Music Features

Dirty Tina (Interview)

In what may become a series, Ben abuses his status as acting webmaster to chat to a friend of his, Rich Walsh, about Dirty Tina, a series of nights that have been quietly spreading fine music and a little bit of grime to surprised clubs around London.

For the uninitiated, tell us a bit about Dirty Tina. Who are you, and what do you do?

Dirty Tina is four guys of varying ages and record collections playing a variety of records for the entertainment of people who like to dance. After a year doing the night at Catch in Shoreditch we are now concentrating on doing a number of one-off nights at several venues around London.

Where have you played recently?

We did a very laid back set in the back room of Infinity in Mayfair a couple of weeks ago, which was a nice little venue for music and dancing. We were returning the favour for a couple of DJs from Skrew, who'd played some sleazy electro for us at one-off we did at the Pleasure Unit in Bethnall Green. That had gone better than I expected and better than I even hoped, a full house of people getting in to the music all night.

What sort of crowd do you get? Is it just trendy East London art-school types?

Not even slightly. Our clientele varies greatly but that certainly wouldn't describe it. At any given night it's hard to know which groups have come because of the flyers and mailing list and who has come because they walked past and heard music, so it's difficult to tell which people even are our crowd. This is especially true because we try and do our nights as cheap as we can and free where possible so it attracts a lot of people who are just curious when walking by.

What's it like trying to run a night like this? Do get a lot of grief from promoters and venues?

In my experience so far most of the venues (with some honourable exceptions) have been fairly incompetent and some (Catch) downright nasty. When it's time to settle up or give tokens for drinks the people you need are always somewhat difficult to find. You might think that people running bars and clubs are more laid back and reasonable than businessmen in other fields but you would be wrong.

Have you had the rozzers turn up yet?

No, but then we haven't really done anything illegal, well there is one place we've used a couple of times that where we could have been busted but I'm sure that the dodgy (but lovely) Italians who run it have some kind of arrangement with the police. [ Erm, can we say that, legal ed?]

Ever been chucked out of your own night?

Of course not, I've never been chucked out of anywhere.

So, turning to music - 'cos that's kinda why we're here - what are you really enjoying playing at the moment?

Speaking for myself, I've been buying a lot of old stuff recently but I think that the strength of the night is the variety. Joe has been getting a load of electro flavoured stuff and Olaf has bought a lot of italo disco while Rich always seems to surprise everyone.

And anything that you'll be trying to get on the decks in the near future?

There are a couple of old tracks that may not be obvious dance floor fillers I've got a mind to take a risk with next time such as Pinball Machine by Lonnie Irving which is an old trucking song and Transfusion by Nervous Norvus, a kind of fifties proto-rap thing done by a former radio announcer I believe. Probably best to play those early in the night though...

What tracks have gone down best over all the nights?

Again, speaking for myself there are things like Black Leather by Nightmares in Wax which was Pete Burns before he formed Dead or Alive, it's a kind of heavy punk/dance thing featuring loads of memorable lines like "I like 'em big tall strong and twelve inches long" and "I don't know how to ride a motorbike but I sure know how to ride a big stiff cock", (un)fortunately I don't think anybody notices the words. In complete contrast to that a couple of really good electro flavoured house tracks, like the Tiefshwartz (that can't be right) mix of Kinda New by Spektrum and The Big Fake by Traffic Signs, which have also been rocking it. I could go on for ages. I should also mention Put Your Love In Me by Hot Chocolate(!) which Rich plays, he keeps surprising me with great songs by bands I always thought were shit and this really is a filthy slow funk masterpiece.

One track to start the party?

I've always had success with The Virus by Stanton Warriors which is basically a pumped up version of the naggingly catchy Magic's Wand by Whodini.

And one to end it?

Last time I think Joe played Once In A Lifetime but maybe that's a bit obvious (although good). I think it depends on how the night went and what kind of thing seems appropriate at the time.

Who else is doing something similar to you guys?

Don't really know to be honest, anyone who is playing different stuff, not sticking to four to the floor all night and trying to find both new classics and new old classics as well, if you see what I mean.

Best night you've had in the last year?

In my opinion the best night in London is Wang, formerly of the Premises in Hackney, their final night there was fucking ace with their usual heavy electro and techno in the main rooms and dub in the back and the best atmosphere of any club I know, it rocked. The last hour was actually emotional with Electro Elvis playing loads of old classics and everyone passing bottles of champagne round the dance floor.

And finally, who or what is Dirty Tina?

I think it's some kind of slang, I don't even know to be honest, I wanted to call it Dick Show...