- 2 days ago
- 4 days ago
With one of the biggest events on the horizon, I knew that something needed to be put in the archives. Ladies and gentlemen, BLACKOUT MANCHESTER!
By Danny Monroe
Okay, so I did some research on clubs and events and found out that students make up 70% of the nightlife population. With the launch of a new event Blackout, which commences tonight, I thought I would get in the mix with one of the co-directors. With 20,000+ potential attendees Joseph Dent and his business partner are in for a big night.
So Joe…what is Blackout?
"Blackout is like this idea me and my mate Alex had. It’s basically to bring the feel of Ibiza nightlife to Manchester and perhaps further afield in the future. We want people to lose themselves in the music till eventually, it’s like they’re blacking out kinda… I mean not literally, that wouldn’t be too good I don’t think haha"
JEEZ. That sounds raw as fuck man! Where did you get all these crazy ideas? What was there before Blackout?
”Well, me and my partner Alex Arnold both had a background in events, me in Central/East London and him in Manchester. Blackout was Alex’s idea and brainchild so to speak and he brought me in due to my background in music journalism and events and he also knew I had a very strong network. Before the events stuff started rolling I was planning on starting a magazine called SVELTE covering street culture, luxury streetwear fashion and underground music and events. I’ll get back to that at some point when the events stuff gets a bit calmer and regular.”
Ahhhh sick man sick! But what did you personally do before Blackout? Like work and shit?
”Well I studied Pharmacology at UoM. Graduated a couple weeks ago actually. Was tough but I’m glad I got through it. There was a point where I was like washing pots, making coffee/sandwiches and doing bullshit hospitality work around the Manchester region at venues like the Manchester City football grounds. That was sooo shit and minimum wage. Hopefully these events will earn me more moolah than that bollocks. Since I had also done music journalism for 3 years at La Vida magazine, Movement magazine and Turks and Underdog I thought I would give this whole music/events career thing a go! But yeah I used to interview people at places like The Warehouse Project and Sankeys in Manchester as well as festivals such as Found Festival. DJ Heidi from the Warehouse Project was my first ‘victim’ haha.”
How did you and Alex start the business?
“Well we didn’t study events management so we just kinda winged it. We had no idea what was going on, I mean come on…we’re not even a limited company yet! For now, we’re just a partnership with ALL expenditure and profits split right down the middle 50/50. Alex came up with the name , we both contribute to the artwork in a very spontaneous/fast manner, he keeps on top of our finances/budget and I’ve got no life since I’m in charge of music and spend all of my disposable income and time on this project.
Hahahaha, man you’ve got your work cut out! So what are the roles of you and Alex have in the company?
“I’m in charge of music sourcing/managing DJs and producers. I’m also in charge of music programming so room vibes and line ups. I also set up the social media infrastructure of the company => http://www.blackoutmcr.com/. Alex is like the king of Facebook in Manchester, manages the finances, makes sure the night makes money and heads up recruitment. Literally as we speak he’s doing that shit! We’re currently managing 40+ ticket sellers, 70+ DJs and slotting hall reps into the 50 odd halls of residence and private accommodations which cater to students and young professionals in the Manchester region. The best hall reps and ticket sellers we’ll promote to event managers and they’ll keep 100% commission from advance ticket sales.
What qualifications did you get at skewl bruh?
“Well I did Maths, English Lit/Lang, French, History, Classical Civilisation, Biology, Chemistry and Physics at GCSE (6 A’s and 3 A*s). I did French and Physics to AS level (and can still speak a very broken version of it. I’m better at listening and understand though). I did Maths, Biology and Chemistry to A Level (All A’s). I then worked in the Histopathology lab at The London Clinic on Harley Street doing general lab administration stuff and the Medical Records/Genetics/PICU (intensive care ward) at Great Ormond Street Hospital doing ward administration stuff during the day. I did events work in the evenings as well. That occurred over the duration of 2 years after I left school. From those experiences I thought it’d be pretty sick to do Medicine. Did a year up in Manchester but it wasn’t for me as my heart wasn’t in it (don’t do what you don’t enjoy!!!). THEN, I went into Pharmacology and I’ve just recently graduated from that!
