Tag Archives: DJ

➤ Normski sweats it out in Ibiza wishing for a nice cold shower

Electronic Beach Club, Steve Norman, Rusty Egan, Ibiza,

Electronic Beach Club in Ibiza: Rusty Egan and Steve Norman poised to start last Friday’s session. Photograph courtesy El Brasero

❚ THEY WERE DANCING IN THE STREETS OF IBIZA last Friday night to the toe-tapping toons of Steve Norman (saxophonist, guitarist and percussionist with Spandau Ballet) and Rusty Egan (former Visage drummer and deejay at London’s legendary Blitz Club in the 80s). Regular readers of Shapersofthe80s know that Norman-Egan’s storming double act, billed as Electronic Beach Club, have been entertaining sunseekers at the Nassau Beach Club on Playa D’en Bossa, fortnightly since May and they’re in residence until September.

Steve of course made his home on what he calls “this fair, white isle of Ibiza” in the 90s when he introduced the idea of live musical improvisation with the deejay at a club residency in San Antonio. What’s new today is the idea of beach clubs, and he and Rusty are finding themselves in demand across the island. Last Friday saw a huge gay pride street party in Ibiza town when the open-air El Brasero restaurant invited them to entertain the crowds from a first-floor terrace. Their playlist featured a lot of 80s pop and even Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. Naturally, we asked Steve for an update…

❏ Steve Norman writes: “Friday’s street party was fantastic, very emotional. My first proper street gig since The Roots Silver Jubilee set back in 1977. El Brasero is one of a collection of fab little eateries in the Gypsy quarter of Ibiza town. We set up on the terrace overlooking the street with a washing line complete with the family’s Sunday best hung out to dry serving as a backdrop.

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“Rusty surpassed himself with his choice of tunes and I sweated like a trooper on what was a very, very hot August night. But the main protagonists were the crowd, all the people drinking, eating or passers-by who stopped to watch. They all entered into the spirit of the event and the connection was made. For me it was one of my fave gigs ever. And the woman whose washing line it was never did throw water over me as she had threatened to do, should I not live up to her expectations, when what I could’ve done with was a nice cold shower!

“All great with Rusty, he’s a pal. Not driving me nuts anything like he normally does. I am doing gigs without him as he is doing without me but we have something unique together. What go down well are songs that people half recognise. Melody is the key, that’s why I believe the sax resonates so much with audiences. I always try to be singalongy with what I play – as Deuce Barter says, ‘simple phrases that the postman can whistle’. Oh and a deep version of True by Deep Mind normally finishes it off quite nicely.

“I’ll be taking my sax to Sa Trincha at Salinas Beach Friday for a brief session with deejay Franco Moiraghi and again with Franco at Downtown Cipriani when the restaurant turns into a nightclub on Saturday night/Sunday morning… that’s a very decent gig indeed. Rusty’s coming to watch and take the piss!”

HERE THEY ARE IN THE LOCAL PROMO

❏ Una actualización del comerciantes del Barrio / Update: Newly published video by the retailers of the Marina district to capture the Ibiza Orgullosa and the inimitable Norman-Egan double act… “Exito espectacular de la primera edicion de Ibiza Orgullosa, organizada por la asociacion del barrio de la Marina de Ibiza ciudad. Gracias a todos por asistir y disfrutar del evento.”

PS FOR RUSTY FANS – LATEST FRIDAY SESSION

Electricity Club, Mixcloud, Rusty Egan , Mi-Soul Radio, audio, playlist ➢ Listen to last Friday’s Show #19 of Rusty Egan Presents The Electricity Club, now on Mixcloud

“Possibly one of the best shows yet,” he says, this time featuring Giorgio Moroder, Pet Shop Boys, MGMT, Vivien Glass, Vile Electrodes, Margaret Berger, Kid Moxie, Perfume, Marsheaux, BEF, Sin Cos Tan, Mason, Isaac Junkie feat Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory, Kurt Baggaley, OMD, Tenek and more.

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➤ The Norman-Egan squad blitzes sunny Ibiza

Steve Norman, Neil Matthews , Flexipop!

Steve Norman snapped by Neil Matthews for Flexipop! The location is Parliament Hill lido in north London in 1981. In the caption fit Steve Norman reports: “I love scuba diving. Funnily enough, I’ve never caught one yet.”

