We descend onto a notoriously intense dance floor as RA's In Residence series hits Glasgow's Sub Club.
In 2016, RA's In Residence series is celebrating club culture by throwing a month of parties at 12 of the world's best clubs. Clubs are the beating heart of dance music, and these are the venues that keep their local scenes thriving. Week-in, week-out, they open their doors to play the music we love.
As we settle in for a month at each of the clubs, we'll be running features that, through a combination of different media, aim to provide lasting documents of these iconic spaces.
Our home for September is Sub Club in Glasgow. Even mentioning this place's name tends to get people excited—"Ooooh," and a broad smile is a typical response. Their minds inevitably jump to nights spent on Sub Club's cauldron of a dance floor, the low ceiling and unruly crowd making for one of the scene's most intense clubbing experiences. It's an experience Sub Club has been providing for almost 30 years, an incredible feat in the fragile world of UK nightlife.
Sep 18 RA In Residence, Sub Club, Glasgow feat. Sasha, Hammer
Sep 23 RA In Residence, Sub Club, Glasgow feat. Audion, Junior & Barry Price
Sep 24 RA In Residence, Sub Club, Glasgow feat. Barnt, Virginia, Harri & Domenic
Sep 30 RA In Residence, Sub Club, Glasgow feat. Optimo, Selvagem
- 01Address22 Jamaica Street, Glasgow, G1 4QD, Scotland
- 02Club opened1987
- 03SoundsystemMartin Audio
- 04Dance floors1
- 06Resident DJsHarri, Domenic, Telford, JD Twitch, JG Wilkes, Beta, Kappa, Slam, Barry Price, Junior, Iggie, Cesco Ferri, Alan Belshaw, Spencer, Jackmaster, Animal Farm, Bigfoot’s Tea Party, Hammer, Jube, Stay Fresh
- 07Music policyQuality, cutting-edge electronica
"I can remember Harri saying, 'First thing you need to get sorted out, make sure the soundsystem is amazing,'" says Michael Grieve of the months leading up to Sub Club's reopening in late 2002.
Grieve and Paul Crawford, who co-owned Sub Club with Grieve at the time, approached Richie Rowley, the head of Martin Audio, and Dave Parry, the head of tech at fabric, to install a soundsystem that would be "the best in Scotland." One of the few positives of the fire was that it allowed Sub Club to start from scratch. "It was [Rowley and Parry] that said you should put the soundsystem right on the floor," says Grieve, "create a wall of sound on the dance floor. So the rest of the design of the club was built around it."
The Martin Audio Blackline system—made of four S218+s subs and two H3+ top boxes—faces the dance floor at a 90-degree angle from the DJ booth. It also faces the entrance. "See the way the room's shaped? It's almost a horn shape," points out Watson. "The system is right there, and it opens right up, and you get everything managed together really well, and it amplifies right at you. Some nights, you could stand at the back all night."
"It's just got this body, this warmth about it," Watson continues. "It's a nice, solid, rounded sound across the whole spectrum. You get a lot of these new speakers with quite a lot of plastic parts, and you can kind of hear that, that harshness. The materials that are used in Martin boxes are very, very well picked out and very well built. It's an effortless, clean sound."
"Sub Club has some of the best nights and very long-standing residencies, world infamous in all the right places. This is, I suppose, what defines the club, an intimate place with a rich heritage that continues to set the bar for contemporary electronic music.
The mixes we are presenting are a snapshot of this past, present and future approach. Subculture has run every Saturday for 22 years. Optimo was born in 1997. Slam have played at the club since '89, and I AM are celebrating six years of Tuesdays this month. They all continue to define electronic music culture in our city and internationally.
The mixes are contextually diverse: JD Twitch's warmup is recorded live, Harri & Domenic capture Subculture as the club starts to build, while I AM's Beta & Kappa go broader, from open to close. We are delighted to share this representation of the club." -- Richard Phillips-Kerr, Nautilus Rising label manager