Sep 17, 2014

PREVIEW: Philanthrobeats Presents...Leave Your Vote At The Door
WORDS: Alex Caslano

One of the biggest events in Scotland’s history, a source of unprecedented debate and an unavoidable question which will have huge implications no matter which way the vote falls. Over the last few months the independence referendum has dominated lives up and down the country, and while the rest of the UK (and indeed the world) is only just catching up, the importance of Scotland’s decision on September 18th 2014 can not be exaggerated. But whatever happens on the morning of the 19th and no matter what you decide in the booth, there is one thing which we all agree is vital: moving forward together. This is something Glasgow-based charity, Philanthrobeats, hopes to address as the votes are being counted, engaging revitalised political interest to tackle some of the issues facing Scotland’s dancefloor.

“The referendum has motivated the residents of Scotland to rethink everything, and we figured that clubbing, and society’s attitude towards clubbing, should be included” says Marco Calzone of the charity. “The club scene has traditionally attracted open minded crowds, so we believe that the input from clubbers with regards to shaping Scotland’s future could be valuable, even on subjects outside nightlife and clubbing.” Crucially, this can begin as soon as you enter the Sub Club tomorrow night. Clubbing, parties and social engagement provide a great vehicle for change, for hatching ideas, conversing and discussing the future; and come Friday morning, the future will have renewed focus. With all profits from the event going towards a project which will hopefully harness this energy, Philanthrobeats have reminded us that we can all make a difference regardless of which box you cross in the polling booth.

“We want to harness this interest and turn it to the subject of nightlife” confirms Marco. “Recently we have had a number of club death tragedies in Scotland, often linked to dodgy ecstasy pills being consumed at clubs. We want to offer solutions to problems like these from a user-lead perspective, consulting punters like us who enjoy going to clubs, as well as venue managers, DJs and event promoters involved in Scotland’s nightlife.” So while there will be disappointment this Friday, the opportunity for change is now very real. The status quo is over; Yes or No, there’s work to be done, and it should be done together.

Check out a mix by Philanthrobeats resident,Fortwinks, as well an interview with charity representatives Marco Calzone and Own Fern in which we talk more about the challenges facing Scottish clubbing and how the referendum could help address them:

Philanthrobeats Resident Mix 003 - Fortywinks by Philanthrobeatscharity on Mixcloud

Synth: The last few months have been revolutionary in terms of Scottish politics, engaging the electorate like never before; why do you feel it’s important for people to leave their vote at the door this Thursday no matter what the result is?

Philanthrobeats: People are entitled to their opinion, and as a social-equality charity we are not here to try and influence votes. Our committee is made up of both Yes and No supporters, one of us being involved directly in one of the major campaign organisations. We wish to reflect that we have no political grounding either way, and with this event we wish to present a blank canvas devoid of any pro or anti independence sentiments. The event is named Leave 'Your Vote At The Door' in an effort to make this clear.

The real ethos behind this upcoming event is to use the opportunity the referendum offers to discuss a current talking point in the world of Scotland’s nightlife: club deaths and the associated safety concerns. The referendum on September 18th has kindled record interest in politics and scrutiny over statutory opinion and legislation; we want to harness this interest and turn it to the subject of nightlife. Recently we have had a number of club death tragedies in Scotland, often linked to dodgy ecstasy pills being consumed at clubs. Earlier this year, a reveller at The Arches in Glasgow collapsed after purportedly ingesting a number of these ecstasy pills in the queue outside the club amidst fear of being caught with them by the club stewards.

We want to offer solutions to problems like these from a user-lead perspective (that doesn’t diminish the integrity of the experience) through a media project consulting punters like us who enjoy going to clubs, as well as venue managers, DJs and event promoters involved in Scotland’s nightlife.

Synth: In the event blurb you talk about the recent tragedies in Glasgow clubbing and the ‘draconian response’ from authorities in their wake. Is there a sense that the current political momentum and engagement can inspire change on the dancefloor?

