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Cheeky humour and niche references: DJ Sotofett on his favourite rave flyers and artwork

The Sex Tags Mania co-founder talks us through some of his best dance music designs

  • Words: DJ Sotofett | Lead photo: Morgan Young
  • 2 July 2021

DJ Sotofett (pictured left) is one of the most industrious artists from Norway's extended club and leftfield scene, releasing music across a string of aliases, collaborations and labels. The Sex Tags Mania label he co-founded is home to transposed techno and house music, while the Sex Tags Amfibia platform outlets alternative projects in the vein of dub, experimental, jazz & psychedelic music. Sotofett's more tilted but clubby Wania imprint is home for technoid releases coming mostly from his own studio and immediate surroundings. His afro, dub & jazz productions can be found on London institution Honest Jon's Records, and the more classic electro & techno is released by Tresor Records, Laton and Fit Detroit.

As a DJ, his style is rooted in the past five decades of soundsystem music. Whether unexpected, unconventional, straight to the floor, or unreleased productions, his sets are mostly presented as either short-and-full-on techno/electro mixes or very lengthy journeys traversing the exceptionally wide spectrum of dance music.

DJ Sotofett has also designed flyers and posters since the late 90's, as well as fanzines, books and all graphics for his labels and many beyond. In the gallery below, he talks us thorugh some of his favourite artwork and rave flyers and gives some insight into their creation.

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1

LNS & DJ Sotofett classic silver foil sticker for the 'Sputters' album released by Tresor Records.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATION: Kim Dahlstedt

COPYRIGHT: © 2021 DJ Sotofett

2

Sex Tags Amfibia party with soundsystem duo Kambo Super Sound from Moss, Norway, and DJ Sotofett at Ohm / Tresor, Berlin. There was no competition August 2015, this was the most popping flyer in the whole city, with the typography being spot on and colours warm like the sun. With Sex Tags Amfibia catalogue and shops that carried the records printed on the backside. Note the “EURO 5” entrance price, which was a big statement as the city got more and more expensive for clubbers.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2015 DJ Sotofett / Sex Tags

3

This is the flyer for the second legal Sex Tags party in Berlin. All of these parties used thick paper or cardboard, and was always A5 in size – a format which was chosen as very few in Berlin used it, though it's deadly cheap and utterly basic. Note again the “EURO 5” in the middle – made as a poke since club owner(s) were very afraid it would be too cheap and “all types of people would come”. Big activity was generated to keep the entrance prices in Berlin to an absolute minimum. These flyers had a new standard, with the Sex Tags Mania catalogue and shops that carried the records printed on the backside.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATIONS: DJ Sotofett, DJ Fett Burger

COPYRIGHT: © 2014 DJ Sotofett / Sex Tags

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4

Sex Tags Mania presents legendary Finnish techno and house mainstayers ODJ Harri & ODJ Tommi from Sähkö Recordings & Keys of Life who hadn't played in Berlin for almost a decade. Most of the elements on this flyer are sampled from the old Keys of Life / Sähkö flyer archive, with the Sex Tags Mania catalogue and shops that carried the records printed on the backside.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATION: TG & Harri

Copyright: © 2015 DJ Sotofett / Sex Tags

5

Sex Tags Mania presents Berlin live debut by old school MC & producer Don Papa from Moss, Norway. This flyer has loads of nice elements, with Don Papa's first 12” as backdrop, a great character by his old partner in crime Mean 17, and the PCB board is actually a photo of the pitch inside my first Technic 1210. Backside has one of Bjørn Torske's infamous dog drawings. Sex Tags Mania catalogue and shops that carried the records are printed on the backside.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATION: Mean 17, Don Papa, Bjørn Torske and DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2017 DJ Sotofett / Sex Tags

6

After a string of parties at OHM in Berlin I changed it up to a WANIA party, which was the first time really pushing the mix of electro and dub in the club with LNS from Vancouver, Canada, and Kambo Super Sound from Moss, Norway. At this point there were loads of copycats trying to blueprint my flyers in Berlin so I stepped it up with more real-deal graff logo's, and a really old school approach to design that only those who really know can follow. The Wania catalogue and shops that carried the records was printed on the backside.

