RENAISSANCE: BRAND AND BEGINNINGS
OVER the last 15 years, Renaissance has established an enviable international reputation for great club nights, star DJs and fantastic music. This is a British club brand that has successfully expanded into international tours, one-off spectaculars, live events, and a series of high-quality mix CDs that have sold millions. For hundreds of thousands of clubbers all over the world, Renaissance nights are synonymous with glamour and excitement - for transforming ordinary clubs into palaces of pleasure. A Renaissance night is not just about dancing, but about an all-encompassing nightclub experience.
And it's been that way since the very beginning.
When the club first opened with a sold-out night in 1992 in the small Northern town of Mansfield, 3,000 eager clubbers who'd traveled from all over the country were locked outside, clamouring to get in. Inside the venue was decked out like a 16th Century Italian palace, with vast, distressed Renaissance paintings projected onto the walls - and the world's hottest DJ, Sasha, on the decks.
At the time, this was revolutionary. The British club scene was still reeling from the sci-fi imagery and dressed down fashions of the 'rave' scene when Renaissance exploded onto the scene. Its luxurious d?cor, glamorous crowd and high-quality music transformed the British club scene; its ambitious marketing campaigns were quickly aped - and the so-called 'superclub' was born. The club even launched the career of Sasha's DJ partner John Digweed - now one of the biggest names in dance music.
Renaissance was the first British club to really utilise the power of design and marketing. That dynamic and stylish use of design continues to define the brand today. This is a club that thought big from the beginning. For the 1992 launch, the club's grand Renaissance imagery and distinctive logo was spread across glossy full-page ads in all the leading youth/style magazines. This established a template for publicising and defining a club night that hundreds of British clubs soon began to copy.
In 1994, Renaissance was behind another first: the world's first DJ mix CD. Helmed by Sasha and John Digweed, the 'Mix Collection' took the brand around the world and catapulted both DJs into international touring careers they continue to enjoy today.
Renaissance enjoys a unique connection with the more discerning clubber. Its hedonistic, high-spending audience love designer fashions and thrive on the luxury of the d?cor, the euphoric atmospheres, and the exclusive feel of the club. Renaissance has exported these unique brand values all over the world and continually met the expectations of successive generations of demanding clubbers.
It proudly remains one of the most potent and recognisable names in world clubbing.
SINCE those ambitious beginnings in Mansfield, Renaissance has consistently elevated its standards for event management and production. In 1994, the club began an impressive series of large-scale one-off events. The concept was to select locations as grand and ornate as the club itself and some of the UK's most beautiful castles and stately homes hosted club extravaganzas for one unforgettable night. Nottingham's magnificent Colwick Hall, a Grade 2 listed building, was home for the first event - a famous New Year's Eve party in 1993/4. The cathedral interior of Birmingham's historic Que Club was transformed into a heavenly disco boudoir for the second birthday, with clouds hanging above the dance-floor. Other venues have included Yorkshire's palatial Allerton Castle.
On May 1st 2004, Renaissance staged an 8,000-capacity spectacular at 17th Century Staffordshire manor house Shugborough Hall, called Wild In The Country. The Scissor Sisters made their UK festival debut, Infusion, Neneh Cherry, Dave Seaman, Infusion and Derrick Carter all appeared. And the two DJs historically associated with the club, John Digweed and Sasha, made their first joint Renaissance appearance for a decade. Wild In The Country was rewarded with acres of glowing press coverage and a live broadcast on the BBC, on Radio 1's world-famous Essential Mix.
This combination of prestigious locations and impeccable production values has become Renaissance's trademark. The 15th Anniversary celebration at legendary music venue Knebworth House in 2007 was further celebration of this concept, on a scale unprecedented even by Renaissance's standards. Headlined by Underworld, Sasha & John Digweed, Hot Chip, Ricardo Villalobos and 2ManyDJs to name but a few, it was the most significant event in the brands history.
2008 will see the expansion of Wild in the Country in the UK with plans in the pipeline for several more WITC events across Europe.
AS the jetsetters and celebrities - from Jade Jagger to P Diddy - all know, Ibiza is the world centre for dance music and youth culture, attracting international tribes of revellers and holidaymakers year after year. The White Island is the real test for any club brand's relevance - and Renaissance has conquered some of its finest clubs and largest crowds in a twelve-year history of glorious Balearic parties.
