Uk producer, video artist and longtime Hyponik favourite Sim Hutchins has always been clear that his mission is to “save club music”. His love relationship with the rave frequently echoes in his productions, and though past episodes on labels like No Pain In Pop, UIQ, OOH-sounds and Local Action have continued to gravitate more and more towards experimental spheres, Sim’s always ensured one foot has remained securely inside the dance.
Following up his 8-track ‘rave requiem’ Clubeighteen2thirty of last year, Sim’s latest experiment and return to Local Action might be his most spangled take on club culture yet, as three-track EP Club Love comes joined by an interactive online project that asks friends, family and listeners to call in and leave a voice note that explains what the idea of “Club Love” means to them. The rave stories are then played back randomly over Sim’s music via the Club Love website.
With 10,000 site visits in the first day and the Club Love number flooded with submissions that includes a rave tale by one of Hyponik’s own, we catch up with Sim as he reflects on the responses and details what exactly he’s learnt from them.
Oh and by the way, it’s not too late to share that story you’ve kept behind closed doors all these years, as Sim is giving away the entire EP for free indefinitely to anyone submitting their texts or voice notes.
You Lot Like Drugs A Lot.
Whether it’s a cheeky half pinger shared or smuggling tuna-baguette-stashed packages with your bestie across European borders, one thing that caught my attention is the major part drugs play in people’s remembered clubbing experiences. Descriptions of taking ecstasy for the first time were prominent, with details of the effects like “the surge of raw energy that surges through your veins, lifting your eyelids back and bringing your consciousness into this realm of hyper-awareness is unmistakable” along with comments that some Club Lovers™ had such an overwhelming experience that they couldn’t return to the venue as “the mandy anxiety was too much for us”. It’s no secret that drug taking and dance music go hand-in-(clammy)hand, but my take is that you’re far safer doing it under these circumstances with friends about. This text I got of mates checking in on mates is a very Club Love Moment™:
“one of the gang had to go to the car to relax to some chill out music, and when they checked on him he’d transformed himself into a tribal warrior via Sharpie pen (and was suffering from acute ink poisoning).”
Clubbing Is a Gateway Drug
Prominently featuring in people’s recalled Club Love Moments™ is being introduced to dance music after having previously come from scenes such as indie and metal. Apparently one night is enough. Coming as a goth and ending up a candy raver is common, but it also shifts people’s motives for nights out; they graduate from the moshpits, gigs and early bedtimes to study degrees at Sesh Lord University to the early hours. The stories also featured proud conversions of once reluctant friends who took on board an enthusiasm that surpassed that of their mates responsible for the indoctrination. One message as an example: “The culture shock of raving in a Hamburg sweat box having hailed from California where the only clubs were for line dancing and hiphop. I didn’t go home until 8PM that night”.
Rhythm is Evidentially a Dancer
“At one point everyone on the dancefloor was doing the macarena”. We all know how hours fly when you’re having big fun, and there was also multiple mention of the way dancing in an isolated basement venue plays with time: “I closed my eyes and started dancing and then suddenly it was 6AM”.
Last Night a DJ Saved Their Life
One clubber called the moment they were struck with awe (after studying his greatest reloads on YouTube that day) as the grime legend D Double E raved on the dancefloor to dubstep right next to them. Dutch DJ & producer Martyn created a dancefloor experience so memorable that two friends chat about the performance with warm regards to this day, and another clubber cites their being awoken from an evident overindulgence earlier on when “i could hear the sounds of madonna’s classic: ‘music’ playing from the dancefloor” and that they “couldn’t explain the rush” they felt hearing that song. I got a pang of jealousy as I read one contributor’s tale of dancing at Blue Note while Grooverider dropped a never-heard-before dubplate of ‘Inner City Life’. One last one that really got me though was:
“Watching a 50 year old Sven Vath climb out of the DJ booth and crowd surf to the other side of the club, and back again during of a 6 hour set which culminated in him continuing to DJ for another 4 hours just for staff.”
An “anonymous” Brighton DJ regaled early listeners to the club-love.uk website with tales of the South Coast squat party scene, making a bold statement that the evident danger of these scenarios added to the thrill of these types of parties. An attendee of “Sofatek” was described as “possibly one of the most memorable London illegal raves in the last 20 years. Warehouse after connecting warehouse full of sofas and tables all arranged like the set of a 6 o’clock TV news programme, there was even a room full of fridges and a room full of bathtubs.” Apparently these provided possible playgrounds for party goers or obstacles for the obviously over the limit. I always thought the word squat would one day be taken literally, the following anecdote confirms this:
“We organised a BYOB rave in an old disused art cinema. 200 people in going mighty. One person took a shit in the corner but no one noticed until we were cleaning up the next day.”
