Posthuman Brings DJ Mag Award-winning Club Night to Beijing

By That's Beijing, May 17, 2024

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Ahead of his May 24 show at Dada Beijing, Dada founder Michael O talked with Posthuman about the origin of his club night and record label I Love Acid, his best and worst party experiences, and how he got his start.

Posthuman has been a mainstay of the UK electronic scene since the early 2000s, but he has focused on acid house since 2010. In 2007, he founded his I Love Acid club night that won the DJ Mag award for ‘Best British Club Night’ in 2019.

Posthuman has hosted I Love Acid parties around the world, and he is finally bringing his infamous event to Beijing for the first time.

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You're one of the founders of the I Love Acid parties in the UK – along with Luke Vibert and Jon Dasilva. How did these parties begin and how did they evolve over the years?
It started in April 2007. It was really only meant to be a one-off. Me and Luke Vibert decided to throw a party themed around his track I Love Acid at Corsica Studios in London – a really cool club in two railway arches that holds about 600 people. 

We invited a bunch of friends to play – EgeBamYasi, Mike Paradinas (Planet Mu), etc. I pressed CDs full of acid tracks with the lineup on them and gave them away in flyer packs. This was before Facebook – before online promoting – people still used printed flyers to spread the word about parties. I think I set up an I Love Acid MySpace page, but that was it.

The party was great, but near the end somebody spilled a drink on the mixer and broke it. I had to pay for the repairs, so ultimately the night lost money! 

After that, I wasn't planning on doing another one, but then the venue asked if I'd do a Halloween party – and THAT was a crazy success, which followed with a venue in West London called Ginglik offering me a residency to take the party monthly.

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An I Love Acid party in London

From there it just snowballed, we did every month from 2008 till 2014 in Ginglik, plus started taking it to other cities. At first, it was Edinburgh, Malta, Antwerp and Barcelona, and then festival stages at Bloc Weekend and Bangface – and we would still return to Corsica Studios every now and again for special events.

Then Ginglik closed down in 2014. We moved to a few different clubs, but nothing really seemed right, so I took a bit of a break from promoting and started the record label – pressing 303 copies only of acid tracks with no digital downloads – hand stamping and numbering them myself. Ten years on, the label is now up to number 30 in the series and every single one has sold out.

In 2015, I had the chance to put Luke Vibert and DJ Pierre (one of the founders of the acid house sound in Chicago) on stage together for the first time. Two of the most important producers of acid music in history, who had never played together! This restarted ‘I Love Acid’ as a club night again, and things got even busier.

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The I Love Acid party crew

Jon Dasilva – another important figure in acid house – joined the crew. Jon had been the resident at the Hacienda club (see the movies 24 Hour Party People, Factory Records, etc.) in Manchester in the 1980s and was one of the first DJs to bring acid house over from Chicago to the UK. He was also one of the first UK DJs to ever play in China in the early 90s!

With Jon on board, we started regular parties in Manchester and London again, plus took it to new cities – Lille in France, Brussels in Belgium, Berlin in Germany, Glasgow in Scotland, Liverpool in England and more. By 2019, we'd done more than 150 events in 20+ cities.

Regularly we had older punters telling us that ‘I Love Acid’ was the closest thing they had experienced to the original acid house parties in the 80’s and 90’s, but we also had kids turning up with their ID to prove they were old enough to get in and making ‘I Love Acid’ their first experience of raving.

We always made sure it wasn't a retrospective night – we play classics, but we mostly push new acid music, new producers and DJs, and the event has always been open to everyone – all ages, identities and levels of experience with nightlife.

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Luke Vibert and Josh Doherty at the 2019 DJ Mag Awards

What was it like to win the 2019 DJ Magazine award for ‘Best UK Club Night’?
Really unexpected and one of the best moments of my life. For an underground party run by just me and a couple of friends to be nominated amongst other club nights that hold thousands of people, or that had huge teams behind them and big budgets – it was mind blowing.

Winning the award and getting up on stage at the ceremony... there had been a LOT of free drinks flowing at the party, so I may have made a joke about a certain trumpet playing EDM star when receiving the trophy ;)

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DJ Mag Best British Club Night Award 2019

After the 2019 win, we lined up so many events across the world – but of course, within a few months, COVID hit and everything got cancelled. It was frustrating that right at the moment of achievement everything suddenly stopped. I spent the pandemic lockdowns trying to help the artists on the label by releasing lots of music and merchandise, as well as did a few live streams.

Then once clubs re-opened a couple years later, we found new homes for ‘I Love Acid’. Since then, we now have regular parties in Chicago, Brooklyn and Detroit, as well as London and Glasgow, and we do guest events in new cities – Louisville, Madison and New Orleans in the USA, and Plymouth, Bristol and Birmingham in the UK. I have lost count of how many events now since 2007 – but I think it's probably around 250.

And now – we add Beijing to that list! I really hope everyone in Beijing is ready to come and see what we are about!

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What inspired you to first get into music and how did you begin this journey?
When I was 11, my best friend Henry was a very passionate and talented musician. Even at a young age he had mastered multiple instruments. We started a band together – a heavy metal group called "Hepatitis X" – although Henry was the real driving force behind it, and I just played guitar.

