This week marks the return of one of the most interesting record labels and parties to emerge from London. World Unknown has become an institution of sorts having offered opportunities to many up and coming musicians across a period of time which has observed a vast array of transition within dance and electronic music. Andy Blake has been a prolific member of the London community for a generation and is responsible for having run some of the most distinctive and singular parties across the city in recent times. From shopfront raves to obscure warehouse nightlife he has raised the standard, encouraging promoters to think outside the box.
We invited him to contribute to our mix series as he showcases sounds of significance. Enter World Unknown....
Listen and read the interview below:
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you?
I'm Andy Blake, currently occupying the part of the space-time continuum that borders Hampstead Heath, London, planet earth in October 2017, 1438, 5778 or any number of other abittrary dating systems one cares to reference. Nominally i'm male and human although I strongly suspect things are going to turn out far more interesting that most currently think on that front. For us all I mean, not just me. I'm stultifyingly average at best.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
It sounds round and black and sometimes a little bit crackly.
Explain the rebirth of the label?
Last year I was going to set up a bunch of new labels to release the various kinds of music i'm into but things got more and more complicated and unappealing for me so i binned it all off. Then earlier this year my good friend frank boxer asked me if i'd start the WU label up again. My immediate response was definitely not for a number of reasons but then after a week or so it finally dawned on me that it would be a very good idea and would tie into where the world unknown parties were heading.
How have the parties evolved and changed over the years, will this still be a focus moving forwards?
The various changes have always seemed very natural and unforced to me, just the right thing at the right time. I'm not someone who can carry on doing the same thing over and over so the party and label will keep evolving as long as they're alive.
Dance music in the present, love or hate?
Both and neither really. The dance and the dancer are way more important than any individual piece of music or artist. As long as enough people remember that things will turn out just fine.
Where was the mix recorded?
At the last world unknown party at the end of september our guest dj joel kane and I flipped the night round in hours and this is one of mine. The others may appear somewhere at some point.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Wherever takes the listeners' fancy I guess. Driving a car could be optimum.
What should we be wearing?
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
Always records, always live, other than that i'm fairly flexible.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
I'm more into how tracks in a mix build into something greater than the sum of the parts, especially a mix recorded in a club where that's happening for real, in real time.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
I don't really have favourites, or at least they change so fluidly that its not really worth referring to them as having any validity.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
I'd rather just hear them play to be honest, the usual suspects I guess. Francis Grasso and messrs Levan and Hardy. Baldelli at Baia would be fun to hear too
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
I had a phonic mrt60 mixer and some citronic belt drive decks. Now i have a pair of 1200 mk2s and a vestax pcv275. It's a fairly cheap discontinued mixer that is built like a tank and sounds pretty decent. Well worth exploring if you want something versatile for small beans.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
The one you end on, although it's the ones in between that make all the difference.
What were the first and last records you bought?
Last was a bootleg of a 16b mix of a Sven Vath thing. Discogs have banned it from sale there so i had to find it elsewhere online. It took me a whole extra 5 minutes which i can imagine a lot of people finding infuriating but i remained stoic and managed just fine. The first was so long ago that i really cant remember. It wont have been very cool tho cos i was 5 or 6.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
A Tayyabs lamb chop, the special ones they only do on thursdays. Or a pomegranate, or the special staff only sausage ragu and pasta that head chef ben at the gun graciously allowed me to have a portion of last night.
If it was an animal what would it be?
That big scary thing on the new Star Trek that talks to the mushrooms and is actually really sweet and peaceful.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
They don't exist. People just need to open their minds about what a mix actually is and what djs are meant to be doing.
Upcoming in the world of…
The new wu 12" out on friday 13th october, world unknown 8th birthday party on friday 10th november, another wu 12" late november or early december, a big wu on nye and/or nyd. a wu weekender next summer, me getting off my lazy behind and doing a lot more dj gigs for other people than i have for the last few years, its time.....
Anything else we need to discuss?
At the risk of being presumptious if anyone is interested in finding out more about the parties, the label, its artists or myself they can drink our particular brand of kool aid at the new improcved website here and at mr zuckerbergs cultural ponzi scheme here.