Brighton Spotlight: Aka Aka Roar


Aka Aka Roar have long since prided themselves on pushing the boundaries of electronic music on the south coast. With an acute ability to predict what’s going to blow, they’ve given Brighton debuts to artists who range from the elusive to those now mainstays in clubs across the UK and Europe. Theo Parrish, Pearson Sound, Marcellus Pittmann, Jackmaster, Boddika, Jacques Greene, Bondax and James Blake are just a handful in a list of names that stretches healthily into double digits. At the end of this month, Aka celebrates four years of this tireless search with another tantalising party. To mark this milestone (see what we did there), Aka resident Markings has put together a mix spanning the diversity of their musical interests, from hardcore to disco with some unreleased bits as well. Download the mix below, follow us on Soundcloud for updates on the tracklist coming next week, and gain an insight into the world of Aka Aka Roar with a Q&A from main man Paul Gibson.

Tickets for Aka’s 4th Birthday are now on their 3rd tier. Head here for more info and ticket links.

Download Marking’s Spotlight Mix for Aka Aka Roar

What would you say the Aka Aka Roar mission statement is, for anyone new to you guys?

We try to bring interesting, forward thinking lineups and artists to Brighton, mainly because they are people we want to see, sometimes because we don’t think anyone else will and usually to the detriment of our wallets.

Looking down the list of previous Aka guests, you’ve given Brighton debuts to a lot of names. Would you say this is one of the priorities of your parties?

Absolutely, we have rebooked a few people as well, but a massive part of Aka is debuts.  We have had nearly 60 in the last four years, ranging from Actress, James Blake, Shed and Levon Vincent to up-and-coming artists like Joe, Tessela and South London Ordnance.

Is there anyone who another promoter has booked for their first Brighton show who you’ve been gutted not to put your name to?

The Hessle Audio boys, Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and Pangea without a doubt. Have a lot of time for them all but we can’t claim that one as my good friends who run Hospitality actually had them in Room 2 at Digital about four and a half years ago!

On the topic of pushing fresh talent, what are Aka Aka Roar’s Ones To Watch for 2014?

Good question, here goes…Galcher Lustwerk, Innershades, Huerco S, Palms Traxx, Koehler, Grayson Revoir, Max McFerren, Recondite, Rodhad, Fis, Will & Ink, Missingno, Bosconi Records.

You’ve got your 4th Birthday coming up at the end of the month, with a pretty heavyweight lineup. For anyone unfamiliar with them, can you give us a quick run down of who will be playing and why you wanted them for the big day?

Thanks, we are pretty happy with it to be honest! We have Special Request aka Paul Woolford at the top of the bill after his awesome debut album on Fabric’s label Houndstooth. Expect classic rave and jungle with a modern twist, really excited to see Wooly in the flesh doing his SR moniker! Next up Ron Morelli, the L.I.E.S label boss, possibly the most prolific underground label of the last few years releasing some amazing music and artists. Never know what you’re going to get but it will be interesting for sure and anyone who is that tight with the Hessle boys is sure to deliver. Completing the bill downstairs we have South London Ordinance who we first had down 18 months ago with Boddika. He has a new EP coming late February that sounds great and I think he is going to really kick on this year and break through properly. Upstairs we will have the Aka residents Dominion and Markings as well as Bol and Luka T providing a quality bar-paced soundtrack.

A bit about Brighton now. We’re always hesitant to use the use the word ‘scene’ to describe music in a city, but where does Aka fit into what’s going on in Brighton at the moment?

God knows we just kind of keep our heads down and crack on doing our own thing – the more other promoters book acts we have used the less we like to use them. Not trying to be a nob but it just means we look for something a little different to try and keep things ‘Aka’. As for the ‘scene’, there are some good nights and people currently in Brighton for sure. Shouts to Matt at Audio/Warehouse, Carin and Joe at Be Nothing, the Simply Vinyl gang, Steve and Joe at Filthy Media and of course the absolute don that is Ash at Well Rounded.

We interviewed Well Rounded recently, who reserved special praise for the help you’ve given them. Turning the tables, how important do you see their role for Brighton music?

I think its huge. They are independent, eccentric, slightly weird, utterly dedicated and quintessentially Brighton as far as I’m concerned. They’re all about the music, which is a refreshing trait nowadays.

Lorca and Leon Vynehall are two locals who have been familiar names at Aka parties over the years and it’s great to see their standing grow. Are there any other Brighton producers who are impressing you?

Yep they’re two absolute gents, its great to see them doing so well! The next batch: Elek who has played for us in the last couple of years has something coming on Exit and I think he has a lot of talent; Mark (Markings) and Jack (Dominion) have surprised us with some really interesting well made productions recently; and as far as DJ’ing goes I really enjoy listening to Bol‘s sets – another of our residents.

This one’s for Markings – can you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve put together?

I planned this mix a lot more than I usually would, and with the fourth birthday approaching I ambitiously thought I’d attempt to incorporate all the sounds I associate with the night into an hour: the deeper house/techno cuts alongside those other genres that contribute to our wider musical tastes. As a result we have hardcore and disco in the same hour! There’s a few unreleased bits, mostly from friends. Lorca’s bit is forthcoming on Breach’s label and Finn has got plenty of exciting stuff coming up this year. I’m truly honoured to include a tune from the elusive BURLEY WORKING MANS in there as well. The mix was recorded with a pair of 1210s running through a shit mixer I have down here, tunes on wax and timecode for the unreleased bits.

What’s on the horizon for Aka after your birthday? Any plans for festivals this  summer and dare we ask if you’re tempted to set up a label?

A bit of a reshuffle back of house has meant that we are doing slightly less at the moment on the event side but we have our next one on 28th March with a rather special guest playing all night long. There will be another couple of parties before the summer when we will take a break, you hopefully be able to catch some of us at a couple of festivals this summer and we will 100% be back at Dimensions for at least our yearly boat party and maybe more.

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