AVA Mix Series: Jordan Nocturne
The latest edition of the AVA Mix Series comes via DJ, producer, The Night Institute cohort and all around local legend Jordan McCuaig AKA Jordan Nocturne.
McCuaig is a festival regular who is always quick to showcase the wealth of talent in the local scene through his “From Belfast with Love” VA’s and TNI programming, choosing to opt for residents and locals over big international guests. The next 60 minutes of club inspired energy journeys through pumping percussive rhythms and squelching acid house, ominous trance and feel-good italo to seal the deal.
We caught up with Nocturne about what he’s been upto post-AVA including forthcoming music, getting healthy and newfound parenthood.
Hey Jordan. You had your first few The Night Institute gigs in Belfast with Timmy Stewart, Matheson + K E M around Halloween, tell us how that went?
Hey! Yeah it was great to be back. It was the last weekend of COVID restrictions and despite all that, it sold 600 tickets across the weekend for all N.I. talent – so hopefully that’s a positive sign of the post-covid landscape. There is a real energy bubbling in the air and a hunger to get back to it.
How does it feel to be running nights again?
I’ve been throwing parties for most of my life so it definitely felt like the natural order of things was returning. By that I mean constantly checking ticketing apps and obsessive hours of preparing playlists. But yeah, it was great to get everyone in one room together, support new blood, drink some beer and just give people a good time.
You’re also running your own Nocturne label, any big plans there as we return to normality in NI?
The label has been a real outlet for my creativity during lockdown – we released loads of music from artists around the world – including two charity compilations to raise money for food banks and refugees. It was nice to see so many artists happy to contribute and maybe it’s time to finally do a label party too now that things are back to normal.
Rumour has it you’re about to have a release on System records? Care to give us the inside scoop on that and your relationship with Dance System?
That’s right – I met James (Dance System) at the Mixmag Lab in London and we batted a few messages back and forward. I had a really long chat with his manager, Sophie who also co-manages the label, on the phone, and just really liked their attitude and how they roll things out. Coincidentally the music that’s dropping on the label was inspired by my AVA gig. I was a fan of his L-Vis 1990 work on Clone which was a mainstay at Belfast parties around 2015 I think, so it’s a nice association.
What was your approach to this AVA mix?
I’ve always approached internet mixes completely differently than club sets – generally they’re a bit weirder, slower and more psychedelic for a party, car or home listening. But with the AVA mix it was different – I have started to travel again to play clubs, and of course the festival, over the past few weeks, so it’s inspired by club energy.
How did you enjoy playing AVA 2021?
I loved it – I got to catch up with so many friends I hadn’t seen in ages, have a few drinks and hear some music outdoors. I don’t really ask for much more than that.
Any favourite moments from AVA’s gone by?
I’ve plenty. Aside from the festival which is always a cracker, we’ve had a good few off-season moments too. Our AVA trip to The Warehouse Project was pretty eventful – a pretty rowdy hotel room after half the lineup trying different methods to disable the smoke detector was good fun.
Another personal highlight was the first AVA x The Night Institute festival pre-party at Aether and Echo with Dekmantel Soundsystem. It was queued round the block. A proper stand-out party.
What did you get up to over lockdown? We hear you got married recently, congrats!
Thank you – my lockdown was pretty eventful and despite the obvious shitshow that affected all of us, I made the most of the downtime. My son was born at the beginning of the lockdown, and I got married last month (the end!) Between that I’ve been running the label, making music, learning to play piano, and getting healthy. After 15 years of late nights, 3am takeaways and two day afterparties it was good to have some time to take stock and come back to things with a fresh energy. I feel as inspired now as I did when I was a kid starting to play in clubs.
What were some of your earliest musical influences? Any guilty pleasures?
My earliest electronic influences were the likes of Fergie, Eddie Halliwell and Gleave. I was really inspired by that energetic tech-trance sound which coincidentally is back in vogue. In terms of guilty pleasures, I wouldn’t call them guilty but I’m sure it’s no secret that I’m into some very questionable, camp Hi-NRG italo, freestyle and 80’s.
If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead, who would it be?
- Divine Interface, Stefan Ringer – Start It Right
- Abrao & Fabio Vanore – Voodoo Ray (Cooper Saver Mix)
- Chris Massey – Floor On The Four (ROTCIV Remix)
- Zillas on Acid – Going into Trance
- Arrow – O’La Soca (Afro Soca Acid Dub)
- Theus Mago, Thomas Jackson – Sergio Ramos
- Bryan Kessler – Ramp & Rage
- Kendal, David Carretta – Pastaga
- Kolsch – Woohman
- Benjamin Frohlich – Club Fantasy (DJ City Remix)
- DJ Zank – Pegassans
- Granary 12 – Way We Do
- Mr Pauli & David Funk – Zanzibar Express
- Digital Emotion – Go Go Yellow Screen