TECH-NOIR at ten years – interview

DJs Nick Hook & Brody (aka Danny Chase) launched Tech-noir Club in the spring of 2009 and since then the club brand has become synonymous with the Brighton club scene. Over the past 10 years they have put parties on at most of the best venues in the city and invited some of the UK’s biggest underground DJs to be their special guests.
On Fri 26 April, Tech-noir returns to Door 77 Club (formerly Bau Wow) for its 10th birthday bash, with special guest DJ Kevin Mckay. He’s become one of the most successful UK house music DJ/producers, and his label – Glasgow Underground – is one of the bestselling house music labels in the world.

Tech-noirNow he joins Tech-noir residents Nick and Brody plus the ever-popular Tony Waller and Pat Waller for an epic celebration. The party forms part of Brighton Music Conference, the UK’s biggest annual electronic music event – which runs from the 24th to the 27th of April in Brighton and features some of the greatest names in house.
There have been more than 80 Tech-noir parties over the past 10 years, with every event featuring the two residents, plus a close-knit bunch of regular local DJs that have formed the nucleus of the Tech-noir clubbing family. It has built a reputation for attracting the friendliest and most up-for-it party crowd that always create an uplifting atmosphere.

We caught up with Tech-noir residents, Nick Hook and Brody, to find out what life is like a decade on.

Ten years is a long time for anything, but especially so for a club night. What changes have you seen in the dance music industry in the last decade?

Brody – I think the biggest change to the industry is music production. Now that people can make music in the box (on their home computer). The scene has seen a massive increase in the amount of emerging artists. This can make it harder to weed out the really good music, but now there is so much more choice! You can be pretty specific when looking for music that fits with ‘your sound’ and pretty much create any vibe you want!

Nick Hook – Yes, the dance music industry has changed considerably since the heyday of the 1990’s. To be honest though I don’t think the last ten have seen significant change, that really happened in the 2000s when the bubble burst for the big dance/house labels and the super clubs.
The dance music scene became very fragmented but I think the underground house and tech-house club scene has developed in a positive way in the last 10 years.     

How do you think the Tech-noir sound has evolved over that time?

Brody – I think we still play the same quality house and tech house mix we’ve always played but maybe picked up some influences from each other. I’d say I play more vocals than I used to and Nick’s picked up some of my tougher tech influence.

Tech-noirNick Hook – I think our sound has evolved with the underground house scene. Ten years ago, tech house had emerged as the coolest and most innovative genre within the underground house scene. Tech-noir has always been an underground house and tech house club brand, but we’ve always wanted the vibe of our club events to be uplifting. So, we steered away from the darker and minimal side of tech house and went with the more pumping and energetic side of tech house, with melodic breakdowns and vocal hooks. We want to see smiling faces on our dance floor and we love those hands in the air moments. Ten years ago, Toolroom was probably the label that myself and Brody were playing the most.
These days the house and tech house scene is more funky and we are playing more tunes from Glasgow Underground than any other label. Hence our headliner for this event is Kevin McKay from Glasgow Underground. We are both big fans of his productions and his label. We still love Toolroom as well though – LOL.
What DJs have you helped platform, and what makes them special?

Tech-noirBrody – We always try to include some of our favourite local DJ’s based purely on the music they play and the vibe they bring to the party! One of my favourites is local DJ Patrick Waller who we’ve seen go from budding DJ to an accomplished producer in his own right! Another firm fave is Enzo Siffredi, his releases have seen him touring with some of the best labels in the business but he never got too big to come and play his home crowd…  Steve Mac another Brighton legend and all-round nice guy has blessed us with some of my favourite NYE sets ever with his timeless sound! I could go on all day! Everyone who comes to play for us, becomes part of our much loved family .

Nick Hook – Yes we’ve built our following around local DJ talent, our resident and regular DJs, like myself and Brody, and Tony Waller and Pat Waller have been there since the start, and have a special bond with the Tech-noir crowd.
Brighton DJs are our life-blood, they and the friends they bring with them have become our clubbing family and have helped create Tech-noir’s special friendly atmosphere.
Other Brighton DJs who have played at Tech-noir since our early days include Lidia De Luca, Wilson Knickit, Rob Holme, Oleg Belshin and Deano Pressure.

Has the crowd at Tech-noir evolved? And what do you think keeps people coming back?

Brody – It always makes me smile to look out on the dancefloor and see so many familiar faces, people that have been coming from the start. They came, loved the music and atmosphere and have been coming back ever since, bringing their friends and introducing them to the old school vibe with the freshest new music!

Nick Hook – Yes, exactly that. It’s all about the friendly vibe and quality house music. We may be ten year’s older but we still love to party. We are a clubbing family and there are always new people joining that family who help to reinvigorate us.
There are no strangers at Tech-noir, only friends you haven’t met yet.

Are there any tunes from ten years ago which still creep out occasionally?

Brody – I quite often go through my vinyl collection and see if there’s anything I could play alongside my new stuff and I’m constantly surprised. Two of my favourite reboots from the last couple of years which get played again and again are Huff and Puff – Help Me Make It’ (Rolo and Sister Bliss 97 Remix) and Cro-magnon by Constipated Monkeys also from 1997 which still sounds amazingly fresh today!

Nick Hook – I think we are a forward thinking club brand and our music is always upfront. There is so much great new music coming through, whenever we do Tech-noir parties we are both itching to play our favourite new promos and downloads. And, of course, our own latest productions as well which usually go down well.

What can you tell us about Kevin McKay, the guest DJ for Tech-noir’s 10th birthday celebrations?

Brody – Glasgow Underground has been inspiring me since the 90’s and is currently my absolute favourite record label! I buy pretty much everything they put out, I would say 50% of my current set is from his label. Can’t wait to hear his new stuff.

Nick Hook – Yeah, as I said, particularly over the past few years, Kevin McKay’s tracks and the releases on his label – Glasgow Underground – have become some the most played tracks at Tech-noir. I think Glasgow Underground has become the go-to-label for many DJs when they are looking for new tracks to play out. The consistency in quality is a great testament to Kevin McKay’s knowledge and experience as a house music producer.

Are there any other stand-out guests you’ve welcomed over the years?

Brody – Having Seb Fontaine play for us was another of my highlights, having listened to this legend on Radio 1 back in the day it was really nice to meet such a down to earth guy who is still such a brilliant DJ.

Nick Hook – We’ve had some great guest DJs over the last ten years, and we’ve tried to bring in up-coming DJ stars as well as the established international ones. We are proud to have had guest DJs like Prok & Fitch, Sonny Wharton, Jonathan Ulysses, Hoxton Whores, Oliver Lang, Jason Chance, Steve Mac, Tim Cullen, Enzo Siffredi, Lizzie Curious, Seamus Haji, Seb Fontaine, Tim Andresen and Timo Garcia. They have all made a special contribution to the success and longevity of Tech-noir.

What makes a Tech-noir night special?

Brody – The atmosphere that comes from the family of friends who’ve supported us from the beginning, coupled with some awesome music, brought to you by guys who love their music and what it can do to a dance floor, even after all this time.

Nick Hook – Yes, exactly that. We’ve put on over 80 Tech-noir parties in the last 10 years. We’ve done a lot of them at small venues that hold about 150 – 200 people, but we’ve also done most of the larger venues in Brighton, like The Arch, Coalition, Hideout and Volks etc. We always have that core crowd that have been coming for years and who all know each other, and they are the ones create that special atmosphere. Without them we are nothing – viva Tech-noir!!!

The Tech-noir 10 Year Party comes to Door 77, 77 East Street, Brighton BN1 1NF, on Fri 26 April 2019

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