We spoke to Horse Meat Disco ahead of their new compilation album and appearance at Highest Point festival.
Last updated: 10th May 2022
Horse Meat Disco are party starters. The Disco-spinning collective have been lighting up dancefloors for years and they always bring the party with them wherever they go. Now, they're releasing a new compilation called Back To Mine which sees them selecting some of their favourite tracks for a very specific vibe (more on that below).
They will also be playing Highest Point festival in Lancaster this year, we spoke to James Hillard who gave us the lowdown on their latest work, the nuances of disco and how it has felt to get back to live music again.
You're playing Highest Point Festival in Lancaster this year, what can we expect to see from your set?
"Fun Times! We love a festival and are quite well versed in what's required these days, mixing up tunes people wanna hear with some classics and our personal favourites. The great thing about playing disco is that everyone loves it (those who say they don't are just kidding themselves) so it really brings everyone together and engenders nothing but good vibes".
Take us through some of the selections from your Back To Mine compilation, what was the first selection to make it on there?
"The tracklist, at least from my selections, is very reflective of the music that was getting me through the lockdowns. Many people found some solace in nostalgia and I was no different. Also having a radio show always opens you up for music that's not four to the floor and seeing as we were still doing the shows from lockdown that was predominantly the kind of music I was listening to at home. Doing a carnival-themed Rinse FM show, I was turned on by the music of Guadeloupe legends Kassav’ and I just had to have ‘Aveou Doudou’ on there. It's such a great tune".
How much time went into selecting the tracklist and deciding what ended up where?
"It's always hard when putting together a compilation to get all the tracks you want, so normally we have a big list of tracks we dig and then just wait and see what's licensable and we go from there. More often than not we end up with a very mixed bag that reflects all our influences and then we have to try and make a coherent mix from it. That's the challenging part but very much what we at Horse Meat Disco have always been about. Playing music from across the disco spectrum in all its metronomic glory".
"As the name of the compilation series suggested it's probably best suited to an after-party at home, or a warm-up in a club I guess. It's definitely not a peak time disco banger of a compilation but it's sexy and groovy and would sound good anywhere. From your morning commute to a quiet night in".
You released an album during the pandemic, how has it felt to finally be able to celebrate it in person?
"Yeah the timing of a 10 year in the making project could have been better but what could we do?! At least people had something new to listen to during the lockdown and the feedback we got was amazing. We were counting the days to be able to play it out and see people dancing to the tracks from the album. Obviously when we got the chance to play to proper dancefloors again the tracks from the album were on heavy rotation and it was so amazing to see people singing along to the songs".
What is the main thing that you want people to take away from listening to Love and Dancing?
"That our musical influences reflect the whole disco spectrum from 2 step/morning music, disco not disco, house and high energy and everything in between. We wanted the tracklisting to play much like a night at Horse Meat Disco at the Eagle. A genre-busting musical evening that makes you want to dance and smile".
Your music is predominantly disco, what was it that first introduced you to the genre?
"On a personal level, it was mainly from the availability of such records at home. My dad was a local DJ in Somerset and had his records and soundsystem setup in the dining room. I would take some of the records up into the attic with a little portable record player and prance around. Some things never change! As a teenager, I was very into acid jazz, which had many roots in disco and soul and that made music a bit more accessible. Sadly when the family hit some hard times my dad sold his record collection. I remember the day the record collectors came round. I was gutted but at least it had embedded a love for that kind of music and I would spend the rest of my life collecting and loving the genre".
What are the more subtle ends of disco that you've channelled in your sound?
"The beauty of disco is that there are so many subgenres and sounds that when you get a bit of one you can geek out on another. From disco from around the world, gospel disco, cosmic, Balearic and morning music to name but a few and we tried to reflect this as much as possible in the tracklist on Back To Mine and in our sets".
What has been your favourite live show of your career so far?
"Growing up a stone's throw away from the Glastonbury festival, I guess it was always a dream gig to be able to play there. We’ve been involved in the NYC Downlow and Block9 from its inception. They are probably the most loved venues of late-night Glastonbury these days and we're so proud to be continuously involved with such an amazing project. It's definitely a highlight of the year and a great source of inspiration that fulfils my creative needs for a whole year!"
How has the culture of clubbing in London changed since you first started out?
"When I first came to London there were quality nights and parties every night of the week and very few all dayers and festivals. It seems that's flipped around. I’m not saying for a minute that there aren’t great parties as there clearly are but weekday options are slim pickings. Maybe I'm just getting older or less inclined to party all week but when we do play in London the crowd is as amazing now as it's ever been".
Horse Meat Disco will be playing at Highest Point this year and there's still a chance for you to catch the Disco sensations live. You can find tickets for the festival here.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.