**Update 03/11/14 – the full event album is now live on FKOF FB**
Earlier this month, I found myself stood in the middle of Amsterdam at the doors of Overtoom 301. For this trip I had been joined by Luiza, who had the honour of taking pictures as our FKOF photographer, and my good friend Joost (of Sirius fame). While our crew – who’d made the trip from Rotterdam – had butterflies in our stomaches, the door that would open onto to this special event was already whispering tantalising dub-esque notes at us. We knew these whispers were sure to develop into a comforting roar once the door opened…
Together we passed through the OT301 gates without a collective blink of an eye, bearing witness to what would become a highlight of our young lives…
October is a special month for us as, for five long and exhaustively energetic days, Amsterdam and its inhabitants welcome Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) to the city. One event that always seems to grab our attention – with its refreshing line-ups and high quality sound – is the one hosted by the True Soldiers Productions family.
True Soldiers Productions
Tahdeo, TSP bossman, told me that 2014 was his 6th year attending ADE, and his 2nd year hosting a TSP x ADE event. The scale of ADE – and the organisation that goes into the event – has always impressed him, as well as the way Amsterdam embraces an event of its size. He is proud to host one of the true underground sessions on the ADE agenda and represent the proper sub-bass sounds.
TSP plans to bring more events to ADE next year, showcasing new crews and labels, while continuing to represent the underground sounds.
Mala and Tahd
As for the full-blown commercial side of ADE, Tahd said that there are under the radar events on the ADE agenda if you search them out, and a true underground head will always stay true to the path.
Success for Tahdeo does not revolve around the money, fame or ego thing. Instead, success for him means bringing solid programmes that match truly talented artists to unique line ups.
It’s a formula that also helps to introduce artists to one another, building creative bridges that will, in return, help push the sound.
The TSP events are inspired by the vinyl glory days, handcrafting mixtapes, and standing in long lines to buy tickets to gigs. He runs everything via a DIY approach, believing his visitors respect that method.
Tahd feels the artists involved with TSP events believe in what he does, investing themselves in the vision he has. He also genuinely looks for feedback from the crew that attend events, making a concerted effort to connect with as many supporters as possible on the floor every event.
TSP has never confined the brand to one style or genre, as the Dub Explorations events allow the freedom to explore anything and everything, keeping the events an exciting experience for all involved.
TSP x ADE
Entering the venue wasn’t too much of a problem, although we were all amazed to see the amount of people already standing inside – it really was truly astonishing! This appeared to be a strong indication that we were not the only ones excited for what was about to happen. Early on it became apparent the evening was going to be a heavy one, one without a doubt that would keep our ears and heads buzzed for many days after. In fact, after meeting up with Tahdeo, we could feel a short ‘calm before the storm’ – an indescribable feeling but one that suggested what was coming would be worth the wait.
Process Rebel warmed up the night with his future dub live set, one that contained various hardware pieces that made his performance quite a mesmerising one. He altered his futuristic dubwise frequencies live with a Kaoss Pad, a MIDI Fighter 3D, while running Traktor and Ableton simultaneously. We were also surprised to see him wearing a SubPac M1. The device is apparently “an experience that makes the sound come closer to you”, he said. He was able to both feel and hear the sound without having to turn up the booth monitoring system. We would describe his set as an eyes-closed psychedelic journey. It was definitely a soul-awakening experience that warmed up the subs…
Next up was the one and only Joe Nice, at least that’s what we initially thought. However, Mala’s stop in Amsterdam was right before his long trip out to Japan and the rest of Asia. So Mala played earlier than we had anticipated – an unexpected treat!
He opened his set in a slightly different way from what we’ve seen him do previously. An early tune to grab our attention was Kaiju’s Justice Dub, one of the classic Kaiju dubs we’ve long been fans of. Mala’s smooth and confident appearance always seems effortless with his great control of the decks – and this occasion was no different. Soon after Justice Dub, Mala suddenly pulled for the all-new Left Leg Out VIP, a rework he was testing out exclusively in Amsterdam – for the first time ever! It was as exciting live as it would be if you’re reading this and haven’t heard about it. You need to hear it!
