Posts Tagged ‘despacio’

Despacio in the Desert

April 22nd, 2016

Me and my camera at Coachella, my U.S festival,  my Despacio in the desert


despacio in the desert-1 despacio in the desert-3 despacio in the desert-4 despacio in the desert-5 despacio in the desert-6 despacio in the desert-7 despacio in the desert-8 despacio in the desert-9 despacio in the desert-10 despacio in the desert-11 despacio in the desert-12

Despaciolimbo anyone?

despacio in the desert-13 despacio in the desert-14 despacio in the desert-15

despacio in the desert-16 despacio in the desert-17 despacio in the desert-18 despacio in the desert-19 despacio in the desert-20

despacio in the desert-21 despacio in the desert-22despacio in the desert-24 despacio in the desert-25 despacio in the desert-26 despacio in the desert-27 despacio in the desert-28 despacio in the desert-29 despacio in the desert-30 despacio in the desert-31 despacio in the desert-32

one devoted fan was so enraptured she made her own despacio badges and handed them out on the final day.

despacio in the desert-33


I just got back from Despacio at Coachella Pt 1 . I am still reeling. Before this one there have only been 7 other Despacios – Manchester Int Festival, Hammersmith Town Hall, The Roundhouse x 2, Glastonbury, Sonar, Electric Picnic and now Coachella. It is going to be rolling out again this weekend for Part 2 of the festival and I am already gutted I am not going to be there. Out of the ones listed above I have been to them all bar one (Electric Picnic) and despite personally clocking up over a hundred hours on the Despacio dance floor (maybe more than anyone else on the planet) there is no drop off. Its impact has not diminished on me. I still cannot get enough. My love has not faded, it js still continuing to grow. I am basically now addicted to this ultimate dance experience and everything it delivers. When I am on the floor there is nowhere else I want to be. When I am somewhere else all I want to do is be back on the floor. Not only is it as good as it has ever been but it is actually getting better.

This was the first time it had come to America and for the young Californian crowd at Coachella, the largely mp3 generation who have been raised in a world of compressed music were literally jaw-dropped walking into the Despacio tent. It is impossible not to be. Despacio is there to show you how it can be, how it should be. It makes you feel that you are being hugged & caressed by the music rather than being repeatedly hit over the head. I watched their faces light up. It was clear from their reaction they had not even come close to hearing music sound this good before. And how could they? There is nothing on earth quite like it.  Most stumbled upon it by accident which made its discovery all the more incredible for those that found it.

It was tucked away in a corner of the festival with no great signage so it was often only the adventurous & the inquisitive that were rewarded. I was standing next to this guy beaming from ear to ear at the end of day 2 and he turned to me and simply said “tell no-one!” It was so good he didn’t even want to share it with the hoards on site. But as everyone started to talk about it, it quickly became known as the best kept secret of the festival. By the Sunday, I am in the queue going through security to get into the festival (which is a little on the extreme side to understate it severely) and the people behind and in front of me were talking about Despacio so I knew the word was out.

The gloriousness & uniqueness of Despacio is that you don’t really care who else is there. It is joyful to look up as you are dancing your socks off and see the same level of exhilaration in the eyes of those you are surrounded by & you intrinsically know you feel identical without even exchanging a single word but even if you were there on your own it would still be off the chart incredible. You are at one with the music being played, you get lost in the groove, in your own moves & come to the zen like realisation, everything about it is better than you have ever witnessed. The sound, the lights, the music, the crowd, the vibe, you…everything is superior by comparison to what you have already been to. This is as good as it gets.

What Despacio makes you want to do more than anything is bust some serious moves.  You are not just dancing. You are rocking out with everything you’ve got. Maybe because the sound is so much fuller, cleaner, stronger, more complete you feel it better, better than you ever have felt it before and as a result you are a better dancer than you ever have been before. You pull off moves with confidence. You bullseye the beat. You surf the rhythm. You tiptoe along the tempo. You’re John Travolta, Jacko & Gene Kelly all rolled into one. But you look up and everyone else is doing the same. And you are dancing together in circles. Strangers together busting full on moves and loving each other for it. When does that ever happen?

