Slam dunk: The Slam Tent at T in the Park
Orde Meikle (one half of Slam, alongside Stuart MacMillan) guides us through the dance mecca that is the Slam Tent at this year’s T in the Park
‘It’s nerve-wracking, as it is with any gig we’re involved in. We have such a headstrong booking policy; we’re so close to the scene and have very strong ideas about who we want to play. One of the reasons we got involved in the first place is because I complained about the programming of the dance tent, so they said “do you think you can do better?” So we said “yes we could”, and that was 11 or 12 years ago.
‘I think it’s fair to say that it looks a little bit like the greatest hits of the Slam Tent. These are all people we know will deliver and really make the two days special. Laurent Garnier is an old friend of ours; we used to know him back at the Hacienda. Mr Scruff is another phenomenon in his own right, cups of tea and all that, and we’ve always had a good relationship with Ninja Tune. Green Velvet, he’s just a mad man, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out he’d been banged up one day, a total lunatic. Felix da House Cat we’ve known since he was 17 – we hosted his first ever trip to the UK and we’ve charted his rise since he started out as an engineer for various other artists. 2 Many DJs are the ultimate tent finisher, you can’t really follow them. Boys Noize, the guy has absolutely exploded, he’s got his own electro house sound and as a DJ he’s amazing, he puts way more into his performance than most other DJs bother with. Simian Mobile Disco, from zeros to heroes in less than a year and a half. They’ve been around for a while but they’ve come to the fore with their live act and they’re one band I’ll definitely be checking out myself. Dave Clarke is a total one off; people used to say dance is a bit faceless, but it certainly wasn’t when he came along. And Jeff Mills is one of the Godfathers, someone who’s influenced us pretty much through our entire career.
‘To be honest with you, I don’t really know what I’m going to play, because we’re doing a DJ set this year, and for me and Stuart DJing is not a planned thing, it’s still quite liquid. With T in the Park, we have quite a serious dance tent in a predominantly rock festival. But I look at the dance line-ups at other festivals and it makes me feel sick; there’s maybe one or two DJs on there that have really given anything to music over the years. The rest are kind of tarty DJs that don’t push the boundaries of music, obviously because they’re too keen to become popular. I think sometimes playing new music and being experimental isn’t always conducive to climbing the rungs of the ladder; it’s a slower way of getting respect. We have a better crowd at T in the Park, a more educated crowd, a crowd that is looking for something that isn’t obvious.
‘The Slam Tent often ends up as a bit of a cul-de-sac – a lot of people go there with great plans to go see other acts on other stages but it never really happens, so make sure you tie a bit of string to yourself so you can find a way back out.’
The Slam Tent is at this year’s T in the Park, Balado, Sat 11 & Sun 12 Jul.