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Club Review

Reviewed: We Call It Techno with Jay Lumen & Harvey Mckay at Sankeys Manchester

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It was Saturday night just gone that witnessed Sankeys celebrating the bank holiday weekend in style with Manchester’s latest musical institution, We Call It Techno. The club played host to a stellar line-up, featuring two of the scene’s most respected and in-demand artists, Jay Lumen and Harvey Mackay.

The We Call It Techno party was conceived via collaboration between Manchester based label Subplot Records and promotions team Curfew MCR. A welcome addition to Manchester’s ever-vibrant club scene, previous bookings have included some top-choice selectors – such as Gary Beck, Alberto Ruiz and Ron Costa. However, it was Saturday that would feature the biggest names on the bill to date.

I was kindly invited by the We Call It Techno crew to King Street’s Burger & Lobster for dinner before the gig, getting to catch up with the Drumcode stablemates for a quick chat.

Welcome to Manchester guys, where have you just flown in from?

Harvey – I was playing Bullitt Club in Munich, Germany last night.
Jay – Stuttgart. I played Club ToY – it’s a really cool club with a lot of history and an amazing crowd. Always so much energy there, it was a really great night.

Good stuff. So, looking forward to Sankeys tonight?
Jay – Yeah. I played here a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I always look forward to playing in the UK.

Harvey – Same, I played Sankeys a couple of years back – although I was upstairs in Spektrum. Last time, it was house music downstairs and techno upstairs, so yeah I’m looking forward to playing out some chunky techno in the Basement this time around.

What’s next then? What events are you looking forward to?

Harvey
– I’ve got loads of great shows coming up towards the end of year, the next one being Onyx at Space Ibiza. I’m going back-to-back with Mark Reeve, so yeah that should be pretty special.

What about you Jay – are you heading back out to Ibiza before the end of the season?

Jay – No, not this year. I’ve had some good times out this summer – playing Elrow at Space was great. I’ll be back out next year for sure, but I’ll be having a break from touring and be in the studio working on some new music.

There is a lot changing out there at the moment, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens next year. It’ll mean big changes to the party calendar, so yeah we will wait and see.

I’m looking forward to playing Croatia again, it has so many beautiful locations and is becoming more and more popular as a party destination every year. I also love playing in Serbia. All across Eastern Europe in fact, there are more parties and clubs appearing all the time. It’s really great what’s happening with the scene growing over there.

You’re both now signed up to the biggest techno labels on the planet, smashing the Beatport Charts regularly, plus constantly touring the world. What was life like before all this? When was it that each of your careers really took off?

Harvey – I was working in construction for years, then I got signed by Slam to Soma records, which started to get me noticed. Then, a huge turning point was probably getting signed by Cocoon Recordings, and then it all changed for me with Lost on Drumcode.

The last few years have been really good getting signed to the likes of Intec Digital, Bedrock Cocoon, Suara and of course Drumcode, it’s kept me really busy!

Jay – I actually owned my own distribution company in Hungary, although making and playing music was always my first love. Gradually I started to focus on the music more, pursuing my DJ career full-time. In the beginning, it was difficult – I was losing so much money and making virtually nothing from being a DJ…

Harvey – [cuts in] A free-jay?

Jay – [laughs] Exactly, I was a free-jay! No, I was really lucky because my girlfriend supported me and made sure I kept at it. Then, around 2005, my career really started to take off.

Harvey, this last question is for you. Glasgow born-and-bred, you’ve witnessed the clubbing institution that was The Arches rise and fall. After the venue lost its license to the local authorities, now the same thing’s happening to Fabric in London under very similar circumstances. What are your views on the current attack on the UK’s nightlife?

Harvey – Yeah, what happened with The Arches was absolutely gutting, but the police had wanted the place shut down badly for so long. It was a tragedy that clubbers lost their lives, however I don’t think shutting it was ever about public safety – even though that’s the story they ran with in the media.

It’s more than likely that the venue will be sold off to property developers… And taking the licence from the club, forcing clubbers out of the city centre is the first step towards doing that.

Yeah, well The Haçienda here in Manchester is now a lovely block of flats. Prime real estate, right there.

Harvey – Exactly – and the same thing is happening to Fabric now. It’s quite ironic really, as it’s the clubs and the kids that go there that make an area of the city cool. As soon as that happens, the developers are desperate to move in and take over. The clubs seal their own fate in a way. It’s not just happening in the UK, the more I’m travelling I’m hearing stories of the same thing happening all over the world.

So you’re not buying into the government and councils closing clubs because of their concern for public safety – and in particular UK clubbers?

Harvey – Not really, if the government were concerned for the safety of clubbers they would take measures to ensure it could be done in a safe way. This prohibition stance they are taking is dangerous, as its only going to drive the scene more and more underground. Prohibition has never stopped anything – the people are always gonna do what they want, either way.

Later that night Jay Lumen and Harvey McKay proved their credentials as two of the hottest techno artists in the world. The boys kept the Sankeys Basement jumping until 5 in the morning. Clubbers couldn’t have had asked for a better night, with some awesome music on offer and it just so happened that the two of them made for some highly entertaining company.  There’s no doubt there’ll be some sore heads around Manchester today, but after Saturday’s performance I’m pretty sure they will all be looking forward to the next instalment of We Call It Techno.

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Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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