Interview: LMNTs announced the launch of their exciting new event at Joshua Brooks on Friday, so we thought it right that we interview the promoters behind it, Andy and Rashid, to get the full deets.
MAD: You were previously a Tweak & Development/I AM promoter from the previous decade and into this one, and you're now combining with a promoter from another party, Content, that also came to an end a while ago. What led to the two of you joining forces?
Andy: We were still doing regular parties with Development and I AM up to 2012, as well as special events until 2015. For the last 6 years, believe it or not I’ve actually been away from Manchester, living in Mallorca and was mostly concentrating on DJing under my ‘Stretford Dogs Club’ guise. I moved back to Manchester full time this year and am now excited get back into the Manchester scene with something new.
Myself and Rashid from Content go back as far as the pre-Facebook days, when we’d be handing out flyers in the rain at 5am outside Sankeys for parties we were promoting at the time in the early 2000’s (yes, sadly we’re that old), for my ‘Tweak’ and Rashid’s ‘Casamusica’.
We’ve always been good friends since those days. All the team from Development and Content are all one extended friendship group, one that’s grown across time. We share a lot of the same interests musically and whilst a lot of the lads from both Development and Content have now settled down and got families, me and Rashid still feel there’s something left in us to do something new and fresh.
MAD: Why take time to establish LMNTs as a new brand, and not just launch a night that was Content vs. Development? Do you see yourselves as pursuing a different feel to both of those events?
Andy: For me personally, we had some of the very best times during the Development days, with parties at Mint Lounge, Sankeys and Sound Control, inviting our favourite guests to come and play to one of the best regular crowds ever assembled in Manchester. While it could be tempting to bring that back; Tom, Chris and myself felt it’s best left as a place in all of our hearts and minds and that we had achieved all we wanted to in that decade. For the LMNTs team it’s about taking all of the lessons we’ve learned over the years and building something new for the future.
Rashid: From my perspective, we (Content) are actually in the midst of promoting a sort of revival party with Carl Craig, also at Joshua Brooks on Nov 2nd. We decided to bring that back, as every time I'd be out somewhere, people would ask me when we were going to make a comeback and after the way it ended, we felt there was unfinished business there. So after a chance meeting with Gaz from Joshua Brooks, we decided to make it happen as part of their 25th anniversary. When Andy asked me if I'd like to be involved in the LMNTs project, I knew we had to take a slightly different direction in some respects, so a fresh start and a new identity was needed.
MAD: Why choose the name, LMNTs, what does it mean to you?
Andy: LMNTs (elements) for me is all about the fusion of the building blocks that we want to assemble to create the best experience for our crowd. It’s everything from the guests, the residents, venue, sound and production coming together to be something special. The only real constant elements are house, disco and techno. Everything else is under constant review as we evolve.
Rashid: I believe that it's the same as with most things in life – we're better together. Combining elements of our previous nights and experiences will help us to create something stronger, just like in chemistry, compounds can be created with different properties to those of the elements that make it; we're hoping LMNTs will add up to be something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
MAD: Does LMNTs plan to follow any ethos that makes it distinct from Development and Content? Perhaps a different strategy regarding guest DJs, music, venues or crowds?
Andy: YES! For us LMNTs is all about the selectors. We are really keen to work with our guests to empower them to take control of the party, so that both they and the crowd have the best night we can give them. For our first event we’re bringing over Joey Anderson from NYC to play alongside Deetron. We think that Joey’s New Jersey style infused with Deetron’s will be a really interesting mix. Future events will see DJ’s play all night or even choose their warm-up depending on the event programme.
Musically we’re into, and open to, all sorts. We’ve got a list of 100+ acts we would like to bring to play. Everything from NY disco, to Berghain techno. We want to keep the policy open whilst hopefully building up trust with our crowd, which will mean we can go to all sorts of places, musically.
We’re also going to be using the upstairs area at Joshua Brooks as a second room for residents and local guests. The backroom at Development was legendary and we want to bring something similar, with a really good social vibe giving DJs the freedom to do what they want with the room.
MAD: Why do you feel that now is the right time for LMNTs to launch? Is there something you feel is missing from Manchester's nightlife, is it frustration with the range of clubnights currently on offer and a feeling that you 'can do better', that there are existing clubnights to which you can provide a suitable companion event, or is it that you as promoters were ready to get back into holding parties after a break, having missed the experience?
Andy: I’ve definitely missed the experience, anyone that knows me knows how passionate I am about music and putting on parties. For the last few years it’s something I’ve not been able to do. Mainly because I have to truly believe in something to put my energy into it. This whole thing isn’t something that’s happened overnight, it’s been probably 6 years in the making, thinking about how to do it right.
