041 – Red Rack’em

( Bergerac / Untracked / Tirk )

www.redrackem.com | soundcloud.com/red-rackem

Next up on the Deepcast is an artist who doesn’t quite fit the mould. His unique and often obscure take on house, downbeat, jazz, funk, hip hop, soul, disco, techno (you name it really) delivered in his often frantic DJ sets and carefully selected podcasts on his Smugglers Inn radio show are never short of intrigue. Danny Berman AKA Red Rack’em / Hot Coins is clearly addicted to this musical labour of love, and has been travelling the world spreading the message with his weird and wonderful records in tow. His debut 2010 album ‘The Early Years’ set the bar pretty high for Red Rack’em the producer, and depicted his love for the deep with precision. His track ‘In Love Again’ off the ‘All I Ever Wanted’ EP on Untracked remains one of the most breathtaking hair-stand-on-back-of-neck deep house records we’ve come across, a genuine masterpiece of the genre.

We caught up with Danny to find out about his recent tour down under and what he’s put together for us for episode 041..

Welcome back from a whirlwind tour to Australia, Japan and Poland. Have you had time to process the events just yet?

Well I have just had the maddest week of my life so I am not sure if process is the right word. I am currently on the train back to Berlin after a few days of much needed rest in Lobez in West Pomeranian Poland.

On Sunday May 1st it was my last day in Sydney, I had been to a warehouse party on the previous evening and I was feeling the burn. I had a lovely home cooked meal on my last day in Sydney with Adam and Radhika who I met when I played at Mad Racket on the previous Saturday. Then on Sunday evening I flew to Tokyo. I arrived on Monday at 6am and spent the day walking round a great temple in Shibuya (watching amazing Japanese Opera which the promoter Yusaku was pleased to catch so I felt super lucky) and eating lots of nice food, tried to sleep before the gig but it didn’t work. Then on Monday evening I played at Module – gig went well and it was lovely to see Rick Wade in the house – one of my heroes so I felt honoured he had come to see me play. Club was still going when I headed off to the airport on the 6.13am train. Must be the shortest trip to Tokyo ever eh. So on Tuesday morning I fly back to Berlin on the 9.30am plane, my connection from Frankfurt to Berlin was severely delayed on Tuesday afternoon, which didn’t really help. I finally got back to my apartment I was about to move out of on Tuesday eve.

Wednesday – felt very strange but sorted out moving into new pad (wasn’t confirmed while I was away which as you can imagine made everything seem even more transient), caught up on emails, started packing my stuff for the move etc, Thursday moved into new (really plush praise the lord) apartment which wasn’t as bad as moving from the UK but was still 3 car trips of stuff (massive thanks to Richard Zepezaur for helping me). Thursday night – big gig at Cookies – was out until about 7am. Friday – monster hangover and epic trip to Ikea to buy plates etc for flat. 3 massively hung over blokes trying to kit out a whole apartment from Ikea is an experience I won’t forget for a while I enjoyed spending more than just my own money though.

Then on Saturday – train to Warsaw at 9.30am. Massively long journey but managed to write some tracks on the train. Still preferred it to flying – I couldn’t face another plane.
Then on Sat night – I played this massive art gallery opening party which was brilliant fun. Loads of arty people getting down to music from me, Pavel and Maciek. I got stuck into the champagne and Chivas Regal afterwards (well it had been a hard week eh) and went out on the town – ended up getting stopped by plain clothes police on the Sunday morning (we weren’t doing anything too bad, probably the staggering gave us away) and very nearly got taken down to this holding pen for drunks (which they leave you in for up to 16 hours and charge you a fee for afterwards) because I didn’t have any ID on me. I had pertinently left my bag with my passport and macbook pro in the gallery but I managed to talk my way out of it using my European Health Insurance card. God knows how. A lot more happened which obviously has to remain unsaid but I ended up having a great Sunday afternoon watching Maciek play outside this cool cafe near a big bridge and was finally re-united with my bags, clean clothes and a shower on Sunday evening.

Definitely the most crazy week so far.

So it was your first visit to Australia, which parties did you play and how did it all go?

The whole trip was absolutely amazing. I met so many lovely people and had so many unique experiences. I played at Workshop in Melbourne with Fromage Disco, Francis Inferno Orchestra and Golden Fleece and some other great local guys. I don’t think it could have gone any better really. The whole place was totally rocking and I was really happy with the way I played. Especially as I had spent the last 3 days on a plane and was pretty frazzled. You have to play a different type of set in a smaller venue and I enjoyed playing a more party set rather than ultra deep. The crowd were so close to the decks that I could kiss the girls and high five the guys. My kind of party! We ended up at New Guernica after Workshop finished and I got a bit carried away. I have to say a big thanks to Golden Fleece for making sure I made it back in one piece. The flight to Sydney the next afternoon was a bit of a challenge.

