Knowwhere - The Interview
Reported by Sharon B
Submitted 18-05-04 07:41
Back in 1999 a group of friends got together to celebrate their love for a music that had, to all extents and purposes, disappeared underground as hard dance came to the forefront of the club scene. Whilst most events and venues were bashing out hard house there was a small, but significant group of clubbers that found their escape and delights in Trance in all its shapes and sizes. From it's humble beginnings as a house party to its inevitable growth and move to a club venue, one thing always remained constant - the love of the music and the love of the atmopshere and thus Knowwherewas born. On 21 May Knowwhere moves to the Fridge and makes a definite statement that Trance is back, and the parties are only going to get bigger! Speaking to it's three promoters Pablo, Anthony Dean and Steve Williams and wanting to find out more about Knowwhere, from it's first party, its new resident and move to one of London's most famous clubbing venues, Sharon B put forward a few questions to celebrate history in the making.
Sharon B: Knowwhere has been running successfully now for a number of years – what was the original ethos behind you starting up the party and how have you seen it evolve since it’s first event?
Knowwhere: Originally it all began, like a lot of other club nights, as a house party. Before the millennium, a whole bunch of Gallery regulars were beginning to feel that events around that time were just not playing the kind of uplifting Trance they wanted to hear. They decided to throw their own party, which somewhere along the line got labelled “Uber”! Five of these impromptu parties later, by which time Pablo’s living room was turning into a club venue every month, the millennium night was rearing it’s head and the consensus was, we could make this a real special event for all our friends. A full on DJ booth was constructed in the living room, (which is still there today, getting plenty of use, often the morning after a Knowwhere night). A “door fee” was agreed upon, to cover the costs, and two and half days on from the final seconds of 1999, 130 people had passed through the ex-living room, and forty or so were still there!
At this point, when Pablo was running the risk of losing both his long-term girlfriend, (now his wife) and his home, it was decided an alternative venue was needed.
It took a few months for the right venue to come up, but by October of 2001, Knowwhere was born at Brixton’s 414.
SB: it all begin for you three? How did you all meet and come together to form the Knowwhere promotion and what are your different roles with the team?
KW: When Knowwhere began back in the 414 days, Pablo & Anthony (along with lots of help from their friends) were the promoters. They’d already been friends and clubbing buddies from way back. Stevie joined the team in December 2002 when we made the move to the Soundshaft, he’d been coming along every month since the first night, so already knew the other guys and the night really well. We all decided some “new blood” was needed to help kick-start us off at the new venue, and this coincided with Stevie having recently left his previous promotion, Ground Zero. All three had worked together before on a “Ground Zero/Knowwhere” collaboration, and things just seemed to fit well.
In terms of the roles within Knowwhere, there is a lot of crossover. Communication is the key element. Nobody makes a decision without everyone being in agreement, it’s a fundamental principle of the way Knowwhere works. Luckily there seems to be very little that we don’t already agree on!
Work-load gets spilt based on many things such as time requirements, location, and sometimes each individual’s best contacts.
SB: What is the musical ethos behind Knowwhere? What is different about your musical policy to other London event’s and how does this make you stand out from the other parties on offer in the Capital?
KW: BangingUpliftingTrance&Dance! It’s been the tag line for the night for some time, and still holds true. As individuals we have some pretty eclectic tastes outside of Trance, but within the genre, both “banging” and “uplifting” define our ethos best. We don’t pretend to be a hard trance only event, but we can certainly not be considered “fluffy” either. DJs that play at Knowwhere get picked on their ability to represent that ethos, as well as their skills behind the decks.
SB: Can you remember back to the very first Knowwhere? What was the line up? Where was the event held and what was it about the party that made you know you had a winner on your hands?
KW: The first proper Knowwhere was at 414. About 230 people had already come through the door by midnight. Alongside Anthony Dean & Ian Betts, who’ve been delivering the goods for us since day one, the line-up consisted of Lee Dagger and Frank MacCarthy.
By 6am the next day, everybody involved knew this wasn’t going to be one-off event.
SB: Two and half years on and you are still going strong – did you ever anticipate that Knowwhere would be such a huge success?
KW: While there was never any great master plan at the start, it’s always been our aim to improve the night to the best of our ability. It’s a labour of love for us all, and hopefully that comes across in what we do.