After this amazing VIP, Kahn’s Abattoir (which is rumoured to be a forthcoming Deep Medi release) sliced the dancefloor in two without any remorse. Dropping The Bug’s collaboration with Manga – Function – was also an excellent choice, it did give a good hint at what Mala was after (although you never know where the show can go with him on the decks). After this, Swindle’s forthcoming Joker remix took over the crowd, as well as the brilliant Walter’s Call.
Our long-time friend Atactic, also known as SparkUp (his alias for deep, meditative bass music) hosted the night alongside Young Simba. Atactic was impressive in his anticipation of Mala’s performance, giving the music the space it needed to breath and rumble. Young Simba grabbed the microphone in between Atactic’s highlight work, giving the event a collaborative vocal treatment that was perfectly balanced between the two MCs and the DJs.
The militant, raw underground energy coming off Mala’s set was overwhelming, showing the man is still the one that makes a seriously powerful statement with his sets. As he has done recently, Mala closed his set with the amazing remix of Bob Marley’s Is This Love – taking everyone to the special place only that tune can.
Joe Nice & Korrupt
Our good friend Joe Nice stood up next, more hyped than normal as he announced he was going to be play bonkers set full of new exclusives he had cut for his mini European tour. As always, Joe was the man with the biggest grin and the happiest face of the whole party. He welcomed everybody by yelling “Hello Amsterdam!” while he playing tracks like Mala’s Livin’ Different VIP (a personal highlights of the Dubstep Ambassador’s set). We were treated to music from likes of Epoch (Attraction VIP), and Gantz (the U Won’t Mind VIP always goes down well), creating a serious buzz about the crowd.
Towards the end of the night, we noticed that the crowd was slowly starting to shrink. Joe Nice simply responded with his grab bag game, where the crowd can pick the next dub to be played. It’s definitely a personal touch that matches his last name!
Reminiscing about the TSP ADE event makes us long for another flawless set from Mala – we feel truly blessed having been able to witness it up close. The entire event has once again made us realise why True Soldiers Production keep pushing the sound forward – and why we all remain true soldiers…
We managed to get hold of Mala for a few minutes before he left for Asia – asking him a few questions about his visit in Amsterdam…
Hey Mala, how are you doing? Great man thanks. Feeling blessed to have hit Amsterdam today!
What do you normally look for in a production, besides its bass and character? To me music is all about the resonating, positive vibrations it gives off. As I get sent loads of music, it needs to touch me personally for me to cut it to dubplate or sign it to Deep Medi.
We know Amsterdam is one of the common places you visit – how’s ADE treating you so far? Honestly, it is the first time I’ve taken part in this event.
It’s off to a good start in my opinion – I believe Tahdeo’s worked out a great line-up that represents the essence of (underground) sound system music, pushing positive vibrations in and around Amsterdam.
Where are you off to next? My next destination is Tokyo, Japan, where I will be visiting the Red Bull Music Academy. I’ll be meeting my long-time friend Goth-Trad, and I will meet up with Coki. It’s going to be a long trip!
Which artists do you believe are the ones to watch? Honestly, I can’t really answer this question. The ones I believe are ones to watch are producers I’ve cut dubs from, as I personally really enjoy their music when spinning live. I like to show quite a diverse selection of music to the crowd – an experience to remember.
After this slightly unexpected interview, we gave Mala a FKOF t-shirt to thank him for his time and efforts. It was safe to say that he elevated the crowd – alongside the experimental set by Process Rebel and the powerhouse set from Joe Nice (for the stamina crew)!
Thanks to everyone that made this possible.
Tahd and TSP, for your dedication to the cause.
Olaf for the words and Luiza for the pictures (check FKOF FB over the next day or so for the full album).
And, of course, this wouldn’t have happened without all the artists involved. Thanks and love.