Text: Lauren Martin
Many who will have heard of Glaswegian success stories like LuckyMe and Numbers may be aware of the years of hard work that put them there, yet as with every city, there’s also those who contribute to the fabric of the underground a side-step out from the glare of this international spotlight. There is a wealth of talented, forward-thinking individuals that make up the collectives, labels and club nights that contribute to the musical cultures of our respective cities. They’ve put in years of devoted service in the name of a damn good time (and often for little more than the enjoyment of it) and it’s these figures that paradoxically solidify and re-fashion the ever-changing face of underground musical culture on our doorsteps.
As a rare glimpse into such inner workings, Dummy is proud to introduce the second instalment in the Glasgow Spotlight mini-series; where local figures take a moment to present themselves and what they do outside the city boundaries. Next up is The Guild of Calamitous Intent, a club night run by vinyl fetishists Aleks Jurczyk and Richard Thomason (who, the former says of the latter, was without doubt the first guy to play acid house on the Shetland Isles). Having cultivated a loyal following for Richard’s all-vinyl, one-take mixes and Aleks’s in-depth knowledge of modular synths, they combined forces as The Guild of Calamitous Intent to bring techno in its most visceral forms to Glasgow – mostly in barely three-figure capacity basements, and even at an after hours lock-in at an Indian restaurant one time. In a city densely populated by high quality, specialist club-nights, The Guild of Calamitous Intent have quickly identified themselves as a force to be reckoned with by staying true to their mutual affection for live hardware showcases, and actively promoting a thoroughly unabashed sense of camaraderie that has proven to be a real breath of fresh air.
Please introduce yourself, and tell us what you do.
We are The Guild of Calamitous Intent. We DJ and put on occasional parties.
What is The Guild of Calamitous Intent, and where, when and how did it start?
Well, it’s two of us. Richard and Aleks. I do most of the admin and Richard obsessively collects records. We’ve been friends for years and have DJ’d together for a lot of that, mostly at house parties. I think we thought it would be a good idea to start putting on parties elsewhere and we thought we should come up with a name, but we’re shit at that kind of stuff so when Richard suggested we name ourselves after the bad guys in a cartoon show we both love as a joke, it just stuck. It’s not too serious, which suits us.
What have you done via The Guild in the past year or so?
We put on a few parties. One with Lerosa, one with Perseus Traxx and a couple of shows with the L.I.E.S. crew – the first with Ron Morelli and the second with Ron and Svengalisghost. That was wild. We also DJ’d at a few places. We did the Music Language show for CryParrot and got to play the after-party. It was at a space we’ve played at before (a few years ago now) and it got busted just like the good old days. We also did a Vitamins party. Those guys know how to throw a party. Oh, and we also just played at the Lee Gamble show at Sleazy’s.
What was the original mission statement of The Guild?
That makes it sound like we have a plan. We don’t. I guess we both just wanted a platform to play music we’re into, whatever that might be. Whether it’s banging out party tunes or playing weird shit. We also wanted to bring people we’re interested in to play at parties here in Glasgow.
Who else in Glasgow do you support and enjoy musically?
There’s so much that goes on so, I’m bound to miss someone out, but here goes: 69 (home to the legend that is Martin McKay) and all the other shit that’s come out of or is related to the 35 Howard Street axis: Monox, Numbers, Dalraida, Dixon Avenue, Iridite, AllCaps and all the rest. There’s also Optimo. Those guys informed my musical taste from hearing Twitch play at Pure and Jonnie playing at Knucklehead/My Machines right up to when I hear them today. Domenic at the SubClub needs to get an honourable mention here too. Last time Richard and I both heard him play he tore the place apart. The man is a seriously underrated DJ. Fielding who does the CryParrot gigs is doing
loads too. The recent Hieroglyphic Being and Swans/Sir Richard Bishop shows stick out in my memory. We also both dig what Mark ‘Mother’ Maxwell does and he’s turned me on to heaps of good stuff. We have to mention our work with the always-outstanding Vickie McDonald, who plays in local band Divorce as well. She’s done all our art and has a visual aesthetic that suits us. You should go check her stuff out. She’s ace.
How do you view the growth of Glasgow as a musical city?
I don’t think we’d really see it in the context of a recent development. Glasgow has been a musical city for years before either of us got involved and I’m sure it will continue for years to come. In recent times it’s been sad to see the closure of the Soundhaus and, more recently, the Club (where Martin puts on the 69 nights) in Paisley. I think there’s a real need for venues like this and for parties to happen somewhere that feels out of the ordinary. On a positive note, it seems that Vitamins and some other crews are doing this, and it’s been good to see them putting on parties
the way they have in recent years. It’s also good to still see plenty folk coming into Rubadub and buying records. There’s a proper scene for underground electronic music here. Long may it continue.
What inspires you to do what you do?
There’s so much good new music that comes out and there’s access to music from the past in a way that has never been possible before. That’s inspiring. The idea that no matter how hard you try you’ll never be able to keep up with it all. It’s still fun trying though.
What records do you love at the moment?
I’d pick the Acteurs album that came out on Public Information (the new IVVVO one they’ve got upcoming will be worth checking too). The Container 12” on Morphine is killer and his first Spectrum Spools LP has just been repressed. That’s as essential as it gets in my opinion. Those two new Vereker EP’s on L.I.E.S. are great too. I’ve also just been turned on to Tesla tapes and the Druss album on that label is great. Opal tapes has to get a nod here too. Everything I’ve heard him stick out is good. Richard reeled off a list to me that included the Powell Death of Rave thing, The Streetwalker 12” on Cititrax, Specter on Semantica, STL, everything on PAN, Hakim Murphy, DJ Spider, Mordant Music, Modern Love, Minimal Wave, Hieroglyphic Being, Borft, Frak, Sex Tags, John Heckle, Trilogy Tapes… yeah, I could go on…
If you had to pick a track that embodies the Guild, which track would it be?
We both picked the U202 record that came out as the first LIESBLK thing. Proper out-there dance music.
What are the plans for the Guild in 2013?
We’ve got a party planned on May 25th with the L.I.E.S. crew again. We’ve got Steve Summers and Delroy Edwards coming down to La Cheetah as part of their European tour. That’s going to be big. I’m doing a live show next week as The Orpheus Choir supporting Container, which is going to be their UK debut and hopefully a lot of fun. We’ve got a few more parties in the early planning stages for later in the year. Hopefully that all works out! There’s also a video that Vickie made for an experimental mix that Richard did which will come out at some point, and I imagine you’ll also find us DJing here and there. And recording mixes. Lots and lots and lots of mixes.