Following Ben Sims frenetic and funk-fuelled set we now take a turn off the beaten track as a new act manned by two dance veterans comes to fruition. Radionasty is the new production and DJ collaboration between Keith Tenniswood and Billy Nasty.
Keith Tenniswood (aka Radioactive Man and one half of Two Lone Swordsmen alongside Andrew Weatherall) has been privy to some of the most twisted machine funk to emanate from the UK in the last decade and his production partner Billy Nasty has taken techno to the world via his DJ sets and Tortured label. Having premiered Radionasty earlier this year on the EPM 10 compilation the pair now reveal more of their stripped down, dark and brooding electro / dub sound with a mix that includes tracks from Sleep Archive, Model 500, Instra:mental, SCB, Phil Kieran feat. Green Velvet, Boddika, Alan Fitzpatrick and EPM’s Lee J. Malcolm.
Radioactive Man (aka Keith Tenniswood) began his musical career, aged nine, when his father thrust a guitar in his hand. Destiny also took charge when he met up with Andrew Weatherall and The Sabres Of Paradise at night-clubs like 'The Drum Club', 'Full Circle' and 'Sabresonic' and began working with Weatherall manipulating sound on the Sabres tour.
Having been an integral part in the Weatherall studio set up, it seemed a natural step that upon the demise of Sabres, Weatherall and Tenniswood should arise from the debris and form their own production team, the Two Lone Swordsmen. In 1996 they released their first album together as the Swordsmen, entitled 'The Fifth Mission-Return To The Flightpath Estate' on Weatherall’s own Emissions imprint. They have since recorded for Warp Records and Rotters Golf Club.
Outside of the Two Lone Swordsmen, Tenniswood leant his talents to David Holmes 'Lets Get Killed' album and has also worked with The Aloof, Primal Scream and Red Snapper. He released his debut album also titled “Radioactive Man” on Rotters Golf Club, in September 2001. The album received many plaudits (amongst them, “One of the UK’s most underrated DJ/producers”) and established him as a producer in his own right, disassociating him from the 2 Lone Swordsman moniker. He has since released the album ‘Booby Trap’ and today he can be found DJing in the UK and overseas most weekends, and still finds the time to work on his own label Control Tower which he set-up with The Dexorcist and Royston.
20 years is a long time in electronic music, but that’s how long British techno DJ Billy Nasty has been at the forefront of the game. From early beginnings in London’s acid house scene to the huge global following he enjoys today, Billy’s continual hunger for new music, combined with his extensive experience, has made him one of the scene’s most enduring and in-demand figures. And with a current residency at BLOC festival plus a string of new releases coming up, Billy shows no signs of slowing down soon.
Emerging from a background playing rare groove and funk, Billy’s first forays into house appeared during his residency at London’s The Brain Club, alongside Lost founder Steve Bicknell. Meanwhile, he manned the tills at Zoom, one of the capital’s most important record shops, soaking up everything from American house and techno to the emerging strains of British progressive and early European trance. Quickly making an impact, he was asked to contribute the first volume of the seminal ‘Journeys By DJs’ series – gaining him entry into the Guinness book of records for being the first DJ to produce a commercially available mix.
As the dance scene of the early 90s splintered into numerous subgenres, Billy’s profile sky-rocketed, resulting in regular slots at famed London clubs Final Frontier, Open All Hours, The Drum Club and Strutt. Collaborating with a handful of likeminded friends, Billy’s studio work started to reach the public’s ears, and by 1995, he was jetting across the globe every weekend, spinning at many of the most famous clubs and festivals in dance music history.
Around this time, he formed his own agency, Theremin, and was responsible in no small part for introducing the wider world to the talents of now-huge European DJs such as Adam Beyer, Marco Carola and Joel Mull. Meanwhile, his first label, Tortured, showed the development of his style into a harder, purer form of techno, and quickly became one of the genre’s most influential and prominent imprints. This was followed in 2001 by Electrix, where Billy released more experimental techno and electro from artists including Umek, The Advent and Carl Finlow. Again, this quickly became one of the leading labels in its field, and remained so until its closure in 2006.
