A weekly feature here at The Great Divide Blog is our New Music Tuesday; introducing you to an artist or band you may not have heard of. We can’t guarantee that you won’t have heard of them, but if that’s the case, it might give you a little reminder to revisit them sometime soon.
This week we’re heading to the sunny coastal paradise that is Southend-on-Sea to find DJ and producer, Cardinal. Formerly known as Wholesick and by his first name, Justin, Cardinal has been a staple of the Southend house and techno scene for many years as a resident at Kool Kids Klub, as well as providing his full party onslaught to Nottingham at Stealth, Dollop and with his new night, Joy Fantastic.
The party vibe is what I love about seeing Justin DJ. Timing is the crucial ingredient in this type of environment, and whether he’s playing an early warm-up set or in full part bangers mode past midnight, he doesn’t miss a trick. Personally, having been a regular at Kool Kids Klub for many years now, I can safely say I don’t think I’ve ever been bored during any of Justin’s sets. Now with a new alias, and a more focused approach to his production work, Cardinal is a name you’ll be seeing a lot more in the future.
Justin has produced an exclusive guest mix for The Great Divide, which you can hear in the next blog post here. Spanning from disco to darker vibes, this mix is certainly one to kick away the early week blues. We met up with Cardinal to ask him about his future works, the mix he’s produced for us, and his nights around the country. Check it out below.
TGD: Hi, can you introduce yourself and give us a little history of your musical career?
Cardinal: I’m Justin, aka Cardinal, formerly Whole Sick. I’ve been playing records for the about 10 years – starting things off in my bedroom and moving on to become a resident at Stealth in Nottingham, Dollop, The Kool Kids Klub & Wax. I’ve released 2 EPs as Whole Sick on Sounds of Sumo, and a collab EP with Tomb Crew on Top Billin’. Remixes have been out on Troupe, Four 40, Trouble & Bass and a few more labels.
TGD: You’ve recently changed your alias from Whole Sick to Cardinal. Was this simply a change in name or is there a deeper meaning?
Cardinal: It’s not so much a deeper name, more a reflection on a change in the way I play and what I play. It felt like a good time to switch things up and almost start again, particularly as a producer. Also I wasn’t sure I wanted to be Whole Sick when I got older…
TGD: As a producer and a DJ, which do you prefer? What are your personal pros and cons of both?
Cardinal: It’s a tough one, I really enjoy producing and working through / developing my ideas in the studio, it’s also a great place to work with other people and push yourself forward, but when it comes down to it, DJing is my first love. If the venue is right and the crowd are on board it gives me the confidence to try new things and really push myself.
TGD: You’ve produced a new mix for us here at The Great Divide. Can you talk us through your inspirations behind the mix and why you picked some of the tracks we will be hearing?
Cardinal: I’ve tried to hit a snapshot of what I’m feeling right now, starting off in disco territory and moving through to some peak time records before going a bit deeper and darker. There are couple of Paul Woolford bits in there, and for me he can’t be faulted right now, the Night Talk record with Louisahh!!! is a personal favourite right now.
TGD: What are some of the staple, go-to records in your bag? Are there any new additions that should be checked out?
Cardinal: There’s a couple of go to records for me when things aren’t looking so good out there, definitely Hard House Banton – El General to get people moving and Xpansions – Move Your Body to push the energy up! Zombie Disco Squad – Righteous Sound always hits the spot on the dancefloor! As for new pick ups, the Albinos – Ritual House EP is great and it’s also worth checking out Crystal & S. Koshi on Beats In Space.
TGD: You’re a resident at Kool Kids Klub in Southend. What do you think has made the night so successful as it’s been running for over six years now? And what can we expect from the recent venue change from Sunrooms to Box?
Cardinal: It’s really been down to avoiding pigeonholes, but still being smart with bookings. A lot of nights could be accused of following the trends, but we’ve really just moved with people’s demands and kept hunting out the interesting acts that are going to surprise people or introduce them to something new. Club nights are supposed to be fun, but that doesn’t mean they have to be predictable.
TGD: You’re also the host of new night Joy Fantastic in Nottingham. What’s different about this to other nights in the area and why should we be attending it?
Cardinal: Joy Fantastic, which I run with Harrison, is all about fun. The tagline is ‘Vintage Cuts of Pop / Disco / RnB on a Modern Day Dancefloor’, as far as Joy is concerned, music is there for dancing. It’s not strictly ‘old’ music and it isn’t supposed to be a cheesy disco night, but people like Prince, Chic, Quincy Jones were all pushing boundaries in their time – pop music hasn’t always been derivative. There’s a mix you can check out below to get an idea of what we do on the night musically, and it’s worth looking at our Facebook to see what we do. The parties are in Bi-Monthly in Nottingham and London, so make sure you check them out if you’re in the area!
TGD: What lies in the future for Cardinal?
Cardinal: I’ve spoken about production, and that’s a winter priority for me. There’s a lot of work that needs to be finished off and then I need to find the right home for it all. Other than that I’ll be pushing on with DJing and growing The Kool Kids Klub & Joy Fantastic.
TGD: Thanks for your time, any last words?
Cardinal: No worries, just the usual, get at me on all the social networks /houseofcardinal or /bejoyfantastic.
Thank you to Cardinal for his time and the excellent mix.