Far Away is a radio show, hosted by Cooper Saver, and a series of legendary parties and mixtapes, organised by Cooper and Jen Ferrer. The cassettes and shindigs having featured names like Floating Points, Jacques Renault, Joakim, Lovefingers, Mark Seven, and Mike Simonetti.
My friends Mind Fair (Ben Shenton and Dean Meredith) put together the latest Far Away tape, so I figured it was the perfect time to ask Mr. Saver a few questions. Cooper was also kind enough to let Ban Ban Ton Ton stream the Mind Fair mix (see below, right after the interview).
The mix is actually Mind Fair`s second in the series. The first was “all about after the party relaxing, driving home. With a love theme.” While this one is “getting in the boogie mood on your way to the party or to play at your own house party / beach party.” Since it it flows like a night on the Mind Fair dance floor. No overdubs, no edits, just one take.
Basses get slapped and synths soar. Drums are dubbed-out, and the Rock is the kind that Larry would have played at the Garage. Larry lending his own magic to a Johnny Dynell jam. There are smooth Jazz-dancers. Uptempo cuts. Cool and slightly camp. Sweet-toothed Proto-House. Stuttering 80s Electro-Funk. Manchunian Post-Punk with a large dose of NYC`s Danceteria. Ian Dury espousing on the natural heartbeat-like beauty of the 4 / 4 rhythm. 303 massages, Tropical keys, and trance-y, Eastern-tinged tabla. David Morales Def Mix-ing. Pop hits given a big boss groove. And a Post-Soul II Soul Balearic tearjerker to finish.
Over to Cooper…..
Where are you from?
Where are you based?
L.A. Downtown to be exact!
When did you start throwing the parties? What inspired you to do so? Why “Far Away”?
The parties began in 2012. The first one was meant to be a one-off launch party for my Dublab radio show, which I named “Far Away” – for no real particular reason other than thinking it was a nice name. It ended up being a great night, with special guests Suzanne Kraft and Woolfy. After that I guess I was hooked and wanted to do a few more parties and eventually began doing them monthly for years.
Who are the residents? What guests have you had?
Myself and Jen Ferrer are residents, and over the years we’ve had a wide range of guests featuring legendary veteran diggers like Mark Seven, and contemporary heroes and friends like Avalon Emerson.
When and where is the party? Is it a regular or more spontaneous thing? Do you use the same venue every time?
These days things are quite spontaneous and less frequent, which is mainly due to an increase in touring and music production on my end. But it’s also nice because now each event is more of a special treat. We were doing monthly, and twice a month, for a really long time, and even though the parties were successful, it was very draining for us and risked losing some of that special feeling. All of the parties up until the last year or so were all at various lofts and warehouse spaces – changing for nearly every event. Totally DIY. Which meant bringing in our own sound, bar, decorations, etc. As you can imagine that’s a lot of work, with a high risk factor. Of course it’s always worth it, but after a while you start to realise that you can create better parties by doing them less often and saving your energy to ensure they’re the best they can be when they do happen. Lately we’ve been doing a series of events at a club in Downtown L.A. called Lot 613, with our friend Nik Wilson, who runs the space, and it’s been a lot of fun. With a LOT less stress.
Could you give me five pieces of music that define the party? Five “Far Away” Classics?
Gaznevada – Special Agent Man (Female Version)
This song was a major staple at the first handful of warehouse parties I ever threw. I would warm up before the first guest would go on and ALWAYS started at a low tempo as people arrived. It would always be played within the first hour of opening doors for a couple years.
Neal Howard – The Gathering (Club Mix)
A lot of memories with this one. Nothing like a classic! Many of our guests over the years have played it, such as Young Marco, Floating Points, and Anthony Naples. Each time was a major moment, obviously.
Tornado Wallace – Thinking Allowed
Another classic from the first half of the night, when the room is getting full, the fog gets thick, and you’re like “Ok let’s go, it’s time to do this.” It came out on ESP Institute, a label helmed by hometown hero, Lovefingers. That ESP sound was highly influential to Far Away and still is to this day.
Lnrdcroy – Ooze City
A late classic but classic none the less. A certified party starter. Something that you build up to and finally let ’em have it. Tension is a key “Far Away” element and this jam was a staple from the moment it was released.
The Spinners – I’ll Be Around
I have very emotional memories of Prins Thomas ending his six-hour set with this. Nothing like sending everyone home on a tender note. Embracing each other, and reflecting on the journey. Winding it down and ending on something along these lines is something this party has always been about when the lights come on.
Is there a lively local scene of clubs and parties, DJs and producers, record shops?
Definitely, now more than ever I’d say. The local scene is very diverse and busy. So many new young producers and DJs here. Many of which have their own radio shows on either Dublab or NTS. Which are great resources for things happening in the city, and the people behind them. When I first started going out, it would be rare to know about two parties happening on the same night. Now you have a handful to pick from, and they’re all really good and unique in their own ways. The options are growing and it’s a really good thing for the most part. Digging can be hit or miss depending on what you’re looking for, but there are a plenty of amazing dusty dollar bin spots to spend your days in around here. As far as the hot new stuff goes, we only have a few options but you really can’t go wrong with Amoeba and Mount Analog.
Where do you go to dance, chill, and buy records?
I’ll usually go to whichever after hours my friends are throwing / playing at, so it really changes week to week. My favourite chill spot is probably Echo Park Lake, or maybe the beach on a good day. As far as records goes, I make my rounds at the places mentioned above and a few other places like Record Jungle.
What were the last three records you bought?
Are there local DJs and artists we should keep an eye out for?
Oh man, so many. I don’t want to make anyone feel left out, so I suggest taking a look at Dublab’s programming to get a sense of what’s going on in our community and discover some of the best emerging – and also established – local talent.
Do you make music yourself?
I do! Over the last year or so I’ve finally made more time for myself to finish music. I have some releases coming out with Prins Thomas on his Internasjonal label later this year, as well as a single for ESP Institute. Plus a bunch of remixes and a track for a Permanent Vacation compilation are also due.
What made you decide to start doing the tapes?
Initially it was meant to promote some of the guests of the parties, but then I quickly realised that the tape format is such a great way to share a deeper connection with all artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. People don’t treat it like any other mix, it’s so personal and introspective. So I wanted to show that side of my favourite artists, regardless if they’ve played at our party or not. As long as they share the “Far Away” ethos, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t just have to be a party, it can also be a feeling or a sound, and I think that’s showcased in the eclecticism of the tape series.
Do you think you`d ever make the transition into vinyl?
Jen and I talk about it often. It’s definitely something that we’d like to do one day. I think when things align and it feels right we’ll make that transition naturally – which could be sooner than you think…
How did you hook up with Mind Fair?
Mind Fair’s first tape for us came early on in the series and I can’t quite remember how we initially got in touch. I`d been speaking with Dean and Ben online over Facebook for quite some time, I’ve been a longtime fan of all of their individual projects and of course all the Mind Fair stuff. I believe I sent them a copy of Mark Seven’s contribution and they already had a concept in mind for a special mix they were working on. It seemed perfect for the tapes. We’ve kept in touch regularly since then and when they told me they were developing a sequel to their first mix, it was a no brainer to do another one together. I’m really happy with how both releases turned out!
Who`s next on Far Away Tapes?
We have a long line of releases waiting to come out, I can’t spoil any surprises yet. It’s always growing and moves slowly, but they’re coming. There’s a recording of Floating Points from our anniversary party last summer that we’re planning on releasing as a double-cassette package. We should have an update on that quite soon.
*Please don`t forget Mind Fair`s Rotation Garden Party taking place on July 21st.