Joe Europe is ‘our kid’. He’s not a kid, but you know what we mean. He’s one of us. A proud paid up member of the team. He’s a great writer, who pens the majority of music reviews for this here site but, on top of that, he produces music – great music, too – with one foot in the camp of classic Detroit and Chicago house and techno and the other in the leading edge of modern day machine music.
With a new EP dropping very soon on the Vitalik imprint and a couple of releases following quite closely behind that, we thought it high time to shine a light on Mr Europe and ask the man a few questions (well, more than a few – an avalanche of questions, actually). From free parties in Shropshire to metric tonnes of custard via Metalheadz and Wetherspoons, here’s our Joe…
Other than ‘that other Joe’ on the Ran$om Note team, who are you and what do you do?
Firstly I’m very proud to be “that other Joe” at the Ransom Note. Other than being “that other Joe” I produce repetitive, electronic dance music under the name Joe Europe. I also put on parties and play records.
Talk us through your upcoming EP.
For me it’s a bit of a mix of styles, from proper house with “Take Extra Care” to the weird, churning deepness of “Brevity”. I’m also really chuffed with the remixes from Arkist and Soulade. It’s a bit worrying when you get your music remixed because you think “what if it’s shite?” but both are absolute killers. I’ve been doing stuff with Vitalik for a couple of years now and love working with them. Ryan had been sitting on a few tracks of mine which were supposed to make up my next EP but I got bored of waiting and sent him some new stuff. When he heard it he basically said he was going to bin all of the music I’d already sent because he was so chuffed with the new stuff. I was totally happy with that to be honest because, on reflection, the previous material wasn’t up to it. I think this EP feels like I’ve finally nailed something. Not everything by any means, because I know I can do so much better, but I definitely feel that musically I’ve finally started to get to a place I’m beginning to be happy with what I’m doing.
If your sound was a balloon animal, what would it be? Could you make it?
I think it would be a badger. Just because. And of course I could make it, I’m a black belt in balloon animals.
When did you first decide you wanted to make music?
I’d been pissing around with making electronic music from when I was around 14 but never that seriously. I used to play around with Rebirth, and also had a sequencing program called Making Waves. I first got into DJing properly at free parties in Shropshire but never really took any of it all that seriously, career wise. I mean I absolutely loved it and lived for it but I never really considered it as an option. It wasn’t until I dropped out of my first degree doing philosophy in Manchester that I realised that it was all I really gave a shit about.
You’re a man of many tastes, what records do you feel best define your musical passions?
The Cure – Jumping Someone Else’s Train
Daft Punk – Revolution 909
Joe Bataan – Latin Strut
Candy J – Some things they Never Change
Dave Clark – A Tale of Two Cities
Carol King – Natural Woman
First and last record bought?
The first albums I bought on tape were “Morrison Hotel” by the Doors and “Kaya” by Bob Marley. This was when I was about 8 or 9. I still love them to bits. In fact when I’m on my bike and it’s pissing it down with rain I often find my self singing “Kaya” to myself. I think I’ve had more than a few funny looks doing this! The most recent was the Aybee remix of Manifesto by Ron Trent and the VFM EP by Mr G. Oh and on the same day I bought the self titled Niagara album off Discogs which is some of the best afro influenced, kraut-rock percussion you will ever hear. Sample-tastic!
What’s your favourite mix of all time?
There are a few but I think the most influential mix for me ever was the Cold Cut 70 Minutes of Madness mix that was on Journeys by DJ. It’s fucking sublime. They mix seamlessly from jungle to Plastic Man to James Brown. It really blew me away when I first heard it but I was only young and I didn’t really fully appreciate it until much later. Other mixes that have massively influenced me were a DJ Sneak Essential Mix from the late 90s and also there was a Dave Clark mixtape I nicked off my older brother when I was about 13 that was the most raw and exciting thing I’d ever heard. I think mixes these days don’t have the same aura about them because of the sheer volume that’s out there but, if they’re done with passion and love they can still be something special.
How’s your arm?
Haha! Yeah my arm’s a lot better thanks (for those who don’t know me I came off my bike and fractured my wrist like the clumsy idiot that I am).
What are your thoughts on the Hackney Wetherspoons Christmas dinner? Did you hear that they’ve recently had cockroaches?
