Soul In Motion - Four Years Deep

This Thursday, Bailey and Need for Mirrors return to The Pickle Factory to celebrate the fourth anniversary of their Soul In Motion parties. Channeling the energy of legendary midweek 90's parties such as Metalheadz at Blue Note and Fabio’s Swerve at Velvet Rooms, over the years the co-founders have hosted night after night of exceptionally well-selected talent across the drum and bass spectrum. Starting early, with free entry and minimal lighting, the party’s stripped-back midweek gatherings place music and community at its centre, offering an opportunity for deep, focused listening and artistic experimentation.

We caught up with Bailey and Need for Mirrors ahead of their much-anticipated birthday celebrations to discuss the progression of the party, the perks of midweek events and their thoughts on what comes next.

Soul In Motion turns four this March. Congratulations! What moments will you look back on with fondness from the past four years?

There are too many to mention, last year we hosted around 40 events and every one has a different memory attached to them. Each year has bought us venue changes, new artists, returning artists, new cities and fresh artwork as well as individual achievements as Bailey and Need For Mirrors.

Our Birthday events always stand out as highlights due to the celebration and surprise guests, as do our Sunday Sessions on the 7th Floor at Ace Hotel and at Oval Space. Taking Soul In Motion out of London to venues such as Motion in Bristol, Sub Club in Glasgow, Gretchen in Berlin and Rotunde in Bochum have all created special Soul In Motion events in their own ways and cities. Overall it's the love and support from the D&B community that has been the most rewarding.

Thank you for the mix you prepared for our Oval Space podcast series. Have you dropped any hints for what we might expect from your top-secret birthday lineup?

We have 4 surprise guests lined up for Thursday, one for each year that we've been running. You will only find out who they are when they step up to play on the night. Even the guests don't know who the other surprise guests are until they see them behind the decks.

You also had your first release on Soul In Motion Records last year (Welcome/Day of Mercury) – how have you found the first year of running a label?

The response has been amazing. To have Jonny L on our first release after his hiatus from the scene was a real nice touch and the track name "Welcome" was perfect. It's been difficult finding music which reflects the club night and isn't already signed for the follow up releases, but it is happening. SIM002 will be out later in the year and hopefully SIM003 too.

You’ve kept your ethos of simplicity over the years (Lights off/Free Entry/MC-free). What’s the cumulative effect of these choices on the dancefloor?

We just felt that at the time, less was more, and we wanted the focus to be on the music and not the location. Our first venue was Basement at The Edition Hotel and it had a very simple and beautiful lighting array. When we moved to Miranda at Ace Hotel, there was a much lower ceiling and we made the change in direction to have art based visuals projected on the booth and no lights on. At The Pickle Factory we've taken it back to the use of house lighting rather than projected visuals. We suit the curation of the night to the aesthetic of the venue.

The free aspect is important to us and matches with the music policy. In a way, Soul In Motion events built themselves around circumstances at each given moment. For example, things like not having an MC was never a deliberate decision. We had intended upon having a host but it didn't work out and so we continued without. The direct result of this was feeling the natural reaction of the audience. Instead of being told when to participate, people on the dancefloor decide for themselves when they want to raise their voices in unison.

For the DJs that play, it changes their understanding of what sounds are working during their set as the crowd are reacting to specific parts of a track. One of the nicest things is hearing a round of applause at the end of each DJ set because the crowd were compelled to do so. Don't get us wrong though, our aim wasn't and isn't what some people might see as an 'MC ban'. If the moment requires it, as they have many times before, a Master of Ceremony will be involved. More than anything, it’s just about presenting the music the best way possible.

Soul In Motion return this Thursday to celebrate their fourth birthday under The Pickle Factory's wooden beams. RSVP over on their website for free entry before 11PM.