We caught up with Sub:Terranea resident and promoter Rory Flynn ahead of the last Sub:Terranea Social at 212.
The night will be moving to Doghouse in December.
They’ve also been doing parties at Wire since 2014, after starting out in York five years ago.
Rory Flynn at Wire
So, you’re leaving 212 and moving to Doghouse. What are your reasons behind this?
Well, we’ve been there for three years and I think it’s just time to freshen things up a bit. I think it would be good for the bar and good for us really. As much as I love the place it’s good to keep things fresh.
When’s your first night at Doghouse?
1st of December. And we’re actually back at 212 that weekend as well, playing for Throw Down. So as much as we’re leaving, we’re still going to be there playing records for other nights and stuff.
You’ve got a great booking for your last 212 Social.
Yeah, we’ve got a great booking with Annie Errez. She’s played for us a couple of times. And she’s one of the best DJs in Leeds I think.
Any highlights from your previous Sub:Terranea bookings?
Radioactive Man – people still talk about that 2 years later, it went down pretty well. Steve O’Sullivan – I mean they’ve all been really good parties. Our last party at Wire at Nick Hoppner was amazing as well. The live sets we’ve had have been excellent.
A personal highlight was getting to play for 7 hours at 212 back in April. It’s rare that you get to play for so long on a great soundsystem and it’s probably the best set I’ve played so far.
I think when you had Steve O’Sullivan on, that was one of my favourite Sub:Terranea nights.
Yeah, the thing with a live set is it just brings a little bit more energy because you can see what they’re doing and you’ve got all the equipment set up in front of you and the gear’s just plugged straight into the soundsystem which makes it sound very raw.
And you booked Trevino as well, not long before he passed away.
Yes, we did – sadly gone now. He was such a great guy as well. We went for a meal with him, sat down and had a really nice chat about music and life in general, and then a few months later we found out he’s passed away, which was very sad.
But I’m glad that we got the chance to meet him, and obviously his music still lives on – he’s got so much music out there, loads of different genres, so he’s got a legacy now, which is great. I suppose that’s one of the great things about making music – that you’re leaving something behind for people.
That is a really great thing about producing music and art.
Yes, you’re leaving your mark on the world I suppose – you’re creating something that’s always going to give people happiness.
And yeah, Trevino played an awesome set. All of our bookings have been really good. I don’t think I can look back and take preference out of all of the really. Because we book people that we’re really into, they always come and play a set that fits in with what we do.
We’d like to put on more live sets. It’s a bit more effort in terms of setting up, but once you’ve done it, it’s definitely worth it.
It seems to work really well in Wire.
Yeah, it does work in Wire, yeah, and because of where it is [in a separate area at the side of the dancefloor, rather than in the DJ booth], it gives you a bit of a different perspective. I think we’ll definitely do some more live sets next year.
What inspired you to start the nights in the first place?
Well – I don’t think we ever wanted to be promoters as such, it was more of a case of we’d been to other nights and we just thought we could do something – we’re all just DJs really, we just wanted to get our music out there. And it’s quite difficult to get gigs at other nights unless you’ve got a name for yourself somehow – and yeah, we thought we could do a night and play the music we’re into and make it really good.
And obviously, we’ve been clubbing a lot of years, so we knew what we wanted it to be like, what we enjoy about clubbing ourselves, and we knew we could put that into our own night.
And you’ve taken on a new resident recently as well…
Yes, we’ve got Kate on board – Kuroko – she’s just really passionate about music, she’s got good records, she’s technically very good, and just fits in with what we’re doing, really.
Did that come out of you guys booking her for Wire, then?
Yeah, she played at Wire for us. We knew her beforehand – she’s a good friend anyway, and she smashed it at Wire so we thought we’d get her on board.
So yeah, we didn’t really set out to be promoters, we just kind of fell into it in a way.
Yeah, I think that’s how most promoters seem to start.
Yeah, I think some people do look at it as something to do because it’s fashionable or whatever.. I don’t know, I’m not sure what other peoples’ reasons are for doing this, but for us it was just about getting our music out there really, and putting our stamp on the night and making it reflect what we do and what we’re into.
How do you feel about the Leeds music scene?
