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Layo on London & Loving Nouveau Disco (interview) ::

Reported by Ben Stroud on June 29, 2009

“I like aspects of nouveau disco a lot, it’s post modern, it is made up from other parts in history and then given a new twist. I am always into music with soul, but with energy too, and then something a bit out there thrown in. Yeah, that's what makes me dance.”

Long one of the UK’s most popular eclectic DJs, Layo’s love of London’s latest post New Rave phenomenon new disco is perhaps unsurprising though he’s more ambiguous about London’s current reputation for cutting edge cool.

“I know what he means but am not sure if that is the case just in London,” he muses, when quizzed about Laurent Garnier’s recent assertion that London has lost its creative sparkle and thirst for experimental music.

“I think these things move in phases, and sure Berlin has been fantastic for a number of years, and I’m sure another city will emerge that’s full of creative talent, but you only have to walk into East London to know that it still has a massive creative edge,” he enthuses.

“London has a buzz and a freedom that has been important in the world for hundreds of years, that isn't just going away: But it could do with a new club.”

As the former co-owner of recently closed London venue the End his comment sounds barbed though he insists he’s relaxed about the new club promoters who’ve taken over the venue and renamed it the Den.

“I’m not really surprised it’s opened again, the building was supposed to be developed but then the world kind of changed economically,” he points out.

“But I have no regrets about closing the club, the decision was not a light one to take but everything in life is about timing. I have no plans to play there for now.”

Instead he’s playing in warehouses, hosting bi-monthly parties Shake It London at various different spaces throughout the capital. The next one takes place in Hoxton on July 4 when he teams up with long time cohort Bushwacka to play the entire night together.

“The End was my heart and soul, it just didn't feel right starting a residency at another London club,” he explains. “The warehouse concept felt better on so many levels, the uniqueness of it, the ability to change locations, I also believed our crowd would be happier with us moving forward in that way.”

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): You and Bushwacka are spinning all night long at the party with no other DJs, how much planning and preparation typically goes into a 7 1/2 hour set?

Layo: “I usually start by maybe sorting out the music I’ve bought over the previous month into styles, i.e minimal, tribal, deep house, techno, and odd stuff that are special, one off tracks. Then I’ll play them and start getting into grooves so when the night starts I know the music well which makes it easier to let my feelings take over and lock into grooves and vibes and then the music becomes freer, it almost calls the shots itself.”

Skrufff: How much do the two of you compete over tracks, or decide in advance who plays which killer new track?

Layo: “We don't really compete in that way, but sometimes one of us may play a track and the other will say, damn, I was just going to play that’. Or sometimes one of us is really playing well and the other has to keep up or up the ante. That is also true if one of us is struggling.”

Skrufff: What's your approach for the first hour when there's no-one in the club?

Layo: “Usually I am nervous, and not fully comfortable but I usually lay slow stuff, very deep music, setting a warm mood for the night.”

Skrufff: How much has your life changed since walking away from the End?

Layo: “Well in some ways not that much, I am still DJing every weekend all over the world. Though I am also in the studio much more again and putting on a party without the whole End team is much harder. But I am enjoying spending more time just at home, thinking, looking at the world anew, plus the weather has been lovely this year. But I miss the people, I loved working with the team there, it was very special, irreplaceable... Such are the balances of life.”

Skrufff: You recently got married in Brazil" how tempted are you to relocate over there permanently?

Layo: “Well, I think one day we will live there but I will always live here too, I am a Londoner. Brazil is a beautiful place and I would love for my kids to grow up by the beach. I am into sport but never learnt to surf, maybe they will. But when we live there we would want to be very involved with community projects. Whilst Brazilian culture is fantastic in terms of its music, art, outdoor lifestyle and warmth, it is not the fairest of societies so we would need to do our part.”

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Jonty Skrufff (