The Neighbourhood founder discusses the label’s roots and her journey as a DJ ahead of Scand X Neighbourhood on September 22nd.
Tasha began DJ’ing in the drum & bass community, playing regularly at Renegade Hardware and across Europe. Whilst working at the legendary record shop BM Soho and gaining a residency on Rinse FM, Tasha began focusing more on UK techno, an endeavour maintained by co-running Medium at Plastic People, before eventually founding Neighbourhood in 2010. We caught up with Tasha to chat about the label and her career so far.
Neighbourhood 004 – Forest Drive West
This is the forthcoming release on Neighbourhood by Forest Drive West. He’s someone I know from drum & bass, which is a bit of a theme with the Neighbourhood releases, not a conscious one but I like it nevertheless! I am in love with every single tune, and can’t wait to put out his first straight techno release, each tune keeps you on a cliff hanger in their own individual way. Incredible music from an incredible producer. Forest Drive West is on fire and this is very much the Neighbourhood sound.
Neighbourhood has been a staple in the techno scene for some time now, can you tell us about your background running parties, and how Neighbourhood was born?
Yes it’s been 8 years Neighbourhood has been going!! I actually started promoting back in 2004, I was handed the baton to promote a drum & bass party at my University, called ‘Presha’, which is still running to this day funnily enough, I think it must be going now for 18 years!! I booked Shy FX and MC Fats haha it was a mental party, rammed out sweaty basement! That was my first taste of promoting and then when I moved to London, I was obsessed with Plastic People and it was really difficult getting in there to put on a party! At the time there weren’t any nights catering for exactly what I wanted to hear all in one night, so a few of us started a multi genre night called Medium back in 2007 and it was definitely one for the heads! We booked Marcus Intalex to play techno before Trevino came about, Martyn, Ramadanman b2b Alix Perez, dBridge, Instra:mental, Paradox… There were always interesting combinations and there always had to be one set of drum & bass as that was where we all came from, that was our roots and we wanted to mix it up with other genres we were really feeling. At that time there were lots of interesting changes and movements happening with electronic music! It was so much fun, and a there was a really tight community into these particular sounds. Then the other two I worked with wanted to concentrate on producing. So I went it alone with my own venture ‘Neighbourhood’ in December 2010 and I had free reign to book whoever i wanted, with no compromise, that was so satisfying for me!! I wanted to book more and more techno artists, that tight knit community kept coming and growing and well, I guess the rest is history!
Randomer & Cadans – Pyramid
This is another Neighbourhood release by Randomer whose playing at the party on 22nd September, so why not! This one, he collaborated with my good friend Cadans, and together they created this really interesting, slower, chunky techno tune, which really freaks me out, in a good way! When that thundering kick comes in at the start…! It’s the very first Neighbourhood release. We also had a lot of fun making this video!
Neighbourhood also developed into a label, was this something you always planned, or did it happen spontaneously?
I always wanted to set up my own label to release all my friends music that i felt deserved to be out there! Also because I have been collecting records for so long, I wanted to contribute in my own way and have a physical format to show for it that was in keeping with the ethos of the night. In fact, it could’ve happened a lot earlier on but the time came at just the right time. I had got a lot of advice from friends who run labels I respect, I’m glad I didn’t rush into it. Randomer & Cadans had given me a track to stream for promo for a Neighbourhood night, that was going to be the first tune on the label but in the end I released two different tunes of theirs. The whole process was very natural and coincidentally every artist I have released has a connection with drum & bass!
James Ruskin – Live Rhythm Separate
This is one of my all time favourites, and I remember when I was working at BM Soho and it came in I was all over it! I actually went on about it to Ruskin, because everyone always raves about his tune Work, which is ace, but this is like the more subtle version to me and he kind of agreed with me haha but it’s the subtleties in this tune and the build up gets me every time and it goes off every time I play it out!!
While now you play mostly around 130bpm, you’ve previously had success in the D&B world. Can you tell us about your introduction to DJing, and what artists, labels and parties influenced you growing up?
My first raving experience was actually going to garage raves in Northampton. My friend’s sister went to uni there and we used to go this big warehouse rave and at each one we came back with a mixtape by one of the DJ’s who was playing that night. We didn’t know what a lot of the tunes were but we got obsessed with needing to find out what they were and kept going back to find out! When I went to Uni, that’s when i discovered drum & bass, my friend’s brother and his MC were playing out a lot and we went to parties like Squeeze 18 and the depth charge in Oxford, they gave me a couple of mix tapes and I wanted to learn how to mix. I started buying records, and learnt to mix on an ex boyfriend’s gemini belt drives. Artists like Loxy, Dylan, Source Direct, Photek, Ed Rush & Optical, Bad Company, Spirit, Doc Scott, Marcus Intalex, Calibre, DBridge, Goldie, Digital & Spirit. Labels such as Metalheadz, Prototype, No U Turn, Cylon, Soul: R, Signature, Creative Source, 31 records were big influences. When getting into techno, it was the same kind of process, digging back to discover all the good shit, artists like Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Surgeon, Ben Sims, Luke Slater, Oliver Ho, James Ruskin, Mark Broom, Regis, The Advent, a lot of UK artists, Radioactive Man, Billy Nasty, Neil Landstrumm but then also Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, DJ Slip, have been very influential for me and what I like to play to this day.
