UK underground dance brand Eastern Electrics have been throwing house and techno parties since 2008, with their summer festival at Hatfield House fast becoming one of the UK's most important sub-mainstream electronic festivals.
This New Year's Eve they return with another all-night party with Richy Ahmed and Darius Syrossian. Taking over London's hip, East End venue Studio Spaces, EE will be teaming up with Ibiza clubbing brand Do Not Sleep, who have recently been smashing it over on the island.
Ahead of the night, we caught up with Rob Star, the man behind the EE brand, to find out why he loves going back to warehouse parties, and why this year's event will be extra special.
The Eastern Electrics brand has come a long way since it started. Did you ever imagine becoming such an important part of the UK's underground dance culture? And how do you think you've changed since your first events?
We always wanted to put on a festival. When we started eight years ago it seemed hard to believe, but there wasn't really a dedicated dance music festival in the South of the UK pushing the kind of music that we wanted to showcase. SW4 was already established, but at the time, they were pushing the more commercial end of dance music and we wanted a festival that catered for the more cutting edge house and techno sounds. Obviously our first events were in warehouses, but we have evolved organically and grown the party as our audience has grown. It was really important to us that we had a fan base before we launched the festival.
You've just mentioned how you started out in the warehouse scene before doing the festival. Do you view your NYE parties as almost going back to your roots?
This is definitely more akin to what we did with the warehouses, which is great fun. I love taking a space that isn't normally used for a party and transforming it for the night. It means we can curate the lighting, the sound, the decor and make sure everything is how we want it to be.
What things do you do differently when you're hosting a warehouse party compared to a festival?
Obviously the budgets are completely different, so we don't have as much money to spend on DJs and marketing. This means that you have to rely on your audience to trust you with the bookings, and most of the promotion is localised to people on your database who already know what you do. This does mean the crowd are more up for the music though, and can make for a better atmosphere on the night.
You're taking over Studio Spaces in Wapping for this year's event. What drew you to this particular location?
I have always loved this space. It used to be a club when I was doing the Mulletover parties, but it was a bit dodgy! It always used to be one of our fall back venues if we lost the location that we wanted to use, but we never actually did a party there. I did one with Kerri Chandler a few years ago where he played all night, so it will be great to get back there again!
You've also teamed up with Ibiza brand Do Not Sleep. Why did you choose to partner with them and what do you think they'll bring to the night?
Their parties in Ibiza have been smashing it for the last two years, which is why we chose them to do an arena at the festival. I'm also good friends with Bones, who is one of the residents down there, as we used to do parties years ago in Shoreditch, so it's always good to team up with old friends.
Richy Ahmed and Darius Syrossian will be topping the bill. How pleased are you to be bringing these two to NYEE?
Richy has been playing Eastern Electrics since the warehouse days, so it's always good to have him involved. He's a great DJ who really knows how to work a room. Similarly, Darius has just been getting bigger and bigger over the last few years, so to have them both on the same bill on New Year's Eve is amazing.
Josh Butler, Lee Walker, Miina and Emanuel Satie are also coming down. Is showcasing fresh, genre-pushing acts a big part of the EE ethos – that sense of giving fans a chance to discover new artists?
Since day one we have pushed new acts. These guys are the headliners of the future, they've all got quite a distinctive sound.
And finally, above all else, what should we expect from NYEE?
New Year's Eve is the original party night, so expect amazing tunes, a really up for it crowd and something special at midnight! As with all our NYEE shows, this one will sell out in advance, so if you wanna come, don't hang about!
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