We caught up with the London based Love Fever team for a chat about their origins, their plans for the years ahead and for an exclusive guestmix recorded at one of their parties. Get to know below!
Interview by Sam Keefe.
Tell me a bit about how ‘Love Fever’ came to be?
The arrogance really that I knew I could do better than what was out there. I’d been promoting for a good few years, and going to parties for 20, and had seen London ebb and flow, from all night Harvey parties, at secret spots like one in the basement of the Hard Rock Cafe, from little basement raves at the Gardening Club, The Clinic Loft in Chinatown to bigger places like The Key, The Cross, and then of course Plastics when it was good, it was the best.
At the time of getting Love Fever going I knew I had the contacts and the wherewithal to put these events together and go some to filling them so it was just a bit of a challenge really. See if something special with a lot more attention to detail to the minute would work. And it did, there seemed to be a hunger for it at the time. I guess we were just incredibly bored with the parties that were on offer in London at the time. And this real disconnect between the true energy and beginnings of the scene, be that loft parties in New York or raves in the UK and the effort that went into them, and the London scene of promoters fighting it out to book one of 10 guests from Berlin, putting them in room with an OK Funktion One, cold ish red stripe cans for £5 and that was about it. Or just incredibly lame super clubs, or minimal K pits like T Bar.
It really was wanting to get back to that Nicky Siano Gallery thing of it being about the people, the party, the drugs, the girls, the drama and not whatever guest you’ve got. A bit of care, attention, and drama. And also an arrogance about the music and an urge to educate I guess came into it too. Then the label was something I’d been trying to get going for a while (since about 1996 tbh) which slowly and painfully fell into place once the parties were rolling.
You guys have been hosting parties all over London for quite a while now. Are there any Love Fever parties that really stand out and why?
The best ones are always the ones when it’s just the residents playing to a nice crowd and it’s past that late night / early morning witching hours. Sure there’s been some privileged guests like Larry Heard, Sprinkles, Axel Boman, Hunee, Morales and Krivit and the fun parties like our NYD party with MCDE after I’d ran three NYE ones was fun.
I guess it’s finding a balance between the big room raves, which have a certain charm, and the small room, loft, basement dirty ones. Oval Space one was a nice opportunity to bring the roster to London for a pants down summer throw down, a ‘I want to see all my friends at once’, type party and we really wanted to bring in that outdoor element too. With big venues there’s always that rub up on protecting what we do but being able to get it out there to a bigger audience and put something special together. It’s something you can agonise over, the dichotomy of credibility, sanity, and big room raving. But ultimately people don’t care too much about parties. They’re transient, temporary, little exciting moments in time that don’t last and most don’t cherish. So getting on this hamster wheel of over analyzing them is futile. So some big some small. Getting Max Graef, Simincino, Prins Thomas, San Soda, Mic Newman, all together on a little 150 person basement rave wasn’t coming together that smoothly mathematics wise.
How has the London party scene changed since you first kicked off Love Fever?
Parties are best when they’ve got a bit of a ‘rough around the edges, naughty edge’ too them. I never really see the fun in parties with laminated ‘Don’t put your drink here’ notices, or crowd barriers in front of the speakers. Raw, one blown out speaker, some space cadets, some nudity, that sort of thing. It’s getting harder and harder to get motivation for the same old venues, same guests and sound systems that London’s offering right now. It seems to be a few select promoters and venues at all out war with each other to secure the headline acts which can often be a year to 18 months ahead. There’s a load of exclusivity contracts with certain artists and just this big land grab, which for me is so far apart from what the scene could and should be. I guess I’ve always had that hippie ethos with it a bit in that music and the party brings people together to celebrate their lives, their differences, express themselves. And certainly from the promotions side it used to be a bit more of a share love ethos.
I can’t really say I get that sense in 2014 and I think that also reflects back and bounces down to the punters and why more and more people are partying less in London and saving it for Berlin, Croatia, Secret Garden or wherever. A nod though to Colors and Tender Love for doing things properly, but no one’s really going that extra mile to make something special other than a big headline guest they’ve snaked from someone else and just money grabbing or monopoly building. And then this communal snideness, class-ism and anti-Essex sentiment thrown at the bigger parties, which are what they are. But I do find that side a bit sad. Back in the day you’d be raving with plumbers, bouncers, whatever, so this mega elitism whilst it’s attractive to lean towards again it’s pretty dispiriting. Right on.
If totally honest I’ve not been to a club or party in London for over a year now that I’ve not been running, so maybe I’m not best placed to answer this one. I’m not the target market any more, but the scene whilst busy, does seem flatter and more homogenous than anytime in last 20 years. I can’t remember a “must go to” party or series of parties that’s really made me sit up venue wise or vibe wise for a long time. It’s tough. You’ve this dual side of some promoters booking line ups at full whack, booking spaces at full whack, letting all their mates in on guest list, and you know by looking at fag packet maths their losing a lot of money and just doing things for ego. Then the uber promoters who’ve got several mortgages to pay lock down the scene, but maybe that’s not that healthy and a little stifling. The remaining licensed clubs get stuck in between like Corsica and Fabric doing their best with line ups.
But it does seem there are precious few promoters doing it for the love, the party, the chase. And they are the ones that ALWAYS do the best, feel the best, and are the best.
What else is in the pipeline for you guys for the rest of the year?
We’re going back to the raw after this summer of big ones. A loft, a strip club, a basement somewhere, no advertising, no special guests, our residents, a late / early morning finish, and a bit out of the way to get too… oh yeah and no guest list just friends, family, crew. And less emotion spent on running to stand still parties wise. Concentrating on the label, getting in the studio and finding our own space slightly outside the normal areas you’d expect. We’ve got loads of new bits on label, including a John Daly killer track, Citizen’s new one, a compilation or two, and me and Kasra getting some more finished off in the studio under our Visions of Paradise moniker with a few in the bag now. A festival in Thailand on the horizon, some NYC bits bubbling under so just keeping things ticking along really.
And finally, give me 3 tracks that encapsulate the essence of a Love Fever party?
Daniel Bell – Losing Control
Patrice Rushen – Don’t you blame me
Tech Trax Inc – Tech Trax Inc
Thanks as always to Andy Gilmore for his artwork.