Alfresco Disco has become something of a Bristol institution over the past few years. With small free parties that started in the woods around the city, to some high conceptual events in unused buildings in the centre, they have provided an alternative party brand, offering something quite unique these days. Now onto their second release as a label, the Alfresco boys are showing that they apply this same alternative formula to their releases. With four tracks that vary a lot in style, but each packs a punch with the same feel good factor as their parties.
With ‘Maximum Joy’ just released, we spoke to two of the Alfresco bossmens, Tom Hodgson and Luke Turner (a.k.a Lukas), about the ins and outs of the label, some fond memories from their nine year old party and some thoughts on Bristol as a whole.
Hi fellas. Could you please introduce yourselves and explain a bit about how Alfresco Disco started?
Luke: My name is Luke and i’m sat here with Tom answering your questions. We are but 2 cogs in a well-oiled party machine called Alfresco Disco. We initially started as a club night called called Buoyancy. In the summer of 2005 we threw an outdoor party under a bridge in an undisclosed location. Frankie Mann had a lightning bolt when he said ‘it’s an Alfresco Disco’. That seemed like a good name and like all the best parties, it evolved quite organically from there. We took the concept of the free parties we were doing of the and brought the outdoors, indoors, so to speak.
Many know Alfresco Disco as the brand that brings the disco to unlikely locations in Bristol. What made you feel it was time to take the step towards forming a label and how did it all take shape?
Luke: Myself, Justin and Tom decided to start the label so we could release the wicked music we were being given by friends, and the music we’ve been making ourselves. It seemed like a good time as we had some great music fall in our lap and it’s a crime not to let it be heard. Also I have music I’ve made that might not suit other labels so it’s a good outlet for that too.
Is the idea behind the label to capture some of the atmosphere of the Alfresco parties?
We hope to capture the vibe of the parties: fruity, fun and a little of the unexpected! We also aim to expose the artists releasing music on the label at the parties… something we did at our most recent event – Maximum Joy – a loft party.
You guys seem to be all about supporting Bristol talent with your parties and now your label. How important is this to you?
It’s really important. Our roots are firmly here in Bristol and we are keen to support that. However we don’t discriminate! If something is good, it’s good – regardless of where and who made it.
We’re familiar with a few local names on your forthcoming V/A, but for anyone not yet acquainted could you give a quick introduction to each and how you came to work with them?
Luke: All of the guys are friends of ours some of whom we know from way back. Seka now shares a studio with me, Matt Dirt is crew from Devon, Summits guys are local Bristol up and coming guys. J Morrison I have been DJing with for years – and is one of the best DJs I know and now making his mark in production.
What one thing gives each of you maximum joy?
Luke: lighting, and tending to an open fire Tom: a murmaration of starlings Justin: climbing trees
Looking back to your parties, are there any favourite moments that stand out?
Tom: Nye 2013 was pretty special…the look on everyone’s faces as they explored the ‘house of curiosity’ will stay with me forever.
Luke: Taking a massive sound system to the woods all the way down the river by barge, as it was only and best way to get there!
Justin: There are so many amazing moments to choose from, but daytime partying on the roof of a 1920’s double decker in the centre of Bristol on the day of the royal wedding was very special!
What advice would you give to people wanting to start their own parties and/or labels an increasingly saturated market?
Tom: Be unique, try to offer something different. Quality not quantity is important! Justin: Word of mouth is the most valuable promotional tool available!
Outside the Alfresco contingent, are there any Bristol producers / DJs who are impressing you at the moment?
Desert Woman is certainly one to watch – she’s so hot right now! Jay L is a talent, although he has played at loads of Alfresco Parties! Keep an ear out for Lrusse’s new stuff, JoeFarr makes wicked techno.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you made for us [who recorded it / where and how / the idea behind it / any standout tracks]
Luke and Tom recorded it at Tom’s house in St. Werbergs, in the kitchen, with 4 cups of tea (3 earl grey, 1 sleepy tea). It includes tracks from the upcoming Maximum Joy EP and some absolute corkers we are enjoying at the moment. We hope you dig it.
Beyond Maximum Joy, is there anything in the pipeline for Alfresco releases and parties?
We are planning something very exciting for next summer – to mark 10 years of Alfresco Disco!
1. Vikter duplaix – Messages (Instrumental) (MAW Records)
2. Two Armadillos – Nostalgia (Buzzin Fly)
3. Fernando – Scarecrows (Ilija Rudman Remix) (Redux)
4. Seka – Dance On (Alfresco Disco)
5. Joe Burgos & Sandy Rivera – The Path (Defected Records)
6. Phil weeks – It’s The Inside That Counts (Instrumental) (Robsoul)
7. African Dream – All In The Same Family (Velcro House)
8. Todd Terje – Delorean Drums (Olsen)
9. Earth People – Dance (Beats mix) (Cabaret)
10. Phoenix Night – Private Eye (Classic)
11. J.Morrison – Some Fella (Alfresco disco)
12. Volta cab – Always in the place (Session Victim remix) (Blended)
13. YouandEwan – FM Jam (Aus Music)
14. Mono – Highlife (Herbert remix) (Peacefrog)
15. Roberto Rodriguez – Steal My Heart (Serenades)