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2017 DJ Sotofett

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7

Being far up north in Norway in a village with only 70 people is no excuse for not having a party with Jimi Tenor and Bjørn Torske on the line-up – it was for the 10 year anniversary of art & community project Sørfinnset Skole / the nord land. Since there are no printers this flyer was made by hand, pen and paper – then xeroxed at the local municipality house down the road.

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2013 DJ Sotofett

8

Every spring since more than 10 years ago we have a local block party in Moss, Norway. It's free and for all, and is called “Graff et Grill”, a full day of BBQing, graffiti and DJs playing on the home-built Kambo Super Soundsystem. We also release a new split 7” with Don Papa & Kambo Super Sound on Sex Tags Amfibia each year. The whole event takes place outside of local supermarket Kambo Super. The posters are an event of its own, being a fest of illustrations, cheeky humour and local references, and of course being incredibly idiosyncratic, so if you're caught scratching your bum on camera you'll probably be featured on the poster the following year. On the right side are some sketches used as logo's for previous years posters.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATION: DJ Fett Burger, Don Papa, Sau 2, DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2017 DJ Sotofett / Sex Tags

9

The small town Moss in Norway doesn't have the biggest music scene, but it has proved to breed some of the most productive souls in Europe within underground dance music. The local soundsystem duo Kambo Super Sound runs reggae/dub club Mossa Mossa – and I made this flyer for their 10 year anniversary. Original BIC ballpoint drawing on the left, followed by the pimped-up printed version on the right. To gather the crowd in my hometown, old school hip hop design is always a winner.

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2019 DJ Sotofett

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10

Norway's house & techno scene was at an all-time low in the early 2000s, and Sex Tags Mania was one of the few labels releasing 12 inches with techno during this period. Just to add up, and stick out even more, we made these flyers that contrasted the “slick & cool” techy contemporary DJ for a few events in Bergen and Oslo – some people got really angry because of these designs. UK and Europe caught up very fast on our releases, and also many of the artists involved – in Norway it took another 10 years for us to get some small gigs...

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2006 DJ Sotofett / Sex Tags

11

Austria's Pomassl who has run the experimental techno label Laton since 1991 and was invited to make the 10th Sex Tags Mania 12inch, which is also the fifth issue of his long-lasting Minimal Techno project Skeleton. We had a presentation, secret concert (with 10 people only) and a club night. Flyers are a variation of the centre labels on the actual record released. The Sex Tags Mania logo was for this occasion designed by Anna Ceeh, who also runs Laton and made videos for the new 'Sputters' album on Tresor.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATION: Anna Ceeh, Pomassl, DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2007 DJ Sotofett / Sex Tags

12

Club and video night! An art space, bar and club called Landmark in Bergen had a great venue for music and visuals. The first part of the night I presented some hours of alternative and very underground videos on VHS. Some very well executed, others disturbingly psychedelic and very funny in the way fancy people can't deal with. Front side of this flyer is stolen from a Factory / Haçienda poster, and backside has an image of one of the best billboards you'll see in Japan (“Fuck PC – Real DJs Play Vinyl”). The raver guy logo on the front is actually a logo for a club from the mid 90s called XTC in Moss, Norway.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2010 DJ Sotofett

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13

This is a “large scale” carboard postcard for an exhibition with mostly screen prints I did with my brother in a gallery behind the last record store in our hometown Moss (ran by Don Papa). The gallery part was called “Bak Platesjappa” which literally means “behind the record store”. The flyer is a collage of our flyer and image archive stretching back to the mid 90s, internet spam, UK hardcore group “Ready 2 Dance”, Mickey Mouse on acid, as well as a real ad for giving away thousands of records – an ad put in the newspaper by Bjørn Torske as his friend had stored his entire record collection in his studio for a bit too long.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / Sex Tags

