Underhill Exclusive: Erol Alkan gives us a moment of his time…

Have you heard the one about Erol Alkan?
The humble 12 year old maestro-in-the-making who sneaks out the window of his parents flat to play gigs for a tenner?

About the bearded studio-sorcerer worshipped by bands and DJ’s half his age as a living electronic idol? About the kid in his early 20s who’s founded that Trash night in London where they’re playing Bowie and basslines at the same time?

I heard that he invented the mash-up.
I heard that he created the second coming of French Touch just by remixing Justice’s “Waters Of Nazareth”.
I heard he bought guitar music back from the grave. No, it was electronic music. Or was it reggae?
I heard he once revived a Roland 303 just by looking at it.
Didn’t you hear? He’s bringing psychedelia back?
Wait – I heard he’s bringing Disco back?

Well he’s also headlining Underhill Festival in the West Country at the end of July – there’s an exclusive interview from the man himself, too.

Was it always your intention to get into production, or was it initially all about the DJing?

My musical intentions began with bands, and being a guitarist. I’d always treated Dj-ing seperately as I saw it as a simple way of bringing music to as many of my friends at one given time, I suppose I only really started Dj-ing seriously 6 years ago.. Production has been an extension of what began from being active in bands, and Dj-ing has influenced it a great deal, which may awnser why many of my productions are not club based…

Your Bugged Out / Bugged In compilation was a classic. Ever thought of doing another one?

I already have! I’ve had the 2nd Bugged In mix sitting on my hard drive for a few years now…

What’s the extent of your involvement in the Erol forum these days?

Not much, but I dont really hang around on the internet much anyway. Last time I looked I could see there were some smart kids on there and some budding talents. I never considered selling ad’s on the forum, so I pay for it out my own pocket, I just some kids from there can go out and change the world and make us/me proud.. It’s already happened so it can happen again 😉

They can be a mischievous little bunch sometimes…

Forum kids? Yeah, I suppose so. But if somebody gets a kick out of being an idiot then that’s their choice / problem.

In the past your festival sets always always sported a soulwax remix of MGMT or Chemical Brothers or an edit of Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams’ – something big and epic. What’s your weapon of choice this year?

Possibly ‘Lemonade’, it just doesnt seem to want to die just yet..

Do you think closing Trash when you did, 10 years after it started, has helped imbue it with that legendary / folklore status it currently holds? If it had carried on… was there a worry it may have slowly but surely morphed into just any old night..?

Yeah, there is that. Die young, leave a pretty corpse.. And ‘decade’ is a beautiful word.. That certainly helped decide when the time had come.. Also, had it got any bigger, I doubt it would have been able to hang onto it’s true values

Were you happy with Durr as a follow up to Trash?

Durrr was always about the new generation, so I had to step away from it and let it blossom in its own way, and it did. Gig’s from Connan Mockasin, Late Of The Pier, Soulwax and Franz Ferdinand were as excellent as any at Trash

What’s your opinion on the changing sound of electro and dance music in general? 2005 – 2008 was arguably the hey-day for that distortion-based sound. Everyone, including many of the electro artists around at that time, seems to have now moved away from it, closer to a more groove-laden, smoother sound…

It needs to develop and change, I suppose we would all tire of the same story if we were read it every night.

Whatever happened to Mustapha 3000?

He went AWOL. We never really got on that well to be honest..

Any plans to team up with Boys Noize again?

There’s about 6 unreleased tracks, when we get them up to a level which we agree is good enough, then we can release them, but not before then!

Do you still spend a lot of time rooting out music?

Yes, but I wish I had more time to do this..

Thank you very much for your time, we’ll see you in two weeks at Underhill!

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