❚ A GREAT MUSICAL PARTNERSHIP lands on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza tomorrow. Fresh from their pop-up jam sessions at the Cannes film fest, two former 80s Blitz Kids – Spandau Ballet’s sax-percussionist Steve Norman plus Visage drummer and club deejay Rusty Egan – continue their working holiday in the sun. Getaway hedonists can catch their storming double act at the Nassau Beach Club on Playa D’en Bossa, fortnightly on Mondays until September.

It’s a trick they’ve been pulling at smart parties and corporate events ever since Spandau asked Egan to introduce their Reformation reunion tour performances at London’s O2 in 2009. There, as a warm-up before the show, the deejay reminded audiences of the synth soundtrack to the New Romantic era – electronic Blitz Club classics by The Normal, Gina X, Kraftwerk and the like. The chemistry was apt: Egan was co-founder of the original 80s Blitz club-night, while Spandau Ballet emerged from its members in 1979 as the house band who put the rhythms of the new decade into the charts.

After the Reformation tour, Norman and Egan teamed up to develop a deejay-led set enhanced with live saxophone, percussion and any other instruments the versatile Steve laid his hands on.

Nassau Beach Club, Steve Norman, Ibiza,performance

May 28 update: no sign of first-night nerves as Steve makes friends at Nassau Beach Club. Photograph from Kitita Pastrana (centre)

On the phone from Cannes this week Steve said: “We’re playing soulful deep house, four on the floor. With me vibing on top of Rusty’s music, it gives an audience something to focus on. It’s always nice to see somebody hit hell out of the bongos!”

For Steve this kind of bongo-bashing started in 1988. “My mate Deuce Barter said I should come down to his Passion club in Maidenhead and meet Joe Becket. We went head to head in a battle of the bongos playing live over house music and we hit it off. On the strength of that battle I asked Joe if he would like to join Spandau Ballet on the 1989-90 tour. He was gobsmacked.” Later, Joe Bongo was to become the regular percussionist in Steve’s band Cloudfish after Spandau split.

In 1993 Steve made his home in Ibiza and during 12 years there he introduced his idea of improvising live with the deejay at a club residency in San Antonio. “It was an extension of my antics with Spandau. I’m the one who moved around the stage. I’d climb up on a speaker with my sax, flying by seat of my pants, feeling very exposed up there, so I’d pull out all the stops.”

These days, though billing themselves as Electronic Beach Club, Steve insists the musical collaboration with Egan is “definitely not to be lumped in with the retro movement”. EBC have moved on from 80s sounds to contemporary club music, interspersed with current mixes of classic tracks.

He says: “I do play Spandau mixes. In an uptempo version of True by Deep Mind I just lay down the sax and Rusty drops in the Oakenfold mix and I switch to heavy percussion. We also do Fade to Grey mixed up with Magic Fly. That’s his little nod to the original Visage.”

Spandau Ballet remixed above, vintage Visage remixed below

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Last autumn, Steve scoped out the Nassau Beach Club during his first visit to Ibiza in four years and he’s basing himself there with Rusty for the summer. “It’s my second home, where I left a little piece of me. It’s where my son Jack was brought up and daughter Lara was born and I struggle to accept I’m not still there. I’m trying to convince Mrs Preston Norman to come out and drag herself away from the dog and cat at our cottage in Hampshire.

Nassau Beach Club

Nassau Beach Club

“What’s new on Ibiza is this idea of beach clubs. I remember when the Blue Marlin was just a few tables and chairs on the sand, now it’s become a nightclub on the beach. These places are springing up all over the island. After chilling out by day, people are ready to go for it by night. At the Nassau Club there’s a stage area on the beach where Rusty plays a set 5-8pm, with me raising the tempo.”

Creatively, the Norman-Egan team want to make more music together. Steve says: “I’ve done a sax track on Rusty’s album project and we still hope to do a track together.” On July 18 Steve will be a “gun for hire” joining an all-star supergroup called Holy Holy at the massive Latitude Festival in Suffolk, when London’s ICA presents Bowiefest, a celebration of the Ziggy/Aladdin year of 1973. The line-up so far features Clem Burke of Blondie, James Stevenson of Generation X, Gary Stondage of Big Audio Dynamite, Traci Hunter and Maggi Ronson on BVs.

Speculation grows around another reunion by Spandau Ballet. What can be confirmed is the epic documentary film by Scott Millaney, Soul Boys of the Western World, due out next spring. Steve promises his own exclusive discovery. “I found an old home movie from 1977 made by my dad on Standard 8. You see us pre-Spandau all performing up the road from Tony’s for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations – at a street party.” Busking, obviously!

