Avid readers of THUMP UK will know by now that apart from DJ Harvey, the selector we're probably most obsessed with and besotted by is Sound Pellegrino man Teki Latex. The Parisian selector's one of the very best around, a technical wizard who genuinely justifies why DJing's thought of as an artform rather than an easy way of earning cash and some free cans of lager.
Fresh from guest editing the latest issue of French dance bible Trax, and his regular hosting duties for Boiler Room, Latex has been beavering away in the studio creating an approximation of his ideal radio show. The result is the absolutely incredible, ridiculously constructed, hugely OTT 100% Radio Hits, which has beamed itself into the world today via his new site, Teki.club.
You can listen to the mix in all its audacious glory below—and who else on earth beside Teki fucking Latex can get away with playing Ace of Bass, Perc, Wiley, Madonna, and Pearson Sound without sounding like a cornball. Be prepared to be absolutely blown away.
Once you've recovered, why not scroll down and read the brief interview conducted with the man himself. After you've managed to re-attach your jaw that is.
THUMP: Now, let's start with the title. To me, it's sort of like a sly wink and hugely ballsy at the same time. I know you're a fan of everything from Rinse to Radio Nostalgie...is the tape an attempt to create some kind of 'perfect' synthesis of everything you love about radio as a format?
Teki Latex: I had this title in mind for a while but I wasn't 100% sure of it, and because I had to have the tiny jingles made on the same day when the studio was booked to record the tape, I had to make up my mind fast and pick a name to use in the jingles and "100% Radio Hits" stuck. At first I was worried it might be interpreted as ironic or tongue-in-cheek but the truth is that it is exactly what my perfect radio station would play. I've always listened to a lot of radio and nothing makes me happier than asking a Uber driver to turn on Radio Nostalgie (the big french station for oldies, pop, disco) and put it on full blast. I wanted to recreate that feeling, and also the feeling of listening to more forward-thinking shows at home and hearing satisfying blends. Like when a blend works and two tracks create a harmony, there's something oddly satisfying about it, a feeling of completion. To be completely fair my ideal radio station would have a lot more talking though, as late night talk shows are also a big thing for me.
You also say that it's "a love letter to the bootleg days, the Hollertronix days, the Radio Soulwax days, the DJ Spinbad days" are those kind of names real touchstones for you as a DJ when it comes to thinking about approach and technique?
Yeah these are all classic mixtapes we used to listen to in the van when we were on the road with my old group TTC. I remember taking sleeping pills to catch a few precious hours of sleep during a long trip in that van, putting Hollertronix: Never Scared on and having a very vivid dream about Diplo and Low Budget DJing my high school prom with the actual mix soundtracking my dream. At the time, Orgasmic who was TTC's DJ, was kind of already mixing all genres together. When bootlegs and early MP3 culture, Boomselection and people like Girls on Top and Richard X appeared we were super into that. Spinbad's "Rock the Casbah" tapes were incredible too, he was mixing 80s pop classics like a rap DJ, with fast mixing, scratches, beat-juggling, relentlessly, hit after hit, it was so cool. I also remember an electroclash mix by Miss Kittin. When you're on tour you end up listening to the same thing over and over again: these tapes from the van made me who I am.
I'm always thinking of blends and sometimes I even post the stuff I assemble on Instagram in the form of tiny videos, and my friend Goon (who's work with Koyote is also an inspiration) told me "you need to make a mix like that, I miss that era," and I thought he was right. Back in the early to mid 00's it was all about blending genres together and after a while, unfortunately, there was an overdose of silly "mashups" mixing electro with rock, with Girl Talk and all that stuff crossing over to the mainstream and becoming the soundtrack of ironic hipster culture, people got fed up with it, understandably, and everyone went back to being a purist in their own niche and playing only one thing. But I think that now that cycle of being only into one genre at a time is sort of dying too and maybe there's space for a more surprising, multi-genre and cross-era form of DJing again, if done right.
Don't be shy, Teki; was this a one take wonder or did you have to start from scratch a few times?
It's not a one-take wonder, no. There were a few parts where I allowed myself to start over. I left a few tiny imperfections to give it life but overall I wanted the listening experience to be rather clean and fluid to inspire this feeling of a classic piece of work. I mix live on the radio every week and web TV broadcasts every now and then where it's all in one take obviously, but I wanted to make this tape extra special. It's all mixed manually with three CDJs though, all the blends are created live.
On a related note, did you plan every blend in advance? Is there a huge spreadsheet on your computer that you use to cross-reference possible blends?
I usually try new blends in a totally impromptu way during gigs or on the radio, and when something really works I try to remember it and recreate it in my next mix. Or when a brand new promo I receive instantly reminds me of an old track, my first reaction is usually to try and blend them together. So for this I collected all the blend ideas I had floating around in my head and put them all in there.
Lastly, is DJing an expression of joy for you? It's rare to see someone behind the decks who seems to love the act of DJing so much.
You think so? When it's going well it's my favourite thing to do in life. But I also tend to do this face where I look like an angry bulldog sometimes when I DJ, it's uncontrollable. When you see me moving I'm actually dancing but on pictures it really looks like a major grumpy resting bitch DJ face.
100% Radio Hits is out now and it's probably the best mix of the year so you need to listen to it ASAP.