On 29th October, thousands of ravers descended upon the hallowed Press Halls of East London raving institution Printworks for a sold out day of leftfield house and techno, courtesy of seminal UK label Hessle Audio and respected promoters The Hydra.
This year marked a decade dedicated to underground electronic music by The Hydra, and they commemorated this milestone with three special events at Printworks, each one highlighting landmark anniversaries for other music brands including 15 years of Hessle Audio and the upcoming EFG London Jazz Festival 30th birthday on 19th November.
There may not be another UK dance label who has cultivated such a unique and era-defining imprint as Hessle Audio. Spearheaded by three unique, distinguished DJs – Ben UFO, Pangaea, and Pearson Sound, who met at a Dubstep event in 2005, the label founded in 2007 has continuously pushed the boundaries for contemporary dance music. Celebrating 15 years of Hessle Audio, all three founding DJs embarked on an international tour, including events in Amsterdam, London, Lisbon and Dublin.
For their Printworks celebration, Hessle Audio brought an exciting, diverse array of DJs from across the musical spectrum; including Avalon Emerson, Daphni, Karenn, DJ Stingray, Special Request, Objekt, Shanti Celeste, and many more. We were up and down the stairs from the Press Halls to Inkwells to catch as many DJs as we could! From the extensive lineup, here’s our standout sets from the day:
Note: It was hard to ID tunes. What did we expect? It’s Hessle Audio after all…
Internationally acclaimed music producer Dan Snaith, also known as Caribou, exercises his dance music creativity as Daphni – where his dance floor oriented sets have been turning heads for years. With an ethos of rough but ready music, his performances are characterised by feel-good disco, shimmering synths and shuffling drums.
Playing for 90 mins, Daphni delighted the crowd with a combination of his own productions and unreleased material. The energy in the room was high, and the flashing spot beams in tandem with elongated, exciting build ups kept the ravers on their toes. Just listen to the roars in the below video!
DJ Stingray b2b Objekt
Playing their first b2b since 2019, Detroit electro phenomenon DJ Stingray and Berlin-based maverick Objekt were a fantastic addition to the line up. With Stingray’s hard-hitting electro and breaks sets making him a firm favourite of ours, combined with the unique take on techno and breaks that Objekt has – this was a b2b we were eager to see.
Taking the Inkwells by storm, Stingray and Objekt took turns obliterating the crowd with face-melting breaks and downright disgusting basslines. Looking around, everyone was clearly enjoying the one-upmanship of the two DJs, as stomping techno blended effortlessly into two-stepping breaks, with the occasional light relief from a breakdown. Their set was ideally suited to the dark Inkwells, with limited production enhancing the intensity of the music!
One of the most exciting collaborations in techno, made up of influential producers Blawan and Pariah took full control of the intimate Inkwells. Both respected producers in their own right, the British duo joined forces in 2011 to create club-focussed, overdriven techno. And boy, do they deliver.
Stood amongst the crowd, there was a palpable tension in the air as Blawan and Pariah stepped up to the decks. Their dark and gritty interpretation of techno matched perfectly with the stripped back, low ceilings in Inkwells. Thunderous drums and tumultuous build-ups filled the room for the full set, with both fist pumping techno and broken beats being played. Paired with the strobes, it was a match made in heaven.
Manchester based producer and DJ Anz is known for her genre-spanning productions and energy-filled sets. Across her work, she unearths the links between electro, UK garage, jungle and more, underpinning a versatile take on contemporary rave music which is as bright as it is unpredictable.
Playing the penultimate set of the Press Halls, Anz upped the ante with an electrifying set. Taking a broad approach, the crowd’s anticipation built throughout the performance, with pumping speed garage, choppy drums, and breaks all going down a storm. As the production increased too, trippy visuals on the long thin screen played out, while spotlights and strobes littered the dance floor.
Made up of Ben UFO, Pangaea, and Pearson Sound, the three DJs have consistently been tastemakers in the UK scene for the last 15 years. While Pangea and Pearson Sound have notable careers as producers, Ben UFO is one of the few DJs who has made a lasting career without any production credits. They have continuously released forward-thinking music, and their sets reflect this.
Closing the Press halls from 21:00 – 23:00, it was our most anticipated set of the day. It’s not that common that you’ll catch all three founding members playing b3b. As they arrived on stage, the crowd in the Press Halls let off a huge cheer as the next two hours of wonky tunes started.
Taking us on a journey of house, techno, breaks, and jungle – Hessle Audio truly captivated the crowd from start to finish. The production in the Press Halls is one of the best in the world, and as the light rig drops down over the crowd, the tension intensified, and erupted as a flurry of spot beams was unleashed the full length of the room – a truly astonishing feeling .
What a stunning day packed full of incredible music. Going in to a Hessle Audio event, iyou expect to hear tons of new and unreleased material – it’s safe to say we were not disappointed. Every DJ performing in both the Press Halls and Inkwells pulled out all the stops for a spectacular sonic exploration of leftfield house, techno, and breaks.
The production is always top quality at Printworks, from the stripped-back Inkwells doused in ominous red and blue lighting to the jaw-dropping light rig in the Press Halls. All around, people were dancing non-stop, with an older, like-minded crowd making for an unrivalled day of raving! Bravo.