Warriors of the Dystotheque
A sea-crossing force of musical multiplicity - the Warriors of the Dystotheque are coming out to play.
Can you tell us a little bit about how and why you set up Warriors as a "transatlantic" project?
I (Jonny Mac) had been in England living for 15 years, and during this time I was DJing all across the globe alongside Leeroy Thornhill (Prodigy) & Phil Hartnoll (Orbital), touring with acts such as the Happy Mondays, playing solo gigs, promoting a Breaks night (Frequency) across Birmingham, Coventry & Leicester in the Midlands, and throwing Warehouse parties for several years. In 2011, I’d had enough of the DJ and promotion circuit as the fun had worn off and decided to return to Ireland, so came home and didn’t really bother with any music at all for a few years - not even really listening to much.
Mid-2014 I decided to start laying down some beats and just messing around on my laptop (I’d not rebuilt my studio at this time). So, I had put down some beats and keys on what was to be ‘Hashtag’. During this time, there was no band. I came across Mike and Nick from a friend’s Fakebook page. They were on a YouTube link, jamming some serious Zappa-esque funk, which blew me away, so I sent them an email, and we got chatting. Then I sent them the ‘Hashtag’ stems to see what they could come up with. I chopped it up, arranged it, and added some more beats, and an old friend from Coventry, Si Hayden, added some bass. It was sounding pretty good at this point, so I let my good friend Sean, also from Coventry, hear it.
I’d studied music with Sean back in 2001, and also DJ’d with him for several years, so I thought I’d put a project together, and ask Sean and the brothers from NY, if they were up for that. Mike and Nick in NY had been jamming in the Bronx and met a cool cat, Tony Jarvis. When he heard the track, he instantly wanted to sing on it, so the stems were uploaded again back off to New York, were Tony laid down his smooth vocals. Sean and I produced it, and after few tweaks ‘Hashtag’ was complete.
‘Atom Vibe’ bore the same thought process, myself laying down bass and beats, uploading stems off to NY, the brothers back on the clarinet, some Rhodes keys this time and slide guitar, then myself and Sean tweaking and tweaking it. We thought we needed another vocal on this one, so Sean enrolled Melissa Graham, no relation, who had sung in 90’s girl band Solid HarmoniE. Melissa recorded her vocals in Nottingham and sent them back to us, between myself and Sean we produced it. ‘Atom Vibe’ done. This was the first EP which we called The Future Is Ours. It was then I decided maybe rather than just a fun project we could actually have something here so the Warriors were born. We never know what we are getting when we swap stems across the globe but it’s working for us right now so this new approach is definitely right for us.
When you sit down to write a track, what’s your starting point?
It’s never the same approach to be honest. Sometimes it’s having listened to the likes of Cinematic Orchestra or having watched a movie and heard a cool speech, some of the new material we have on the go at the moment, for instance, was kicked off after a visit to the Boathouse Restaurant in Donegal overlooking the River Foyle on a sunny day.
Who would you say has had the biggest influence on you as a producer / DJ?
As a producer, I’d say it’s been labels like Ninja Tune, Wall of Sound and Mo Wax with their leftfield approach to the whole electronic music scene being turned on its head with the broken beat & breaks giving the sound a groove. DJ-wise Andrew Weatherall, Derek Dahlarge, Andy Smith (Portishead) Keb Darge and Jose Padilla (Café Del Mar).
Do you think there's still a need for DJ polls and end of year lists? Given RA’s move away from them this year.
In my honest opinion after seeing some of the crap that’s been on those lists the last few years it makes me wonder if anyone who actually knows anything about music reads the DJ / Music mags that compile them. Anyone who thinks the best DJs in the world throw cake at the crowd and act like kids on stage wants to lay off the partying and think about where they are heading. I’m all for having fun but it’s like a playground not a club. Sure, I’m getting old but even the Happy Hardcore crews years back looked like the biggest chin stroking music nerds compared to this bunch of idiots.
In the next 12 months, what can we expect to hear from WotD?
So, things have come to fruition for us right now with our first album Madness in The Method being released on vinyl and digitally on the 26th January. It will be in all the major record stores in the UK & Ireland as well as the usual online outlets, or get us direct on our Facebook or Bandcamp. We’re also getting into the second album already with six tracks down already so it looks like we are around for a while yet. Warriors Come Out to Play!!!!!
“They're coming overground and taking control people, watch out….” (Dowry)