Junk Club has long been making headlines down on the south coast.
The Southampton scene leader and trend setter offers all sorts of standout sets from world beating stars and just recently they have launched a brand new night that aims to introduce their loyal fan base to new acts they might not know. In the past the place has won awards from DJ Mag as the best small club, so they really know how to put on a party.
To find out about new night Not Your Thing, we caught up with the boss Steve McKinlay to ask about this, the local scene and more besides.
“The best is that you get the opportunity to work with people in an area that we all love”
Who is behind Not Your Thing exactly? Who came up with the idea and what inspired it?
The answer to who is behind it is pretty much the whole Saturday team, DJs, promo staff, designers, bar staff, even the door team get it – everyone has been enthused and excited by the project and figure it’s exactly what we need to go back to.
The inspiration was to go back to what we were most happy doing, it’s an old idea that we originally started the club with back in 2005 and made us what we are today, back then it was called ‘White Trash’ – the idea behind it was that we play acts we like/respect and give support to as many aspiring DJs and brands that we could, steering away from the more obvious accessible acts as much as we could.
The man behind the actual name ‘Not Your Thing’ is non-other than our long serving DJ and director of promotions Luca Pilato, he’s been with us pretty much from day one and is a vital part of the whole Junk movement.
What is your aim? What do you hope to bring to each event, who should attend?
The aim is to strive to offer up the very best in underground dance music week in week out simply for anyone who already gets it, wants to get it, or just wants to be in on a great party!
Tell us about the venue you have for anyone who doesn’t know it – what makes it special?
The club has evolved and grown in size over the years, it started as a 250 capacity one room venue to the current 700 two room space it is today – every bit of the place has been considered and then normally reconsidered to make it a great place to be in, we have specialist made padded walls and acoustic ceiling panels throughout both of the rooms, custom built Martin Audio sound system, and an amazing light and production set up courtesy of our friends at Light Design Ltd. What makes it special and as much as it sounds corny are the South Coast people that support it, we have always been lucky enough to have really great interactive crowds – the DJ booth is set inside the room so people can circumnavigate it, this creates a real feeling of involvement and interaction for the crowd and the DJs, we get a lot of great feedback form the acts that play about the Junk booth.
What are the key things to get right for any of your own events?
It’s all about promo preparation and in turn execution of the campaign, you have to have complete commitment and believe in the acts you book and make sure you get that message across, very few acts exist that will sell out your venue on their own, if you get lazy and fall back on the supposed pull of the act invariably it can cost you dearly!
What is the Southampton scene like generally? Do you have much competition, are you plugging a gap with this new night?
The whole South Coast scene has changed completely over the last few years with the popularisation and commercialisation of house music more and more new promoters have become involved, in some ways this is of course a good thing introducing more and more people to dance music, the flip side is with the new demand for acts we have seen some more popular DJ fees almost double.
We have always had strong competition being by far the smallest club of our type in Southampton – not sure if we are plugging a gap exactly but being the size we are means we can offer more to perhaps the minority of people that aren’t into the bigger venues and crowds and are more into the music, Junk is a really friendly intimate club with a definite personality we could never pretend to be a super club.
How was the first event, what was good, what was bad?
The first ‘Not Your Thing’ event was with Flashmob and was really well received by everyone, since then we’ve had Secretsundaze and then last week Jackmaster, every week its gaining more and momentum and we’re getting fantastic feedback from everyone, all good no bad!
How long does each one take to plan and prepare, both in terms of booking but also on the day and production etc?
We work at least 3/4 months ahead with all our bookings so now working on Q1 2016.
On the day of the actual event we have management in the club all day preparing everything for the night making sure everything works how it should, we also have staff in our covering off artist logistics hotels, taxis etc, a team of external promoters out and about in Southampton from 11am and our social media team working right up until an hour after we open.
And have you got any crazy or nightmare stories to share about the promotion so far – has it been hard to get off the ground?
Not been too difficult to get off the ground from launch, we had been working on all the bookings design and promo videos and building a promotion team for the night throughout the summer, so by the time it came to launch we were pretty much there.
On the day before the launch and following a week of torrential rain we became aware that that there was a massive build-up of rainwater on the various different levels of flat roof and guttering that make up the building – a team of contractors were called out and on discovering the problem and in turn clearing the blockage gallons and gallons of water attempted to escape via a 4” downpipe! The result being it couldn’t cope and water began to find its way down the exterior walls and into the club at an alarming rate, so much so we had almost an inch of water covering the entire floor of room 2, we duly called in all the right plumbing/maintenance type people who worked tirelessly to get the water out and dry the floor, this we thought was a lucky escape and all was back to normal, what we didn’t realise and didn’t find out until 2 hours before we opened was that as the water had entered the building it had literally filled up 2 CDJs and the lighting computer with rainwater and written them all off completely – panic, more panic 2 hours and £4k later we got the club open!
What have you got coming up that you are excited about?
Lots coming up but a definite favourite and most exciting for us is the Watergate night with Heidi, La Fleur and Metro on November 7th, we have been working with Watergate for some years now and are huge fans, its always an honour to have them here at the club.
What are the best and worst things about being a promoter, would you say?
The best is that you get the opportunity to work with people in an area that we all love and make money from doing so – the worst (and perhaps more common) is that you get to work with people in an area that we all love and lose a lot of money from doing so!
‘Not Your Thing’ runs every Saturday at Junk Club in Southampton.
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