Roots Before Branches (RBB) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, so resident DJ, Tom S, explained a little about how to run a clubnight and the scene in Manchester during the night’s inception, 10 years ago.
“The ethos was simple – it was about showcasing music that we were into. Inspiration was taken from great nights such as Back to Basics (Mintclub circa 1998), Electric Chair (Music Box circa 1998, after moving from the Roadhouse), and Keep it Unreal with Andy Scruff, when he moved to the Music Box after Planet K. Robodisco at Planet K, (again circa 1998). Rainy City Music parties in the late 90’s to early noughties, Eyes Down and Aficionado back at Fat Cat Cafe were on at around the same period too.”
Tiring of the scene at the time, hoping for even more variety, the men decided to start their own night: “Having an eclectic music policy enabled us to book various DJs, such as… Greg Wilson, the Latin don DJ Lubi, Mad Mats ( for our 2nd Birthday in 2005), Zero 7, Phil Charnock, DJ Simbad and Jon Kennedy.
Thomas also managed to book a range of Mancunian stalwarts including: “James Holroyd (he put me on to what I call ‘proper deep house’ back at Basics in the Mint Club all those years ago), Nado boys Jason and Moon and Irfan.”
“We just wanted to do our own thing. The night was monthly for nearly four years and it was hard graft, but we loved every minute of it. After 5 years, we felt that the enjoyment had left us as the organising of monthly parties in our free time was hard work, especially when we had to put our hand in our pockets to keep it going even though we weren’t making any cash.”
So the RBB crew decided to hang up their city-centre boots and head into the suburbs, towards Chorlton. “The Nook was the place for us and about five years ago we started the offshoot of RBB. ‘Can You Dig It? (CYDI)’ was a vinyl only affair. The emphasis is on digging deep for lost classics, hidden gems and upfront bangers, playing the type of tunes DJs would love to play out for others to hear, but don’t get the chance [the definition of ‘throwback’ in Nextup Throwback, dear readers].”
CYDI ran monthly for over years at The Nook and the guests all had one remit: to play outside of their comfort zone. “We had James Holroyd playing soul and funk mixed up with disco and very little if no house, jazz legend Matt Halsall playing, hip hop, soul, funk and house – no jazz; Franco Ze, who is known for playing Brazilian and Latin, played soul, funk and house.”
Their hiatus finished when the former RBB crew visited Southport Weekender’s 50th Anniversary. “Whilst outside grabbing some ‘fresh air’ we had a chance encounter with [DJs’ DJ] Rainer Trueby, which was the catalyst for RBB to return for this anniversary gig. It’s taken a while to get it sorted, but it’s happened naturally; no pressure, no stress.”
“What brought it all together? Simple – our passion and love for music and sharing it with others.”
Roots residents – Chris Roots & Tom S (B2B vinyl mix)
“We wanted our sound to reflect the whole period we’ve been putting on Roots parties. we selected five or six tracks each which have been meaningful to the night over the years from back in the Dry Bar basement though to the modern day.”
Roots Before Branches host Joshua Brooks on Saturday 3rd October, more details here: