Chekov NYE Warm-Up Mix and Interview

Our poster for NYE

Ahead of our party taking place in a few days, we chatted to rising star Chekov (aka Laurence) about his musical background & future, his links to member-led venues and why he’s excited to be joining us to be seeing in the New Year with us.

Very kindly, Chekov has recorded a mix especially for us. Full of music from friends, much unreleased, it’s a real celebration. Or at least, a preamble to celebration, building tension to warm us up for the special night ahead. And wow, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Have a listen while you read our interview with him below.


NYE poster

First off, we’ll start with a bit of an ice-breaker – what’s your first musical memory?
I can’t think of anything immediate, but certain songs will always remind me of compilations my parents used to burn for long drives visiting family down south (Bowie’s Sound & Vision and Kids by Robbie Williams & Kylie Minogue being two that first spring to mind)

How did you get into producing/DJing?
I started off playing in bands from a pretty young age, then got into synths n that through groups like Enter Shikari and Hadouken (pls no judgement)

Exploring various questionable strains of electronic music through that led onto the Hyperdub/LuckyMe end of dubstep/whatever, which I tried (pretty shoddily) to imitate using a couple of Korg Electribes found cheap at a pawn shop. Things kinda led on from there I guess, moving onto Ableton a couple years after that. The whole DJ thing came from being passed a burned copy of fabriclive.37, like many others I’m sure ha!

Tell us about Love Muscle.
Love Muscle is a wonderful pumping LGBTQ+ party that started up just over two years ago in response to the generally dire state of queer nightlife in Leeds.

Beyond events at Wharf Chambers, there wasn’t much going on in the city at the time for those who didn’t fit a pretty restrictive definition of queerness.

I was living elsewhere when LM started up so missed its earliest days, but since I’ve been back in Leeds it’s grown into one of the loosest and freest parties I’ve had the pleasure of attending. It’s a massive honour to be part of such a dedicated and hardworking team behind it, from the amazing Wharf crew, those working the door, and the resident DJs – namely Michael Upson, Tom Hannah and Lucy Locket (the best DJ in the North, get to know!!) Much, much love to all involved.

Why do you want to support Partisan?
Member-led co-op spaces are vital to so many different communities who may feel alienated from the ‘traditional’ profit-led spaces we’re generally presented with today. Running a space in the interests of those who actually use it has always made the most sense to me, and Wharf has always been one of the only spots that feels like home for this reason. There’s a genuine community surrounding the space – Leeds wouldn’t be the same without it. I was super excited to see a similar project starting up over the Pennines, and now even more excited to finally see it in person!

Wharf Chambers is essentially Partisan’s sister organistion. It is Leeds’ DIY venue that operates in a similar way and is the home to Love Muscle. Can you tell us what you think is special about playing at a DIY venue?
There’s a certain levelling of boundaries and shared investment in what’s going on around you that’s rarely found in other spots, I think. That the parties and venues come from a place of passion over profit helps everyone feel more relaxed and respectful I find, generally speaking. It doesn’t always work out this way of course, but when it does, there can be a real sense of community and collective escape beyond that of pure hedonism alone (though nowt wrong with that in itself ha)

Other than Wharf Chambers, where’s been your favourite place or party to play at so far and why?
I think my favourite so far has to be Soup Kitchen when I was invited over for Kiss Me Again recently! It’s been one of my favourite clubs for a long, long time so getting the chance to share some records in that basement meant a lot – much love and thanks to the KMA crew for the opportunity!

How do you go about producing a track? Where do you start? Do you have any particular creative process or do you find it to be different every time?
It varies! Sometimes something will be looping around my head which I’ll try and get down as soon as I can, other times ideas come just through dicking about with sounds or samples.

One trick if I’m struggling to get in the right headspace is just to start making a feedback loop or drone which I might use for a pad or even just the feeling of a track – or not! One of the best tips I’ve been given is to trust your instincts with these things. If an idea develops itself naturally in the writing process, run with it – if not, the idea may still be strong but forcing it to go somewhere for the sake of it never usually does much good (in my experience at least!)

You recently had your first release Rotlicht on Shanti Celeste’s label Peach Discs. Can you tell us how that came about?
It came about pretty naturally through some tracks being passed on by mutual friends and contacts! I’d held off on a couple things in the past but it felt like a great fit in terms of ethos/sound when Shanti got in touch – eternally grateful to her for reaching out! Very honoured to have been welcomed onto such a strong roster (how killer was that Ciel record??)

How did you find the experience of putting a record out?
Still feels super surreal to be honest! Listening to a copy for the first time in the shop I’ve been visiting since my teens was a real trip (love to Tribe)

I hope other people enjoy it if they get a chance to check it!

Finally, is there anything exciting you have in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
In terms of music, some tracks will be coming out next year alongside some dope artists across a series of VA 12″s on Cong Burn, based in Manchester! More details to come on that soon… Eyes peeled also for a couple more things popping up elsewhere around the start of the year.

Beyond that, NYE has been top of the list for a while! Lineup is wicked – really looking forward to it!