A Short Chat With Bodyhammer
This Saturday, Body Hammer returns for its bi-monthly residency at The Pickle Factory. Running since 2008, the party has become London's go-to for classically tinged, no-nonsense 4/4 music with an ethos to match. Each event is firmly rooted in London's dance community, drawing a crowd of committed regulars and friends alongside curious newcomers. Spanning jacking house, acid, italo and more, the party is a strictly b2b affair between residents Joe Hart and Scott Fraser, who go hammer-to-hammer for all-night, 7 hour sessions. We sat down with Joe and Scott to discuss the origins of the party, its ethos, and their hopes for the future.
Scott, Joe – how are you both? We’re excited to welcome you back another Body Hammer at the end of April.
Great thanks, looking forward to seeing you all and playing at Pickle again!
The parties started way back in 2008 – can you tell us a bit about the origins of these events?
J. Our first party was done back in 2008 in the now defunct and somewhat weird Korsan bar, by myself and Paul Purgas - another mate Matilda was also one of the resident DJs. We had Legowelt as a guest and he did this wicked vinyl/drum machine hybrid set. The odd venue and Danny’s pure jack-attack of a set kicked the whole thing off perfectly. Charlie Bennet and Justine Skeels became resident DJs over the years. Scott started DJing at the parties when he moved to London and soon became one of the crew, then copiloted as others moved off to new things. We’ve been running it just the two of us for 5 or so years now.
The motto for the night is to ‘love one another, release yourself, get lost in the groove and be careful on the stairs" - can you pick out some parties that inspired this ethos from your early clubbing experiences?
Haha – that’s not our motto, just something silly we wrote on a flyer once due to an old venue we once used with a particularly dodgy staircase… Better be careful in case it ends up on our gravestones!
Scott, you’ve spoken previously about your hiatus from dance music in the past, which was re-invigorated after moving down to London from Glasgow. What were the events in London that re-sparked your interest back then?
S. Well really I have to say thanks to Andrew Weatherall for this. When I moved down to London he kindly offered me a room at the now sadly defunct Rotter’s Golf Club studios. One thing I’ve always loved about Andrew is his absolute dedication to the cause, and there was a constant supply of music and inspiration flowing backwards and forwards down there. I joined him again in an old factory in North London about a year ago for more of the same.
Your Pickle parties are exclusively all-nighters – what do you like to do with the extended sets together that you might not be able to do elsewhere?
S. We get to start slow and finish the night like only we know how, it’s our crowd and we know them best. A residency and having your own night has always been important to me, and I’ve been doing this as a constant between both Glasgow and London over the years . When you do a festival or a club booking you get two or three hours so it’s usually straight in with the jack tracks, which is great in its own way too.
J. All night is always better, keeps one on one's toes.
The Body Hammer nights are also a strictly b2b affair. What are some of the perks of this ‘Hammer to Hammer’ set up?
S. We never plan our sets, so that makes it exciting and the energy is very high all night with the crowd. We do the first four hours as one hour each, then the last half as one record each.
J. Both Scott and I are fans of playing separately and back to back. The latter is always more fun though, so I guess has become an integral part of any Body Hammer. Usually the last few hours at the back of your colleague also serves as a great crutch.
You had the opportunity to take this setup to Rinse FM for a week-long residency recently. How did you prep for these shows? Presumably there’s a different approach towards radio than the club scenario – if so what changed?
J. I’ll leave this question to Scott - I lost my memory stick and was in a strop.
S. Ha! True story... Each show had a slightly different vibe, again not planned. I guess we kept it a bit more mellow at the start of the week, a bit like the warm up at the club. The rest of the week involved thinking about things that Joe and I would play and trying to guess any of the ones he lost from his memory stick (a good example of team BH in action...)
Can you each pick out a Body Hammer classic that you feel captures the vibe for a newcomer to your parties?
J. Kool Rock Steady: I’ll Make You Dance
S. Seduction - You're My One And Only True Love [NY House Mix]