THE BIRTH OF THE VINTAGE DISCO AND THE 900 CLUB

James

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THE 900 CLUB

Have you ever had one of those nights where the DJ has just been playing tune after tune? Where you can’t physically remove yourself from the dance floor? You’re fuelled by the obscure way the tracks come from every genre but blend together in a solid sound of love for music. Chances are you have experienced this at least once but have rarely found a sensation quite the same no matter what underground DJ scene you find. Equally you may have had nights trapped in the club where all you can hear is the DJ on the mic as they play a 4 hour set in one genre, where songs don’t blend but simply fail to end. Do not lose hope, there is a new salvation. John Kelly is the curator of Dublin’s first open decks night; The Vintage Disco – 900 Club, and has literally opened the floor to a generation of new DJs, young and old.

DJ Peter Breach in the 900 Club

The Vintage Disco – 900 Club is the new platform beckoning all budding DJs to come spin their stuff, as John simply put; “it’s just a space for people who love music to get up and DJ.” As if more encouragement was needed; this is an opportunity for all lovers of music to both show what they can do or come and join the party! Everyone is welcome, whether it’s first timers, seasoned DJ’s this is a collective of music loving people ready to share their passion. John believes there is a DJ hidden within all of us “I myself have been DJing for 20 odd years; being at parties or even people I know they always say they’d love to try and DJ” It goes beyond the closet DJ enthusiast; “there’s people who would play music at parties and have a great taste in music but don’t fancy themselves a DJ.” The door is open for all to try their hand on the decks, with the emphasis on music pleasure not music pretension.

It may be the first open decks night in Dublin but the inspiration came from the vibrant music scene of Berlin. John happened upon the idea in a nightclub in a few years back; “They were calling it 15 minutes, based on Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame.” Math whizzes will have already noticed that 15 minutes is 900 seconds, hence the name. The night John witnessed in Berlin was one he wanted to recreate, in doing so he has formed a new experience for DJ and audience; “they’re just playing for fun and it’s such a lovely atmosphere.” The 900 Club has only been going for 3 months but there have been repeat performances from a lot of DJs and the monthly event is becoming more popular’ “There’s a real collective feel to it which is really nice and because one minute you can get a real top quality set and next a Lionel Ritchie set, it takes the pretentiousness out of it.”

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Dublin is not lacking in DJ talent as John admits; “there’s still a really vibrant scene in Dublin there just aren’t enough platforms for them all to play” The current members of the 900 Club are considered to be emerging talents; “I really like that this is tapping in to the undercurrent of people who just love to DJ but mightn’t necessarily be established. Last month we had some super DJs turning up” When pushed over whom to watch John suggests that the crowd have been vocal on who they like “Particularly DJ Doolittle, she’s an Indie DJ who played last time. I think there were a couple of outstanding people; Andrew Mulhall deserves a big mention he was involved a long time with the hip-hop scene. Peter Breach was also outstanding. There were other people as well who wouldn’t consider themselves DJs but they were filling the floor.” Each month brings more new DJs so there really is an excitement building from one night to the next. As 900 Club DJ Richard Moloney pointed out; “[it’s] an excellent space for the novice and more experienced DJ to share their musical interests.

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For all DJ’s in hiding the steps to get involved could not be any easier: Firstly, like the Facebook page, here the next open deck night will be advertised. Next, message John with a set list of what music you would like to play. With this John has a better idea of how to organise the night; “The reason I ask people to send music in to me is twofold; to make sure it fits in with everything else but also because it allows me to curate.” Once the line-up is set John will get in touch with times and you’re ready for your 900 club debut! “I’d really encourage people who’ve never done it before to get up and play. I’m on hand to show people how everything works,” there’s no need to worry about lacking in experience; with John and other DJ’s on hand to help. There are a few DJ’s who are back for more after their first taste of DJing left them wanting more.

You can expect the full spectrum of music, as John describes; “we only launched in May but we had everything from; northern soul, funk, hip-hop, reggae, indie, electro, RnB it was right across the board.” With only 900 second slots that leaves a window for only 5 or 6 tracks so people are really discerning when selecting their music. This means there is a really good standard of music and John admits there is room for nostalgia; “it opens the floor up for people to do a real cheesy set if they want, it hasn’t happened yet. Anything goes really, from cotton club jazz music, to whatever tickles peoples fancy, it’s all good.” Obviously there is going to be genres that people prefer so in the interest of keeping the music flowing they steer clear of; “stuff that’s very hard and heavy, things like heavy metal or hard electro, other than that anything goes.”

It’s abundantly clear that John has a passion for music that is deeply rooted in DJing; “It stems back to when I was 8 and playing around with stereos.” The appreciation for music is something John believes to be innate within all of us which is why he sees the 900 club as an opportunity for everyone; “there’s something real and raw when someone’s DJing. Sharing their taste in music as something they are passionate about.” This is the platform provided by the open deck night, where the night isn’t all about the individual, instead; “they can be part of this collective and the music is fun, which is what it’s about at the end of the day.” The emerging collective is sure to grow from here and under the guidance of John it is certain to provide an experience of freedom rather than a discriminative clique.

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With the emphasis on music enjoyment there is an era of which John is particularly fond; “I think the 70’s is just incredible. There’s such a divergence, you have everything in there; Funk, Punk, Disco, Reggae. From 75-82 was just amazing. Musically inclined my first records were all 2-tone Ska records, and then it got more into the funk and soul side of things.” With this era in mind there are particular influential musicians that would make John’s dream DJ line-up; “Kool Herc, the Hip-Hop pioneer would be amazing, followed by Nile Rodgers, if they wanted to come in and do a live set that would be nice.” An ambitious notion, but who knows where the limits of the Vintage Disco lie? For now there is at least one place to surround yourself with fellow music lovers.

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The 900 club has found its home in Dublin at the Eastside Tavern and even though John is happy to steadily develop there is huge scope for such an enticing event “We’re starting with baby steps now but we’re hoping this develops into well-established Dublin DJs coming and filling in spots when they’re touring, the idea that you don’t know who’s going to turn up will be really nice.” When picking an example from the vibrant DJ scene John has no hesitation in selecting Aidan Kelly; “I’ve a lot of respect for Aidan Kelly in bringing funk and soul to Dublin.” While John has been involved with music since an early age he has a deep understanding with the progression of the DJ scene in Dublin and on Global scale. Now he has perhaps introduced a lasting footprint on the Dublin DJ scene. Keeping the focus on the joy of music John has brought a liberating new experience to an audience of music enthusiasts that can share in the freedom of music expression.  

Free entry, from 9 till late, be there this Saturday and the last Saturday of every month!

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