Flash & Stranger Than Paradise (STP) present
Secretsundaze with Giles Smith & James Priestley (London)
Navbox, Mazi R
645 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Doors 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
One of the things that sets Giles Smith apart is his sense of house history. For two decades now has he been collecting records, initially with no desire to spin them in public whatsoever. The young Smith was simply obsessed with tracking down what he heard on the radio, clubs and mix tapes absorbing influences and inspiration without prejudice. A brotherly shove soon got him on the decks, though, and now, in 2013, all that early research is still paying off in dividends.
Most notably Smith, with partner James Priestley, transformed the face of London clubbing and influenced Sunday clubbing worldwide with the birth of his secretsundaze party over a decade ago. Since then it has become an ever more essential party for those in the know, with a quality, uncompromising, soundtrack that has influenced the scene at large no end. Now also encompassing a revered DJ Agency (The Secret Agency) assured label (secretsundaze records) and mix compilation series (the 1st edition in 2007 edition of which was mixed live at home sans any computer trickery by Giles), the brand spreads far and wide with events in Tokyo, Barcelona, New York, Berlin and Croatia to name a few.
On a personal level, Smith has played everywhere you’d expect of a modern great – from Panorama Bar to Robert Johnson, Fabric to Plastic People, Trouw to Cielo, The Rex to Club 11 as well as at many of the parties which most influenced him in the early days including Back to Basics and Faith. “At the beginning it was the sounds of Blaze, Larry Heard, Ron and Chez who were – and remain - some of my biggest influences alongside UK mid 90s house labels such as Junior Boys Own and Paper but I’m also drawn to the more modern European sounds from Germany, Holland and of course will always pay close attention to Detroit and Chicago which still to this day provide me with some of the most authentic and inspiring music."
As a DJ Giles' sets are always noted for their subtle selection, strong programming and smooth style despite covering many bases over the course of a set. His contributions to some of the most high end podcasts is testament to this with mixes for the likes of Resident Advisor, Little White Earbuds, Audio Families and most recently ID under his belt.
With house and techno running through his veins, it’s no surprise Smith was eventually lured into the studio to craft his own sounds. The results nearly always in collaboration with the late great Martin Dawson as Two Armadillos, have been some of the most immediately timeless house music of recent years, deep but with feeling, purposeful yet poised. “My aims with music are really just to make something that will not age” muses Giles. “So much dance music sounds contrived following a fad or fashion and this is something that I avoid at all cost. I also have a strong belief in keeping the human touch, not overproducing music and keeping a live, more natural and raw sound.” Releasing 14 EP's together, a handful of choice remixes, numerous mix compilation licenses and most recently starting a live set together, perhaps the duo's best example of their work can be heard on their 3 part series LP 'Golden Age Thinking'.
The end of 2012 saw the tragic loss of Giles' great friend and production partner in Martin Dawson. They collaborated to great success for 6 years, and there is unreleased material and remixes that will see the light of day in 2013 and are sure to act as a fitting tribute to Martin. The future is bound to realise new partnerships and projects with Giles' persistent passion and desire to share the music he loves not likely to leave him any time soon.
Born in September 1977, James was raised with music. Encouraged by his father, who played Jazz drums, he took-up several instruments beginning with the Piano, then the Flute but then it wasn't until he got his hands on the Alto Saxophone where he found his first love. Entering his teens, James had acquired a taste for Indie as well as 60s & 70s Psych/Rock, and picking up the guitar, formed a band at school.
Before long James discovered House, Hardcore and Jungle, making weekly trips to raves and clubs in Cambridge, London and East Anglia. It wasn't long before he started to mess around on his friends' turntables, and in 1995 managed to get his first pair of decks. It was while at university in Nottingham that James first started playing out, at the time of the more melodic, deeper side of Drum n Bass which he spearheaded locally with his 'Bassic' night, viewed by many as the 'Swerve' of the Midlands, welcoming the likes of Fabio to the club on regular occasions. He also started working in the award-winning Selectadisc record store, becoming further exposed to exciting modern dance sounds and began playing more alternative / freestyle / backroom sets.
