Happy birthday Body Hammer.
For the past decade, Body Hammer – currently comprising DJ duo Joe Hart and Scott Fraser – has been dishing up a monthly banquet of acid-shaped squigglers, hip-house rollers and obscure dancefloor fillers to wide-eyed ravers looking for a dance party that’s a little freakier and wonkier than the rest.
Body Hammer is one of the capital’s best underground club nights. To celebrate its 10th birthday, Joe Hart has dug out 10 tracks that define the beloved rave-up, from muscular house and Hieroglyphic Being to “the most Body Hammer record ever made”. It’s a delightfully throwback selection that will most certainly make you dance. Scroll down to the bottom for a YouTube playlist.
Body Hammer celebrates 10 years on July 14 in a new venue with resident DJs Joe Hart & Scott Fraser. Tickets are available here.
‘Rock This Party Right’ (Fast Eddie’s raw mix)
“Body Hammer’s first party was held at the Korsan bar and Legowelt was our first guest. He smashed it, playing records and adding extra jack with a tiny drum machine that looked like its parents were calculators. This low pH pumper was a high point of that set and soon became a staple BH weapon.”
Reese & Santonio
‘Bounce Your Body To The Box’ (Hitman Mix)
(KMS Records, 1988)
“Following the Legowelt party we were told by a member of the Korsan staff that one punter – a very muscly punter – had allegedly flexed his muscles so excessively on the dancefloor that he had made the bar staff jealous. We were ordered to tell our friend with the muscles, ‘come here flexing your muscles like that again and I’ll show you muscle you’ve never seen before.’ This is a bit of muscular house we like to flex at Body Hammer, and maybe a remix you’ve never heard before.”
‘It’s Now Or Never’
(Trax Records, 1986)
“Body Hammer started for real in 2008. We got off the grid and moved into the Lift venue on Cambridge Heath Road – one of the best venues in London ever. It even had a free Street Fighter II arcade machine with a broken hard punch and kick buttons, resulting in slow fireballs for blunted reflexes. When the building went to the developers it was a massive loss – with it went the snooker club that smelled of skunk and the Primrose School of English, that also smelled of skunk. RIP you beautiful concrete block. This was a big end of the night track and saw out the last party there.”
(2002, Mathematics Recordings)
“Of all the various BH residents over the years, the hands-down best DJ was Matilda, who was there from the start. She also won the 2010 BH dance contest and immediately smashed the trophy (which had once belonged to Chiwetel Ejiofor). Semi-retired from BH, Matilda went on to beat cancer, have a baby and write a book at the same time. Harder than any hammer, she is now fighting with a motorway. This was one of her quintessential BH jams. One day she may return.”
(Chicago Underground, 1992)
“Charlie Bennett, resident BITD and bonafide house master was the 2010 BH dance competition runner-up. He was great at digging out lesser-known Chicago tracks that are brilliant and this master jam is an example. Charlie was 1/3 of ToTheBone, who along with Sud and Body Hammer and Corsica started the Beyond The Clouds party that brought some proper big hitters to London. Lil Louis had his first London gig in decades there.”
(Westside Records, 1988)
“Sadly no longer with BH, co-founder Paul Purgas is one half of Emptyset and makes music by such methods as recording nuclear reactors or reflecting radio waves off the ionosphere. But it would be a mistake to assume he’s someone who does not know how to pump the groove. This was a big PP track back in the day.”
‘Rocking Down The House’
(Chill Music, 1991)
“The Body Hammer in the Jungle spin-off night saw the old bill turn up once beforehand and shut us down, forcing us to move venues. They had some intel that ‘Uncle Drugs’ was playing and didn’t like the sound of him, although their intel was incorrect as it was actually Uncle Dugs. Anyway, the police were clearly under pressure – a few weeks before a kid had pulled his own finger off at a free party in Croydon. Orders were to clamp down on events where fingers might get lost and BH was a target. We couldn’t help feeling a bit proud. Uncle Dugs not Drugs played this track that night.”
Mr and Mrs Dale
‘It’s You’ (Free House Mix)
(Bigshot Records, 1989)
“In 2012, Scott Fraser – who had recently moved down from Glasgow – made Body Hammer his first London gig. Myself and Scott had massively bonded over this record previously and when he dropped it he was hired on the spot. We’ve run the party ever since and this record is so timeless it will outlast us all.”
(Oh’Zone Records, 1990)
“You might be surprised at the amount of thought that goes into the last record of the night at BH – it’s never planned but it’s always frantically debated in the last four minutes before the lights go on. This is one of Scott’s favourite end-of-nighters.”
‘We Need Somebody’
(Express Records, 1988)
“The most Body Hammer record ever made, because of its raw simplicity, snare rolls, bassline, vague statements and call-to-action. It’d definitely be the soundtrack on the 10-year birthday video montage, if we had one. But, paradoxically, Body Hammer wouldn’t be Body Hammer if we were self-indulgent or high-tech enough to produce a commemorative video. We haven’t even had a birthday party before, cos it ain’t about that.”
Listen next: FACT mix 547: Joe Hart