Friday, 22 June 2012

A Few Words From The Curator & Creator of Free House Project, James Winfield

I'm a little bit excited.  You know I like to talk a lot.  But I love music even more.

So, why am I doing the Free House Project?

Well, it sounds kind of bullshitty, but I was in Ibiza back in 2009, going through a bit of a rough patch in my life and I was on the beach in Ibiza, reading an interview with my hero, Sven Vath, and it was at that point that he connected with me telepathically to instruct me that I needed to start DJing and putting my own nights on in my local area.  Honestly, he did.

How did I come up with the concept?

Well, me and a friend came up with the idea one drunken Sunday afternoon in early 2010, watching the world go by, of a free party of us playing whatever we loved though mostly based around house music, and we came up with the name too at the same time, a slight rip-off of the Warehouse Project perhaps but I think more in homage and being 200 miles away I think they can be safe that we are not competition!

But that was 2010…

We had logistic issues such as a lack of equipment, lack of suitbable venue and lack of spare funds to be able to start something up.  Oh and the small matter of me not being able to DJ.  And then through either co-incidence or inspiration, somebody else came up with the same basic idea, slightly different music policy, with my co-conspirator on board leaving me to only have to do what I do best – attend parties and have a great time.

Then what happened?

I went back to Ibiza after a year’s hiatus, having just been made redundant and becoming unemployed for the first time this century, and had a conversation over a few beers in the sunshine and agreed to purchase some top-notch CDJs and mixer.  The nightlife in Reading for me was nearly dead apart from the irregular parties thrown by aforementioned friends so I had to learn, I had to get it out of me.

And finally, with Milk Bar, there is a venue with enough credibility and an open-ness to something different that I can throw the party of my dreams.

I do want to revolutionise the nightlife in Reading – there is no reason why if for example Southampton can attract some world-class underground house DJs that Reading cannot.  All it needs is a dream, a vision and a plan and I have all of that.  Oh and some willing party-goers and some excellent local DJs.  But one has to start somewhere, it won’t come overnight.

There are two main reasons why I am finally doing the Free House Project.  One is self-centred I guess, to give myself a chance to play out some of the music I love.  I guess organising an event is good for my CV and a real test of skills I would like to have.  And I want to improve my DJing as I am not that good yet, I need to be playing out to improve more.

But the other, more important reason is that I do care about the world and society, and especially my local area and the people that mean a lot to me - I am perhaps limited in the ways that I can change the world for the better, but I thoroughly believe in the power of house music to be able to spread love and this happy, positive energy to and between people, and by taking money out of the equation then I can give anyone, rich or poor, busy or bored, white or black, straight or gay, old or young, or whatever identity they associate themselves with a cost-free opportunity to try it out.  If you don't like it - you haven't lost anything.  But if I and my DJs, and my friends have anything to do with it, then I am certain that it will be a night to remember.

Taking money out of the concept is an important part of it.  It means I am not financially profiting out of it and neither are the DJs.  Sure, the bar will be, we live in a capitalist society and it has to be in the interest of whoever runs the bar to take the night on and give that precious opportunity - that is why it would only work at the right venue - Free House Project is not really suited to some corporate hell-hole with dumb middle managers working from a centralised textbook made in an office in Solihull which is handed down to all 126 establishments all with the same name and the same design.

I want the best in terms of hospitality for my guests - I've had some amazing nights at some of the very best venues with some of the very best DJs in the world - and I cannot offer that (I have no ice cannons...yet) but I will endeavour to do my best to capture the spirit and what I believe goes into creating the best nights as you don't actually need to book a superstar DJ or be at the coolest club in London or Ibiza to have a great time - you can do it in your local town.

This is why concepts that I find important to me, I will be trying to apply; such as booking DJs with a true love for music that is right for Free House Project, a venue that cares, a sound-system of good quality as opposed to loud but crap and damaging your ears, one where you can have a conversation without shouting, and perhaps most controversially - no laptops.  Sorry!  Oh and I am not booking DJs just because they can bring a crowd.

I'm not saying you cannot have a good party by doing those things, but I am doing what I believe in from my reasonable extensive experience of partying.

Where do I want to take Free House Project?

