Hotcakes meets… The Squatters

Oliver Portamento & Alex Powell make up The Squatters, a new UK electro outfit that’s smashing up dancefloors across the country right now on Kissy Sell Out’s San City High tour. They took a moment to answer some of the Hotcakes baker’s pressing questions:

Where did the name Squatters come from? Were you actually squatters at one point?
The Squatters evolved from staying at random houses at gigs. In the early days we just used to play miles from home and squat at afterparties and random folk’s houses preparing for the next day ahead. Then the name stuck.

How would you describe your sound?
Wooooooooo Dang Dang Dang! On a more serious note.. our sound would be a fusion between styles, creating breaks and drops which are like chalk and cheese but come hand in hand on the dancefloor. Getting you dancing and for peak time too!

Kissy Sell Out has been a champion of your music – you’ve been on his radio show and are now you’re on tour with him. How did you guys get involved with dance music’s Mad Hatter?
Well, Oli sent him an email after approaching many A&Rs regarding our Monster track. He had an ear for an early sound and also must have liked to track to sign it to his [San City High] label.

What’s the funniest or craziest thing that’s happened at one of your gigs?
Alex had his boxer shorts ripped off from a wedgie… the crowd joined in lifting him up until they just ripped, and later Oli had trapped wind and was rolling around in a car park on the same night. Is that funny or crazy?

Sounds like a bit of both to me! As a duo, how does your act work? Do you ever fight over the direction of a track?
Well, we always disagree on many things, especially music! So all the wrongs Al has and all the wrongs Oli has go in the bin and together we put the rights in our music.

Have you always wanted to be DJs?
Oli: Every since I visited Ibiza at 16 in 1998!
Alex: I got some turntables and was later influenced by Kevin and Perry.. by their DJing in the film!

Do you think it’s more or less difficult in today’s music industry to get your break? How important, if at all, do you think blogs are to aspiring artists?
Today it’s easier but yet harder at the same time. First, to start with what’s easier: the likes of getting your track pressed to vinyl or tape music which was made from hardware synths and instruments, then posting it to A&Rs all over the world (it’s a chore but requires dedication so fewer [artists] were doing it). The internet has also made it easier, especially for people like us as we are from the armpit of England, and we can send tracks or contact people in the industry at low cost and time efficient.

It’s harder to get heard as there are so many producers blogging average tracks made from cracked software on home PCs etc. swamping the net and people’s inboxes. I think the blogs are very important, but what is more important are the blog creators as they are a filter for the not so good tracks and give credit to the artists who deserve the limelight and exposure.

I’ll take that as a compliment! Here at Hotcakes we like things freshly baked. If you find yourself in a bakery, what treat are you gonna get yourself?
I think if we could treat ourselves we would buy all the cheese straws in the shop and feed them to ducks as we feel ducks deserve more respect and cheese!

What is your pin number, bank and sort code?
4637, Natwest of Uganda, 80-56-40

Cheers. What’s next for you guys?
Probably another one of these questionnaires! Nah we are dedicating the end of this year to finish off the San City High tour and then play in Switzerland on New Years Eve.

Quick fire last three:

Who’s your favourite DJ duo?
Utah Saints – great guys with a legendary following and new sound

What was the last album you bought?
Oli: Freestlyers
Alex: XX

What is your favourite track right now?
I’d have to be biased but honest: The Squatters – Drop, it’s really tearing up dancefloors! Out on the 22nd November! See what I’ve done there!

The Squatters – Drop

Thanks to Oli and Alex! And you heard them:

Drop is out 22 November.

The Squatters – Superfly

Superfly is out 15 November on Champion Records.


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