Running a club night today is no easy feat. Venues are popping up and closing at alarming rates and margins are incredibly tight. Thankfully though, there is still a wealth of talented promoters out there willing to put in the hours to run some truly sensational parties.
This brings our attention to Loose Lips, an ever experimental music platform and crew with roots across the UK that operate in a number of creative fields. They throw raves, curate specialised events, run a label and blog, and host a variety of radio shows that together push quality underground electronic music and offer spotlight to many of the scenes’ hidden talents.
Recently turning 5, this Friday sees them continue their birthday tour with a collaborative party alongside London’s Keysound Recordings, hosting a stacked lineup of heavyweights that sees Walton, Logos, Gage, Ganesa, Shelley Parker and more cross swords. The location remains a secret to all but ticket holders, with final release passes still available here.
Ahead of the party, we ask Loose Lips to trace back the evolution of their party and recount some of their favourite moments over the years. Retrace their journey in full below!
Five years ago (well more like five and a half because of the time it took them to get their shit together) Loose Lips was born from a discussion in a sweaty living room after coming back from Fabric! They remember the night well, 2 Bad Mice playing a killer set as part of Hessle Audio’s launch party for Pangaea’s Fabriclive73!
It all started with Frederick Sugden & Dom Juggins looking for somewhere to throw parties, somewhere to DJ, somewhere to invite friends and play the music they wanted. It’s a very common narrative in a city like London, where whilst there may be tons of musical opportunities, it can seem difficult to delve deep into and feel fully aligned with something, at least at the beginning. Since the beginning, the philosophy of Loose Lips was an open-minded one, building a musical identity from the unique combination of influences, tastes and individuals involved, leading to an idiosyncratic output, combining everything from twisted UK hip hop to brutal industrial techno. It was a reaction against a pressure to box a brand with different crews sticking to their own defined sound, something which seemed pervasive in London. Such an approach might be easily marketable, but immediately limited scope and freedom… so we left the doors open…
Now, as LL celebrates its 5th Birthday with a European-wide tour collaborating with all kinds of people and places, it can comfortably call itself a truly diverse and international ‘music platform’ – a burgeoning record label, an active editorial, regular radio show slots across the UK, its infamous weekly mix series, and event series (with local core crews) in Manchester, Bristol & London (and one-off events in a plethora of other places, recently ranging from Memphis to Poznan, Berlin to Skopje.)
Most importantly, everyone involved, whether event organisers, journalists or resident DJs, know how to ‘keep it loose’!
This brings us to the first special venue that hosted a Loose Lips party, The Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park. 22 October 2014 is when it all began. Sadly the venue is no longer with us, like many others. This was a special venue that, thanks to founder Hayley Squires, welcomed the Loose Lips team with open arms, allowing them to define their looseness and test the waters of party promotion. These old ties are still present to this day, most notably through Hayley co-running London Promoters’ Society with Freddie.
The Silver Bullet is also where Loose Lips came into contact with a key member who must be mentioned…Jef aka T-Scale. The Loose Lips project grew from a group of friends predominantly from Devon, but as the project further rooted itself in Bristol, Manchester & London, LL became increasingly influenced and co-owned by a plethora of amazing new characters. T-Scale was one of the finest – meeting through a random smoking area chat, the Belgian grime fanatic is now one of the crew’s residents and heads up the crew’s’ website & content management department.
It was with Jef T-Scale that we ventured to Macedonia for the first time, which has since become his home, and the starting point for many Balkan bonanzas, with the Loose Lips crew travelling out there regularly.
Another early exploration was Loose Lips hosting a room at the infamous Jaded after-hour parties at Corsica Studios. Still going strong, Jaded brings great memories of hard techno and early mornings! It was at these times that many crazy memorable shenanigans went down, including someone pushing Fred through a conservatory window…
An integral aspect of Loose Lips has always been our radio output. Hoxton FM offered Loose Lips its first chance to get a show in mid 2015 and they haven’t looked back since, hosting a weekly show with guests spanning the musical spectrum. Their shows have always been story-telling and explorative, focusing on getting to know the artists at hand, taking inspiration from none other than ‘Desert Island Discs’…as contrasted with the LL Mix Series which focuses purely on DJ sets! Now, nearly four and a half years on from their debut show, the list of guests is nothing short of phenomenal, hosting exciting newcomers and industry legends. From IVVVO through to Egyptian Lover, Trim & 2 Bad Mice, make sure to check all their full archive below. The show is now on Threads Radio, a station also run by our founder, Medallion Man – catch us every Monday night 8-10pm!
