I played for the first time ever at The Sub Club on the same night as a young DJ called Domenic Cappello. We were the guests for Slam on their Atlantis night in 1992. Dave Beer had previously invited Stuart MacMillan from Slam down to back to basics to play and he had returned the favour by inviting me to Glasgow. I was paired with Domenic, who was an up and coming local DJ, as guests so we both had our Sub Club debuts on the same night. We were both in the same boat and nervous but Domenic even more so than me because he knew what we were letting ourselves in for. In fact he was so nervous he had to take a sedative before spinning! Dom went on first and I remember seeing his hand trembling as it held the needle over the record. He started with an accapella that said," Music...is...emotion...is life...celebrate...life", and mixed it straight into Outlander - TZ03. Our crowd at basics were enthusiastic but the crowd at The Sub Club were the most intense thing I had ever witnessed. The venue's low ceiling kept all the noise in and you were only inches away from the people on the dancefloor in the booth. They were shouting so loudly you could hardly hear the next track in your headphones to mix.
Due to the short licensing hours available for clubs in Scotland, which still exist today, DJs get short set times. This means there is limited time for you to perform and show off your knowledge and skills. It could be one of the reasons so many Glasgow DJs developed strong technical skills, earlier than their counterparts, as they practised hard to show what they could do in their hour at The Subbie. I clicked with Dom straight away. It's one of the best things I have found about a life in music, that people from very different places and backgrounds meet and find long lasting friendships. As I continued to plough on with my own residency at back to basics, Domenic continued on from that night at Atlantis to become the resident DJ at the new night Subculture, which opened it's doors on 9th April 1994. He is still there today alongside the man, who really has been there from the start - Harri.
I continued to come to Glasgow, both for The Sub Club but also to go into the studio, as I signed as a recording artist to Soma records. My very first record came out under the name Otaku and was produced alongside Fraser Brydson and fellow Soma producers Rejuvination. I slept on label head Dave Clarke's sofa in the West End and travelled to the studio every day. At night he took me out to see the wealth of musical talent in the city including pioneering Glaswegian Dj Nick Peacock. I begun to really love the city and stayed as long as I could after gigs or sessions. On one of those occasions, after a day in the studio, we went down to see Harri spin. It was one of those epiphany moments when a DJ has introduced me to the secrets of house music. I had not witnessed flow and consistency, or the dynamics of a changing a set between house and techno until hearing Harri that day. Other times I have had experienced the same feeling on a dancefloor were at the hands of DJ Harvey, Danny Tenaglia, Francois Kevorkian, Junior Vasquez, Derrick Carter, Andrew Weatherall, Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Craig Richards, Ivan Smagghe, Lil Louie Vega, Chez Damier, Steve Bug, Greg Wilson and Domenic Cappello respectively. You can watch both Domenic & Harri live in action on Boiler Room here.
Of course The Sub Club has been home to many other great nights such as Optimo, Slam and Numbers, Sensu and Sub Rosa but I have personally always had my roots on Saturdays there. Without wanting to sound like the guy in the LCD Soundsystem song 'I'm Losing My Edge', I was there -
When Richie Hawtin popped in while Dom was playing and blew his mind in 1996, I was there when we brought a coachload of Basics heads up for New Years Day and had the place to ourselves, I was there the first ever time Chez Damier and Ron Trent played, I was there when the club had a fire next door and had to move venues to Peaches, I was there when Derrick Carter destroyed the place before people had even heard of him, I was there when we performed as the first full live band at Subculture with the 2020Soundsystem and I was there when we sold out our first ever 2020Vision party there. It's been an inspiration and a benchmark for me constantly.
It was an honour indeed to be asked to contribute a mix to celebrate 20 years of the subculture at The Sub Club and to be given the opportunity to host a 2020Vision - Content party in the same year we also celebrate our 20th year in the game. I tried to let my mind go blank before tackling the mix and just let memories of nights at The Subbie flood in and dictate which tracks to feature on the mix. They all just popped into my head with a specific time I remembered hearing them drop. Often they were tracks I heard for the very first time at Subculture played by Dom or Harri. There are also some on there that I remember myself playing first at the club. It took me a day to track them all down from my crates and then I mixed the set live in my studio, in one take, to make sure it had the same feel as a live set in the club itself.
Track Listing (titles are linked if you want to find them)
Schatrax - Mispent Years
Maurizio - Domina (Carl Craig's Mind Mix)
DJ Dozia - Pop Culture #1
2 Bitches From Queens - The Dip
San Soda - Kaizen (Blue EP)
Sound Stream - Good Soul
Romanthony - Bring you Up (Deetron mix)
Kenlou - The Bounce
Dennis Ferrer - Son Of Raw
Russ Gabriel - Back in Charge
James Flavour - Test 5
Rhythim is Rhythim - The Dance
Neal Howard - Indulge
Don Carlos-Alone (Sax Ambient Mix)
Iz & Diz - Down 4 U
Free Energy - Happiness