“Like The Best Sleep Over Ever…” : Nightspot Cinema Talk
Nightspot came into life around a year back, the project of three friends who knew they liked a party, but were looking for something a bit more fun than sticking a laptop botherer in the corner of a club and watching him churn out this week's house hits. To this end, Ricardo, Marlon and Jason decided to start putting on events where they would accompany film screenings with venue take-overs, bringing live performances, DJ sets, lectures, record fairs, and packed out dancefloors. They're about to take on their most ambitious event yet – a screening of the Daft Punk soundtracked Tron:Legacy in a central London lazer quest centre, followed by increasingly boozy games of lazer tag, running right through til 4am.
Naturally, we at Ransom Note were always going to be ready for an event that combined dystopian sci-fi, Daft Punk bangers, shooting at strangers, and the frantic necking of cocktails, so we decided to ask the Nightspot boys just how they set up their very own, vaguely chaotic, cinematic promotions company. Here's some highlights from a year of madness…
What was the first project you did as Nightspot?
Ricardo: Nightspot started up with me and Jason working at London Fields Brewery – we got a chance to put on an event so we sat down and thought what do we wanna do? We had all these ideas that were actually bollocks until we came up with Nightspot Cinema. The first screening we did was with Future Shorts, we thought it’d be better to do it with another company – it was the summer collection. We put on the shorts with live music, food, cocktails – it went really well, and we took it from there –
So what came next?.
Jason : We were going to do a second thing, but then event's over took us – the Brewery is owned by Jules Whiteway, who you maybe heard of? (ed – we have indeed heard of Jules. Back in 2004 Whiteway got sentenced to 12 years for cocaine dealing – according to press he was running a 10.5 million quid empire serving up to celebrities and city folk. His sentence was eventually converted into an order requiring him to pay back the £2million he'd apparently cheated the tax payer of- no we're not sure how they work out the tax on drugs either. Anyway, last December, HMRC had decided that Whiteway was stowing away cash from his brewing profits and raided the London Fields Brewery. A couple of weekends before Nightspot were meant to hold a night there. Back to the story.)
Ricardo: So when HMRC raided the Brewery, all of Jules's licenses were taken away. At this point we had an event coming up with Bunny Striker Lee, pre-premiering his film I Am the Gorgon. He was in Britain for a month, we had him booked, he was gonna talk about his film, then we were gonna have a big jungle dub party after, and two or three weeks before the whole thing got shut down. We had promo running, tickets sold, everything. And HMRC came and took all the beer..! So that night didn't happen…
But you bounced back!
R: Yeah! It took a long time… We climbed through a world of shit but we came back!
J: What we found with this sort of project was that ideas are one thing, orgainsation is one thing, but what’s important is managing your emotional connection to the thing, when you get hit like that, sometimes it’s quite difficult to pull yourself back out, and re-gain some control
R: It was a good thing in some ways because it made us re-evaluate what we planned, we were like, lets regroup and think about what our next step is. It made us tighten everything up, all our concept and our ideas.
J: The next thing we did was in Brixton Electric with a screening of Soundsystem Culture, with Congo Natty, Channel One, Aba-Shanti. It’s a film made in Huddersfield.
And what was that about?
J:They’re a heritage project, it’s come off the back of a book about the soundsystems in the North. What’s brilliant about soundsystem culture is that it’s an underground music scene
R: And we can recreate these scenes
Were there any disasters this time round?
R:It went pretty well. Brixton Electric is a BIG venue. For us it was great, we had the venue set up, we were working in tandem with Dub 2 Life, piggy backing on some one elses promotion, testing out getting our name out there.
J: It was ridiculous – Electric is massive, we went in there and were like what have we signed ourselves up for! And then it came off
R: On the day we were sitting in a room thinking fuck!, then we watched the tickets sell more and more, we sold out on the day, so we went down there ready to party!
J: I’ve got to say that we learnt to keep our recreational lives separate from our responsibilities
R: Hahaha this fella here had an interesting moment when he tried to interview Congo Natty when he wasn’t entirely compos mentis.
J: He was with his daughter as well… oh man .. it was really late, we’d finished our cinema bit at 11, and this was at 3 in the morning, and yeah we’d partied a little bit, and came bowling into his room for an interview. He was not impressed. I lost the boundary between talking about him and jungle, and us and Nightspot cinema. I just wanted a quote!
R: We’ve got it on film and everything man…
J: We’ve been recording everything and we’ll have all the footage up when we launch the websote
R: Next up was another link up with Future Shorts, it was back in London Fields Brewery, we had a snow machine when you walked in, it looked great, and the night was going really well, it was completely sold out, rammed, a massive queue outside.
J: And we were literally about to turn the projector on, and the venue manager who was a young lad who’d only just started working there turned all the lights off, but to do so he pulled the power out and shut down the electricity in the whole place. The whole venue had to reset itself, and then we couldn’t get the spotlight to turn off – we had to run the films with it on- it was so funny, from such a high to such a low! The lights on the stage wouldn’t turn off. There were lights on in the cinema. But we seemed to get away with it.
R: Then after that we did the Northern |Soul event at the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club, and it went perfectly, we had a vespa onstage, the place was sold out, it was beautiful –
J: For the first time it went swimmingly. We weren’t collaborating with anyone, and it all went smoothly
How do you differentiate yourself from someone like Secret Cinema?
R: With us, if you wanna come, come however you wanna come, we’re more about the music and the vibe. You can come as you are and enjoy the night, we’ll put you into the film.
J: Secret Cinema are amazing, but their events finish early, and quite often people will go along, watch the film and then want more – our point is that we’re about music, all our films are either about music or have a famous score, as in the case of the upcoming showing of Tron
R: We actually opted to go with the new Tron, rather than the original – which is a classic- because the new one has such a strong Daft Punk soundtrack.
J: The film is kind of like an entry way into a very special kind of party
R: Like the best sleep over ever – you watch the film then you get into the party vibe!
J: So we're doing Tron in an established lazer tag arena, and they have some very talented lazer questers in there- we’re gonna get one of the pro-team, super cool invincible gamers to play the character of Tron, and if you beat Tron you’ll get some sort of prize.
I remember coming up against some pretty serious grown men who were lazer questing when I was a kid doing it
J: I know exactly what you mean! When I was a kid playing lazer tag, this women, this fully grown woman, big woman, literally pushed me into the corner, held her gun on my chest thing and just racked up points while I squirmed and cried!
Let's hope that doesn't happen again…
The first release of tickets for Nightspot's screening of Tron have now sold out – a second release, along with more info on the event, is available here