Meet 4 To The Floor, the London party collective bringing dance workshops to the dance floor

With roots in Jo’Berg and Tokyo, 4 To The Floor are a London collective of dance tutors, DJs and producers who are combining their collective disciplines to create a space for music and dance to meet. Founded by  producer Eddieboi, record collector Djsoulprovyder and DJ/dancer Kengo, they’ve also welcomed dance tutor and performer Rickyboom, alongside DJ and broadcaster Jay Carder who’s currently being mentored by Artwork for the Equalising Music programme. Born from a residency at the now-closed Rhythm Factory, their monthly Sunday Sessions begin with a workshop covering a variety of styles, followed by guest sets with contortion at the forefront. Dance instigators so far include Rainer Truby, Frankie Valentine, Aroop Roy, Mark Grusane and EVM128, while additional parties have also covered Mick’s Garage, Horse & Groom and Ghost Notes. With hopes to spread this dance agenda much further than the UK, we caught up with the group to find out more.

4 To The Floor present Danvers b2b Aaron L at The Curtain (3rd May). RSVP by clicking the below artwork and grab more info via Facebook.

Your ‘Jo’Berg, Tokyo and London’ tagline suggests 4 To The Floor is a multinational group. Who’s involved and how did you all come together?

This is where the original members come from and although we have expanded our team since, we wanted to keep this identity as an important part of our ethos. We want to promote contemporary roots music that doesn’t necessarily come from Europe or North America, and provide a platform for artists from this truly global community.

Kengo (Tokyo), djsoulprovyder (Jamaica via London) and Eddieboi (Johannesburg) founded the collective in 2011, and started playing in East London clubs with a residency at the Rhythm Factory. After the venue’s unfortunate closure in 2015, we took it upon ourselves to create a new space for the dancers to meet, practise and feel comfortable to express themselves, and from that our monthly Sunday Sessions at The Book Club (Shoreditch) were born. We start the evening with a dance workshop in a variety of styles such as house, hustle, waacking etc – all dances that originated in the clubs. We are a big believer in bringing dance back into ‘dance music’ and feel that it’s an important aspect of club culture that brings people together.

The collective has grown organically through these parties and now includes members Jay Carder (London) and Rickyboom (Algarve). Jay is a member of the Smirnoff Equalising Music programme and is currently being mentored by Artwork. She has a number of radio shows that push a variety of genres through collaborations from around the world, from Indian trip-hop to South African house.

Rickyboom is an internationally acclaimed tutor in house dance, frequently holding dance battles in the UK as well as performing and DJing at them globally. Kengo is also a DJ and producer with a dance background, having grown up dancing in the clubs. He has DJd and danced for 15 years with The Cuban Brothers which has seen him play in venues and festivals as far flung as New Zealand, Tasmania, Japan and many more. He’s also working on his own project Japanism, bringing Japanese folk traditions to the contemporary dance floor.

Eddieboi has recently moved to Berlin where he’s working on his third album and championing his unique style of African dance music over there. Djsoulprovyder has been a record collector and DJ since 1991, originally playing 70s soul, jazz, funk and rare groove. These influences are instantly recognisable in his sets that join the dots between genres on a true journey through musical ages.

What’s the overall vision for 4TTF?

4TTF does and will continue to provide an open-minded and energised space for dancers and music heads on the dance floors of London. As with any developing project, we’re always looking to bring our sound to new audiences through collaboration, communication and keep on supporting and breaking artists we believe should be heard. We have a weekly radio show on Soho Radio (Wednesdays 10pm-midnight) where we play everything and anything we’re currently digging, as well as programme a wide variety of artists (playing host to more musical styles than what we’d play in the clubs).

Touring as a collective is important to us, and as well as pushing other underground talent, we want to deliver our unique sound on international stages. We’ve represented at a number of UK and international festivals, most recently Asa Baako and Meet Me There Weekender in Ghana; Snowbombing in Austria and Glastonbury this summer. We aim to build our name on stages and in clubs in the places we find musically inspiring. It’s also important to us to maintain our connection with the global house dance scene, and we’re working on taking our sound, along with our collective of dance teachers (Frankie J, Bagsy, T-Boy and Inga B to name a few), to floors in Asia and Europe (Tokyo, Seoul, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris), which are key cities in the scene.

Individually we’re also working to push our sound through our own productions, with a number of releases already in the works. It’s going to be a busy year!

You’re beginning a residency at The Curtain this first May Bank Holiday. What’s your plan for the series?

The Curtain is a great opportunity for us to host DJs that we love and whose work we respect, whilst thinking a little outside the box in terms of programming (for example this Friday with Danvers B2B your very own Aaron L – that’s sure to be a journey!). We believe that in collaboration there is mutual growth and a greater ability to support and spread the music we love so we want to continue to work with other collectives and artists who have inspired us. We have some more incredible lineups in mind, but you’ll have to stay tuned for those announcements…

Beyond The Curtain dates, what else have you got in the works?

As well as our monthly Sunday Sessions and an ongoing residency at Horse & Groom in Shoreditch, we’ve thrown a number of bigger parties over the last few years with aim to push underground sounds to a broader audience. We had some truly spiritual nights with Osunlade and Boddhi Satva at Kamio in 2017, DJ Spinna at Ghost Notes and Pablo Fierro at Mick’s Garage in 2018, and 2019 will see a similarly heavy bookings.

There are also a number of smaller collectives like ourselves in and around London, and it’d be a slamming summer party to bring all of these promoters together for a big day and night session, encompassing all musical styles for heads and dancers in house, hustle, jazz, bruk and broken sounds. Stay tuned to @4tothefloorlondon on all social channels for that one!

4 To The Floor present Danvers b2b Aaron L at The Curtain (3rd May). RSVP by clicking the below artwork and grab more info via Facebook.

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