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North-west UK

Arondeus, Aura Sounds, Loss Function, SH13
How has Nexus played a role in your local community and music scene?

We’ve been running parties for 3 years or so now. Myself (Arondeus) and Loss Function moved to our tiny little town (90’000 people) and there was a massive gap for both hooning techno nights, and polysexual, inclusive spaces. Most dance music nights were either commercial things for students or really straight-focussed, weirdly aggressive experiences. 

So we filled a gap I think - we wanted to throw a party for everyone, that didn’t price gouge (we only aim to break even over a year, never charge more than £10 for tickets, and have an access fund for people on low incomes) and created a space for everyone to get loose - bringing the best of what we’ve experienced raving around the UK and abroad back to our own town. 

We also wanted to create an environment where people could meet, and try and facilitate other things happening. We’ve lent our soundsystem out to other nights for free, helped out with other projects, etc., as well as running fundraisers for homeless queer youth, the local Pride event, international LGBTQ+ legal support - and stuff like that.

What can we see, hear and experience at your parties?

We grew up with hard but interesting music with a vaguely illicit vibe - raves in the forests and countryside, as well as dark, smokey basements. That’s what we like to bring to our nights. It’s definitely techno, but we’ve all been soaked in techno and parties for years - so you’ll hear hard breaks, electro, the occasional disco surprise and always something for the hips. 

Because it’s a small town it would have been really easy to water down what we’re about for a bigger crowd - but we’d rather have the right 150 people coming and dancing than the wrong 500.

There’s 4 of us in the crew, and we all work the door, hang about, have a dance, load the speakers, and sound engineer so we’re always about for a chat. We don’t really do egos. Big soundsystem, small space, huge smoke machine - good vibes. We try and both support the local scene, but also get a ‘recognisable’ DJ in for each party too - and we make sure that those guests reflect the partygoers. We’ve never had a white, straight, male lineup in 50 events and radio shows.

We were also going to be throwing a full-on queer rave called Lost and Found in Liverpool in May, but that’s postponed for obvious reasons. 

Tell us some DJs / artists you’re digging at the moment?

Oh god - so many! First I’ll mention folks who’ve played at parties or on radio for us recently: Turkana from Kampala’s Anti-Mass crew was brilliant, as was Bearcat from Discwoman. We’ve had Wes Baggaley and Mark Archer on too who are both great and obviously legends. Local-ish acts that people should check out: Alec Tronik from Liverpool and Mevs from Manchester (both hooning quick, but interesting) queer rave, Hans Delbruck (crazy modular filth), Fil Devious, Richie Quirk and Al Mac (all North Wales free party / rave heavyweights), The Machine, Miss VK from Bristol, Cy Humphreys and Ross Alexander (amazing tech-rave hardware sets), all the Only Human / Modulate live electronica crew from near us, Jerome Hill, Russell E.L Butler, Blasha and Allatt from the mighty Meat Free in Manchester, Mashyno from Golosa did us a great set, Martina S from Gegen, Fana’, Magnus CC, He Valencia, Raumtester from Popoff Kitchen in Moscow, Harami and Wext from Faggotry over in Stockholm…the list goes on…

Everyone’s been great actually - head to www.nexustechno.co.uk/guests and click on our guests’ pictures and dig around their Soundclouds and stuff.

Outside people we’ve had play for us - on heavy rotation at the mo are the whole scene that’s coalesced around Haus of Altr, and the Physically Sick releases over in the US - they’re pushing brilliant stuff right now, the Herrensauna crew, pretty much the whole Discwoman roster, Mike Servito and Justin Cudmore’s mixes. Pretty much every release on Don’t, Super Rhythm Trax and Balkan Vinyl are 100% brilliant. We played with Deepneue over in Berlin last year and his stuff is great. We had tickets for Whole Festival this year too - but…Covid, so we’ve been getting over the pain by listening to every recording from previous years. Plus we’ve currently been rinsing Discogs and rediscovering lots of fun stuff from the 90s / early 2000s.

What do you think will become of the music industry & the underground music scene post-pandemic?

Hopefully it’ll realign a bit with what it used to be - but we’re under no illusions as to what’ll happen at the end of the scene that books the big DJs. We’ve already seen folks who command £5k+ back at it and in the booth, probably delaying small parties getting back off the ground due to massive spikes in these countries….thanks folks.

To be honest, the split that exists in techno is the split that exists in every music genre. You get little parties/bands that want to connect with like-minded people, aren’t bothered about making millions, and are politically-aware and then you get huge events/bands that want to sign to a major label and sell out stadiums, and it’ll probably continue…

We hope that local scenes and dancers will get a bit more DIY and realise it’s more about the space, the crowd and the music than a huge booking. Kinda hoping that people will have spent this time digging a bit further than the Beatport top 20 and maybe stuff might get a little more varied…the ‘death metal’ techno, with all the skulls and dystopian bullshit had been tired for ages - there’s enough dystopia in the actual world right now, maybe a switch to some joy?

September 2020

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