As electronic music heads The Waveform Transmitter reveal charity record and event, Shaun Ponsonby talks to mastermind Ste Knight about the project.
The best thing about this music writing malarkey isn’t necessarily the gigs or the music. Sometimes it is just the people you meet and the friendships you form.
One of those people for all of us here is Ste Knight, editor of dance music site The Waveform Transmitter. Aside from being knowledgeable and passionate about dance music, he has become a great friend both to Planet Slop and to us on a personal level.
He’s also a top guy in the general sense – hence the upcoming House For The Homeless project, in which The Waveform Transmitter will release an album with all proceeds going to Crisis. “They are a fantastic charity,” he tells us.
“The work they do, not just in our city, but across the UK, is fantastic. The Skylight, which is the Liverpool branch of the charity, emphasise the arts, so they offer homeless people the chance to attend, for example, free painting classes, or singing classes. Something that, like Soup, Song, and Standup, gives homeless people the chance to feel normal, and do something they will enjoy. I genuinely cannot speak highly enough of them.”
It is clear that the issue of homelessness is important to Knight, one that he says is totally preventable in modern society. “I believe there is no reason why anybody should have to sleep on the streets. I am eternally grateful that it is not something I have ever experienced but I am all too aware that, like everyone else, we are only ever one wage slip away from losing the roof above our heads.
“Walking around Liverpool, I see how prevalent an issue homelessness is. As someone with a humanitarian heart, I can’t fail to see the injustice that people should be left outside, in the cold, at night. I am well aware that I can’t eradicate homelessness on my own, but using my platform, no matter how small that may be, I can feel I am making a difference to the lives of people who are no less deserving than you, I, or anyone else.
“I also feel that nobody should be ignored. You know the saying ‘Charity begins at home’? That is bullshit. Charity begins inside your heart and soul. Giving a homeless person your time, showing them they aren’t invisible, and that they haven’t just become a part of the wall they are sitting against, is more important to them than giving them the fifty pence they just asked you for. When we, as a society, start to realise that this problem isn’t going away unless we actively do something about it, the issue will start to dissipate. That is when we will see real change.”
When Knight launched The Waveform Transmitter before Christmas, he interviewed Mark Boulton, who runs the record label Touched Music. Through that label, Boulton raised around £60,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. During the interview, Knight asked him whether he felt all labels should donate a small profit to charity. “He agreed that they should,” Knight says. “But then went on to say ‘…we could all do a little bit more…’. That REALLY pricked my conscience and to say it inspired me is an understatement. So, instead of pontificating about helping someone, in some way, I got my arse into gear and decided to start acting, instead of talking about acting.
“I spoke to a close personal friend and someone who has been truly invaluable throughout this process. Her guidance throughout has been crucial. Importantly, Nicole, of Zest Event Management, also shares the same viewpoint in regards to homelessness. Her business runs a monthly event in The Brink called Soup, Song, and Standup. This is a free event, open to all people, but it is aimed at giving the homeless of our community a window back into normality. Here, they have somewhere safe and dry, in which they can enjoy music, talk, laugh, eat and drink, and be the humans that they are, not the ‘homeless’ they are labelled with.
I put it to Nicole that Crisis would be an excellent beneficiary for the release. Not only are they the UK’s longest serving homeless charity, but they make a genuine difference by lobbying Parliament for policy change alongside general fundraising activities. Nici agreed, so, with that, we decided that we would put an album together, and that is where we currently stand!”
Having never done anything like this before, Knight didn’t know where to start. Initially, he was only planning to target UK artists seeing as Crisis is a UK charity. But with homelessness being a global issue, he reversed this decision.
“I think I might have asked Odette first. She has become a good friend over the past year, and regularly sends me her music for opinion and criticism – although I can rarely find fault with it. She agreed immediately, so I started asking a few other artists, as well as some of the fantastic contacts I have made on the dance music scene. It kind of snowballed from there, to be honest.”
It really has snowballed. The album is full of high-quality house and techno and has been expertly sequenced in a way that builds from some lovely summery house vibes, through tech house, progressive, acid and finally culminates in some high-energy techno.
Aside from the aforementioned Dutch producer of the moment Odette and local talent such as Yousef, there is Italy’s Matt Sawyer with the lush Adagio, Jammhot, whose Serenity track has been given a touch of the Demi magic. The inimitable Mr.C has donated his as yet unreleased album track, E-Motion. With all tracks exclusive to the collection, it is clear that a lot of people are throwing their weight behind the project.
“I have been truly humbled by the willingness of all the artists I asked to get involved,” beams Knight.” I know how busy they all are with touring schedules, running labels, putting on their own nights, production, etc. So, the very fact that lots of them agreed straight away was very encouraging. Of course, there were some artists who simply couldn’t find the time to be involved, but that is cool, there is always next time. I am well aware that it is a massive punt to invest in something that has been developed by a publication very much in its infancy, and I would like to personally thank all the artists, from the bottom of my heart, that they have been involved in this project.”
The album is coming complete with a launch party at District on 15th July. Many of the artists appearing on the record will be performing at the event, all of whom are performing in Liverpool for the first time; Daniel Steinberg, Kristin Velvet, and Odette, along with 303 DJs, Kenny and Gemma Muir, Melos’ own Rosencrantz, Paddy Hooley and Rhyce Tyrrell.
The event will be a ten-hour marathon, beginning with a free element from 6pm in YARD, before heading indoors at 9 pm for the ticketed event. Tickets are only £10, again with all profits going to Crisis.
The following day, there will also be a special House for the Homeless Soup, Song, and Standup at the Brink. “Moxie will be coming down with her guitar,” says Knight. “DJ Aaron Ellis from Loose Joints will be spinning some tracks too.
“Come down, all are welcome, and you can give some of your time to people in our community who need it most, just by sitting and enjoying the event with them. It really can be that simple.”
House For The Homeless is released via a limited edition double CD on Saturday 15th July, followed by a digital release a month later. The launch party takes place at District on the same day. Tickets are available now from Skiddle.
House For The Homeless full tracklisting;
1. Serenity (Jammhot)
2. Broken Promises (Wood Drift)
3. It’s Raining (Daniel Steinberg)
4. Solicitors Are Welcome (Matuss)
5. It Will Come (Odette)
6. Strange Girl [Crisis Edit] (Yousef)
7. Adagio (Matt Sawyer)
8. Fantasy (Kristin Velvet)
9. Gone Tomorrow (Danny Howells)
10. E-Motion (Mr. C)
11. Affinity [House For The Homeless Dub] (Vanni and Fav)
12. Righteousness (Lonya ft. Denny Loco)
13. Electric Rescue (Skryptom)
Update: Check out Daniel Steinberg‘s contribution below.