SB: May 21st marks Knowwhere’s first event at the Fridge – what prompted your move to a bigger venue and how are you feeling about your first event at one of London’s most famous clubs?
KW: The initial idea came about after our involvement with last years Christmas Coalition charity event at Fire Club. We found Steve Darragh to be someone we could really work with, who had the same outlook when it came to giving the clubbers what they wanted. His involvement with The Fridge that came about soon after, opened a new opportunity, and after much discussion, we decided to go for it. Obviously there’s a mixture of nervousness and incredible excitement amongst us all at the moment, kind of a cross between a trip to the dentist and Christmas morning!
Having the Fridge as our new home is amazing for us. It has always been renown in the clubbing world, many an Antip traveller has been told by their mates to pay it a visit when they hit the northern hemisphere, and it’s always attracted the home crowd too. Since it re-opened things have changed dramatically in terms of décor, sound & lighting and security, all for the better.
SB: With your move you have taken on a new resident – can you tell us more about that and why you choose to make him part of your events team? What do you think he will bring with him that makes him unique?
KW: The addition of Matt Darey as resident is something we are especially pleased with. Matt had worked with us before at the Cancerbackup charity events we helped promote, and has long been one of our favourites on the Trance scene. His production credits list like a “whats what” in the best of the genre, you’d be hard pushed to find many Trance compilation albums without his name attached to at least one of the tracks listed on them over the last few years. In terms of what makes him unique, we simply think he’s arguably the best on the UK scene right now.
SB: Re-locating to the Fridge is clearly an ambitious move and shows both your dedication and determination to put on a long lasting Trance event – what are your plans in terms of development for the next 12 months?
KW: First and foremost we want to take the next few months to give London it’s own large scale Trance event. There are the visitors from the north, and there are the multi-genre events based in London, but it’s been a long time since there has been an event on this scale dedicated to Trance. Having a second room available to us now also allows us to develop our interest in the Funky world. Whilst Knowwhere will always be a Trance based event, our aim is to make the second room as popular as any stand-alone Funky night.
We are also looking at some other options for events outside London and abroad in the coming year, but you’ll have to wait a little while before we can reveal much about those.
SB: You have had the two best trance DJ’s in London (Ian Betts and Anthony Dean) as your residents up until now and with Matt Darey and some of the UK’s best DJ’s you have managed to put on some seriously competitive line ups. If money were no object and you could bring in any DJ in the world, what would your ultimate Knowwhere line up be?
KW: A tough one, money being no object would then present the problem of there just not being a night long enough to get all our favourites in. Anthony, Ian and Matt would all still be in there, and we may be able to fit Ferry Corsten and Paul van Dyk in, as long as there was room for Pablo too
SB: What about global ambitions? Would you ever consider taking Knowwhere abroad? Do you ever dream of seeing a Knowwhere line up at somewhere like Amnesia for example? Or perhaps even a Knowwhere tour?
KW: Definitely in the pipeline, though as we mentioned earlier, still at the planning stage right now. A permanent home in the southern hemisphere is something we’d love to achieve in the long term, and of course a regular Ibiza season is always going to be an attractive idea. A Knowwhere tour, kind of a “Road to Knowwhere”? Got to be done just to make use of the pun at some point don’t you think?
SB: It has been rumoured that along with your move to the Fridge you have some other big plans in terms of sidelines, eg Knowwhere clothing etc? Can you tell us more about this?
KW: That’s the plan, not just the promotional t-shirt field etc, but we are looking at something bigger. We’ve got an excellent clothing designer within the team at the moment, and those with an eye for that sort of thing may have spotted the occasional “one-off” item of clothing at past Knowwhere events, so watch this space.
SB: Each Knowwhere party is unique in terms of the graphics and lighting that they use. On a number of occasions the digital photos are updated immediately and then used as part of the visual graphic display throughout the night – who comes up with your unique visual ideas and what plans do you have for your new venue in terms of lighting and visuals?
KW: Over the last year or so, we’ve been extremely lucky to have Jamie Stickman doing the visuals for us at the Soundshaft. Jamie will be joining us in our move to the Fridge, and more space etc gives us the opportunity to have more screens and let Jamie loose with his creative talents to an even greater degree. The new lighting set up at The Fridge is awesome as many people will have seen already. Previously venue size has limited us somewhat, but we’re finding the in-house lighting team great to work with, which always makes life easier.