Well it was really something wasn’t it! I still wake up screaming from dreams of pink sambuca or whatever that god awful stuff was you were feeding us. I was already a little tipsy when I turned up and I went down hill from there. I think the cockroaches are an improvement in clientle to how I was that evening. Lovely to meet the rest of the Ransom Note team though.
What can we expect to hear from you in 2014?
Quite a bit actually. I’ve got a couple of vinyl releases in the pipeline. One of which is for Constant State, the new offshoot from Audio Parallax and I’m really chuffed with that. The other one is on my own label (which I’m keeping separate/under wraps for now). I also have my first gig in Berlin in a few weeks. Other than that just keeping on digging for music, writing music, playing music, and writing about music too
Complete the sentence: I’m proper techno because..
What’s the most techno thing you’ve ever done?
Well I fell down a cliff recently and have a partially metal foot. So that (kind of) makes me party bionic. That’s pretty techno isn’t it? Well it’s not strictly bionic but we’re journalists so we won’t let a little thing like facts get in the way of a good story will we!
When did you last stick your head in a bass bin?
I’ve not done this for a while actually. Which is probably why I still have most of my hearing.
Are you a kick drum, hi hat or a snare? And why?
A snare. Have you ever had that thing in a club when you click your fingers and pretend that you’re producing the sound of the snare? No?
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
What’s your answer to everything?
Who’s more techno and why; your Mum or your Dad?
Tough one. I remember dancing round the kitchen to “Ra Ra Rasputin” by Boney M once with my mum. I was pretty stoned. She wasn’t. That’s about as techno as it gets with my folks.
Why is the weather so shit?
Because you’re a southern softy. Call these floods? Pah! We’ve been getting biblical floods every year in Shrewsbury since forever!
How many DJs does it take to change a light bulb?
None – that’s the job of the lighting technician (not my joke).
It’s peak time at a party, you are lost in the music, you shut your eyes; what do you see?
Cheese. And penguins. Or something.
Fantasy house party – who’s on the guest list?
Not sure. First up would probably be Silvio Berlusconi because no matter how much of a prick he is he seems to know how to party. Other than that my wife cos she’d bollock me if I forgot to put her on the list. But then I wouldn’t want Silvio leching over my wife. Man that’s a tough question.
What item of clothing in your wardrobe are you most ashamed of?
My wardrobe is pretty minimal to be fair and I can barely make it through the week without having to do a wash. If you want to see me dressed in an embarrassing fashion I think there’s some pics somewhere of me dressed as a crasher kid. I’m not (that) embarrassed by it though. The music was shite but the mitsies were good and I had a lot of fun (when I should have been studying for my GCSEs)
Best free party/illegal rave you ever went to?
This is a toughie. I can think of so many amazing parties from growing up in Shropshire. Some of the music could be a bit questionable but some was absolutely amazing. Every year a guy called Whitty who was part of the B.C.P.U. (Bishops Castle Party Unit) would have a fancy dress party. There was about 1000 people out in the country side, under a massive tent going mental. I remember going dressed as a pirate but, having lost my cutlass and pirate hat I ended up with just a waist coat and a frilly shirt so probably looked more like Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen! But that said we used to do illegal parties at a little space in Whitechapel for a number of years and we had some quality times there. In fact the first night you and I did together as Disco Biscuit was probably one of the best parties I’ve ever been to let alone organised. There was just that perfect mix of amazing people, in an amazing space with amazing music. It all just came together.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t remember paying it much thought but all I was ever really that into was dance music so, in a way, this is all I’ve ever wanted to do.
Whats been your worst job?
Probably the first job I ever did which was at a meat packing factory in Shrewsbury when I was 16. I walked out after 30 minutes it was so disgusting. Other than that I did a stint of 12 hour night shifts in a pudding factory in Shropshire. That was pretty rough but the people on my shift were fucking hilarious and they made it worthwhile. I also saw someone press a wrong button and eject a metric ton of custard onto the factory floor. Images like that tend to stick with you.
What was the music of your teenage rebellion?
Anything on Metalheadz. Me and my mate got into all of that when we were around 13/14 and we thought we were so cool. My mate had Metalheadz trainers and a clip on gold tooth. I wasn’t as cool.
Where is the strangest place you’ve woken up naked?
I wasn’t naked but I woke up on a bus in Croydon recently without my glasses and that’s as good as naked.
If you were a cat, what type would you be?
The stupid kind with a wonky eye
What would be your ransom note?