By Ben Gelblum (@BenGelblum)
Hackney’s most exclusive riding club are EastHam-born DJ Jawa and This Ain’t Bristol’s globetrotting DJ and UK House producer Billy Kenny. Hackney Polo Club trotted out of Upper Clapton – Hackney’s Murder Mile – and into a banging residency at Shoreditch’s capital of fun The Book Club, with a stack of well-received releases, and a banging new “tech-house meets dancehall” EP, Babylon Must Fall out soon. Expect to hear a lot more from Hackney’s finest export.
TLE caught up with DJ Jawa as he flew in from France to grace the decks at his residency at Daliees Jukebox at The Book Club this Saturday.
TLE: Why ‘Hackney Polo Club’?
DJ Jawa: I was sat in the Crooked Billet pub in Upper Clapton – the posh part of Hackney – and overheard three ladies discussing where they could ride their horses around here. They were rather posh, defo not from the manor – loads of Islington ex-pats have moved into the ‘Murder Mile.’ I laughed and told them: ‘there’s a polo club on Hackney Marshes, it’s rather good.’ Hackney Polo Club was born.
TLE: Hackney might not be renowned for equine sports, but it’s the birth place of some great dance acts and memorable nights. What’s the connection with Hackney?
DJ Jawa: I’m from Eastham, East London originally. Like a gypsy’s ring, I’ve graced loads of places, as has Billy – he’s now in Hamburg. I’ve lived in Wales, Japan, New York, Australia, Barcelona and Hackney Upper Clapton again for 6 years. I divide my time now between DJ’ing in East London and Marseille where the climate is a bit nicer! I do miss my Hackney, but I don’t miss winters in London.
TLE: What do you miss about Hackney then?
DJ Jawa: The best things about Hackney are Turkish food; Indian food; skateboarding and hanging out with the local skaters and BMX riders in Clissold Park; great pubs – like Homerton’s Jackdaw And Star – Andi Oliver’s boozer and The Crooked Billet – the place where Hackney Polo Club was born.
TLE: In the pub?
DJ Jawa: I’m big friends with Billy’s uncle Leigh Kenny through working with Faithless and Leigh as LSK. I wanted a good producer to work with and Leigh introduced us at the Crooked Billet in June 2014. Boom! – We clicked, laughed and got stuck in to our first track – Big Bad Bass Line Sound. Within two weeks it was on BBC Radio 1, 1 Xtra, Rinse FM. Hackney Polo Club had begun.
TLE: How do you work together now if you’re in different countries?
DJ Jawa: Skype – I try and remember to put some clothes on. Then reference tracks and samples are sent via tinter web. We host a residency at The Book Club in Shoreditch, East London – Daliees Jukebox Champion Sounds Party where I’m playing on Saturday. It’s brilliant as we get to road test all our new tracks on this rowdy East London party crowd.
TLE: And how do you describe your sound?
DJ Jawa: Party tunes. You not only hear my sound, you will feel my sound like an internal massage from the bass.
TLE: Very pervy. And what sort of influences do you have?
DJ Jawa: Early inspirations were Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye. When I was young our neighbours were Jamaican, I would hear them dropping some sweet sounds and I used to dance about in the garden. In 1988 I started listening to House music, techno, Warp Records and I started my raving days living in Wales.
TLE: Where’s your favourite place to play now?
DJ Jawa: Our favourite gig was this summer: Hackney Polo Club on the Boom Box Stage at Boomtown Festival. What a venue – a massive boom box surrounded by a wall of shipping containers, and a shit load of party people ‘aving it large. Went off like a rocket.
TLE: And your worst gig?
DJ Jawa: Glastonbury – five years ago. My second gig at the festival. Spiked myself with Ketamine, and fell 10 feet off a stage while waiting to DJ after Raf Daddy from The 2 Bears. I had less vision then Stevie Wonder and could not walk. I missed my set. Much love to Raf who played for me. That’s what happens when you hang out with Bez (Happy Mondays) for four days at Glasto.
TLE: So when – apart from hanging out with Bez – are you at your happiest?
DJ Jawa: Surfing. Costa Rica, for example – I spent two months in Santa Terassa, no phone, no laptop. The happiest time ever. Freedom of the mind, body and soul. That’s hard to achieve in East London. Every time I go surfing it’s the best feeling in the world. I’d easily give it all up to be a surf bum again!
TLE: Um. Assuming you don’t – what’s up next for Hackney Polo Club?
DJ Jawa: We are in the studio at the moment making an EP, Babylon Shall Fall – UK tech-house jungle garage. East London flavour.