George Hartshorn has dominated the scene since forming Brotherhood Sound System in 2012. He has utilised nearly every venue that the city’s had to offer (some still extant, others not), while pioneering huge shifts in our music preference. Recently came the brand’s biggest aesthetic makeover, swapping dark electronics and imagery for a brighter sound and visual colour scheme. Considering they were the bastions of bass music in Leeds, it was a brave move for the Brotherhood crew but they have pulled it off, showcasing their fresh tastes through sets by Tama Sumo, Jayda G, Kon and Tom Blip at Wire since September 2017. Next up is their birthday, and possibly their biggest party to date, with Mr Scruff. But first, we asked George to reminisce on the highlights of his Brotherhood career.
What has been your wildest party?
“This would have to be when we had Mickey Pearce at Full Circle, a lawless warehouse just off Kirkstall road. It was when the Swamp 81 sound was at it’s peak and the crowd was going insane. We ended up creating these makeshift flame throwers using cans of deodorant and spraying them when tunes were dropping – looking back it was a daft idea, but it was a brilliant party.
Who has been your most loveable guest?
Tama Sumo and Lakuti without a doubt. I’ve never had some guests who were so invested in the night. When one was playing, the other just stayed in the back smoking, drinking and chatting with everyone who came back there. They were just so interested in everything that is happening in Leeds at the moment, and afterwards Lakuti posted a really nice status on Facebook about how great the party was. Running nights isn’t always a breeze.
What has been the worst moment in your Brotherhood careers?
This is a really tricky question – looking at promoters online profiles you’d never think there was a bad party because every event is ‘about to sell out’ or ‘67% tickets sold’ but with promoting there’s always going to be parties which are a flop. For us we ran a spin off night with Gilles Peterson at Mint Club in 2014 which was a major flop – I think we’d sold less than 200 tickets with a break even of 600. Facing losing that much money was really tough, and I hope I don’t have to live through that again, but by a stroke of luck on the day of the party Gilles Peterson cancelled due to illness (we rescheduled him to play with Bonobo at Canal Mills later that year) and we ended up having a great party with Dan Shake who we brought in as a replacement.
B2b with @danshake_ ❤ you Leeds🇬🇧!
Posted by Philou Louzolo on Saturday, 28 January 2017
On the flip side, what has been your proudest moment?
It would probably have to be our first party in Leeds with Phaeleh at Wire. There was this ridiculous hype, and I remember a promoter saying to me that they had ‘heard great things about our parties’ despite us having not run any events in Leeds yet. We really got it right with our first event, and that allowed us to springboard onto bigger and better things.
If you had to pick one track to sum up Brotherhood, what would it be?
This is a really tricky one just because of the ever changing nature of Brotherhood, so I’ll have to go with a tune from the early years which would always get played by Silas & Snare
Can you tell us a little bit about your distinctive artwork?
Since September we’ve been working with a long time friend, Will Dacosta AKA Pomona Illustration to create bespoke, leeds focused pieces of art for each event. On each design you’ll find loads of landmarks and even some of the venues we’ve hosted events in. It’s something which we’d kind of put on the back burner for a few years, but after seeing one of Will’s pieces of work on Instagram it inspired me to do a complete rebrand of Brotherhood and bring him on as our resident designer.
What is next for Brotherhood?
Well, we have our 6th birthday with Mr Scruff on the 10th March which is really exciting, then we’re inviting a special guest for an all night set in April, something which we’ve never done before!