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Thursday 27th, November 2008
Down The Pub With... At Christmas!
Updated: Wednesday 03rd, December 2008

: This month we've invited not one, but FIVE (count 'em!) of your favourite trance jocks and producers down for a festive knees-up session! Mark Pledger, Mike Koglin, Robbie Nelson, Solarstone & The Thrillseekers have all made it in, out of the far from clement weather to take part in our lock-in, lash-up!

Some bad news though, in as much as the Trance.nu imagi-bar is in a bit of a state. A misty-eyed soak has put Cliff Richard on the jukebox and some little ankle-biter has already had the Christmas tree over. To cap it all the place has been drunk near-dry by a pack of marauding students at lunch time. As a consequence the only booze left behind the bar is Jägermeister, Egg Nog, Creme de Menthe, Absinthe & Malibu (that some helpful soul has mixed together) & pack of out-of-date Babychams.
Frankly, we're embarrassed but the show must go on!!

Gents, bearing in mind the limited refreshment resources on offer, what'll it be?

Solarstone: Jägermeister please, with an Absinthe chaser.
Trance.nu: Right you are Sir, and for you Mr Koglin?
Mike Koglin: Large Jägermeister & Redbull for me please! … I know, sounds like a strange combination but it actually goes down very well. I was introduced to it while in L.A. this summer; they’re all going nuts for it over there!
Thrillseekers: I’ll have whatever you’re having, mate. Cheers!
Mark Pledger: Jägermeister please. It has the coolest looking bottle and as Mike says it's become all popular and the like in Hollywood, so I'll go for that!
Robbie Nelson: Ahh man they're all horrible! But if that’s all there is gonna have to hold the nose and go for Jägermeister as long as the toilets are close by cos I’ll probably be sick.
Trance.nu: Pretty much Jägers all round then, that’s nice and easy!

So, thinking back, what's the best Christmas present you ever got as a kid?

SS: Never got anything any good, Christmas was shit, without fail, shit presents due to abject poverty. In fact this year is the first year I’ve resolved to actually enjoy it so we’re going to nick a swan from the local park and cook that.
TNU: Thanks for attempting to piss on the prevailing Christmas mood with that Rich! What about you Mr Helstrip?
TS: My girlfriend bought me a bottle of Southern Comfort when I was 15. Feeling all grown up and ‘of age’, we drank the lot between us on Christmas night. We spent most of Boxing Day throwing up!
MP: John Farmer Tractor. My dad bought it from a real showroom. Don’t ask! Yes I was ‘Farmer Pledger’, but I was 5!
RN: Well every Christmas was great, a special magic in the air and it lasted till I was about 16. Not a kid but I’ll never forget my Honda 125 Red Rocket. That was a muddy Christmas day!

Channelling you inner child, what's top of your present wish list in 2008?

SS: Book tokens for me – digital book tokens actually - for my earth-shatteringly beautiful Sony Reader.
MK: I gave myself an early Xmas pressie last month, the new Apple MacBook. I love it! It’s coming with me everywhere I go. Next month I’m on a long flight to Australia, so the challenge is to finish a whole track on it by the time I get there!
MP: Xbox360 or Playsation3; usual things - hope Santa's reading this!
TS: I always fancied a quad bike when I was a kid, so let’s try for one of those. Don’t know where I’d keep it, though, as the garage is now my studio.
RN: Well I’m into Bonzai Trees and there’s a Chinese Maple in the local garden centre would be perfect.

Right, let's hear your ideas on your perfect Christmas...
TS: I’ve always liked the idea of spending Christmas on a warm beach, maybe on a remote island in the Bahamas with my family. No Christmas dinner, no washing up and not a TV in sight.
MK: Me too! On a beach, with the missus under a palm tree!
RN: Being at home waking up on Christmas morning with the heating on full blast and the smell of turkey cooking in the oven. Then the rest of the time is spent with my family.
MP: Snow outside and all the usual stuff you would expect. Shame I spend them in England!. But Christmas would not be a perfect Christmas without seeing friends and family, so l’ve learnt to love a grey British ones!
SS: One spent in New York is top of the list, as soon as my lad is old enough to appreciate it. New York is incredible around Christmas time, just like in the movies.