Philanthrobeats: The referendum has motivated the residents of Scotland to rethink everything, and we figured that clubbing, and society’s attitude towards clubbing, should be included. The club scene has traditionally attracted open minded crowds, so we believe that the input from clubbers with regards to shaping Scotland’s future could be valuable, even on subjects outside nightlife and clubbing.

We are keen for the civic engagement that the referendum has kick started to continue - it’s been a welcome change to the general feeling of apathy we’ve grown used to in Britain. Many are apathetic out of laziness, others through a lack of trust in the governing bodies. We believe that the way we approach clubbing as a society is something that should be addressed, and the current interest in institutional change can only help move this discussion forward.

Synth: The proceeds from Leave Your Vote At The Door will help fund your own project which will engage with the current political momentum; can you tell us more about the project and what you hope to achieve?

Philanthrobeats: The Media Project in question is initially going to focus on a video and podcast regarding not only how Scottish clubbing can improve, but how we can take a mature approach to the isolated tragedies which have been very prominent in the media over the last period.

It can be argued that the way certain media outlets have addressed said tragedies has been counter-productive, and pretty short sighted. However, there is a high chance that these reactions have been influenced heavily by the police and local councils: two bodies who are out of touch with nightlife (but still govern it!).

Therefore, we want to consult those who are involved with Scottish clubbing, from punters to promoters, and further afield. We plan to release a short documentary and podcast that will address these issues, provide various perspectives and hopefully will come up with some solutions. The pipeline idea is to eventually compile this research into a more academically-viable report, and through working with industry professionals (lawyers, narcotics experts, anthropologists, local MPs, etc) eventually release peer-reviewed literature with the intention of positively influencing decisions made by the powers that be.

Leave your vote at the door: dance together. Photo by Ralph Thompson

Synth: As it would appear by the polls it’s likely that almost half the population will be disappointed on the morning of September 19th; do you think there will need to be a healing process if we’re to move forward together?

Philanthrobeats: Like you say, the opinion polls tell us that the split is round about 50-50. Inevitably around half of the country will be disappointed on Friday morning, but I think we are resilient enough to take it in our stride. Generation after generation of people from all over the world have bore witness to massive changes – some elating, some disappointing - throughout history.

In Scotland alone we have had the mass closure of the Glasgow shipyards throughout the 1970s creating mass unemployment and plunging the city into a comparative dark era of violence and poverty; the 1984 miners strikes in which over 90% of Scottish miners joined with strikers across Britain and refused to work in defiance of forced mine closures across the country; and countless cases of sectarian issues throughout the country’s history. These are all examples of times when people have been tested by enormous social change, often causing violence, prejudice and kindling family-destroying feuds.

However, rather than the stories themselves, it is how people have reacted after these changes that defines our resilience. So regardless of the direction of the referendum, we should be confident in our ability to overlook our differences and move forward.

Synth: And do you think there’s been enough emphasis placed on how people unite after the vote? Is there any substance in the prospect of a divided country after Sep 18th?

Philanthrobeats: The miner’s strikes in the 1980s were instrumental in Britain’s cultural development. 30-year-old arguments between family members over whether or not to strike have left irreparable damage between parents and children that have lasted to this day. In Scotland, sectarian violence has continued to tear apart housing estates, schools and entire towns. The list could go on.

But we’re still here, and despite some scaremongering reports and crime polls, we can honestly say that Scotland and its major cities have moved forward leaps and bounds in recent years. With new generations old bitterness gradually dies, and across the country communities have strived to overcome sectarian issues – Glaswegians can now wear Rangers and Celtic tops in most streets without a constant fear of mindless abuse. So, whilst a period of disappointment and potential bitterness is inevitable, we have no doubts that Scotland can move forward as one and make do with whatever fate deals us on Friday morning.

Synth: Finally, it’s almost a year since you became a registered Scottish charity and you’ve done some fine work since then; what feedback have you had from those who have benefited from the charity and how can people get involved?

Philanthrobeats: It has been a bit of a whirlwind, and a shitload of work to be honest. We have still been continuing to support other charities in any way we can, whether that be financially or by other means, but the really great thing about registering as a charity is that we’ve been able to contribute to people’s lives directly. Seeing as we have very little administrative costs, and no paid staff, the money raised goes a long way.