I have dreams but it really does depend on how the first party goes.  If it is a flop, then I guess it might just be a one-off and I might forget about it.  I don't see it being a flop, even England miraculously managed to finish top of their group just so I can have a football-free party, and it is even not going to pour with rain.  So I doubt it will flop.  But who knows.  It needs me on good form, it needs the DJs on good form but most importantly it needs the crowd - it needs you.  You can have the best DJs in the world but no party people = no party.

I always want to stick to my roots, and I will look after those who look after me.  I would never see me not doing parties.  I dream of being able to do something outdoors somewhere (with louder music and sunshine, he he!), or a dirty all-night party in an empty office block, but would have to be legal, I'm not going to be throwing illegal raves, sorry.  Maybe I will do a party on a bus or a street, one day.  But how I would be able to do them for free, I don't know.  It's one for the future and nothing is likely to happen until I have had a few small parties and the Free House Project has a bit of a reputation.

Also, I would love to book some of the people that inspire me from outside of Reading, like Maya Jane Coles, Subb-an, Heidi, Seth Troxler, Nina Kraviz, Maceo Plex, Huxley - there are probably about 500 DJs I would love to book.  I might dream but I am realistic - none of them are likely to want to play in Reading for free.  And it is unlikely their agents would let them.

But perhaps I could offer some kind of structured ticketing - like first 100 tickets free, next 100 £5, the rest £10 - something like that.  But this is a long way in the future and of course it would need a larger suitable venue.  And as long as the lovely Milk Bar wants the Free House Project then I would always want to do parties there no matter what else was going on - never forget those who give you the initial opportunity.

Anyway, those are just ideas in my head at the moment and a light-year away from fruition.

For now, it is all about Saturday 23rd June 2012.  I hope you can make it.  And if you cannot, feel free to spread the word. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I will.

Much love - and don't forget the other interviews on the blog and the mixes.

Oh and if anyone has the ability to video record a few minutes of the party, that would be amazing.  Doesn't have to be anything professional, just enough, a few minutes, to put on a Youtube page for a little memory or two.


Interview With Samantha Bond

And the final interview with a Free House Project DJ just in time for the launch party on Saturday 23rd June - I hope you enjoy the read:

So, what music are we likely to hear you play?
Deep melodic house in simple terms but I like to jazz it up with other genres and styles if I can and I love a good deep rolling baseline!

Who are your favourite DJs at the moment?
I like to watch the likes of Laura Jones, SubAn, and Hernan Cattaneo & Sven Vath will always be favourites to see, but my tastes vary so the DJs vary with my taste change.

And your favourite producers?
 I enjoy the work of Alex Arnout, Crazy P, AndID,  Lee Jones, mihai popoviciu (but to name a few) which all vary from quite pumping house to very melodic.

What was the first track to get you into house music?
What got me into house music was Agoria (sky is clear) which I brought on vinyl.. I was starting to come out of my nose bleed techno era.

Do you have any embarrassing records in your collection?
Plenty! ha I think I have quite a few "party" vinyl like Body Rox "Yeah Yeah" which I still havent parted with.. back then this record was underground as electro had just hit the dance scene (before it got trashed in the mainstream and I couldnt stand it)

What has been your most calamitous DJing moment?
Playing the same 8 minute track twice... that will waste an hours set time.

And the highlight of your DJ career?
PLaying to 6500 people at the infamous BCM in majorca with a HUGE funktion One system.

Can you cook?  What is your signature dish in the kitchen?
If I want to show off I will cook chicken stuffed with Boirson cheese and sun-dried tomatoes wrapped in parma ham and cooked with fresh thyme and on the vine cherry tomatoes

Do you like partying?
I have been partying since 17, started off as a podium dancer in a hard house nightclub which led onto my DJing passion.  Dont plan on stopping just yet ;)

What is the best ever party you have been to in your life?
There are 2 top parties in my life and one was my first cocoon experience at Amnesia in Ibiza, the other was in Barcelona 2011 at a Sonar off party being held by Mobilee on the rooftop of a hotel.. Panpot and company ROCKED the music til the sun went down and Ive never had the pleasure of such a nice crowd.

Where were you born?
In sunny old Fleet, Hampshire.

Do you have a favourite hidden gem of Reading?
Yes, I love Global Cafe... they play live Jazz (and all other sorts of weird and wonderful music) and have poetry slams and art installations.. it touches my creative side and they have local cider and GREAT Ethiopian food.