As contrasted with the radio shows, the Loose Lips Mix Series, having recently hit #250, has been an expression of LL’s love for DJ culture. From ambient experimental excursions through to banging electro and left-field Hip Hop, it’s been the epitome of the diversity of the project. Some of the highlights include founder of R&S, Renaat Vandepapeliere recording the 100th, and Different Circles don, Logos, recording the recent 250th edition.
Now, back to the parties…
Silver Bullet hosted our first weekday events. After a series of successes there, Loose Lips tested its feet with its first weekend rave in London, and boy did they learn it the hard way…losing their venue a few days before. With 48 hours to go, they found a unique solution in Dalston – two venues, on the opposite side of the road from each other, combined into a raucous DIY party spot. DJ Billy Nasty headlining, full crew in support, it’ll never be forgotten!
When remembering events, we have to also cite the first ever daytime rinse out, which was our first step into more eclectic billings, showcasing a range of Hip Hop, bands and DJs all on one weird and wonderful line-up. The first ever day party at London Fields Brewery was one hell of an eclectic line-up – think Onoe Caponoe meeting with a seminal Japanese female punk band!
Following that event, we started a Loose Lips Live Session series – organising charity fundraisers with a Loose Lipsian range of live acts – bringing together things like folk, UK hip hop and screeching pedal distortions, all on one line-up – which were then filmed and archived on youtube. Here’s a couple of highlights:
This charitable aspect has always been part of our motivations for doing events, most notably our annual London end of summer fundraiser, where we pick a different charity to work with each year who work within the arts, or who use art as a means of therapy.
Controversies have to also be included, but there’s limits to what Loose Lips can reveal…we’ll give some hints and poster memories…
The council telling us to stop playing jungle…
Freddie losing his marbles in the green room…
Sound engineers claiming turntables aren’t ‘cool anymore’….
Booking flights to Lisbon after 2 sleepless days post-NYE…
Returning to more normal notes, Bristol has always been an inspiring city for our crew – shouts to Dan, Dom, James, Guy and everyone else who have hosted so many bonkers radio shows and events there over the years. It was the place where many of the crew partied for the first time in their teens, and the home of many Loose Lips rave ups since.
The Island, an old prison cells, has hosted some of the finest…
It was in our third year that we got a very special offer – asked to run a stage at Boomtown. The Loose Lips Block Party stage in Barrio Loco is now 3 years old and has been a chance to express the diversity and free party history all in one! Our stage meant the whole crew had to work together months in advance – planning, curating, stressing – it was a chance to bring the whole crew together.
Another city we’re yet to properly mention is Manchester. A city where the radio and events community is stronger than ever, buzzing off our sell-out jungle and hardcore party 5th Anniversary bash last Saturday at White Hotel. Shouts to Kortzer & Treece, building a community there revolved around the weirdest and best bass music…
As well individual parties, we’ve also been lucky enough to organise/play a few tours over the last half a decade, one of them on-going right now. Scandinavia a few years back, the US in May of this year, and across Europe as we speak.
Last but not least… LL was formed in London, and it’s all celebrated in London this Friday. Too many hilarious and incredible parties to list here but here’s three which we’re incredibly proud of. From bringing The Mover to the smoke for the first time in 25 years, to some inspirational electro and IDM down at 512, through to hosting the godfather of techno!
And tonight, we have another London party which is nothing less than a dream come true. When we first started obsessing over UK music as teenagers, Keysound Recordings was a label that influenced so much of our musical journeys. Now, we’re collaborating with them for a secret location rave, celebrating our 5th Anniversary. These are the moments where you must, oh must, pinch yourself!
Thank you Hyponik for asking us to retrace our footsteps and remember so many special moments. It must be said, its both a rewarding and frustrating process – there’s so many people, photos, events and memories that haven’t been mentioned here, but who knows… maybe we can put that in the 10 yr anniversary piece! Thank you to everyone who has ever contributed to this mad 5 year journey, it isn’t stopping anytime soon!
Keysound x Loose Lips (LL 5th Anniversary) takes place tonight at a secret location.
More info and tickets here.