Between live spectacles, a consistent album output, and an aptitude for drawing collaborators from across the musical spectrum, Derry’s Japanese Popstars have proven a truly authentic force in electronic music. Now one member fewer (after the departure of Declan McLoughlin) and realigned in their approach, Gary Curran and Gareth Donoghue have not only returned to the limelight but rewarded fans who may have feared that the big, bad industry had subdued this precious experimental outfit. And if their 2012 IMS anthem “Matter of Time” hadn’t been reassurance enough, their third album, Disconnect/Reconnect, for Bedrock Records, signaled a full journey from the major-label circuit they so infamously embraced. A deep and transient showcase of experimental techno stylings, their retraction from a partnership with Virgin/EMI Records offers a firm lesson not only for producers pining for the major-label pedestal, but for those who don’t believe that underground club fuel can still hit positive notes on a mass scale. Beatport News sat down with Popstar Gary Curran to talk albums, U-turns, and the lessons to be learned in chasing the “other side” of the industry coin.
While the general consensus may be that DJ culture has found its downward spiral amid the commercial club overhaul, John Digweed is yet to be persuaded. As a bona fide veteran of the British dance explosion, and renowned for his technical abilities behind the decks, Digweed’s Bedrock imprint and corresponding club nights have set in motion a seemingly perfect revival of new age electronic music cut to the stone of heyday club culture.
Taking to the global festival and club circuit like a duck to water throughout 2012, Digweed and a host of his fellow label cohorts also held a huge anniversary session at Fire nightclub in South London to celebrate the 14 years and more than 100 singles that have forged his imprint.
John Digweed is an expert of the long game; a wise journeyman. Famed for his dynamic and escalating DJ sets that develop subtly over many hours, the British jock has led the dark electronic house movement since its very inception.
“We are on a bit of a roll at the moment,” says Digweed, who managed to secure 28 exclusive tracks (available as individual downloads) for ‘Bedrock Eleven’, from the likes of Spooky (back in the progressive house limelight after what seems like an eon), Christian Smith & John Selway, Santos, Marc Marzenit, Rowdent (aka Rowan Blades and Dennis White), Peter Heller, and others.
Hear what this up-and-comer has to say about all of his recent successes, and his feelings behind ‘Esperanza’ in the interview that follows.