What's you favourite classic Christmas record?
SS: Greg Lake ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ – it’s perfect!
MK: I actually love all those really old ones, from the 60’s. Frank Sinatra makes any old Christmas song sound very cool, same goes for Dean Martin.
TS: 'Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire... Come on, sing along!
MP: 'Jingle Bells', everyone has a favourite version
RN: John Lennon – 'Happy Christmas' (War is Over)

What's guaranteed to put you in a Christmassy mood?
RN: Hearing that John Lennon record it takes me back to the school disco’s at the youth club. Everyone sitting on the floor waving their hands in the air and singing along to the song
TS: A trip to Anne Summers with the missus!
MK: I often spend Christmas in Germany where there have really nice Christmas markets with lots of food stalls and so on. After a few glasses of mulled wine that Christmassy feeling always starts to kick in…
MP: Not having it blasted in my face by media whores! Just kidding!! No, just seeing, smelling real Christmas trees can do it! For me smell can unlock memories, so pine needles remind me of past Christmases as a kid!
SS: Well definitely not shit music in shops at the start of October that’s for sure...

(Sensing that the turkey may well about to be overcooked, Trance.nu turns to questions in the more general dept…)

DJs, what television show can’t you go a week without watching?

SS: ‘Mock the Week’ when it’s on... and Midsommer Murders is a must-see on cold winter nights in front of the fire... spooky!
MK: Don’t laugh but I’m a total X-Factor addict, there’s nothing funnier than watching all the no-hopers in the first rounds of auditions.
MP: I don’t think there is any as I don’t have too much time to sit and gaze. But I do love 'Summer Heights High' and 'Family Guy'
RN: Top Gear even on repeat on Sky
TS: There’s this soap in the UK called Coronation Street. If I don’t get my fix, I get a bit twitchy.

What’s the crappest movie you’ve ever seen?

TS: 'The Cast of Coronation Street Go To Vegas'!
MK: ‘Woo Der Wild Bach Dutch’s Höscheme Rasht’ … Try translating that!
Let’s just say it’s a really, really bad German film from the 70’s.
SS: Anything by M. Knight Shenanigans or whatever the guy’s name is, all of his films are skin crawlingly bad, predictable, and so full of clichés they can’t help falling over themselves.
MP: Most Steven King movies!
RN:’ Bubba Ho-Tep’ it’s about an elderly Elvis Presley fighting a mummy in a Texas rest-home. It’s mental.

What item of clothing can’t you live without?

SS: A good pair of comfortable shoes.
I gave up on fashion years ago, it’s pointless, why suffer? Bring on the Clarks I say.
MP: G-Star!
MK: Yep, anything by G-Star. I love their stuff, jeans and jackets especially. It’s funny, Mister Pledger and I seem to have started an unofficial ‘who has the most G-Star gear’ competition…
TS: I’ve got this pair of socks with ‘Dad’ on them. They’re full of holes, but I can’t bring myself to throw them out.
RN: A decent pair of jeans

Complete the following sentence: the greatest living author is:

TS: Jeremy Clarkson. Well, he’s certainly the funniest.
MK: Kerry Katona. Sorry, joke. There is a British author called John Niven, I can only recommend his new book ‘Kill Your Friends’. It is actually about what’s going on behind the scenes in the music industry, and it’s really, really funny.
MP: I only seem to favour dead ones!!!
SS: Haruki Murakami – I’m a massive fan.
RN: Andy McNab

Music Aside, what do you obsess over?
SS: The perfect roast potato... almost got it sussed now, it’s all in the preparation.
MK: I can spend very long nights on the net reading up about conspiracy theories. For example how the Americans faked the moon landings, UFO sightings and that sort of thing. Fascinating stuff!
MP: Cooking and eating good food. I used to work in a restaurant as a teenager and if anything was not 100% right the head chef made Ramsey look like a pussycat. But at the same time I was shown how to make some excellent dishes and from here developed a passion for cooking and doing things my way - be it the kitchen, studio or on the dance floor!
TS: Computers... Nerd alert!
RN: The F1 world championship and Lewis Hamilton

The Frank Zappa question: What’s the oddest album in your music collection?
SS: ‘Sex Alphabet’, something I picked up in Amsterdam years ago. It was one of those weekends that melt into the stuff of legend the further back they get. I don’t remember too many details, or don’t care to repeat them to you lot!
TS: Probably the first record I every bought: Musical Youth – The Youth Of Today. Don’t ask!
MP: A William Shatner Album, I loved his version of Pulp's 'Common People'. It's produced by Ben Folds 5 and I was a slight Trekkie fan as a kid!
MK: Does the Paul McKenna ‘Positivity” album count?
RN: Kim Larsen’s 'Circus'. He’s a Danish singer and a superstar in Denmark I had to buy it when I used to live and Dj in Denmark but its weird stuff.

