So Flute is one of the few nights which is renowned amongst students and locals alike for good times and great tunes, drawn from a plethora of the residents’ knowledge and the occasional guest. Previous guests have included Andrew Ashong, Gilles Peterson and DJ Des Andres. The first party was held at the Roadhouse and continued to held there until the venue closed in May this year. This week marks So Flute’s first venture to The Ruby Lounge. We spoke to Yadava and Danuka from the crew about the Roadhouse times, how the closure of smaller clubs in Manchester is affecting the music scene and what the future holds in their new home.
1. With the Roadhouse closing, the Music Box and Jilly’s Rock World a distant memory, Manchester has few clubs under 500 capacity. With the distinct lack of these smaller places in Manchester, compared to other cities such as Liverpool, where do you think the Manchester music scene is heading? Do you think it’ll change along with the the venues?
D: “It can be difficult for small clubs and clubnights when you have things like WHP that tend to monopolise the nightlife market for half the year, in the process diluting the creative capacity of the city’s clubbing culture. It’s up to promoters and punters alike to recognise the beauty in smaller, intimate shows that are forced to put a lot of thought into their product and create something different to impact on the music scene.”
Y: “It’s not encouraging to see places like the Roadhouse and Kraak gallery closing but Manchester has a vibrant community and a whole host of promoters and smaller clubnights doing things with an authenticity and a progressive attitude. This means there is always the foundation for a great music scene and it just comes down to ourselves as club-goers and part of the scene; it’s our responsibility to make sure we support the clubnights and venues to keep them going.”
2. As you’ve been going out in Manchester for a while, have you ever spotted a missed venue opportunity? Did you ever attend an event somewhere, once or twice, and think that the place would make a great club?
D: “Not really, to be honest! I think that the council needs to up its game and allow for more creative spaces & temporary events licenses. Especially coming up to the summer it would be nice to see some more outdoor events. The Red Bank area has a lot of potential and this is something that the Council should really help to push & fund.”
3. You’ve been at the Roadhouse since So Flute began. How would it have been different if you’d been starting out today in Manchester?
D: “It made sense for us to give birth to the night at a place where we were used to going to as punters. We’d been regular Hoya clientele for about a year or so and had previously been regulars at student nights based at the Roadhouse such as ‘Sex With Robots’. It’s much easier to form a vision of a club night if you have some sort of affinity towards a venue or space.
I think our second choice in this regards would have been the Deaf Institute. We had plenty of fun, messy nights there in second and third year at Now Wave Wednesdays! I think if we were starting out today, we’d look at somewhere like The Whiskey Jar where besides the high quality in sound, the hire fee is affordable and therefore the risk involved is minimal. It’s also a great size to start off a night as it’s a good party down there with even 30/40 people.”
4. How have you gone about finding a new place? How do you think this will change the night?
D: “Our initial reaction to the closure of The Roadhouse was like ‘…oh, shit.’, it took us a couple of weeks to even accept that we had to move to another venue! A couple of places began messaging us asking if we’d like to discuss using their venue and that’s when it became real.
Y: “After initially not really having many options, we ended up with a few choices to make. It was a close call between another venue and The Ruby Lounge, but after a tour of the venue and a great first meeting with the owner, we literally couldn’t find fault with it. We’re hoping to keep things growing while at the same time maintaining the eclectic music policy and welcoming atmosphere that we’ve always employed. Expect to hear some new productions courtesy of some of our residents and close So Flute family as well.”
5. How have you chosen The Ruby Lounge?
D: “As we mentioned, it came down to a tough decision between The Ruby Lounge and another venue, but at this moment in time The Ruby Lounge was the logical choice. It’s important we keep the same open and welcoming atmosphere that made So Flute a success at the Roadhouse and as a venue The Ruby Lounge seems to have that same relaxed vibe, from the bar staff to the management.”
Y: “The sound quality in there was obviously another big draw for us, especially as we’ll be bringing our own sound engineer extraordinaire from the Roadhouse to sit behind the desk too.”
6. What opportunities do you think it has that are different to other clubs (Roadhouse or) you’ve held So Flute in?
Y: Having squeezed crowds into Roadhouse for some of our bigger shows the larger capacity at The Ruby Lounge obviously provides the opportunity to keep growing the So Flute family. Another important factor we considered when choosing a new venue was retaining the identity of the night. Whilst already hosting some other great clubnights we saw The Ruby Lounge as somewhat of a blank canvas, somewhere we could take So Flute and allow it to grow whilst keeping true to all of what we built at the Roadhouse.”
7. Where do you see So Flute in five years?
Y: “It’s hard to predict five years into the future, full stop, but we’re all really passionate about what we do, and looking at how far we’ve come in three years I’d like to imagine we might still be throwing parties! Individually we’ve played across the country but taking So Flute to another city isn’t something we’ve really ventured into yet and is definitely we’re keen to do in the future. Right now as you might imagine finding and settling into a new home has been number one on our agenda but we’ve also had plans for getting a label off the ground for a while now. We’re surrounded by lots of creative people and there’s a lot of other Manchester artists and collectives putting out some amazing stuff at the moment. Getting some releases out is the next step for us so look out for some So Flute productions in the near future!”
Yadava and Baloo have recorded an exclusive mix for Nextup Throwback:
Event details here: www.facebook.com/events/396617050535528