Horse Meat Disco is a byword for Sunday night London bacchanalia which accidentally resuscitated the original dance music genre onto the world stage. The four-strong DJ collective of Luke Howard, Severino Panzetta, James Hillard and Jim Stanton began their disco shenanigans on New Year’s Day, 2004 at The Eagle, Vauxhall. Beside their famous well-hung equine neon logo (“Our Eiffel Tower”), their brand of reverential, revisionist bonhomie turned out to be its own form of futurism, restructuring the London nightclub pyramid. “You put music at the top and getting high or jiggy follows,” they say, “not the other way round.”
In the 16 years of their nightclub tenure, HMD have become a global brand. They have added monthly residencies in Berlin, New York and Lisbon to their London bedrock. They are a rock solid festival attraction, persistent bookings which fanned from the initial impetus they lent the NYC Downlow, Glastonbury’s first LGBTQ+ space back in 2009. Each year they return to site for what has commonly been dubbed “gay disco Christmas”.
HMD have a Sunday afternoon disco slot on the venerated radio station, Rinse FM, broadcast from a pod on The London Eye, released three tastefully classic 2010s compilation albums, become Boiler Room regulars and filled the Teletubbies 5am slot on Channel 4, when the national broadcaster road-tested club TV for a night. The accidental phenomenon of Horse Meat is built on the shared good vibrations and aesthetics of their genre. As testament to the public love for their makeshift, DIY brand, no other disco collective has arrived in their lifespan to attempt to knock them from their beloved perch.
Act Three of the gilded Horse Meat Disco story will see the release of their debut artists album. Love and Dancing, Jim, James, Luke and Seve have turned from disco enablers to creative, freewheeling disco inventors. Under the masterful tutelage of zen nightlife don, Luke Solomon (“The fifth member for the record, very much the daddy of it”) the boys have fashioned a record gilded with the fleet-footed spirit of their disco forebears. Love and Dancing is the culmination of seven years’ work, fashioned from demoes the four have been working on simply for the love of making music. Free of cover versions and lazy samples, it is documentary evidence that disco has a present and future every bit the platinum-grade equal of its storied past.
2020 has tested the elasticity of the good times to their furthest possible breaking point. Isolationism has been its sobering watchword. It is the exact opposite of the HMD ethos of liquid, ecstatic collectivism. They are a band of brothers devoted to wrapping their arms round a community and a genre, finding connections through it as their Pied Piper success rolls along, super powered by its joyful momentum alone. “The club is a place you can leave your cares at the door,” they say, “and be anyone you want to be. Love and Dancing had to honour that.”