On Saturday 7th December, DJ/Producer/Label Owner/(ex)Club Owner/Party Organiser, Layo Paskin, performs his electronic Swan song accompanied by long time partners and friends - Bushwacka! and Mr C.
Taking over Netil House in East London, the trio collide as The End Sound System, bringing the curtains down on Layo's illustrious adventure in the world of dance music. For this one-off Superfreq produced event, the celebration focuses on the seminal London club that Layo & Mr C forged in West Central Street - The End. The doors closed in 2009 following a gargantuan send off and 13 years of mind-bending parties.
We have had the pleasure of working with Layo throughout our various electronic exploits and his professionalism has been second to none. We spoke to Layo to gather some memories from his time at the club, why he's hanging up his headphones, and to get the lowdown on his next challenge...
What made you open the-end?
I started putting on parties when I was 15 years old called Housequake with Richard Russell and two other friends. The music then was rare groove and hip hop. We were part of putting on one of the early acid house parties called Strawberry Sweatshop in 1988. Once acid house hit I was totally involved and put on a club for 3 years when I was at University every Monday called Rhythm Formula. I came back home to London in 1992 and was working as a unpaid intern at a major record label. I put on some warehouse parties called "Too Much Muzik" and through my Dad found an old Post Office stables in the West End that the owner thought would make a good club... It was something I had been working towards for 8 years.
What were the stand out parties at the club for you?
Just too many to even begin to list. The nights were incredible, the residencies even better: Roni Size, Fatboy Slim, Sven Vath, Layo&Bushwacka!, Mr C, Richie Hawtin, Andy C, Marky, Derrick Carter, Sneak, Zero 7, Erol Alkan... it really just goes on and on... the very early gigs from Dice, Luciano, Jamie Jones, Benga, Skream. And the best thing is that many of these artists broke whilst being residents at the club, it made it a hotbed of creativity in electronic music.
memories - Sven Vath
Tell us something about the club that we may not have known?
Daft Punk performed their first ever live gig there.
Why did you finally draw an end to the end?
We had a great offer to sell from the landlord and only a few years left on the lease. It was either sell at the top or hold on for a few years and be left with little. It was too early emotionally to let go but the key people all wanted to do new things and there was a natural fork in the road.
Where was your first gig?
At my own earliest parties. My first foreign gig was the Berlin Love Parade in 1996.
memories - LTJ Bukem
What has been your most memorable DJ experience?
Playing all night at Glastonbury on an open air stage in 2000 (I think??), when it was still out of control. We played live on Radio 1 from 8pm to 10pm and then they let us keep playing - we stopped at 5am with about 4000 people partying. It was a very special moment.
And the best times you've had with Matthew (Bushwacka!) and Richard (Mr C)?
Well it would have to be Sub Terrain, our night at The End from 1995-2000 - so many great parties. My favourite tour tgether was in 1997 in the US and Canada and the best night of the tour was in Sonar in Montreal which was at Tiga's club and was off the hook. The strangest was Atlantic City for DJ Times...
memories - Richie Hawtin
Who has been one of the best DJ's that you've heard/played with/danced to throughout your career?
The best DJ's for me have always combined a great technical ability with the best taste. DJing is a craft and the best DJ's do it like artists, combining skill with taste and feeling: Danny Tenaglia. Laurent Garnier. Luciano. Mr C. Richie Hawtin. Marky. Andy C...
What are the most significant changes you've experienced in the dance music scene both in London and across the planet since your first inception until present?
It's totally different. Firstly, it's been going for 25 years in pretty much the same format so you lose something in the repetition. And the commercial side has grown to such an extent that even the "underground" want all the trappings of commercial success. It did use to be just about the music and the scene but now I sound like I've been doing it too long! Which leads nicely to...
memories - Jeff Mills
Why have you called it a day?
It's personal and by that I mean the reasons that are important to me are not a reflection on what I think about others take on the scene. I feel that I have had an incredible journey from a kid until a man, travelling the world, playing everywhere, residencies from New York to Sao Paulo, Tokyo to Ibiza. I've met a huge array of people, released on cool independents and was signed to maybe the best label there is: XL. I started a club that was one of the best, but I feel that now all I can do is the same and I don't want that. I want to start something new, to learn again, to feel myself only looking ahead, not back. Everything has its time. I don't feel I have more to say with electronic music.
Rumours are a new restaurant venture is on the horizon. Can you tell us some more?
They are true. I have been working on it for 18 months now with my sister, Zoe, who was the boss of The End and AKA. It will be at 34 Rupert Street in Soho. It will open in March, I'll be releasing more details in January.
You've had a chance to travel the world and visited some pretty awesome destinations. Where are some of the best locations that you've dined at?
For food. Italy. Thailand. Tokyo and New York. There are tonnes of other great cities like Sao Paulo, Sydney, Istanbul, Buenos Aires but those first three are on a different level.
And what are some of your favourite food/drink hang outs here in the UK?
Barrafina in Soho
For cutting edge cooking - Nuno Mendes at Viajante
For a gastropub, without question - The Bull & Last
For dim sum - Yauatcha
Home - my wife and I are pretty keen cooks, our weekly menu takes some beating!
If you could invite 5 people (either alive / dead) around a table for dinner, who would they be?
Am happy just with close friends and family, if I invited really famous people I 'd just drive them mad with too many questions.
Anything else on the cards?
Yes been working on another project entirely but it's still too early to call it more than a hobby.
Never say never?
No but I feel my interests and drive lie elsewhere now and I want to be true to those. And I guess I feel if I say yeah I'm going then maybe it's good to say goodbye and not look back.
Layo - Thank you very much.
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