An interview with WestPier
As the end of university draws ever closer for thousands of undergraduates, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Cat Gough speaks to four groups of Sussex finalists who have been bypassing institutions and internships and starting their own creative projects.
Third-year students, Frank Nankivell, Tom Smare and Glenn Raymond this year created a multi-genre electro/dance/disco club night, WestPier, with the promise of cheap drinks and good music. Now on its fifth night of the year, and well on the way to becoming an integral part of the Brighton club scene, we spoke to the boys about how WestPier has developed over the year…
What made you decide you wanted to begin your own club night?
Frank: We started our own club night as we were always interested in the electronic music scene but wanted to run an event that moved away from the commercialisation of electronic dance music.
We previously enjoyed going to parties in Brighton and wanted to further this by making sure the Brighton scene continued and that we were able to influence it in a positive direction.
Has the night developed into what you hoped it would be?
Frank: Yes and no. We didn’t really know where the club event would go when we started it. I suppose it probably has, our next event on the 14th March is a serious club night with a DJ who’s up and coming at the moment called Adesse. Thinking back I don’t know if we’d have thought we’d have been able to book him, but I’m glad the direction we’ve moved in has been something serious and is the music we are all interested in hearing out.
How did you go about setting up the night? (How did you get the right venue and equipment sorted etc?)
Frank: To set the night up we made enquiries about the venue; as that was the most important thing, and we quickly formed a relationship with Paul Budd who runs the events at 10below and the Loft. We already had contacts with a few DJ’s who are friends, and both Tom and Glenn also DJ – so the music part was already covered. However, we furthered this by making connections through friends of friends within the Brighton scene to get stronger and more established DJ’s to play at each subsequent event.
Westover’s original poster
WestPier’s original poster
What have you learnt from the experience?
Glenn: We’ve tightened our focus on what we all want to do with the night and where we’re going with it. The plan was always to start booking acts, of course, but it seems tighter now – especially with the emergence of our the genre-themed nights. I guess the other side of this is through the experience itself, we’ve become more aware of what we can do within the remit of Brighton; possibly a grounding in being realistic and rational. We weren’t being heady before but we were definitely ambitious with what we could achieve at the early stages, however, that’s not a bad thing, and we always remain like that, I guess.
Have you got any advice you could offer to budding DJ night hopefuls?
Frank: Advice….I think having an idea about what you want to do before you start really helps, also being able to DJ or if you have friends or contacts in the electronic music world can also be a bit help. But other than that its lots of communication and networking, hard work and presenting yourself as the serious deal rather than n amateurs that you really are.
Glenn: It’s important to differentiate yourself and create a reputation around that niche – it’s all well and good starting up a club night and that’s cool but, if you want longevity, it’s definitely within a long-term idea that is unique to your night.