Flavour checked in with ‘The Squatters,’ an effervescent and entertaining duo, who are irrefutably branding their distinctive mark on the music scene. Alex Powell and Oliver Portamento, are two charismatically different, (yet engaging DJ’s), whose unique flair on the decks and genius combination of innovative talent make them a groundbreaking phenomena. Their matchless fusion of different influences, (from hip-hop to trance), alongside epic breakdowns and other surprises, have gained them support from top radio stations and incredible opportunities to work alongside legendary artists, from Judge Jules to Kissy Sell Out. With advice to ‘sit back and hold tight’ as they hit the decks, Flavour was compelled to gatecrash the Squatter’s party, to lift the lid on their explosive success, inimitable swagger and unique ability to avoid paying the rent on their up-and-coming tour this summer!
Can you give us a brief background as to who ‘The Squatters’ are?
It was all pretty quick! After meeting through a friend at college, we made a track and it was signed straight away with a South African label. From then onwards the Squatters were born!
Who came up with the name?
Olly was a Ministry of Sound resident and I would go with him and play back to back. When people used to ask us to play, we’d oblige as long as they gave us a floor to sleep on and some vodka. It ended up being a joke where people would ask us where we were squatting for the night. At first we were reluctant to use ‘The Squatters’, but we were given it!
What did you do before your epic entry onto the music scene?
Alex: I wanted to be a chef so I went to catering college and worked in a Thai restaurant until I was 18, but then the music took over. I love cooking, but I got my first set of decks at 14 and after watching Kevin and Perry decided I wanted to DJ.
Olly: I trained to be a hairdresser and really got into it.
Alex: He only went on the course because he thought he could pull girls whilst doing it. I think he’s jinxed himself now though because he’s lost all his hair!
Flavour thrives on originality, what would you say makes you stand out?
Apart from us being really funny looking and our weird dress sense? (laughs) Our originality comes from the fact that what we make is literally what comes out! I’m the more musical one and see music in a logical way, but it’s not until Olly cuts it up and moves it around that we come up with something that sounds unique. For us, music is all about bringing people together and lifting people’s moods. We don’t want to come across detached, it’s got to be a party and it’s got to be fun and we reflect that in our music!
Touching on your dress sense, when you put an outfit on, what inspires you?
It’s got to be comfy, bright and something that people notice; statement clothing is a must!
Alex: My favourite T-shirt is white with a picture of Jesus in a superman outfit. I also have a bright blue hat with the words ‘I love haters on it’ as I like to make a point.
You both have different personas. In a sentence describe the other’s personality?
Alex: Olly is cool, calm, collected until the Vodka’s opened and then it’s a whole different story!
Olly: Alex is a forgetful, useless, genius!
Judgement Sundays in Ibiza has been confirmed, What can your fans look forward to?
We are ecstatic to be asked back and will be doing the four dates. People can expect a typical jump up party with two maniacs behind the decks; throwing out noisy tunes, euphoric breakdowns and plenty of sick drops. We like to throw in a few surprises so for anyone coming to see us, you’re in for a treat!
Tell us about your up and coming worldwide tour?
In July we are going to America to play at the Avalon in Hollywood and are also looking to play in Vegas. We are doing three dates at the BCM in Majorca for Judgement. In August, we are going back to South Korea for two dates and are hoping to go to Thailand and Tokyo. We are also waiting for dates to be confirmed for Switzerland. It’s overwhelming, as a lot of gigs are repeat bookings, so we are obviously doing something right!
You have also launched your own label, ‘What’s your Status,’ give us the 411.
Social networks are popular, so we thought it would be a great concept to run events and launch our own record label. We want to move from the status quo and use people’s opinions, rather than dictate as to what is popular. We release a variation of music, some of our own, as well of that of a few artists that are coming through. Not many people gave us the opportunity, but we cannot be more thankful to the ones who have, and to get something back is a bonus.
Alex, whose party would you gatecrash and who would you like to collaborate with?
Will Ferrell’s, as he is the funniest man in the world and with a mind like that, he has to party hard. Collaboration wise, we are living the dream, as we are working with all the people we have inspired to work with. We are working with Judge Jules, just completed a track with Kissy Sell Out and just did an original track with vocalist Steve Edwards, (who worked with Bob Sinclar on the ‘Love Generation’ track). Someone asked me what our plans were for 2012 just before Christmas and I couldn’t have imagined then what we are doing now. Everything is happening so quickly and it’s been so unpredictable, tracks are being put into the right hands and we are working with our heroes.
We know you like to ‘brush your teeth and dance,’ cook and style hair, but what two things would you like to do that you haven’t yet accomplished?
Alex: Climb the mountain Kumotori in Tokyo eating Dim Sum noodles all the way up and all the way down! I also want to go to Kennedy Space Centre, because I’m obsessed with space and Aliens.
Olly: Teach a Donkey to DJ and throw an illegal rave for my 60th birthday!
Check out the Squatters spin on the track Cedric Gervais track of ‘Molly’ called ‘Squatters have found Molly.’