Music at Nimhneach
Note: this is a new page created on May 3rd 2011 and as such, is still under construction.
Nimhneach DJs: Rebel Red and DJ Myziet.
About the Music at the Club
I have to say that the one area of Nimhneach that gets almost as many queries as that old chestnut “What can I wear to gain admission?” is about music. As the guys about who you can all harrumph and tsk about if ain’t to your taste, I just want to address the music for Nimhneach in terms of what its aims are, rather than address individual genres, artists or songs played. Hopefully that might give everyone a better idea of why it shapes musically up as it does and why we don’t play Nine Inch Nails all night… or for that matter, Britney Spears . Then maybe at the end you can ask yourselves if it’s simply a question of “Shouldn’t we play more kinky music?” of which there is actually very little that people actually know and can recognise; if they don’t know it, kink references in songs get lost anyway, as people are too busy enjoying the night to listen to lyrics.
Nimhneach is a play/fet club and the focus always has to be on play. Therefore the music is there as a facilitator, generating and enhancing the atmosphere (if done right) and not being the focus in itself. This was fine in the Voodoo Lounge, which hosted Nimhneach from 2006 to 2008. The space to dance was extremely limited and for nearly 2 years that’s what was concentrated on.
Then we moved to the wonderful Hub where music had room to breathe but needed a whole new strategy and finding a balance was always going to be difficult. For example, we now had the prospect of a dance floor full of gorgeous people strutting their very funky stuff.
However a full dance floor and no play means the music has failed in its aim, probably the only club in the Dublin where a throbbing dance floor can be judged a failure. While an empty dance floor can be a sign that people aren’t enjoying the music, it may also be that the music has fostered an atmosphere of play and been a huge success (for example, I never saw as much play at an event as I did in April 2011, when the dance floor was empty for much of the night. Some of this was down to the small size of the crowd, making for a more intimate atmosphere and never getting the critical mass on the dance floor that draws people on to dance. That was a night which I’d consider to be a successful night on the decks by those playing music.
Of course the play and the dance floor is not necessarily the right gauge by which to judge the music either, as there is also the general ambience in the club also. Plus it will ebb and flow during the night, there will bestage shows and there is one huge problem: because it’s not a music club. E.g. everyone going to Dominion knows what to expect), there is a massive range of musical likes in the same club.
I still remember 2 very respected professional DJs coming to guest-DJ in 2009, and they did so for some hours, scratching their heads as to what they had to do to get the crowd going, despite all my input. They finally shook their heads at the end, admitting to feeling they couldn’t quite grasp what was needed, despite putting in a great effort and playing nearly every request given to them on the night.
You therefore have 2 main options: play ambient, background music the whole night that no-one hates but no-one loves. Or take on the challenge of making the music great for everyone at least some of the time. Also you are dealing with a club in Ireland and no matter what great outfits we wear, or how many floggers we wield, people in Ireland simply love to party. It’s one of the great things about living here but means that in a venue where you are trying to play music to be conducive to play, loads of people still wanna jump and jive.
We literally spend hours and even days preparing by…
- researching and finding music to keep it fresh and new each month
- ripping songs in lossless sound quality format where possible
- burning CDs
- compiling play lists
- running through hundreds of new songs
- trawling through record stores for remixes of well known songs
- asking people for their own suggestions
- taking requests on the night
This is all before you actually play your very first song for just one night. And then you have to try keep it fresh by changing it every month and again the month after that and don’t forget the 10 other months this year… And after all that, trying to please all the people at least some of the time and coping with the almost impossible task of playing what will go down well with most – when some wanna party, some play, some chill, etc. – across such a diverse range of musical tastes.
We still get people splashing complaints on the boards about how they didn’t enjoy the music or “it was better last month” or they have been to 4 Nimhneachs (hearing 300-400 songs) but would like to complain about one song they didn’t like.
So! How do we tackle this no-right-answer riddle? Well with the aim to enhance the club atmosphere to keep focus on play, cater for the hugely diverse tastes in music and still allow people to have had partied, the night is divided in sets. It starts slowly, creating a chilled welcoming (we hope) atmosphere where people can ease into the night during a quiet first hour. Then the tempo ups a bit with some more rock and pop music up to about 11 from where we enter the ‘dark’ phase of the night for a couple of hours – goth, industrial, maybe some metal. From there we make it very cool with some new wave and 80s and remixes before shifting gear to more danceable stuff. Then finish the night with more party-like material and stuff that’s just simply fun for the last hour (lots of people hate this and think it should stay heavy but many just wanna bop or be girly and those who like it heavier got their ‘fix’ earlier in the night).
During all that we need to keep each set flowing but also keep the whole night moving along naturally also. So if there’s some serious industrial stuff going on and you request Abba’s Dancing
Queen, unless Marilyn Manson’s done a cover, you ain’t getting it – nothing personal! Similarly, if it’s 2.30 in the morning and people are groovin’ to Britney, you just ain’t gonna get your beloved Nine Inch Nails, we play that 11pm-1:30am. So, we hope you appreciate but if not, at least do understand, pretty please. It ain’t easy…
We are always open to suggestions if anyone wants to email us offline (fetish at fetish.ie) `cos we could fill the board with a hundred posts on the types of music, songs etc. people would like to hear. Ultimately, a call has to be made as to what’s suitable and refusal to play something is not personal, it’s purely with the club in mind.
Even when good suggestions are sent in, those songs still need to be sourced, burned onto CD, listened through to make sure they’re ok, fitted into sets on the night, etc. So if you don’t hear your suggestions this Sat, trust me they will be played in the weeks and months ahead. We play about 100 songs a night, that’s 1,200 in a year…
I’m at rebelred32 at either gmail.com or yahoo.com
Yours in music,
Still to come: lists of artists we play on the night.