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A taste of Glasgow on a Sunday.DJs haven't had good press of late. Luckily, JD Twitch and JG Wilkes are here to change that. Their night, Optimo (Espacio), was founded on the principle of “striving to break down the bullshit that exists in DJ culture since 1997”. “All the DJ is doing is playing other people's records,” says JG Wilkes. A modest attitude for a pair who have been vigorously spinning tunes since 1987. And how many? On a fast night Twitch can fly through 50 in a half-hour laptop slot.
A taste of Glasgow on a Sunday is now available on Optimo's first compilation album, How To Kill The DJ (Part Two). It's a much broader affair than Kill The DJ boss Ivan Smagghe's electro-heavy mix. Wilkes says it's a taster of “the diversity and changes you hear at the club throughout the night”. So CD1 is a 42-track 2ManyDJs-style splice-and-blend extravaganza which finds club gems like Can U Feel It nuzzling into Gang Of Four, while the unmixed CD2 reflects the start of the night with delights like The Balanescu Quartet's graceful cover of Kraftwerk's The Model. “I want to play tracks in a club which you wouldn't consider club music,” says Wilkes.
Back in 1997, veteran techno DJs Twitch and Wilkes (who record under Mount Florida and Naum respectively), wanted to do more than air their mammoth record collections. Inspired by early 80s New York, they created somewhere where “things happen and ideas are germinated”. Live music is integral to that experience. Bands form, appear live (Liquid Liquid's performance was “a dream come true”) and find inspiration at Optimo - Franz Ferdinand wrote Michael after a hedonistic night here.
Apart from commercial trance (as opposed to the Chris & Cosey variety) there isn't really anything that's off the decks. They favour punk funk live percussion and clean electronics, but often veer into goth, industrial and disco. “If you can put a smile on people's faces, make them dance and think, then you're functioning well as a DJ,” says Wilkes. “It's a bit of a responsibility. You can mess with people's heads as well...” Listen with care.
Optimo – How To Kill The DJ (Part Two), released 31 January on Tiger Sushi.
“It's an album I find extremely influential. I went to see them on tour in 1983 and it was the first time I'd seen a band combining electronic instruments with guitars and vocals. I find it an incredibly emotional album for something that uses electronic production, and I didn't know that was possible at the time. It's a dark record but I find it really uplifting.”
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