Liquicity’s return to London was an important date in any drum & bass head’s diary this autumn with a killer line-up at one of London’s most innovative venues, Electric Brixton.
Former converted cinema, and ex-rave fortress for the masses, Electric Brixton, is a venue like no other with a capacity of 1700 people for club events and 1500 for live shows. Before the time of Electric Brixton, the venue was known as The Fridge, a building that hosted legendary hip hop, funk and synth-pop nights for over 25 years. With a retro art-deco interior, and a sound system that makes the floors shake, the venue is both sophisticated and a perfect location for Liquicity’s event.
I spent most my night on the mid-level balcony of this historic venue, looking down on the masses of ravers moving in time to melodic kicks and snares. With multiple disco balls, lazers and the luminous font of ‘liquicity’ igniting the stage, the various Liquicitizens either enjoying their first time at the event or their forth, sought comfort in deep sub and a clean sound.
After starting as a modest YouTube channel in 2008, Liquicity is a Dutch liquid drum and bass record label and events promotor, run by Maris Goudzwaard and Mark van der Schoot (best known as Maduk) since 2011.
The YouTube channel began as a simple hobby to collect and promote a particular sub-genre of drum and bass Goudzwaard liked. The channel quickly attracted many fans who became known as the Liquicitizens, with the same taste in music. Artists from the same genre featured on the channel gradually, and formed an intimate group.
In 2011, Maduk released his first track ‘Avalon’, a melodic tune featuring subtle lyrics and euphoric synthesisers, that became a prominent characteristic in many of his future tracks. After hearing his track, Goudzwaard contacted Maduk to help promote it on the Liquicity channel which lead to the pair eventually creating a team, and Liquicity Records being established months later. A combination of the record label, music promotion and events, the duo eventually took on their roles full-time.
In 2013, they held their first small Liquicity event near Amsterdam which sold out and attracted thousands of fans from across Europe. Several more events have taken place since then and have been just as successful.
Last night’s event saw hundreds of people from across the UK and Europe attend the Liquicity event at Electric Brixton. I even spoke to a man who had flown from Belfast just for to attend the event and was planning to fly back the next morning.
Although there were a plethora of individuals attending; from seasoned ravers to first timers, everyone seemed to enjoy the atmosphere, with a noticeable lack of overzealous teens ruining the hedonistic vibes that are usually present at raves.
The line-up was packed with liquid drum and bass artists renowned for their impressive mixes, electro-funked instrumental splashes and perfectly polished vocals. Here’s a quick taste of who you may have missed at Liquicity London:
NCT are an electronic music duo from The Netherlands formed by Jeroen Nai Chung Tong (DJ/Producer) & Alexander Witschge (DJ), who produce liquid and euphoric drum and bass music. Over the past few years, these talented individuals have proven that they are able to play with the big boys, by writing quality music and producing impressive DJ sets that seem to be adaptable no matter what time their slot appears on a set list. More recently, their music has evolved to produce bigger sounds, with debut releases on both Hospital Records and Viper Recordings.
Last night their set was the perfect opening to my own Liquicity experience, with an 11pm slot that was more melodic and chill before the heavy sets nearing the end of the night. ‘Frozen In Time’, a single released on Liquicity back in 2015, was a particular highlight of their set. A stunning, melodic tune that incorporates vocals from both Charline and Andreas Ort, flowing synthesisers and clean piano chords, this song has a subtle catchiness that you can’t help but move to.
Etherwood is proudly known for his beautiful beats, heart-aching lyrics and heartfelt melodies by collaborating the positive energy of drum and bass with more paired-down moods, reverb-heavy guitar and piano chords. Both his albums, his self-titled debut and his second album, Blue Leaves (2015), created a new sound across the drum and bass hemisphere that has seen support from the likes of Netsky and Sub Focus, as well as receiving airtime on Radio 1. The future looks increasingly promising for Etherwood as he continues to tailor his signature sound that has become progressively recognisable throughout the years.
Etherwood’s set was by far my favourite of the night with him dropping the first song I ever listened to within the drum and bass genre, ‘Begin By Letting Go’. Commencing with a lullaby-effect, the song features vocals from Etherwood himself, and a stunning melodic piano sequence that continues throughout the song along with subtle signature drum and bass kicks and snares. Also dropping ‘Souvenirs’ featuring Zara Kershaw, and ‘Revive’ featuring Logistics and the very talented, Eva Lazarus. His set was impressive as he skilfully mixed both his own chilled out songs with heavier songs by other prominent drum and bass artists.
Maduk is a 26-year-old producer living in Amsterdam who has turned out to be one of the more promising new talents of the drum and bass scene. Signed exclusively to Hospital Records and with releases on Viper, UKF, Fokuz, Allsorts and of course his own label, Liquicity, he has a wide support network which will only see him getting more recognition in the future. His debut album, Never Give Up (2016), is a high-energy album with 12 vibrant tracks that paint a picture of Maduk’s own tale of determination and drive. With vocal collaborations featuring heavily on this album, it’s hard not to become fully acquainted with such captivating lyrics from just one listen of this lively, feel-good LP.
‘Got Me Thinking’, featuring the delicate yet mighty voice of Canadian producer and vocalist, Veela, is an elevating, up-lifting tune that creates an animated vibe that although seems to preach positivity, actually contains a bittersweet message within its lyrics, ‘Running away ain’t gonna solve it/You weren’t prepared to begin or to pause it/Something that would make you mad, oh I love it.’ With almost 2 million streams on Spotify, this tune raised the roof at Electric Brixton. Arguably Maduk’s most popular song, with over 10 million streams on Spotify, ‘Ghost Assassin’, released as an EP back in 2012, presents Maduk’s more euphoric sound that seems to explore a struggle between finding the balance of who a person once was and who they are now in an almost fantastical, sci-fi-like sense- another darkly fascinating aspect of Maduk’s seemingly evolving sound.
Manchester boy Feint, also known as Andrew Isaac Hu, is an electronic music producer who specialises in drum and bass. He is currently signed to Liquicity Records among others and also has releases through Monstercat and Subsphere Records. Not much can be found about Feint but he is certainly not a newbie to the DnB scene with releases dating back to 2011. His sound can be described, like much of the Liquicity crew’s tunes, as euphoric with importance placed on synthesisers, heavy kicks and floaty female lyrics that fade in and out of his flawlessly mixed songs.
Liquicity was by far, one of the best raves I have experienced as a seasoned raver… With a heady atmosphere, like-minded people that are there to enjoy the music, along with a stunning venue, there is not much more I could have asked for!
Did you attend Liquicity London?
Text: Millie Bull
Images: The Idle Man, YouTube, Liquicity, Hospital Records, Amazon