- Beta . AM . 171 . Hush . Kiwi
TL;DR? - This is not the end of I AM. Only the Tuesday parties.
I AM, Sub Club’s weekly residency which has run for the last 8 years will stage its final Tuesday party on March 26th before moving onwards to refocus their energy and creativity in sporadic parties around Glasgow.
An electric farewell to midweek clubbing it promises to be. The club’s success has meant it has outgrown its weekly Tuesday home - but isn’t leaving the Sub Club completely and moves into a new phase as a portable party, with its nomadic programme pushing their future events and thematic productions into both new and familiar spaces and venues.
I AM began with a meeting between two music fans Matthew Craig and Ross Anderson. Matthew was DJing at and running a number of popular parties and Ross messaged the MySpace of his event Cheap’n’Nasty to send some music he was making at the time under the moniker MAUSR. This led to a guest spot appearance for Ross at the club, and the seeds of a friendship, and the idea for a new event, began to germinate.
There were no shortage of club nights around 2010, with gaps in the clubbing landscape due to a very short burst of major retirements in key weekly parties - Optimo at Sub Club, RPZ at the Art School, and the phase out of the Arches’ Death Disco monthly multi-room production. The duo were brainstorming in earnest, searching for an instant relatable concept, and something clearly brand-able. One night in the CCA Scott S. bar, shooting ideas back and forth, a friend’s throw away remark hit the spark, and I AM was born.
The test launch touched down in Sub Club on 18th May 2010. The initial I AM music policy was pretty open and in the ball park of clubs that the residents were already big fans of - a no nonsense bouncy selection spanning funk, house electro, RnB, dubstep, techno and disco. The approach was dedicated to being open, fun - no bullshit 100% party vibes. Most events were the residents Beta & Kappa, but often line-ups were supplemented with other local DJs and friends - Vitamins, Telford, Thunder Disco, Mia Dora, Jasper, Esa, All Caps, Tarantism, Barrientos, Jackmaster, Night Of The Jaguar, Animal Farm, and Freaky Freaky were some of the many names from across Glasgow’s clubbing community who partied together.
Bigger billed ‘names’ were initially only booked for birthdays or special events - their very first live guest the banging electro exponent and suitably ballsy act FUKKOFF, which summed up I AM’s irreverent attitude during those early parties! But rather than booked-in guests, it would be a series of imaginative, wacky and sometimes plain mind-boggling themed events which would solidify the clubs place in the cities clubbing consciousness - memorable amongst those included All Hallows, The Quantum Gate, Vortex Funk, The Pulse Is Alive, Drowning in a Sea of House, Lights Out, Beta & Kappa’s Acid Thunder, Clash of the Tonto's…. it was a time where a fun concept was enough to get clubbers out without a weight pre-mediated media campaign or an expensive guest DJ was all that was needed to persuade clubbers out on to the dancefloor.
As the clubs success and influence grew, so too did the duo’s creative drive and ambition. A satellite Cabaret Voltaire residency began in Edinburgh two years into the clubs life, starting in April 2012. Guest DJs began to become a more frequent occurrence, and I AM’s curatorial tastes began to sharpen. Bookings included Japanese PopStars, Treasure Fingers, Object, DJ Funk, Claude Von Stroke, Koreless, Hervé, Shadow Dancer (the 1st Birthday guest), Artful Dodger (2nd birthday guest), Cefax Acid Crew, Dance Mania nights, XXXY, Boys Noize, Daniel Avery (who would appear NINE times as a guest over the years) as well as very early Glasgow headline bookings for Blawan and Numbers associate SOPHIE.
Emboldened by the success of the weekly residency, and with the brand strongly established, I AM flexed its creative powers with an event in September 2012 whose success would push the duo’s creative drive out of the confines of Sub Club and into a new run of larger scale external productions. I AM TRON was a completely unique concept event - an ambitious hybrid of club production and dynamic installation, its impact as ground-breaking event elevated their profile further, and raised the bar for the scope and scale of their productions. Larger scale events over the next few years followed - they broke a series of scene defining 90’s rave parties, Zombie Nation at Stereo, NYE parties, Swamp 81 at the Art School, I AM became the ground promoters for a series of Rinse FM parties, Enter Tron 2015 mounted at the Art School (their first huge outside success) followed by SWG3 Studio sell out the following year.
For the I AM team themselves, the years of planning, promoting and performing at the parties never felt like anything other than AMAZING fun. They viewed this opportunity as dream come true, a kind of life hack, the ability to work on something they all loved doing ( it became their employment in a very real sense). I AM felt right. The frequency and quality of the events as they began to build in stature earned the duo the respect in the city, not least because of the sense of community they actively fostered with so many other DJs, promoters, party makers and clubbers. But its was still at times a serious business in which I AM could be running15 events in a month across Glasgow and Edinburgh, mid-week and weekends.
The ambitions and focus of I AM has grown and evolved over the last 8 years of running one of the cities best known clubbing brands AND clubbing communities. It is time for a change, and a new direction. This is the last party in the Sub Club. A fond and fierce farewell to the legendary venue which has been home to Matthew & Ross and their myriad collaborators, fellow DJs, guests, supporters and many MANY Tuesday night crazy dancing people.
The future plans are to run a series of larger scale events as a portable party, moving venues across the city - including more weekend productions at Sub Club. Fewer parties for sure, but with expanded ambitions which build on the experiences and skills that they have accrued over a long and much loved 8 years of weekly mayhem.
I AM … still here.