We Are The Sunset: The Monday Is Ok Mix
Andy Taylor runs We Are The Sunset, an ace monthly Balearic party at The Star by Hackney Downs. If your Sunday evenings have been missing a bit of blissed-out outdoor terrace vibes, then worry not – with the days finally getting longer and warmer, WATS should be the perfect remedy.
They'll be celebrating their 3rd birthday in just two months time, but before that, they're hosting a Passport To Paradise showcase on 1 May – the newly minted label run by Craig Christon of the now defunct Joe's Bakery. They'll also be taking over the woodlands at Alfresco Festival next month. Andy's also been busy curating an art exhibition by Andi Hanley – former warm-up DJ at legendary New York Sunday club Body & Soul – which runs at The Star until the end of April, with works available to buy.
Andy's taken some time out to put together this sun-kissed Monday Is OK mix for us, recorded entirely using 7"s. We also got him to chat about the Balearic network, his late '80s electronic epiphany, and what's in the pipeline for WATS.
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you, what are you?
Hiya… I'm Andy (Andrew to me mum), born & raised in Northern Ireland, now living in Kensal Green, NW London. Am head deckchair attendant at We Are The Sunset (WATS) – the monthly Balearic gathering I've been running for almost 3 years at The Star by Hackney Downs, London.
Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us…
I've called the mix 'Twenty Four 7s'. It's a collection of 45s that reflect the mood & vibes around the WATS parties. Easy on the ear early on, then upping things a notch towards the end, taking in Cali soul, Balearic beat, reggae covers, AOR, Estonian soul, underground disco. Vocals, instrumentals, dubs, edits… they're all in there.
If the mix were to be drawn what would it look like?
A free flowing watercolour of a simple beach bar at the end of the day, with friends hanging out as the sun drops and the rum punch takes effect.
If it were a food what would it be?
Gotta be paella… a bit of everything thrown in there… well Balearic, innit.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
I reckon back at the beach bar in the painting [above] would be as good a place as any. Failing that, it should work equally well on your commute or at your desk – anywhere you want to forget about the stresses of city life.
What should we be wearing?
Definitely shades and a smile.
Where was it recorded?
At home, with the family going about their business around me and the occasional "oh, I like this one".
Are you on the same wavelength as the Boomtown Rats or do you actually like Mondays?
Mondays, Roses, Carpets. All good with me. Cool as fuck!
Who got you hooked on electronic music?
As a teen, listening to John Peel, Radio Luxembourg & Jeff Young's Big Beat show were the foundation stones. By the late '80s I left rural N Ireland & went to art college in NW England… cue 3 years of late nights/lost mornings at Manny's Boardwalk, the Haç, the Blackburn hills, coach trips across the Pennines to Leeds institutions The Warehouse & Music Factory (Up Yer Ronson & Basics), wk/ends at Glasgow's Sub Club, Nottingham's Kool Kat & Venus and the occasional London beano for Boy's Own parties & Harvey's Moist. Add to that early trips to Ibiza and the seed was well and truly planted. I moved to the capital in '93 and next thing I know I'm working as a designer at DMC/Mixmag/Update – dream job! I've got to thank everyone involved with those parties, the music, the DJs, and the good vibes for taking me along for the ride. Fast forward to 2016 and I'm still discovering new/old artists, labels & parties and dancing late into the wk/end.
Who would you say are your biggest influences, and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?
Think I pretty much already covered my influences, though thanks to t'internet the ever-growing Balearic network is drawing people closer – sharing music and footage that otherwise I may never have had the good fortune to hear, track down and play. With We Are The Sunset the plan was to get friends together for a few hours each month, listening to DJs from the scene playing music from across the board. The formula seems to work pretty well and I'm very thankful to all those who have supported the party along the way. WATS celebrates its 3rd birthday in June, with great parties already happening this year… our New Year's & Easter Sunday all-dayers were pretty special – anyone who was there knows what I'm on about. But it's not just the biggies that draw people in – our loyal Sunsetters return each month for more intimate gatherings with the likes of Soft Rocks, Psychemagik, Phil Mison, Nick Record, Joe's Bakery, Moton Records Inc, Nancy Noise, Chuggy, Noel Watson, Andy Pye, Leo Zero & Frank Tope. We've also hosted a couple of great live performances from Almunia and Balearic super-group Paqua, and will be adding more bands/artists to future line-ups.
What were your original aspirations as musicians and how do you think you're shaping up?
As I said earlier, I started WATS after years of collecting records and many late nights dancing to my favourite DJs. Now a little older – and maybe a little wiser – hosting the party in a pub (on a Sunday) is a means of getting friends together with music at its core, and I couldn't be happier with how things have gone since the first gathering. WATS has been invited to play Alfresco & Love Machine's Secret Island festivals over the last couple of summers, and also guest slots at parties around the country including Balearic Social in Leeds to Kinfolk (on the beach) in Brighton. At the end of May again we're hosting an outdoor stage at Alfresco Festival in Kent with an ace line-up playing over two days including Felix Dickinson, Chris Duckenfield, Nancy Noise, Balearic Mike, Soft Rocks and Amp+Deck. That's gonna be a lot of fun. Back at WATS HQ I've been busy curating 'Forme Ombrosi' – an art exhibition of drawings by DJ & artist Andi Hanley. The opening party was at the wk/end and the exhibition runs until the next WATS on 1 May when we have a Passport to Paradise Recordings label showcase. With our 3rd birthday in June and plenty of bookings in the coming months, everything is ticking along nicely.
Andi Hanley's Forme Ombrosi exhibition runs at The Star by Hackney Downs until the end of April. WATS x Passport to Paradise label showcase takes place 1st May.
They'll also be taking over the woods at Alfresco Festival next month where R$N are also taking over the main stage. Full details on that here.