After nearly 8 months since its transformation into TRiPP, number 55 London Road, Southampton, reopened this weekend just gone as Junk. The return of the original award winning club brand to the site was celebrated with a huge launch party weekender: two back-to-back nights of the best in underground house and techno, headed up by the elusive Joy Orbison and Fabric royalty Levon Vincent on the Friday, whilst Hot Creations’ Miguel Campbell and French/US duo Benoit & Sergio took care of proceedings on Saturday. Over the past couple of weeks, since announcing its return earlier this September, Junk has steadily released details of its full autumn listings, uncovering a wealth of talent set to descend upon Southampton in the coming weeks; naming Jackmaster, Flashmob, and Detroit Swindle, is just scratching the surface.
The Junk brand was originally conceived more than ten years ago, and the Southampton based club has since garnered a reputation as the place to go on the South Coast for an open-minded and forward thinking music policy, that specialises in shining a particular spotlight on house and techno. Fast-forward to 2013 and the comparatively small club situated in the heart of the city is nominated for the Best Small Club in DJ Mag’s Best of British Polls. Junk went on to secure the title, beating stiff competition from London’s XOYO and Dance Tunnel, Newcastle’s Cosmic Ballroom, and Leeds’ Wire. Shortly after winning the accolade, Junk announced the club would undergo a re-brand to become TRiPP; the move has now been reversed as the club assumes its original title. The offering from Junk has proven popular with eager fans of the club as tickets for numerous events across the listings, all the way up to December, have been shifting in large quantities only shortly after their release.
The team behind the Junk brand took the time to talk to us about the return of Junk to Southampton, ahead of the busy opening weekender. Full details of Junk’s full autumn listings are available here.
The initial announcements of Junk’s return were met with a lot of enthusiasm from fans on the South-coast, and further afield, what do you think has made Junk such a recognisable name?
Believe it or not a lot of thought and consideration went into the name Junk. We had the name way back in late 2002; almost a year before we had even acquired a venue to develop into the club itself – and 3 years before the club actually opened. We believe it’s down to the whole ethos behind the project – the music policy, the DJs we’ve had play here and the support we’ve received from the industry. The whole Junk concept was a mixture of influences from our piers – with particular consideration to the whole layout and philosophy of Mr. C’s late club; The End in London.
When you began planning the launch event, what did you think were the essential components to mark the return of Junk to Southampton?
To be completely honest there wasn’t really a lot of consideration put into the relaunch – we just picked up things where we had left off in January. Joy Orbison and Benoit & Sergio have both played for Junk before; in Southampton and Ibiza, and Ostgut Ton’s Levon Vincent has been on our radar for some time. Miguel Campbell has been contacting us for a few months asking to come back so we programmed them all to play over the reopening weekend! They’re a really good set of people and musicians and represent who we are and what we do very well…
Are there any notable changes to the club and the brand’s direction since it’s last incarnation, or is it primarily a return of Junk as it was, the way clubbers will remember it?
We have just (very carefully) put it back exactly as it was with some marked improvements; air con for one! We were known as the hottest club on the South Coast for a couple of reasons ;)
The upcoming autumn lineup at Junk sees the return of a number of names; Joy Orbison, Eats Everything, and Flashmob (for instance) that have previously graced your decks, what kind of feedback do you receive from such influential artists about their experience at the club?
We’ve always been very lucky in having fantastic support and encouragement from artists that both have played, want to play or visited Junk – we have made some great friends and, in return, been invited to play at other venues, parties and festivals all over Europe. By and large it’s a very friendly and supportive industry to be in.
Alongside the return of DJs that have played at Junk in the past, there’s a whole heap of names you’re bringing to Southampton for the first time. Many of these artists are from some of the biggest labels in electronic music right now, like Defected and Hot Creations. Are there any artists or labels that you are particularly proud to be showcasing at Junk?
Over the years we have worked with and showcased dozens of labels including Circo Loco, Cocoon, Watergate, AUS Music, Hypercolour (the list goes on) and pushing 1000 artists and we are equally proud to have been involved with all of them. We’ve got some really exciting parties coming up with secretsundaze, Watergate, Hessle Audio and some firm favourites and artists that have become friends and inspirations of ours returning to the booth including Laura Jones and a special B2B Christmas appearance from Eats Everything and local legend James Zabiela.
As for your resident DJs, what’s their reaction to the relaunch? Are they looking forward to seeing the return of the crowds they’re used to playing to at Junk, hoping to play to fresh faces attracted by Junk’s launch, or just happy to be part of the club’s return?
Residents are probably the most excited of everyone! They are the life blood of any club – and we are fiercely proud of the talent we have on board. We are actually launching a brand new project in the coming weeks showcasing our residents and the best of new talent from the area; aptly named “On Rotation” – keep your eye out for that one!
What do you think of the scene in Southampton currently?
Well, we’ve been beating the Southampton drum for 10 years whilst hauling our Junk (nice) around London and Europe [Junk have put on parties in Amsterdam, Berlin, Ibiza, London, Croatia and Serbia] through times where electronic music has increased and decreased in popularity, and more recently as the style of music has merged and evolved into a lot of the sounds you hear today, there are more and more parties and venues opening up contributing to Southampton’s nightlife which is fantastic for the city. We’re great purveyors of the ADE in Amsterdam and BerMuDa in Berlin; in these cities the clubs work together through a common love for the music and it really shows – Southampton is getting dangerously close to gaining itself some cultural credibility. Anything that portrays the South Coast in a good light is good for us.
And finally, the launch marketing has been, deservedly, emphasising Junk’s Best Small Club accolade awarded by DJ Mag, which was won in the Best of British competition last year, what ambitions does the brand have for the future?
As the award suggests’ “Best Small Club” – our capacity is a mere 550 in the main room – something we see as a massive plus. There aren’t many places the discerning club goer can go any more and see the artists you see at Junk in such intimate surroundings. We, like our fans, are serious about music, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re just going to continue to bring the best musical experience we can to the South Coast.