S&M mistress I knew said that Genesis once turned up in her dungeon with a pack of ecstasy, the 'Contino Sessions' LP and a CD of dolphin noises — wild. Anyway, listen to this track — an absolute classic in my opinion.” 

04. BEACH BOYS 'Till I Die (Alternative Mix)'

“Originally released on the 'Surf's Up' album, Brian Wilson's lyrics reflected a deeply fatalistic resignation about life. This is such a stunning record but it's this mix which was never released that would be on repeat in the Fearless household.”

 

05. KRAFTWERK 'Ruckzuck'

“Kraftwerk are such an inspiration to me, and I guess to most musicians today — even if they don’t know it. They really did shape the course of modern pop music. 'Man Machine' to me is one of the few electronic albums which has such a sense of longevity, a timeless classic. Coming from the Dusseldorf avant-garde music scene, then morphing into their later minimal electronic sound, this track is so interesting. When you listen to Florian's delayed flute parts you can hear those beginnings of their later classic sound — the birth of techno.”

06. RON TRENT 'Altered States'

“This was a massive record for me at the Social, where I was resident with the Chemical Brothers. It still creeps back in the box and was a major player in my long-time love affair with Chicago house and Detroit techno.”

07. CARL CRAIG/69 'Ladies and Gentlemen (4 Jazz Funk Classics)'

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“If any of your readers don’t know everything that Carl Craig put out under his 69 alias then drop everything and indulge — mind-blowing records. I used to mix this with 'Altered States' [by Ron Trent, above] and when that drum break kicks in it would always raise the roof. I would make long trips (long-haul flight, then four buses) out to Record Time in Detroit trying to get my hands on tracks that weren't leaving the city, earning my techno stripes in the process. I must have worn through at least five copies of this track over the years.” 

08. HARMONIA 'Watussi'

“Bobby G got me into Harmonia when I toured with them [Primal Scream] as their warm-up DJ. The band were formed by Michael Rother (Neu), Roedelius and Moebius — all amazing musicians in their own right. The album this was taken from, 'Musik Von Harmonia', was probably the most influential record for the sound of Death In Vegas. 'Watussi's got such an amazing energy and sounds like early Kraftwerk meets Vangelis — simply beautiful.” 

09. DEATH IN VEGAS 'Heil Xanax'

“This was the first mix I did for DIV that I really tried to channel the performance into the mix. I was so inspired by all the dub engineers, Scientist, Tubby etc and how they were 'performers' in their own right when they put down a pass. Also, I realized I wanted to strip everything back and get the feeling of the music across with minimal components, like the best dub and techno I was infatuated with.”

10. OMAR S 'Gunnar Wendal'

“About 10 years ago I moved to New York and when I came back I took on a studio with a long-time hero — Andrew Weatherall. This record rekindled my love of DJing, as I'd had a break from buying electronic music and prior to moving had felt pretty exhausted by the whole scene, to tell the truth. This is a fantastic production by one of the most exciting producers in the world of techno.”

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