Pablo finds the road that leads to Knowwhere
Reported by Frani Heyns
Submitted 01-10-07 20:43
It has been six years. And with Knowwhere’s upcoming birthday in October, we’ve decided to track down one of the men behind it all. I met Pablo Byrne briefly in 2004 for the first time. Since then I’ve discovered that his big heart and burning passion for uplifting music have earned him the respect and friendship of every DJ, producer, promoter and clubber who has crossed his way. With Anthony Dean as his right hand man and a dedicated crew, they’ve hosted numerous thumping club nights and cemented Knowwhere’s reputation as the friendliest club in London.
Big names, the best uplifting and hard tunes, promising up-and-coming DJs and a keen following have been synonymous with Knowwhere since 2001. The club night has grown from strength to strength at venues like the Fridge, Heaven and now Hidden. Over a glass of red wine, Pablo led me to the roots of Knowwhere, revealed a few secrets and gave me a glimpse of what the future might hold.
Where did it all start? Take us right to the beginning.
In 1997 I met Barney who introduced me to trance. We went to the Gallery often for a fix of our favourite music and soon made friends with other like-minded people. One of our friends here included Igor — the man who later gave Knowwhere its name. Around the end of 1999 the Gallery started experimenting with music and didn’t play the uplifting trance we were after. With the millennium coming up, we were also searching for a great New Year’s party, but most parties were too big and impersonal.
Our group of friends decided to form ‘the Uber Society’ and host our own exclusive New Year’s party. The venue? My flat! It took us three months to sort everything out. We painted the décor, installed the right lights, transformed the lounge to the main dance floor and turned one of the bedrooms into the chill room. We did a booze run to France to get beer, champagne and wine and organised twelve DJs for the night, including Anthony Dean and Ian Betts. 100 people turned up and the party lasted three days. After the success of our New Year’s party we hosted a few more and eventually my lovely wife rightfully suggested we get a club. At first we struggled to find the right club for our kind of music, but then Sleepless broke up and we took over their slot at 414.
Anthony was keen to help me run and promote the club night and we called ourselves The Awakening. We printed our first flyers and got everything ready for our party at 414. But two weeks before the party another group phoned us, stating they had the same name. We apologised and had to come up with another name after our first party.
That brings us to the name. Knowwhere. It’s catchy and a clever play with words. How did that come about?
A few of us got together after the gig at 414. We wanted to come up with something different and brainstormed our new name over a few beers. Igor came up with the name Knowwhere. Imagine your mate asks you where you’re going tonight and you reply “Knowwhere”? We all liked it and Knowwhere was officially born.
We hosted the first Knowwhere at 414 in October 2001 and had a lot of fun with our new name. The two dance floors were called ‘Here’ and ‘There’ with a sign in between saying “You are neither Here nor There”. The toilets were branded with a sign stating: “Don’t even go There.”
If people didn’t know where to go, they could go to Knowwhere. That was our reasoning. And if we ever release a clothing brand, it would be called Knowwear.
A lot has happened since your first days at 414. Give us the run down.
We hosted our last night at 414 in December 2002. Our nights grew rapidly and we were looking for a bigger venue in central London. During this time, Stevie Williams got involved in the marketing of Knowwhere and in February 2003 we had our first event at the Soundshaft. We soon attracted an even bigger crowd and around March 2004 we had to look at other venue options. We also wanted to add another room for funky music and were eager to find a venue with two floors.
The Fridge became Knowwhere’s new home and in May 2004 we celebrated our first event there with 1300 people through the door. It was a huge and nerve-wrecking move and I’d like to mention Steve Darragh who helped us tremendously and made sure it went smoothly.
While we were at the Fridge, we also started doing one-off club nights at Heaven and got to know the crew very well. Our regulars started asking for harder music and we decided to create another room with harder beats. Heaven had three rooms and had always been one of our favourite clubs. In October 2006 we hosted our first Knowwhere at Heaven and continued our nights there until August this year. I’d like to thank Paul Churchill, Jeremy Millins, and Sarah Libretto for great times at Heaven and the Soundshaft. They have really been amazing during our time there.
