INTERVIEW // Horse Meat Disco - Love and Dancing
Severino, James, Jim and Luke, more commonly known as the Disco spinnin' collective, Horse Meat Disco have been running their parties at their spiritual home, The Eagle since 2004. Inspired by the music and inclusive ethos of New York’s club scene during the ‘70s and ‘80s, the collective has garnered a unique reputation for amazing parties and unmatchable sets.
Fast forward to 2020, and we've now seen the release of their debut album, Love and Dancing. A culmination of seven years’ work, fashioned from demos the four have been working on simply for the love of making music. "Free of cover versions and lazy samples, it is documentary evidence that disco has a present and future every bit the platinum-grade equal of its storied past".
Recently, the guys brought their disco soaked atmosphere up to 24 Kitchen Street for a day of socially-distanced parties - much like the events at The Eagle that they have managed to slip in over this year. So we thought we would catch up with one-quarter of the team, Luke, to talk about the vision for their debut album and what they have been doing to keep busy during the Pandemic.
Luke firstly congratulations to you and all the HMD team on the fabulous album...
Having what is set to be a cult classic album released in lockdown – not to mention the vibrant and uplifting artwork is really symbolic of this – we felt here that there is something quite special about these colourful albums arriving in the post and people unable to go out to parties and being able to give the album their undivided attention whilst dancing around their living rooms… how do you all feel about the album release coinciding with the start of lockdown 2.0? "Ideally we’d love to be DJing and seeing people dancing to tracks from the album but it’s been really lovely seeing people on socials take photos of the album when their copy arrives. We’re thrilled that the album has been so warmly received and of course, we’re thrilled with what a beautiful product is. Glitterbox really did us proud with the quality of the packaging and the pink vinyl plus James Rosamond’s artwork is so special, he’s an amazing artist".
With everyone having to change their lifestyle a bit at the moment and most taking on other work, how has taking on a full time job effected you creatively?
"I’ve been volunteering for 8 and a half years at a drug and alcohol support service and a job came up so I decided to apply and now I have a full time job as a recovery worker. It’s been quite an intense transition but I feel lucky that I am able to have a job. It’s quite tiring as I am on Zoom 6 hours a day now trying to support people but I have always enjoyed this work so it feels like a gift. One thing about this pandemic is it does give you the opportunity to make changes. I still do the radio show we have on Sundays on Rinse FM so I feel like putting sets together for that is keeping my musical mind busy".
“The club is a place you can leave your cares at the door, and be anyone you want to be. Love and Dancing had to honour that.”
HMD played the Defected Virtual Festival which raised an incredible amount of money for charities including MIND, as well as raising awareness globally for those struggling in the events and our artistic community, you had also been hosting some virtual wellness groups… What has helped you through this year personally in terms of self-care, and what is the strongest advice you feel you have passed on, or indeed been offered in your wellness groups?
"I have been running a lockdown well-being group for 8 months now, it lasts for a month and sometimes we only get two people to show up but it’s been a place where people can come together and talk about how they’re coping. Actually, doing my volunteering throughout lockdown was the thing that really kept me sane. I upped my hours at the service where I was already working and the service was quick to take all the groups and one to one work online. Having to be there each week at different times throughout the week really helped me have a purpose. The other thing that kept me going is making time for regular walks and of course, playing music as much as possible. I’m obsessed with Brazilian carnival samba songs and trying to learn the lyrics to some of the classics helped me keep sane - they worked a kind of magic on me and everything felt manageable." HMD has played a few socially distanced gigs throughout lockdown – how has that been in terms of the music you play… Have you played to the crowd as if they can still dance or have you had to totally rethink your sets? – How did it go trying to keep people in their seats?!
"I actually felt more free to play whatever I wanted which was a bit self-indulgent but I enjoyed it. The first few times I did those socially distanced gigs with no dancing I felt a bit sad as it was weird but then I got into it. It was nice to see people socialising and having fun with their mates. It made me hopeful".
The Eagle and HMD parties are a pillar of the London LGBTQ+ community – it's wonderful how you were able to provide a much-needed pocket of joy, support and no doubt a refuge, by putting on events in line with restrictions … are there any projects and support networks you would like to give a shout out to who have supported the community during this time especially?
"London Friend is an amazing service (unfortunately only funded for Lo