Promoter Interview: Sabajaq
On October 7th, Sabajaq has one of its biggest ever parties planned. It will be headlined by none other than French techno legend and dance music pin-up Laurent Garnier.
The artist behind the F-Comms label and classics like ‘Man With The Red Face’ will be playing a special four-hour set and it will be the last time he plays in London this year. As such it is another special occasion from a party known for serving up essential guests and talented residents. Here we speak to man behind the night Jim Warboy for the lowdown on its history, how it has evolved, some of the highlights and the task of booking Laurent. Tickets and info here.
“Fresh ideas, an uncompromising music policy, some off-the-wall production ideas, and, most importantly, attracting an open-minded crowd will make a party memorable.”
Why and when did Sabajaq start and who was involved? Was there a mission from the start?
Sabajaq initially launched as a club night in East London a few years ago as a comment on how the city was changing.
Gritty performances, agitprop installations, a ‘no photography allowed’ policy, and monochromatic flyers depicting cockroaches and beetles suited the intense techno soundtrack being played by The Weird & The Wonderful artist Wax Wings, Dalston Superstore resident Joe Roberts, Kaos resident Dahc Dermur VIII, Venice Calypso, and myself.
How hard was it to get established, how was the first party?
It’s never easy starting a club night so I didn’t expect a big crowd, particularly with the dark concept and the fact that I only had nine days to put it together. Surprisingly, the first night attracted a great crowd with a unique mix of techno heads, Goths, and artists.
It became resident at Egg at the end of 2015, re-launching with multiple rooms, great sound systems and international headliners. Laurence Malice, the owner of Egg, is constantly developing the venue and looking for fresh ideas so it’s great to be part of that.
How has it evolved and changed since then?
Sabajaq takes an all-round creative approach to curating events with top quality music, installations, artwork and performances. The direction continuously evolves dependent on the space available, the team involved, and the broader cultural climate. This year it branched out as a creative agency and production house with an increased focus on showcasing talent.
What are some of the best moments you have had with the party so far?
The Vogue For Orlando fundraiser was outstanding last year. It included some incredible dancers, including FKA Twigs collaborator Benjamin Milan and Jay Jay Revlon, a leading light in London’s Vogueing ballroom scene.
There have been so many memorable nights from the gritty launch, to cool artists like Catz n Dogz, Kim Ann Foxman, Severino, and Hannah Holland to mammoth names like Green Velvet, Sam Paganini, Monika Kruse and DJ Hell. I’m sure the upcoming Laurent Garnier night will be up there too.
How hard was it to get Laurent to come play?
We’ve been working on getting Laurent back to Egg for a while so landing him on the anniversary of his thirty-year career is super special, and then him agreeing to do a four-hour set makes it even more awesome.
Why book him, what does he mean to you personally?
Pioneers, past and present, are legendary for good reason and being a dance music innovator, Laurent Garnier has remained fresh by delivering high quality work for such a long time.
What else will you do to transform the club with production etc?
All five rooms are going to be firing on all cylinders as we showcase some of London’s most exciting party makers: WUT? Club featuring Raf Daddy; Inferno featuring Wax Wings and more.
How important are your residents? Who are they and why did you get them involved?
Passionate resident DJs with good technical skills and versatile track selection are crucial for delivering the right tone, support and continuity of a night.
Maze & Masters have been the Sabajaq residents this year. These girls have a great knowledge of music and an infectious energy that connects really well with the crowd.
Kyle E has been the Egg resident for five years so has vast experience and versatility supporting top headliners.
What do you consider the key ingredients to a great party?
Fresh ideas, an uncompromising music policy, some off-the-wall production ideas, and, most importantly, attracting an open-minded crowd will make a party memorable.
What else have you got coming up?
Developing the production company has landed some exciting projects, including composing soundtracks for Elle Magazine’s Bangkok fashion week and a cool Vogueing fashion film.
After some recent Beatport chart action, I’m releasing an EP featuring the incredible vocalist Ruth Brown, from ‘The Voice’ and ‘Dreamgirls’. I’m also busy auditioning more singers to work with next year.
Sabajaq is having a radical shake up for 2018.