Moving to London in 2000 he continued his work and life in music, initially again at Selectadisc, then Timewarp Distribution and subsequently at Phonica Records and Arision Recordings, where his eyes were even more opened to the new wave of House and Techno hitting our shores. Hooking up with some old friends from Cambridge he launched 'secretsundaze' in 2001. This legendary Sunday afternoon party with its colourful, cosmopolitan crowds and cutting-edge music policy soon became the talk of the town and in 2005 both Mixmag and Time Out awarded it 'Best UK Club Night'. The secret was also out in Europe, with hugely successful secretsundaze parties now taking place in Ibiza (Blue Marlin, & Gala Night) Barcelona (during Sonar) and Austria (Snowbombing). With a reputation for using risqué / off-the-cuff venues, the club has welcomed some of the world's most renowned djs & producers with the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Carl Craig, Trevor Jackson and Steve Bug all appearing over the years. More recently, top European clubs such as Panorama Bar (Berlin) Robert Johnson (Frankfurt) & Magazzinni Generali (Milan) have all played host to rocking secretsundaze parties.
In 2004 James launched 'Go!Zilla' and as co-promoter, programmer and resident dj it was the perfect avenue for him to showcase and pursue far more diverse sounds and tastes, incorporating more Disco and live bands into the party realm inviting the likes of the Glimmers, Rub n' Tug and Optimo as well as people such as Ame, Damian Lazarus & Dixon to join him.
James has a distinct djing style, playing broadly what you would describe as deep House & Techno, often borrowing from his freestyle background, preferring to move things around rather than follow one linear groove. You will also notice James' solid musical background in his sets and productions usually favouring strong melodies and warm, organic sounds. His style hasn't gone unnoticed and he regularly plays some of the best clubs and parties around the world, highlights including Cocoon (London), Circo Loco (London), We Love Sundays (Space, Ibiza), Module (Tokyo), Dama de Fera (Rio de Janiero), Propaganda (Moscow), Week-end (Berlin), Manumission (Ibiza) Nitsa & City Hall (Barcelona), Showcase (Paris), Morphine (Hamburg), and in UK Fabric, The End, Bugged Out!, Electric Chair, Basics, Asylum, Boutique, Superfreq, Faith, and Global Gathering, V Festival, Bestival, Hi-Fi, Latitude, Tales of The Jackalope, Bloom and Isle of Wight festivals.
In 2004 James returned his attention to writing and recording music, this time working with friend Dan Berkson. 2005 saw their debut release, a remix for Fine Records of Italian X-Rays. Whilst referencing the past and with a foot firmly in the future, a deep, melodic and emotive hypnotic cord connect their tracks and subsequent remixes for the likes of Spektrum have been licensed to compilations by Loco Dice, DJ T, Karotte, Alex Neri and Mar-T.
September 2007 marked 10 years since James began djing, and the month aptly saw the release of his first compilation / mix CD -'secretsundaze Volume 1', distributed worldwide through Amato Distribution on his own label, 'secretsundaze Music', which he co-manages and A & Rs. The same month also saw the release of his debut original track, 'Chariots' on leading UK label, Simple Records which has released music of the pedigree of Mathew Jonson, John Tejada and My My in the past. The follow up to that, 'The Source', was recently released, winning the highly prestigious accolade of 'Record of The Week' at Phonica Records and also hailed as 'House Release of the Month' there too.
Critically acclaimed 'secretsundaze Volume 2' was released in 2008 alongside an incredible year of secretsundaze parties and bookings internationally. In 2009 James expanded his portfolio of success to include 'The City Arts and Music Project' or 'The CAMP' on City Road in London. As Owner and Promoter of the venue he has already brought some of the very best DJs to London including the incredible NYE 2009 secretsundaze event with Delano Smith and WBeeza and James' own event 'One For You, One For Me'.
2010 saw secretsundaze shows in Croatia, Barcelona and Ibiza and also in association with Red Bull.
2011 saw James and the secretsundaze crew return for part 3 of the mix compilation cd's with their "10 years of secretsundaze" cd hitting stores soon. Accompanying the cd release is a mighty secretsundaze tour, stopping off in Italy, Tokyo, Spain, USA and Russia to name a few.
2012 has seen James return to the studio and release Baia 2012 EP on secretsundaze recordings made with his production partner Marco Antonio. Baia 2012 has had some amazing feedback in the first couple of weeks of it's release. 2012 has also seen James hopping across the globe taking in gigs as far a field as California and New York, as well as playing at very respected clubs such as the Robert Johnson and Kater Holzig.
Navid Zahraie was born in Tehran.