I know it might seem cheap returning to the same venue two weeks in a row, but I assure you that Dollars To Pounds is not attempting a swizzle. It’s just that London has a paucity of outdoor venues due to its high population density and the proportion of that population liable to start making a big moany fuss if you set up a massive sound system within earshot of their home. With sunny weekends now at an absolute premium, it would be a travesty to spend time indoors. So that’s why I was back on the terrace at Canvas, this time for the tenth party of the year hosted by the redoubtable Secretsundaze crew.
Secretsundaze is essentially just three men, a big yellow banner, a soundsystem and a fuck-off glitterball. They started putting on one-off parties in temporary—often outdoor—spaces around London about five years ago. Locations were kept secret until the day of the event, which was usually a Sunday. DJs would always include residents Giles Smith and James Priestly and a cutting-edge name imported from Europe to play mind-expanding minimal techno. Over the years Secretsundaze has turned into a bit of a franchise—they’ve even got their own compilation coming out next month—but it’s original ethos remains very much intact.
There’s still no permanent venue but this summer Secretsundaze has returned regularly to the rough-and-ready terrace at Canvas, which provides an industrial backdrop that along with the semi-spontaneous nature of the set-up and the spiralling Teutonic music means that this is the closest London gets to Berlin. Secretsundaze’s crowd is the perfect blend of geeks, gurners, poseurs and party animals, as well as being one of the most cosmopolitan throngs you’ll find in London. The mood is relaxed verging on blissful.
And last Sunday the music was as persuasive as ever. Having spent the afternoon getting ripped off in Spitalfields and being harassed by a sweaty drunk whose best conversational gambit was “What’s your favourite insect?”, Einzelkind’s urgent, percussive but velvet-lined electro slipped down a treat.
Âme’s tune ‘Rej’ got a lot of love last year and was caned by everywhere from indie-electro clubs to trancefests. As part of the Sonar Kollektiv collective, they’re one of the most respected names in German electronic music right now (despite the French name, which means "soul"). Their material generally veers toward the intricate side of deep house, but Ame’s Kristian Beyer was determined to soundtrack the Secretsundaze sunset with a tougher array of deep, propulsive, minimal tracks along with the occasional foray into classic US vocal house to get everyone’s hands waving. The sky was really just London slate-grey the whole time but we were happy to pretend.