SB: Not only do you always put on an impressive visual performance but you always make sure you go that extra mile with décor. How important is it to you to always put in that extra mile and add a personal touch to your events?
KW: Personal touches mean a lot to us. At the end of the day, people are paying to have a good time, and deserve to be treated accordingly. It’s important to us that the clubbers feel they get value for money, in terms of good environment and friendly service, as well as the music and DJs they want. While we’ve never had the approach of having every corner of a venue dripping with flashy stuff, the Fridge’s incredible level of redecoration was a strong point in convincing us it was the right move.
SB: What about a Knowwhere CD? Any plans to produce a CD with the sounds of Knowwhere?
KW: Hopefully this will be happening before the end of the year. There have been six exclusive Knowwhere CDs since we began, these have always been in limited numbers, and occasionally we will be doing this again, but there will also be bigger projects available to everyone.
SB: Your first event at the fridge you are offering free membership to those who attend. What benefits do you get from having a Knowwhere membership and after the first event how much will it cost people to join up to Knowwhere?
KW: The first and most obvious benefit will be greatly reduced door entry price for all members. You’ll also be able to avoid some of the queues by getting preferential entry. We plan to hold a number of “free to members” extra parties in future, as well as other occasional “giveaways”. From june, we will be charging £10 for a years membership, but as you pointed out, signing up on the 21st of May will mean it costs you nothing for your first year.
SB: What about production plans? Do you have ambitions for your residents to get involved with production from a Knowwhere perspective?
KW: This will tie in with the planned CD release to some degree, but we are also in discussions at the moment to get some Knowwhere vinyl on the shelves in the not too distant future.
SB: Having been involved with the industry for a number of years now what do you feel are the pros and cons of your roles? Does politics play a large role when it comes to running a promotion? What do you see as the shortfalls with in the industry and what do you think can be done to make it a more even and fair playing field for all those involved in throwing parties?
KW: One of the biggest positives in promotion has to be working within an environment we feel passionate about. We were all clubbers when it all began, and we are all clubbers now. There can be some politics, just like any business environment, it’s unpleasant, but not everyone in the industry manages to keep to the friendly approach they start out with. Everyone has to keep an eye on the bottom line, but it’s important to us be true to ourselves and look after those who’ve put a lot into Knowwhere over the years, we’re great believers in the “what goes around comes around” principle.
Anyone can put a good party together if they put the work in and feel passionately about it, but you have to listen to what the customers tell you. It’s not an “unfair” playing field, but it is a heavily populated one these days, so you have to weigh up each opportunity to grow, or become involved in collaborations etc, on it’s own merits, and not be tempted to let complacency take over.
SB: You advertise a lot on Harderfaster for your event – what other websites do you use and how important are websites to a promotion in terms of getting their message out there to clubbers?
KW: They are important these days simply for the speed with which they are updated compared to printed material. We advertise in terms of listings on any website that we think hits the right market, but we’ve always thought of Harderfaster as an excellent gauge of clubbers from all genres, not just the harder end of the scene. In spite of the banter that goes on, the majority of Harderfaster’s membership do have wider tastes than it’s “official” target audience.
SB: Harderfaster is essentially a hard dance website yet more and more parties with a different musical ethos, such a trance and funky house etc have been advertising their parties on the site – do you feel that this marks a positive trend amongst clubbers to embrace diversity of new events?
KW: There is a trend to put more Trance rooms on at events these days, and Funky House has always been more popular with mainstream audiences than Hard House. These things tend to be fairly cyclical, and the longer Harderfaster continues to grow in popularity, the wider an audience it will appeal to. There’s always been a massive range of diverse nights out there, and it’s human nature to widen and change one’s tastes through time, obviously event promoters see that, and use advertising mediums accordingly.
SB: Whenever people go to Knowwhere they always comment on the friendly atmosphere and uplifting sense of community that they experience at your events – what is a typical Knowwhere crowd like and how do you do your best to retain such a warm and friendly atmosphere at your events?
