Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

DIY clubs, gigs, fun
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lynsosaurus
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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by lynsosaurus » Mon Sep 08, 2008 15:25

i've made up a rough playlist of stuff i know i want to play and have split it up into stuff for playing earlier and stuff for playing later, just so that i don't get drunk and decide to play something wholly inappropriate for dancing just because i feel like hearing it, heh. but i've stopped short of making a proper playlist, even though it makes me kind of nervous to not have one because i've never dj'd before. i have a few little sets of songs i want to play together but that's about it. i'm kind of nervous about it all (will people come? will anyone dance?), but also EXCITED! it's worked out quite well, because we exchanged lists of songs we might want to play, and there was no overlap except for, like, three songs.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by RITH » Tue Sep 09, 2008 08:23

Can I kick in one more open door?

Please don't try to be too interesting and obscure. I know how that goes. When you're reaching a point where you think a certain Heavenly or even Belle & Sebastian song is too obvious or well known, think again. If there's one thing that gets people singing or dancing, it's of course actually recognizing some of the music. Which works with either the somewhat bigger indiepophits or indiepop covers of actual hits. If you play a brilliant sequence of a Pelle Carlberg b-side, the new Motifs single followed by that Red Pony Clock classic, you might find that no matter how good it is it might not be what gets the feet going. It's fine to play all of those obviously, but don't shy away from the bigger anthems.

I could have said in one sentence: in indiepopland even those songs that in your mind are the biggest hits in the world ever are still extremely obscure to most.

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Re: any advice for popnight starting?

Post by katydidnot » Tue Sep 23, 2008 03:11

Colin wrote: I'm in the process of starting a club night along with lynsosaurus, so I'll try to pass on a bit of what we've learned in the last couple of months although I'm still very much a beginner to this.
You've probably thought about this already, but you'll have to decide what kind of night you want it to be. What music will you play? Will there be bands, or just records? Are you going to DJ on your own all night, or will you have help? When's the night going to start and end? Will you charge for entry? In my opinion, it's important to set your night apart from whatever else is happening in your town. There may be some overlap with other clubs in the area, but you have to offer something nowhere else is. If your night is the only place people can go to hear a particular kind of music, it'll seem that much more special. Also, it's my view that it's important to be upfront about what kind of music you're going to play. It may be tempting to keep the description deliberately open to interpretation to get the maximum number of people interested, but I think it's best that people know what they're going to get.
I think the venue is critically important, more from the organiser's point of view than the people who are going to come. We've been really lucky in that we've got a venue that's fully set up with everything we need, so essentially all that's left for us to do is promote the night, then turn up and play records. There's a bit more to it than that, but that's more or less how it is. We're also fortunate in that they're not looking for a financial commitment from us, so we don't stand to lose money if it doesn't work out. That won't be the case for every venue though.
You say it'll be at someone's house. Is that due to an age thing (I have it in my head that you're quite young - are you the girl who does the Bottle Rocket fanzine or have I got that wrong?). I'd say you need to think the implications of that through pretty thoroughly. Are you going to invite members of the public? If so, do you want to take the risk of publicising your address in the knowledge that absolutely anyone could turn up? Also, are neighbours/excess noise going to be a consideration?
Also, you'll need something to play your records on. I know that's stating the obvious, but do you have some kind of DJ setup to work from?
If you're set with a venue and definitely want to go ahead with it, you need to think about promotion. How you go about it will depend on where you are, but what we've done has mostly centred around the internet (myspace, facebook and Anorak). We've also designed and printed posters and made flyers, and have distributed them around the city in places where people who are likely to be into the night would go (bars, cafes, record shops, clothes shops etc). Also think about newspaper or online listings, if you want to publicise it to that extent.
Probably hardest of all, you'll have to think of a name. I can't tell you how difficult this part was! Lynsey and I pretty much relied on song titles and lyrics; always a good source for that kind of thing.
I really hope this hasn't come across as overly negative (or stating the obvious). I think it's great that you want to start something. Good luck, and let us know how it's going!
Ugh look at me replying super late! It was mostly cause I was asking other popnight people about why they wanted to do it at their house and they weren't very helpful so I kind of gave up. So I'll do my best answering for them!

