Lee Rands talks to The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight ahead of the mUmU 9th birthday party. Check out what he has to say for himself, here.
Saturday, February 4th sees Liverpool underground dance powerhouse, mUmU, celebrating its 9th birthday, and what better way to do so than with a big fat knees-up in the Baltic Triangle. You can win tickets to the event, here.
The day/night party sees Cassy, Enzo Suragusa, Nastia, and Garry Beck, joined by mUmU resident Lee Rands, Jon Rundell, Clive Henry, Scott Grant, and Tred Benedict. The Garden will be put to good use as well, with Hustle and LDF DJs taking to the decks.
With the party just around the corner, we took some time out to shoot the breeze with Lee Rands, who has been resident at mUmU for 9 years and counting. Here’s what Lee had to say.
Waveform: Hi Lee, thanks for taking the time to visit The Waveform Transmitter. We’ll begin where it makes the most sense; what inspired you to start DJing?
Lee: Hi, thanks for having me. I think what inspired me was the music itself. I was well into house and drum and bass throughout school and had a tonne of cassette tapes and CDs with mixes off the radio or what friends had made.
I always kept up to date with new releases but had never actually tried to mix myself. A little while after leaving school, a friend of mine was selling a pair of Sound Lab belt-drive decks that I bought, with a mixed box of records. I then spent most of my weekends mixing and found my new love. I got pretty OK at it, so ditched the Sound Labs for Technics 1210s, started playing out, and have moved along from then on.
Waveform: You’ve been a resident at mUmU since 2008. Tell us how that came about?
Lee: After heading out to see my cousin for the Ibiza closings in 2006, I fell in love with the place and decided to do the summer of 2007. We had a big crew of mates we had met out there; one of them was Trevor.
He had seen me play over the summer in a few parties and asked me if I would be up for coming up to Liverpool to play at his party, mUmU. He was going to start after the summer, so I said yes. So, I went up for the first party which was great – all the friends we met in Ibiza had come up to join us. From then on I have played at every party and became the resident of now 9 years and counting.
Waveform: Your sets are very varied, and you seem comfortable playing completely different styles from week to week. Is this the case? Do you plan the direction your set is going to take beforehand do you read the room from the off to decide how it will play out?
Lee: Yes, I think within reason that’s the case. I think part of being a good resident is to be a bit versatile, as it helps the night flow when you can direct the music to suit the following DJ to whatever they want to play.
I usually do a bit of both for planning the direction of my set. I research who is playing before me and get a feel for what would be a nice place to leave them with before they come on, but I never pre-plan as you never know what the room is going to be like at that moment. Best just to have a general idea of where you’re going with the set and have some offsprings to take it in a different direction to suit the mood of the dance floor.
Waveform: Who have you most enjoyed playing alongside over your 9-year residency? Anyone in particular stand out?
Lee: I’ve played alongside and met some great people over the 9 years. But I would have to say it’s Ryan Elliott I’ve enjoyed the most. The first time we went b2b at The Magnet it just flowed effortlessly through different styles without any planning, it really was a great party and after that, we became mates and have enjoyed sharing the decks with him on a few other occasions at mUmU. He’s an all-round top fella.
Waveform: In the wake of Sankeys’ closure, what is your take on the current state of the underground scene? We see a lot of success – mUmU is a case in point, having cemented their position as one of Liverpool’s best club nights, over the years – but we are now also seeing clubs facing a lot of issues. How do you feel about this?
Lee: I think the underground scene in the UK at the minute is shaken. It’s a shame that the powers that be are putting obstacles in front of clubs and have been for a long time, whilst trying to kill off what is a massive part of our rave culture.
But, in light of that, there is a lot of positive things happening. In some cases, i.e. Fabric and the people winning back their licence, Village Underground being granted a new 15-year lease with Hackney Council and various new venues popping up, that will only help the underground scene grow. So, I’m hopeful for the future of our scene.
Waveform: What records are you playing at the moment? Any tried and tested favourites that receive regular deck time during your sets?
Lee: On the house side of things I’ve been playing the new Social Records 006 by Unknown, and had Zendid’s EP, Understellite, on Infuse in my bag for a while which always works.
For more techno, I would say Johnny D Part-T and EP on Medeia Records, Ben Buitendijk’s track xxx on Planet Rhythm Records, and check out Julian Perez’s album Solemnity.
Waveform: Any new artists you’ve been keeping an eye on?
Lee: I am really liking the music that fellow Londoner Frazier Campbell is making at the moment, with some nice deep analogue techno. He is one to watch out for.
Waveform: Finally, what plans have you got for 2017? Have you got any releases coming up?
Lee: I have got a busy year of parties booked up with mUmU. They have got some great artists already confirmed that we are excited about for throughout the year. And I’m also currently planning to launch mUmU Records later on this year which is also really exciting.
I’ve been working a lot on some music for that as well as looking for some new artists, so fingers crossed you will be hearing some of my musical creations in 2017.
You can buy tickets for the mUmU 9th Birthday over on Skiddle, here. In the meantime, check out this killer mix from Lee Rands to whet your appetite.