COPYRIGHT: © 2010 Sex Tags

14

If you want to play on the really good parties you gotta hustle with a smile. What's better than spinning records with a friend on NYE instead of hunting down the “best” party all night long? I did learn that in the US you should write 1,500 and not 1.500, so the fee annouced is actually less than a dollar each.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2013 Sex Tags

15

Making a flyer for an Amsterdam club gave me the idea to “compete” with all the tasty postcards coming from the city, with dandy images of the artists from actual gigs as bait. The cover of Bjørn Torske's 1998 album on Ferox sampled an original image by the 1969 release 'Ja, Dä Ä Dä!' by Swedish artist Pugh Rogefeldt. I have that original record and scanned it to use it for the postcard, making a very warm, bushy feeling that all Bjørn Torske fans recognize, and probably almost every tourist in the city tough it was a Coffee Shop and dress-up event.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett.

COPYRIGHT: © 2015 DJ Sotofett

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16

Briefly I was running a Thursday club concept with only Norwegian guests at Tresor's smaller venue OHM in Berlin. It didn't last so long as most (actually every) Norwegian DJ I invited became very tired around 3:AM which is when Norway closes all bars and clubs. Even though it's Thursday, in Berlin these parties usually lasted till 7:AM at least. The flyers were always folded, sometimes as CD covers with special CD mixes for the event, but this one is in the style of a typical Asian restaurant, A4 folded menu! To my great amusement, a record store in Osaka took all the descriptive genres on the black page of this flyer and used them in the store's record shelves, “Clattering Disco”, “Off The Scale Leftfield”, “Doubled Dubbs”, “Balearic Aftermath” and so on.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATION: Bjørn Torske, DJ Sotofett.

COPYRIGHT: © 2015 DJ Sotofett

17

On the left another classic A5 flyer with pimped and reused material, this time for Corsica Studios in London. The blue one is for a “secret location” party in Vancouver, which is really the best way to run club nights in that city. Though it has to be said that the Vancouver party later got nicknamed “club blueballs” when it was closed by the cops only a fraction of a second before it reached that really great stage.

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2017 DJ Sotofett

18

In 2012 I started making these “flyer slips” to put into records, announcing new releases etc. And during tours it would be a really great way of making quick flyers as more gigs would be organised during the trips. For my annual Japan tour I always used this format and design, and as a bonus the element of recognition works really well in a country that's already overloaded with visuals. These are from 2015-16 and many of them have both sides printed, with parties that are close enough to each other so people can travel between cities to and join to the next event too.

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2015-16 DJ Sotofet

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19

Another batch of “flyer slips” from Japan, this time for the 2018 tour when I brought only dubplates, white labels and some digital files to play only unreleased productions during the whole tour. On each gig I played very different sets and they usually lasted between 6-8 hours. If you have an attentive audience and go back every year, then it's really nice to to that extra mile and do something really special that most DJs and producers don't have the capacity of doing.

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2018 DJ Sotofett

20

The 2019 batch of Japan tour “flyer slips”. Here you can see the design morphing a tiny bit. The Wania guy has an evil smirk and also there's “off the scale” colour combinations on the one with a red DJ Sotofett logo. At this point clubs want to book me to have these designs for their club, funny how such a simple thing can go really far just if you apply some tradition to it.

DESIGN/ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett

COPYRIGHT: © 2019 DJ Sotofett

21

A selection of “flyer slips” from Melbourne, Tokyo and Oslo. The back sides of these have “promos” of new releases, though only depicted as the image of a waveform of the music.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett / ILLUSTRATION: DJ Sotofett (+ Christian Dugstad on the pink flyer)

COPYRIGHT: © 2015-19 DJ Sotofett

22

For the parties in the Tresor basement the city was bombarded with these “flyer slips”, especially record shops, and also inside records I released. The first one was silver with black print, very much fitting the style of the club, and the latter was printed with neon orange (you're not able to see this on a scan or screen) – and the neon colour looks really great in the club, it really glows under the black light. The back sides both have announcements of new records and back stock from the Wania catalogue.

DESIGN: DJ Sotofett.

COPYRIGHT: © 2017-18 DJ Sotofett

LNS & DJ Sotofett 'Sputters' is out now, get it here

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