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Interview With MPX

We sat down with MPX aka Man Power aka Bedwetter aka Geoff Kirkwood for a quick chat alongside his APECAST. His new EP on Kneaded Pains comes out tomorrow, pre-order it here > Hello Geoff, we have just about settled down from last week's madness. How did it feel to be back in clubs?

It was incredibly weird. In my early days of DJing I spent a lot of time partying and almost feeling fearless as a result of that. So nervousness never really got a hold of me. Whereas at the weekend, I was shitting myself. But eventually when those nerves passed, I found myself surrounded by my own people and being back doing what I love. Saturday night was probably the best night I have had in a club, ever.

There is no doubt lockdown was tough on everyone, but what positive effects did that period of time bring to you as an artist?

I am definitely in a new mindset, I feel like it has been a complete reset for me. It has changed the trajectory of my life in so many ways and definitely gave me a more rounded perspective. It has also reintroduced me to a lot of things, before lockdown I found it hard to be excited and energised by the music I play when touring flat out. Whereas now tracks that really meant something to me years back, mean even more to me now. So I jumped on with Erol Alkan and played Rhythim Is Rhythim – Strings of Life as my first track, the thought of that a year ago might even seem idiotic. But it was absolutely perfect. From an attitude point of view I am never going to put myself back in a position when I don’t feel a special connection with the music or gigs I play.

Over the years you have always elevated fresh talent through your label 'Me Me Me'. Which artists should we be looking out for this year?

I am a bit biased towards the North-East at the moment, because there’s so much talent coming out of here right now. So there’s REES from Middlesbrough is a very strong talent. Dharma is someone I’ve been aware of for some time, but he’s really starting to get some attention now. He’s like a twisted genius, some of his music is even too futuristic for me. There’s also an act called Beyonders to look out for. So one member is from Hidden Agenda which is the biggest drum and bass acts to come out of the North East, even David Bowie citied them as an influence when he did his D&B phase, he other is an old friend of mine who introduced me to making music ina lot of ways.I like stuff that sounds like its born of no parents, like its came from fucking nowhere.

Us & Them is your new weekly party based in Newcastle, what is the motive behind this event?

We want to keep it as a party rather than an event. Once it gets past 300 people in a venue, you can’t even look them all in the eye, so its really hard to make a connection. When it gets to that point, those large parties are really only benefiting the promoters. So I wanted to be able to book DJs that aren’t necessarily always massive names, but ones that play good music. I feel the percentage of people that go to see big name DJ’s because they are actually fans of their music, as opposed to what they feel they represent as a kind of influencer figure is quite a shocking ratio. So at our parties I’m not even bothered if the people haven’t heard of the DJ’s on our line ups, we just want people to trust us the music is going to be fucking amazing and the people are going to be sound. The first night went exactly how we wanted it to go. It’s just a room full of people, meeting each other and dancing to music.

Last year you became an artist in residence for Sage Gateshead (Congratulations!), how has this experience been and what will the end production look like?

It’s been entirely life changing, I went to SAGE with a load of ideas and they basically supported every single one. So I’ve written a full symphony and its been arranged by Fiona Brice who used to be a member of Placebo, worked with Kanye West and Radio Head. I’ve been working with Komatsu, Hitachi and Nissan, where I have been recording their memories and experiences of their communities, workforces and local working areas. Just to get an overview of the working class experience, working in a Japanese factory. I’ve commissioned three different film makers for an audio visual performance with the Royal Northern Symphonia. Its going to be performed in February at SAGE, its basically a gigantic audio-visual experience. But just the fact that the SAGE would look at someone from an acid house background and still support my idea has opened up a whole new world for me, it feels really nice.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Aye. Only because its who I find myself accidentally ripping off the most, so Carl Craig. Then the first sort of electronic music I ever heard as a kid was film music so, Vangelis. Like watching Blade Runner for the first time absolutely blew my head off. And then someone like massive like Queen, because they had a habit of making stupid jokes with their songs.

What closing track do you find yourself reaching for more than anything else?

David Bowie - Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA).

Where can people find you in the coming months?

Us & Them every Saturday even if am not playing, I will be dancing. Then I’m in Romania for a festival. Queens Yard summer party in London. A while back I said i’d help out any small promoters and play for whatever they could afford if they thought it would help them get back on top after Covid. Off the back of that I’ve got a bunch of gigs in smaller towns, which weren’t on my original circuit and I’m really excited about that. I feel like I’m going to be meeting new people who share similar values to me and that’s really cool. Words by Will Welsh


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