The Heatwave’s tagline “The Carnival Starts Now” is further reiterated when at the end of the interview Gabriel founder of the Heatwave collective asks quizzically. “How many horns and whistles do you think I am going to need to bring to Calgary for the party?”
The UK party starters consisting of two MC’s (Benjamin D and Rubi Dan) and one DJ have been bringing to clubs in the UK the best in Reggae, Dancehall, and Funky bashment, since 2003. What began as a simple reggae/ dancehall/ reggaeton night has expanded to include multiple refixs (such as Adele’s “Rolling in the deep”), a weekly show on London’s Rinse FM, and a weekly, Hot Wuk, that has chapters in all of the UK’s major cities. The Heatwave bring the party, and Gabriel and MC Rubi Dan are bringing the Carnival attitude to Canada.
“People just lose it in such a different way in Carnival.” Gabriel explains from his home in London. “The number of people just multiplies the hype, everyone goes crazy and then suddenly it is just this madness — it is kind of amazing.” It is that same hype vibe that the Heatwave have successfully managed to recreate in the club. “We definitely find that when we play in clubs it is a carnival like atmosphere, people do lose it and there are things like whistles and horns to hitting the walls and/or finding something else that makes noise that kind of creates that vibe.”
When I ask about his dance inspired riot, Gabriel laughs and adds as an aside that he doesn’t want to scare Canadian promoters but that it is the Heatwave’s belief that a performance goes both ways, requiring crowd participation and interaction.
“We are not just a DJ outfit; we don’t just turn up, put on the music, play for the crowd, and go home; we do something that is visually and sonically different and interesting and I think that creates the atmosphere.
“Allowing the crowd to get involved it is not just a one way process [...] when the crowd is making so much noise, getting involved, and telling you what to do I think that is really important.”
For individuals that are not familiar with dancehall and funky bashment, The Heatwave, regularly booked at clubs that specialize in Jungle, UK Garage, Dubstep and UK Funky, will rope you in (“Sean Paul is a default for us; we love Sean Paul, GIRLS love Sean Paul – we play Sean Paul and people start dancing.”) and then hype the crowd, interact with the crowd and harness that energy. It is through their love of music that the Heatwave collective manages to be transcendental; a UK group, spinning Caribbean music for people around Europe and now Canada. Gabriel claims that it is as easy as knowing where things “come from”.
“I think that it is interesting to see how music grows and develops; how culture moves from place to place and people pick it up and reinterpret it. I believe that stuff is important and you can learn how people work — about connections — by looking into stuff like that . Everyone likes music, and listens to music, and dances to music, that is just sort of a fundamental thing for humans.”
If you like to dance, bring your whistles, horns, and full Carnival regalia to the Republik, October 27.
By: Sheena Jardine-Olade