Who’s the greatest super-hero known to humanity?
SS: Captain Caveman of course, who else carries a bird in their club?
MK: Guess that’ll be Jesus then.
TS: Er, Superman, but he’s not actually real you know.
MP: Easy! Christopher Reeve otherwise known as Superman. He's a superhero on and off screen.
RN: I’ll give you an actual super-hero - Lewis Hamilton!

Punk, Nerd, Jock or What? Your teenage tribe was …….
MP: Indie/mod/rocker, I was in bands and went to hang out from the early age of 15 watching them at Esquires nightclub in Bedford. It was great cos you only needed a national insurance card to get in... Then id for the bar but it was so dark in there that it was an underage drinky frenzy for a lot of my pre-Gatecrasher teen years!!
TS: BMX Bandit. I lived for BMXing through most of my teenage years. I almost bought another one a few years back, but after considering the likely consequences of breaking a leg on the quarter pipe, I gave it a miss.
MK: Probably something between Nerd, Jock and Hippie, back in the 80’s. I was already into electronic music; acts like Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, and also stuff like Tangerine Dream or Jean Michel Jarre. Things which had a certain Save-The-Whales kinda vibe to them!
SS: The ‘Arty Physical Exercise Avoidance posse’.
RN: Punk!

The ‘Toast ‘ala Baked Beans’ question: what’s your signature dish?

SS: French trimmed pork loin with cauliflower puree is a current fave!
MP: Jungle Thai Curry, or as a student back 2 front ‘beans in toast’.
MK: I admit my cooker probably gets used only a handful of times per year, but I’m told my Pasta Bolognese isn’t all that bad.
TS: A good old Sunday Roast.
RN: Chilli Con Carne.

Are you the backpacking around Tibet or a sun, sea & sand-type holidaymaker?
MP: I go where my DJing takes me and then extend my stay for holidays, which can be pretty much anywhere! I love to dive and explore so anywhere hot or high up!!!
TS: I love both to be honest, but right at this time I’d kill for a few weeks on the beach.
MK: Sea & sand anytime! The weather is always a bit to cold here for my liking, so any chance to tank a few rays of sunshine is fine by me.
SS: I’m a foodie – it’s all about the local grub, local restaurants and markets, avoiding the tourist traps and getting down with the natives all the way. Jump on the public bus and see the area that way. Having said that I’ve stayed in so many shit hotels over the years that these days if there is a Radisson in the vicinity I’ll always check in there. Pathetic isn’t it!
RN: Sun all the way and a bit of the City, no sea no sand though.

Right. Excellent! So Plug-time! Your latest single/album/comp or gig here in 50 words or less please gents!

TS: I’ve got my new single ‘City of Angels’ coming out on the 13th of December, with a couple of spanking remixes. It’s got a much tougher sound to it; much more akin to what I play out when I’m DJing. Into early 2009 and I’ve got a mini-tour of Australia in late Jan/early Feb - can't wait!

MK: ‘Mike Koglin feat. Tania Laila – Find Me’, with remixes by Orjan Nilsen and Genix, and also the next ‘Mike Koglin vs. P.O.S.’ out soon on Anjunabeats. I’ve also just completed a new compilation album, titled ‘Visions’ which features 15 tracks from my label Noys Music, all mixed as a continuous DJ mix.

SS: I’m thrashing out the track list for the forthcoming Solarstone comp ‘Electronic Architecture’ at the moment – it’s sounding beautiful, progressive, melodic and futuristic so far, with a host of brand new and exclusive tracks. Watch this space for the winner of the Trance.nu/Solarstone' Next Big Thing comp too!

RN: Our big gig this season is NYE at Inside Out at the Arches Glasgow. We do a global radio show every week with Solarstone broadcast on 35+ stations its called Solaris International. And speaking of something ‘global’, ‘Worldwide Trance Sounds Vol.5’ is out now on iTunes!

MP: Blah blah blah: new website coming soon at www.markpledger.com. Finishing up new solo album oh and check out my Anjunabeats worldwide radio broadcasting on DI: FM & XM Satellite!

Which just remains for me to wish Trance.nu-ers fine festive greetings and all the best for the New Year. We’ll be back in early ’09, heading down the pub with Andy Moor, Cosmic Gate and a selection of Dutch-based producers for our New-Skool-Netherlands DTPW lash-up!

Written by:
Tim Stark

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