A lot of our money has gone towards helping those who otherwise would have been made destitute by some of the more archaic and ethically debatable laws. Needless to say, recipients of any kind of support were always extremely grateful, which has been really wonderful to see. Furthermore, we have two large projects scheduled to start at the end of the year – music tuition for asylum seeker & refugee children, and a community arts project. There will be more news on those projects soon, but you can check out our first Project Diary on our blog to find out more details about the work we’ve been doing.

Harri, JD Twitch and Fortwinks all play Leave Your Vote At The Door on Thu 18th Sep at the Sub Club. Entry is £5 on the door and proceeds go towards Philanthrobeats’ new Media Project addressing the issues in Scottish Clubbing.

Philanthrobeats Website
Philanthrobeats on Facebook
Philanthrobeats on Twitter

Sep 15, 2014

QUICKIE: Synth Presents At Simple Things Festival

As you may have heard in this month’s radio show, we’re extremely pleased to announce that we will be hosting a stage at the first Glasgow edition of Simple Things Festival, taking place on Sat 1st Nov. Founded in Bristol in 2011, Simple Things already has a reputation for bringing together some of the world’s most exciting electronic talent, with everyone from Flying Lotus to Hudson Mohawke, Jamie XX to Squarepusher heading the bill. This will be the first year that the festival will run in both Bristol and Glasgow, and with the two cities sharing a rich and renowned musical heritage, it seems like the perfect match.

Taking place across three venues, the first wave of acts to play in Glasgow was announced last week, including the likes of Autechre, Nightmares On Wax, Lone and LuckyMe, with many more still to be announced. As official media partners, we’ve also been asked pick some of our favourite Glaswegian talent for a ‘Synth Presents…’ stage at Broadcast, with General Ludd, Joe Howe, MermaidS and Sad City all confirmed, as well as a mini showcase from local labels Hotgem (ft Atom Tree, Machines In Heaven) and Handpicked (ft Bessa, Fortywinks, Cheeky Forty & Mr.Tuner). We’ll be running throughout the day alongside similar showcases at the Art School and 02ABC, ensuring there’s plenty to choose from in what is shaping up to be a stunning celebration of homegrown and international talent.

Check out music from some of our ‘Synth Presents…’ acts below and look out for further line up announcements soon:

Simple Things Festival takes place across the Art School, ABC and Broadcast on Saturday 1st Nov. Early bird Tickets are available now for £20 via Ticketweb.

Simple Things Website
Simple Things Festival on Facebook

Sep 10, 2014

1. BINARY FT/ SKYE ALLEN – INFRARED CELLS (Forthcoming Free Download)

There’s plenty of new talent to celebrate in Glasgow at the moment, and today we were introduced to yet more in the form of Binary, a production duo who have just released a new EP via the ever on-point Love Is Noise. Enlisting the lyrical skills of Detroit rapper, Skye Allen, the lead track, ‘Infrared Cells’, is deeply immersive, with excellent vocal delivery complimenting an ice cold arrangement.

2. THOSE BEATS – LEAD ME ON (Glasgow Underground)

We absolutely had to fit this one in as we’ve been playing out for a couple months now and it never fails to get a reaction. Basically, if you’re a fan of big, bold piano house this is going to instantly appeal. Nailed down by a solid bassline, ‘Lead Me On’ is a no-nonsense club cut incorporating a hooky vocal sample and huge chords. Give it a spin this weekend and see for yourself...


This one has been on the backburner for sometime, but with a new moniker and a place on Zed Bias’ Biasonic label, the producer formerly known as Almost is back in action as Tommy Hood. Lining up two upfront bangers which slot in somewhere between traditional UK-G and shuffling house, you can expect chunky basslines and a cheeky T2 sample to set the tone.


