Brian d'Souza's Glasgow club night Highlife expands its horizons globally
‘Highlife started with a conversation about the mass of fantastic music being made outside of the normal Western club genres, of things like house, techno and dubstep.’ That conversation was between Brian d’Souza (speaking above) and Andrew Thomson, both of whom started Highlife eighteen months ago almost as a side project to their respective regular nights Slabs of the Tabernacle and Huntleys & Palmers Audio Club. Now that Slabs has become an irregular event thanks to d’Souza’s collaborators leaving Glasgow and Thomson having moved to London himself, Highlife is largely d’Souza’s baby.
‘The advent of the internet means it’s so much easier to find out what’s going on with music in South Africa or South America,’ says d’Souza. ‘An early influence on us was Comeme, the label run by Matias Aguayo, and it’s a perfect example of what we’re about. It’s a continual battle to explain than we’re not a World Music club, in the sense that World Music has very traditional, localised roots.’ While Highlife plays sounds which exist outside the Western genres, they reflect a form of musical globalisation in which kids from Tanzania or Mexico might well have drawn influence from Chicago house or Detroit techno.
The night’s already earned such a reputation that it’s been asked to fill a monthly post-Optimo Sunday night slot at the Sub Club, while Auntie Flo, d’Souza’s live and recorded project alongside Subculture’s Esa Williams, will become the house band as of this date. Returning to Stereo for the first time since the club’s first show, Highlife will also welcome Argentinian duo DJs Pareja, another Comeme act to follow on from the night’s Mexican debut guest Rebolledo. ‘We don’t want to get pigeon-holed,’ sums up d’Souza. ‘We want to create a party vibe which stretches across the board and across genres, and I think that’s what we’ve been doing.’
Stereo, Glasgow, Fri 7 Oct.