From humble – and erratic – beginnings, it's become an underground clubbing institution. ROB CHADWICK meets Adam Shelton and Subb-an of Birmingham's Below to find out more…
There aren't many nights out there that have become clubbing institutions through holding parties in Thai restaurants, car parks, vintage clothes shops, 70s discos, vegetarian bistros, drained swimming pools and strip clubs. But somehow, Birmingham-based party Below has done just that. From its erratic beginnings, the Midlands club has just celebrated its fourth birthday with an almighty knees-up at its spiritual home of the Rainbow, an old victorian pub in Birmingham. The party takes place on a Sunday daytime and has brought some of the worlds finest DJ's to Brum for the first time, making this night one of the most talked about parties in the country. EQ caught up with Subb-an from Immigrant Music and fellow Below resident Adam Shelton to talk about their memories of the club…
You must have some right old memories of your Below parties. What stands out in your minds?
Adam: We've had some really great parties and I take good things from them all. When I think of the parties, the first things that come to mind are the winter tropical pool party in December '07 (it's in the
name that this night would be a funny one) and then this year's parties. They've been the best ones yet. I think it's the friends that make the effort to come from all over that make the feel of the
party so good, and they have been out in force this year.
Subb-an: Doing an ice-cream party after one of our events - 11 hours of DJing in an ice-cream van was pretty intense and a hell of a lot of fun.
Tell us a bit more about that…
Adam: The ice-cream party became, without a doubt, our best afterparty. When it gets to 3pm the next day, sometimes you need a bit of a change of scenery, and it was around that time Tristan Da Cuhna and Subb-an got a speaker system, a pacemaker and rocked what was an ice-cream van into the world's smallest club. I think at one point there were 20 people in there, and you know the fun you can have in random situations. The sun was blazing and that's that. Watch out next year for some more ice-cream action…
You have a large list of DJs on your roster – are there any sets that have really blown you away?
Adam: My favorite guests who really rock the party hard are Luna City Express, 2000andone, our last guest, Gulietta. And always on the vibe are Clive Henry and Jamie Jones. But I can't not mention
friends who play – for me, they always give me a great insight to music and really try new things more than main guests. They are Subb-an, Tristan Da Cuhna, Despo, Protcol, PBR Steetgang, James Cotterill and many more.
Subb-an: Yeah, all of them! Most of the guests we have had on always do a great job, but some of my personal favorites have been Clive Henry and Luna City Express when they played the after-party.
Day-time parties are now all the rage, what with the likes of Asylum, Technique, Mulletover and Secretsundaze. Why are they so popular?
Adam: I think they're more social. People come down throughout the day in their own time, and normally with a daytime party you have much longer to play with, so the progression of music can
be more steady rather than most night-time parties where it seems to be a lot more bang, bang, heavy, heavy straight away. And if the sun is out, everybody is buzzing as soon as they walk in. Which helps.
Subb-an: There are a few factors I think. Daytime parties are generally over a longer period of time and also give people the option to come out if they have work the next day. Having a party in the day also
offers a great transitional stage from day to night. Below has a very solid following of friends and people around the area who support the night, and this adds a special atmosphere when we do the events.
Subb-an, you've produced on Immigrant and Leftroom, what's the next release we can hear from you?
I've just completed a remix for Hypercolour which will be out shortly. I have my second EP with Immigrant this year around September and a super-special EP with Santos Resiak. I also have two new EPs which will be coming out at some point during 2009.
Will there be any co productions from you guys coming soon?
Adam: I just don't have the time. And there are so many amazing records and pieces of music that I'm happy just playing them. I do edit tracks with my own touch, but for now that's as far as it goes.
Subb-an: Maybe we can find some time to do some…