Our third podcast is from Perseus Traxx AKA Nigel Rogers, the York based producer, who is known for his fine acid house / electro sound. As a DJ, Nigel plays across the board from disco to techno, and has released tracks on Bunker, Hardmoon, Acid Avengers and many more excellent labels and he is half of Northern Powerhouse, alongside Alex Handley. Check out their bandcamp here:
We’ve done a short interview with him to accompany the mix…
Hideous Things: Tell us about this mix. As we dislike the idea of putting things in boxes and you are a DJ who plays across the board, we weren’t sure of the direction you’d take this in…
Nigel: I was a bit unsure myself to be honest. Following another interview, and hearing Jeroen Böhm’s scorchingly good release on Echocentric Records, I started tinkering with machinery again and got to grips with my go-pro too. I thought that maybe recording some jams would be good, as well as piecing things together in terms of edits I’ve done recently, and tracks from my archives.
Added to this I wanted to play some records I don’t often play, some old bits as well as wading through the piles of new ones I’ve barely touched. I thought the best way for this sort of collage would be some form of radio show format as I’d have to piece things together on the computer, not having the tools to do it all as a live mix.
To that end I bought a microphone as I’d been thinking a lot about records and conveying a message and thoughts about tracks, plus my better half has been asked to do a podcast relating to women in 18th century Ireland, and I thought that really a decent
microphone would help it sound better than her speaking at a computer mic.
I’ve also been sampling some of my synths and made a rudimentary track intro with those and the microphone, but when it came to playing the records, I just ended up getting right into a mix and only stopped where I did because I had to go to a meeting. It seems to have worked while flying in the face of my original plan, so there aren’t any of my bits in there, though I don’t see that as too problematic.
The first track is Hypnotized by Dwight Sykes, released on People’s Potential Unlimited. I bought it during a really tough time a few years ago and it resonated right through me, reducing me to tears every time. The emotional trigger isn’t there any longer, but that wasn’t the only reason I got it. The lo fi crunch of the drums and the Casio CZ101 make this a complete monster. It sounds recorded to tape and overloaded at that, capturing a brilliant moment, and I think it needs to be heard. Up For The Down Stroke by Parliament is something I bought recently and have been listening to quite a bit, so it made sense to put it in there, and the 7” that follows is one I’ve had for many years but never played.
I think the rest just merged and went in a direction based on me finding interesting records while looking for other records. Macho’s version of I’m A Man certainly has some cheesy bits in there, but the voice and the synth workout is brilliant. It’s a 17 minute dancefloor trip.
I won’t go through listing and describing each one, I think that would probably make very boring reading. I don’t continually play records at home, so I do various mixes to let me listen to what I’ve bought later, and recently I’ve been visiting a load from the last couple of years while I’ve been at my other office, doing printing work. They’ve sounded pretty good to me, nothing too mental, just good listening for a garden or street party I suppose. The general gist of it is something that can make pleasant listening on a sunny day.
Hideous Things: You have a new release on the French label Acid Avengers. Tell us a bit about that and any other recent projects…
Nigel: I’m quite pleased about that one. I went to Paris to do a gig for Benjamin, who runs the label, several years ago. He’d said just to bring acid, so I did, and played it out in a massive underground club where Edith Piaf used to be the resident. The chap before me was really hammering some fast music and there weren’t too many people, so I thought it would be a quiet night, but when I’d been playing for about 15 minutes, I looked up and the place was heaving, with people screaming as acid dropped here and there. It was amazing fun.
Anyway, Acid Avengers is a label offshoot of Tripalium Corp, which he runs. The idea is that the vinyl is a split between two artists and after choosing some music from my archive, he asked if there was anyone else I thought would go well. I made a couple of suggestions and he went with Craig for the flip side, which I have to say is a stunning choice.
We’ve done music together in the past as Nite Vision, focussing on a really basic, early house sound which is essentially led my certain machines and their behaviours. When he’s in the UK we try to catch up and have a few jams and its good as everything just clicks. We know what we’re after and how to get it, so we work really well.
He’s been having loads of releases on Polybius Trax among other labels, under his guise as Mantra and also Myriadd, the former being very much acid led, and the latter going into the weirder side of old house music. He actually had a split 12” with his two alter egos recently on Weapons Of Desire, which is an absolute belter. We’ve also put out Nite Vision stuff on the same label, and did a Northern Powerhouse release where he joined Alex Handley and I.
Alex is someone I also work well with, and as well as running Weapons Of Desire, we both run Northern Powerhouse, though it’s all been quiet recently. That said he selected a number of my tracks for an upcoming 12” on Weapons Of Desire, so that’s good.
I don’t really have many projects on the go at the moment. I have ideas I’m making notes of for later, and I’m also doing housekeeping in terms of sampling and trying to create a process where I can then work with my machines or the computer using the same sounds to make transcribing ideas to something live, a bit easier, while enhancing anything that I may perform live. That said, I don’t really see when that will be useful considering the current situation.
Hideous Things: The past few months have been a strange curveball for many of us. How has the lockdown been for you?
Nigel: Lockdown has been okay for me. As an outreach worker I’ve been able to get out and about for a change of scenery and feel like I’m active and making a difference, although things have slowed a bit. I’m not overly keen on the crowds at the moment and try to manage my interactions carefully.
During this time I’ve also set up a Community Interest Company which deals with design and garment printing. I did a number of designs for The Crescent Community Venue in York, so that our company could commence activities, and so that they could raise money during lockdown, especially as their costs are £3500 per week and they basically rely on beer sales. Obviously this is a tough time all round, so every little can help and so far they’ve sold a couple of hundred t-shirts through their site, which I’ve been printing until our volunteers feel safe enough to come and learn how to do.
I’ve done some of my own screen printing at home, but have had some ink problems, though at the time of writing this, I’ve just come back from my supplier with some curable thinning agent, so can get things back on track. On the way back I picked a load of elder flowers so I can make some elderflower champagne/fizz. I’m lucky in that my mind is quite active and there are always things I want to do, though there is seldom enough time. I could do with another week in the week.
Interview: Roya Brehl
Photo: From a photo by Ali Wilson Photography
Listen to Nigel’s mix here:
Dwight Sykes – Hypnotized – PPU-080
Parliament – Up For The Down Stroke – NB9003
Massak – B.L.A. Part 1- 45-003
Mutable – 1A Unknown – Mutable01
K.O.T.O – Visitors – MEMIX 030
Goody Doody – It Looks Like Love – SSD65003P
Phenomenal Handclap Band – Judge Not (Ray Mang Special Mix) – T-O-Y T-O-N-I-C-S081
Candy Darling & The Viscounts – Movin’ (Justin Van Der Volgen Edit) – MR1005
Andromeda Orchestra – Don’t Stop (Ray Mang Special Extended Mix) – FAR040
Macho – I’m A Man – PRL 12160 AS
Marika Lenny – Beat Summer (Ambient) – ST 003-12
Böhm – Coastline Cruiser – ECR005
If You Should Need A Friend (Friendship Mix) – Blaze – BEH03
Sir Joe – Max’ Garage – LOD 003
Böhm – Train Window – PURE001
Coral D – Fall Away – WRECKS025
Scott Hess – Circle of Funk – ARRLB/005/1
Alien Communications – Dr Impulse – AC001
Garrett David – On The Bridge To Boscobel – MATE 004
Rockers Revenge – Walking On Sunshine – LONX11
Cosmic Garden – Nature Spirits – CRM02
Raze – Break 4 Love – 871 761-1