Night Slugs boss L-Vis 1990, AKA James Connolly, slips on his Dance System alias, the mission is simple: slamming—but pointedly simple and unfussy—tracks that get your ass on the dancefloor. The first Dance System EP, released on Clone early last year, was steeped in ghetto house's booty-clapping rhythms, with a standout track that featured Dance Mania's Jammin Gerald while also referencing the likes of Relief Records, Green Velvet, and Lil Louis.
This time around, with follow-up EP System Preferences on Jimmy Edgar's Ultramajic imprint,Connolly tells me he's "building on that vibe, carving out Dance System's own kind of house"—and it works. Since receiving a promo copy, I've been squiggling around in my office chair to the release's three tracks, snapping my fingers in the grocery check-out line, twirling around my living room eating strawberries. From the anxious, space gun bleeps of "DOS-4"—which Connolly has compared to a "1974 Soviet Space Station… relentlessly bugging its inhabitants, driving them close to insanity"—to the colorfully exuberant chords of "Safe Mode" and "Turbulence," this is slightly askance, yet totally functional, club music for jacking your body wherever you happen to be—and it's a hell of a lot better than grunting it out at the gym.
THUMP: How did you approach this EP—did you have an initial concept going in?
Over the last year, I have been spending most of my time in the studio producing for other artists, with strong emphasis on the songwriting process. Although these tracks still work in the club, I really just wanted to make an EP to let loose, have fun with machines, and make people dance. It's been over a year since my last Dance System record on Clone, but this one is still very much in line with what I started there—it's club music that is functional and fun.
Why did you decide to release this EP under the Dance System alias?
The two alias' are very defined in my mind, so I didn't really decide to release this record as Dance System. It was more like I had my Dance System cap on when I made the tracks. Initially there was a lot of crossover with what L-Vis 1990 was doing and Dance System, but it has been good for me to separate them in my head. You will notice from the next L-Vis 1990 output that they are now two very different beasts.
Can you tell us about your new live show? What do you have planned and where are you bringing it?
Really excited about this live show! It's been so much fun to prepare. I've been reworking all my released and unreleased trax and making a bunch of new custom bits for the show. It's going to be a hybrid setup of some analog and digital gear—I'm not a purist when it comes to things like that. My sound is actually developing in a new direction as I work on it, so expect a slightly new vibe but with just as much if not more energy! I'm also collaborating with London-based artist Bafic on visuals and light design for the show, as I really want it to be a full-on immersive experience. The first one is going to be at Electric Brixton in London on December 5, alongside Matthew Herbert. He is such an amazing artist so it's a huge honor to share the stage with him.
System Preferences is out October 23 on Ultramajic
Catch the debut of Dance System's live show at Electric Brixton in London with Matthew Herbert and Tim Exile on December 5. More info here.