Damon Martin explains the rise of cult UK club night Disco Bloodbath, who play Dubai this month
How did Disco Bloodbath originally come about? It started in 2007 – me and the other residents, Ben Pistor and Dan Beaumont, had been asked to take over a basement in an old Caribbean restaurant in London. This guy had been given the venue to do something with, and he’d tried garage raves but they attracted crime and violence, so he stopped doing them. And then, just before I came along, it had been a dominatrix’s dungeon – when I went down there, there was a whip, a weird throne with straps, and a cage. The walls were purple-pink and it was so weird that I fell in love with the place.
What? Why did the she leave all her stuff behind? From what I understand, she had a drug problem or something and she hadn’t been paying the rent, so the landlord had to kick her out. It was a special place, anyway.
Crikey. So what happened then? It should have held 80-something people, but we grew to the point that we started attracting 200-plus people. Eventually we moved out, which was a shame, and started playing all over the place. We like to do small parties and big parties – we don’t want to give up the intimacy that made the early days so special.
So what does Disco Bloodbath sound like? The music that we play at the club isn’t really one particular genre, it’s just whatever we find exciting. Generally, we try to progress the night musically as we go along, rather than playing bangers from start to finish. We usually play leftfield kind of stuff early on, and it peaks with high-energy, high tempo Italodisco or vintage house records, and some newer stuff as well. And then into the early hours we space things out and try to go a little weird. So that’s how I’d summarise it. But it’s different being a touring DJ – at home you have a rapport with the crowd and you know what you can get away with, but this will be an away gig so you’ve got to be very careful to make sure you know what the crowd is getting into, rather than being too clever about it.
Tell us a little bit about your production work. The only things that have been released are remixes under the Disco Bloodbath name – the most high-profile ones are remixes for Franz Ferdinand, Little Boots and The White Lies. It’s an ongoing learning thing for us, the production thing. We’ve got about four or five different original tracks in various stages of completion that will hopefully see the light of day in the near future.
How did you get the high-profile gigs that early on? We did a couple of lower-profile things for smaller bands who were friends of friends. But we happened to know someone in Franz Ferdinand’s management and when they were brainstorming our names came up. Not as producers or anything, but because the club and our DJ nights had profile in that crowd. It’s a terrible case of nepotism [laughs], but it worked out fine for us so we’re not complaining.