It’s great. It’s definitely one of the best cities in the UK I think. There’s so much going on every weekend, isn’t there? I think if you’ve been here for a long time you might take it for granted a little bit.
Whatever type of music you’re into, every weekend there’s something. You know – it’s not just electronic music as well. If you’re into indie music or rock – whatever you’re into, there’s always somewhere you can go to. It’s really strong. It’s been strong ever since I’ve been here really, and I’ve been here seven years now.
I’d say the quality of the music has actually got better in the past two or three years, and there seems to be more choice. But then on the flipside, we’ve lost a few venues, so I guess it’s quite competitive to get into a good venue.
John Heckle live set at Wire
Apart from doing the nights at Doghouse, what are your plans for the future?
Well, obviously we’ll carry it on at Wire, we’ve got a few dates booked in for next year at Wire, which I’m really pleased with. The Doghouse – we’re doing that every month, that finishes at 11, so it’s going to be a bit more chilled out – warm up for the weekend. I spoke to a few guys who played there last week and they said it went off, it was a good party. And I quite enjoy playing in that little nest they’ve got – the DJ nest upstairs.
Yeah, we love that too, it’s ace playing up there
[Doghouse have a platform in the rafters, above the record shop, where the decks are. They’ve also cleared one side of the top floor, to create a dancefloor, and installed a bar].
Yeah, they’ve rearranged it a bit, so there’s a bit more space for people to dance or chill out and stuff so yeah, we’re looking forward to that.
We’re maybe looking at some other venues as well. We’re thinking of also doing some other cities as well. There’s a few irons in the fire.
Ewan Pearson live set at Wire
And what about yourself? You’ve been working on some production as well as DJing…
Yeah, I think the thing with promoting sometimes is you put so much into it, you don’t always have time to focus on other things. But now I feel like we’re more established – well to an extent – I mean obviously there’s still a lot of work to do, but I want to really focus on my own music a lot, and I’ve got back in the studio and been making some new music.
I’m also going to try and put more mixes out, because I haven’t done one for a while. And yeah hopefully play some more gigs for other nights and festivals as well. HogSozzle was loads of fun last year, I’d love to do that again. See what happens I guess.
And do you feel like this has been a good year for you?
Yes, definitely. I mean, it’s one of those industries where you’re always looking forward, so you’re always thinking ‘what’s the next gig?’ and ‘What’s the next booking?’ and ‘Where are we going to take it next?’, but then sometimes you’ve got to look back and think ‘Well actually we’ve achieved quite a lot’, so yeah, this year’s been really good. We had our busiest night ever with Nick Hoppner at Wire, and some great parties.
As someone who plays a lot of records, where do you stand on the vinyl/digital debate?
I love playing vinyl myself, but I’m not a purist as such, in that, you know – I do play digital, especially if you go to a venue where the decks aren’t set up properly, or even if they’re set up but you start playing and then they start jumping a bit. I’m always prepared with digital as well. And some nights, it’s just easier to play digital. But wherever I can, if it’s set up properly I’ll play records. But as long as you’re playing good music I don’t think it matters that much what you’re playing on. Although I do always like to see a DJ playing records, I’ve heard plenty of good sets that have been digital as well. I think there’s room for both.
You were part of ‘Talcum Powder’ with Jonathan Waring, do you have any plans to do any more gigs together?
[Laughs] Yeah, well – because it’s the band that just plays records, I think we need to do a world tour of Leeds at some point. It’s difficult to get us in the room together because we’re both very egotistical characters [more laughter] …so, you know, there’s a lot of friction in the band, but one day we’ll take it back on the road.
It’s good to do things with a sense of humour. Like the poster for the night you did at 212 during Inner City Electronic
Yes, we had a lot of the superstars playing that night. Alan Partridge, Chandler from Friends, Matt Damon [laughs].
Yeah, I think obviously you take it seriously in that it’s important to you, but at the same time it’s about having fun isn’t it? And yeah, fundamentally you shouldn’t forget that – that it’s about having a good time. So even when it’s quite stressful or you’ve got a lot of things to work out, once it’s all done and the night’s under way, you just enjoy it, don’t you? Otherwise there’s no point.
Words: Roya Brehl