words: Andy McColgan

The forward-thinking Glasgow club night gears up for its first birthday and a big Hogmanay bash…

Huntley and Palmers Audio Club has, without question, been one of the most interesting additions to Glasgow’s clubbing landscape in 2008. The night, which takes place over a variety of city venues (including Stereo, The Art School and The Hetherington Research Club), has played host to such underground luminaries as Joakim, Pilooski, Aeroplane, Todd Terje, The Silver Apples and James Holden, as well as many wonderful off-kilter and leftfield alternative bands since its birth in December 2007.

Taking its name from the 1954 Report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution – where homosexuality was decriminalised and code names Huntley and Palmer were attributed to homosexuals and prostitutes – the night has been growing in stature steadily over the year. And acclaim and support from the likes of Optimo, Glasgow’s world-famous electronic legends, gives an indication of what to expect from H&P soirees – a discerning and cutting-edge taste in music married with an amazing ability to throw a party and make merry like there’s no tomorrow.

With the night’s first birthday fast approaching, and hot and exciting plans for the forthcoming year, we tracked down the ever-busy Andy Thomson, brains behind the Huntley And Palmers operation, for a chat about the past year, his influences and inspiration and what’s in store for 2009…

Happy first birthday when it arrives. How’s everything going on planet H&P?
Thanks, I can’t believe it’s only been a year. Things have been good – busy, but busy is certainly better than bored. I’ve just been finalising our details for our NYE party in Stereo – with a few favourite artists of the past year – which should prove to be excellent. I’m also in the process of arranging a party for some friends who will be reaching the ripe old age of 30 and want to celebrate this in style in Berlin.

You’ve had a lot of excellent acts gracing the H&P stage over the course of the year. Any stand-outs for you?
I’ve enjoyed all of them on different levels. Musically, Silver Apples, Congregation and Marissa Nadler were captivating. Party-wise, Pilooski, Unit 4/Turzi, Kelley Polar, James Holden and Aeroplane nights all deserve a mention – the latter was particularly fun. Pilooski and James Holden were also special in terms of the records they played – both are hugely inspirational and I guess instrumental in my founding H&P in the first place.

What’s the plan of attack for year two?
I guess it will be more of the same – there’s still a wishlist of people I’d like to bring to Glasgow which doesn’t appear to be getting any smaller. I’ve recently confirmed the Threshold Houseboys Choir (a side project from Peter Christopherson aka Sleazy from Throbbing Gristle/Coil) for an exclusive live show in April which I’m very excited about. Party-wise, I’m looking forward to playing host to Pilooski again and Daniele Baldelli – who I’ve missed when he’s played Glasgow before.
I’m also looking into establishing H&P as a label. I guess it’s a natural progression from putting on nights with a desire to maximise exposure to some of my favourite, lesser-known artists out there. That’s likely to take off in the latter half of the year.
I’m also making plans with the Sub Club to launch an early-evening type of event on a Saturday – with more of an emphasis on electronic live acts (along the lines of Quiet Village, Lindstrom, Glass Candy, Chromatics) who would appeal to a broad section of music fans and not necessarily want to check them out at a club night. This can also act as a precursor to a more varied night of music for your typical clubber who can check out an interesting live act before going on to see their favourite DJ.

You took the H&P ship over to Berlin this year as well, right? How did that come about?
I’ve been going to Berlin for the past three years and I’m a huge fan of the city – at one point I was planning to relocate there permanently – and it’s just as cheap, interesting and as fun as ever. Having been a big fan of the release on Hugo Capablanca’s Disco’s Capablanca label, we’d been in contact, and he invited me over to play.
I’d only really been to the bigger techno clubs such as the Watergate and Berghain prior to this trip, but this time I spent more time in some smaller clubs and the atmosphere in Cookies (the club I played) was amazing. A surreal moment was when I played the Langley School Music Project’s cover of Space Oddity to end the night and a whole room of drunken Germans were singing along.

What was the main impetus behind starting up your night?
It was mainly born out of a frustration at none of the existing Glasgow clubs catering for my musical tastes and failing to book booking the DJs and artists I wanted to see. That would usually involve me either travelling to London, or missing out entirely.

It must get stressful at times though. Any advice for budding promoters?
Yeah, it can be stressful. In some ways it can be an almost an enjoyable stress though as it’s all towards a greater cause. And in the end, I get to meet some of my favourite artists who generally turn out to be very interesting people.
My biggest piece of advice would be to try and get someone else like-minded to help out – ideally hands-on, but more importantly with some form of financial backing. It can be an expensive game – as I’ve learned as I’ve been self-financing H&P which has seen my wages quickly diminish on flights, booking fees and other costs which isn’t much fun when you can’t afford to buy some new records or clothes, or to take your girlfriend out. Being prepared to make sacrifices and money issues aside, having a genuine love for music and a belief that you can contribute something different and interesting to an already thriving music scene should help you no end. Having a group of supportive friends helps too.

You’ve had a really interesting variety of acts playing, with lots of genres covered. Do you have a remit for the kind of act you get over to Scotland?
I guess the only remit would be to book people I like. I generally try to bring new artists to Glasgow, but that’s not always the case. I’m always on the look-out for new music – a feeling you can’t top when you’ve just heard something new for the time. This thirst motivates me to be actively seeking out new music all the time and in turn, exposes me to new artists, side-projects or whatever.
Music for me is a very personal, and I tend to avoid being influenced by anyone. I think I’ve got pretty acute tastes which I try to develop organically and not in response to whatever the current trend is. There’s probably only a handful of people whose taste in music I would trust implicitly – occasionally this goes against my favour and I end up dismissing and overlooking some great new act, but by and large it serves me well.

What would your dream line-up for an H&P night of hedonism be?
Scott Walker would have to get himself out of his reclusive state and back to singing about prostitutes. Fela Kuti would be alive and have his band in tow. Alela Diane would make a mid-afternoon appearance. Marie LaForet and Edith Piaf would kick things off. Suicide would feature, as would the original CAN line-up. Four Tet would do something – likely with James Holden. Ricardo Villalobos would perform a DJ set incorporating a live element – likely with Luciano. Bodies of Water and a Silver Mt Zion would join musical forces. Dave Clarke would play a rare electro/booty set. Arthur Russell would be kicking about. So would Nina Simone. Kid Creole and The Coconuts. Andrew Weatherall and Ivan Smagghe would do their Wrong Meeting thing. Dan Deacon would feature, as would Ben Butler and Mousepad, Prince, Joakim and his new band. The Disco would join Poni Hoax. Lindstrom and Prins Thomas would be there too. Daniele Baldelli, Pilooski and the Dirty Soundsystem would all join myself and David Barbarossa, Jamie Thomson, Jackmaster and those Optimo chaps. This would all take place in a stately home – more likely over the course of a weekend than a night. Admission, naturally, would be free.

The next Huntleys & Palmers Audio Club night is at Variety Club in Glasgow on December 13. Then Andy and co take over Stereo for their NYE bash with Errors, Congregation, Ben Butler & Mousepad and David Barbarossa. Visit






“ I’m always on the look-out for new music – a feeling you can’t top when you’ve just heard something new for the time. This thirst motivates me”