Secretsundaze – 4 Years n Out!
Prior to closing the book on Secretsundaze's four-year residency at The Pickle Factory this Saturday, Giles Smith tells the story of our longest serving monthly party.
This Saturday it's our final party at The Pickle Factory where we'll be '4 Years n Out'! Without wishing to sound trite the 4 years have gone by in a blink of an eye. When one considers we have been running Secretsundaze for 18 years this might make sense! It's a small part of our history but one we'll cherish very much.
Having run parties at Pickle's big brother Oval Space for many years the news of The Pickle Factory's opening was something that piqued our interest. As the party had grown to fill 1000 capacity venues, as much as we loved the big parties something was missed. That heads down, intimate vibe, 'a red light and a feeling' and of course a punchy sound system is the the very essence of underground clubbing and that true dance music spirit! Also with the larger parties in an ever increasingly competitive London scene, we had to come correct with weighty and lengthy line ups often to the detriment of our own set times and duration in a city where you don't have Berlin opening style hours and can't give every DJ 3 hour sets. The idea of getting back to basics and playing to our friends ALL NIGHT LONG for 8 hours with no guests was just what we had been looking for.
Tom Ranger, who had just taken over bookings at Oval and Pickle showed us round and we decided then and there to confirm it for a monthly residency. 'Secretsundaze All Night Long' was born. Instead of using their custom built DJ booth, we opted to use a standard piece of decking with no riser and threw a black cloth over the front. This is something that we chuckle about regularly as the decks perched on the table top gets bumped more by the rowdier dancers but something we still see as absolutely vital to the vibe of the party.
The early parties lived up to expectation with an electric atmosphere with friends and family all attending en masse and loving the new found intimacy. We relished playing the whole 8 hours and also enjoyed being able to play a lot of the deeper / alternative records that many associate with the party and don't always work so well in a big space. Sometimes playing 4 hours straight each and other times b2b whenever we felt the moment was right. Being so up close and personal with the crowd in that Robert Johnson / Plastic People vein where the crowd could have reached out and touched the records was just the tonic. Not only did some of our older friends and heads start coming again more regularly but we also noticed a new community growing around these all night sessions.
The sound was always very sweet at Pickle and without somewhere like Plastic People around it surely stands up as one of the best systems of a small club in London. Love and appreciation to all the sound engineers we worked with notably James, Ronaldo and Felix. Ronaldo confessed to me one night that he actually put in to do double shifts so he could engineer on nights we were there - we'll take as a huge compliment! When we came to mix our Dance 2017 label compilation The Pickle Factory naturally came up as the ideal spot to do it and it was kinda strange to be there in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday in winter 'banging it out' with a jacket on and a few complaints from the neighbouring office!
3 years into 'Secretsundaze All Night Long' it got to a point where things felt a little bit stale. Playing for 8 hours every month does put you under a lot of pressure to find new music and to keep it fresh. We and our long serving right hand man Andrea Parma all agreed it was time to switch things up. We decided to morph 'Secretsundaze All Night Long' into 'Secretsundaze & Friends'. The remit here was to focus primarily on young, local and often emerging talent and also to open up the cocktail bar and programme it as a 'chill out room'. The plan worked well and it was great to see the likes of Heels & Souls, DJ Eliot, Champagne Funk and Tokyo Fantasy all spin in the main floor of The Pickle and also invite regulars to the party like Giedre to play the music that they love in the bar.
The term 'residency' gets banded around a lot these days for marketing purposes but a real residency built up over a number of years with a special connection to the space and the crowd is something rare and to be cherished. We are very grateful for the opportunity to play every month for 4 years in such a great spot. Big love and thanks to Tom Ranger who hooked us up with it in the first place and to the current booker Toby for his support. Last but not least Artist Liaison / door host extraordinaire Jo! We have known and worked with Jo many years before the club opened but to have her onboard at both The Pickle and Oval Space is always a joy. We love those moments when she'll burst out of nowhere behind the decks singing along to something from the likes of Blaze or Ron Trent!
So ’why stop we hear you ask? After 4 years of great parties every month its time to switch things up and keep things fresh. We love THE Pickle but with new plans in the pipeline for 2020 and beyond, freeing up some time and energy feels right. So.... we wanna see all our good friends at once this Saturday and we wanna Go Bang!!!! Long live The Pickle Factory!
Love Giles & James x
Don't forget to grab your ticket now for this Saturday – 4 Years n out! Secretsundaze Pickle Residency Closing