Jon Hopkins: Our New VBF
Hopkins is the cattle wrangler of electronic fiends, bringing them all under his command
Jon Hopkins: one of the stand-out live music moments of the year
Down in the belly of Body & Soul’s main stage this June, thousands of people lost their minds at the same time during Jon Hopkins’s late-night Saturday set. It was during the heatwave and it was one of the rare occasions when festival goers’ biggest challenge was dust and not mud. Jackets were a distant memory and it felt like the sun only disappeared for an hour, sneakily reappearing at about 5am, when the last of the scheduled music shut down for the night.
Perhaps it was the heat, or our sheer happiness that we were actually having a proper summer, but Hopkins’s set is one of the stand-out live music moments of the year. The English electronic DJ and producer is this week’s VBF for the magic he weaves in song.
On May 3rd at 11.59pm – a school night – I was brushing my teeth and idly checking my Twitter feed when I saw two friends counting down the seconds until Hopkins’s fifth album, Singularity, was released into the world. It was a school night but I thought “YOLO” and pressed play anyway. By the end of the title track, I was drooling toothpaste foam and up way past my bedtime. That’s the Hopkins effect. When his music plays, he is the master of your cerebral and physical reactions. If you’re not jumping in tandem with thousands of other people on a grassy hill, with everyone mouthing “Oh! My! God!” as the drop kicks in, you’re drooling toothpaste at home alone.
A regular guest at Body & Soul, Hopkins is the cattle wrangler of Irish electronic fiends. Songs such as Open Eye Signal from 2013’s Immunity soundtrack summer nights dampened by sweat and engulfed by a late-night mist and if you want to crack it down about 10 notches, his 2015 compilation album, Late Night Tales, is a soothing balm for the soul. Featuring contributions from Darkstar, Four Tet, Nils Frahms and School of Seven Bells, it’s an emotive album that aims right for the heart and the tear ducts. A particular highlight is when Hopkins strips it way down for I Remember, a fuzzy piano cover of Yeasayer’s 2010 song.
On October 18th, another school night, Hopkins plays Dublin’s Vicar Street. While it’s difficult to imagine a set like his being contained within the four walls of an actual building, the vast majority of tickets holders are throwing caution to the wind and treating this school night like a weekend night. Sure, it’s a Thursday. You’ve had a long week. Synchronise your body so that your heartbeat matches his own thudding beats. Let your hair down and dance like you don’t have to get the last bus home. Sure, why not miss the last bus home and get a taxi back instead? Actually, take Friday off work. It’s not often you’re guaranteed a full festival set experience outside of an outdoor festival setting – excluding the upcoming Metropolis Festival, of course.
Hopkins brings good people together under his command. If the leftover joy from this summer is waning, this gig is set to top you up for another few weeks at least.
Jon Hopkins plays Vicar Street, Dublin, on October 18th