What it means to host London’s Boiler Room

The ins and outs of a jealousy-inducing job.

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As a DJ, Boiler Room host and co-founder of London-based music and community platform Touching Bass, the charismatic Errol Anderson aka Andwot is stringing together dynamic music sessions that get heads bobbing and conversations starting. Besides curating sessions apt for any mood, this music explorer is introducing and enabling underground music to reach a wider audience. Preaching “all music has soul”, Glamcult was curious to find out how this young talent creates listening experiences powered by collectivity and community. Revealing some of his proudest moments and how sometimes it all comes down to a little improv, get to know the ins and outs of his job whilst enjoying a playlist by the man himself.

What does your job as a host and programmer at Boiler Room entail?

As a host-slash-programmer, it’s my responsibility to curate sessions for the Boiler Room audience. It’s a role that has shapeshifted quite drastically since I first started out, almost three years ago. From putting together out and out classic parties, it’s now developed to include documentary production, live bands and, more recently, offline screenings.

Sounds cliché, but no session is ever the same and that constantly keeps you on your toes. Generally though, you’ll have a rough idea as to how you want a session to pan out in terms of aesthetic, sound and length. Then it’s a case of reaching out to the artists, checking their availability, discussing suitable venue options and once that’s all sorted, hosting and organizing the event itself.

What are some of the upsides and downsides to the job?

Being able to work with some of my favourite musicians is definitely an upside. Having the freedom to really see out your own vision is another, and I count my blessings with that in mind. Sometimes it can be hard to juggle multiple responsibilities, but who doesn’t experience that problem?

In your opinion, what makes for an engaging listening experience?

A lot of it is down to the aesthetic. It can be easy to overlook the importance of how a space determines a listener’s mood, for instance. For me, getting the space and feel right is just as crucial as the sound itself. Naturally, it’s something that has become a bit harder with all the venues disappearing across London.

What has been your favourite Boiler Room session to date?

There have been some really special moments in my time here. Introducing Yussef Kamaal to the world for the first time was definitely up there, as was convincing Mala to do his first ever Boiler Room set. Another firm favourite is the session I did with Thai funk-influenced trio Khruangbin, Brilliant Corners’ Donna Leake and Italian tropical house makers, Nu Guinea.

The double edition of Co-Op sessions, across 2015 and 2016, were particularly special because the broken beat movement had been criminally overlooked for way too long. Those sessions came at a time when more people were starting to champion that sound, which was so vibrant and revolutionary during the noughties. Being able to combine the OG’s with some of the new heads on two occasions was a game-changer. I also got some of them into a studio the next day, where they ended up making a record. Those tunes were released on First Word Records earlier this year.

You mentioned on Twitter that the event you created in celebration of improvisation with London’s best young jazz heads was one of your proudest life moments. Why has this always been a dream of yours?

That get together wasn’t actually for Boiler Room. It was for my own hustle, Touching Bass—a party/dance, discussion series and family of music lovers. I started Touching Bass back in 2013, because I felt like there wasn’t a night that truly reflected my own varied tastes. We’re all really into the more soulful sides of the musical spectrum; past and present. All music has soul: from jazz through techno and everything else.

The night of improvisation was part of our Speaking In Sound series, which explores the legacy of black-oriented music through discussion and musical performance. Everyone was truly united by a tangible, almost unexplainable energy that evening. Two hours of unscripted improvised greatness from six of our most talented friends. We’ve experimented with a non-alcoholic policy for this string of events. It’s just water and juice. So people were well and truly raised by the music alone. A dream, because where else can you get something so pure and concentrated?

Do you improvise at all when programming/hosting?

All the time. Believe it or not, I’m actually quite laid back in person so I’m constantly battling my insecurities when I host a session. I’m getting better, but still mumble and stutter my way through at times [Laughs]. 

From grime, garage and hip-hop to house, techno, rap, trap and soul: how are you able to bring it all together?

There are connections between all of those different styles of music. So the biggest and most appealing challenge as a DJ is finding interesting ways to slip through them.

Which tracks/mix tapes liven up any session?

There’s a few, dependent on what the crowd is communicating back to me, but Cousin Cockroach, This Ain’t Tom & Jerry, is always a winner for most dance floors. Cousin Cockroach is one of the many aliases of UK musical pioneer, Dego. Contagious, stuttering drums, guttural low end. When played at the right time, it has the ability to make everyone shack out or bob their heads at the very least. 

What’s the perfect soundtrack to a chill-out session?

This.

Coming from London, what excites you about the London music scene today?

Resilience. In a city where the powerful people seem to be showing less and less interest in cultural capital, the creatives continue to create and prosper. It’s now no secret that the London jazz scene is as exciting as it’s been for a long time. There’s also a really intriguing compound of rap and grime-influenced music emerging. Artists like Slowthai, Oscar Worldpeace and many more continue to excite and innovate. The punk/alternative rock movement still marches on too—shouts to all the women of colour doing their thing.

Where do you search for new gems or who’s someone you recently discovered that’s definitely worth a mention?

That would be telling. Nah, joking. I search my friends for new finds more often than anything else to be honest. Record shops, Spotify, Bandcamp: they all play their part. Don’t overlook the human algorithm though.

Funkineven’s LA series on Apron Records has introduced me to both Ashtre Jinkins and Dreams in recent times. Techno for the mind. Not as recent, but there’s a pianist/musician from Los Angeles called Kiefer who’s constantly on repeat.

Follow Errol on Instagram and Twitter

Follow Touching Base on Instagram and Facebook

 

Words by Rebecca Nevins

www.boilerroom.tv

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