Optimo stalwart dips his toe into the art world again for a unique release.
Glasgow DJ and artist Jonnie Wilkes, AKA JG Wilkes, has announced a swanky vinyl release for German Pizza Party, an album of solo recordings created for an art exhibition this year at The Modern Institute in Glasgow.
Wilkes, who’s best known as one half of veteran DJ duo Optimo, was a student at Glasgow School of Art between 1988 and 1995, but as his DJing duties grew he opted to pursue music full time, eventually turning his back on the art world – he didn’t even go into a gallery until 12 years later when his sister was nominated for the 2008 Turner Prize.
German Pizza Party came about this year when Wilkes was approached by his former gallerist at The Modern Institute about contributing to the group show In NO Time. The set of solo recordings he produced was pressed on vinyl and left in the corner of the gallery for visitors to play themselves on a Technics turntable and a set of top quality Klipsch Scala speakers.
The eight tracks are loosely biographical and not obviously aimed for the dance floor, as he explains: “It’s something that could be biographical almost in the sense of my state of mind in a quite detached sense. There’s no literal translation of events or anything but they are private thoughts. Having said that, one of the tracks on the B-side is taken from a cassette I did at art school over twenty years ago. It’s only a minute long, but it was important to include that.”
The intriguing title refers to a trip to Berlin which found Wilkes playing in a record shop after DJing through night. “It was a really hot day, my head was absolutely bursting because I’d been up all night and I finally found the record shop and there were all these skinny hip young German kids hanging around eating slices of pizza and I was like ‘oh fuck, it’s a German Pizza Party’. I don’t know why, I don’t mean it to be mean about the German scene or anything, it just seemed slightly funny,” he explains.
German Pizza Party is out on The Vinyl Factory in a limited edition of 100 copies. The record comes in a hardbound, screen-printed case, signed and numbered by Wilkes, and contains an oversized poster and loose leaf inset – you can order it here.
Hear both sides of the record and see a photo of album on show at The Modern Institute below.