The back-to-back is an artform in itself. Done properly, b2b DJing can present selectors with the opportunity to forge sets with increased freedom and creativity, pulling and stretching them as they play off one another and dip into less travelled terrain than they would normally reach when performing solo. Conversely, some pairings will struggle when faced with the challenge of moulding their choices to fit the ideas of another, crafting sets that run the risk of becoming disjointed or aimless if wavelengths don’t quite align.
This summer, Parklife Festival will welcome several duos to try their hand at delivering the winning formula; here’s the lowdown on the challengers.
Armand van Helden b2b Jackmaster
They say you should never meet your heroes, but it’s fair to say Numbers head-honcho Jackmaster will disagree. Back in July, the Scottish party starter found himself shoulder-to-shoulder with Armand Van Helden, the Boston-born house producer and DJ responsible for the advent of speed-garage, scores of house anthems and the hedony of innumerable hordes of party goers. During two hour b2b for Boiler Room’s Ray Ban sponsored event, the pair bounced club classic after club classic between them, rarely pausing for breath as the night descended into carefully curated chaos.
Jackmaster’s bow is one of many strings, armed to deliver the cutting edge regardless of genre. Techno, disco, garage, and every shade of house have all become weapons in his well-stocked arsenal; this b2b offers the the chance to show off favourites from his youth, operating with an inspirational partner in crime.
What do you get when 90s New York and today’s Glasgow collide? It’s sure to be something special.
My Nu Leng b2b Oneman
Oneman is another man who takes the word ‘party’ at face value, relentlessly dealing killer blows with his distinctive fast mixing style and blend of predominantly London sounds. Storming through garage, UK funky, grime and hip hop, a banging Oneman set might be as close to a guarantee as you’re likely to find. My Nu Leng, though newer to the block, operate on a similar plain, with a penchant for rumbling bass, weighty percussion and vocal hooks. Bring them together and this b2b offers big things for Parklife’s bass community.
Seth Troxler & Martinez Brothers
Seth Troxler and the Martinez Brothers are pretty much household names these days. Perhaps renowned more for their punchy sets and effortless cool than their social consciouses, the three men’s work in promoting minority culture through their joint label, Tuskegee, also deserves recognition. With Troxler hailing from Detroit and the Martinez boys from Brooklyn in New York, the label’s releases draw from artists of similar backgrounds, providing a “label of cultural heritage” which seeks to celebrate Hispanic and African-American roots. Now bringing this collaboration to clubs with a series of b2b shows, Troxler and co will certainly try to set an example.
B Traits & Alan Fitzpatrick
Another pair with a history are Brianna Price, more commonly known as B Traits, and Alan Fitzpatrick, who have linked up to play together a few times after Fitzpatrick guested on Price’s BBC R1 show last year. B Traits has become an influential figure with her weekly slot, even presenting BBC 3 documentary How Safe Are My Drugs?, a role which has taken her London Electronic Arts Festival and Ibiza Music Summit as a leader on related panels. Aiming to close the gap between underground and mainstream club music, she and Fitzgerald be looking to make a mark once more at Parklife this year.
Could any of these collaborations prove to be the perfect b2b? All will be revealed at Parklife.
Words by Andrew Kemp
Photos courtesy of Boiler Room