Sensu, Monox, Jackhammer and Substance reinforce Scottish techno scene
With a particularly impressive roster of techno artists and club nights this fortnight Henry Northmore takes a look at the Scottish techno scene
Scotland has always been a stronghold for techno clubbing. Clubs like Pure, Atlantis and even Rez have become legendary, and this fortnight is particularly strong for fans of hard electronica as techno-heads are spoilt for choice with some seriously tempting sets and live shows from some of techno’s leading figures – proving that there’s still passion north of the border for one of dance music’s least compromising genres.
Slam and their monthly Pressure night will always be one of the big contenders, and this month they weigh in with a set from Frankfurt’s Sven Väth (The Arches, Glasgow, Fri 2 Apr). ‘It’s as strong as it’s ever been. Scotland has always had a history of producing exceptional musicians and performers and now is no different,’ explains Orde Meikle, one half of the Glasgow techno duo. ‘Break-through artists like Gary Beck and Harvey McKay are causing waves across Europe with their new take on UK techno; club nights like Sensu, Monox and, of course, Pressure, Return To Mono and Subculture are always striving forward to bring acts new and old to the country. For a country of such a small population, there is always something to see and hear in the realm of techno. Long may it continue.’
Over in Edinburgh things are just as hot, resurrecting the underground vibes of nights like Sativa. ‘Jackhammer is dedicated to keeping the spirit of techno alive in Edinburgh by showcasing some of the most important and influential DJs and artists that crafted the genre. We stick to the more industrial side of the map, with a lot of influence from Detroit and Europe as well as the homegrown talent to supply the energy that Jackhammer favours’ adds Conor Mclarnon and WolfJazz (resident DJ). And they prove their point with a guest set from Frequency 7 (aka Ben Sims and Surgeon for a dex, FX and laptop set at the Caves, Edinburgh, Fri 9 Apr). ‘After a lull in the techno scene caused partly by the closure of The Venue and the added pressure from the council to restrict sound levels and promotion, there is definitely a rise in successful techno nights in Edinburgh.’
Also leading the charge in Edinburgh are Substance. ‘The focus varies from night to night,’ according to promoter Adam Richardson. ‘It’s our aim to always strike a balance within each party, showcasing some of the amazing, more diverse stuff out there, maybe making people think a bit, without forgetting the main aim of having fun, a proper dance and going home with a smile.’ And they have Luke Vibert (aka Wagon Christ) filling their guest slot this month (The GRV, Edinburgh, Sat 10 Apr). ‘The man is a genius and produces so many different styles of electronic music. As a DJ we’ve seen him go in very different directions. We won’t try and control his set. as it will naturally go with the feel of the night – most likely all manner of electronic gems based around a good dose of acid.’
And that’s before we even mention Laurent Garnier’s full live show at the HMV Picture House (Edinburgh, Fri 2 Apr), Carl Cox headlining Colours’ Easter Special (The Arches, Glasgow, Sun 4 Apr) or Subhead guesting at Mount Heart Attack (La Cheetah, Glasgow, Sat 10 Apr) and all the other home-grown, underground parties across both cities.