Drum Monkeys’ Carl Loben gets ready to hit the Glade main stage with a big bag of breakbeat.
You’re playing on the main stage at Glade. Are you a fan of the festival?
“I love it, it’s great. It’s a proper underground electronic music festival. It’s quite different from the more commercial ones that go for the biggest, cheesiest names to have as headliners. Glade is almost the opposite – there’s a psy-trance area, a techno area, lots of dubstep this year, and plenty of breakbeat.”
Do you have to play differently when you’re playing to such huge crowds?
“I think when it’s a festival you tend to play big tunes, or more tracks that people might know. It’s a festival, so it meant to be about fun in the outdoors as apposed to the epochal “taking people on a journey” thing. It’s about people letting rip in the countryside. So I play more crowd pleasers, hopefully without being too obvious.”
As a regular at Supercharged, which is ten years old this month, why do you think it’s survived so long?
“They always put on quality people, and there’s pretty much always an amazing crowd, even at the midweekers. When I first played – before I lived here – I couldn’t believe how much it was going off on a Wednesday night, as if it was peak time on a Saturday.”
They seem to have a really good relationship with all the big name DJs. Is there something they do differently?
“They’re certainly quite forward thinking. Now Supercharged put on quite a lot of drum’n’bass and dubstep on. It’s grown out of being breakbeat – maybe one in four nights is a breaks thing. And they’re astute at picking up on people. They made NAPT resident way back before anyone had heard of them. At this year’s Breakspoll, of course, NAPT cleaned up.”
You’ve been a dance music journalist for 18 years now. Is the scene healthy?
“Yeah, it’s in a very good state again. Around the millennium time it got pretty commercial and DJs rinsed out super high fees from promoters and clubbers, and that bubble burst. It more or less went underground and the people who were in it for the wrong reasons – to make money – left the scene. It’s left the people in it for the right reasons. The digital thing has changed everything as well. Now people are doing it for themselves much more, whether running a label or putting on nights. There was a worrying time around 2002 where it looked like the whole thing was about to collapse, but it’s in a healthy state again.”
After such a long time do you ever run out of things to write? It all sounds the same, doesn’t it?
“There’s always new sounds as the technology develops, new people come through who are interesting to write about. It’s only indie rock that all sounds the same!”
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