KW: An extremely wide mix of people come to Knowwhere. On average, the age range is a little above many events, but you do see the ‘cyber’ dancing alongside the ‘chic’ mixed in with a healthy measure of ‘mainstreamers’ and even the odd baseball cap! We want those who come along to have fun, it’s not about being seen in the right places, or elitism any more than it is about reverse snobbery or “keeping it real”. Enjoy the music, dance, and above all else smile! We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to anyone being threatened either physically or by “predatory” behaviour, as we strongly feel no-one need expect to be treated this way. It’s important to us that our crowd always feel safe and can approach us with any issues, and know they will be dealt with swiftly and without fuss, whether you are a friend of one of the team or a first timer at Knowwhere. On top of these things, we try to be approachable on all levels, we are not the kind of promoters you never get to actually meet who sit back in a office somewhere counting the cash. We’ll be down there on the dance floor with you, in amongst it, with our hands in the air right up till the last tune, so come over and say hello, tell us what you like, and what you don’t, we may not always agree, but we do always listen.
SB: What special guests can we look forward to seeing at Knowwhere over the next few months? For your first party the legendary Dave Pearce will playing for you – which other special guests will we be able to see at Knowwhere?
KW: In June we have Guy Ornadel playing for us, along with Agnelli & Nelson, and in the next couple of months, Scott Bond, Steve Morley, Sol Ray and Binary Finary will be making appearances. We’ll also be seeing plenty of previous Knowwhere favourites from the last couple of years so lots to look forward to.
SB: Moving from the soundshaft to the Fridge means that you now also have a second room available to you – will you be using the second room and what are your plans for it in terms of musical line ups?
KW: As we mentioned earlier, the second room is going to be dedicated to the Funky House scene. Since the refurbishment the room has more than doubled in size, making it a great space to showcase some excellent talent. On the opening night The Ignition Crew will be heading the line up, along with Lizzie Curious and Tim Davison, while in June The Sharp Boys will be leading the way.
SB: Any other comments?
KW: Just a big thank you from Stevie, Pablo & Anthony to all the great friends who work so hard behind the scenes for us to put Knowwhere together, and to all the loyal followers who’ve allowed us to bring the party to a wider audience through their regular support. Come along to the Fridge on Friday 21st of May, wear your best smile and…GET A BIT OF TRANCE IN YOUR LIFE!
Photos courtesy of Knowwhere
Knowwhere @ The FRIDGE
Friday 21st May
The Fridge [map]
10pm - 6am
£10 members £12 in advance More On The Door
for advanced tickets contact www.ticketweb.co.uk or call clubtickets on 0870 2462050, or to take advantage of our special early bird offer, email a contact telephone number to email@example.com, and you can buy tickets for only £10 plus booking fee of £2, this offer will only be open for a short time!
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Get A Bit Of Trance In Your Life!
For over two years, underground promotion “Knowwhere” has been synonymous with quality Trance on the capital’s clubbing scene. Starting life in Brixton’s “414”, and relocating to The SoundShaft, in December 2003, Knowwhere has built itself a worthy reputation and faithful following.
On the 21st of May, Knowwhere takes its biggest step so far, when it takes up residence at top London clubbing venue The Fridge. Now under new ownership, and having recently undergone a major refurbishment, The Fridge is already home to some of London’s best Hard Dance events. With Knowwhere as its latest resident the venue looks set to achieve the same level of respect among Trance lovers.
Knowwhere’s addition of new resident Matt Darey alongside current favourites Anthony Dean & Ian Betts, will be another popular move for Trance fans. Pioneer of the UK Trance scene and one of the most prolific producers in the industry, Matt’s name has long flown the British flag among Europe’s Trance superstars.
Each month Knowwhere will be presenting some of Trance’s most popular names, with Radio 1’s Dave Pearce heading the bill on their debut night.
Another new addition to Knowwhere from 21st of May will be a second room, dedicated to the Funky genre. The Funky room's first night kicks off with a great line-up, headed by The Ignition Crew, alongside Lizzie Curious & Tim Davison.
With an outstanding new venue, new resident, a new room, and a great opening line-up, there’s plenty to look forward to from the Knowwhere team in the future.
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Other Features By Sharon B:
What's it all about? Alfie! - Getting Technikal with Alf Bamford
Heat UK presents....SW4!!! - Interview with Damian Gelle
Interview with TWIST promoter Steve Darragh
Interview with Innovate Resident Nick Sentience
Interview with Ferry Corsten
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.