TF Archives

Erol Alkan's Ghosts In The Machine

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Monday, May 9, 2005
"I don't want to get eerie but at one point I was obsessed with EPV because I've actually spoken to the dead myself It's from a recording made by a German woman who had lots of samples on it, I've always been fascinated by it."

Murmuring conspiratorially, London alternative/electro tastemaker supreme Erol Alkan chuckles as he recalls the hauntings that he's experienced in his childhood North London home.

"The conversation I had prompted me to research the history of the house I grew up in and it all linked together, ridiculously smoothly. But I'll tell you off the record later," he

His tale involves Second World War bombs and carnage on his Holloway street prompting ghostly sightings for both Erol and his family members, and while he prefers to keep details private, he's happy to admit that his interest in EVP (ghost sounds) was first sparked by his passion for The Smiths. Wearing a vintage Queen Is Dead T shirt under his black leather jacket he admits he remains a massive fan today though hasn't included any Smiths songs on his new compilation for Bugged Out.

"To be honest I did want to use the end of Rubber Ring on the second CD, that bit that goes "You Are Sleeping' but it was quite difficult to do," he explains. "I was trying to track down the sample from its original source and it was actually on an EVP recording, electronic voice phenomena, which is also something that I'm very interested in."

What the CD contains instead is two very different CDs of music he loves. Firstly, a DJ mix reflecting the eclectic electro-tech sets he spins at Bugged Out and his own club Trash, and Bugged In, a decidedly more esoteric choice of after hours after-party ambience. CD1 includes relatively old club tracks such as The Creeps' Freaks, Josh Wink's Higher States and Vicarious Bliss's stomping theme (soon to be re-licensed by Skint) as well as newer tracks from mates such as Soulwax (E Talking) and The Rapture. In contrast, CD2 includes 80s gay disco pop icons Imagination (their still magnificent Just An Ilusion) and Nirvana, reflecting Erol's clubbing roots as an indie kid rather than raver.

"I know people talk about those acid house memories, all that "1989, insert big name DJ, I was there' stuff, but I can't say I was on the floor listening to Danny Rampling in 1989 and having a beautiful moment, because I wasn't," he says.

"A defining moment for me instead might be hearing Lithium by Nirvana in 1990 at the Tufnell Park Dome. That to me will probably equal, if not beat, anyone else's acid house moment."

Nowadays he's providing regular defining moments for a new generation of clubbers at his Monday night weekly Trash, where he's already helped break stars from Peaches to Mylo.

"I'm meeting a lot of kids in bands now who tell me they used to come to Trash every week, Tom Vek for example," he continues,

"He played the club recently and told me he remembered hearing LCD Soundsystem's Losing My Edge for the first time. He used to come every week with his mate, who now directs his videos; I find that amazing." Trash talk aside though, he's holding court in a non descript coffee shop on Holloway Road, to promote his Bugged Out Cd, his first serious compilation.

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Why have you waited until now to release a serious compilation-

Erol Alkan: "One factor is that the last four years have shot by so quickly that it's felt like a year it's only recently we've had to the time to even think about doing it. Doing what I do has never really felt like a career for me, whereas I know a lot of other people do compilation albums quite early on in their careers because they're coming up and they do it as a kind of musical stamp to say what they're about. I've been working so constantly since 2001 that I've literally not had the time, not only with running my own club but also DJing three other times a week, travelling round the world, and doing all the other things I've been doing. To do a mi