Behind every successful party, there’s some capable DJs who keep their heads down, stay out of the limelight and make sure the parties are book-ended in just the right way. For London mainstays Percolate, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of Krywald & Farrer. Not content to ride the considerable wave that Percolate are creating, they also keep busy producing their own dancefloor ready material, infused by sounds from around the world. Adding to their growing catalogue, we’ve been given a sneak preview of their forthcoming Gottwax contributing and it’s going to take festivals by storm this year.
With Percolate approaching their third birthday this weekend, we caught up with K&F about the history of the brand and their own DJing and production relationship. They’ve also put together an unrelentingly feel-good mix to accompany your read.
Catch Percolate’s 3rd Birthday at Corsica Studios this Friday, with Andrés, Dark Sky, Mosca and K15.
What’s your first musical memory?
Krywald: Not sure if this was my very first musical memory but I remember cruising through Brentford in my Dad’s convertible Saab listening to Dionne Warwick on full volume. Good Times.
Farrer: I was on the drum kit from a young age, pretty sure it was a ‘let off steam’ theory by my Mum and Dad but nevertheless I loved it!
What were your musical upbringings that first got you into producing and DJing?
F: At about 16 I was getting into dance music and started playing on my mate’s decks and that after school. Got myself a pair and started on the house party circuit, then production was the natural progression really, got Ableton at 17 and started trying to work out how to make what I was playing!
K: My Dad introduced me to Lil Louis when I was 11 and I started to get into dance music more and more from then on. I think going to Ibiza when I was 14 and having my first night club experience there in Amnesia is what really started me on my journey. That was the point when I decided that I wanted to be involved in the dance music scene, so for my 15th birthday/ Christmas present I got Reason 3.0. I started DJing a couple of years later at 17.
How do you approach DJing together? Do you always plan your sets, or run through what you’d like to play first, or is it a more freestyle approach?
F: Erm a mixture of the two I think. We have a chat about where we’re playing, what the vibe might be, what the crowd might be like, the right sort of vibe for set time which puts us on the same page but then yeah sort of freestyle it from there haha. No sets are the same!
As an extension, what’s the process when you go into the studio? Do you both bring something different to the table?
K: There’s not so much a process. Ideas tend to come from everywhere but when a project develops into something promising we will then tend to sit down together and collaborate. Farrer is the man on the drums a lot of the time, I enjoy doing the melodic side more but we switch around a lot.
Your own productions are a mish-mash of genres. Away from the dancefloor, what sort of sounds inspire you and how do you incorporate them into more dancefloor-leaning material?
K: We try not to stick to any style or genre, we like to mix things up and incorporate all kinds of styles into our productions. We always try to keep things interesting. A lot of time is spent digging through old afro, latin, jazz and blues records and when we hear bits that we like we then try and transfer that vibe into a more dancefloor friendly structure.
What’s your favourite thing about each other?
F: My favourite thing is his ankles but in all honesty – and I’ll say it now – it’s his calves that really lets me down. I think we should see other people.
K: My favourite thing about Farrer is the way he looks at my ankles but I don’t like when he throws mini cheddars at my calfs.
Percolate celebrates three years this month. How did you first come on board with them?
K: Yeah can’t believe it’s three years already! I have been best mates with Fred since we were 13 and had played a few times at the night he ran in Oxford in the years before Percolate. So when Fred and Ed Lo started Percolate they asked if I would be the resident with DJ Caspa. After the first couple of shows the lads realised Caspa was already too big to be our resident and after Farrer played we knew he was no doubt the man for the job.
What have been some standout memories from your time as their residents?
F: There have some some biggies! Heading out to Amsterdam was a really good feeling, the MLIU party with the whole crew a few months back was bang on the Percolate vibe!
K: Yeah there have been so many great memories. Jeremy Underground at Hoxton Basement was incredible, the earlier parties were amazing as well, especially as the venues were smaller and the only light on the dancefloor was the red glow of the neon Percolate sign.
What three records sums up Percolate for you?
Focussing on your hometown now, name one thing you like about London music culture and one thing you hate?
K: I don’t like that there aren’t enough good afterparties or house parties in London. For the same reason there are a lot of sound restrictions on clubs and venues, it’s a 9-5 city and economic gain seems to always override the nightlife Culture. What I love about London is that there a loads of great people putting on events and attending events who care about the scene and are tirelessly working to improve the situation in London despite the difficulties they encounter.
F: The variety of club choices is definitely more and more limited but what lives on is the depth of music choice which has gotta be one of the best in the world. You can find anything you want every weekend.
Where’s your favourite place to buy records in London?
Outside Percolate, what are some of your favourite parties in London?
Who’s doing good things for music in London you’d like to shout out?
F: Ahh there is loads to shout about. In terms of artists and DJs we are curating a room at the Percolate Birthday on 20th Nov and have invited some of our favourite selectors to come and play there. We’ve got DJ Caspa, Swoose, Aroop Roy and some more!
K: Got a lot of love for Shapes in Hackney Wick, it’s a wicked venue run by a great team. Corsica Studios as well is one of my favourite places to party in London again run by a lovely bunch. Rhythm Section, Lobster Theremin, Nofitstate, Not An Animal and Wolf Music are all great London-based labels. Voyeur, Love Glove, Hackman, Dom Chung, Bobby Pleasure, iO Sounds and Lakosa are all London based DJ/ Producers that are worth checking out.
Where do you take yourself in London to be inspired before making music?
F: Well you can take inspiration from anywhere really, some floaty track playing in a coffee shop, but getting out and about to club nights and listening to the big heads going for it really puts fire in the belly.
We hear you first met at Gottwood. As the breeding ground for your fertile relationship, what does the festival mean to you both and how does it stand out among other festivals?
K: It was the first festival I ever played at and is still my favourite festival every year. The atmosphere is great there. I think part of the reason it’s so special is that the guys who run it do it for the love of it, not just to make money. There is an attention to detail whether in the production, the lineup or the way the security treat the punters that you don’t find at bigger festivals.
F: Yeah, aside from the ridiculous lineups and the setting, the effort that goes into festival site and the experience is what puts it on another level! I might also be a bit biased. Gottwood is my highlight every year, I haven’t missed one yet!
Apart from your meeting, are there any other standout moments from previous editions?
F: Memories are always a little cloudy after that weekend…
K: Dinky’s set in the Igloo three years ago was amazing and Craig Richards B2B Ben UFO, Hunee, Brawther and Cassio Kohl all smashed it this year.
Beyond returning to Gottwood next year, will you be playing any other festivals?
F: So far we’re do Rise, Somerley Tea Party, Sapphire, Love International, Bloc, Lost and hopefully Festival No.6 again.
And, finally, what have you got in store production-wise?
K: Our next release is out soon on Silver Bear, following that we have a track on the next Gottwax release. Lots of other bits and pieces on the go, a track with DJ Caspa and another with Jack Tyson Charles on the vocals.
F: We’re currently looking for a home for an A/B-side edit release featuring St Germain on one side and Oumou Sangare on the other.