There are some great parties out there doing great things across the city, musically; we just want to add to the scene. There can never be enough independent parties with a regular crowd in my opinion - that’s what makes a party for me.We want it to be a familiar place where people can come and enjoy themselves at a party that’s more than just a line-up. A party thats ethos is about bringing people together, to create a familiarity with one another on the dancefloor. We’ll do our best to make it happen but we really need the support of the Manchester crowd to make it work.
Rashid: Myself and Andy are very similar with our passion for music, putting on parties and have lots of common ground in that respect. I've been out of the game since our last Content in 2014 and I've been wanting to get back into it for a while, as it's what I feel I enjoy doing more than anything, so when Andy suggested we join forces and he told me about some of the ideas he's been having, everything just seemed to click.
In terms of the timing, there's no time like the present so from the moment we started making plans we decided that we just wanted to get going as soon as possible and everything just kinda gathered pace as we went along. In the bigger picture of the Manchester scene, we feel there're some great parties and fantastic local DJs already here, and we aim to be another element within that scene and to also combine with it, as Andy has said - by inviting local talent to be involved in our second room, for instance.
MAD: Your tagline is 'A New Hope for the Manchester Underground' and the website mentions joining the resistance. Star Wars fan?
Andy: Of course! I guess it’s about a small group of rebels that can see something being lost to something that is far bigger than they can ever be or even want to be. Being an independent promoter is very similar - you’re against the system to a point and anyone that’s ever put on nights will tell you the same. You’re doing this for the love of music and the party, you’re not a venue or big corporation putting on massive event programmes. You’re a group of people coming together to create something new, but everything is against you because you don’t have the power or the money of big clubs and companies.
You’ve also got to get the artists to understand your mentality. After all, they’re the ones that will bring their passion to the dancefloor. It creates a unique bond between crowd and artist that gets lost in other events in my opinion.
Rashid: Aside from the Star Wars connection, we felt that it fits musically as well, because throughout our time putting on nights we've both also gone against the grain slightly, musically, by putting on and standing up for the artists that we believe in regardless of what's supposed to be 'cool' or whatever is prevalent in the scene at the time. I think it's that rebellious attitude that people connect with. They can tell that we're doing this to showcase music and artists that we love, who totally get our vibe, rather than to cash in on whatever the latest craze is.
MAD: What's currently going on that Manchester needs a new hope for its underground? Has the underground lost its way, or does the city not currently have enough of one?
Andy: Manchester has a great underground scene, we’re just a new hope for it and adding to the underground can never be a bad thing, can it?
Rashid: Amen, brother.
MAD: Tell us about your choice of guest DJ's for your launch.
Andy: Deetron is a great example of someone that understands our ethos. He’s someone I’ve kept in touch with for a long time and who puts his trust in us to deliver a party that he wants to play at. Also, his recent DJ Kicks album is phenomenal. In Joey Anderson, we see someone that right now is at the top of his game and getting more and more popular. His EP on Dekmantel, his recent albums and his exposure in the industry have seen him get the opportunity to remix Larry Heard recently and also get gigs at places like De School in Amsterdam. It’s going to be an interesting combination, which we hope people will love as much as us, expect a lot of deep New Jersey house and techno for party number one.
Rashid: We're also in the midst of sorting out our second party on December 28th with a very, VERY special guest who myself and Andy have been trying to book for 10+ years at our various nights over the years.
It's all come about by talking with him and explaining the ethos behind LMNTs and it's his understanding, and buy in to that concept, that's made it possible. To say we're excited about it is a HUGE understatement.
On Friday 28th December this year we are bringing back to Manchester, in our eyes - The Master - LAURENT GARNIER!
Laurent will be playing all night long at Joshua Brooks over the course of six hours. The perfect excuse for a party in between Christmas and New Year. For us, this is an extra special booking as Laurent is someone with a close affinity to Manchester ever since he discovered the Hacienda, back in 1987.
MAD: Your launch is at Joshua Brooks, which was a venue that hosted Content. Was that connection what led you to choosing it, a return to a familiar stomping ground, or are there new reasons for holding a party there?
Andy: We both know Gaz Chubb from Joshua Brooks very well and love what he’s doing with the venue at the moment. They’ve had a new Void system installed and Gaz knows very well what we’re trying to create here. It’s all about working with people that understand what we want to achieve. Also, the venue is a classic Manchester 350 capacity red brick basement. Who doesn’t want to see world class artists up close and personal in a venue like that? That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Rashid: I think our two year run at JBs was peak Content and there was something special about that space that just fits what we're trying to do with LMNTs. The fierce intimacy of it all brings out the best in artists who are sometimes used to only playing larger scale or more open events which have a totally different crowd, atmosphere and level of energy to them. We're all about stripping it back to it's essential elements, as previous Content and Development guest Kerri Chandler might say, a basement, a red light and a feeling.