Music Tuesday, April 12th Words by: Mark Bowen

Leftfest: Interview with DJs Andrew Artus and Martin Adjei

Music Tuesday, April 12th

Leftfest: Interview with DJs Andrew Artus and Martin Adjei

If electronic music is your scene you don't have to hitchhike to Bristol or fly out to Ibiza to get your fix. FullSizeRender

You'd be better off checking out Leftfest, which is being held at The Left Bank in Hereford, on May 28 running from 3pm to 3am.

There will be no shortage of talent there. Hitting the decks on the day are a couple of headliners to get truly excited about.

Blue Amazon has worked with some of the biggest acts and labels in the electronic music scene since the 90s. A DJ well known for his mix of progressive house and techno. He has had support in the past from the likes of Sasha, Pete Tong, Danny Howells and Bedrock label.

Then there's Oscar Vázquez. Signed to Electronic Colours Agency and Particles record label. He has worked with labels such as Dopamine Music and Lowbit Also. Oscar is a resident of Spain and has been playing his progressive and techno style with recognition from world pioneers such as John Digweed and Hernan Cattaneo across europe since 2000.

Other djs include: Neil Preedy, signed to Toolfunk recordings; Andy Artus; Martin Adjei; Shawn Au Yeung, Phill Powell, Jordan Prew, Dan Phillips and Farcical 3.

Other entertainments for the day include food being served by the Beefy Boys.

Farcical 3 (which includes three members of the Beefy Boys) start the evening off for the first two hours (3pm-5pm) in the courtyard. The courtyard stage stands to be like no other Hereford has seen before with the expert design from Area Entertainments.

Pure Studios will be coming along to add some festival atmosphere and to dance the night away.

With three stages of music and four bars, it is hoped the people of Hereford will get a taste of festival season for 2016 in their own backyard at an affordable price

The event costs £10 for early bird tickets that are available from until May 1. Thereafter the cost is £12.

We caught up with event organisers and DJs Andy Artus and Martin Adjei to find out more about Left Fest.


You are playing at Left Fest on May 28 what can people expect from the event? IMG 2912

Andy: Left Fest is being provided for any person wanting to experience the atmosphere generally only provided at festivals but in the centre of our city Hereford at its premier venue The Left Bank.

The event starts at 3 pm where people can come down, possibly enjoy a burger provided by Hereford's own burger maestroes The Beefy Boys. The aim is to utilise the courtyard area allowing people to sit down, relax, enjoy the music, have a conversation and a little groove if they wish. 

Once the sun starts to set the festival will take a darker turn and become a little rawer with the aim of building to an excellent night of music provided by two world class DJs Oscar Vazquez and Blue Amazon. 

We have cut no corner in ensuring the quality of equipment, use of the equipment, and general layout to maximise The Left Bank's potential. We have a surprise or two in store that I think will really help make our vision a reallity for the festival goer at an excellent price of £10 a ticket. Tickets will rise from May 1 to £12 so please do get yours soon.

Martin: People who attend Left Fest can expect 12 hours of quality music in a friendly party atmosphere with a chance to sample some world class food. We're aiming to bring a festival-like feel to Hereford and just hope that everybody has an enjoyable day.

What genres of music will be played?

Andy: Mainly house and techno. There are so many sub-genres in both catagories it would take forever to try explain but general thesis, if you like to dance, you won't hear anything better for a long distance on May 28.

Martin: House, progressive house and techno will be the genres played on the day. Farcical 3 will be opening procedings with a two hour eclectic mix to get the party started.

What can you tell us about some of the acts appearing?

AndyBlue Amazon started back 1994 as a studio collaboration between Lee Softley and recording engineer James Reid. Both west Yorkshire based the two met in Huddersfield at a local recording studio called "Beaumont St". 

James was working at Beaumont St as a trainee sound engineer whilst recording for local artists such as Shiva who were producing vocal house. Lee was DJing locally and experimenting with recording.

Both influenced by the progressive sound and the energy of European techno released around that time sparked the desire for the two to start recording together and forge what become Blue Amazon.

They released a limited amount of vinyl with a label called Creative Records and released 'Blue Amazon.

The first Blue Amazon release with 7pm/Jackpot records 'Four Seasons and The Runner' followed. A second single called 'Star Of David and The Blessing' was then released.

Further releases included number one club record "No Other love" featuring vocalist "Vicky Webb". Blue Amazon were being labelled one of the leaders of Epic partly because of the remix work they had done for other artists.

Blue Amazon were shortly signed up by Sony who released the single 'Then The Rain Falls' and debut album 'The Javelin'. They continued to remix other artists such as Skunk Anansie.

Live shows were performed at the festivals in the UK including Tribal Gathering, Phoenix Festival (Radio 1 Live), Cream Fields as well as clubs in the UK and overseas.

After The album release with Sony the act continued releases with Subversive records and remixed acts such as Placebo, Blackgrape, Vast and Inspiral Carpets.