I arrived in Sydney and was immediately in the middle of a kind of Champagne BBQ thing at a friends apartment complete with Manhattan style cityscape views. It was an amazing welcome and set me up for my week in Sydney. I was playing at Racket on Easter Saturday and Carly (my agent in Oz) had hooked up a couple of nice bits of radio before the party so I had the pleasure of bumping into Mark E at one of the stations as he was also in Sydney for a gig that weekend. It was great to do some radio before the gig. It always gets me in the mood and makes me look forward to playing in the club even more.

Mad Racket was just as good as I suspected and more. It’s an Australian institution and I could see why as soon as I walked in. Simon, Ken and Andy all played great music and it was totally going off when I arrived at midnight. Lots of smiling faces in the crowd, reminded me of days gone by in the UK. I went on at about 1.30 am and the whole set was a total rush of positive vibes and energy. I know it sounds cheesy but I really felt like I connected with the crowd. It was the same in Melbourne too. I fell in love with Australia and I hope to return soon.

I remember every time I went to the bathroom at Racket during my set – the amazing feeling of walking back on behind the decks and seeing loads of people going mental and feeling like I had contributed to their evening in a small way. I felt totally satisfied by the whole experience. More please!

Playing Sydney and Melbourne what were your impressions of the party and music scenes in both cities?

Well I didn’t spend very long in Melbourne so I didn’t see the full extent of the music scene there but I have to say when I saw Tornado Wallace play in Sydney on the night after Racket – I was totally blown away by his powerhouse style of DJing. He’s got a unique sound and is blowing up in Europe so he’s definitely putting Melbourne and Australia on the map. All the guys I played with at Workshop were really good. Props to them all – I was really happy to play with them and they all dropped some dope stuff. Ian ‘Golden Fleece’ gave me some tracks when I was in Melbourne and he is definitely one to watch as a producer. Some good stuff emerging from him soon I hope. In terms of the rest of the city, I loved the graffiti in the alleyways. My friend Robin showed me loads of legal graff places and the variety and level of detail within one small alley was really impressive. I saw Shit Robot at New Guernica after Workshop but I can’t remember much about that. Too many shots by that point I think. There were plenty of really nice girls dancing at Workshop so I got a good impression there anyway.

I spent a lot more time in Sydney and again I was impressed. Racket was beyond amazing as I said above. I really enjoyed seeing Tornado play a storming set (sorry ;) the following evening at Tone despite being still up from Racket and feeling the burn. I was doing that kind of swaying, weak dancing for most of the night but in my head I was going mental on the floor. 2 words from that gig as well. Simon Caldwell. He had worked his socks off the night before at Racket and still managed to totally smash it after Tornado on the Sunday night. I had issued a jokey challenge to him on FBI FM before the Racket gig as I knew that he was a force to be reckoned with. Well he totally kicked my ass on the Sunday night at Tone – tune after tune of total heat. He played some kind of Armand Van Heldon style Strictly Rhythm speed garage style thing (from ’93 no doubt) towards the end of the set and I rushed the stage demanding to know what it was.

After a week of much needed recovery in Sydney (visited Summer Bay (a lifetime goal fulfilled) and the Opera House twice – officially my favourite building in the world), I ventured forth to ‘a warehouse party’ on my final night before I headed off to Tokyo. What can I say… without giving the game away too much it was one of the best warehouse parties I have ever been to. Music was exceptional all night – really great to hear DJs who know their shit playing to a top crowd. I massively had my dancing shoes on and was hit with a real feeling of sadness that I had to leave. The crowd were really great. Super friendly. I had people coming up to me who recognized me from Racket and they were all really pleased I had stayed on in Australia after my gig. Why the hell would I want to leave?! I wish I was back there now.

What else did you get up to down under? Most memorable moments?

Here’s some selected highlights from the trip..

Walking back from the train station in Yarraville in the late afternoon sun on my own after a day out in Melbourne – proper Oz vibes for me right there. Just being in a quiet, sunny suburban street on my own was a delicious memory that I will cherish forever. God I sound slushy eh.

My poor mate Robin having to walk me round Melbourne all day when I arrived to keep me in the timezone. I left Berlin on Monday afternoon and this was Wednesday morning so you can imagine the kind of complaining he had to endure.

