Southampton’s house music scene is being taken over by one thing, and one thing only, the Warehouse brand. Over the past month or so Warehouse, who have events held in other places such as Dubai, have released just a fraction of their plans for 2014-2015, and boy oh boy do the line-ups look impressive. Most major cities or towns in the country are able to draw one or two high profile DJs, usually ones that have had a lot of radio play, but the sheer repertoire of artists on show here is making Warehouse Southampton one of the most impressive events in the UK for house music, and quite frankly not many people are complaining.
Undoubtedly the highest profile of the DJs that have been announced so far is Hot Since 82. The Manchester born deep house producer and DJ is famed for tracks such as “Knee Deep in Louise“, but his talents expand beyond just the production of excellent music and into high-profile, well-conceived, and outright infections DJ sets and mixtapes – making him one of the most desirable DJs on the circuit at present. That announcement alone had people frantic on social media, but further announcements revealing the likes of Seth Troxler, Richy Ahmed, Route 94, Shadow Child, Bondax, Lee Foss, and Eton Messy just goes to show that Warehouse mean business.
Business though, is something that does not seem to solely concern the team behind the Warehouse brand, and that is part of their success. Their constant display of listening to the fans and then actually coming up with the goods, I feel, has played a huge part in their expansion and popularity.
Warehouse have been churning out multiple announcements per week for the last month and, believe it or not, they’ve still got more to come: In the run up to the 17th August (when all early bird tickets will be put on sale) they’ll be revealing a few more dates featuring some of the scene’s juggernauts. Considering their track record – which includes headline appearances from Skream, MK, Amine Edge & DANCE, Gorgon City, and the modern pioneer of the genre, Pete Tong – we can all expect some titillating announcements over the couple of weeks!
Warehouse is by no means perfect though: They’ve come under scrutiny in the past for issues with their home venue (the state of the toilets and the efficiency of the bar, as examples). While many are not bothered by such things, they’re elements that need to be completely eradicated for the brand to reach the heights that it is aspiring to. Said issues may not be directly related to the Warehouse brand itself, but given that their home venue – The Mo’club – is most definitely a warehouse space, the two entities become entwined in the public conscience such that any issues with the venue affect the brand and vice versa.
Something else worth considering is the massive leap that Warehouse are taking this year: Some are worried that too much is happening too soon. We reached out to Ryan Keary who runs the DBP and the Warehouse brand to ask him what he feels about this:
The South Coast has a really strong scene nowadays. House is no longer a niche genre and I feel there is a gap in the market, especially in Southampton, for regular big line ups at affordable prices both on the door and at the bar. This is as much for the people of Southampton, as it is for us. Great people are buying into what we’re doing and I’ve already started booking Q1 for 2015. As for this year, all good magicians save their best tricks for the end: We have 3 or 4 really big line ups still to announce and one massive surprise, so stay tuned!
Warehouse, of course, aren’t the only players in Southampton’s house music scene. Earlier this year in May we saw Junk Department’s Big Top come to town, and as I previously reported, it was an incredible event with some names that are almost unparalleled, most notably Maya Jane Coles and Jamie Jones. Junk (now TRiPP) and sister brand Junk Department have been leading the house music scene in Southampton for years, famed for their appreciation of underground artists, frequently showcasing them on prime-time Saturday night slots.
A personal highlight at Junk was seeing Eats Everything there. It was a phenomenal night, compounded by the close proximity of the crowd and DJs, and Eats was more than happy to chat to the crowd and take pictures after his set. Indeed, many were very sad to see the Junk brand leave Southampton and while TRiPP may be managed by the same team and has already hosted a few impressive names, it is yet to really fill the shoes that Junk left behind.
A final mention goes out to Warehouse’s strong links to drum and bass, a genre which has a substantial following both in Southampton and beyond. They’ve already hosted scene front-runners Ram Records and Hospitality, and have more collaborations with key brands on the way. It’s clear that Warehouse are keen not to close any doors and are thus not totally relying on house music despite its recent revival in the mainstream. One thing is for certain though, the current schedule is more Ibiza than Ayia Napa, and one can only imagine what is to come.