The Drugs Don’t Work
Sometimes the music is enough. A tale of two future lovers, each with a shared view that danced all night sober, stopping only to take on vital fluids was a truly wholesome thing to have bless the WhatsApp inbox. Though there were undercurrents of regret with regards to drug dabbling – one raver detailing how a woman was sick over him 30 seconds after they got in the door – we all have to test our limits sometimes, and if you can think of a better place to do it than a packed room I’d like to hear it.
Collectivity and Club Chivalry
In cloakroom lines/toilets queues/snatched conversations in the smoking area, friendships new are born and existing ones solidified. Holding your friend’s hair while she vomits isn’t only polite it’s something you’ll always talk about with fond regards. Likewise that hilarous time your fucked mate sat down in the urinal. The accounts of crowd unity were prevalent, with one clubber recalling “going as a group and feeling each others excitement, music bringing people together”, as well as people – often complete strangers – looking out for each other when they’re fucked up. This has resulted in romance on occasion, which I’ll get to next, but two great examples of collective togetherness which I’ll quote below are:
“When the strings kick in, me and a girl on opposite podiums are literally orchestrating the whole dance floor, from one side to the other, back and forth. We were conducting the ecstatic crowd into a love and E-filled frenzy”.
And one that really struck me as someone who fully gets the concept of the project:
“Club Love is that feeling when the people around you dissolve and you all merge into a rhythmically pulsating mass of human energy”.
You Actually Found Love In the Club
I set out to challenge the statement “you can’t find love in the club” by subverting it’s meaning a bit to include factors like friendship, and even moments experienced in solitary bliss, but it turns out some of you actually found love in the damn club. The obvious weakening of emotional defences brought about by alcohol and drugs, has resulted in several comments detailing how their slip-of-the-tongue in telling someone how they actually felt ended up in tonsil hockey (gross). Most of these encounters became long-term relationships that still stand, but also they serve as tales to how two lone souls – brought together by their love of music and refusal to stay in alone – can come together . One text read: “I’m not the sort of person to pick people up on a night out, but we’ve been inseparable ever since”.
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♣️💗Go Amsterdam for NYE ♣️💗spend 48 hours getting there ♣️💗chucked out the club minutes after arriving ♣️💗 Your stories matter, I wanna hear those. The best ones will feature in the next site update. Send voice notes to Club Love. Link in bio ♣️💗 #ClubLove#clubstories#raver#trouw#audiovisual club-love.uk
Club Love Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Exclusively ‘Club’ Music.
The person who found themselves in a moment convinced they were destined to take up DJing after attending a mod night at a Canadian nightclub where they played Northern soul and Britpop. Likewise one London reveller bigging up a party crew that usually played gabber for dropping a Black Twang track at their multi-rigger free party.
Inspiration Rules the Nation
A voice note submission with a New Zealand twang recounts how seeing Storm DJ changed her outlook on gender norms in the drum ‘n’ bass scene. Insider info on my part sites them as an awe-inspiring DJ to this day, so this Club Love experience was definitely some certified ish.
Tech House Is Still the Butt Of All Jokes (and Here’s Why That’s a Good Thing).
“The local DJ started playing and it was such bad tech house that I threw up on the dancefloor”. Nuff said eh lads (and by “lads” I mean everyone).
Honourable Mentions for Club Love Moments:
Induced vomiting, running afoul of an MDMA sniffing Rolf Harris impersonator, being abducted by aliens (and later “waking up in a hospital not a space ship”). Meeting a bloke in his mid 40s who’d gone out for “one last belter” before he left to protect container ships from Somali pirates. Jeremiah’s sex jams causing dancefloor excitement to the point of everyone “grinding pretty heavily on each other”. One reveller who said they “began to feel like I needed to start dancing again after hearing my friend talk about Matisse for five minutes with a homeless man” and the voice note where the gurning driver was declared to be “safe” as he’d “been on the cover of Land Rover magazine.” The driver then apparently started blowing raspberries out the window at the car besides them.
At one night the saxophonist appeared to accompany the DJ, to which the contributor added “more of this in the club please” (I disagree heavily). And last but not least “the time from poured a vial of real human tears he had some how procured in Amsterdam over my head whilst DJ Harvey banged out some acid house in Melkweg”
Club Love is out now on Local Action.
Visit club-love.uk and tell Sim Hutchins your story.
Buy the record here.
Words: Sim Hutchins