The idea of a relic isn’t something you’d immediately associate with the futurism of techno. Since the 1980s, the genre has always looked forwards to a technological and digital end. But, nowadays, the relic (the historic, the culturally significant) is an idea that needs to be injected into underground club culture. Vinyl records are musical relics in their own right that we must hold on to and cherish for as long as possible. And, inspired by their permanence, we should try and make club spaces as long lasting as those slabs of wax. They must be maintained as places where club goers can revel in the historicity of dance music, and enjoy near religious experiences on the dance floor.
In step Relic, who have leaped onto the Leeds scene with the booking of Jane Fitz, a DJ who most would agree is the woman of the moment. We spoke to Elliot Walker about the new event launching on 22nd February.
Who is involved in Relic, and how did you meet? What have you been involved with previously?
Charlie Dodd and I (Elliott Walker) initially met outside HiFi for one of Rhythm Control’s nights with Viers, but it was at at Bloc festival where we then really got to know each other. I had the idea of crowd surfing Charlie in his wheelchair during Omar-S. We have a larger team that help us come up with new ideas and concepts behind the brand; ideally we want to build a community where everyone’s voice is heard. It will give us a good insight to what people want and help us stay innovative. During the last couple of years Charlie has worked with Alter, putting on a whole series of events with big names, mainly at Wire and Mint Club. I on the other hand, was focusing on a night pushing the local scene and focusing on getting in acts that don’t get the publicity they truly deserve.
Where does the night’s name come from, and how does it fit in with what you want to achieve?
We pondered on the name for ages constantly thinking about it over last summer. I feel with a name you’re not used to, you always ask yourself ‘is it right for you?’, as you struggle to picture the whole entity without any of the graphics or imagery to accompany it. Relic was eventually chosen because we wanted it to be short and snappy and we liked the idea of music being looked at almost as a religion, plus it was voted for the most when we asked all of our friends!
Tell us about your first booking – how has Jane Fitz’s work had an influence on you? What do you think she’ll play on the night?
Jane is one of our favourite DJ’s, every time I’ve seen her she’s taken me on a musical journey whether it be acid, deep spacey house or modern psychedelic techno she always selects the goods. This is something we want to achieve with our parties, we feel the most inspiring and entertaining arrangements are born out of eclectic sets and a diverse experimentation in style, so who knows what she’s going to play on the night! All I know is she’ll definitely bring the vibe that we’re going for.
You have also booked two local DJs, Alex T and Tom Drew. What qualities do you see in these selectors? Had you always planned to book DJs from around Leeds, too? Is this part of your plan to create a ‘party for the people’?
After hearing them play on nights out, the two of them both carry a lot of energy in their sets and will set the standard that we want to achieve. We feel their musical styles will compliment Jane, and will work well with her selections. They also both run local nights that are contributing to the thriving scene in Leeds. We feel getting in local talent is vital in events as it not only helps push the local scene, but doesn’t just have nights focusing on headline acts and drawing in the wrong sort of crowds.
How has living in Leeds influenced you musically?
With there being so many different nights in Leeds and countless venues to choose from we are always spoilt for choice musically in what to experience. The scene is very open to interpretation and diverse, whether it be a dingy basement of a Hyde Park house party or a live set at the Brudenell. You’re always hearing a variety of sounds and new material everyday.
As a midweek event, you are in quite a special position that could be both restrictive and liberating. Do you have any memories of fun midweek parties from your time in Leeds?
Yeah some of my midweek nights in the past have been just as good as ones on the weekend, the line-ups are never as big but if you go to a night that knows their shit you can come across some amazing small acts on the rise for a cheap night full of fun. In the past Teknicolor threw some good nights and Deep Fever was always a mid-week favourite: they never seemed to fail and neither did their after parties.
You also have plans for a Relic record label – what can we expect from that?
It’s all under wraps at the minute as we want to ensure everything is right before we launch anything. Initially we thought of the idea so we can push all the local producers that don’t get enough exposure in the community. We also thought it would be a good idea to add a physical entity to the night so some of the music that gets played people could take back home with them.
What DJs and producers are exciting you at the moment?
After seeing Avalon Emerson in the Beaverworks basement last year shelling out some incredible melodic techno, I felt she’s definitely one to watch for the future. She’s new on the scene and has quickly gained a solid reputation this year, achieving #3 on the top 50 tracks of 2016 on Resident Advisor with her incredible track “The Frontier”. Both of us also think Nicholas Lutz is doing incredible things at the minute, his level of his mixing and incredible varied collection always does wonders when hearing out. You can never predict his set, a thing that is happening way too much these days.
The nature of Leeds is that creative projects come and go with the ebb and flow of graduating students. Do you plan to stay in Leeds for a few more years? Do you want to make Relic a permanent thing?
I’m still here for at least another year, Charlie’s unsure about what he’s doing just yet as he won’t be in education after this year but I’m sure if Relic is progressing he’ll still be around as Leeds is hard to get enough of! Relic has always been looked at in the long run for both of us. I had my trial run before and now this night is going to be where we really narrow it down, refine our choices and put all our creative energy into.