Super-connected East London producer Anthony McGinley has graduated from a colourful clubland to the world stage with a consistent flow of tracks and remixes under the artist name ABSOLUTE.
For the last few years, he’s been throwing some of the most popular underground events for the alternative and the fabulous in London and beyond. His position as gatekeeper to an environment where club kids can experiment has created a community of fans forged by freedom of expression. Not only has WUT? Club has been a safe space for the weird and the wonderful, but it has been a testbed for Anthony’s own musical productions too.
From the sweaty walls of Dalston Superstore to the main stage of Milkshake Festival (in both Amsterdam and Sao Paulo) the ABSOLUTE. artist project has grown out of Anthony’s home studio into a fully-fledged proposition supported by some of the world’s leading tastemakers.
You are fairly active in the London club scene, especially around East London. How did you first get into this space and what made you take the leap into DJing?
I’ve always lived in East London after moving here from Devon, and it was often where I went out, so it’s felt a natural place to start. If DJs are looking to get booked in certain places, one of the best ways is to actually go there regularly and make yourself known. Especially if you’re just starting out.
I’ve always been obsessed with dance music since I was a kid. It felt like a natural progression. I would collect vinyl before I even had decks or anything to play them on. One of my first gigs was entering a national DJ competition that was put on by Barcardi. I ended up winning which gave me added confidence to carry on pursuing it.
There is a lot of debate at the moment around the state of clubland. In London, for example, traditional clubs appear to be struggling but DIY parties, illegal raves and smaller people-focused events seem to be thriving why do you think this?
Things will always evolve. I think having and creating a community actually means something. There are more connections with people in those settings which draws people to those communities. Wherever the party, it’s all about the people and those connections that happen on the dancefloor, music is just the catalyst for that. That’s also the ethos behind my new label project, Family Planning.
You have been hugely successful in building a community around your WUT? Club events. What do you think is the key to success in such a competitive scene?
I think actually caring about the community. Wanting to create something different. WUT has been a space where people feel not only safe but inspired and celebrated by each other too. WUT is currently on hold while I focus more on making music and helping to programme artists for Extinction Rebellion, something else I’m also passionate about.
What role do you think music play’s in shaping social change if any?
When I was programming in artists for Extinction Rebellion’s latest action in London I was aiming to bring together world-renowned artists and club brands to drawn attention this crucial cause. It didn’t quite end up going as planned due to things being shut down, I’ll be announcing a big fundraiser event for XR shortly to make up for it.
The last few years have seen your stock rise dramatically in the world of electronic music. You have played alongside the likes of Maya Janes Coles as well as festival bookings in Amsterdam and Sao Paulo. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
It is an exciting time! Playing on Trafalgar Square for Extinction Rebellion after Disclosure a couple of weeks ago was a recent highlight. My latest EP is on Radio 1 for the fourth time over the past few weeks has really blown me away, especially because its been self-released on my own label. Feeling super grateful.
Has it all been plain sailing up to this point or have there been moments where you have struggled and thought about giving up? If so how did you overcome these?
There have been times when I’ve thought about giving up and lots of things that haven’t gone the way you want or planned. The struggle has been very real a few times. I think the main thing you need in this industry is resilience. I have a great bunch of people around me who help me get through when things feel tough, and to keep knowing that it’s a matter of when and how with my music career, not if.
The name ABSOLUTE. comes from being at one of those down moments, breaking through it and knowing I’m absolutely making this happen without question.
You have recently launched your ‘Family Planning’ label. Can you tell us a bit more about why you decided to launch the imprint and what the future holds?
I’m super grateful for the labels that have wanted to release my music and have such an affinity to my Turbo family and Tiga’s support. I just really wanted to have a platform I can have full control over. No restrictions on anything while consistency releasing music. I have a remix package coming from the last EP and lots more original music. I might look at doing some Family Planning parties down the line too.
Finally, if you could party on any dance floor past or present where would it be why?
The Music Box in Chicago in the mid to late 80’s with Ron Hardy on the decks. How incredible would it be to experience some of the early Chicago house records dropping for the first time there?