THIS SUMMER’S SUN-AND-SEA SOUNDS

Rusty Egan, DJ, Nassau Beach Club, Ibiza

Rusty Egan in action with his Traktor Scratch Pro

❏ Hot from Rusty Egan on his Lilo: “I’m playing chilled beach mixes and remixes of classic tracks like True by Deep Mind, and electro pop such as Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work (Echoes Remix), some cool house with Grass Is Greener’s Start Again, and Lewis Lastella’s remixes of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence and New Order’s Blue Monday.”

Kate Bush remixed above, Depeche Mode remixed below


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➢ Footnote to the top pic – In Dec 1980 Flexipop! was launched as a plastic 7-inch disc with an overexcitable magazine attached. It was invented by music journalists Tim Lott and his business partner at the time, Barry Cain. It made the career of “Smudger” Neil Matthews, one-third of the official New Romantic photography contingent (along with Graham Smith and Shapersofthe80s), and his pix were exhumed late last year in archive form at a Flexipop Facebook page.

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➤ The world asks, Who is Boy George these days? And he answers

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“It did all right, Culture Club, but, you know, move on” – Boy George the ex-singer

“Dance music is probably the most exciting it’s been in years” – Boy George the deejay

Philip Sallon, George O'Dowd

Philip Sallon partying with blue-faced George in 1980 when he was an obsessive record collector. (Photographed by Paul Sturridge)

❏ Feb 20 update: The new slimline beardie, tachioed George interviewed at the Brits:

“Twitter were very nice and got my name back [from somebody else] but Facebook won’t do it – so I actually don’t own my Facebook page. I’m Angela Gina Dust

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➤ Ain’t no stoppin’ Chris Sullivan as hashtag_coolest_DJ_in_town

Chris Sullivan,zoot suit, Wag club, dancing, mixtapes,clubbing, DJ, Soho,pop music, Blue Rondo a la Turk,

The Sullivan brand: Arguments raged in the 80s with his Wag co-host Ollie O’Donnell over who had designed/drawn/ordered the first zoot suit

❚ AS PROBABLY THE MOST INFLUENTIALshaper of the subcultural 80s, it’s hard to disassociate Chris Sullivan from his 19 years hosting the seminal Wag as the coolest black-music club in Soho. Today he’s a mighty standing stone on the shingle beach of club deejays, and much in demand on the society circuit. This week, however, he took stock: “A pal said to me, ‘I didn’t know you played music that was made past 1990’, so I, rather taken aback, did this mix that, although somewhat Latin and very me, is still very ‘modern’. Point is, I play mostly new stuff but hide it behind the patina of antiquity so no one ever notices.”

To surprise his pal, he’s posted this 73-minute hip-shaking and arm-waving mix at Soundcloud. You’ll find more there when you click through, plus the kind of mind-boggling CV of his life as, variously, a deejay, author, nightclub host, pop star in Blue Rondo à la Turk, painter, style commentator, entrepreneur and fashion designer today cutting a dash in a goatee. Find even more at Shapersofthe80s through the links below.

SULLIVAN AND HIS HINTERLAND …

➢ 1981, First review of Blue Rondo as they create a buzz with their new Latin sounds — from NSNS August 1981

➢ 1981, Hot days, cool nights, as Blue Rondo join the new Brits changing the pop charts

➢ 1976–1984, Creative clubbing ended with the 80s and We Can Be Heroes tells the tale

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➤ DJ Mark Moore’s 40 tracks and 8 albums from the old year

❏ “A bit late but here are my faves of 2011. I actually think 2011 has been a great year for music but, more so now than ever, you just had to get through a hell of a lot of dross to find the good stuff.” Moore places S.C.U.M. at number 4.

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➢ Other picky people’s year-ending Best Ofs in music of all styles

PS — 100 MORE FROM DAZED & CONFUSED

❏ Listen online to the mammoth 6½ hour Top 100 Dazed & Approved tracks of 2011 which is pretty wild, they say… starting with Africa HiTech, AlunaGeorge and A$AP Rocky all the way to WU LYF, Zola Jesus and Zomby.

❏ iPAD, TABLET & MOBILE USERS PLEASE NOTE — You may see only a tiny selection of items from this wide-ranging website about the 1980s, not chosen by the author. To access fuller background features and site index either click on “Standard view” or visit Shapersofthe80s.com on a desktop computer. ➢ Click here to visit a different random item every time you click

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