York is Leeds’ prim and proper cousin; its the county town that stands tall with its back straight against enduring traditions, peering over at its very noisy neighbour to the west while tucking into its afternoon tea. The Leeds heads are no doubt consuming much stronger. And yet there are pockets of activity in York that somewhat resemble the county’s crazed core of activity. The former city’s unassumingly quaint cobbled streets mask a small but strong party scene whose concentration may actually be its greatest asset, focussing the energy of its music lovers and community-minded characters into a neat but potent package. Rhumboogie, a charity party not unlike a famous one that occurs in the industrial Mabgate area of Leeds, holds together this milieu. But, for a night, they are devolving this duty, vacating their usual home of an art studio in York to pay Wire a very special visit on 9th June, in collaboration with Pleasure Connection. We spoke to organisers Tony Neptune aka Asimov aka Sam Jeffries and Anthony Dobson.
I know a lot of young people who have moved from York to Leeds to pursue their creative interests. Do you think York is lacking in something? Do you feel quite unique there?
TN – York’s brilliant for small parties. We’re really lucky that we’ve got such a tight nit community especially at Rhumboogies where you see the same people over and over again. It fosters a connection between everyone. Its nice to get lost on a dance floor and know your pals are dancing next to you. It feels like a big family really. I don’t think you get that as much in Leeds. But obviously York lacks big bookings generally, there just isn’t the appetite for it and we never had the capital to book big artists but I quite like that.
What are the differences between throwing a party in Leeds and in York? What do you like and dislike about the two cities?
TN – Leeds is and always will be somewhere I love. My family’s from Morley so I feel a massive drag to the city. I think there’s always a bit more room for failure in York just because of what we built up. We didn’t have to promote anything, we put an event up and people came. I never like to think of myself of a promoter, I’m not a fan of it if I’m being honest but the opportunity to play in clubs with wicked sound systems and to have a few more people seeing he music we play is obviously the upside. There are ups and downs to both.
Your charity is Choose2. How did you come across the charity? And could you give us an insight into what they do, and why it is important to you?
TN – The Charity is a disabled youth club on the outside of the city walls in York. They help children with severe learning and physical disabilities have fun and help improve their independence. A friend of ours was complaining about a music shop being unwilling to give the charity some wires for music based activities for the club which we thought, was a bit shit. We loved the fact that they used music to help the kids as well and after having been down multiple times now I’ve got to say its rare you walk into a building full of such happy people. They do amazing things for them.
You aren’t making a booking for this party. There seems to a be a trend in Leeds at the moment of bigger events that don’t make bookings and leave it up to the residents to do the job. Do you think this is a trend that will continue?
TN – I think residents are the backbone to nights and its something so many nights get so wrong. Most nights don’t give residents enough time to show why they’re residents in the first place. Give them two or three hours to strut their stuff and you may find they play better tunes than your headliners. Its all a bit hectic. I suppose that also comes down from nights desperate to pull in punters by booking too many people. Keep it simple and a night will always be better. All three of us have total confidence in one another. We all play fairly different things as well which I think keeps things exciting for the crowd.
AD – Don’t underestimate the power of the residents. With well known DJ’s charging extortionate fees, the numbers often don’t quite add up. Its better to keep the cost down and have a party with an amazing atmosphere with a quality of music up there with the big names.
It may be due to more of a focus on giving to charity. Do you think this is another trend that will develop?
TN – I really hope so. We’re passionate about Choose2, they do a serious amount of good in the community and after severe cuts by our Tory run council (that’s right, vote Labour) they’ve been left starved of public money and reliant on donations from companies and organisations like our own. There are plenty of incredible organisations out their that are desperate for cash and I like to think our community is open minded and caring enough to start doing this a bit more.
Your party is planning on staying open as late as possible. It is a defining feature dance music, particularly house and techno, for the party to go on indefinitely. What personally do you get from staying out late, and allowing the party to be drawn out as long as possible?
TN – I just love those last few hours in a club post 7 in the morning. People are there because they love the music and it also allows you to return the music full circle. You can start getting the hip hop out, slow mo funk jams. It’s just a super relaxed atmosphere which I love. Its not that I don’t like an after party I just love the idea of having the option of staying and dancing longer rather than heading off home especially if the music is wicked. Why leave?
I hear you met in Leeds. Do you think Leeds is especially good for encouraging a music community?
AD – After living in Leeds for 16 years, its evident that the community has changed substantially. It used to be quite cliquey with people being into a certain type of music and only going to those events. With people having a wider appreciation for all genres of music and places like Cosmic Slop, you bump into many of the same people at different nights. I run the Needle to the Groove show on KMAH-Radio (with Scott Broadhead, who i met at Technique or Basics…hazy memories). The station is a hotbed of local talent and definitely gets promoters talking to each other. I make a point of asking interns to bring records and also to give people chances to play who have little experience. Leeds is soon to be getting a couple more record shops actually aimed at DJ’s (Tribe and Doghouse/Paula’s) this is a welcome return to how things used to be, Saturday afternoons listening to tunes and passing on knowledge to anyone who is around.
How did you get involved with Pleasure Connection? What can we expect from the night at Wire?
AD – I’ve been friends with Ollie Patterson for a few years now (met through mutual friends who I met through music again) and he’s a regular on my radio show. Ollie seems to be playing out around Leeds most weekends so has a pretty varied collection and alongside Sam Toone (Also KMAH) will be a good fit for the musical ethos of Rhumboogie. What to expect…its basically whatever we feel like at the time and is good, but there will definitely be a load of Dancemania records, plenty electro, disco, boogie, house, techno with some afrobeat and jazz thrown in!!
If you had to choose one track that summed up Rhumboogie, what would it be?
AD – That’s such a difficult question as you can see from the last question. Do you want a tarck fom each genre? I’ve played LFO – LFO a couple of times and it always blows the roof off!! Aux 88 – Direct Drive…
TN – Difficult but I’ve played Gotta Keep on Trying by Tenderness twice now and its one of my favourite ever tunes so I think its gotta be that but as I said I’ve got so many I’ve played their and loved.
(Third member of the team Filip chose The Pretenders – Just Be Yourself as his track)