Reported by Matt Alchemy
Submitted 13-10-08 10:19
With the largest Hard House event of 2008, Hard House Academy 8, just under a week away, we caught up with one of the main forces behind Team Frantic, Will Patterson, to get an insight into the history of Frantic and what to expect at Brixton Academy on Saturday 18th October.
Will Frantic (right)
Firstly, when was Frantic created, where and what were the first events like?
Frantic was created on August 15th 1997 at a little club in London’s China Town called The Clinic. The club was above a restaurant and only held 150 people. We then held three or four other small events at Jax in London Bridge for 300+ people.
What were the events like?
Well the events were made up of friends of friends so there was always a really good atmosphere. We all knew each other from going to SunnySideUp at what is now Pacha, but came together with a desire to emulate the harder and faster end of Sunnies especially the already legendary sound of Tony De Vit. Phil Reynolds played from the beginning and quickly became infamous for pitching up tracks!
How have the events changed over the years?
Well the key changes have been around the music and venues. Over the years we have used over 20 different venues in the Capital and many more across 10 countries and 4 continents. While Koko or Camden Palace will always remain our spiritual home, in the five years since it closed and reopened as Koko we have had a lot of fun at venues from SEOne and the Ministry of Sound to The Colosseum and The End and Heaven.
The music has changed a lot, which we love. While we can’t wait to hear some of the classics from yesteryear we always love to hear new tracks by BK, Andy Whitby, Technikal and many more. We always work hard to accommodate a whole range of harder styles from UK hard trance played by Phil Reynolds and Technikal to the European hard trance and hardstyle played by Alex Kidd, Cally & Juice and more. And who can forget the more traditional hard house of people like Andy Farley and Paul Glazby.
In the last year the key change has been to introduce themes such as The White Ball for Timeless or the Red & Black Theme for Hard Nation. Clubbers and ravers have taken to these with all the energy we love from the harder audience and we expect to see thousands join in the black theme for Hard House Academy next week!
What do you think have been the main influences in the success of Frantic as a brand?
When we started we were heavily influenced by Helter Skelter, the uber rave brand, which sold out huge mega capacity raves. I loved the text on their flyers and how each event was themed around taking ravers to another world. I think you can still see their influence in our events in 2008.
I have always been impressed by the Slammin Vinyl events and used to love their United Dance events at Bagleys. With at least five rooms of music and every room rammed to the rafters with more than excited ravers it showed that it was possible to bring some of the Helter Skelter magic into the Capital and give it a unique twist.
Over time I started to go to D&B and garage events, which while very different musically to Frantic did inspire with the fanaticism of their audiences and drove Frantic to work harder to recruit new fans.
I also always loved the excitement and energy of good house clubs and more recently the hedonism of the electronic / warehouse scene, which remind me of the early days of hard house when the clubs started on Thursday and ended Monday.
You have used various venues in London over the years – what have been your favourites and why?
It starts and ends with Camden Palace. From my first experience of the Palace as a punter in 96 to our last event there in August nothing, for me, matches the magic, of 1500+ clubbers in the Main Room. The walk down the tunnel is like a religious experience as you hear the roar of the crowd before you can see it! Over the 91 events Frantic has held at the Palace there are so many good memories, but people spontaneously throwing water from the highest balconies as BK played an Encore back in 2003 is right up there!
That said I love loads of venues. In its heyday The Fridge was nothing short of amazing. We ran Convergence, our harder little sister event there, but would regularly pull in 1800 people to see Farley, BK, Glazby, Ian M and Karim battle it out on the original sound system.
I love the Ministry of Sound with its groundbreaking sound in the main arena and cool ass screen and who can forget the Laser.
The End is a club you can dream about. We can’t wait to run one last Hard Nation there on Sun 14th Dec for a very special serving of Xmas Bosh!
What made you choose Brixton Academy over any other London venue?
Well we had been running for 3 years and sold out Bagleys, Camden Palace and the Fridge and the Academy was in our sights. I used to go to Pendragon and Return To The Source at the Academy and I was always keen for hard house to emulate if not go further than our trance cousins, so I pestered the venue for a meeting and then gulped and signed the contract!
As a venue I loved that huge main room and the fact that everything up to and including the kitchen sink had to be chosen and brought in by the promoter. In the 18 sold out events we have held at the Academy we have spent more and more time getting the sound and lighting right and you can expect next Sat 18th to be a great audio and visual spectacle!
I love the fact that there are 4 rooms of music so you can get to see all your favourite DJs and then some. And that half the rooms are hidden away so that each journey to the Academy is like a treasure hunt!