Sadly, Henry died when he was just 16, but he was the person who first inspired me to want to become a musician.

A few years later, at maybe 14 years old, my dad had an old RX21 drum machine, a DX21 synthesizer and a Fostex 4-track in his bric-a-brac shop. He gave them to me to use for a while, and I claimed them as my own (I still have the DX21).

My older brother used to play rave tapes of DJs like Jon Dasilva and Sasha, and I loved bands like The Prodigy, Orbital and Altern 8. I don't think at that point I could even imagine that many years later I'd end up working with those artists!

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Altern8

You were part of the legendary 90’s acid rave group Altern8 – were you guys annoyed when masks suddenly became super trendy in 2020? I mean, Altern8 started that whole thing – right?  Can you please bring me one, rubbed up with Vicks VapoRub?
Ha! I still have my A8 mask and suit locked away in the cupboard somewhere!

From 2015 until 2020, I was part of Altern8 for live shows, along with Mark Archer (the main man behind the band) and MC Space, plus the dancers Rory and Crez. The lineup of the band has changed a bit over the years, but it's always been Mark plus some others. We had some crazy gigs together, a lot of fun (and some terrible ones too), but the big thing I remember was just how hot and sweaty it was playing in a full hazmat suit with hood and mask.

What are the best and worst shows you've ever done?
I've had a lot of amazing gigs, and a lot of real bad ones.

Bad ones: A party in a farm barn at which someone set fire to a tractor in the middle of the show (the ENTIRE building burnt down); a show in a warehouse outside Prague, where my accommodation was a mattress on the floor of a shipping container next to the warehouse, where the party itself continued on until the next day and the only bathroom was a Portaloo being used by everyone at the party; and a party in Berlin in 2002 that was raided by the police five minutes before I was meant to play!

But I think the worst was a festival in Death Valley in California a couple of years ago. The driver taking me there got lost, we ended up off road in the middle of the desert, with no phone signal, miles from any houses... and the car got a flat tire – with no spare.

It was one of those moments when you realize you're actually in genuine, mortal danger. We really were in the middle of nowhere. I'd gone as far as to write farewell notes to my wife and son on my phone just in case.

Then just before we were about to start walking back through the desert – a MONSTER TRUCK roared over the hill and two guys jumped out, saying "what are y'all city folk doing all the way out here?!". We were worried they were going to murder us, but in fact they were really lovely and helped us change the tire then guided us back to the road.

After all this, we turned up at the festival about 5 hours late, and the promoter told me I'd missed my set – but I could do 45 minutes on the stage right away. There was NOBODY at the festival, so I DJed for 45 minutes to an empty stage, then got in a car and drove back to Los Angeles!

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Posthuman

Good ones: Funnily enough, my favorite shows are usually the really small ones where it feels like a house party, and you come away with new friends. I'm most happy in a dark sweaty basement with 200 people going crazy, rather than on a big stage with projections and lighting and stuff.

There's been some very special moments along the way though – like playing Smartbar in Chicago for the first time in 2022 or hosting a dome with 3-dimensional projections for two days at Bloc Weekend in 2011. I love everything about my current Glasgow residency, a club called Berkeley Suite which is hidden from the street behind a fake pawnbroker’s shopfront.

Last year we did a party in Detroit and a party in Glasgow on the same night (I was in Detroit; Jon Dasilva ran the Glasgow party) and doing a videocall to each other in the middle of it was hilarious – both dancefloors full!

I met my wife at a gig in 2004 in Glasgow – it was the promoters 30th birthday. In 2014, he did another party there for his 40th that I played – so this November he is turning 50 and I fully expect to be DJing again!

If you got stuck playing at an endless desert island rave with a broken pitch fader, which BPM would you choose?
Even though when I DJ out, it's usually anywhere between 125 and 145BPM. If I was on a desert island, I think really sludgy sleazy house at 112BPM would be the magic spot.

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Pad Kra-pow

Heard you're a good home cook.  Let's say it's a normal Tuesday night – what would you be cooking and what music would be playing during dinner?
First, I have to cook something plain for my son – he's eight and not a fan of spicy food. But for me and my wife, I'm making Pad Kra-pow, which is a Thai stir-fry dish, meat in oyster sauce with green beans, holy basil and chilis – always served with sticky rice. The music is probably jazz – Mingus, Coltrane, etc.

What's your favorite Chinese dish?
Bang Bang Chicken! 棒棒鸡 ... although in China I think the original recipe is that the chicken is poached before covered in the sesame/chili/soy sauce? Here in the UK and in the USA the chicken is usually fried so it's crispy first.

Posthuman/ I Love Acid 2024 Asia tour schedule:

  • May 24: Dada, Beijing

  • May 25: Dada, Kunming

  • May 31: Pools, Dali

  • June 1: 12x12, Bangkok


May 24, 9pm-late.

Tickets: RMB60 before 11pm, RMB90 after 11pm.

Dada Beijing, Block A, B1 Ritan International Trade Center, 17 North Ritan Road, Chaoyang


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