Deputy Editor Issy Campbell discusses the most recent Warehouse Project event, and why, with its incredibly skilled and varied line-up, it goes down as one of their best yet.
Out of all the Warehouse Project line-ups, this was the one that caught my attention straight away. The night offered some of the most respected names in techno, such as Robert Hood and Omar S, alongside some of the most current DJs on the scene like Helena Hauff and Willow; as well as other big names such as Ben UFO and Joy Orbison. It really was not a line-up to be missed. Although Jackmaster was initially on the bill, with the event originally announced as ‘Mastermix Presents…’, it was never announced officially whether, or why, Jackmaster had been removed or had chose to drop out of the event. Nonetheless, while this may have disappointed some, it was a wise decision: not just due to the reports of his inappropriate behaviour back in May at Love Save The Day, but I am not sure how well his sound would have worked with the rest of the line-up.
Regardless of what you think of the change to the line-up, this was undoubtedly one of the best events WHP has put on this year. The music was dynamic but complimentary, with sets running smoothly from one into another. The crowd was receptive, and it was clear that we were all as excited as each other for the long night ahead. Extended sets from each DJ meant you were able to have the freedom to move around the rooms but, equally, each DJ commanded the stage so intensely that it was hard to leave their sets. Starting off the evening in room 2 was Saoirse, an Irish-born but London-based DJ who was placed on Mixmag’s Top 20 Breakthrough DJs last year. Although her recognition both in Europe and America is relatively new, her confidence was evident as she manoeuvred between genres, mixing harder grittier sounds into groove-laden house and techno flawlessly. It isn’t easy opening up, yet alone facing a two and half hour set where you need to get everyone ready for the sets to come; but WHP couldn’t have chosen a better way to start. Saorise set was reminiscent of a nostalgic 90s rave, where acid music was at its peak – definitely a DJ worth keeping an eye on, and one I look forward to seeing again.
From one Top 20 breakthrough DJ to another, Willow found herself taking on room 1 for the second slot of the evening. Only a year ago she played in room 3, her transformation from up-and-coming to being at the top of her game has been swift, yet she still has far more to give the scene. Playing an extremely heavy set, Willow showcased her talents to the crowd, some of whom were probably watching her in the far smaller room the year before. It was a shame not to have more of a crowd, but Averlon Emerson, who played in room 1 only last month at the ‘Curated by Daniel Avery’ event, was at that time heading up an absolutely rammed room 2. You could see how people may have just wanted to stay in room 2 all evening, with Emerson being followed up by Ben UFO and Joy Orbison, who in turn were followed on by DJ Stingray. It was one of my favourite room 2 lineups of the year, and whilst I managed to catch bits where I could, I couldn’t help but stay in room 1 for the majority of the night. Following the heavy set of Willow, questions were left about what Omar S was going to play. I think of his sound as the funky piano jazz-infused melodies like that of ‘That Shit Baby’, and not necessarily the heavier acid which had thus far presented itself. He offered up a bit of both however: opening with a heavier drumbeat, he eased himself into some funkier, almost afrobeat sounding tracks, and his fluctuation between these two styles persisted throughout the two-hour set, keeping it refreshing and not steering it toward anything too repetitive. There is a reason Omar S is seen as a legend in techno, especially Detroit techno which he champions, and the wider electronic music scenes: he is simply so talented. His track selection, including songs like his very own ‘That Shit Baby’ as well as Eric Krupper’s ‘Havana’, Love Li Love’s remix of ‘Grandpa’s Party’ and ‘Equality’ by Marc King, was absolutely spot on. He ended his set with harder material, strong lights and an incredible reception from the crowd.
And from one legend to another, Robert Hood’s set continued on where Omar S had left of, playing some of the hardest-hitting tracks of the evening. Although there is less to say about his set, this is not because it was any less impressive, more that it left a reviewer lost for words. It was almost impossible not to be transfixed on the music Robert Hood was playing, each song punching as hard as the last – he didn’t miss a beat. It was difficult to process what he was doing technically because it was so smoothly done. His lighting was mesmerising and, although he did offer breaks here and there with some funkier or softer techno, the grittier sounds remained constant through his set. Arguably his track selection was less varied than Omar S, but I can’t say that it got repetitive or boring; I don’t know how he did it, but it was incredible.
Last up for the evening was Helena Hauff, a DJ who has been all over the ‘Identification of Music’ Facebook page in recent months, with her set at Dekmental blowing up all over the world. A German-born DJ, techno has always been a part of her life growing up. Offering raw and stripped-back tracks, Hauff defines a new era of German techno moving away from the likes of Marcel Dettmann by taking influence from the minimalism of Robert Hood and merging it with acid house to create industrial soundscapes that are yet to be matched by anyone else in her field. Hauff’s set was impressive, easily matching her performance at Dekmental. She should be on everyone’s ‘ones to watch’ list as, even though she seems at the height of her career, I don’t think she is quite done yet. 2019 is going to be a year we see her take techno into its next big phase.
With a 6am curfew, the night ended with a very decent-size crowd and a lot of impressed, but exhausted, partygoers. This was a night which Sacha Lord should be proud of. The perfect mix of fresh new talent, legends who have defined techno as it is today, and ones who will go on to define the new sounds of tomorrow. It was exactly everything Warehouse Project represents; good music and even better atmosphere. ‘Warehouse Presents’ ought to go down as one of the best events that the series of club nights has ever put on. As my last event at the Store Street venue, I am very happy to report it was one of my all-time favourites.
Until next year Warehouse Project, I’ll miss you.