The Nina mobile app is now available on iOS.Download from the App Store.
hero image

29 Speedway in Europe

Tour Diary

NYC’s 29 Speedway shares tales from their Euro tour

By ian


There is nothing quite like going on tour. Sure, it may sound a little cliche, but for an artist, it's where the profound meets the mundane, the ecstatic collides with routine, and where legends are born while memories endure. There are trials, tribulations, great sets, bad sets, new friendships, and reunions with old friends, the tour is a tapestry of these seminal moments.

In this edition of Tour Diary, Nina captures these phenomena in a conversation with NYC-based collective and label 29 Speedway about their fall European tour. In commemoration of their inaugural overseas jaunt, 29 Speedway have released an exclusive compilation of live recordings from this tour, featuring live performances from label co-founder Ex Wiish, Aircode, Color Plus, Maxwell Sterling, Nexciya and several others.


Where did you go on tour and for what reason? 

Ex Wiish (Founder of 29 Speedway): Muein and I started out in Berlin with two back-to-back shows; a live show with Conna Haraway of Index Records at this spot 90mil, which kind of felt like a gig inside of a blown-out office building, and then a club night at Fitzroy with Mathis Ruffing who runs Infinite Drift. No smoke at Fitz because the fire alarm kept going off so we had to hit ‘em with the strobes. Most of the shows happened in collaboration with friends who run similar labels and parties to Speedway, and the tour just followed along that route. We sort of lingered around in Berlin for a bit as one does, and then ended up in Brussels for a Kiosk Radio set and saw these incredible pudgy cat-like “Le Chat” sculptures in the Parc de Bruxelles. We were there for a few days and then trained over to London for a show at Ormside Projects (had to show our passports because fuck Brexit). I feel like UK and New York have a serious kinship when it comes to electronic music, at least I’m always checking out the scene there, so I couldn’t help but go (haven’t visited since 2019). I also couldn’t help but notice all of the Floradix advertisements on the Tube, a medication that apparently cures tiredness?? Ok. Then we took the train up to Scotland after a few days to re-link up with Index and drink some Buckfast with the Glasgowians (amazing people). Bought a couple of bottles and played a live set at Co:Clear (Conna’s party), and then DJd at Exit the next day (thank you to Joe Jeffers for that one). It took about 35 hours to get home to New York for some reason, but we got to hang out at the Portuguese duty free and the airline gave us 12 euros each because they caused us to miss our flight, which was just an incredible gesture. We finally made it home and slept it off in a few days rockstar style ;) 


What shows stood out on this tour?

God created all shows equally (oh how I wish that were true). I think the first show in Berlin was such a shock because a lot had gone into planning it, and when we got to the venue [90mil] there was a shopping cart with some fabric and strings, cables running everywhere, half the roof tiles were missing and things were kind of strewn about everywhere. In other words, it was perfect. Plus, we got dropped off at some construction site beforehand in the rain and the guy working there was yelling at us in German while we were unloading an entire dj set up, tables, and synths. Magically, everything came together - all we had to do was turn the fluorescents off and the LEDs on. It’s amazing how much can get done with so little, the help of like-minded folks, and a bit of sweeping under the rug. The show went off and the sets were all pretty varied and unpredictable, it felt like the Speedway shows that we put on in New York, just a little bit more Euro-pilled.


Anyone that you played with that made a serious impression on you?

I hate to choose favorites, everyone brought the heat (cop-out, I know). Maxwell Sterling played a spellbinding cello and electronics set in London (which we included a portion of on Nina). Pavel Milyakov used the EBow with guitar and some modular samplers in a novel yet delicate way at 90mil. Color Plus played a sickening DJ set with earbuds at Fitzroy. I also thought the Games set was unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, sort of a mix between Autechre and Nurse With Wound. I felt I was peering a bit into the future, so returning home it was like, well where do we go from here. 


What was your favorite crowd? 

I’d have to say the Brits. There’s this point in my set that took far too long to make because the pitch is unquantized on my modular sequencer, and I’m harmonizing two sequences at once with two separate oscillators. The sequence changes over time and it’s very tricky to do live because it can go out of tune while I’m slowly adjusting parameters. Someone screamed in this euphoric way, and that really stuck with me - I think when the music reflects a feeling in others that is similar to the way I feel while I’m making it, that’s magic. That’s a real connection, something so fleeting that we can only really remember it, but can’t manage to experience it on command. To me, that is the purpose of live music and especially improvisation. So London wins, but not by a landslide. I think the audience was just attentive and receptive to the music, Ormside Projects is a legendary spot and an ideal listening environment. 


Did you do any sightseeing?

Sure, I went to Borough Market, walked the London bridge and took a selfie with my father, Big Ben. In Glasgow there’s this magnificent cathedral next to The Necropolis, a Victorian Garden Cemetery on a hill. From the top you can see the entire city and it’s breathtakingly gloomy but still just spectacular. Coming from the US I think you forget how old most of Europe is, the cathedral was built in the 12th century and is the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland. I wasn’t raised Christian but God dammit I love an old church. You can kind of get lost in between the tombs on the necropolis—I imagine as a kid it would be the perfect place to play hide and seek, but then a real ghost would appear. Scary.


Did you make any new friends?

Countless. People are friendly.

What was the coolest thing that happened? 

In Brussels, we were invited to a performance by one of Muein’s friends at a cathedral inside of an old hospice. We came to see a harpist, but her fingers were too cold to play and what we got instead was one of the most incredible solo sax performances I’ve ever seen in my life by Grégoire Tirtiaux. First of all, the man was playing a Baritone but it looked like a Tenor because he was at least 6 and a half feet tall. He was often playing two notes at once, which I believe is a sax technique called multiphonics, and his control over the notes was impeccable and precise. He then proceeded to remove the mouthpiece and play it like a flute. It was truly a transcendent performance, and very unexpected especially because it happened inside of this tiny cathedral with only about 20 people. We also got to see Hieronymous Bosch paintings in the flesh while in Berlin at the Gemäldegalerie, which is a close 2nd.

29 Speedway: Live In Europe, 2023
29 Speedway: Live In Europe, 202329 Speedway

  • 1Maxwell Sterling [11.16.23 - Live at Ormside Projects, London]
  • 2Nexcyia [11.16.23 - Live at Ormside Projects, London]
  • 3Color Plus [11.2.23 - Live at 90mil, Berlin]
  • 4Games [11.2.23 - Live at 90mil, Berlin]
  • 5Ex Wiish [11.17.23 - Live at Dream Machine, Glasgow]
  • 6Conna Haraway [11.2.23 - Live at 90mil, Berlin]
  • 7Muein [11.2.23 - Live at Dream Machine, Glasgow]
  • 8Aircode [11.16.23 - Live at Ormside Projects, London]
  • 9Nitro [11.2.23 - Live at Dream Machine, Glasgow]

Nina is an independent music ecosystem.

Join over 5000 artists, labels, and listeners using Nina to share their music, build their context and directly support artists.


Now Playing