RA speaks to Surgeon ahead of the venerable Midlands party's return to Subway City on February 22nd.
The Midlands' longest running club night held its first gathering in 1993, and has gone on to establish itself as one of the world's most revered techno parties. Its 20th anniversary bash will take place across three rooms at Snow Hill venue Subway City, where the party was permanently based between 1996 and 2004.
House Of God co-founder Surgeon maintains that he's "never, ever experienced as much energy from a crowd" as he has at HOG. On February 22nd he'll play alongside Ancient Methods in room one, with a number of HOG elder statesman including Sir Real, Paul Damage, Harvey Lane and Nicky B also set to DJ. Room two, which is devoted to jungle, drum & bass, electro and breaks, will see a live show from PCM and DJ sets from DJ-X, Gershwin, Richie Swift, Madjack, Sherwen and Dedbeat. DJ Stacked has invited some guests to play "wonky disco and devastated soul" in room three.
We caught up with Surgeon via email this week to reflect on two decades of House Of God:
What were the circumstances that led to you starting House Of God?
In the early '90s there wasn't anywhere you could go to hear techno in Birmingham. We'd heard about other clubs elsewhere in England, but couldn't afford to travel to them, so a group of us decided to start our own night. It's this do it yourself attitude that's at the heart of House Of God.
For those who have never been, can you describe what makes HOG special?
The fact that we had no idea what a techno club should or shouldn't be and we weren't trying to copy another club that made HOG a very unique place. I've never, ever experienced as much energy from the crowd than at HOG. I remember times when guest DJs were actually scared playing there because the crowd was so wild.
The party has taken place at lots of venues down the years: which one is your favourite and why?
I have fond memories of the Dance Factory that was the basement of the then Digbeth Institute. I remember it was so wild in there that the security staff stayed outside the door and let us do our thing. People were fucking on the balcony. Bigger parties at the Que Club were fun too.
How would you say House of God has changed down the years?
Well my personal perspective has changed due to all the other clubs I've played since we started HOG, but I still have a deep personal connection. It's great to see my oldest friends. The crowd is as crazy and diverse as it ever was, that's another key to what makes HOG so special. It's still at it's heart a rave as it always has been.
If you could pick one House Of God party to revisit, which one would it be?
Perhaps the HOG first birthday at the Dance Factory with our first guest DJ Lewis Keogh. That's when things really took off for HOG and we've never looked back.
To get an idea of what HOG was like back in the day, check out this recording of a Surgeon set from 1995.