A few pre-Russian Bar words from Saytek

This weekend sees the arrival of a particular Plain & Simple favourite at one of London’s more revered haunts. So that’s Joseph Keevill playing at Saturday’s Vague party.

For those unfamiliar with the name or event perhaps referencing the artist’s performance moniker- Saytek- and the host venue- Russian Bar- will shed a little more light. Attendees at the East End bash can count themselves lucky, as said visiting headliner is amongst the most sought after names on the current live production circuit.

After cutting his teeth as a producer and sound engineer at one of London’s most legendary establishments the chap in question has gone on to release quality cut after quality cut on labels such as Fullbarr, Lucidflow, Wiggle, Kaluki, and, of course, the imprint he co-runs, Cubism. This is only really one half of the story of course, with club performances the real calling card here. The likes of Carl Cox have heralded him as amongst the most exciting British acts to see inside a darkened room, with his on-the-fly approach devastating crowds from London to Ibiza. Naturally we were keen to catch up with the underground star to ask a few questions about this coming weekend. So, for details of the event click here, but before you do take a read of exactly what was said.

Hi Joseph, how are you doing today? Been up to much out of the ordinary

Yeah I’m good. Just got back from Rome , where I was playing a great venue called Animal Social Club. I haven’t been making music today which is pretty out of the ordinary for me, but I have been working hard on live music, tracks and remixes recently. I’m working some really long hours as well as constantly touring with the live show, so I feel perhaps I need some rest and to live a bit, allow some space for inspiration to flow. I feel if I’m having to force it then it’s not coming from the right place.

You’re playing at the Russian Bar this weekend, have you played there before?

I have played there quite a few times, it’s a strange little place, dirty and underground, with a unique Dalston character. Every time I have played there I’ve had a great time performing and it’s really gone off with great vibes and people going mad…

So what can attendees expect?

I will be playing some live music from my Fabric live set as well as some brand new bits I have been making recently, and may even delve deeper into some material I made last year. Anything goes really- whatever I feel is needed at the time, as per usual it’s gonna be me jamming with my boxes keeping it improvised. I intend to take the crowd on a deep journey through the deeper side of house and techno.

Of course you started out, some years ago, as a recorded artist, and weren’t necessarily used to the live scene. Was it a nerve wracking transition?

Yeah, I certainly used to get pretty scared. I can’t tell you how nervous I used to get, especially before my first set at The End- I didn’t sleep for a week beforehand. But it was excitement at the same time. It really shook me up, but then the first time I took stuff out and saw the crowd going crazy it gave me a kind of buzz I never had before. So I was hooked on that straight away. Now the nerves do continue, but it has got better with time.

In terms of the influences that go into your sound, it’s all quite diverse music, including non-electronic fare. Do you think people are becoming over-faced by dance music now and don’t have enough time to explore other non-club genres? 

Yeah I think there’s a lot of that, and the result is whatever the fashionable genre is at the moment begins to be produced by numbers, with very specific rules. I’ve seen it happen with a lot of dance music, where every snare starts to sound the same or whatever, and a genre ends up being a caricature of itself. 

That’s a dangerous thing. My influences come from dub, jazz, Detroit techno, early 90s IDM and experimental stuff. A lot of kids don’t look into all that even, but then it’s always been like that. Look at the Detroit techno purists for example. Some people will actually bother to dig a little deeper and don’t just jump on the latest bandwagon though, it’s just now the number of producers in general is much more, so there’s more good and bad. 

A fair point. Finally then, what else is coming up after the Russian Bar?

Loads of releases scheduled with E.Ps and remixes on loads of great labels, and as per usual loads of tour dates. In the next couple weeks I am performing live in Ireland and Poland, so I’m very happy.