Clubland: The View From Anton Powers’ Decks
How's the state of Clubland in Liverpool as the year turns full circle again? Could do better, says Anton Powers...
There are many Liverpool DJs that wouldn’t raise a smile on our face, let alone a party in our pants. Anton Powers isn’t one of them. His infectious, Evangelistic championing of dance music shows no sign of slipping away into the chillout room to sit it out. Man cannot live on ‘difficult’ electronica alone. At times like this, only a bit of Nicky Romero will do…
As the year draws to a close, we grapped the hyperactive one and pinned him down just long enough to have a quick chat about the state of Liverpool’s nightlife. If he refused to answer we simply hovered a needle over some Ian Van Dahl. That worked a treat.
AP: Liverpool frustrates me, because we are famed for having the best nightlife in the county. And yes our nightlife is fantastic. We’re lucky to have such an eclectic mix in a relatively small area and the crowds who go out are the most up for it, knowledgeable and friendliest crowds you could wish for. But we are overrun with bars.
SS: So what’s the remedy? Surely the news about the Masque is a good thing?
Yeah, but we need more clubs and club nights. But it’s hard for the clubs to come and establish themselves when there are so many bars out there, which are more or less operating as nightclubs. Plus the clubs which currently operate here have a lockdown on booking the big names DJs to the city. This is why we’re seeing so many scousers travelling to Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham regularly, so they can see their favourite DJs.
Isn’t it just indicative of the health of dance music right now?
Dance music is into its new cycle. It comes around every 8-10 years where a new generation come in and grasp the scene and keep it moving along. This year in particular has seen loads of fresh young talent coming through with the likes of Madeon, Porter Robinson, Skream & Avicii.
But there is a certain sector in this city still obsessed with the glory days, wouldn’t you agree?
Music is forever moving, especially in the dance scene. I can’t be doing with people living in the past and living off past times, over the years we’ve seen trance, funky house, and 2step garage all having their moments, now dubstep is the big sound, although just how big it is out of London is questionable. But now more than ever music isn’t pigeon holed like it used to be. Now you can go out and hear all styles of music is 1 set never mind across a whole night.
Do we need a dinosaur cull? Are the superstar DJs of the late 90s still greedily grabbing slots?
This year more than ever has seen the new breed come through, you can see it in the clubs on the radio etc. Fresh talent is out there and their getting the recognition. In fact the youngest producers out there are making some of the best music – Madeon (17), Zedd (19), Avicii (23), Porter Robinson (20), Afrojack (25), Nicky Romero (23), Alesso (21), Otto Knows (23). All these guys are not just doing the business on the dancefloors, the biggest pop acts around are asking them to produce their songs, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Madonna, Usher, etc.
What about you? How’s the move to City gone?
I can’t believe it’s been a year already. It has flown by. I left Juice with a heavy heart, having been there for 10 years and loved every moment. But I needed a fresh challenge and City is a huge station so to be part of it was a great honour and still is. I’m very lucky.
I was also honoured to have Calvin Harris take time out of his hectic schedule and co-present my one year anniversary show with me the other week. The feedback from that has been incredible.
What are the trends that are bubbling up?
There’s a sound call ‘Trap’ which is trying to steal dubstep’s thunder. It’s very similar in style with its wobbly bassline and drum arrangement, but the dub frequency is lower and bases its tempo around hip hop.
Also deep house is starting to crossover into the mainstream massively now thanks to the likes of Julio Bashmore and the Hot Creations/Hot Natured crew Jamie Jones & Lee Foss all securing top 40 chart positions. I’m sure there will be uproar about that!
What else excites you these days – what do you predict for next year?
I’m keeping busy doing my radio shows every Friday & Saturday night, which I simply love doing. Plus my DJ gigs which I try to keep to Friday & Saturday nights. Then during the week I have a two year old daughter who keeps me on my toes and I do my ‘desk job’ A&R for 3 Beat, we just won Record Label of the year at the Liverpool Music Awards.
And we have a great range of artists on our roster that we release their music, from rappers Sway & Skepta, to drum & bass act Matrix & Futrebound and big names such as Martin Solveig, Afrojack, Paul Van Dyk and crossover hits from Alexandra Stan, Sak Noel, Alyssa Reid. One artist of ours I would say look out for in 2013 is Unicorn Kid.
Favourite ever venue?
Always Nation, no other venue I have played in the city creates an atmosphere like that place does on its day. Whether you’re playing in the Main Room, Annexe or Courtyard. Each room has its unique vibe and atmosphere. Plus its steeped in history and has so many great memories for me there.
Favourite end of year party tunes?
This changes every week, but records that are really standing out for me in the club sets and radio shows are Hot Natured – Benediction, Eric Prydz – Everyday, Calvin Harris – Thinking About You & A-Trak and Tommy Trash – Tuna Melt.