‘I THOUGHT EVERYONE OWNED ALL THE OZZY- ERA SABBATH ALBUMS’ Hitlist THE BEST DANCEFLOOR ACTION*
✽✽ Definition Second birthday celebration of underground house and techno cuts with Matt Dirt (Skint) and Iain Gibson (TokyoBlu). Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Fri 23 Oct. ✽✽ Soul Weekender One night of soul not enough for you? How’s about three then? Nothumberland Hotel, Edinburgh, Fri 23–Sun 25 Oct. ✽✽ Men & Machines One of Glasgow’s biggest nights that isn’t a Halloween special, although it might as well be with Zombie Zombie’s Etienne Jaumet guesting. Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 24 Oct. ✽✽ Spectrum A huge party in a small venue, featuring the furious electro-rave assault of Shir Khan. Blackfriars, Glasgow, Sat 24 Oct. ✽✽ Fortified Joker, Silkie and more roll up to celebrate the third birthday of Glasgow’s original dubstep party. Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Fri 30 Oct. ✽✽ Pinup Nights Have an indie Halloween with a host of DJs and live bands, including RBRBR, The Plimptons, Louise Against the Elements and The Cracks in the Concrete. Flying Duck, Glasgow, Fri 30 Oct. ✽✽ Come and Playdate Sneaky’s is the place to be this fortnight with a double bill of live guests, psych-rockers BLK JKS (pictured) and twisted disco merchants Cold Cave, on two successive nights. Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Fri 30 & Sat 31 Oct. ✽✽ Kreep vs Bleep It’s a Halloween team-up from the best Glasgow techno clubs with ‘eep’ in their names, with special guest Dexter. Universal, Glasgow, Sat 31 Oct. ✽✽ Vegas! It’s huge, it’s swinging, it’s Vegas! Taking their party to the next level for a twelfth birthday spectacular. Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh, Sat 31 Oct. 22 Oct–5 Nov 2009 THE LIST 39
As he prepares to wow the crowds in Glasgow Drums of Death steps out of the shadows to grant a rare interview to David Pollock
Like Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker and his own favourite comic book anti-hero growing up, Frank Castle (aka Marvel’s vigilante psycho The Punisher), the man known as Drums of Death likes to keep secrets. The members of the new live band he’s formed to augment his already astonishing one-man MC shows earn the (tongue-in-cheek) description, ‘two nameless individuals I’ve subjugated to my will’, while the man himself is the biggest enigma in dance music since Daft Punk started dressing as robots.
His shows are once seen, never forgotten. Controlling a wall of electronic noise from his samplers and laptop, he harangues the audience with some fierce MCing. It’s the look that stays with you, made up in skeletal black and white face paint, like he’s celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead. He likes to keep his own details ‘fuzzy’: ‘People want to know everything about you and it makes it hard to build a persona. Mystery is a good thing.’
Here’s what the public at large is aware of: He’s signed to the Greco-Roman label, which is part-run by Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard. He’s toured extensively with Hot Chip, including an epic American jaunt last year. He’s also toured with Peaches, for whom he produced a mixtape to publicise her most recent album, I Feel Cream. Rob Da Bank is a fan and booked his new band to make their debut appearance headlining Bestival’s Red Bull stage last month. His debut album Generation Hexed is out in February 2010 through Greco-Roman. His edit-come-remix of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs is phenomenal.
‘Metal is something I grew up with,’ he says. ‘When I was younger I thought everyone owned all the Ozzy-era Sabbath albums, that it was just a given. That’s not overt in my music, but it’s there just under the surface.’ Growing up, in the case of Drums of Death’s civilian alter ego Colin Bailey, meant Oban. He’s no stranger to the underground scene in Glasgow; he lived there for many years, DJing around town, promoting the fondly remembered Kaput! night in the Admiral Bar’s basement and recording what he will admit was ‘herbal electronica’ in his bedroom.
‘Drums of Death was just a bit of fun on the side when I moved to London,’ says Bailey, ‘a chance to step outside myself and do something completely different. It probably wouldn’t have happened if I’d stayed in Glasgow or if I’d lived in London all my life, and it caught people’s imagination.’ Someone once told him his music as Drums of Death was about ‘love songs and rave horns’, a furiously contemporary blend of acid house, grime, Tom Waits and ‘Burt Bacharach, because the album is all about songs.’
For his next trick, he’s remixing one of ex-Beta Bander Steve Mason’s new Richard X-produced solo tracks, and upcoming efforts by Mika and Alphabeat. ‘It’s strange making music with such massive pop groups.’ he says, ‘but then I think I make pop music, too. Fucking weird pop music.’
Drums of Death play How’s Your Party?’s Second Birthday with Fake Blood at Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 30 Oct.