"You geek Joe, you geek! Anyways, back to the event. What genres do they revolve around. List them.
“Top floor is gangster house. Working some badboy DJ Sneak and Arun Verone into the mixes. Funky house i.e Azuli Records/Bargrooves/Defected type stuff and then some Berlin techno towards the very end of the night. So the Attic is the rave room. Middle floor we’ve got Balearic, Detroit/Chicago house and French house. So the middle floor is more jazzy, chilled Mambo type vibes. We’ll be opening up the basement soon and we’ve got some serious headliners in the pipeworks. Not going to spill the beans. We probably won’t even announce the headliners. You’ll just have to come to the night for a big surprise muda fuckaaa!
WHOA! So how do you go about selling tickets and keeping on top of finances?
”Well, aside from the usual social media stuff (facebook groups, pages, event walls, twitter, DJ mixes on soundcloud/mixcloud etc) we came up with a couple of niche ideas to drive tickets sales. For example every Thursday morning we are going to post a ‘’secret word’’ with the hash tag #VIBIZA on twitter along with a picture from our Instagram account. Tonight’s word is AMNESIA, the infamous club in Ibiza. With the secret word you get discounted entry but you have to do some research to get it! We’re having x150 £3 early bird and £4 standard advance tickets, x50 reserved for the secret word and x400 on the door. Entry is £4 with the flyer or secret word and £5 for everyone else! We’re looking at making £3200 a night with full capacity.”
Tell me about the web based net label, Joe.
I set that up as a way to organise my brain. With all these DJ’s enquiring about the residency at Sound Control (initially 60+) my head was all over the place!!! So to see how committed and serious they were I asked them to submit a 5 minute mix. Out of the 60 odd 29 submitted a 5 minute mix tape and me and Alex decided on the top 13 for the launch tonight. There are currently 70+ artists on the net label and I hope to launch SVELTE Records from that platform when the time is right alongside the magazine. Musically the net label has artists playing different genres everything from Disco to Techno to Hip Hop to Dnb but there is definitely a main emphasis on House music!!! Most of them are unsigned, hungry and from the Manchester region so I’m hoping it catches the attention of other event managers for DJ bookings, digital distribution companies and music aficionados. I’d like to set it up properly as a DJ agency at some point when I have time!!! They’re all unsigned so having the net label is an inexpensive and really good way to promote their music and our night simultaneously.”
Much planned for the future?
“We wanna set up a fashion brand once the events kick off. Bitches love merch hur hur. And we want the net label to become an official record label, retailing on Beatport and other digital stores. If there’s anyone I’d like to emulate I guess it would have to be someone like Louis Brodinski who runs Bromance Records, Claude Von Stroke who runs Dirty Bird, Bok Bok who runs Night Slugs, Scuba who runs Hot Flush Recordings or Schlohmo who runs the wedidit collective. The end goal would be to have SVELTE magazine up and running so we can have the events, music, fashion and journalism stuff working together simultaneously.
"NICE! Some sick ideas there mate! So I’ve got to ask the all important question, is there gonna be a lot of booty at these events?
“Hahahaha, well I certainly hope so being the ass man that I am! Ass over tits any day! But yeah I’m sure there’s gonna be lots of booty shakin’ going down at our events. We want, big, round and juicy people only haha.
"That was a pretty dope interview! The event launches tonight. This could be one of the biggest UK events of the year!"
Co-Director of Blackout Manchester ::
#Competition: We’re giving away free entry for you and up to 10 friends to @blackoutmcr_ at @soundcontrolmcr, some comp drinks on the #night and these 3 #classic #dance #vinyls; #PT44236 BlackBoxedTotalMix, #PWLT240 2 Unlimited - The Magic Friend and #12TIV15 Reel 2 Real - Go On Move. All you have to do is like, share and tag the friends you want to come with in the comments (up to 10). Winner announced Thursday 6pm. Good luck!