Folks from the University of Nottingham’s Underground Music Society (UoN Underground Music Society) are hosting Wavelength, a charity fundraiser event at Four Four DJ Academy this Saturday.
Featuring student DJs and radio hosts, alongside local names like Lukas Wigflex, this day-and-night event aims to shine a new light on dance music. Sets are broken up with important discussions on mental health issues to show that the scene doesn’t have to only thrive in a blurry 5am darkness.
We caught up with main organiser and vice president, Lulu Parry-Clarke, as well as society president Dan Reading and Social Secretary Nathan Stables as they rush back from a DJ session at Pirate Studios, which they run each Wednesday:
Tell us some more about this event tomorrow…
L: It’s a 16 hour fundraiser with musical sets and we also have radio hosts coming in. They’ll be doing some chats around the sets and talking about issues in mental health. I thought that was quite a cool thing to add to a day event.
N: And it breaks up the music a bit too.
What’s the charity?
L: We’re raising money for Student Minds. I chose it is because I dropped out of university last year because my mental health was on the floor. I couldn’t function. The support I was given by the university was great, but it would’ve been better if my peers had a better understanding of what mental illness looks like and how to support your mates. Student Minds do peer-led support and every week there’s a group set up on campus. They say “it’s not embarrassing to break your leg so why would it be embarrassing to suffer with your mental health?”
I’ve seen so many friends go through crippling mental illness, to the extent where it’s scary. They really can’t function, and I think a lot of it is to do with the pressure of being a student, so it’s great to be able to do something about it.
N: It’s a massive life change. Everything changes.
Other than the charity element, do you have any other aims for the party?
L: It started off as purely being a fundraising event, but we also want to use it as a platform for all students here who are involved In the underground music scene, giving them a place to play.
Everybody involved in the event - except for Lukas and Joe - are students. The graphic designers are students, the radio presenters are students, we’re all students.
As a woman who DJs and wants to go into event management when I graduate, I’ve struggled with the feeling that sometimes, people don’t respect me in the industry - hopefully by hosting events like this, it will help others who feel the same to get some experience and confidence to do what they want to do
What subjects are you going to be discussing in the radio sections?
L: Katlin and Katherine are covering eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Nicky’s talking about imposter syndrome and consent in clubs.
N: We’ve left it with all the radio presenters to speak about what they want to, really.
I can imagine how you’ll have a discussion that might empower people, and then the music will come on afterwards and almost do the same…
L: Yeah, and it sort of softens the blow of deep conversation. If it’s light hearted and there’s a good atmosphere, people might be more inclined to listen, and I feel like a lot of people have a front when it comes to mental health. You start talking about it and they immediately shut down because it’s ‘too much’. I want to make people feel comfortable and open their minds a little bit to how hard it is.
How are you going to be sound tracking the day musically?
L: We’ve got techno, house, electro, disco, drum and bass, dubstep, breakbeat, grime. I’ve tried to block it all together because I feel like it would be nice if people can look at the line-up and say “I really like electro so I’m going to go for this specific time”.
N: A wide variety throughout the whole day. And it flows quite nicely I think.
L: We start with disco and finish with dubstep. I think it’s a good way to do it.
Do you think the chats between the music will help to encourage people to stay for sets played by DJs in genres that they wouldn’t usually listen to?
L: That’s what I am hoping. I love all these genres and I know a lot of others who do too, but I don’t ever see nights with mixed sounds on offer, so that’s what we decided to do.
What is special about the venue, Four Four DJ Academy?
L: It’s just beautiful.
D: It’s got big windows looking over Nottingham, it’s so nice.
N: Compared to other venues that are dingy and dark, it’s a big change and is open to people having a good time.
By starting early, is it going to change the feel of the party?
L: We hope there will be socialising, people talking to people. We want the crowd to be able to go there and not feel the pressure to have to get really drunk.
People are just craving outdoors, fresh air, good music, not drinking to excess. I feel like for lots of evening events, when you get ready and you have pre drinks, people literally nearly vomit trying to finish their drinks. What is going on? It’s ridiculous.
I believe alcohol is one of the biggest social crutches. When I dropped out of university I stopped drinking for five months and my whole perspective on self-esteem and self-awareness changed.
I didn’t wake up in that five months once and think “who did I text last night, what did I do?” That’s so anxiety provoking. It’s so circular with underground music too, where people often go out loads…I don’t think you should have to cut out underground music to get rid of this anxiety though, and the two don’t need to go hand in hand.
None of us (at UoN Underground Music Society) knew each other in September and now I would call all of them my closest mates, I want others to realise that there are people at the University that just want to hang out, and there doesn’t need to be this pressure to ‘go out-out’ to do that.
Wavelength takes place at Four Four DJ Academy on Saturday 30 March, between 8am and midnight.