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   Layo Paskin



check out our review of their "All Night Long" CD



  Matthew "Bushwacka!" Benjamin

Get ready to be laid out and bushwacked by Layo and Bushwacka!, two DJs ready to drag you deep into the night. Funk, soul, house, jazz, ambient -- you'll find aspects of all of these in "All Night Long", the newest two-disc release from L&B!. Recently, Kristofer Upjohn had a chance to dig a little deeper into the night sounds of Layo and Bushwacka with an interview.

KU: How did you first become involved with electronic music, before your club days that is? In other words, what sparked your original interest in electronic styles, generally, and the house/funk related genres, specifically?

Layo: I started out going to underground soul and funk parties, sorta Norman Jay type stuff, around about where I grew up, North London. This was in 1985-86, so I was about 15, 16. When Acid House came along a few years later it was a kinda natural development on from the types of parties - word of mouth, usually illegal, all night - that my friends and I had already been going to.

How did you first start the journey from being a fan of this music to being one of its public purveyors? From there, how did you end in The End, so to speak?

When I went to university I started promoting my own parties, and from there I got into DJing myself. Through all of this I became friends with Richard (Mr C). After graduation I continued putting on parties, one of which was on the site of a recently closed down Post Office in Holborn, London. This must have been around early 1994.

Richard and I had been discussing the idea of opening a club for a while, but it was pretty much a pipe dream. However, when we saw this site we realised it could be possible. My dad's an architect so we showed him around the site, got more of a professional input and started talking about it more seriously. The End opened in December 1995. Everything I've done since - meeting Bushwacka!... the DJing, the production work - its all come from that really.

Tell me how Layo and Bushwacka first met? From there, how did a music partnership come about ?

Matthew (Bushwacka!) and I met through Richard (Mr C). Matthew was the engineer at Richards studio while Richard and I were recording together there as Killer Loop. Richard suggested Matthew and I would work well together, suggesting we do some tracks for The End's label End Recordings. Richard was right, in that we had complimentary, if not exactly similar, styles. The partnership developed from there, moving from production into DJing and then back again into more production,more DJing.

What did you originally envision the CD being? Is "All Night Long" how you imagined it would turn out?

Yes and No. Although we've done two artist albums together we'd never done a mix album. What we wanted was to do a mix album with the personality of an artist album, something which was clearly our own, not a part of someone else's series, not just a cleaned up 2-4am club set. We had a rough idea of a template in terms of the music that we wanted to cover but, well... it was a question of trying things out to see what would work and what wouldn't. To answer your question, the form may not be exactly what we originally intended but the overall spirit of it is.

How did you go about deciding which tracks to include on your CD?

Again, its only in the execution that you find out what is and isn't feasible. In total we asked for 78 tracks to be cleared and in the absolute final mix we used 29 of those. All the tracks we cleared were great tracks its just that they didn't work as part of the whole.

It seems that each of the two discs has its own personality. Was that your intention, and how would you describe each of the discs?

Yes, I'd agree with that, CD1 is more home/car/office listening than CD 2 but having said that there isn't anything on either disc that we don't play out. In terms of breadth, yes, CD1 has a greater scope in that it moves from hip hop to breaks to electro to acid to hip house to broken beat or whatever, whereas CD2 is more of a straight 4/4 DJ mix. But, 4/4 music really needs the room to stretch out in a way that the other genres don't so it had to work that way. That was the challenge really, to get a true representation of our 6 hour sets at The End on to two discs

What, besides house, obviously, are your favorite electronic music styles?

Layo: We're open to all styles really, I mean, that would be, in my opinion anyway, one of our strengths. I dunno, have a listen to the CD, come to see us DJ, see what you think yourself

What directions do you see your music taking in the future?

We're currently working on our third artist album. It's hard to say what direction it will take though. As with the mix its just a question of getting in there and seeing what works and what doesn't. Finding something you haven't done before that retains the best elements of what we do. For example we've recently finished a weeks studio time in NYC working with some seasoned funk musicians, percussionists etc. It was really exciting and we recorded some great stuff but its now up to us to find a way of working what they do into what we do, finding a balance, something original that, just, well, works.

If you could change anything about the current electronic music scene, what would it be?

Quite simply there are far far too many average tracks being released. Not bad ones or terrible ones, just average ones. You know the type, nice enough productions but really they're nothing more than DJ tools. The tracks that aren't really adding anything which hasn't been done better before. What is the point?

-- interview by Kristofer Upjohn




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