Standard Place, a collective comprising of Oneman, Jon Rust, Reecha, Asbo and Barclay, are at the forefront of the resurgent underground house scene happening across the country. Recent packed Boiler Room sessions and sold-out warehouse parties seem to confirm this status. The gang makes a rare trip up north, to Leeds, next week so we caught up with Jon Rust to understand where they came from and where they’re all going.
Where did you guys meet and why did you decide to form Standard Place?
Steve (Oneman) & Tom (ASBO) have been kicking about since school days while Reecha and I were good mates from time at University in Nottingham. I’d been going to FWD>> since around 2005, sometimes making the trip back down from Notts. I must have met Oneman down there 2006 – Steve was passing out flyers for the Redstar sessions, Camberwell. I met ASBO, or Guy Brazil as he was then, soon after.
Originally Standard Place was just a pre-FWD>> hang out, street beers and what-not a few yards from Plastic People. It’s an actual street where Barclay (James) and the crew used to gather, FWD>> was the hub and it kind of orbited that. That whole scene was still fairly small and you’d see the same faces and I supposed we were all on each others radar.
By 2007 Reecha was running Dirty Canvas, while after pushing dubstep up in the Midlands, I had got more involved with FWD>> and had a Rinse show. Oneman was at REACT FM at the time and had started doing squat parties (the legendary House Party sessions). Dark spots, right out of the way. Loads of people played. Big sound, great times. Then the smoking ban hit in 2008 and they went mental. So we were all coming through in different ways.
It was still really loose back then, membership was broader; at one point Mellissa Bradshaw (the writer) Georgina Cook (seminal dubstep photographer), Luke Envoy, Deapoh (Barefiles) were somewhere in there… there was definitely a vibe. Credit to Reecha though, he actually opened up DC specifically to Standard Place with Steve picking guests. Those sessions were really lively and that crystallised things a bit more.
But things in dubstep were mushrooming… Steve went touring a lot, Reecha was busy with No Hats No Hoods, and with the music going the way it was, I’d even stopped taking dubstep bookings altogether. The golden era of FWD>> and DMZ had passed for us and with that things had become dislocated.
Sometime in 2009 though it was like…. “where’s everyone at?” So we just started catching up again and just seemed to agree that we should get things back together.
What kind of musical background did you come from?
We all seemed to converge around dubstep and grime. Beyond that there’s overlaps, for instance Oneman and Reecha are definitely more hip hop and 2 step, while I had an older brother so got exposure to more techno, house, breakbeats & hardcore. I could probably draw a Venn diagram.
But yeah, garage in all it’s flavours was a common root for us all. It had all but fizzled out by the mid 2000’s….people called it “old school” even back then. Under the surface though dubstep and grime were simmering away, out of view, which took us to FWD>> and then DMZ.
Can you explain the basic idea behind Standard Place? Does anyone have specific roles or is it more spontaneous?
It’s probably nothing new, but we just wanted to make a dance that we’d want to go to ourselves. Plenty of nights start that way, whether other people then feel the same is another story altogether though.
For that we knew we’d need solid residents, decent sound, and a receptive crowd. Creating the conditions takes some planning. For instance, finding the right venue isn’t as easy as it might seem, then getting the sound right, making sure people know about it… that all takes time. But we all pitch in.
How the night plays out though really depends a lot on how we’re feeling on the day. For example, I might feel to warm things, set the tone. Or one of us might have some new tunes that we want to air, or have dug something from the vaults that would work much later. Reecha and I have played b2b for years now, so we can switch about pretty easily and Oneman’s flow is unquestionable, so we can be pretty flexible. Times when we’ve gone in b2b2b have been carnage, chaotic even but I think that’s part of the fun…. there’s no formula, we just try and roll it out as we see fit.
Inviting guests are an extension of that really. We don’t base the night around them, that’s why they’re often unannounced. A crowd’s expectations can be limiting… so by keeping things more low key we’ve found everyone involved has a better time. It’s more like we’re just inviting them around our house for a mix.
You were recently asked to compile the London house/garage track list for 22tracks. Would you say these genres define Standard Place?
Sure, House & Garage are a massive part of what we do, its our heritage sound but that’s specifically a retrospective playlist, it’s not definitive where we’re at now. To be honest, genres are limiting. For us, London is a sound and its heritage spans rare grooves & soul, reggae, dancehall, jungle, hardcore and beyond.
You’re known for the massively successful monthly Standard Place nights at the Alibi in London but have announced you are moving on. Where do you see Standard Place in the future?
The parties at the Alibi were great, but our plans have meant that we couldn’t commit to a residency.
We’re a few warehouse parties deep now and each time they get better, so we’re looking forward to more of them, but venues of a certain size in london are hard to find, so to keep things fresh, we’re putting the time in there.
Until the next one though, we’ve got a special one-off with XOYO next month to bring Todd Edwards over. Saturday May 19th is the date, make sure that’s in your calendar!
We get asked for tees a lot. Everyone and their dog has done t shirts. So how inventive that is I dunno. Then again, everyone love a good tee. Maybe we’ll blend our own tea. “Standard Place Tea – especially for water from The River Wandle”
Have you or anyone else in the crew got any new releases scheduled or any significant projects coming to fruition?
Both myself and Reecha run Lightworks and Oneman has his label 502. They’ve both got things coming up soon so watch out for them. We’d gone a bit quiet with Lightworks since our last release but we’re not in any hurry to put something out just for the sake of it – it has to fit what we’re about, Oneman’s got the same philosophy too.
Finally, could you name any track or artists that you’re really feeling right now?
Kowton from Bristol. He’s just dropped an absolute BOMB on Livity. To date, his music’s been on a deeper tip, but he’s just gone all out on on this one. Dangerous material.
Henny Moan. Truly individual, he really sounds like no one else. If you’re down with Hype Williams, then you’ve gotta check this guy out.
Bullion. He’s about to drop a new EP “Love Me Oh Please Love Me” on his own label. His NTS show is incredible and he slips his own productions in between all these obscure 80s gems and prog rock. (30th April available from http://shop.bullionness.com/)