This week’s episode of the FMB mixtape series comes from producer & DJ R.Kitt, one of the driving forces behind Dublin’s dip party. Along with a bit about the mix, we found out what he’s been up to lately…

Ah sure, you know yourself! With everything that’s happening right now in the world, I think everyone is just trying to get by day by day. The emotional volatility is something I’ve talked to a lot of friends about, everything is so up and down and the pace at which one’s mood can change is pretty intense. The future is so uncertain, especially for dance music and for any type of gathering together to dance, so it’s hard to focus on doing anything related to that because it all seems so arbitrary! I’ve been trying to fill my days with practical stuff, doing a lot of live radio shows on Dublin Digital Radio, an online community radio station we have here in Dublin. Been working as part of the Give Us the Night campaign to try and highlight the extremity of the situation in Ireland and call for urgent reform to licensing for night clubs and music venues, as recovery for our sector is going to need all the help it can get. Recently launched a record label to release my own music called Orainn. And then desperately trying to finish new ideas, although this is proving to be super difficult for me right now! Time seems to be folding in on itself and each day is bleeding seamlessly into the next!

The mix was recorded in my studio on a pair of CDJs and a Pioneer mixer. I had just gotten back in after restrictions were lifted, and finally had the opportunity to turn the volume up, which was an amazing relief. To feel the physical effect of the music was something I missed so much.

The mix was an attempt to distil that emotional volatility that I think lots of us have been experiencing into an hour of music. I wanted the mix to shift quickly, but coherently, from one mood to the next. I’ve found it has been hard to settle into a mood for any extended period of time over the last few months, cycling rapidly between deep introspection, giddy happiness, despairing anger, naïve hopefulness and overwhelming cynicism. Emotionally, I wanted the mix to reflect all that. One song that was central to the mix was Riot by Underground Resistance. The anger and tension in that song, written 29 years ago, is something that seemed so present and relevant to the current struggles that are happening globally against racial oppression. As a white person who works in dance music, the last few weeks have been such an education and hopefully the beginning of an on-going effort and conversation to front up to the realities of racial inequalities in the world. The black pioneering creators of techno were summoning and channelling the emotions of their struggle into the origins of the music we all now participate in. We cannot forget that. There is certainly hope for change now, as the ugly truths of this oppression against BIPOC are dragged into the light, but there should be no mistake that this struggle has been going on for such a long time.

Up next…

Who knows!  Do you know something I don’t?! I hope to release the second Orainn EP before the summer is out. Hopefully now that I’m back in the studio, I can finally get back to finishing tracks. This summer was going to be one filled with a bunch of exciting gigs and festivals, but obviously it’s all shelved for everyone right now. Hopefully I’ll get to share a few more mixes and tracks, and be ready to go when we get back to dancing together. The dream of that dance is so firmly planted in my mind I can almost taste it!

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For this week’s episode of the FMB mixtape series we welcome Nite Fleit to contribute. The Australian-born, London-based DJ & producer has already had a string of releases this year including one on DJ Haus’ Unknown to the Unknown Dance Trax series, followed by another release with Steel City Dance Discs and with plenty more to come! As usual, we asked a bit about the selection & what she’s been up to lately…

Where to begin? Over these past 3 months I have been working most waking hours for my job at the University of London under lockdown which has been taxing, but I hesitate to complain as:

a) I am incredibly lucky to have a side hustle during the COVID-19 pandemic and;

b) There are so many things going on right now in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the decades/centuries-long prejudice, inequality and brutality that POC face on a daily basis; not unique to America, but rampant all over the world.

I’m quite emotional and tend to by hyper-empathetic, and I want to be clear; this is not some kind of humble brag or flipping the script to make this about myself. Sitting with the discomfort and tears that fall whilst reading, watching, listening and discussing the structural constraints on the life chances of POC is nothing compared to living life in a system that structures opportunities and assigns value based on inane physiological characteristics such as skin colour.

As an abled, cis, straight white woman, I automatically experience benefits for no good reason and if I feel uncomfortable and heart-broken by reading or watching these atrocities from the safe haven of my privilege, so be it. Because with discomfort comes change. While I am hopeful real change will come soon, the least we can do is keep fighting, not for a week, not for a month but every time we see/hear about injustices occurring, whether it be through educating ourselves and others (a start), protesting, signing petitions, speaking up and against any form of discrimination (especially to friends and family and not just when people are watching; behind closed doors, when people unfortunately and disgustingly think it’s ok to make discriminatory ‘jokes’ or remarks) and simply spending time thinking about the inherent biases you likely have (highly recommend taking all of the Project Implicit tests).

So, while I’d like to have answered this question with “recently I’ve been busy making music and DJing”, I’d be lying. I do hope I get some time to do some of my beloved said passions, but at the moment I am just unable to. I will say that when I have tried to work on music over the past few weeks it’s resulted in plenty of chord progressions that have turned into sad piano tracks to put you to sleep and/or cry. I am not sure what to do with these, but I do think they are an apt expression of how I’m feeling at the moment, so maybe one day they will go somewhere. Not the club though.

I recorded this mix on the floor of my bedroom after working a 30 hour day in a state of sleepless lockdown isolation hyperactivity with my 2 XDJ100’s and temperamental DJM-400 through Camtasia rather than as I thought it would be nice to film it but really, it was a little boring because I was too tired to make it exciting/interesting. While I’d love to be a plant-person, I inadvertently kill every plant I buy so I couldn’t dress it up with greenery. So, my exhausted brain was like cool, no frills, just me on da floor altering my usual leg-jig to a cross-legged version, but alas, that footage goes straight to DVD.

