Guestlist sat down with the WAB DJ and promoter, Alex Savvides, and the Hacienda legend, Jon Dasilva, to spill some real deets about their crazy party times and find out more their upcoming We Are Balearic parties!
Just to start off sweet and fresh, how are you doing?
Alex: I'm super nervous but excited about the Easter party!
Alex, you’ve got a big We Are Balearic party coming up and Jon is DJing at it! Tell us a little bit about what we should expect?
Alex: Yes! It's our 3rd Birthday Bash so, like always, we're putting on a massive party with an awesome DJ line-up! You can expect the best of house music in London with a few surprise choices of the old tracks thrown into the mix.
We're going to have 3 big rooms: The Hacienda Room (new house music), The Paradise Garage Room (disco and Balearic) and The Space Ibiza Room (tech house and melodic house).
Our crowd will love it!
Jon, so you’re from Preston and then you moved to Manchester at the young age of 19! Do you mind delving into the past and telling us about your time as a resident of The Hacienda and who inspired you while you were there?
Jon: Moved to London from Preston when I was 19 to do a film making course, then went to university in Kent to study Film and Art. Only in late 87-88 did I move back North full-time again. Jan '88 I started living in Manchester. I got the residency at the Hacienda soon afterwards and started on Hot night with Mike Pickering, during the summer of '88.
In terms of influences, it would have been New York/Balearic, anything goes. Approaches of the likes of Kervorkian, Levan etc but also, a lot of post-punk, disco, dub reggae and African music at the time.
The first hours of the night would be a chance for me to play some weird shit interspersed with BBC sound effects. I think I even charted those sound effects in charts in iD magazine and Black Echoes back then. That part of the night seems to have been quite influential with some people; perceived to be Balearic. I can’t say that influenced me though since it was not in my experience. New York’s DJs were. Anyway, it was certainly the zeitgeist.
The rest of the night was a mix up of Techno, Acid House, House and Hip-Hop also punctuated with sound effects and a cappellas.
So both of you started DJing a while ago and have seen your rock and punk contemporaries become big in the past 25 years, what’s that been like?
Alex: I started Djing in '89 back in the time when bands like the Happy Mondays were just indie bands in Manchester so it's been interesting but great to see some of the DJs become the big international rock stars of today!
Jon: In terms of bands, yes it’s been a blast to see the likes of the Mondays, 808 State and the Chems blow up…all Manchester bands, in many ways. The Hacienda was full of bands on the Wednesdays and Fridays…House and Techno nights…the bands totally soaked it all up.
How do you think the acid house scene has evolved since your days at The Hacienda in '88?
Alex: I totally see that there is a bigger scene growing out there with people more my age of 40 and plus. Folks who are wanting to hear the real house throwbacks but are also curious for the fresher tunes. I really respect that evolution since I also see the kids today loving and respecting the origins of house and it's really good to see that out there!
At WAB, we still like to play of the older stuff, beats that don't sound obviously old-school but certainly total throwbacks for us. Nevertheless, yeh, I'd say there is a new form of house that sounds fresher but with clear old-school aspects to it.
Jon: It has been divided into generic specific scenes, which is exciting on the one hand if you want that purity of approach, but depressing if you don't want to hear the same sound all night. I oscillate between the two!
Who have been some of your favourite DJ’s to have worked with?
Alex: It's been a pleasure to have Terry Farley as a resident at WAB. He's not only a great DJ, constantly pushing the boundaries for new music but also, someone who can confidently ask for advice about music and DJs and take it on board. A real go-getter!
We've also had Alfredo from Ibiza many times. An absolute Balearic legend, he's now in his 60s but still one of the best DJs on the planet!
Jon: Derrick May is a character and a half and so brilliant on the decks! Laurent was always fun to play with back in the day when we mashed up House and Disco. I’m having fun doing back to backs with Joshu from I Love Acid at the moment though...and Sir Terrence Farley.
What’s most important when it comes to an acid house party like We Are Balearic?
Alex: The most important thing is our crowd! We really have the coolest crowd in London, they are really into what we do and I couldn't be more happy with the great people I've met through WAB.
Jon, you were recently nominated as Iconic Underground’s Top 50 DJs and in your Resident Advisor bio you are described as ‘an influence to a whole new generation of DJs’, what’s that feel like?
Jon: I always take those kinda things with a grain of salt. It’s nice to get props from people sure, but you’re only as good as your last set.
And you have a summer party with Chicago’s legendary Jesse Saunders coming up, what else are you both working on right now?
Alex: Yes, we are flying Jesse over for a very special all-dayer with FULL CIRCLE! Really exciting stuff since this will be the 30th anniversary of FULL CIRCLE and we are going to be taking over the incredible Dome in Tufnell Park, so it's quite special. I can't wait!
Oh, yea and we've got another WAB party going on soon hosted by Marshall Jefferson for his book launch on the 26 April, so definitely look out for that as well.
Get tickets for WAB 3rd Birthday Bash here and Marshall Jefferson's WAB event here!