Retrofit Podcast #10: Mark Pavitt

Retrofit Podcast 10 Mark Pavitt
This month our podcast comes from top jock and good friend Mark Pavitt, the man responsible for London’s infamous Lift Party. Catch him playing alongside Jay Shepheard and Matthew Burton at Fabric London for our Retrofit label night on March 23rd…

Retrofit: Apart from Mutual friends I think we first met through your involvement at Londons ‘Lift Party’ – in our eyes on of the best underground events in London, can you tell us a little bit about how this came into being and who else is involved?

Mark Pavitt: I was living in camden with 2 very good friends of mine, george & nick. George was studying to be an Architect and was already about 15 years into his never ending course. After he’d finished the university part of the course he’d decided to go travelling and wanted to have a leaving party. A guy who he’d done some placement work for had talked about a mythical private venue that was great for doing parties in and after lots of too’ing and fro’ing he eventually got hold of the guy who runs the space to set up a meet.

For anyone that’s been to the venue you’ll know how unique it is. The top floor of an old office block, you have to get a goods lift up to it (hence the Lift ^ Party) and once inside its this small little aladdins cave of knick knacks, weird light installations, art, book cases and I think a completely knackered juno 106 as well. It just has a bucket full of charm and intimacy and an anything goes vibe.

So, back to the leaving party, it was amazing, 150 mates partying all night and doing what its sometime difficult to do at a lot of London parties nowdays (in my opinion), which is anything you want and properly losing yourself.

From there I just wanted to do another party in there and that’s where the Lift ^ Party started. Its been amazing fun doing it. Its only twice a year and because its so small it pretty much ends up being mates and mates of mates, which means the vibe is always amazing and I genuinely love playing in there. There is always an anticipation for it and at the end of the day that comes down to the uniqueness of the venue and what it helps to create when people get inside of it.

It’s a bit of a labour of love, you can’t make any money out of doing a party in this place (lose it very easily), and that was obviously never the point, but it does mean that I’ve always had to pull in favours to get people to play. Charlie Tarr and Nick Priestley have played at most of them alongside me.  At the first one I had James Priestley and Will Saul play and other guests have included Dolan Bergin, Bad Passion, Jake Manders, Mark Treadwell and Helen Burnip. Thankfully, if people have been there to party its not the most difficult job to convince them to play as, as a DJ, it’s a pretty fun experience. If you remember John very nearly ended up playing at one but got booked for a ‘proper’ gig which was a shame.

Maybe we can get him to do the next one?…

R: Asides from Lift you’ve also got strong ties to Electric Minds, another one of Londons top nights and have played with JS there a few times including the NYE two years ago and last summer the EM boat party at SMS festival in Croatia, and Farbfernseher here in Berlin. How did you get involved with the Electric Minds crew and do you have more plans for gigs with them? 

MP: So the Electric Minds link goes back quite a long way actually. When I was working for Red Bull we did a boat party out at the garden festival in 2008. We’d managed to blag this amazing house right in the mix of the festival site and through some friends met Dolan. From there we kept in touch and have become really good mates. I think I went to one of his first parties that he did in the loft space and then in 2010 he was putting on an NYE party and asked me to play. From there I’ve luckily managed to play at some amazing parties alongside some of the best DJ’s knocking around. So Dolan, if you’re reading, THANKS!!

In terms of things coming up on the horizon with Electric Minds, there’s a whole crew making a return trip to Stop Making Sense festival in Croatia and Electric Minds is hosting the Tiki Bar on the Sunday evening and I’ve luckily been asked by Dolan to play alongside him and Mano Le Tough. Its definitely one of the most beautiful spots to party and last year George Fitzgerald played my favourite set of the festival on it so I’m massively looking forward to getting the opportunity to have a go. Doesn’t hurt that when it finishes we can hop on a water taxi to Babarellas and catch Dixon and Ame until sunrise!!!

R: Very nice mix here, getting quite trancy in places! Lovely end track with Jaques Renault remixed by Paradis, do you sense a new movement coming along in house music that will possibly counter the disco element that’s been dominating for some time now?

HAHAHA!…TRANCY!!??…..i’ve had a few accusations chucked at me about my music tastes before, ‘too deep’, ‘too linear’, not ‘party’ enough, but trancy is a new one.

R: That Paradis remix is amazing though!!…

MP: I don’t know whether there are any new trends coming along from a house music point of view, I’m probably not best placed to observe it as I wouldn’t say I’m constantly on top of new releases and stuff. My personal tastes, in my opinion, have only ever really been influenced by the emotion that a track evokes In me be it Techno / House / Deep House, whatever. If I can’ stop listening to it, or get that adrenalin rush of excitement from it, then its pretty much a definite purchase.

It is difficult though, I’ve completely changed the way I buy music now as I was just finding I was buying lots of shit, or certainly very average stuff, as on a first listen tracks can sometimes lure you in and you get wrapped up in hearing something new. Now, once I’ve actually got a tonnes of tracks ready to purchase I will spend 3+ days just listening to them a few times, deleting the one’s that on 2nd listen are just pretty average. I’ve found it really works in getting a much tighter selection of tracks and one’s that you don’t just discard after a first play.  We won’t talk about discogs, its just too depressing how much money that sucks out of me…

R: So, you’ll be joining us for the label party to play in Fabric late march, looking forward?

MP: I am ecstatic to be joining you guys at the label night in Fabric. I’m obviously not a ‘full time’ dj so to get to play on some hallowed turf is a real privilege and something I’m really looking forward to, just a shame it will only be 50% of the Shepherds in attendance.

There’s going to be a big crew coming down so I’m expecting it to be a really special night. I’m also looking forward to hearing John play live again as its been a while, since SMS last year. I’m loving his album and interested to see whether he’s repurposing it for more of a dance floor vibe or whether he’s coming with some new bits.

R: We had great fun together last year in Croatia, any more plans for festivals or holidays coming up this summer?

So Stop Making Sense again this summer. Fingers crossed, Secret Garden Party again. Last year was amazing, playing and partying. Potentially Number 6 festival. No doubt there will be a berlin visit or 2 in the mix. Also got a holiday planned to Thailand in April…I NEED SUNSHINE!!…

All in All, a pretty amazing year lined up!

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