Metropolis Festival returns to Dublin’s RDS at the end of next month with their biggest lineup yet. One of the first festivals of it’s kind in Ireland, Metropolis is a predominantly indoor festival with a massive focus on production and arts, hosting the best live acts and DJs that the world has to offer. While hosting an array of genres this year, the stand out factor of the festival is the number of people on the lineup who would be considered to having contributed to how dance music has been shaped since the late 1980s.
Richie Hawtin, Leftfield and Laurent Garnier will all play under one roof this October Bank Holiday Weekend, proving Metropolis has put together one of the stand-out dance music lineups that Ireland has seen in the last decade.
Richie Hawtin last played in Ireland in 2015 at Forbidden Fruit. The English-born Canadian raised artist was introduced to electronic music by his father who introduced him to Kraftwork and Tangerine Dream at an early age. In 1989 Hawtin formed his renowned Plus 8 label alongside Canadian DJ John Acquaviva where he released tracks under his F.U.S.E alias. The label went on to release tracks by the likes of Speedy J and Kenny Larkin.
Hawtin adopted his Plastikman incarnation in 1993 releasing the iconic percussive single Spastik and parent album Sheet One, going on to release a number of albums and touring a live show for the next twenty-five years. The evidence of the respect that Hawtin has gained is pretty clear with Daniel Miller, founder of the seminal Mute label, referring to him as “a leader” and “a pioneer”. The New York Times called him “one of the electronic dance world’s intellectual forces,”. Even Raf Simons, former Creative Director at Dior, says he listens “to Richie Hawtin’s music like others listen to classical music”, calling him “the Kraftwerk of today”.
Leftfield performing Leftism will be an extremely special rarity next month. The critically acclaimed 1995 album Leftisim was nominated for a Mercury Prize when first released as well as Mixmag stating that “classics like Release The Pressure and Song of Life were the cement that welded a whole new British house scene together. London proudly joined the league of house capitals. British dance music has never looked back.” The album was then re-released earlier this year.
Leftfield was originally a duo, consisting of Londoners Paul Daley and Neil Barnes and forming in 1989. Neil Barnes’ music career started off as a DJ at The Wag Club in London while simultaneously playing percussion on a session basis. Around 1989 Barnes decided to try his hand at electronic music production, and called upon Daley to remix some of the tracks he was making. As their mutual interest in electronic music became clear the pair decided that they would work instead upon Leftfield, once Barnes had extricated himself from his now troublesome contract with Rhythm King subsidiary, Outer Rhythm.
The duo were very influential in the evolution of electronic music in the 1990s, with Mixmag describing them as “the single most influential production team working in British dance music”. They stayed together until 2002 when they decided to call it a day. In 2010 Neil Barnes resurrected Leftfield, although Paul Daley declined to be involved so he could focus on his solo career. Neil Barnes has been performing as Leftfield since.
Laurent Garnier has been influencing electronic music for over 30 years. Garnier first gained interest in electronic music when he discovered The Haçienda in Manchester, and met Mike Pickering, their resident DJ, during the Acid House movement in 1987. Chicago house and Detroit techno became popular, and Garnier started mixing there under the name of DJ Pedro. He went on to become a major figure in the Paris nightlife scene, playing everywhere from La Luna to the Palace. As he became one of the leading lights in French dance music near the end of the 1980’s, he then began to tour around the world. While in 1992 he famously played a three-night long “Weekender” set at the Cork venue, Sir Henry’s. At the beginning of 2011 Laurent Garnier was the only Frenchman, amongst 35 international DJ’s, to be shortlisted for best DJ of all time by Mixmag.
“By the time I was ten years old my bedroom looked like a nightclub. There were strobes, multi-coloured flashing lights, a disco ball, a DJ booth and a dance floor. When I switched on my equipment hundreds of tiny white lights would flit across my bedroom ceiling and walls. I switched on my disco ball every night. I only dreamt of one thing: making people dance.”
For more information on Metropolis click here.