Wax No. 30003 – (B)
This one’s a Shed classic, i love all these Wax No… but this is a straight up groove and a big favourite of mine. I played this when warming up at Neighbourhood, it’s a perfect to set the tone right and get everyone bubbling and in the mood.
I know you worked at BM Soho for a while, did being around so much vinyl have an affect your record collecting?
I dreamed of working at BM Soho for years! The very first time I went there to buy records downstairs was daunting as hell and they used to test me! I’d ask for promos I knew they’d have in that day and they’d give me all the shit ones!! I had to earn my stripes before they gave me what I wanted haha but I persevered and showed them I knew my shit haha but I loved going there to buy records. I spent a fair bit of time there listening to records with Flight and Sigha, chilling there, I wanted to work there! So the day I got made redundant from my retail job, I was on my way home and I saw Parris, who was always helping out working there and he told me they were looking for someone. So I went straight to the shop and Goldie, the boss, (not Metalheadz Goldie), said he’d just been speaking about me and was wondering if I was interested in working there! It was mad, I was so made up!
I had the best time working with my friends, Miss Pink, Flight, Youngsta, Sigha, Jimmy, Eddie, Billy Nasty, Joe and the dub vendor crew, who later joined us. It was such a great vibe, we would all share our interests and recommend records to each other. Just the sheer amount that would come in and we would have to get to know to sell to the customers, well I was in my element!! There are definitely record labels that i wouldn’t have discovered had I not worked there. For example John Swing’s fantastic labels relative and live jam. He used to come in to do sale or return and I loved that whole DIY vibe, getting to know people and their passion and what they were pushing, it was so personal. People would come in to play their tunes they had just finished to listen to them in the shop and get feedback. It was such a brilliant time. I enjoyed getting to know the regular customers favourites, trying to push new records they might be closed to but knowing that they would be feeling it cod I’d gotten to know their taste and them getting a buzz of expanding their collections past their familiar choices. I definitely discovered so much more music through working there. I spent all my wages on records! My friend Eddie would always be pushing minimal onto me, we’d have jokes about it, yet I have some wicked minimal records in my collection that I perhaps would’ve overlooked, because of these experiences. I miss it!!
Blue Hour – Meridian (Truncate Remix)
This is a fresh one that I can’t stop playing. Blue Hour is a good friend, and he played at Neighbourhood when it was at Dance Tunnel. I love the original track, and Truncate has done an wicked job on the remix, I can always drop a Truncate track to uplift the vibe on the dancefloor. Simple grooves, work wonders and those pads, i’m a sucker for lush pads, his Mira Mar track is one of my favourites n all!
You’ve had a lot of high-profile radio shows, what does radio signify to you as a DJ, and for dance music in London in general?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Rinse Fm & Radar. Despite what happened with radar, my experience was nothing but love, it was 3 years of my life! I really developed as a presenter in my time there and had my favourite artists and some of my heroes pass through and do a show with me! It’s a perfect outlet to express myself fully and hopefully it was the same for my guests. I got to play all the incredible music I enjoy for others to enjoy too! I would love to get back on the radio, it’s something i plan to do very soon. Radio is really important because you get to share all the wonderful music you want to play and get everyone in the know about, and you can play anything you like. So it was a really good chance for me to play other music I couldn’t play out or wouldn’t play out so regularly. What I really used to love is listeners hitting me up saying that they had gone and bought the majority of the tunes I’d played in each show, that’s brilliant, supporting and enjoying other people’s music. That’s what it’s all about ey!
Scand’s electro nights are legendary, how did the idea host a joint night come about?
When Phil, Sync 24 approached me to do the party I was made up! I feel we are totally on the same wavelength. Both him and Steve Allman, have been running Scand for a similar amount of time as me with Neighbourhood, pushing real underground, quality electro and have been solid and stuck to their guns for years. So I was delighted when they felt the same about Neighbourhood. It made total sense for us to team up and do a party together. We felt there was a lot of potential crossover with who we wanted to book and we curated the line up in a way where we both felt we would book the artists for our own parties separately. The line up came together so easily, we were so buzzing for each artist we suggested. I’m so excited for the party, The Advent is a real treat, I have to say! Phil and Steve are wicked guys and wicked DJ’s, they invited me to play at the party they did in Berlin with Mechatronica back in March and it was one of the best parties I’ve ever played, the vibe was electric, and that’s what we hope to create at Corsica on Saturday 22nd September! It’s gonna be so sick!!!
Tasha play at Scand X Neighbourhood on September 22, alongside Truss, Randomer, The Advent, The Exaltics & more. You can find tickets here.