Weather the storm
If you know dance music you already know Andrew Weatherall. He’s been at the forefront of the scene since the early days of acid house. He’s one of the most respected DJs in the world, his techno mixes often veering off into new undiscovered territories, bringing dub beats and leftfield grooves to the dancefloor. His production work with Sabres of Paradise and Two Lone Swordsmen helped set the standard for dance albums.
That he’s coming back up to Scotland to rock the dancefloor yet again is in itself a cause for celebration. But there’s more reason to cheer this month as Mr Weatherall is unleashing a new mix album, Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi, from his old muckers at Soma. But it might not be quite what you expect from the erstwhile techno DJ – it’s a mix of rockabilly, punk and glam rock, taking in everyone from Killing Joke and Gene Vincent to T-Rex and The Fall. ‘It’s a small cross-section of what I was listening to when we were making [Two Lone Swordsmen’s] Wrong Meeting album,’ explains Weatherall in his mile-a-minute patter. ‘I also had a club called Wrong Meeting for a year and Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi is like a condensed version of the first two or three hours of Wrong Meeting the club.’
For true fans of Weatherall’s eclectic taste, that he has put out a freaked-out rockabilly mix won’t come as too much of a surprise. Of course there’s his seminal work with Primal Scream on Screamdelica and Two Lone Swordsmen have been moving in a more grungy direction of late with more reliance on instruments (guitar, bass, drums, etc) rather than computers, samplers and sequencers, and even featured Weatherall on vocals. He also cropped up playing a rockabilly set as support to Billy Childish at this year’s Triptych. Not forgetting his 9 O’clock Drop post-punk mix released in 2000. ‘That was just records I used to listen to when I was 16 and someone asked me to put them on the compilation,’ he says. ‘It’s other people that put it into context.’
Of course, sourcing the licensing for the obscure tracks Weatherall hand-picked from his crate created it’s own problems. ‘I tried to dissuade Soma from doing it. I didn’t want to be the bloke who bankrupts such an august, Glaswegian institution, you know what I mean? They’ve put up with me being flaky, I’ve left things to the last minute and beyond but they’ve known me socially for years, they know how I operate, I’m not exactly Mr f***ing businessman and my computer skills are kind of one finger typing. They knew the risks basically,’ laughs Weatherall. Though he’s looking forward to delving back into the murky world of old school rock. ‘Once the Soma staff have glued all their hair back on that they’ve torn out and they’ve forgotten what a pain in the arse it was to do it, perhaps they’ll ask me to do volume two as I’m absolutely up for it.’
So should we be expecting a dose of rock and punk at this Glasgow date? ‘I like confusing people to a point,’ says Weatherall, ‘but it’s a Slam thing so I think we’re talking oompty-oompty disco music, we might play Killing Joke or something a bit weird at the end but it’ll be four to the floor business, I’d imagine.’
Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow, Sun 23 Sep; Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi is released 8 Oct on Soma.