Lovebox 2014? We asked Norman Jay & Horse Meat Disco

Words by: Tom Jones
Posted: 26/6/14 12:44

Lovebox 2014? We asked Norman Jay & Horse Meat DiscoFirmly established as a front-runner on London’s urban festival scene, Lovebox will once again be landing in Victoria Park this July. Taking place on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th July, this year’s edition of the festival boasts a lineup that captures both the depth and diversity of London’s music scene better than any other festival on the circuit.

Capturing the finest talent across the multitude of genres, sub-genres and movements that make the capital such an exciting city for music, Lovebox shines as a beacon for the representation of a bustling, forward thinking London music scene that finds itself in as a healthy state as ever.

Headlining this years event will be Matangi warrior M.I.A., local London boys Chase & Status who will be bringing their blistering live show and Nas, who will be performing his iconic Illmatic album in its entirety to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release.

There will be a host of impressive live shows from the likes of Bonobo, Sub Focus, Moderat, Theo Parrish and Bondax alongside special appearances from stalwarts such as Soul II Soul and Hercules & Love Affair. Madlib will be in town for a typically eclectic DJ set, just as Kenny Dope with drop in with a Disco Fever set.

Fellow MBE’s and two of Britain’s most loved DJ’s Norman Jay and David Rodigan will both be bringing their own versatile and far-flung sets alongside Craig Charles to Lovebox once again for 2014. Add that to sets from the likes of Visionquest, Horse Meat Disco, Annie Mac, Paul Woolford, Scuba, Joy Orbison and Tensnake and you have a recipe for quite the party.

For 2014, Lovebox are also introducing After Dark, a series of parties that pick up right when the festival ends and keep the party going for longer. Spread across various venues across east London on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they will stretch out the Lovebox vibe on until the early morning hours. Featuring venues like Oval Space, Village Underground, Factory 7 and secret venues, the parties will welcome acclaimed promoters such as Love Fever, Horse Meat Disco, The Hydra, Visionquest, Kubicle and Futureboogie. It all adds up to one hell of a weekend!

Norman JayNorman Jay
As a regular at Lovebox, what is it that you particularly love about the festival?
Well first and foremost it’s a London Festival. A lot of my own fans can come and actually support me there. Plus it’s an all-round great event anyway. There’s lots of variety, there’s loads to do. But the fact is that it’s an urban London festival, which is one of the high points for me.

What do you think is so special about a London crowd?
Well, it’s not just a London crowd. As everyone knows, London is made up of the people who move here and it’s a mixture of both. People come here from all over the country and there’s a great feeling of camaraderie there. They support all the acts and feed of the mixture of international and homegrown acts.

Is that something you always relish ……. The chance to play a city like London that has such a history and culture?
Yeah, because I’m a Londoner born and bred. I’m a Notting Hill baby, so any chance I get to play outdoors, as well as me playing Notting Hill carnival, at a proper festival setting then I am always up for that.

How would you assess the current state of music festivals in the UK at the minute? There’s more than ever, but maybe too many have become too corporate or commercial etc. What do you think?
Well, I think there’s always room for new players and I think the more, the merrier. I think the more choice people have, the more they will vote with their feet and their wallets. I mean if the festival promoters are not providing the level of entertainment and the level of quality that the public want, then they will soon be out of business. That keeps things quite healthy because no one can rest on their laurels. Nobody can become complacent and I think that’s extremely healthy. You’ll struggle if you are shit, not just unlucky. You’ll do well if you provide good value not just because you get lucky.

Yeah and I suppose festivals have always been a bit commercial and corporate really. I think they have to be.
Yeah, they have to be to an extent. Otherwise they can’t work. How else to festival organisers manage to provide what’s needed to put on these kind of events. The only reason I say that is because, you know, I do Notting Hill Carnival every year, getting 25,000 people a day round my soundsystem and I’ve never had sponsorship, I’ve always had to underwrite that myself out of my own pocket. So when you scale that up to big festivals who are catering for up from 40 or 50,00 people, you can see that. Ticket money alone does not cover the cost of putting on the acts you want to see.

What are you plans personally for the rest of the summer?
Well I’ll be doing my own festival. That’s why I’m in favour of them. I’ll be doing my own festival in West London. I can’t give all the details here yet, but it will be happening in West London in September.


Horse Meat DiscoHorse Meat Disco
We asked Jim Stanton
This is going to be the 8th year that you guys have been at Lovebox. Can you explain why you have such a connection with the festival?

I can’t believe it’s been eight years! I guess we all stretch back quite a long way to the Basement Jaxx Rooty parties. Tom and Andy kinda knew about us too. We were inspired by the parties and we used to see each other around and that’s really how we got to know each other.

Does it feel more like a home coming kind of gig?
Totally. Totally. It’s still the best London festival. There’s diversity, a lot of our friends play there and everything just feels really warm, inclusive and fun.

How do you find the transition from taking what HMD do in more intimate, cosy clubs and transferring that to a big, festival setting?
It just always works. Last year was amazing. Because our nights are on a Sunday night, there’s only a finite number of people that are going to go out raging on a Sunday night. I mean, that’s part of our attraction anyway.

So we’re slightly off the map in that sense. So at Lovebox especially, we get a lot of people who can’t go out on a Sunday night. So they either get to see us in the daytime on the Saturday this year, or the big after party on the Sunday. So we get a lot of people showing up who don’t get to see us that much apart from bank holidays and Christmas and stuff.

Is there anything in particular you enjoy about performing at a festival as opposed to a club?
Yeah …. I mean, you can play anything you like. People are already completely up for it, so you can kind of shift the boundaries a bit and play crazy festival music. “Love is in the Air” or some of the bigger, cheesier disco tracks always go down well if you mix them in with something more credible.

Horse Meat Disco Vol 4Will you get chance to hang out at the rest of the festival?
Yeah for sure. I’ll be there. I’ll be getting there nice an early. I’ll be there all day – it’s a great day out! Lots of good food and all that too.

Lets talk more about HMD. You’ve got some amazing music on Horse Meat Disco Vol 4. How much of a challenge was it to take everything and turn it into this 16-track compilation?
It gets harder every time actually. The first one was a dream because we got the licensing on just about our first choice for everything. With disco music, a lot of the people who own the tracks have very specific demands and although might allow them to be released on CD, won’t let us do a digital release, which we often have to do as part of a vinyl, CD and digital package. So there’s a lot of digging involved, which is what we do, but it was really good. We’re properly happy with the final tracklist.

What have the gigs been like as you’ve started to promote it. What have been the highlights?
Yeah, its just starting to hot up now. Always Berlin. We’ve got a residency there. USA in May was great too and we’ll be in and out over there throughout the whole summer actually. I’m looking forward to it all but I always love Berlin and New York. They are amazing places to play but I’m also looking forward to getting around the whole country here too, we have quite a few UK dates. It just seems like people are really getting back into disco now.

When we started 10 years ago, it could be a struggle at some places, people weren’t really playing it – both at home or at clubs – so the transformation from that to now where people play it everywhere and young kids are enjoying it. And all this trippy, loopy breaks and all the boogie tracks and stuff... It’s great!


Lovebox 2014
Friday 18th Lovebox Line-up
Friday Lovebox Line-up
 Saturday 19th Lovebox Line-up
Saturday Lovebox Line-up  |  |  |


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