Change The Record: Mister Saturday Night’s Eamon Harkin Talks
For seven years Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin have been the hard working force behind what is a deceptively simple, yet effective approach to partying. Mister Saturday Night has become vital to the new school of club music, as the pair continue to diversify and expand the boundaries of dancefloor acceptability. We caught up with Eamon Harkin, to learn more about the strategic goal and mission which has led to the pair travelling the world and bringing joy to the masses.
It's well documented that Eamon and Justin take inspiration from the legendary parties Optimo and Body & Soul. "They were dishing up the same DJs every time," Harkin said, "the party wasn't about going to see so-and-so, it was about going to this thing on a regular basis to consume an experience, to connect with friends through a community, and that community was built on the dancefloor."
Vanishingly few parties come close to the kind of intimate musical identites associated with Optimo and Body & Soul, but that it is what Mister Saturday Night aims at. "A consistently similar experience like that is a something else entirely," Harkin said, "There's not many examples of it. Bradley's party in London is an example of that here [Canavan's in Peckham]. But it's hard to do. It's a lot of work."
The 'musical identity' of a party, forged by playing records which change the way people view music, is something Harkin wants to shine a light on. "That's a huge reason Optimo was so important to me," he said, "I discovered music, and thought about music differently by listening to Keith and Jonnie DJ. I aspire to do the same. That mission is often not talked about when people write up about Mister Saturday Night."
Mister Saturday Night's 'musical identity' is also shaped and formed by the releases on their label. "The General Ludd record that's coming out is a really special record," Harkin told me. "We've had it for about a year, the timescales have meant it's taken a long time to get out. The A-Side just kills it every time on the dancefloor, and the other tracks do that rolling percussive thing really well. Yeah. We're really happy with the records that have gone on this year." Harkin said happily, "They're all strong. The artwork is great, well received. We're really proud of them all – I think you're going to just see more of the same going forward… But with some interesting surprises as well."
Throughout the conversation, Eamon reflected upon why the differences between Mister Saturday Night and other parties are so important to him and Justin. "We want people to experience and "consume" music in a way that's new to them," he said, "We buy and dig for a wide vareity of music across a wide variety of genres. The transcendent moments I've had on dancefloors is from DJs making me think about music in a different way – We aim to do that. Going across different genres when it would just be easier to bang out techno for a couple of hours."
As our conversation was winding down, Harkin tells me "the questions you've asked are all good questions. But the press we receive does tend to tell the same story… how we met, our inspirations, what makes a good party etc etc." Guilty. After having been asked a series of questions about drinks, prices, and venues, Harkin said, "I don't think anything we've done is rocket science. We just thought about what was important to us. What we'd like to focus on is the music!" Aah yes. The music. "We'd like to talk about that more than security and drinks prices and the rest of it. That story has been told."
"The 'influences' piece with you guys was great, because it talked to the musical side of what we're about. The 'Weekends and Beginnings' mix CD and the vinyl samplers were great for that, giving us a chance to put out musical products that are a representation of the party," Harkin told me. "Another example is the Maurice Fulton remix of Alice Smith. It feels connected to our party. We'll go to Japan and play it and people will cheer becasue they know it's a part of it. The personality of the record is there, and that's what is interesting and exciting for me. That's where my head is at right now."
Harkin told me a little more about a new project called 'Planetarium', which runs with the idea of putting the music first. "We sell a small number of tickets, people bring bean bags, sleeping bags, blankets. Just chill out and spread around this loft and Justin and I play the types of records that we listne to at home for about 5 hours. People zone out, bring their own food and drinks. We drop in some musical surprises in the form of live performances. It's about consuming music in a communal listening environment rather than a dancing environment." Sounds like another string to the Mister Saturday Night bow, "the response has been great!" Harkin said.
At the moment, there are no dates set for the next Mister Saturday Night London trip – "but we'll be there soon" Harkin reassured me.