Where other behemoths of London’s nightlife scene, such as Matter ( now in its third incarnation as ‘Building Six’ ) and Cable, have disappeared or faded into relative obscurity, Fabric has steadfastly remained the capital’s leading superclub. Much of this is down to Shaun Roberts and Dave Gamble. The pair find themselves at the heart of events promotion at Fabric, consistently pushing the boundaries and bringing club-goers something different. This Autumn sees a brand new direction for the club’s Friday night FABRICLIVE parties, with the whole season’s programme events announced in one juicy chunk, placing the emphasis on the nights as a cohesive season rather than merely a disjointed run of separate parties. Once the cornerstone of their Friday nights, Drum and Bass has taken a backseat on the club’s new winter program, with Roberts and Gamble placing an emphasis on a more diverse range of genres. In the wake of these changes, we spoke to the duo to chat about what’s going on at the hub of the club, as well as touching on the intricacies of electro swing and filter house…
What’s the thinking behind the new seasonal line-up announcements?
Shaun Roberts: I wanted to reset how people viewed FABRICLIVE, as an event. It has always had a broad palette covering many genres of music but I felt we had become too pigeonholed as being about just certain things. By laying out 3 months of diverse lineups in one go we were able to show people the bigger picture. October is traditionally the start of the annual calendar for clubs post festival and Ibiza season and getting the October – NYE period right is essential to the rest of the following year. Doing this has also allowed us to introduce some fresh angles on programming whilst still displaying a commitment to artists, labels and genres that have been with us for a long time.
How would you sum up the state of dance music in the UK right now?
SR: It’s certainly in a state of change but I think it always is, by its very nature, in a state of constant change. The amount of negativity brought into the game by keyboard warriors is often disheartening but we are still hearing amazing new music every day and discovering great live acts and DJs at a much greater rate than we can accommodate them.
Dave Gamble: I agree with Shaun on this, the very fact that we find it so hard to accommodate all of the great DJs and live acts that we see over the course of the year, is proof in itself that there is a wealth of talent out there at the moment. It’s incredible that with 60+ shows a year and 3 rooms to play with, we still don’t have the space to book everyone we love.
What do you think the general direction for this first announcement is?
SR: As I said earlier, I just wanted to reset peoples’ opinions on FABRICLIVE. This season sets the stall out for next year, which we are already well into planning for.
DG: I think it’s a real statement of intent for us going forward, we’re passionate about new music and I hope that comes across in the lineups.
Are there any artists on the bill that you’re particularly excited about welcoming to Fabric? Any first-timers?
DG: I’m properly excited to have Butterz back at fabric and come bigger and better in Room Two. I think what Elijah & Skilliam push in terms of the Butterz label and brand is fantastic and they continue to keep the quality really strong. They have a great and really loyal fan base as well which means the parties are always tremendous fun.
SR: Four Tet coming back has been a long process as Kieran is so ridiculously busy. His release schedule speaks for itself and he moved to NYC for a while there. To have him back for the first time in ages with an 8 hour set will be something else entirely… I’m also a big fan of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs so I’m delighted to have him make his debut headlining Room One. And DJ Spinna is a real blast from the past for me. Putting him in alongside Marky is a real curve ball but it’s one that both Marky and I are very excited about.
You mention the cycles of musical trends, is there anything that you think is constant in musical trends?
DG: Sadly I feel like the main constant within a lot of musical trends is an endemic fear of pushing boundaries and looking to test audiences. This often leads to an identikit feel to whole genres, with the same formulas and templates being used over and over again and again.
In an ideal world, what style of music would you like to enjoy a resurgence in the future?
DG: Music that pushes people out of their comfort zones and makes them feel slightly uneasy yet still invigorated…
SR: I have to agree with Dave here. I’m happy for anything to have a resurgence as long as its pushing the envelope and surprising people.
The start of the new season coincides with the club’s birthday, which is always a big event. I trust you’ve got something suitably grand planned this year?
SR: Judy and Andy over on the fabric Saturdays team have the annual marathon in place with a typically mind boggling line up but I’m just as excited about the Friday night. Oneman is back for the first time in exactly a year to launch his new mixtape in Room One with some fantastic guests including the incredible J Rocc and the soon to be huge Lil Silva. Critical Music are hosting the second room with a guest performance from Dubphizix and Strategy. Both camps have had fantastic years with us so it really just felt like the right choice for them to join forces with us on the birthday. Up in Room Three we have, for some reason, decided to invite Manchester’s finest and wildest, Hit and Run. This spells trouble. They’ve also been a massive highlight of 2012-2013 for us having hosted parties in both Rooms 2 & 3. They’re quite the handful but we wouldn’t change that at all.
What’s your most memorable moment in the history of Fabric? There must have been a lot of wild parties over the years.
SR: Crikey. Picking one is tough but my stock answer is 18th May 2007 which had Chemical Brothers and LCD Soundsystem DJing alongside the first ever live show in London from Justice plus live shows from Crystal Castles, Teenagers and Santigold. That was a pretty crazy one which captured a great moment in electronic music. On a personal level, David Rodigan pulling me out and getting the crowd to sing me happy birthday was both emotional and hugely embarrassing…
DG: I haven’t been here quite as long as Shaun but I already have quite a few to pick from. I’ve really enjoyed the nights in which we’ve handed over a whole room to a single DJ. Just recently Alexander Nut held the reigns in Room Three all night which was excellent. dBridge has also taken over Room Three for a night which was a real treat as he’s one of my favourite DJs. The real showstopper though was DJ EZ’s 10 hour set in Room One last June which was just a complete masterclass in DJing. I’m really looking forward to what Four Tet is going to bring for his 8 Hour set in Room One now. I’m hoping to hear some real oddities on the system in there.
Of course, not all musical movements are that great in retrospect. What’s the musical trend you’re glad to see the back of?
SR: Austrian filter House. Ask Artwork. He crossed the line.
DG: I’m still waiting for the total destruction of electro swing. As Kirsti from our communications team says, “electro should never be a prefix”.
What can we expect from Fabric in the future?
DG: The Future.
SR: Dave is so droll.
For more information on the programme of events for FABRICLIVE this winter, head over here.
Photography: Sarah Ginn