Located as it is, half way between Angel and Hackney, Stoke Newington and the City, Dalston has traditionally been ‘a place on the way somewhere else’ rather than a destination in its own right. With an East London Line tube station set to open there next year, and a sometimes-brutal wave of gentrification underway, all that’s changing. The outside world has discovered Dalston.
But, eclectic music lovers, ignore — if you can — the tribes of wannabe Broadway Market coffee-shop hipsters, avert your gaze from the Friday-night mobs of Fulham-ite boys and trustafarian girls on Kingsland Road, and add ‘E8‘ right at the top of your list of ‘must-visit’ London postcodes. Cafe Oto is a Wire magazine-reader’s dream of a venue, legendary jazz bar The Vortex is now ensconced in Gillett Square; and over the past couple of years the fire-trap basements of Shacklewell have hosted, for those in the know, the best underground parties in town. The most famous night to emerge from that scene is Disco Bloodbath, justly fêted for great sound, below-any-radar vibes, a friendly, mixed crowd and (need we say it) disco, disco, disco.
Now the people behind DBB have teamed up with the creators of legendary Shoreditch club Trailer Trash (which has just celebrated its fifth birthday), to build a brand new café/bar/venue — Dalston Superstore — which officially opens this week, just north of the Rio Cinema.
We’re tipping the Superstore as a landmark new venue for East London clubland, and caught up with DBB’s Dan Beaumont to ask him a few questions about the venture:
BST: Who’s involved in the Superstore?
DAN BEAUMONT: This is a joint venture between me and the Trailer Trash boys. We’ve been looking to start our own venue for a few years now — it’s just taken a long time to find the perfect spot!
You’ve got a pretty eclectic mix of people involved, from both sides of the disco/electro divide. How did you all end up working together on this?
We’ve all known each other for quite a while. I’m not sure there’s really a ‘divide’ as such — there’s loads of cross-pollination between the various subcultures of East London. Disco and electro are really just two sides of the same coin.
Why Dalston? Why now?
When we started Disco Bloodbath in Dalston we realised how many people live around here with nowhere to go. Shoreditch has become so saturated with bridge and tunnel that loads of interesting, creative and socially adventurous people have ended up around here.
The Dalston scene has been very much about underground parties at secret venues. How does it feel to be building a ‘proper’ venue from scratch, that’s actually on the map!? Do you think this is the end of the Dalston Underground, or will you still be doing basement parties as well?
We’ll always aim to showcase varied and cutting edge music. That’s all we can really aim to do. In terms of what is or isn’t ‘underground’ that’s not really for us to judge. The only way we can move forward is to keep music at the forefront of our venue. We’re not really interested in chasing trends — if you start down that road you can never win!
Which parties will we see running nights at the Superstore? Who would you most love to have behind the decks for a one-off?
At the moment we’re taking it one week at a time! We’ll obviously be throwing Trailer Trash and Bloodbath flavoured parties but we’ll also be showcasing local heroes, established DJs and upcoming talent. We’ve already got a few of our favourites pencilled in… you’ll have to wait and see who they are!
We tipped up at Hot Boy Dancing Spot’s hardhat-and-hi-viz-themed pre-pre-pre-launch party at the Superstore at the weekend. Still a building site, the space worked brilliantly (though some aircon downstairs would be a blessing!). We’re looking forward to the finished product.
[Big thanks to Dan for this interview. Photo © Darrell Berry. And, yes, that's a picture of someone flaunting power tools on a dancefloor...]