Your next event will be at Hidden in Vauxhall. Tell us more about the decision to move there.
Up until now every move has been to bigger venues. It has become harder to run bigger clubs and I do believe the smoking ban is influencing clubbing at the moment. Especially when clubbers have to leave the club for a smoke outside and come back past security.
Hidden has a large outside garden area for smokers, two dance floors, great bar areas and friendly security. The club and facilities are right for the Knowwhere crowd and we look forward to our time there.
The big birthday bash is on Friday, 5th October. What can people expect?
We are really excited about our sixth birthday. Our line-up for the night includes DJs who haven’t played at Knowwhere before like John O’ Callaghan, Frase, Custard (Paul Mayes), Ilogik, Lisa London, Bilbstar and Macey. We also have sets from Adam White, Anthony Dean, Andy McCall and Daniel Billy Bunter. We’ve organised three dance floors: the Knowwhere Room for uplifting tunes; the Hardwhere Room for harder beats; and the Somewhere Room for new talent and up-and-coming DJs.
The first 100 people through the door will get an exclusive Knowwhere Birthday CD, mixed by Someone you know. We’ve also arranged individual aircon units to keep the dance floors cool and comfortable.
The whole night has been designed to be a party rather than a club. So expect many smiley faces, happy punters and great music.
What is your most memorable Knowwhere night?
It has to be our first night at Heaven. I played the opening set and stood in front of 800–900 people. The feeling was phenomenal. We took a big step and that night demonstrated how much we had grown since 2001. Playing the opening set to a full club was amazing.
Tell us about an embarrassing moment you would rather forget.
Our first big live PA with Matt Darey behind the decks and Marcello Woods singing. The sound check was faultless, but when she took the microphone the sound went down. While we were desperately trying to sort out the problem, Marcello took control of the situation. She started walking through the crowd while singing “You are beautiful” without music. She was fantastic and received a huge ovation.
Running a popular club night for six years is very impressive. What is the secret of Knowwhere’s success?
The people in our lives. The Knowwhere crew is amazing. They are passionate, dedicated and work hard without expecting anything in return. They make it happen time after time. I am surrounded by incredible people who constantly offer their help — from setting up on the night to running our website. A big thank you to Stevie, Richard, Marco… and the list goes on.
Our wives have been there from the beginning. They support us, share our dreams, tolerate long hours and weekend promoting. Thank you!
You can’t control the people walking through the door, but for six years our energy has attracted the right people. We have formed long-lasting friends on our dance floors and even lured non-clubbers to our nights. It’s a friendly environment where people can genuinely have fun.
Where to from here? What does the future hold for Knowwhere?
The next big one is our birthday bash on the 5th of October. We are also hosting a boat party with Pulse on the 10th of November this year. We took Knowwhere to South Africa and will be going back due to popular demand. Croatia and Bosnia are also on the cards. We are looking into opportunities to get involved with more album launches and might host Hardwhere as a separate party.
Clubbing is going through a transitional period at the moment. There are a few other exciting projects on the table but we are not ready to talk about it yet. We want to make sure the time is right before heading in a certain direction.
My personal dream for Knowwhere… To walk into an HMV and see Knowwhere CDs on the rack.
Other big names we can expect to see at Knowwhere in the future?
We would like to bring Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk and Judge Jules to our dance floors one day.
Is there anything you miss today that used to be on dance floors six years ago?
No, not really. As long as you find the right club, everything you expect will be there.
What would you like to see more of on future dance floors?
Definitely more smiles. You walk into some clubs and people look like they aren’t enjoying themselves at all. That’s the reason you go out — to have fun!
What kind of music did you listen to when you grew up?
During high school I mostly listened to David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. I was a bit of a rebel and got into punk, but didn’t like the attitude and violence that came with the scene. Music that was different appealed to me and I became a keen New Romantic.
