Co-founder of Mixcloud and music collective ManMakeMusic, and a Mathematics Cambridge graduate to boot, Nikhil Shah shows i-D online around his music taste with an exclusive mix…
With the distinct lack of sunshine in the British Isles this summer, it’s becoming altogether too tempting to look overseas for your sun-drenched summer festival fix. Stop Making Sense is a five day festival set on the stunning Adriatic coast in Croatia with a carefully curated line-up of top house DJs including Move D, Lil Louis, Ron Trent & Chez Damier to name but a few. Throw in a private beach, idyllic sunsets, debaucherous boat parties and dancing under the moon until the early hours, and you’ve got yourself a good time.
As well as the headliners, Stop Making Sense’s line-up also features various crews and labels, with a large injection of British talent on the roster. In the first of our three-part showcase, we check in with Nikhil Shah from the well-loved collective ManMakeMusic. Originally a series of parties in London’s East End, the label now releases tracks from artists who encompass their genre-defying sprit. Nikhil filled us in on their summer plans, what the boys have lined up for SMS and offered an explanation behind the blissful summertime mix he has created for i-D online.
There is a strong group of London promoters playing at Stop Making Sense, how did you guys start out and what will you bring to mix? It probably all started out at the Kambar, a dingy little ship-like venue in Cambridge where we all promoted nights; three successive years, each of us wide-eyed, enthusiastic freshers eager to bring our various sounds to the city – at the time hip-hop, reggae dancehall and garage. After the inevitable move to London post-studies, the London scene appeared fairly impregnable and so joining forces seemed like a good idea. We started promoting parties in our friend’s warehouse in Hackney Wick. Multi-genre, of course – house, techno, bass music. They were pretty dope. I can’t believe that was 5 years ago. We’re hosting the Beach Bar at Stop Making Sense, bringing our full crew of resident DJs/artists (George Fitzgerald, Amit, Love&Mercy and myself) and guest artist Kevin McPhee – who gave us an amazing slo-mo electronica interpretation of Rick Grant & Jack Dixon’s Running Man for MMAKEM002. The ManMakeMusic Beach Bar takeover will be vibes.
Do you boys have any exciting forthcoming plans for the summer? We do. We’ve got a busy summer with parties in London and Berlin, plus two releases mastered and ready to roll from Leon Vynehall and our talented new signing U. Personally I’m pretty excited (and somewhat anxious) about my first Burning Man.
ManMakeMusic is now also a music label, what is the main ethos of the label and what artists do you represent? We started the label about a year ago as a result of an increasing number of our friends and fam producing beats. As a promoter and DJ, one of my main motivations came from exposing music I believed in to new listeners. ManMakeMusic became our platform to do this in increasingly new and interesting ways. The label was a natural extension of this ideal but crucially allows us to do it on a much wider, more global scale. We’re just three releases in and the reception’s been really warm.
Do you prefer festivals abroad or at home? That’s a hard question. I think it comes down to two key variables. What the Brits do best is festivals with soul. Grassroots, aesthetically pretty, real breadth of music and non-music entertainment, and proper fun. But there’s often one key variable missing. Sunshine.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start up a new club night in London? Contrary to the preachings of Eric B and Rakim, don’t follow the leader.
Tell us about the mix that’s been created for i-D online and how it best sums up the spirit of ManMakeMusic? Earlier this year I had the fortune to visit Miami for the Winter Music Conference. One of the highlights was the South African House Showcase at the National Hotel – a sublime daytime pool party with the pioneers of the scene: Black Coffee, Culoe de Song and DJ Kent. I went on a bit of a shopping spree and these tracks have been on high rotation ever since. Since this interview is all about the summer and Stop Making Sense Festival, I put together this mix with Miami in mind – a warm selection of South African house, US garage and deep, soulful house. I’ve sneaked in a new, unreleased track from my friend WLT and George’s new US garage tinged “Child”, from his new EP on Aus – his strongest release to date.
Not enough people dance to dance music. The spirit of this mix is to move.
See ManMakeMusic at SMS this August. Last minute tickets here.
Text: Laura Hinson