LATIN CELEBRATIONS Havana
Glasgow: The October Cafe, Tue ll Apr.
To run a club successfully for nine years is no mean feat and, when you consider that Havana deals in genres outside the clubbing mainstream - salsa, samba, merengue and flamenco - and has managed to pack the punters in from Glasgow to Miami, you might be forgiven for suspecting promoter and DJ Jasveer Carmine Sandhu of making a Faustian pact before launching his club back in '91.
'I started Havana, because I got fed up with going to the house and techno clubs,‘ Sandhu, aka DJ Jazz, explains. ‘So I sat back and thought "what's missing in this city?", and felt that there was a gap in the market for a Latin night. At the time people thought Latin meant ballroom dancing music, so I had to put my money where my mouth was and . . . well, the first private party at The Cotton Club had queues around the block.’
A well-attended launch does not, of course, lead automatically to a nine year run of high octane events, and, budding promoters take note. Havana's continuing popularity is down to one thing — attention to detail, from the gloss on the flyers to the seating in the venue: ‘I visualise exactly what the night should be like, and it's my job to soundtrack that vision and make sure it comes about by making sure that the right people know about the event. That said, you have to work with the crowd as well. If someone wants to hear a certain record at a certain point, the chances are other people will as well.‘
Havana, then, is closer to being a trusted brand among the Latin cognoscenti than a mere club, and an
DJ Jasveer Carmine Sandhu aka DJ Jazz
international one at that. ‘Taking it abroad was a big thing for me,’ says Sandhu. 'Playing Spanish music to Spaniards, say, and getting a good response is just amazing, when you consider my background as an Asian Scot. The biggest achievement, though, is having exchange students telling me that they've heard of the night through people who have been in Glasgow years before. And that's down to the little things again, like flyers that still look good after being posted across Europe.’
It seems a safe bet that regulars will be dusting off their zimmer frames to celebrate Havana's coming of age in another nine years or, as DJ Jazz would have it: 'Havana will always be there.’ (Jack Mottram)
Pil Zero is among the DJs at Apex's second birthday
two distinct levels in the club: upstairs for techno and trance, the ever- popular haunt of sweaty, smiley dancefloor enthusiasts, and downstairs — 'We didn’t want it to be a chill out, just an alternative,‘ stresses Steve — for an across-the-board mix featuring, but in no way limited to, funk, hip hop and drum & bass.
Their success has spawned several collaborations with fellow Studio 24 nights Mingin’ and Pillbox, including Shelter fundraiser Undercover and their 1999 Hogrnanay bash, which attracted a capacity crowd on a night when most of the city’s venues were dead.
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS Apex Edinburgh: Studio 24, Fri 31 Mar.
Having started as a bit of a favour to the owner of barely used club venue Studio 24, most people thought Apex wouldn't last two months. However, their brand of techno, house and trance has attracted a loyal following, who will all no doubt be turning out in force for the second birthday party.
So what's the secret of their success? Resident DJ Steve Pace is sure: ’Atmosphere,’ he says. ’We’ve always
run the club so we could have a good night out. It requires some commitment obviously, but we wanted to make it a laugh rather than a job.’ That, and a broad-based music policy, believes promoter Geoff Elton, who was keen to avoid going in the same direction as seminal Edinburgh club nights like Sativa and Lift. 'We've never gone with the techno—heads screaming for ever-harder stuff,’ he says. ’We want it to be friendly. We want people to be happy coming down for the first time, not intimidated.’
With this in mind, they've created
’The club’s based on local people rather than guests,’ explains Steve. ’We don't want people just to come down for a big name, we want them to get into Apex.’
Nevertheless, they've pushed the boat out for the second birthday which sees live techno technicians Biomechanoid appearing alongside the Sativa Drummers and a full complement of residents. That’s Steve Pace, Al Space, Medicine Man, Phil Zero, Julz, Kam the Beard and Neil T for your money — sounds like just the ticket.
Goings on beyond the dancefloor YOU CAN TELL summer is on the way when you start to hear talk of the planned Slam events on the Renfrew Ferry, and it's only a month until they start up again with the like of Kruder 8: Dorfmeister, DJ Q and Domenic joining the Slam crew for the slightly surreal boating approach to clubbing.
A COUPLE OF years back, Harri mixed a set of a Subculture CD release, and this time around it's Domenic's turn. Bedroom jocks will have spotted the three-track vinyl sampler doing the rounds at the moment, and the full length disc, dubbed Subversion, hits the streets on Mon 3 Apr via the Loaded imprint. Subbie regulars will, of course, have their copy reserved by now, but anyone with an ear for the superb deep house that keeps Subculture at the forefront of the British house scene should welcome the opportunity to relive Saturday nights in the privacy of their own living room.
THE EMBARGO ON Warren Deighan's exciting goings-on in Edinburgh’s clubland has finally been lifted, and we can tell you that the man who sold The Honeycomb has bought The Vaults, The Catwalk and is also opening a bar in the west end. The Vaults, meanwhile, will close on Sat 22 Apr.
LA BELLE ANGELE is the latest venue to go online. If you want to check out what they are up to, log on to www.la-belle-angele.co.uk
SOMA HAVE FINALLY set up a new studio after last November’s Jamaica Street fire, and work has started on their new album, with the first single due out sometime this October. Until then, look out for the brilliant Slam remix of Death In Vegas's 'Dirge', out now.
C an. “
30 Mar—l 3 Apr 2000 THE LIST 61