INTERVIEW: Daze | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Although Newcastle has always been known for its late-night excess, recent months have seen a group of local promoters hosting daytime parties at a more minimal pace. Daze have always endeavoured to be different, often showcasing rising stars in untapped spaces across the city. It’s a party which is as much about the journey as the destination, and one which continues to grow in ways the city has not seen before. I fired some questions at co-founders Alex Stevens and Luke Shalom, ahead of their next instalment at Tyne Bank Brewery on Saturday 27th July.

How would you describe the Daze project to someone who hasn’t had chance to head to one of your parties yet?
Alex Stevens: This is a new and exciting venture we have undertaken to bring something new to the Newcastle music scene. Unique venues, daytime parties and a refreshing change from the big name headliner-focused tech house line-ups which have stagnated the clubbing waters of the Tyne. We want to freshen things up with a more underground twist than your average club night.

It was born from a personal enjoyment of a good old day session, so why not bring the afterhours music we love to a day setting in interesting places forget about which DJ you’re going to see, just have a bloody good day out! (And Luke can’t stay up past 2am on a weekend anymore)!

Luke Shalom: I would describe the Daze project as a labour of love born out of frustration of never being able to hear the music we wanted to hear in clubs in Toon, or having the chance to play out on the dance floor. Daze is a day party all about after-hours music in alternative club spaces in Newcastle.

As far as music policy…the genre doesn’t matter, it’s more the vibe we are trying to push, deep and grooving music that strays away the monotony of long snare builds and screeching vocals echoing around the majority of venues in town currently.

 Your headliner for Tyne Bank’s event, S.A.M, has already had one of the hits of the summer with Fury’s Laughter. How long have you been following his progress? And what is it about him that made him your next headliner?
AS: I discovered S.A.M.’s music in the last 12 months and became obsessed, when Fury’s Laughter hit our ears this summer it was a no brainer to make him our first Special Guest Headliner. The logic behind this is to bridge the gap from mainstream electronic music to a more underground one and with the success of that track we want people to come and experience a journey with a deeper and more underground vibe.

How important is the venue choice to your parties? And what made you choose the Tyne Bank as your next destination?
LS: I think the venue is paramount to the Daze party. We were all getting bored of going to the same haunts in Newcastle, and so we set about inquiring into spaces which perhaps had never hosted an electronic music event. I think an increasing amount of people in the town are reflecting our same frustrations over the lack of party spaces.

We selected Tyne Bank as it had many of the qualities we look for in a venue. Not only is it a fresh new space…the venue has an amazing amount of natural light which streams through the large sky lights in the venues roof. This for me was the main attraction… unlike most industrial spaces synonymous with dark, grimy and dingy vibes. The party at Tyne Bank would work with a Day party inside as the size of the roof space and lighting give a similar sense of freedom provided by outdoor venues. It was a slight evolution from the terrace parties we have put on, but I’m not one to rest on ground already trodden over.

What else can you tell us about the rest of the local talent on the roster? Is there anyone in particular we should keep an eye out for?
AS: We have some fantastic residents, Mason Wilson has a taste in music beyond his years for an 18 year old DJ, don’t let his age fool you! Also Dom from Eclectic Sounds has the knack of digging out a great vinyl!

What are your plans moving forward? Both for Daze and as DJs personally?
LS: Moving forward as a party I guess we just wanna keep challenging ourselves to bring quirky parties in interesting spaces to the Toon. I don’t see Daze ever becoming a night party…I think we all enjoy the day session knees up bit too much. I think it’s important to keep the emphasis on the local residents and guests playing the party, rather than the big name headliners. I believe the North East has some incredible talent that needs more of platform to grow and be nurtured. As huge events with the large international DJs have habit over shadowing some of the raw local talent on offer. Local DJs play for the local crowd, they know what the crowd want to hear and I think have a tendency to push and educate an audiences tastes more than the international DJ stopping through on just another date of over packed tour schedule. As music lovers first and DJ’s second I guess we all want to see the North East continue to grow as ever evolving party hub. And perhaps bring a couple of new sounds to the place in the process.

How has Newcastle changed as a city since you first arrived? And what needs to be done to improve the clubbing experience?
@TyneBankBrewery ‏ LS: Since arriving in the city six years ago I would say there has been remarkable change in the scene. I remember frequenting the dance floors of Apex at Cosmic, Shindig at the W34, LOOP at the cut and Tourist at SR44. For me these were the pinnacle of clubbing experiences in town. They played a huge role in shaping my music taste I have today. These promoters always dominated the Newcastle club scene (with good reason). Inspiring me to start running my own parties in town first with Boom Shack and now with Daze.

However, I feel in the past couple of years smaller nights have started to bring some serious heat to the city too. The likes of Quest 808 and Move have brought some outstanding electro, minimal and all round weird techno to the scene… the Nicolas Lutz, Voightmann and Carl Finlow parties standing as highlights of my clubbing calendar in the last year! As far as minimal is concerned Wonky Sessions have also stuck their head above the parapet putting on artists such as East End Dubz and Ray Mono… DJs which perhaps wouldn’t fit the booking schedule of the larger events in town…booked on the merits of their artistry and not on their capacity to sell X amount of tickets. If it wasn’t for the smaller parties I don’t think the scene would be as exciting or varied as it is now.

In my mind I would just love to see some more variation in the venues we see being used. This is no mean feat in a city with the council cracking down on late licenses and ever subtly moving towards a ‘cafe culture’. I hope one day soon we will see more deep house and minimal artists coming to the town. Already taking off in cities in the North like Manchester and Leeds…surely the Newcastle heads are ready for some different sounds to what they currently have on offer?


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