A lot of the people coming into it at Coachella might have only previously  known the dancing experience that is the EDM face the front in rows dj worship bullshit but Despacio shows there is another way. A better way. It shows you can dance with each other and connect completely. How can you do that when you are always staring at someone’s back? It shows you that crescendo is nothing without the build up. You are taken on a journey, an undulating wave that guides you, lifts you and then lays you gently down before scooping you up again and firing you off into the stratosphere. Despacio is the dance antidote to the techno foot shuffle. You cannot just foot tap & head nod your way through it, it has control of your limbs, it will do what it wishes with you.

I keep using ‘it’ as if it is the machine doing all this and maybe that is because you are surrounded by these 7 speaker stacks and that is all you can see. But it is the ‘they’ behind the ‘it’ that are making you feel this way. Tucked away from sight are the 3 people driving this overwhelmingly positive feeling: James Murphy (LCD) and Stephen and David Dewaele (2manydjs). They are the creators and curators of this perfect analogue experience. They dj together for over 7 hours each day and every choice they make feels like the right one. It is a seamless stream of killer tune after killer tune. Some tracks you know, songs that you love inside out but which sound better than you have ever and will ever hear them and then there is so much you haven’t heard before but which you love instantly. Epic tracks that land for the first time. It is mind-blowing how good the sets are. Although there are now tunes which are full on Despacio moments that you long for and which detonate like joy grenades (Jungle Boogie, fly like an eagle, plastic dreams to name but a few)  at least 50% is always new. Obscure moments of magnificence delivered one piece of vinyl at at time by the expert hands of the djs who you cannot see but who you feel at all times.

One of the greatest thing about Despacio and possibly the reason why it is not getting boring is that it is always different. It always somehow manages to morph into something else depending on where it is and who is inside it. The largely L.A crowd at Coachella turned it into a full on house party, the best house party in the world..ok, its not in a house, its in a tent but that was the vibe so sue me. They were also the first crowd to ever do a conga in despacio and also the first to have a limbo competition. It makes me people be silly. This is a good thing. If you wanna look cool go elsewhere. This is for anyone who don’t give a shit.

Not everyone that comes through the doors gets it. For some it is too far from familiar, too different to what they know, they don’t have a point of reference and for some that is too much. But I feel, rather than them choosing, it is Despacio who decides who goes and who stays. The machine filters out those who won’t be able to lose themselves in it and keeps the ones who will. It has its own natural selection process and keeps the ones who connect with it will give their all to it. And they stay for the duration.  And then they come back the next day. By day 3 I know a good chunk of the people on the floor and we are start to interact and become friends and dance together. We know we feel the same. We see it in each other’s eyes.

I have made friends on the floor at every Despacio. And at each new one I always run into people from previous events. A guy came up to me at one point who I met at Sonar and we hug like 0ld mates. By day 3 I am hugging people I met on day 1. We are all now together as one.

In some ways it is a little bit pointless talking about Despacio unless you have experienced it first hand. If you were there at the weekend you will know what I am talking about. You have probably been banging on about it to everyone ever since just like me. It is very easy to become a Despacio bore because you want people to know how spectacular it is but until you actually go you will never really know what we are talking about. If you are at Coachella this weekend do whatever you can to get there and drag everyone you know to it, they will definitely not be disappointed. The only downside is that it will make everything seem shit by comparison. You have been warned.

To read my review of the very first Despacio please click here 

To see film from lovebox please click here

Despacio will next be appearing at the Panorama festival in New York July 22-24 – do whatever it takes to get there…I will be.

Despacio Jungle Roundhouse

September 16th, 2015

Me and my camera in the greatest party on earth, my Despacio, my happiness


Despacio returned to The Roundhouse at the weekend for three more nights of magnificence. I have probably banged on about how amazing it is enough already on this blog but if you were there, you will not need to hear my words. For those of you who weren’t I really can’t begin to describe or do justice to the incredible atmosphere of positivity, happiness and love it generates in everyone who experiences it so I will just shut up and you can just look at the pretty pictures.