We'll probably just play what's in our record collections. So mostly pop stuff with maybe a little bit more depending on what we have. We were thinking of getting live bands but aren't really sure how to go about that, so will probably just start with records. There aren't any popnights in Atlanta (or Athens at that) so that shouldn't be a big problem. So far it'd be just us djing and maybe having guests do it if we find anyone willing.

I can't really answer much about doing it at a house but I'm pretty sure it's partially due to age because I am under 18 (and yeah, I do Bottle Rocket) and we're all under 21, and Atlanta places tend to be 21+. The rest I'm pretty unsure of though.

We'd probably do mostly internet and some flyers, yeah. And no name yet. We still have a TON to figure out but we aren't planning on starting for months so I guess we've got some time.

THANKS SO MUCH, and it wasn't overly negative, sorry for being bad and replying late!

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Colin » Sun Sep 28, 2008 01:46

I know that, when DJing, songs should really be chosen on merit alone but I'm a sucker for ill-advised themes and symbolism, so I was considering doing a run of songs at our next night that are related to other pop clubs. Obviously there would be Knee Deep At The NPL (Camera Obscura) and Big Pink Cake (Razorcuts), but also slightly less immediately obvious ones like I'm Beginning To See The Light by The Velvet Underground, which is apparently the song HDIF got its name from (I had to google it, I must admit).
Sorry if I'm showing my total lack of knowledge here, but does anyone know if Offbeat got its name from a particular song, and if so, which one? What about The Autumn Store? Also, any other suggestions for pop nights with song-related names?
Is this a really crap idea? I just thought it might be quite nice to acknowledge that we're part of a bigger movement, or however you want to phrase it.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Sootyzilla » Sun Sep 28, 2008 01:54

I think themes are always a bad idea, because they make the theme more important than the music. But I am admittedly a bit of a fundamentalist on this issue.
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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Colin » Sun Sep 28, 2008 02:13

Sootyzilla wrote:I think themes are always a bad idea, because they make the theme more important than the music. But I am admittedly a bit of a fundamentalist on this issue.
I know what you're saying, and I agree to an extent. Just something about the idea appeals to me.
I forgot Spiral Scratch, somehow. I'd have to play something from the Buzzcocks EP of the same name.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by tonieee » Sun Sep 28, 2008 08:51

I think a theme can be good if done well. As long as you don't choose a totally unsuitable song just to fit the theme.

I don't think Offbeat got their name from a song but This Is The Sound by The Regulars mentions Offbeat in it. And I think Autumn Store probably got their name from the Field Mice eps.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Tomb » Sun Sep 28, 2008 08:59

At our short lived Soup Kitchen nights we had a theme each time such as Girl bands , Creation Records or Scottish indie. I thought they all worked well to be honest but we had to shelve the night because of putting more gigs on and the label. I would love to revive it for the odd one now and again

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Carys » Mon Sep 29, 2008 20:14

So we're hoping to start a monthly club night in the New Year, but the venue is the thing I'm most concerned about. I imagine we need somewhere very small, and I have a preference for places in the South East of London. Any recommendations? I feel like we're a bit blind on this issue.

We seem pretty comfortable with the remit and logistics. We just need somewhere that'll let us do it and people who will come.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by crystalball » Mon Sep 29, 2008 20:28

South East London? That'd be ace, C. I'll see if there's anything good around here. A friend of mine was telling me the other day about the crypt of St Giles's church in Camberwell which is used as a venue for gigs and is lovely. I used to live two minutes down the road and never noticed!

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Carys » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:03

Thanks dude. Some feedback from someone would be grand because the venue's the main bit I'm worrying about (that and not acccidentally doing something financially unsound). I'll check out the Camberwell thing.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Annika » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:59

I recognize so many things people have written here...
problems with bar-owners who feel they didn´t make enough money on your club-night, sound-system breakdown, not enough people showing up - loads of people showing up, planning dj-sets, charging people or not charging people? ...All added up. Nervous breakdown? Almost.