Usually the idea behind my mixes are “play what you’d play in a set” as I’ve never been too great at conceptual mixes, so that’s what it is! Gosh I am not really painting an interesting or profound picture of myself today, am I? No, ok so I play quite a few of my own tracks (out and forthcoming) and some tracks by friends and some recent discoveries and some old favies.

Up next…

I have a few releases coming out over the next few months; most exciting for me is the Return To Disorder release out in July and another one soon to be announced shortly after that and two VA’s I’m very excited about. I also have a few projects I was working on prior to lockdown which will come to fruition soon. I have an abundance of tracks that I have either finished or almost finished, so will soon start looking for homes for those too. Re DJing, I had a few tours planned for this year (Japan, Aus, the US), but all are rescheduled to later this year (wishful thinking/fingers crossed/pandemic-pending) and next year (also pandemic-pending!).

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For this issue of our podcast series, we’ve got Ryan Holliday-Stevens delivering the mix. We caught up with Ryan to ask how lockdown has been going and what’s up next…

Lots of downtime at home, zero banana bread though. Been going through old records a lot and spending a crazy amount of time napping.

The mix was recorded at home in Hoxton London, my neighbours are thrilled about it. Thrilled it’s finished anyway.

The idea was just to include loads of records I’d been listening to whilst stuck at home, some very chilled and then those crazy dark moments too. Also some tracks that had been released during quarantine and where the proceeds were going to good causes. Bandcamp waiving their fees twice was a really great way to support the people who have lost income within the scene.

Up next…

No idea what’s next – looking forward to being allowed back in a club, whenever that may be. 

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Next up on the FMB Mixtape Series we have Amsterdam-based producer, live act & DJ Timothy Clerkin. Timothy recently released Psalm EP on Insult To Injury, his own imprint jointly run with Ransom Note. As always, we asked him what he’s been up to and what the idea is behind his mix:

As you can probably guess, I’ve mainly been staying at home of late! And trying not have an existential crisis. Fortunately, however, my studio is on the top floor of my building, so I’ve been spending a huge amount of time in there, keeping my mind and body busy. One silver lining to this whole thing, if there is one, will be the amount of great art created as a result. Once it’s safe to get back on the dance floor, we’re going to be spoilt for choice.

The mix end recorded in my studio with my home set-up. I don’t tend to do a huge amount of mixing at home, so it’s very modest! I’m not really a DJ that’s into ‘the art’ of it or anything, I’m definitely more about selection. I enjoy it when DJs fuck up or it all goes wrong, that human element provides me with more joy than hearing a perfectly mixed set. And I don’t mean that in a Schadenfreude kind of way haha, I just mean I like imperfections.

With all the time I’ve had on my hands recently I’ve been discovering a huge amount of music, new and old, so I tried to limit myself, stylistically, here. It’s mainly stuff from the ravier and breaksier (they’re words, right?) end of the spectrum. For me, it’s a condensed club night; starts off nice and slow like a warm-up DJ and is full on, face-melting closing DJ by the end, with a few dynamic ups and downs in between.  

Up next…

Good question… who knows! I think the musical landscape is going to look quite different for a little while. I’ll have a tonne of new music to put out, however (rightly) nobody is signing anything at the moment, so I can foresee quite a lot of it coming out through my label, Insult To Injury and my Bandcamp page. I’m also working on some very exciting collaborations that I’m hoping will see the light of day before the end of 2020 too. Other than that I’m just looking forward to getting back to playing in clubs again. The human connection you get on a dance-floor full of likeminded people is has never been more missed more. 

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For this week’s episode of the FMB mixtape series we welcome back original blog contributor and best mate Hammer to the dials. Surprisingly, we’ve never had a 100% pure Hammer mix up on the blog, so it’s about time! As usual, we asked a bit about the selection & what he’s been up to lately…

Life has certainly been given a new perspective recently… I’m currently locked down in Scotland. I’ve been keeping myself busy producing loads of new music, taking advantage of the wild Scottish surroundings and making lots of sound recordings too, which have been a great way to inspire new ideas. I’ve also been painting and working on my Hammer HIIT project, a proper sexy 80s style home workout vibe :)

I made the mix on Ableton, its currently all I have at the minute to do anything music related. I actually loved making it, as there was both functional and creative thinking involved. I recorded it in the living room at my girlfriend Alex’s house on the Isle of Arran.

It’s a workout mix! I’ve been making a wee series of Hammer HIIT workout videos, streaming them live on instagram and youtube. This current isolation is tough and I wanted to do something that would give people a bit of a laugh and some entertainment to everyone stuck in their homes. The workouts are raising money for the mental health charity, Mind In The City. It’s a cause very close to my heart and it really means a lot to me to do something to help, especially in these times were so many people are struggling.

For all the workouts I’ve made an original Italo track, plus a DJ mix. The the idea was to keep everything super fun and high energy to workout too, or have a wee dance about. This mix was made for of my Hard(CORE) session, it’s a high energy Italo workout, quite literally.

Up next…

When life returns to normal, I’m going to have as much fun as possible, can’t wait to start DJing again and get back into my new studio to polish off all the stuff I’ve been working on. I also have a new disco edit coming out on my label, The Hammer Hits. Its called ‘Strong Enough’ and has a lovely remix on the flip by Mall Grab, can’t wait to get that out!

Watch Hammer HIIT:

Watch Hard(CORE):

Donate to Mind In the City:

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