As we prep for another suitably seaside session of Home Service at Patterns on June 4th it seemed only fitting that we caught up with our very special guest DJ local hero James Kendall. Writer, mag man, and DJ fantastic he’s one to watch – esp. if that DJ box wiggle he’s promising shows up.
How did you get into DJing? At university I made friends with a guy on my course who grew up in the city and had decks set up, along with a drum’n’bass record collection that was pretty cutting edge for the mid-90s. I remember hearing ‘Super Sharp Shooter’ as soon as it came out through him. Anyway, we decided to do a night at a local club. We had the basement. I played trip hop, our friend Scott played hip hip and then Steve played drum’n’bass, so breakbeats getting faster through the night. The time I went on the decks was the third time I’d even touched decks, so I imagine no beatmatching happened. A few years later I got a job reviewing house music for DJ Magazine, so I had ALL the records, which helps your bookings, I find.
And your gigs / residencies? I don’t play regularly anywhere these days, but I think I’ve played in every club in Brighton at some point, and a few that don’t exist any more. My best gigs have been as the only support for 2manyDJs at the Concorde 2 and Digital, an amazing free party in Devon, and supporting Phil Hartnoll’s Longrange at SE1. They asked me to play for an hour and I ended up doing three and a half. I got paid with an iPhone and the tinnitus has unfortunately never left.
Why Brighton? People say, “It’s too small, I hate everyone knowing my business.” But I really like that. The sense of community here is like where I grew up, but with stuff to do like when I lived in London. I love that you can walk through town to buy your shopping, run into a mate, decide to pop into a pub for one, end up in a club and then at a house party until 5am. Usually in your house clothes you’d not want to be seen in.
The seaside does what to you? I normally forget that Brighton is by the sea. I’ve moved out the other side now and my house almost touches the Downs. So my calmness comes from the green of the grass not the blue of the sea.
Genres loved? I grew up liking pop music (the 80s being the best pop decade, of course), then found an identity in indie. For a few years I was indier-than-though, but I grew up and embraced acid jazz, of all things, which opened me up to dance music. My housemates at university dragged me to Club UK to cheer me up after I had my heart broken, and that changed my life. From there I started to go to free parties from the likes of DIY and Smokescreen, and I think the groove of deep house really got its hooks in. A boredom of progressive house let me to electroclash, which is the most fun I’ve had in nightclubs. Lately I’ve been mixing 80s synth pop and modern disco in my sets. At this exact minute I’m listening to Beck’s ‘Sea Change’. But mostly I listen to Taylor Swift at the moment – ‘Black Space’ is a work of conceptual genius.
What can we expect from your set at Home Service? Nothing too serious, I think. I think there’s a time for head-nodding and chin stroking, and Sunday night isn’t it. I think I’ll definitely play Chic’s ‘I Want Your Love’, but where that’s in the original form or the Todd Terje re-edit, I’m not sure. I might play the last Daphne & Celeste single. No, come back, honestly it’s amazing. Max Tundra produced it.
Any special dance moves planned? How elaborate my dance moves are is directly related to the size of the dancefloor. But I have been known to have a bit of a boogie behind the decks. As someone once said, “If you can’t dance to your own set how can you expect anyone else to?”
How do you like your Dog Haus hotdog? I like my dog to be a Hot Mess. I’m not sure I really know what a hot mess is, despite loving the Chromeo track of the same name. But a portion of chilli on top of a hot dog can’t go wrong.
What are the ingredients for a perfect disco tune? I once found myself in a winnebago at Bestival with the bloke who I think either the land or part of the festival and a load of cool people including a guy from Horse Meat Disco. Feeling a bit of my depth at 6am I decided to make a “statement” and told Mr Horse Meat that I didn’t like disco. He then proceeded to reel off a million disco tracks that I did like. I think that I was trying to say was that I don’t like the big Salsoul stuff that touches on gospel. I’m more in the camp of Giorgio Moroder – cool synths looped up, instrumental if possible, a bit of economy in there – a bit of repetition.
James Kendall’s Top Home Service 5
Chic ‘I Want Your Love’
Daphne & Celeste ‘You & I Alone’
Sylvester ‘I Want Somebody To Love Tonight’
Bad Bad Hats ‘Physic Reader’
Federal Prism (aka Scarlett Johansson & Haim) ‘Candy’
Catch James Kendall at Home Service at Patterns, 10 Marine Parade, Brighton. Sunday 4th June 6pm-midnight. Free entry. The Dog Haus Hot dogs and sides served till 10.30pm. (Chilli optional)