A new name we’re keeping an eye on at the moment, and we’re not the only ones. Attracting support from LuckyMe and Astral Black, there’s rumours of a forthcoming release to look forward to, and with spacey, reflective beats like ‘Crushd’ doing the rounds, it’s easy to hear why. Twinkling synths and liquid compositions have us drifting away…

Sep 9, 2014

SYNTH RADIO 002: Am$trad Billionaire In The Mix

It’s an exciting time for us here at Synth. Not only have we got the second instalment of our new radio show to bring you, but we’ll also be announcing details of a forthcoming event where we'll be presenting some of Glasgow’s finest live talent. We're movin on up! 

But first, let's talk about this month's radio show. Following on from RJay Murphy’s cracking guest mix last month, we’ve enlisted the disco-tinged house sound of Am$trad Billionaire, a duo who started life promoting Cotton Cake in Glasgow before moving into the world of production. Recent releases on Silicone Soul’s Darkroom Dubs, as well as Different Attitudes and Hobbes Music have all hit the spot, delivering the type of delectable groove we simply can’t resist.

Needless to say, we’re pumped about the music on this week’s show too, leaning heavily on brand new talent with names such Denis Sulta, Dressin’ Red and SoonBe providing particular highlights. We also pick our favourite track from Rustie’s new album, ‘Green Language’, and go in the mix with some hot house records from the get go. Time to dive in…

Listen to the show and check the tracklist below:

1. Italia90 - Days & Days (Promo)
2. Karuva - The Gunslinger (Hype Muzik)
3. This Is I - Good Thing (Under No Illusion)
4. Denis Sulta - A.A.L.A.S (Dixon Avenue Basement Jams)
5. General Ludd - Burning Mack (Autonomous Africa)
6. Soonbe - Tanuki (Free Download)
7. Dressin' Red - Crushd (Unsigned)
8. Rustie - Paradise Stone (Warp)

Am$trad Billionaire's Oh Snap Mix:

Huxley - Oil Spill (AUS Music)
Ejeca - City Night (Last Night On Earth)
Midland - Before We Leave (Gerd Janson Remix) (Phonica White)
Martin Buttrich - Lazy Bastard (Poker Flat)
Tony G - Simple Dreams (Young Marco Remix) (Infinite Juju)
Am$trad Bill - House 303 (White)

Synth Radio returns next month with a guest mix still to be revealed. Check out Synth on Soundcloud for some of the hottest new music coming out of Glasgow. Am$trad Billionaire 'Blind In So Many Ways' is out now on Different Attitudes.

Synth on Facebook
Synth on Twitter
Synth on Instagram

Sep 4, 2014


From Skream to Tong, Eats to Annie, the ‘Attrition EP’ has been this summer’s secret weapon; the record you reach for when the floor needs an injection of energy. Emotive vocal cuts and throwback strings combine over burning bass and 2-step percussion, with both tracks on the release packing heat. It’s been the calling card of South London producer, Celsius, over the last few months, and he’s got plenty more where that came from. Rooted in UKG, releases on Moda Black, Uno Mas and Madtech have fused skipping beats and rumbling low frequencies with the house sound of today, spitting fire from the speakers.

Heading north this Friday to play our favourite bass-leaning house night, For The Record, we checked in to get his secret weapon. Aptly, he’s picked a tune from local upstarts Illyus & Barrientos, guests at last month’s For The Record alongside Dominic Martin. It would be fair to say that the trio rocked La Cheetah to its very core, and ‘Never Enough’ was certainly a peak-time highlight (even if it did initiate a rather passionate display of taps aff). We expect Celsius to cause similar hysteria…


“I heard this in their recent mix for Skream and had to ask for a copy to play out – a proper weekender. Love the low swung snares, detuned growling bass and the loose but neck-snapping and punchy groove they have going on. A solid slab of house that I already know will cause serious damage on a big system - looking forward to giving it a good run over the next few months.”

Hear ‘Never Enough’ in the mix by Illyus & Barrientos below; it comes in at 20.20.

Celsius plays at For The Record this Friday (5th) at La Cheetah. Entry is £5 advance and £10 otd. His remix of Jetlag ‘Walk With Me’ is out now on Anjunadeep.

Celsius on Soundcloud
Celsius on Facebook
Celsius on Twitter