Darshan Jesrani

Darshan Jesrani interview

A feature on Metro Area would not be complete, of course, without taking to the more enigmatic half of the duo, Darshan Jesrani, whose press profile up to this point has been practically non-existent. I rang him at his home in Brooklyn on Thursday the 3rd of March 2005 to get the low down on one half of the best disco act on the planet.

How did you meet Morgan Geist? How did Metro Area come together as an act?

We met because we both finished school in around 1995, and we were both from around the New York area. We were both studying in rural areas but we were both really into music, so we were subscribed to these internet music mailing lists where people would discuss records and stuff like that. I began to notice Morgan’s posts and I thought maybe he was kind of aligned with where I was coming from musically. I just kind of remembered him around, and we would write back and forth to each other. Then a good friend of mine had Morgan’s first EP that he produced on Metamorphic, and I really liked it, so that was another reason to get in touch... We just started hanging out and talking and buying records and stuff like that. Even at the time we were still really into even the older records and older production styles and things that were missing in the records of the day.

Had you put out any stuff on your own before became part of Metro Area?

Yeah I did a few projects under a few different names, with another partner of mine, Maneesh. We grew up in the same area and I did a project under the name SS3 for a little bit, like two records, and then I did a project called Acronym City for two records. But I was just feeling around in different styles. We did a track, kind of New York sounding house, but with a bit of atmospherics, for a Strictly Rhythm comp at one point. Just little things, you know?

And what brought you round to getting into disco and that whole sound?

Well this is kind of like wanting for a lot of the stuff I used to hear on the radio as a kid, like D-Train and Evelyn King. It was sort of like R&B, but it had kind of a spacey, funky edge to it because they were using electronics at the time. So really the interest in a lot of these old styles is kind of like 80’s R&B and y’know, radio dance music. Then from there, there was a whole other underground world of club music which was pre-house. People like Shep Pettibone were playing that kind of stuff so that’s what initially drew me to going back, and it’s kind of re-exploring that stuff. Disco was cool but I only knew the radio disco stuff like Donna Summer and things that got popular. But then I began to really understand and discover a lot of underground disco records when I started to dig back and see that the mood was different and more along the lines of today’s mentality of partying and, like, really rhythmic underground sounds, not so much songs, you know what I mean?

Indeed. Was there a conscious decision when you made the music to sound different ands to sound disco?

Yeah yeah, we wanted to do something that sounded like it could have been an instrumental or a dub track that people unearthed that could have been made in the early eighties or late seventies. We wanted to make something that kind of flipped people out a little bit because the sounds were decidedly taken form an older style. But yet no vocal, so…..

Were you surprised by the success of it? In Europe, anyway?

I don’t know man. I mean, yeah, I think we were both surprised, but it took a little while to catch on. We started putting out Metro Area records in 1999 and then I think that by 2002 people were really into this kind of sound and it’s offshoots. I don't know. In clubland, where time and trends are really compressed, I feel like that maybe, but it’s [taken] a little while. We just kept putting out records, where it was one EP and then another EP and another EP… I guess I am surprised that people took elements of this style and really blew it up into a trend. Almost all new records that you hear have, like, some kinda electro 80’s bassline, or something. That is a little bit surprising to me. Like, people pretty much dropped deep house! At least in Europe, which is strange to me. Dropped it like a hot potato!

When I was speaking to Morgan he was saying he doesn’t really keep abreast of much new music, he leaves that to you…

Even I just kind of pick and choose and stuff, like I used to follow labels. I’m really just a fan of the classic shit like Prescription Underground and deep house from Chicago and shit like that, so I used to follow a lot of those kinds of labels, but now I just check for maybe some of the same producers but [on] different labels, and I try and check for different acts. Things have exploded a little bit and become a bit more fragmented. They are not as set geographically, or as in terms of camps anymore ‘cos in the mid 90’s it was very defined. Like you had Chicago, New York [had] people like Masters at Work and Power Records and DJ Duke and people. Every city had a sound you know, but now it’s a little different.

What new stuff is there that floats your boat?

Lets see, what did I get recently? Well I really like Raiders of the Lost Arp, I think it’s wonderful, really moody and musical and nice. I like Lindstrum’s stuff, that’s pretty cool. I like Brennan Green, I like some of his records. I like some of Danny [Wang] and some of his friends, like Ilya Santana. I dunno, there’s little things here and there. Stuff that’s being made with a little more of an open mentality, that’s not as formatted as a lot of club records are.

How has playing out been going?