Having decided to wind down his labels to concentrate on DJing and studio work, Billy has spent most of the 21st century doing the same as he always has – sourcing out the freshest, most innovative, dancefloor sounds to spin. Incorporating the recent trends towards minimalism, along with dubstep, electro and classically-styled techno into his seamlessly-mixed style, Billy is a regular guest at Fabric, and holds a residency for the UK’s hugely acclaimed electronic music festival, BLOC, whilst continuing to travel the globe for gigs each and every weekend.
But while DJing is clearly his first love, he’s also found time to get back into the studio, collaborating with Gregor Tresher for labels including Datapunk, Terminal-M, and Crosstown Rebel's Rebel1 subsidiary. As if all that wasn’t enough, he’s also developed his new project that you are witnessing here – Radionasty, alongside Keith Tenniswood.
As electronic music continues to splinter and evolve deep into the future, one thing is certain – Billy and Keith will be right there in the thick of it, doing what they do best. It’s time to get nasty…Radionasty.
EPM Podcast 21 – RADIONASTY
1. Radioactive Man - Nastyradio - Wangtrax
2. Cuverville - Slata mechouaa - Digital Vomit
3. Radioactive Man - 20,000 Whats - Wangtrax
4. Radionasty - Radio 1 - Tyrant
5 Radionasty - Radio 2 - Tyrant
6. JCB - Take a break (Radionasty remix ) unreleased
7. Boddika - Breezin - Nonplus
8 Parallel - Exosphere - Komisch
9. SCB 28_5 -Hot flush
10. Lee J Malcolm Oh Yeah (Ben Sims Rolling dub) EPM
11. Phil Kieran (Feat Green Velvet) Free yourself PKRD
12. Alan Fitzpatrick A Small Decline (Mark Broom Remix) - Drumcode
13 .Sleep Archive Ronan point Two - Tresor
14. Instra:mental User - Nonplus
15. Boddika - Electron - Swamp 81
16. Model 500 - OFI - R+S
EPM Music www.epm-music.com. You can subscribe to all of EPM’s podcasts via iTunes.
Q&A with Radionasty (aka Keith Tenniswood and Billy Nasty)
1. Please give us a quick walk through your selection. Why did you choose these tracks for the mix?
KEITH: Well the Radionasty tracks for obvious reasons, (of which we’ve just cut to vinyl for Craig Richards Tyrant label) some of my new stuff which is coming soon on Wangtrax and current bits which have been twisting our melons.
BILLY - I also wanted to use trax that I play out regularly in the clubs and from cutting edge artists that are taking their music and sound in new and exciting directions.
2. How did Radionasty come about? Are two headz better than one?
KEITH - We’ve been friends for a long time, I first met Billy at Sabresonic studios when I was making the tea and skinning up, when he was working with Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns doing the Kammaflage stuff. We have also been on the same bill (sic) quite a lot over the years and Billy shares my love of electro so it felt right and very relaxed to go in the studio together. Billy knows his music so well and as a DJ, knows how to arrange stuff really well. Especially when it comes to 4/4 business.
BILLY - like Keith says we've known each other for quite a long time now and are both respectful of each other’s work so the plan to work together came quite naturally. The opportunity to work with someone as talented as KT was an offer I couldn't refuse and it didn't disappoint.
3. You both have a wealth of experience to draw on so how do you merge ideas in the production process without it becoming a sprawling mess?
KEITH - When I collaborate with people I always find it nice to work with someone who has foresight in the studio and patience too. You can’t expect to just magic sounds together, it takes time and I’m always looking for new sounds. No point in just using preset stuff, make it yourself. Billy understands that less is more, which is important too. He’ll always have a shitload of new tunes to vibe off too.
BILLY - when we work things happen & flow quite smoothly, we both come up with ideas and directions, which we try out and then judge. We’re also quite lucky with several happy accidents that go on to become key parts in our trax. Recently we've been recording at Keith's place which I think keeps things chilled out n less stressy due to no dead lines, recording cost and studio kick out times. We've recently completed a remix for Red Snapper there and were both really pleased with the remix and the sound we achieved. It was great to remix one of there trax as they have always been one of my favorite bands.
