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Square One Talk Drum 'n' Bass in Nottingham

17 November 16 photos: Pierre Melion
interview: Candice Fernández

After celebrating its second birthday last month at Rescue Rooms with The Upbeats, Tantrum Desire and GLXY; Square One has found its home in Nottingham and has been taking the city by storm. Month after month, the music promoters have been booking artists from labels likes Ram, Hospital, Viper, Spearhead, Critical Sound, Shogun Audio and plenty more in the drum 'n' bass world. It’s only getting bigger. We talked to the guys behind it all – Jake Springthorpe and Miles Waghorn – ahead of their next night this Friday.

photo: Pierre Melion

What have you got in store for us this Friday?
We’ve got the usual dosage of next-level lighting and sound systems at Rescue Rooms. However, this time we have stepped it up with international drum 'n' bass-heavy weights, Ram Records’ very own Delta Heavy on their world tour. This is alongside Hospital Records’ kingpin Danny Byrd. Not to mention Hospital’s latest talent, fresh from the USA, Ownglow.

What have been your favourite artists that you’ve booked so far?
There are so many. First of all, we’d have to go with Emperor, just because after having him come back for the second time to present his new album, he absolutely tore Stealth apart. His sets have been absolute lightning. Hybrid Minds have also been a massive highlight, they’re not just lovely guys but they have consistently played the best soulful liquid at Square One, and have become good friends of ours now. Their sets always go across the spectrum. Also, most recently, The Upbeats stole the show at our last event. It was really something special. We saw them a few times at festivals over the summer and had been dying to get them down ever since. Another favourite has to be A.M.C, having him work his magic on four decks was mind blowing – the guy’s a machine!

So it’s just the two of you behind all of this – how do you decide to start Square One?
Both of us have been aspiring DJs for years, and were already playing around the city for other nights. We’d always link up and mix at each other’s houses and just share our passion for drum 'n' bass. One night, the idea of starting up our own drum 'n' bass night sort of spiralled from a pie in the sky idea to actually happening. We both work really well together. We’ve got different strengths and that fits us perfectly. We’re both very hard-working when it comes to pushing what we love and, in this case, what we love is drum 'n' bass.

Square One is now two years old…
It's gone by really quickly. We launched our first ever event two years ago at Market Bar on a rainy Wednesday night where we had Frankee down from Ram Records. The first thing that helped us grow from that point is our close friends, and hardcore drum 'n' bass fans. It’s really hard when you’re starting out, so you really need that sort of community around you to support you. The community was all those people that didn’t want to go to the usual student night in Nottingham, and wanted to come to our little local drum and bass night and support the scene. From there, our following has been growing ever since. So that’s what's been really instrumental to our success. I think the next factor has been our hard work and dedication. Since day one, our aspirations were always throw huge parties in Stealth and Rescue Rooms. It's the home of dance music culture in Nottingham and undeniably one of the best venues in the East Midlands, perhaps even the country. Two years of hard work and persistence has finally landed our dream.

You’ve got pretty far in such a short period of time. Why do you think that is?
We really put our life and soul into Square One, and we just really love drum 'n' bass. It’s all down to passion for the music at the end of the day. No matter what the venue is or who the DJ is, our ultimate thrill comes from looking out into the crowd of ravers and seeing them skanking to the most exciting and energetic music on the planet. Without that passion, I think we would have given up a while ago. There was also definitely a gap in the market as well. Competing nights in Nottingham tend to rinse and repeat the same line-ups every six months. There are so many great artists and music out there that Nottingham have never had chance to see.

You've also got the Square One Sessions scattered across city centre locations…
We started Square One Sessions as we felt it’d be fun to have something special on in the week. There wasn’t really much going on for weeknight bass events so we thought we’d fill that gap once again. We’ve had the Sessions events at dance studios, basements, lofthouses and plenty more secret locations. We obviously have Square One Presents at Rescue Rooms with its huge international artists with lights and sound to match. However on the side, Square One Sessions are a little bit grimier and a little bit darker. Presents and Sessions have slightly different crowds, and slightly different angles in music. Only last week we had ED:IT from Shogun Audio down in a studio space in the city centre, and that was just a perfect example of those people that used to come along at the very start of Square One on Wednesday nights to support the brand. They are still alive and kicking in the city and perfectly willing to go out in what was a very baltic weather night to see their favourite artists and for their love of drum 'n' bass.

What’s next for Square One?
Obviously we’ve got the biggest show to date this Friday at Rescue Rooms, with Delta Heavy, Danny Bryd, Ownglow and plenty more. So that’s a big one that is just around the corner. Coming along later on this winter, just before Christmas, we’re having a Square One Christmas party. All I’m going to reveal about that is it won’t be in a traditional space, it’s definitely not what people will be expecting!

Square One Presents: Delta Heavy, Danny Byrd and Ownglow, Rescue Rooms, Friday 18 November 2016. Facebook event.

Square One website

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