You’ve been in the club scene for years. Where did it all start for you?
I ran my first club at the age of 17 and got a DJ slot at the Rum Runner in Birmingham. I played with Boy George at Planet and in 1980 I opened my first club, called the Regency Suite, in Essex. Our gigs included Depeche Mode. My DJ name back in those days was Egocentric — how bad is that?
When the New Romantic scene died, I struggled to find music that spoke to me. I went to university at 35 to study business and economics and started running a few club nights there. This is where I met Barney and found my passion for trance.
Does promoting interfere with your personal life?
I’m lucky. I’ve got a very understanding wife who is also in the process of setting up her own business. Birthdays and family functions are sometimes difficult to attend, but I don’t find the clash between the two worlds too big.
What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learnt during your years in the business?
Whatever happens — whether it’s good, bad or neutral — be honest. Trust is everything. Never sweep issues under the carpet.
You have a lot of energy behind the decks and really live for each track you play. What goes through your mind?
There’s nothing better than playing your favourite music to your favourite people. Words can’t describe the feeling when hands shoot up in the air and you know they love what you play. My mind goes silent and I just really enjoy that moment.
Who is your most inspiring DJ, producer or promoter?
Anthony Dean. He is a very close friend, my business partner and I think the world of him. Anthony always picks me up when I’m low. He is in love with what he’s doing — always happy, energetic and jumping behind the decks. His personality and morals inspire me and everyone who meets him.
I would also like to mention that Adam White has recently been signed to Perfecto. This is a huge accomplishment and we are really proud of him.
How old is Anthony? (Not part of my original list of questions, but I slipped it in anyway…)
I’ll tell you a funny story. When he was 28 and DJing at Twisted, a woman in the crowd asked me how old he was. I said 12 and a child prodigy. I later went to the bar and bought Anthony a drink. The woman noticed and started hitting me — convinced that he was underage. I told her the truth, but she never believed me.
Supporting up-and-coming DJs is part of the Knowwhere ethos. Is there any new talent we should look out for?
Jurrane is definitely one of my favourite up-and-coming DJs at the moment. He is extremely talented. Another DJ who deserves a lot of recognition is Pathfinder.
What is your favourite track at the moment?
‘Afterglow’ by INXS.
Give us one fact about yourself that nobody knows.
Are you serious?
I go to Scotland at least once a year for fly fishing — mainly trout and salmon. Nature helps me to clear my head. I also paint every once in a while.
Clubbing in the year 2027… What do you think it will be like?
Well, let’s hope I’m still alive and that clubs still exist! It might become a virtual experience — virtual clubbing with a headset. Who knows? Music changes so fast these days and if it continues to do so at the same pace, anything is possible by the year 2027.
Millions of years ago cavemen danced around their fires to drums. In essence we are still doing it today. I can’t see that stopping. Men will always dance to the beat — that is part of them.
Photos courtesy of the HarderFaster archive. Not to be reproduced without permission
Knowwhere "We Are 6" Birthday Party
Friday 5th October
10pm - 6am
£12 + booking fee in advance, more on the door.
Tickets available from www.ticketweb.co.uk
Club Tickets - 0870 246 2050
Click here to buy tickets
We are pleased to announce that on Friday 5th October, Knowwhere will be moving to Hidden. We're very excited about heading to this quality venue, we will be celebrating our 6th birthday in our new home with true Knowwhere style!
Headlining the Trance room will be trance legend, John O'Callaghan, whilst Hardwhere will be taken by storm when hard house goliath, Illogik takes to the decks.
Continuing to support up and coming talent, the Somewhere Room will be open for business, blending through genres as diverse as breaks, house, trance, techno and more!
What more can i say....this party is going to rock. It would be a pleasure to have you there to join us. See you on the dancefloor! ;-)
Trance. Hard Trance. Tech Trance. Psy Trance. House. Bouncy House. Funky House. Hard House. Prog House. Tribal House. Vocal House. Funky Techno. Techno. Breaks.