4. How will Radionasty co-exist amongst your other projects? Is it currently your main focus?
KEITH - We’re both busy doing our own thing. There’s no set plan of action, other than getting together once or twice a week to drink beer and make tunes.
BILLY - I agree, we both have several other projects going that we spend time on but RadioNasty is our most recent studio project and we are excited about It’ll be the first time we perform together at the EPM Nitsa party in Barcelona this Thursday.
5. With Deadmau5, Plastikman and Daft Punk taking live electronic music back to the main stages at festivals there seems to be a growing emphasis on the visual element of a show. Will Radionasty be incorporating visuals into future plans?
KEITH - Would be nice, but probably not on our current budget. Think we’re more of a one strobe light in a dingy room sort of act at the moment. Which I’m quite partial too anyway. :)
BILLY - if we got to the stage were we wanted to play out live then I think strong visuals would be a good look and an extra vibe to the performance...we could call them Video nasty’s!! LOL
6. On the flip side you both DJ and play back to back at the EPM and Phonomonkey ‘Engine Room’ show at Sonar this week. How will you work as a tag team and what can we expect?
KEITH - We’ve had a wee chat about it, I think its gonna be 3 or 4 records each so you get the chance to get into a bit of a flow. Trying to coax Billy into a full electro set but it wont be easy I suspect.
BILLY - I think we'll attack the set in a similar way that we used with the podcast. Starting off with some killer electro vibes then building the pace and intensity up with club friendly techno bangers.
7. Billy. Will we see a return of Tortured Records or yourself as a label boss again?
BILLY - i've often thought about relaunching Tortured & Electrix records but half of me thinks it’s nice to leave them as they are. I'm really proud of both the label's achievements and all the great records that were released on them…saying that I think you should never say never, so you don’t know I might relaunch them one day.
8. Keith. You played guitar all over Europe with Two Lone Swordsmen’s live set up. Do you still feel the urge to grind the axe?
KEITH - I’ve still got 2 lovely vintage Gibson’s that will always have a place in my studio. To be honest I’ve not played much recently but I do add the occasional guitar line and also bass which I love playing. So good for coming up with ideas.
9. You are both marooned on a desert island. Who cracks first?
KEITH - You try dealing with Billy on a monday morning. Most definitely me!
BILLY - think i'd probably start moaning first... depends on how long the booze lasts!
10. As the party @ Nitsa during Sonar is in honour of our dear friend Brian Hanna (aka Engine Room) who sadly passed away this time last year please give us your top 5 ‘Engine Room moments’ (without incriminating yourselves!)
Not just moments but traits too...
1. Him Trying to pass me a spliff when I was doing our 1st ever TLS gig in Brighton and was like ‘who is this guy trying to talk to me whilst i’m playing’? And it being our 1st ever show. I was nervous as hell.
2. Him using his compass in his car to navigate.
3. His seemingly endless supply of sayings and one liners.
4. Part of the furniture at Fabric. Literally.
5. His genuine love of music and was always into checking out my new stuff... Sorely missed!!
BILLY - again many mad memories of ER below are a few of them
1. the last proper time I spent with ER was at the Bloc 2010 festival we shared a chalet that weekend, I drove us both there on the thursday night he had been up and hadn’t slept since the saturday before. He was obviously buzzing and he was constantly talking during the journey, which I remember describing to Keith as being verbally machine gunned for 5 hours in a car with no chance of escape. It was weird not to have him at Bloc this year as he'd been at everyone until then, loads of people commented on this also.
2. his outstanding peak cap hat collection. His cranberry & vodka signature drink and his tendency for wearing way to much aftershave.
3. having conversations with him in noisy night clubs and parties but only getting one in five words. Not that that stopped him!
4. his lock up in Brighton that was the like the analog version of the elephants grave yard with loads of old valve amps, speakers and synths and shit loads of vinyl. I always respected his love of music and buying/collecting records and obsession that is becoming more n more rare these days.
5. when I first moved to Brighton I would spend loads of nights at his house talking (and sometimes arguing) about everything and anything. He was an interesting, fascinating and hilarious character that we will always miss. I hope he's up there at the great gig in the sky backstage mumbling n cackling to whoever is on at the time. In fact I'm sure he’s just met up with Kenny Hawkes another sorely missed Brightonian.