The clubs and radio – both shows went really well and I loved doing the different radio shows while I was over. Highlight radio show had to be Simon Caldwell’s show on FBI on the Monday after Racket – he let me play for most of the show and I was totally in the zone

The People. I met so many cool people and it’s funny how I already had a lot of mutual friends despite never visiting before. Just want to say a BIG shout to everyone who I met during my time in OZ – you all know who you are and everyone made me feel so welcome.

The food. I had the most amazing array of Oriental cuisine while in Australia. I thought I was going to turn into a dumpling at one point. I totally maxed out in Chinatown in Sydney several times. So much duck, so many ramens..The Racket guys took me and Carly out to a place called Mohr Fish towards the end of my time in Sydney. I come from one of the best areas for fish in the UK but this was something else.

Sydney Opera House! What an iconic building. I know it’s probably old hat if you’re from Australia but I was truly blown away by the scale and design on the place. I enjoyed a cheeky glass of champagne at the opera bar one sunny afternoon in the week after Racket. Happy days.

Summer Bay Beach. My old school friends Leigh and Chris took me out for a drive to Summer Bay (Palm Beach) and it was an amazing day. More fish and photos outside the Surf Club made my day. As someone who grew up on a steady diet of Kate Ritchie and co, it was ace to finally set foot on that iconic beach.

First night in Sydney. As I alluded above – my welcome on the first night in Sydney was something else. Amazing BBQ and rooftop view of Sydney. It was an amazing feeling to knock back the Bubbly knowing I had over a week of fun ahead of me!

What’s happening with you next?

Well I am currently on the train back from a few days retreat in Lobez in Poland which was much needed I tell you. I have just moved into a new apartment so I have got to get that all set up property. I need to buy a bed for starters.

My next single Feel My Tears will be out on Bergerac at the start of June so I should really do some work promoting that. I will be finishing of Berg 003 very soon – aiming to get that out at the end of July.

Gigs wise I am playing with Mike Huckaby for his Sun Ra Edit Special in Berlin next week. Then at the end of the month I am playing outside at about:blank in Berlin from 9am-midday on a Sunday morning. That should be fun – one of the strangest set times I have ever had I think. I am off to Russia in June for the first time to play in Moscow and St Petersburg. I am also trying to complete the Hot Coins album as well. I think I will be putting that out on Bergerac if I can – it would be nice to get another album out on the label this year I think.

My biggest plan though is to enjoy a bit of Berlin. My feet have barely touched the ground since I arrived here in March. I have only been there for 3 nights in the last month. I don’t really feel like I have a home right now but I quite like it that way.

And finally can you tell us about the mix?

Well the mix is a random snapshot of what I am digging right now. I burned a load of fairly new stuff on CD and just went for it. I tried to make most of it pre-release stuff as I strongly believe in promoting good tracks before they are out. There are few of tried and tested heavy hitters on there as well by Andy Ash, Medlar and Actress. I
included a few artists who are new as well like Cromie and Sherbe as well as stuff from artists that I consistently support like Lone, Lady Blacktronika and Souled. I also included a couple of tracks by Ajukaja as he’s an absolute don. No one is making stuff like him right now and I think if he was based somewhere a bit more central than Tallinn then he would be massive. I got a CD from Basic Soul Unit recently and it’s all pure heat. No titles though so I don’t know what they are… I put my new single on at the end too.

I wanted the mix to be a bit of a metaphor for a good night out with me so it starts off fairly smoothly and then takes a few twists and turns before ending on a fairly mental level. One thing I noticed was that a couple of the tracks have ‘deep’ in the lyrics so a little bit of referencing there. In terms of style – it’s quite live sounding so there’s some bits I really like and some bits where I probably should have mixed out quicker but overall I am happy with it.

Red Rack'em

Tracklist:

Kez Ym – Diffusion (Cdr)
Medlar – Terrell (Wolf)
Leatherette – No Point (Ho Tep)
Andy Ash – Freak (On The Prowl)
Souled – So Deep (Version 2) (Cdr)
Lady Blacktronika – Lose My Life (Off The Wall Mix) (Your Only Friend)
Basic Soul Unit – Unknown (Cdr)
Hans Thalau – 005_3 (Russ Gabriel Remix) (Thal)
Sherbe – Kash (Cdr)
Ajukaja – Laks Remix (Umblu)
Cromie – Keep (Cdr)
Actress – Always Human (Honest Johns)
Lone – All Those Weird Things (Wigflex)
Ajukaja – Wade If You Wanna (Umblu)
Majestys Pleasure – Didn’t Mean To Dub U Off (Majestys Pleasure)
Red Rack’em – Feel My Tears (Bergerac)

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