Anything else you would like to tell us about?
Mines a Jack and Coke ;)

What inspired your current wonderful hair-style and look?
I have a radical hair dresser who talks me into these haircuts.. I have input but its all his creations and I love his work on my hair for the last 12 yrs. The Andrea Zuccaro.

Is there anything special about Fleet?
Other than my hair dresser? it has a mediocre over priced service station?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Interview With YEPIMNICK

Second in the series of DJ interviews in the run-up to the launch this Saturday 23rd June, is our guest coming all the way from the wonderful town of Dartford, YEPIMNICK:

So, what music are we likely to hear you play?
A bit of everything really, I like to bring in some stuff that makes people stop and ask themselves 'what the fuck is this!?' (in the best possible way) then like to bring it home with a track they are sure to know. So expect the unexpected!
Who are your favourite DJs at the moment?
DJ Sneak is doing it for me at the moment, it's funny to watch him rant on Twitter and it's a mystery to think of the stuff he must have in his box.
And your favourite producers?
Disclosure is definitely up there at the moment, loving Lee Foss at the moment and one of my all time favourites Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs has just brought out an album which I'm dead excited about.
What was the first track to get you into house music?
Probably 2 People by Jean Jacques Smoothie!  haha, poppy stuff I would hear off of my Mum. Would happily still drop that now, intact I might do for the Free House Project!
Do you have any embarrassing records in your collection?
I have Suzanne Vega- Tom's Diner in there. One day it will come in handy... One day.
What has been your most calamitous DJing moment?
I've had a few. Worst one would definitely be my 18th Birthday, I had a few DJ's in and I said to everyone I would do a set. But I was so smashed by the time I got to my set I could barely see, I fucked up every other tune, I was using the crossfader and for one of the transitions I accidentally pushed it back the wrong way and put it to the Channel I was cuing from. Eventually it got to the point where I said no more and handed over to the next guy. Absolute fucking disaster! Needless to say I won't be drinking that much again before playing.
And the highlight of your DJ career?
My highlight would probably be a recent set I did in the biggest club in our area. Was nice to see a home grown night absolutely blow up, we had about 600+ people in and for people that usually enjoyed chart music, they were absolutely loving it. That was pretty cool, but I'm hoping my highlight is yet to come!
Can you cook? What is your signature dish in the kitchen?
Not really, I wish'ed I could though. I come from a family of good cooks, so maybe one day it will hit me.  Beans on toast - say no more.
Do you like partying?
I LOVE PARTYING, I sometimes let that get in the way of DJ'ing. I always end up mashed after a set.
What is the best ever party you have been to in your life?
Best party ever would have to be a house party I went to when I was about 15 or 16. We bought a pallet of beers, like the ones you get straight from the warehouse. Turned up to this 3 floor b-e-auty of a house. Got there and it was kind of dull, then the girl who's house it was come and asked someone to sort the music out, so I went upstairs and used her computer, downloaded a couple of mixes. Went and whacked it on her sound system and it just went off for a whole night. Got so so messy, every floor you went up just got better and better. Ended when the police turned up at about 3-4ish. Best thing about it is the girl's mum was so pissed off with her about having the party she had her arrested!
Where were you born?
Gravesend, grew up in Dartford though.
What do you know about Reading?
Absolutely fuck all, looking forward to coming and having a look around though.
Tell us about Dartford.
I always thought Dartford had no scene! I'm fortunate enough to have bumped into a couple of people that are progressing it at the minute and I'm beginning to get involved more and more in bringing some Bass & some House in to Dartford. So slowly but surely the place is coming a bit more alive. But mostly, imagine that Jeremy Kyle had a reunion do, where he brought together all of his guests from the show. It would be held in Dartford.
Anything else you would like to tell us about?

I am always on the look to come and play new places! I love to play and I do not know I would do other wise. Getting involved in some local nights at the minute MASS for the House and Ruckus! for the Bass and you are welcome any time! Will also be playing Pacha at the end of July, tickets are available through myself so if you fancy a trip to London then let me know!

