Last night saw the end of an era. Optimo opened its doors for the last time and JD Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes took to the Sub Club DJ booth to play for the last time. Well, so they say. Optimo after 12 years will end in it's current guise but Keith and Jonnie may well play at the Sub Club together again but they simply won't be doing it every Sunday like they used to.
I'm surprised it made it this long to be honest - I thought they'd stop it at 10 years but they made it to 12. What can I say. I'm glad they did as in the past couple of years I made it up to Optimo twice.
The first time was bizarrely to cover for the guys when they were in Japan. I'd first met Keith properly after he came down to London to play at the launch party for the first single we put out on the label (the much overlooked They Came From The Stars I Saw Them - It's Time 12" which featured An Optimo Espacio Remix). Anyways I DJed, They Came From The Stars I Saw Them played live and then Keith DJed afterwards until closing. We then headed back to Horton Jupiters house for a bit of an afterparty and Keith came along - drunkenly in the kitchen Keith said that if one day him and Jonnie were away for a gig on the other side of the world they'd get me to cover for them. Pure drunken chat I thought but lo and behold Keith called me 12 months later asking if I was free in a few weeks time and if I'd cover for them at Optimo! Madness. I of course jumped at the chance and a few weeks later was stood in the booth of the sub club DJing to the Optimo regulars...the most fun I've had DJing in my life. I'll never forget the words from a particularly inebriated guy who at the end came over and said "Aye, you're good..........but you're not as good as Keith and Jonnie" - it felt like high praise from the Optimo faithful!
The other time I made it to Optimo was for my stag do last summer. It was a day, night and after party of epic proportions and we were all properly looked after by Keith and Jonnie. An amazing night and it properly blew all of our minds. The highlights were hearing Keith play the King Of Town Remix of Detachments Circles and it properly going off with full on strobes. And a typical Keith Ableton jam of Crash Course In Science cut up with a Billie Jean acapella (it was the week after Michael Jackson died).
Optimo have been one of the biggest inspirations for Thisisnotanexit - inspiring me to get Ableton, to expand my Djing repertoire, to even start a label. From the first time I downloaded one of their mixes I was hooked - and to be lucky enough to have had Keith remix the first release on the label, DJ myself at Optimo, put out Jonnies Naum Gabo - Pictur record as well as his Like Crystalline track on Thisisnotanexit Manifesto 1 is pretty dam amazing. Jonnie even emailed me the other day saying how much he loved Thisisnotanexit Manifesto 1! Optimo are quite simply lovely guys who love music and who put on the best dam party I've ever been to. Who knows what they'll do next. I know for a starter Keith is remixing the Command V single LOST ON ME that we're putting out this summer but after that I'm sure they'll be DJing anywhere and everywhere as much as they used to - but there won't be that regular Sunday night.
Weirdly in a few weeks time on May 28th Thisisnotanexit launches at The Drop in Stoke Newington. Inspired by Optimo on a small scale - we'll be featuring live bands early in the night and then only having resident DJs all night (myself and Spectral Empire) plus a friend doing visuals and projections. A focus on wild out there music and not sticking to the 4/4 conventions that appear to have become more and more prevalent again.
If the night is 10% as successful as Optimo then we'll be over the moon. This time if myself and Spectral Empire are away it'll be Optimo who will be coming to cover for us (maybe.....)
Here as a final treat is the last 15 minutes from Optimo last night featuring......Liquid Liquid, Nina Simone and a few other treats...it brought a tear to my eye. Enjoy.