It’s cool. It’s really fun and I really enjoy it because I pretty much play the same sound, which is like our influences and styles. Wherever I go I try and present it differently depending on what the vibe is like. Like sometimes I’ll have to play stuff a little bit faster, or work into classics and disco a little bit later in my set. Or sometimes people really prefer if I start off on a slower more organic note, so it’s really interesting to see how different audiences respond, depending on what kind of music the dj residents are cultivating there. But it’s cool, I like it.

How do you find New York, clubwise?

That’s funny that you ask, I was just posting a message about this, but I dunno, in NY I don’t think we have enough venues. All the new venues, because of the really high price of real estate, and because of the licensing we have in the city now, new venues that are opening have advantages like lots of cash, more of a business mentality rather than as a music venue. So it tends to offer people more of the entertainment-nightlife-illusion experience, rather than a place where you can hear music on a really good soundsystem and have some drinks and stuff. Music is not really the focus, so I’ve been sort of whining about that for a little while and hopefully things will change. We might be at that point in a cycle, but if you like it’s at rock bottom. We have a few places you can go; Shelter is one of ‘em, it’s running as a club, but there should be others. It’s almost become really polarized; on one end you have this kind of empty expensive experience which is more commercial, but on the other hand you have this earnest, niche, but really almost lack luster other scene which is existing in venues which are a little bit run down, so it’s like, "couldn’t there be something in the middle?"

And you have been DJing a lot in Europe. Any places in particular that you like?

Yeah, lots of places. There’s a club in Malmo in Sweden, right across from Copenhagen, it’s a party rather, called Art for Pleasure. This guy Matthias runs it, I don’t know the name of the venue. There’s another club in Berlin called Weekend which is great, it’s a new place, I think the owner opened it with a really good mentality, like he’s got really nice soundsystem, a beautiful mixer, a really nicely laid out booth. There’s Plastic People in London, there’s the Robert Johnson in Frankfurt. There’s these guys in Dublin who do really good parties, 52 Funk and Downtown Sounds. I mean I was happy to be a guest for them but the other DJs they bring in are good too, Like Danny [Wang] and Nicky Sciano and stuff like that. They have their eye and their mind on more of a musical thing. A lot of time people don’t even take the chance, you know? And the crowd really likes it and their parties really go off! In Gothenburg also is this really nice club called Nefretiti (part of them do this group Swell Session on Compost, they were doing a party there), that was really good too. I guess anywhere where the DJs are building a crowd on more soulful music. Or more musical stuff. Electric Chair in Manchester, that’s great. [in terms of the States] we’ve played in some of the major cities, but the States is a huge country. Most of my gigs are out of town, and out of the country!

You mentioned that you are currently working on the new Metro Area single. How’s that going?

It’s good, it’s gonna be two tracks and a bonus beats thing and it’s like, one track is more up tempo, kind of dancey and kind of weird, and the other one is slower and a little more thoughtful sounding. I dunno, it’s gonna be a different sound for us, I’m really curious to see how people react to it. It was fun making it, and half the fun about it is feeling ambiguous about it when you put it out, just putting it out and seeing what happens, ‘cos that’s how we felt about our first single. We were like “Ah, are people really gonna like this or get it?” But we didn’t really think too much about it, we just put it out and it was fun.

How did you find the reaction to Metro Area 5?

It was good, I mean DJs checked for it and bought it, and charted it, but in terms of a release it came out with pretty little fanfare. I was wondering if people really caught it. I mean I think people got it. That was another record that was fun making. I’m happy to have all this stuff in my catalogue, you know, whether people really catch it or not. You always hope to connect with people, but it’s also nice to build a good catalogue of stuff you’re happy with and you can say “OK, we were experimenting at the time but it’s all good!”


check it out :

the world of BETTY BOTOX

BETTY BOTOX - The World Of Betty Botox
Label: Botox
Cat.No. botoxlp1
Price: € 19.15
Format: 2LP

Re-edits from Betty Botox - actually by Keith McIvor (JD Twitch from Optimo). All the tracks on this LP have been re-edited so that they are 100% DJ mixable from start to finish, includes an eclectic selection of tracks, from a wide ranging selection of artists, including Crass, Slick, Rose Royce, Richie Havens, Divine, Dennis Coffey, Dr Feelgood and The Leather Nun.. [disco-edits]
space base
back to the piano magic
is it s'ex yr after
began to spank
fist and shout

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LCD Soundsystem - Too Much Love (Rub'n'Tug remix)

a. Too Much Love (Rub'n'Tug remix)
b. DFA logo etching

*Limited vinyl only pressing of 200 with the DFA lightning bolt laser etched on the b-side. Available exclusively at the DFA webstore.

