Photos by Shawn Brackbill
Words by Andrew Parks
The visionary avant-pop vibes of Arthur Russell. The synthesized psych transmissions of Silver Apples. Pockets of post-punk, cold-pressed industrial and extraterrestrial dub techno. Nurse…With…Wound.
They all have a place in the mix with Optimo, Glasgow’s reigning underground selectors thanks to sprawling live sets and carefully curated compilations (Psyche Out, Sleepwalk, Walkabout) that are stripped of irony or name-that-tune nods. Like Soulwax’s genre-jumping 2 Many DJs guise, only subtle; as if your favorite friendly neighborhood record snob decided to share their secret stash, white labels and all.
Optimo’s skills don’t begin and end in the DJ booth, either. Now that they’re nearly two years removed from the final installment of their beloved Sub Club party back home—a party that saw nothing wrong with booking TV on the Radio one week and Whitehouse the next—Keith McIvor (aka JD Twitch) and Jonnie Wilkes are busy balancing a tireless tour schedule with side projects, production gigs, remixes and their very own Optimo Music imprint. Here’s a short list of what we can expect from those fronts in the coming months: Wilkes’ first proper Naum Gabo LP (“an album of instrumental synth tracks, some as long as 15 minutes”), a dancehall single and secret collaborative album from McIvor, a Peter Zummo reissue, an EP from a Factory Floor side project, and “an irregular Friday night residency later in the year so we can reconnect with the city that made us who we are.”
In the meantime, self-titled thought we’d ask the only DJs we’d trust with a wedding a warehouse rave to share the records that have shaped their lives…