There's a misconception in dance music that you need to go hard, or go home — the faster the better. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As has been proven time and time again by the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Lindstrom, Ewan Pearson and every cosmic disco DJ out of Scandinavia, slower tracks don't necessarily mean less sweat shed in the club.
Bill Brewster's a man who knows his way round tempos. As the founder of DJ History, co-author of the seminal Last Night a DJ Saved My Life — one of the very few books on dance music that's actually really fucking good — compiler of essential interview compendium The Record Players: DJ Revolutionaries, esteemed crate digger, and half of the team behind globetrotting 'professional house party' Low Life, Brewster's a man you can trust.
As he gets ready to release the next instalment of the Late Night Tales series — the low tempo, high octane After Dark Nocturne, mixed by Brewster himself — we thought we'd get him to school us in the slower, sultry end of the spectrum. Without further ado, let's hand it over to this selector of selectors.
Al Usher – "Gnanfou"
"This came out on a label run by Ewan Pearson, Misericord. Al's done a lot of stuff with Ewan over the years, not so much now as Ewan is living out in Berlin. I think Al Usher is one of the most underrated producers in the U.K.. Unfortunately he doesn't do that much these days, but everything he has is brilliant, and this is no exception. It's just a really simple track, really nice keyboards, arranged really well. There's something really bouncy, irresistibly funky about it."
Jamiroquai – "Alright (DJ Version Excursion)"
"The Jamiroquai track was first introduced to me by Jon Marsh from The Beloved. I used to play with him a lot at Fabric. We often used to go back to his house after we'd finished as it was only round the corner from the club. This is one of the things he played me. It's from about 1993 or '94 - a promo version that was never released, by a guy called DJ D-Zire, and it's completely unlike the main version - it's only really got that vocal bit."
Mugwump – "Boutade (Miseridub)"
"The first time I heard this I was DJing with a guy called Rob J. in Birmingham. It was a party with Mark E in Moseley, and when I walked into the room Mark E was playing this and it just hit me. It's so, so good. It's done by Mugwump in Belgium, but remixed by Ewan Pearson and, I think, Al Usher, although I'm not sure about that bit. Anyway, there's something really epic about it- the stabby, orchestral brass bits are amazing."
The xx -"VCR (Matthew Dear Remix)"
"This is another track I've played a lot. To me it's sort of how I imagine pop music should sound. Obviously it's quite far from being pop, but there's something about it that just makes you think this would make a great pop record. It's really hooky, the vocals are great, and Matthew Dear's mix is really good. It's unusual but orthodox enough to play. It's my favourite XX track."
Dara - "Scribble Me This"
"I actually tried to license this. It's supposedly done by an Irish guy who lives in Berlin; presumably that's Dara. It takes a big sample from a well-known groove, which I won't mention. So it makes this deep house track out of that big sample and it works really well. I had to go back and listen to the original to work out what he's done, and he's completely changed the feel of it in a clever way. It's very simple, what he's done, but it really works. Unfortunately, because of that sample, I couldn't license it."
Ali Love – "Late Night Sessions (Midnight Mix)"
"This is quite a tricky one to find. It's when Ali Love was signed to Columbia, and he did a track called Late Night Sessions, which is OK, but then he did this weird mix called the Midnight Mix, which is this very dubby, disco-sounding thing. I've been playing this version since it came out, maybe eight or nine years ago. It became a massive record at Low Life, and it's a great example of a slow track that works on the dancefloor." [This one's one so rare that not even everyone's favourite shop, YouTube, has it - Ed]
Steve Cobby & Trudie Dawn Smith – "We Start Over (Apiento & LX Mix)"
"This is brand new. Steve sent it to me a couple of weeks ago, I've played it a few times and it's already one of my favourite slow tracks of the year. I was a big fan of Fila Brazilia when they were still going and I've got to know Steve a little since they split. The guys that remixed it are Paul Byrne, Apiento, who runs the Test Pressing website, and LX, my partner in Hotel Motel. Last time I was in the studio with Alex he played me the work in progress and it sounded good then, but it's a bit of a monster now - probably my favourite track of the moment."
Wolfmother – "Love Train (Chicken Lips Remix)"
"Over the past 15-years, Chicken Lips have probably been my favourite producers- they've done more stuff I've loved and played than any other act. This is a great example of them taking something quite different and re-contextualising it. Wolfmother are basically a heavy rock band, but they've somehow made it sound like Robert Plant on a disco record. I've played it and played it and played it- you know when you almost play something too much? I left it alone for a while and dug it out the other day; it still sounds great."
Cottam – "Sunrise Sunset"
"It's a funny record this. It's really, really intense, and almost feels as though it should be faster, and played peak-time. The first time I heard it was on a boat party at Electric Elephant called Down To The Sea and Back. Kelvin Andrews was playing and I went and asked him what it was. I love the fact it just builds and builds. It's the first I'd heard from Cottam. People told me he was good, but this completely blew me away."
Fernando – "The 87"
"Fernando is someone who's stuff I play a lot. One of the things I like is that he's a bass player, and when he's making a track you can always tell he's playing bass rather than programming bass notes. It just gives a slightly more fluid feel to the production, and he's a brilliant bass player. So all his tracks have these amazing bass sections. There's another called The Best Is Yet To Come, which is also fantastic. But there's something really low slung and simple about this one, which I love. This is a track that I keep coming back to."
Bill Brewster's Late Night Tales presents After Dark Nocturne is released on 11th May, via Late Night Tales.