Then there’s the awesome 1000 seats on the balcony or mezzanine. Few sights in London clubbing beat the high of sitting down with fellow ravers watching DJs like Proteus and Adam Lab4 going at 160bpm many feet below!
What are your best memories of previous Hard House Academy events?
As an erstwhile rock kid seeing clubbers starting to queue to be the first in from 4:30 in the afternoon on the first and second HHA’s was something special.
Watching people chant her name when Tara Reynolds tore the roof off the Filth Foyer is something I don’t think anyone who was there will ever forget.
Watching Karim in the Filth Foyer every time! Andy Farley going hard, really Hard in the Main Room! The rumble of the bass on the false floor in the main arena. Seeing the look of the faces of people who are attending HHA for the first Time! Juice from Cally & Juice spinning his whole body on a turntable on the main stage just like they do in the DMC Champions Videos!
Lab4 Playing in what is usually the Sound Desk right in the middle of the dancefloor, but no one knowing that’s where they were until they jumped up! Proteus on the Main Stage and his image on the huge screens behind! Steve Hill for being Steve Hill in the Main Arena! Phil Reynolds for playing as many as three sets on the one night and having to literally run between rooms!
As Brixton Academy is such a large venue – What kind of work in terms of production has gone into the making of the next Hard House Academy?
As Brixton Academy is a dry hire we have to bring everything into the venue including the sound, lighting and décor so as you can imagine this is a huge job and not for the faint-hearted. We have a series of meetings with the production companies both at the venue and in the office. We agree over a series of drawings how we are going to bring the HHA dream to life for this episode.
Over the last 24 hours we have a team of 18+ people who will work building the lighting and sound rigs all day and then road testing it so once the first note is struck at 9pm everything is working as it should be to blow your mind!
How do you make sure each Hard House Academy is different?
The key is to work on a very different lighting and visual design. We try and reflect the theme of the HHA we are working on and then relay that into a cutting edge look and feel. For this HHA we have some very special intros for each of main room acts and I know each of the DJs in all the rooms is working on his or her outfit!
For Chloe, it’s all about coming up with the theme first and then we create everything once the concept has been agreed. As HHA8 is “Back in Black” theme both the music and production is more dark, twisted and underground orientated. When you walk into the Academy you will feel like you are stepping into a mysterious land and won’t know what will happen next!
Can you tell us any secrets about any surprises planned for HHA8?
Now that would be telling! Oh okay then! We can now reveal that as well as their genre defining DJ Sets Proteus and Adam Lab4 will play a short but unforgettable Live PA together for the first time ever in the UK!
We are also giving a goody bag with Free CDs to the First 200 Clubbers to arrive in the Awesome Academy! Sue has got a surprise up her sleeves! Just make sure you keep an eye out for some Holy Grails on the night and all will be revealed shortly. Chloe may have a secret but you will have to find her on the night to ask her!
Make sure you don’t miss the last 90 minutes in the Filth Foyer where Pick Up & Rise will be tearing it up!
Also, we are holding a very special Frantic HHA8 Afterparty at Plan B in Brixton which is only 2 minutes walk from the Academy and has a whole host of quality DJs including Andy Farley and Cally Gage plus it’s only £6 in advance from Ticketweb.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing perform at HHA8?
Andy Whitby always gets me on the floor and I can’t wait for Cally Gage, but you will also find me in the Filth Foyer for PickUp & Rise! And I’ll be saving some of my energy for Andy Farley at our After Party at the lovely Plan B, just 2 minutes walk from the venue! My tip for future stars would be to check out Helen G and Nathalie.
Chloe can’t wait to see Proteus back on the main stage as he’s always one of the highlights of HHA, this is guaranteed to be one of the best performances on the night. She’s also looking forward to seeing Cally & Juice as she hasn’t seen them since Hard House Heaven. Also, she’s still trying to decide where to be for the last hour, either Pick Up & Rise in Filth Foyer or Tecknikal & Phil Reynolds in the Main Room.
Any final words to someone who is think of coming to HHA8 but is undecided?
You will not regret it!
You’re crazy if you don’t go as it’s guaranteed to be the best party in London this year plus it’s the only Hard House Event at the Academy for the next 12 months!
Photos courtesy of Frantic and The HarderFaster archive. Not to be reproduced without permission.
Hard House Academy 8
Saturday 18th October
Brixton Academy [map]
21:00 - 06:00
From usual outlets, £12 for a limited time...
The rumours were true – the greatest show in Hard House is coming back!
On Saturday 18th October, Hard House Academy will rise from the ashes to bring you the biggest Hard House party anywhere in the world this year!
The world-beating event will be celebrating its 8th Birthday – exactly 8 years to the day after it first blew everyone’s expectations out of the water!
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