In Conversation: Nick The Record and John Gómez
Over the last four years, Tangent has established itself as the London’s eminent party for those with an ear for exquisite and rare records from around the globe. Ahead of their long-awaited return to The Pickle Factory this Friday, we sat down with founders Nick The Record and John Gómez to discuss the history behind the party and what to expect from their crates.
Nick and John, welcome. Your upcoming party at Pickle will be the first Tangent event of 2018 after a winter break. How are you feeling about playing together again?
J - Excited! We always look forward to Tangent as we feel we can push our deepest records there more than anywhere else. We get an amazing and open crowd that is ready for risk and surprise and we find that energy very exciting. We played a great party together in Brussels a few weeks ago, but there is nothing like Tangent, where we have a great soundsystem and seven hours in which to stretch... We also try to make sure we don’t do too many parties in a year in order to keep it special. Like you say, many months have passed since our last Tangent and given our appetites, you can guarantee that many records have joined our bags since then!
N – Yes, all of the above. Also the dancers wouldn’t know it, but we are also playing a game with each other where we try to find a few tunes that will totally slay each other.
Tangent is four years old now and something of a legendary party. Can you tell us a little about how you got started all those years ago?
J - Tangent started with a simple purpose: putting on a party where we could play amazing records on an amazing sound system. It started off really small, hidden away in a basement underneath a Turkish cafe in Hoxton in which we would install a beautiful soundsystem, with the help of Darren Morgan of Love Machine. It became a bit of a word of mouth secret between proper music people in London and it developed a really loyal crowd. It has grown over the years but we feel it still has that intimate and cooperative feel.
N – Yes we started out very organically & word of mouth. In that basement we were quite hidden away so there was no passing trade. At first we mostly relied on friends & friends of friends but somehow word slowly got out. Sometimes it felt like word got out on the night. Like someone who was there was calling their mates and saying ‘you have to come to this party’. We often got an influx at 2.30 or 3am.
On this note, which were the parties that you felt inspired you most to start your own? Were there any which transformed your idea of how a dance should be? Nick, Lifeforce sounds pretty special …
N – To be honest when we started it I didn’t have any real preconceived ideas about what I wanted it to be beyond the fact that we are calling it Tangent so we are going to play music that is a little more daring. Lifeforce was amazing but a very different vibe. I used to go to Harvey’s party Moist in the early nineties at the Gardening Club which was kind of a similar size party so once in a while I pull out an old favourite tune from that era to hear how it would sound on the great system but for the most part we are playing newer discoveries.
As for the current scene, what are the nights and venues in London that keep you inspired today?
J - I really like Total Refreshment Centre and everything Lexus is doing there, as it’s done with a DIY ethos that we feel close to. As for long running parties, I think Rhythm Section still draws a pretty great crowd of dancers.
N – I live in Brighton so don’t go out to anywhere regularly in London these days. I see lots of parties once or twice when I am playing. I do think the scene is pretty great at the moment, I think a lot of the younger crowds who are going out are getting exposed to great music & loving it.
Could you describe the musical policy and the Tangent vibe for a newcomer to the night?
J - There really isn’t one. We simply play the records that have been exciting us since the last Tangent, transversing disco, afro, house, zouk...
N – I would say I play a little more Tropical & at times a little deeper than a lot of other gigs I do. The extra time helps with that. Ironically the best music of the night probably gets played the first hour & the last hour - when there are less people there to hear it.
On this note, your parties exclusively consist of you playing b2b together all-night long. What’s the impact of this simple, guest-free approach, and why is it a format you’ve stuck with through the years?
J - We don’t actually play b2b! Nick and I both like to have the opportunity build, so we break the night down into hourly sets and then we play a few tunes each in the last hour. We find that the night flows a lot better this way. In terms of not having guests, well it’s simple but probably more difficult than having them. It means you don’t have the pull of the novelty or a star to bring a crowd, but it also means you need to really think about ways of keeping the party fresh. We could say it’s because we love a challenge, but it’s really because we’re both selfish and love to play.
N – Yes we are selfish... We set the party up as a place for us to play. 7 hours often isn’t enough between the 2 of us.
You’ve both recently returned from stints abroad (John in Sao Paulo for Dekmantel and Nick in Tokyo). Any DJ’s / artists who really stood out? John, we saw a clip of Azymuth jamming to your selections in SP!
J - Yeah Dekmantel São Paulo was a trip, especially that moment with Azymuth! I was playing and I just heard some keys and then drums coming through over my last song and I turned around to find my all time heroes beginning to jam over the track. It was pretty nuts. They were total dudes and meeting them was a clear highlight for me.
N – I actually played from start to finish at my party in Tokyo. 8 hours of selfishness.
You’re both renowned as deep diggers – could you pick out a few of your favorite finds from these recent trips that you feel encompass the ‘Tangent’ sound?
J - As I’ve just come back from Brazil I will definitely bring some of my new Brazilian finds with me. This record with the amazing Pedro Santos on drums had been on my wants list for a long time and it definitely fits our sound: it’s a bit quirky, a bit obscure, and you’re certainly not going to hear it anywhere else.
N – I’m going to be selfish again & say if you want to hear the latest records I’ve been digging you’ll have to come down & hear them through D&B Audio speakers instead of on your tinny phone & laptop speakers.