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

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image: Man Power

If you were around and paying attention in the mid to late 90’s you’ll remember the invention of the nonsense that was ‘The Super Club’. Stemming from a rise in the desire to be associated with a certain club, or a need to ‘be seen’ at a particular venue, The Super Club started a trend that took interesting dance venues, coated them with a luxury status and ruined everything that was ever special about them. For my mind, the more super the club got, the more awful they became; a trend that still exists today where various venues and promoters look for style over substance, price over performance and conformity over content.

Away from such nonsense, interesting and unique promoters and clubs do still exist. A case in point is North East artist, musician and DJ Geoff Kirkwood, aka Man Power, whose new weekly Us & Them night at World Headquarters invites the best underground DJs in the world to play alongside local North East talent and to an audience who want to hear interesting, unique records.

When I first started going to clubs, the reason you would go would be to hear records that you didn’t hear in other places, and that’s what we want to achieve with Us & Them.” Geoff confirms. “We want to build an extension of World Headquarters where we can create a place of genuine diversity that’s diverse in sound, diverse in attendees, diverse in backgrounds and diverse in DJs.”

How can you build your own identity as a person if you’re in places that want you to think and act the same as everyone else?

Part of the aim of Us & Them, aside from its manifesto which includes being anti-hype and proudly outsider, is the desire to create a space where the DJ actually choose records that you don’t hear in every other venue, and where you’re not made to feel awful if you’re not in the latest Prada. “When I was young I managed to de-programme myself by being around people and music that was different to me, and I don’t think that happens too much today in the dance world as there’s such a push by promoters to make everything look and feel the same. How can you build your own identity as a person if you’re in places that want you to think and act the same as everyone else?

Kicking off Us & Them just after lockdown the crew are already a number of weeks into their residency, and building on the confidence that comes with early success. “It’s great that we’ve been busy, but what’s more important is that it’s been with the right type of people, people who want to be diverse and interesting and don’t only want style of music.”

Looking ahead there’s already bookings well into the latter part of the year, with guests over the next month including the likes of Bird of Paradise & Force Majeure (Saturday 4th September); DJ Absolutely Shit & Nord (Saturday 11th September); Ben Caldwell and Jennifer Cardini (Saturday 25th September) along with an all night set from Man Power himself (Saturday 2nd October).

As much as Geoff is looking forward to some of the larger names, it’s the blend of local talent that’s also a real driver. “Some of the DJs we’ve got booked might well be some of the most interesting DJs around in the world today with really interesting taste, but on a local level we’re really excited for the likes of Megan Leo and Kris Emmett who are local DJs and offer new ideas – that’s the real joy of the club.”

Us & Them takes place every Saturday night at World Headquarters, Newcastle

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout