Infamous for their all-night long parties combining house, techno, and garage at the most influential clubs in London and Berlin, the leading DJ duo, Secretsundaze, are storming the international dance scene. indieBerlin had a chat with Giles Smith and James Priestley over their roots and the future of their beats.
indieberlin: For starters, can you say a few words about your moniker… What does it mean and how did you come up with it?
Secretsundaze: The party was originally always on Sundays and back then in 2002 when we started it was very low key. It was much more word of mouth promotion. Also, the original venue we used – the loft room at 93 Feet East in Brick Lane (which is not there anymore) had a very hidden away kind of feeling so all these things contributed to the name Secretsundaze.
Berlin gives DJs a sense of freedom to play music that might not get played in your typical clubs in more conventional or conservative cities.
indieberlin: There’s a quote about you going around: “Secretsundaze has changed the face of daytime clubbing” (Time Out London). Can you give us a bit of context?
Secretsundaze: In London, apart from the huge raves circa 88/89 etc., there were not many daytime parties up until the early 2000’s. The few that we were aware of were Full Circle and Lazy Dog. We have been going to Ibiza since the early 90’s and wanted to re-create something special with the daytime vibe and ideally open air. Of course, summer was the only time to do this in the UK. All of these factors combined with the more soulful real house and disco we were playing then (and to this day) made for a potent force. That music wasn’t fashionable like it is now, but it struck a chord with many people and within a year or so the party was becoming hugely popular with numbers swelling from 100’s to 1000’s. It would be fair to say the party was quite a phenomena with everyone wanting to come. I guess all of these things led Time Out to make that statement.
indieberlin: Motorway Jam is the first track you produced together. How did you decide to do it?
Secretsundaze: Giles had produced previously quite a lot under the name Two Armadillos between 2008 and 2013 alongside Berlin-based, UK born Martin Dawson (who sadly passed away RIP) and James had been involved with various projects including working alongside MarcoAntonio Spaventi and Dan Berkson. DJing had always been our main focus but we started to talk about producing stuff together under the Secretsundaze name and Motorway Jam is the fruit of this.
It would be fair to say the party was quite a phenomena with everyone wanting to come.
indieberlin: What are the main highlights of Motorway Jam that will attract the ears of listeners?
Secretsundaze: We’re not too keen on describing our music and prefer that people make their own conclusions, but we could say that this was more of a techno-leaning track for us. Not in the slamming techno style of course but more in that Detroit, hi-tech, jazz vibe. We are both really into some of the records put out on UR on the more spacey, jazzy vibe by Galaxy to Galaxy and of course the Los Hermanos releases so it’s a little inspired by that sound.
indieberlin: Next to Motorway Jam, you have Palms Trax releasing on your label. Do you have an idea, how Palms succeeds in making every single track so addictive?
Secretsundaze: Its hard to say but we feel Jay manages to produce music that appeals to both the underground heads and yet is accessible to a wider audience. He straddles this line very well.
indieberlin: In Germany, you are best known as DJ’s. Can you tell us, what’s so special about Berlin, why does “based in Berlin” almost make your music sound better?
Secretsundaze: Berlin is indeed a really special city. There are so many people there doing creative things and it feels like there is an appreciation for an alternative lifestyle that in some cities isn’t so valued. We feel the fact that some of the parties go on for so long in Berlin gives DJs a sense of freedom to play music that might not get played in your typical clubs in more conventional or conservative cities where the club opens at 10pm and close at 4am for example.
indieberlin: How would you compare Berlin and London music scenes?
Secretsundaze: Wow, that’s a big question. London and Berlin are very different but both great cities for dance music and music across the board. London is always pushing things forward musically and is cutting edge – broken beat, garage, dubstep/bass and now new jazz stuff has all come out of the city. However, in London, there is this constant push-pull with the financial/capitalistic side of the side taking priority, often at the expense of the arts and creativity and particularly clubs. The city is much more built up and there is less space so money, developers, and big business often seem to come out on top. In Berlin, of course, that feels a bit more balanced with clubs like Berghain getting support and aren’t hindered by the authorities in terms of grants etc. Plus, there is more space so you have the luxury of these big outdoor spots by the river. Overall though, I’d say both cities have great nightlife – probably the best in the world.
The party was originally always on Sundays.
indieberlin: You just played Panorama bar last weekend. How does it feel to play in Berghain? Is there a “restricted door policy” for DJ’s also or can you make it in “with quality”?
Secretsundaze: We are really fortunate to have been playing Berghain most years and more often since 2007. We have found them very supportive and it feels great. Our sets there are always a highlight in our annual calendar. We believe they book artists that are not just the hype but quality and have a sense of the history of dance music and pay respect to those that have proved themselves over a long period and support the roots of the movement.
indieberlin: You plan to release more music during 2018. What can we expect?
Secretsundaze: In May, we will have our follow up to Motorway Jam forthcoming but cannot say too much more at this moment other than it’s on an amazing London label and it’s been remixed by a bona fide Detroit legend. Keep your eyes peeled for news soon!
Catch Secretsundaze at their next gig in Berlin on May 20th at Luvthang Sunday Brunch.