The club landed in Ibiza in 1995 with a splash. The first night was collaboration with the world-famous Manumission at the world's biggest club, the 8,000 capacity Ku (now Privilege), which lead to a 4-year residency at Pacha, the island's most exclusive, stylish club. Then, just as Ibiza was becoming stale, Renaissance raised the stakes again with a series of daring live events.
Renaissance Live launched in Summer 2000 at Privilege with major live acts performing every single week. This had never been done before in Ibiza. Each week, Privilege was transformed into part club/part live concert; acts included Leftfield, Kylie, Moloko, Moby and All Saints, resulting in coverage from Radio 1, BBC television, Channel 4, Sky and MTV.
Following the 'Live' shows Renaissance returned to their spiritual home Pacha, by way of a season at Amnesia. This culminated in a full, fortnightly residence in 2007, a total of 7 shows across the season. During their time at Pacha, Renaissance have again played host to the world DJ elite, with highlight sets coming from established favourites and future stars such as Sasha, John Digweed, Faithless (DJ Set), Eric Prydz, Steve Lawler, Hernan Cattaneo, Sander Kleinenberg, Danny Howells and James Zabiela to name but a few…
BY early 1995, the brand's fame, fuelled by the success of Sasha and John Digweed's 'Mix Collection', reached all over the globe. With demand growing internationally, the club embarked on an extensive worldwide tour that continues today. All the key elements of the brand - the luxurious d?cor, state of the art production and unique musical style - are exported and foreign clubs transformed into Renaissance for one night. And over three million clubbers worldwide have now enjoyed Renaissance nights.
Clubs in Buenos Aires, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Budapest, Cairo, Dubai, Athens, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon, Rome, Milan, Turin, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm, Riga, Belgrade, Budapest, Bucharest, Zurich, Barcelona, Madrid and Ibiza have all hosted Renaissance nights. Demand is such that Renaissance still holds residencies worldwide - and each year participates in landmark ceremonies as diverse as Sydney's Mardi Gras and Hong Kong's Chinese New Year. Just two examples of how flexible an export the Renaissance club concept is today. In more recent times, Renaissance has held stages at Germany's Nature One festival, Dance Valley in The Netherlands, Serbia's Exit Festival and Green Beat Festival and Hungary's Sziget Festival. In 2008, Renaissance are set to take their impressive Wild In the Country Festival across the globe.
In addition to this impressive global itinerary, for the last 12 years Renaissance enjoyed a monthly residency at one of London's best-loved clubs - The Cross. As London's notoriously fickle club-land shuddered through one fashion after another, Renaissance continued to renew its audience, bringing cutting edge DJs, stylish designs and delirious crowds to the intensely atmospheric club in three arches. As The Cross closes its doors for the last time, Renaissance will continue to create a series of special events in different locations across the capital in 2008.
THE RENAISSANCE SOUND
Renaissance have been immortalised in dance music history through the seminal 'Renaissance - The Mix Collection' compilation album, released in 1994.
Mixed by Sasha & John Digweed and recently voted 'The Best Mix Compilation Ever' by 'Mixmag' magazine, the lavishly packaged triple CD was the first gold-selling club compilation album - it transformed the dance compilation business overnight.
Since then Renaissance has sold far in excess of a million albums in territories all over the world. The successful singles label & compilation business was launched in 1999 and has continued to release material with some of the highest profile artists in the industry as well as emerging talent - maintaining the core following whilst evolving the forward thinking sound.
The standards have always remained uncompromisingly high, with a roster that sees Renaissance currently working with artists of unparalleled standing in the industry - such as John Digweed, Steve Lawler, Sander Kleinenberg & Hernan Cattaneo - as well as providing a home for the rising stars of the scene, having released the first ever artist album on the label in 2007 from Shlomi Aber.
Renaissance has always been at the forefront of innovation and in 2001 released their Ibiza album, taking inspiration from the brand's legendary residencies on the island. The initial album sold 110 000 units in 5 weeks giving rise to an annual series as well as spawning a glut of imitators.
In recent years the recordings department has continued to expand with a new flagship series '3D' becoming a vehicle for global stars such as Faithless to work under the umbrella of the label: an album which has sold over 60 000 units worldwide and confirmed Renaissance's reputation for delivering beautifully presented, high quality mix CDs.