To see the full gallery please click here

#MYLDN (589)

July 24th, 2015

Me and my camera in my home town, my capital city, my london

MYLDN 589-2

To see the full Despacio gallery please click here.

Despacio returns!!

(For those who don’t know: Despacio is a sound system created & curated by James Murphy (LCD sound system) & 2manydjs (Soulwax). It is the best in the world

On the first day it began at Lovebox I was hesitant about going in and wondered if maybe it was finally losing its magnetic hold on me but as soon as I hit the dancefloor I remembered why I had been avoiding it..once I am there I do not want to leave. Everything else can wait. Some of my happiest moments on earth have been at Despacio and that is not an exaggeration of any sorts. It is a complete and fulfilling experience which generates happiness and well-being amongst those fortunate enough to witness it. It is a Love Machine. It was built with love and it produces love. We live in dark times. The world needs Despacio. It is a beacon of hope for how humanity can be: together as one, in harmony with each other, connected by the music, bonded by emotion. Sound over the top? I’m sure, but what can I say? That’s how it makes you feel.

When you are in Despacio you dance with strangers. You form a circle. You muck about, have a dance off, embrace. When you make eye contact you do not look away, you smile, from ear to ear, you know how each other is feeling. It makes you include one another. It makes you be a good human being. It makes you appreciate the beauty of existence. You don’t want it to end. Life makes sense inside Despacio. And the music is phenomenal. The 6hour set driven by the inspired vinyl selections of 2manydjs and james murphy takes you on the most incredible journey, building and building to the ultimate crescendo. And the sound will blow you away. It is unlike anything else that exists anywhere else on the planet. And the only way you can experience this is to see it and hear it in person.

Its coming to the Roundhouse in September. Tickets went on sale this morning, if you can get one, get one.

Here is a video I shot over the weekend:


July 11th, 2014

Me and my camera in someone else’s field, my festival season, my glastonbury  


To see the full Glasto Gallery please click here

I did spend most of my Glasto at Despacio mainly for the simple reason it was “The best party at the best party in the world” ©. The council shut it down early on Saturday  due to sound levels as apparently there was “too much wattage” – the atmosphere was electric so I guess that’s what did it?!  It was absolutely gut wrenching for everyone there who were literally having the time of their lives and for the sleeping neighbours they were undoubtedly none the wiser that 800 people had their hearts broken in the flick of a switch. 

Every minute on the Despacio floor is to be cherished and with 80 precious minutes still to go and the ultimate building crescendo finale taken away from us, we all stood there in total shock as the lights went up. Faces of joy turned to faces of horror. It was as if our still beating hearts had been ripped out by the freaky voodoo guy in Indiana Jones 2. Overly dramatic? If you were there you know I am not exaggerating. What killed even more was rather than hug all my new random dance floor best friends and celebrate that we had all been at “The best party at the best party in the world” © (yes I am trying to make T.B.P.A.T.B.P.I.T.W happen)  we all just sloped off into the night knowing that everything would be a massive drop down by comparison. And it was.

Overall though Glasto 14 was a killer from start to finish. Immense fun throughout. Yes, its total carnage. Battling with mud and tents and 200,000 people (mostly off their faces) in a massive temporary town with slightly unsavoury facilities but it is oh so worth it. Glasto knocks the pathetic prissy city dweller out of you and drops your standards to zero and below and soon enough you’re covered in crap and you just don’t care. Roll on 2015!




July 8th, 2014

Me and my camera in someone else’s field, my festival season, my glastonbury  despaciobcrbury-7

Despacio opened its doors (i know tents don’t really have doors but go with it) in the Silver Hayes area on Thursday at 8pm. There was already a massive queue to get in  and it was at capacity within minutes. The rest then queued from that moment on to the moment it closed. Those who made it in will  know it was  worth the wait…and some.