15 songs that define me: Dave Haslam’s playlist
Dave Haslam

If anyone deserves the title ‘Mr Manchester’, it’s Dave Haslam.

Moving to the city in 1980, he set up a fanzine and promoted gigs before establishing himself as a vital part of the Manchester music scene through his writing, DJing and habit of being at the heart of all major moments in music from the ’80s onwards.

If it happened in Manchester, Dave was probably there.

After finishing his latest book, a detailed history of British nightclubs and music venues, Dave found the time to put together a playlist of 15 of the songs that matter most to him – check out the Spotify playlist below.

Here he talks us through five of his highlights:

Billy Mackenzie – ‘At the Edge of the World’

“Billy Mackenzie was the singer from The Associates, a lovely and evocative voice, who, particularly near the end of his life, had a bleak world view. Billy passed away in 1997 – one of the most underrated singers and writers in British music. This was one of his last recordings.”

Move D – ‘To The Disco’

“A warm, slightly melancholic, beautifully layered piece of minimalist house with clever samples. When I hear something like this, I’m thinking where I can go where the audience is clued-up and the DJ is clever enough to make this the big tune of the night. It’s not pop music. A bit Caribou I guess.”

Warpaint – ‘Composure’/ ‘Undertow’ (Live)

“Five years ago I was one of two hundred people squashed into the Deaf Institute to see Warpaint. I very rarely go to big venues. I think I have been to the MEN Arena or whatever it’s called this week a total of about five times. One of the reasons why I was committed to writing my new book about clubs and venues was to celebrate and keep alive the joy of the small venues, the new bands, the grassroots scene. There are two perfect ways to consume music; squashed in a small venue watching a new band, hungry, fresh, on their way to greatness is one of them.”

Purple Disco Machine – ‘Where We Belong’

“Interviewing people for ‘Life After Dark’ I was struck by how many clubbers remembered their favourite venue by saying something along the lines of “I felt I belonged there”. This lovely, relatively recent tune made in Berlin totally nails it. It’s one of those new house tunes (2015) that sounds like an old tune (1991), but in a good way.”

Choice (Laurent Garnier) – ‘Acid Eiffel’

“The other perfect way to consume music, when it’s relentless and you’re lost in the noise and there aren’t any stupid words. Nice reminder of Paris, too. I’ve been over there 20 times to DJ, maybe more. Met some great friends there and always have a ball when I visit the city. Last year I did my first ‘Close Up’ onstage interview in Paris, at a club called Silencio; and Laurent was the guest. We had a superb 40-minute talk. He’s a great guy.”

The 10 other tracks on Dave’s playlist:

Chromatics – ‘Ceremony’
Dean Blunt feat. Inga Copeland – ‘The Narcissist’
Miles Davis – ‘Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud’ (soundtrack)
The Dramatics – ‘Do What You Want Be What You Are’
Sonic Youth – ‘I Dreamed I Dream’
Charlie – ‘Spacer Woman’
Nils Penner ‘State Of Mind’
Baxter Dury – ‘Isabel’
The Fall – ‘Blindness’ (Live)
Cerrone – ‘Supernature’

Listen to Dave Haslam’s playlist on Spotify:

Dave Haslam’s new book, Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues, will be published on August 13, with a launch event at Home on Sunday, August 16. More information about the book here.