Ivan Smagghe belongs to a top table of DJs that journalists like to describe as “The DJ’s DJ”. Along with the likes of occasional partner-in-crime Andrew Weatherall, Ivan has the ability to play music like a raw conduit between his famously obscure records and the dancefloor’s strobe-soaked bodies, injecting something of himself seamlessly into the mix along the way.
His genre-defying/defining production work originally in Black Strobe and now in It’s A Fine Line and Smagghe & Cross has connected him to and garnered the praise of (amongst others) James Murphy, Trevor Jackson, Ata, Optimo, and the aforementioned Weatherall. All fellow crusaders in the fight to prove that electronic music can be so much more than a one-dimensional soundtrack for a night on the lash.
After nearly a decade of putting out numerous remixes (from Superpitcher to the XX, Discodeine to Au Revoir Simone, Fairmont to Tiga) and releases that can’t be boxed in (electro rockabilly on Kompakt to Italo rickety disco, the “nu-Balearic” classic My Kind of Woman on history Clock), his project with Tim Paris, It’s A Fine Line released their long-awaited album in September 2016 on Kill The DJ, a label Ivan has co-run for 15 years with his old Paris Le Pulp crew. The first single, THE DELIVERY, featured Alex Kapranos, the singer from Franz Ferdinand.
Since 2013 Ivan Smagghe has also been running his own imprint, Les Disques de la Mort (LDDLM). The label is very much an outlet for his own unique taste in music: new kids & old friends (Erol Alkan, Zongamin, Manfredas, GoldenBug, Marc Pinol), and reissues (003 is composed of edits of Israeli coldwave). They released the first SAVE! lp (Mutado Pintado & Colder), the DJ OIL LP in 2017 and launch a sub-series of obscure music compilations called MUSIC FROM THE MAINLAND. LLDLM is the, as Ivan calls it, the ‘style of no style’, the refusal to be pigeonholed.
Ivan is also back on the airwaves, hosting CHANNELING, a fortnightly strange feast on London’s uber-cool NTS Radio (every other Tuesday 18:00-20:00 GMT). As far as recent work is concerned, he has released two albums under a new partnership entitled Smagghe & Cross. The first (featuring vocals with Matthew Herbert, guitars by Tim Felton from Broadcast, C.A.R, and Andréa Balency), challenges preconceptions of what can happen on the dancefloor whilst the second delves into the murky realms of ambient on Offen Records. Both were released in early 2017 as well as a debut remix for Glasgow darlings Junto Club on London imprint SC&P, remixes for Mugwump and Prins Thomas, and an EP for Ransom Note. The next lp from Smagghe & Cross will be on Offen Records this autumn.
You can catch Ivan subverting the masses on any given weekend, at venues such as Renate, Berlin / Robert Johnson, Frankfurt / The Pickle Factory, London / Rex, Paris / Arma17, Moscow / Lux, Lisbon / 20/44, Belgrade / Nitsa, Barcelona / Monarch, San Francisco and many more dancing dens of iniquity worldwide.
For now enjoy Ivan’s fabulous selection in the form of DHA FM Mix #434