I recently returned to Bali to play at the excellent Potato Head Beach Club.
Bali was the first country I ever visited in Asia and it was the start of a relationship, which has continued now for over 30 years!!! Arriving there as a kid from Glasgow just out of school I was fascinated by how different it seemed to what I knew back then. More dark at night, hardly any decent roads, more ritual, lots of hot and spicy food and a shit load of motorbikes. It was also so beautiful. Once you head up into the hills and see the paddy field regions, which have more greens than you can ever imagine plus lush waterfalls and wonderful temples. Well let’s just say it was a good place to start an affair with Asia.
Decades later and Bali has changed a lot. I have changed a bit too. I am not sure I ever imagined I would be on a line up with two amigos Pete Herbert & Eric Duncan at the biggest and best international beach club in town, Potato Head.
Potato Head just grows from strength to strength. Run by a dedicated and well savvy team of international types they mix a truly relaxed and cool approach with a massive attention to detail and style.
There is very little functional about the building itself. It is like a piece of sculpture fronted by reclaimed wooden window shutters which give it a totally unique look.
Inside the food the food rocks and the music is provided by a handpicked and dedicated team of local and international DJs who are united in their passion for a certain Balearic, or Bali-earic sound that fuses Disco, Downtempo and Electronic with a taste for good music gathered from all around the world. A kind of a new form of international world music really based around hanging at the leading beach clubs like PH and Ku De Ta. This Bali sound has put it firmly on the musical map in the same way Ibiza was represented originally by the Balearic sound of Jose Padilla and Alfredo amongst others.
One of my favourite places to hang while at PH is to head for Studio Eksotika, which is a record shop run by the locally respected and increasingly internationally renowned DEA. I first heard Dea DJ while on one of those eternal taxi rides into Jakarta from the airport. I had been picked up by a driver who was playing one of his DJ mixes and about 30 minutes in after a number of amazing weird tunes I have never heard and strange foreign cover versions of tracks I knew all put together impeccably well…I was hooked!
Since then we have become friends. He is pretty unique. Mostly he is one of the biggest diggers of rare and exotic music you will ever come across. And he is pretty mean at playing it too. Here is an excellent mix he did for Disco Deviance.
In Eksotica he ably assisted by Gero aka Gerry who is an excellent chap and not far behind Dea in terms of knowledge and taste now. You definitely want to try and catch these local guys play when you are in town. And of course you need to go to Studio Eksotika where you can sit drinking cold beers, having great chats, listening to rare music on vinyl from around the world on an audiophile set up surrounded by interesting people and local and international art. You can even order in some food. Now that is some shopping experience!!! I love Eksotika. No trip to Bali would be complete without it.
Gerry also recently dropped a top mix for Disco Deviance!
But there are always surprises too. This year I came across Sam playing a few times. Originally from Java, Sam relocated to Bali and used to play mainly hip hop and techno, but has now shifted into the more Balearic sound. And fuck me if he isn’t good at it. Definitely another DJ to check out!
Then of course there are the long term DJ stalwarts. The people who have helped to build the Bali sound. People like my main man Pete Herbert, Eric Duncan, Paul T, Adriano Giordano, the legendary techno dude Radek, Stu Mac and Joey Fiztgerald amongst others. All capable of long and well crafted sets. And their skills are based around the fact that they know the place, the time and the people. And know what to play to make things really tick. The resident DJs are really the resource that makes Potato Head and other venues on the island shine bright and strong. It really is all about the music in the end. And of course the legendary sunsets when every DJ really wants to play…
Fortunately for me PH also welcome international DJs as well as doing some seriously high profile events with acts such as Grace Jones and DJ Harvey for example.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Saturday night gig on the bar deck which is transformed more into a club format for such events. Playing after Pete and Eric was amazing. I can’t think of two better pirates to be on a ship with. Then Gilles Peterson took over bar deck duties on the Monday night with Dea warming it up this time.
So you get the idea…it’s pretty well done.
I also played a sunset set the following week, which is always an opportunity to play a more eclectic set. To play that music you love, but rarely get to play in a club. That is the magic of Bali and the beauty of places like Potato Head. It was a wonderful sunset that day and hot as hell. I loved every minute of it.
So that’s the lowdown on my trip to Potato Head. I advise you to try it out for yourself. In the mean time here is a mix they recently put up of a sunset I did a year or so ago. Hope you enjoy the vibes!!! x