Their own record label Convert Recordings was launched and several remixes were produced for artists on the label released.

At this stage in 2000 James decided to take a break from Blue Amazon. Lee continued with Blue Amazon and Convert Recordings and enjoyed remixing artists such as New Order and Madonna.

Oscar Vázquez is one of those progressive house and techno artists that always transport you through their sets.

He started getting involved in music at the age of 17, after attending several Hardtrance events. That was when his interest stepped up from just listening to buying his first decks and mixer to learn the art of DJing.

In early 2000, Oscar won a residency at the legendary club R2, where he found a new appreciation for minimalist sounds. In 2002 he got into production with his sounds blending deep, techno, and progressive house.

As a DJ, the last years have been spent as a resident of the La Vaca club, one of the most innovative in northern Spain.

Would it be correct to describe the evening as a night of progressive house and techno?

Andy: I would prefer to describe the evening as a opportunity for people to feel an atmosphere, dance with each other and laugh. House music and techno are both very powerful forms of music listened to millions daily all over the world in every corner of every continent. England, once the pioneering country in these genres, seems to have forgotten about it almost.

Martin: Yes that would be correct, as well as house and an opening electric set from Farcical 3.

What is the appeal of electronic music?

Andy: The appeal to electronic music for me personally is that it is ever evolving. There are always new tracks with new melodies, new percussions, new structures new bass, new kicks, and from unknown producers and known producers. It is almost spiraling out of control with how much first class music is being released daily nowadays. IMG 0503

With electronic music, I have done this many times, but it is possible to leave the house alone and go enjoy a local DJ or big artist somewhere and just freely talk with fellow listeners like you've been friends for eternity through the mutual respect of what we are listening to. Feeling a harmony together that can only be produced by music. The family aspect to music for me has built up good friendships with people all across the globe and that is the absolute beauty with electronic music.

I can only speak for myself and music's personal appeal to me but being on a dancefloor, feeling the sub bass coarsing through my body, the tingles of percussion tickling my ears, hypnotic melodies and seeing happy faces all around is a feeling of absolute euphoria.

Martin: 'Electronic music' is such a broad term that it would be quite difficult to pinpoint a general appeal. For me personally it's simply the way it makes me feel when I listen house, prog or techno, all positive emotions.

What are your hopes for your own musical career?

Andy: Well who doesn't want to be a superstar? Haha. Music is a passion of mine. I really enjoy organising events and promoting them. I am learning step by step to produce music now. I have always been into music since I was a young boy. I started mixing when I was 13 so I'm really happy just being a DJ rather than a producer.

I hope to have a release out by the end of 2016 however. From there onwards who knows but it is a hobby of mine I will never stop enjoying.

Martin: Realistically my hopes for my own musical career would be to carry on organising music events for the people of Hereford whilst still DJing and introducing them to some beautiful music. Hopefully I'll manage to finally get a proper home studio set up and make some tracks worthy of a release on a good label

Is there much of a techno/house/electronic music scene in Herefordshire?

Andy: Hereford used to be regarded as a mecca for dance music through the Crystal Rooms days. Unfortunately the scene has taken a major decline since then.

There have been a core of individuals organising and promoting numerous events over the last six to seven years now. Neil Preedy has been running most the events over the last four years. Me and neil have worked pretty closely together for some time.

Any event that has been held has always been met with an excellent reception and stunned reviews by people daring enough to break the boundaries of what has become Hereford's repetitive nightlife. We have seen some larger scale events come to Hereford over the last 12 months. Most notably Ministry of Sound and Sunkissed hosting events at The Left Bank.

Both events have really helped push on a groundwork thats been formed over the last previous years with smaller scale events. With The Left Bank re-opening and showing a willingness for promoters to utilise their facillities it has opened up some serious possibilities. IMG 3176

I'm hoping people will realise they dont have to fly to Ibiza for the music. There are some very talented DJs in hereford for all genres of music with some passionte and driven promoters wanting too bring the biggest and best acts they can back to this town.

Martin: Unfortunately I don't think there is much of a house/techno scene in hereford for various reasons even though we have been blessed with some fantastic events over the last two to three. But fortunately I feel that there are enough DJs who are passionate about these genres in Hereford to turn the tide. Recently Neil Preedy and Jason Richards have been putting on a brilliant weekly night down The Rock Stock Cellar at The Grapes in Hereford which I've thoroughly enjoyed attending pretty much every week. I think with good ideas and co-operation between djs and promoters Hereford has the potential to have a successful house/techno scene.

What or who do you see as the future of electronic music?

Andy: That's a tough one to answer. I think electronic music's popularity world wide has flourished so much over the last decade the future is relatively unknown and constantly changing with new technologies and new ideas. Isn't that beautiful though?

Martin: Just like the first pioneers of house/techno I think that the future of the genres lies with the DJs/producers who are willing to innovate and excite with cutting edge sounds and unique ideas.

Tickets here


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