Also I've just started a new Facebook page, which is always hard at the beginning. I'm at about 57 likes at the minute, one of them being my Mum. So - come and get involved.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Interview With Tim Sharpe

As part of the build up to Free House Project on Saturday 23rd June, this is the first in the series of interviews for the guest DJs (assuming I get the others to agree, otherwise it might be the only interview!)

So, what music are we likely to hear you play?
I've been steering towards deep house recently, so i will be playing plenty of that. My biggest influence in this genre is a Dj/Producer Subb-an, so expect a few tracks by him and his style.
Who are your favourite DJs at the moment?
My Favourite Dj and biggest influence is a Spanish Dj, by the name of Bertech. He is the only Dj that I will listen to his mixes over an over again. His style and technical ability are beyound belief. Simply amazing!
And your favourite producers?
I wouldnt say I have a Favourite producer. I try and play tracks by producers who are not so well known. I think this makes you more unique as a dj. So that your set dose not compile of the same tunes as the guy before. Also means you have to pull your socks up when it come to crate digging.
What was the first track to get you into house music?
My progression to house music was a bit all over the place. A band called Ozric Tentacles was my first steer towards dance. From them to a phy trance duo called Eat Static. From that I then started going to techno free partys. I then jumped to Hard house and Hard Trance, which I played for 13 years up until I cought the Tech House Bug 5 years ago. I have always liked MARRS Pump Up The Volume, is that House????
Do you have any embarrassing records in your collection?
Coolio - Gangsters Paridise. Enough said
What has been your most calamitous DJing moment?
Luckly nothing too bad. Probably at plug and play years ago, bit drunk, chopping the mixer a little to hard and watching the volume button fly across the room.
And the highlight of your DJ career?
Getting phy Trance hippies to rave to Hard House/ Nu NRG at a rave I played at in South Africa, Bless em..
Can you cook? What is your signature dish in the kitchen?
I can cook. Would have to be Spag Bowl..
Do you like partying?
I do like partying very much. At the age of 35 I have done my fare share of raving!!! Although these days I preffer to to be behind the decks and in bed by 04:00
What is the best ever party you have been to in your life?
Best party hands down was haad rin beach thailand for the millenium. SAVAGE!!!! wicked music!!! luckily for me a DJ from Brixton "Guesty" was playing the main slot, an he played Hard Dance!!! Awesome!!!
Where were you born?
I was Born in Henley-On-Thames ya
Do you have a favourite hidden gem of Reading?
Hidden Gem of Reading for Me is Bar Iguana. Had some great nights there and met some fantastic people.
Tell us about Groovetech.
GrooveTech is my night. I've been going 3 years now, still gathering more followers. I have had the pleasure of Dj's all over the u.k wanting to come play. Even Italy.GT is stricktly an underground Tech House Techno night. I started it initialy so that I could play people the music I love. From that my music style has grown and matured. One of my Favourite night I did was New Years 2011. It was such a great feeling when people are having a great night and complementing on how its the best New Years they have had for a long time. Thats when you know your doing something right. I have also taken GrooveTech to other venues which have equally done well. Very Much looking forward to the next party on the 29th June, plug plug plug!!! Plenty more to come to. Can only get bigger and better!!!
Anything else you would like to tell us about?
I'm very much looking forward to playing F H P. This will be a great opportunity to play the Deeper stuff. Cant wait, bring it!!!!

Also check out his Deeper Groove mix, on our Mixcloud page.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Free House Project News

Just a quick update.

Finally we have a fourth DJ, a young rising star from Dartford, more details to come soon.

The next party might not be until September, unless we can find an alternative venue between now and then, so if you have any suggestions let us know.  But it cannot just be held anywhere, the venue needs to have an ethos and general outlook on life similar to the Free House Project.  All being well, subject to success and stuff like that, it will become regular at Milk Bar.

And we have flyers - well actually we have leaflets.  After all the hard work designing with a lot of help from a very good friend, Martin, I managed at 7am rushing before I went to work to order the wrong types.  I had about 20 choices of gsm...what is gsm?  130gsm silk or 200gsm coated or 350gsm gloss, etc, etc.  What the heck is all that about?  I understand now, but only by making a mistake.

Oh well, we have leaflets which is better than nothing, and as I intend on doing things differently then maybe it will work out for the better.

Less than three weeks to go.

Free House Project - The Launch - Saturday 23rd June 2012 - 4pm to Midnight.