KNOWWHERE ROOM (Trance)
John O' Callaghan
Adam White (live set)
HARDWHERE ROOM (Hard Dance)
Daniel "Billy" Bunter
SOMEWHERE ROOM (breaks, house, trance and more)
A J Hutch
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Other Features By Frani Heyns:
Finding the passion with Ben Alonzi
Put your hands in the air for Glyn Waters
Shifting gears with Corderoy
Perfectly Adam White
Getting Crafty with Sly One: Part 2
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.
| From: rossy on 1st Oct 2007 21:20.31|
Gr8 read, so good to see so much passion in what u KW guys do......Its what has kept me coming back ! See u all on friday
From: Lizzie Curious on 2nd Oct 2007 07:18.21
Nice one Pabs!
From: Alan-Banks on 2nd Oct 2007 10:50.38
nice one pabs - roll on this Friday!!!
From: teddy on 2nd Oct 2007 11:47.50
From: Ian H on 2nd Oct 2007 12:31.24
Pablo has a last name? I thought he was like Cher....
From: James Rae on 2nd Oct 2007 13:16.22
Nice interview, can't wait to experience Knowwhere @ Hidden
From: Jurrane on 2nd Oct 2007 14:01.30
Great interview mate, thanks for the kind words and roll on Friday! Looking forward to it!
From: ravechick on 2nd Oct 2007 14:48.29
fab interview, Knowhere rocks, lotsa love to all the crew xx
From: Dr DUZZIT on 2nd Oct 2007 23:40.59
Hey Pabsy..... Excellent read up mate, Hidden is a wicked venue and im sure it will be rammed out. Im there
From: Ehren Stowers on 3rd Oct 2007 12:44.36
great interview - Igor! what the hell is he up to these days?? I first met him at the Gallery in March'99, last saw him in Auckland NZ... Congrats on turning 6 and moving to Hidden- im sure the BD will be great
From: Steve Twist on 4th Oct 2007 11:38.16
a nicer bunch of guys you will not meet. I am very pleased to have been able to play a small part in Knowwhere's development and wish them luck for the future.
Anthony Dean is a gay sex symbol you know!!!;-)
From: anushka007 on 4th Oct 2007 17:13.42
WOW I really cannot wait for this party now
From: minimoo on 4th Oct 2007 20:04.18
Love you papa smurf
Thankyou for the endless list of happy memories I have from both being a part of knowwhere and having friends like you
Rock on for Friday
From: Marco on 5th Oct 2007 01:11.04
We luv ya Pablo
From: Karl Alexander on 5th Oct 2007 05:32.34
Nice one Pablo !
From: Pathfinder on 5th Oct 2007 08:23.46
Knowwhere is run by people genuinely passionate about the scene. Congratulations Stevie, Pablo and Anthony. Your hard work, sweat and tears over the past six years has created some of the most awesome parties and the friendliest crowd you could ever wish for. As Moo says, thank you for the happy memories. Good luck guys.
From: CustardUK on 5th Oct 2007 13:42.49
Thats a great interview Pablo, I feel honoured to be opening up at Knowwhere's 6th birthday and first event at hidden! Sooooo excited about tonight!!!!! Bring it on!!!!!
From: glowstickjane on 8th Oct 2007 09:15.01
From: TheOldManOfTrance on 8th Oct 2007 18:23.24
Great interview with a fantastic fella; honoured to know the Knowwhere crew...ALL of you, specially Pixsie for showing me the way there in 2003!!!
From: Adam White on 8th Oct 2007 19:46.33
A brilliant promotion ran by some of the nicest people I've ever met.
I'm proud to say I am a part of this promotion (thanks for the mention too)
From: scottie-nye on 9th Oct 2007 21:45.32
havent been to knowwhere since the 414 days, but am glad to see it has goen to strength to strength, it was always a great night out.
From: Si T Fi on 15th Oct 2007 10:18.16
Well done matey! KW is one of my fav nights out.