Setting up a club night with a vision of bringing the freshest sounds of the underground, no matter what their placement is on the radar, is one shared by many budding promoters right across the UK.
Many start out with a string of successful parties. The music is sick, the vibe is electric, they are breaking even and sometimes making a pretty penny.
Soon the feeling of godliness washes over them and it either falls humbly, or envelopes them with a Zeppelin sized ego. At some point the parties go a little sour. Less people come, DJs don’t perform as expected, or a fight or three breaks out. Money is nothing but lost and hearts fall away from that initial rose tinted image.
Promoting clandestine music events is definitely not for fellows with a weak spirit and increasingly less so for anyone that can’t afford to put up and lose a grand or two. Oh the joys that student loans can bring.
They say the average life span of a club night is three years, so in that respect the Manchester and Leeds based Selective Hearing has already exceeded expectations. A look back at previous bookings however and you realise they were responsible for giving a world debut to Akkord. The duo received critical acclaim for their debut album last year on Houndstooth and were marked out as one of the very best live acts around. Still, the longevity of the night is of secondary concern, when marking its reputation as a beacon of the underground. Their daring nature and persistent frequency of A-grade bookings is the be all and end all when rating how they’ve done over the years.
The brains and brawn behind the night is a fellow who, on paper sounds like a posh Etonian toff, maybe with an interest in ‘deep house yaaa’. Though once his mouth is open you wouldn’t be far wrong in thinking he’s the kinda guy to nick a tenner out your pocket and show you how he’s done it. All in the name of a good laugh though of course. Hugo Monypenny can lay claim to being responsible for some of the most forwarding thinking bookings this side of 2010, that the UK and indeed the world, has seen. He’s experienced the good times, the not so good times and the absolutely lose your shoes type of good times. So in the midst of his 4 years, 4 party celebratory bonanza, I caught up with him for a chat about all things life, art and music.
Afternoon Mr Monypenny, we’ll get straight down to business. Which of the 4 shows were you most excited about booking?
Them all. If we’re talking about ones that feel good excited, then Mano Le Tough and Prosumer. Purely Because I’ve wanted Mano Le Tough & Prosumer for donkeys years and they’re pretty hard to get. If we’re talking excited for which is the most exciting in terms of music, I’d say probably Ron Morelli / Palms Trax or Clark / Shed. To be honest, I’m like a little kid in a sweet shop when booking line ups, I’m constantly excited.
Will there be 4 more years?
Lots of reasons I guess, but that is a good attitude to have. Looking back which has been your favourite so far?
It’s hard to pin point an exact event. It’s probably easier to ask which ones have been my least favourite, because I enjoy them all, however I’d say, purely for vibe, either Akkord & Objekt at Joshua Brooks, or Paul Woolford & Eliphino for boxing day in Leeds last year (purely for selfish reasons).
Fair enough. Where’s been the best place you’ve thrown a party?
There’s this one warehouse in Salford that a few friends used to run, anybody who knows, knows. But that place is incredible, the two parties we did there will definitely go down as two of the best. Also, Hidden in Manchester is sick, hard work (or at least it was when we did our thang there) . . . also, any party we’ve thrown in the Fort out at Dimensions Festival has to be up there, that places is the bees knees.
Yeah I’ve experience those parties in the warehouse myself and must agree on their quality. Dimensions is a definite must this year as well. Who has been the most interesting dinner talk from previous acts?
I try to avoid taking DJs out for dinner. They always want to go to the most expensive places, especially when my wallet is feeling its most empty. But maybe Bleak to be honest, we took him to some snide Chinese Restaurant, he proceeded to tell us exactly what we should eat, and to be fair, he was bang on the mark, but he was also a lovely guy, lots of stories and jokes, just how I like them!
A bloke who knows what he wants and gives good banter is surely a good bloke in anyone’s book. If money were no issue, who would you book, where would the party be and why would you book them there?
If money were no issue, I’d probably want to book the 180+ acts that we’ve had play for us over the past four years, in one mammoth two night event. Like, everyone from DJ EZ to Skudge. Where? Yosemite National Forest, hands down the most beautiful place I ever did go.
Do you have selective hearing?
Sorry, selective what?
If you didn’t promote music what would you promote?
I wouldn’t be doing it to be honest, I’d of probably stayed in Uni, finished my acting degree and now be an out of work actor getting bit part roles on Holby City & Doctors. Or I’d promote midget wrestling, which ever gets me more girls.
Describe your ideal clubber…
When did you last know the top 10 uk singles charts by heart?
Last week, but it changes each week doesn’t it? Does it? I haven’t done my research this week though, all I know is Lorde is sick.
You can catch the next Selective Hearing in Manchester this tonight at Gorilla, where they have techno heavyweight Shed, electronic Guru Clark and the ever tasty Clouds playing for them. Following that the final part of their fourth birthday celebrations culminates in Leeds with Ron Morelli, Kowton and Palms Trax on the 21st of March.
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