12" $6.99


Greg Wilson [Liverpool,UK]


"Greg Wilson is an honorary Manc born in Liverpool who is generally acknowledged as the godfather of the early eighties Manc electro scene. He is one of the first British DJ's to have used three turntables. Remembered for his nights at Legend and the Hacienda".
"By 1982 he was established at Wigan Pier, thrilling all and sundry with his brew of electronica and soul. He was given a dying Wednesday at Legend, Manchester's most influential black music venue, and blew enough life into it to spread queues round the block and gain punters countrywide. Forget the Hacienda, where Wilson began the first full-on dance night - Legend was the start of it all. His secret? The dastardly mixing techniques he'd picked up in Europe plus this weird and wonderful new form of music sweeping across from New York".
"Greg Wilson was entranced by the stripped down electronic sounds that were coming out of New York where, in one of the weirdest quirks in rock history, black kids in the ghetto started to get hip to Kraftwerk. Taking the atmospheric synth music of the German outfit, they re-invented it as a dance music of their own. The computer age was dawning and here was a music that matched the nu digital times...Electro is one of the key forebears of nineties pop culture".
"Wilson's work on the decks every Wednesday (at Legend) drew the attention of Mike Shaft, who was then fronting a black music show on Piccadilly Radio. Although not a big fan of the new dancefloor sounds, he invited Wilson to do mixes for the radio show. These were probably some of the most taped programmes in Manchester radio history"
"Compiled by famed deejay Greg Wilson who was one of the chief protagonists in the early development of electro in the UK. Greg helped pioneer the early stages as resident deejay at the legendary Wigan Pier and Manchester Legends venues. Greg was one of the first British deejays to consider seriously the art of deejaying and mixing was beyond the simple act of sticking a platter on a turntable before swilling ale and checking out the available talent (although I'm pretty sure Greg did his fair share of these activities too!). Greg's mixes on Manchester Piccadilly Radio were significant interludes and he was also the first British deejay to mix live on TV when appearing on the now defunct The Tube show".
"'The whole black side of Manchester has been completely ignored' says Greg Wilson, Manchester's first electro DJ, on the wheels of steel at Wigan Pier and Legends in '82. A disco-chemist, he experimented with mixing and NY's new styles...Legends stepped out a whole 18 months before The Face's cover feature caught up...By the start of '83, white hipsters were changing channels, switching from doom-rock to dance beats. ACR, New Order, Swamp Children and the like tuned into Legends...'In all things that have been written about Manchester, the thing that led the way hasn't even been mentioned! The black-white mix! Even when the students arrived (on the scene) the black side kept its identity and everyone began bouncing ideas around' argues Greg".
"Kermit was here there and everywhere. Everyone knew Kermit. Everyone knew Kermit stories. Everyone knew that one day this man would turn into something important. The story begins way back in the early eighties, at Manchester's Legends nightspot. On Wednesday night Manchester grandmaster of Electro, Greg Wilson, held hardcore funk sessions sussed enough to educate even the hippest of dudes from old Hulme. All the while, down the road, the Hacienda remained a vast, cold, empty shell, full of echoey indie sounds and a few straggly raincoated students. Greg Wilson was where it began and Kermit would soak in his influences".
"Before retiring from deejaying in 1984, Greg had kicked off the first weekly dance night at The Hacienda and was managing Britain's best known breakdance crew, Manchester's Broken Glass. In '84 he produced Street Sounds' experimental 'UK Electro' album, and has since produced the Ruthless Rap Assassins".

Pequenos grandes discos

12 discos (7 polegadas) essenciais que vão do funk ao Reggae, da Pop inspirada nos anos 70 ao Latin Jazz:

1. JIMMY CASTOR BUNCH "it's just begun/such a lady" (octopus breaks)
2. THE OTIS AND CARLA BAND/LOUISE MCCORD "tramp/better get a move on" (bgp)
3. MARVA WHITNEY "unwind yourself/what do i have to do" (45-king)
4. DELORES EALY "honeydripper/it's about time i made a change" (unknown)
5. A-KO "soul '69/untitled" (melting pot music)
6. VARIOUS "bay area funk" (luv n' haight)
7. FUNKY NASSAU "bahama soul stew/look what you can get" (tramp)
8. AARON NEVILLE/CYRIL NEVILLE "hercules/gossip" (jazzman)
9. SUPSONIC/PYRAHNA SOUND "match 2-2/la turbie pyrahnanienne" (indestructible)
10. MARK MURPHY/EDDIE JEFFERSON "why don't you do right/psychedelic sally" (jazzman)
11. THE MOHAWKS "the champ/give me some" (sir j.j.)
12. THE SUPERIMPOSERS "would it be impossible" (little league)