I started an club with a friend, we did it four nights, some were good, some weren´t. The venue is really important, and ours was not ideal whatsoever. Thats the main reason why we didnt continue. The bar-owner was a bit of a chauvinist jerk too.

And regarding the music, i found it very hard to stick with dj-sets I had planned beforehand. Ideally, you play whatever you want to, but in the end, you really have to adjust to how many people are in the room, whether theyre dancing or not etc. I did kill the dance-floor a couple of times when I dj:ed, its so hard to tell what people like or not. But then again, it might be worth it, if you want to play the music you like. Usually the people who arent that much into dancing, you know, the ones sitting down, having a beer with their mates, are the ones who end up complimenting you in the end.

I havent been involved with this since may, and I miss it. Quite frankly, the indie-audience in my city (luleå) is fairly small, so its quite hard to run an indie-night, when it relies on a small number of people always showing up.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Dan Pop-o-matic » Wed Sep 16, 2009 19:08

How important do you reckon flyers are for promoting your club night? I've got posters for Pop-o-matic! and it's on the internets. Will getting some flyers printed up really make any difference?

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Tomb » Wed Sep 16, 2009 21:07

Super Furry Daniel wrote:How important do you reckon flyers are for promoting your club night? I've got posters for Pop-o-matic! and it's on the internets. Will getting some flyers printed up really make any difference?
I am not sure how effective flyers are. I wouldn't know for example how many people come on the strength of one. I am guessing that facebook is the source of most of the people who come to our nights as are the forums we post on (no, not spam!)

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by jayen_aitch » Wed Sep 16, 2009 21:20

I handed a load out once at a line outside an appropriate event.

Five people told me they would definitely come.

None of them did.

That's the only time I ever paid attention.

It's also the last time I bothered flyering.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by roundbitsofplastic » Wed Sep 16, 2009 22:46

I'm not sure that they actually WORK, but I think flyers are important becasue they're lovely.

Whenever I;ve done nights I've made LOADS of flyers and tried to palm them off on people who do other nights and at gigs and even sometimes in bookshops and that.

Like I say, they may make no difference nowdays, but it's gotta be worth a go. ALSO, the lfyers might lie around for a while and people may fidn there way to yr myface/spacebook/webshite at a later dat and hence be up for the next one. maybe.
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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by a layer of chips » Thu Sep 17, 2009 07:11

I always strategically place SEVEN flyers around Nottingham for every gig I do. That's the magic number.

You can keep that piece of information.

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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Final Loan » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:55

a layer of chips wrote:I always strategically place SEVEN flyers around Nottingham for every gig I do. That's the magic number.

You can keep that piece of information.
Ah... using magic for success. That's the way.
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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by Wheatabeat » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:44

Super Furry Daniel wrote:How important do you reckon flyers are for promoting your club night? I've got posters for Pop-o-matic! and it's on the internets. Will getting some flyers printed up really make any difference?
The only time flyers are effective are if you hand them out at the end of a similar gig. Forget putting them in record shops unless yours are the only ones and stand out. I still get mine printed up, but don't do so many these days.

Poster in the venue itself 2 weeks before is the best for mine. Plus the Facebook stuff, because it's good for that kind of thing (although it's getting more spammy by the week). Try and get a write up in a paper or magazine too, we had an ace response after an article went in the Manchester Evening News.
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Re: Starting an indiepop club night - advice please!

Post by lynsosaurus » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:50

we do flyers for our night, but we're in the fortunate position of having awesome flyers (thanks to david from the smittens) and the venue pays for them to be printed in colour, and also gets someone to hand them out at related gigs and around town the night before and the night of the club. there's no way we could do the same thing ourselves. i definitely think the flyers made a difference at the start, because there were lots of people turning up who neither of us knew or had met before, but i don't know how much difference it makes now.

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