Last weekend marked the inaugural London show from Glaswegian promoters InterChange. The event at revered London venue FOLD, was part one of a two day back-to-back weekend up and down the UK for their headline act; French techno heavyweights Viper Diva (Shlømo and Hadone).
With the second show taking place just 24 hours later at the other end of the UK in Glasgow’s infamous Room 2, it’s fair to say InterChange are setting the pace for how a techno night should be executed.
Made up of Johneil Campbell, Dwayne Gilpin, and Brendan Campbell, these guys have been making some serious noise throwing wild parties up in Glasgow, starting off at their houses and building up to a special one off stint at the Rotunda (basically Scotland’s answer to the Gashouder). In just a short time, they’ve garnered a loyal following thanks to an ethos of bringing the finest international techno artists to perform at their raves and a penchant for delivering.
With a stacked line up running from 22:00 until 06:00, we arrived in good stead to catch all the DJs performing that night. Situated in an industrial estate in the heart of canning town, the easily mistaken club hides in plain sight with no signage, graffiti stained walls and a heavy metal gate kept securely locked until the clock strikes 10pm.
Getting in to the venue was no hassle, as long as you’ve got your physical ID, it’s a search and then up the stainless steel steps into the mysterious underworld club. With no photography or videography permitted, FOLD is shrouded in a cult mysticism, perpetuated by the club-goers that do not want that experience to change.
It felt like we were walking into the iconic rave scene in the 1998 film Blade. You know the one, hidden beneath the meat factory in a concrete playground with “Confusion” by New Order (Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix) blasting in the background.
Once inside we’re instantly met by a room doused in ominous red lighting. We put our belongings in one of the metal box lockers and make our way deeper into the belly of the beast. Once through the next door we’re right in the thick of it, what can only be described as a raver’s equivalent to Narnia.
Making our way to the one bar in the club, staff were welcoming, queues were swift and prices were more than reasonable, with our order of bottled water coming to £2.50. You could also grab a beer from £6.00 and mixers starting around £7.00. There was a water fountain in the corridor before the dance floor to refill your bottle easily too.
FOLD feels big for a 550 capacity venue. With the event completely selling out, and despite being a “small club” there was plenty of space to dance whilst being full. Sharing the room with like-minded people, we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. Both FOLD and InterChange have a clear reputation for well-executed events, and the crowd were upbeat, energetic, and friendly all night. Looking around the room it was either smiling or bass faces – things we love to see.
Kicking things off on the night was InterChange’s own Brendan Campbell aka BRASS TRAXX. Marking his debut FOLD set, the co-founder and resident DJ quickly found his feet and built the room nicely. Easing us in from 10pm, then showing a quick-fire flash of what he’s made of as ravers started to pile in for the second hour. Steadying the pace before handing over to Trudge, his opening set was the perfect intro to kickstart our journey.
Next up found French DJ and producer Trudge. Real name Alexandre Corchia, the rapidly emerging talent came locked & loaded with a live set up all the way from his home in Paris. Trudge played an invigorating live performance, with nail-biting breakdowns pulling us into a false sense of security before an eruption of heavy-hitting kick drums blasted into the room. Using an Electron drum machine and Ableton pad, he effortlessly blended records together, creating live loops and effects unique to that set. His energy was relentless, jumping and grooving along to the beats pumping through the speakers which were now in full swing.
The sound system was made of Concept Function 1s, DBs, and 8 custom built subs, and boy did this thump. No matter where you stood in the venue, swathes of crisp sound hit you, leaving that giddy feeling in your stomach as the records build up and break down. Hands down, this is one of the best sound systems we’ve ever heard. Shoutout to James Newmarch who took control of the audio that night.
As we moved further into the night it was time for the next guest to step up; São Paulo born, London-based Giselle Guedes. An artist who’s meteoric rise we’ve been watching closely, and were excited to see what all the fuss was about first hand. Safe to say, the MASS resident did not disappoint. Upping the ante, Giselle wasted no time making herself known with an injection of pace. Bone-crunching kicks underpinned by unhinged acid lines and chaotic rave stabs were a regular theme throughout her lightning fast set.
With just two sets left, it felt like the night was flying by. You know that saying? Thankfully we still had another 4 hours of top drawer raving to go. By this point some of the staff were on their break and chose to spend it by joining the crowd for a dance. Wonderful to see, you could tell that the staff weren’t just here for work, they were regular punters to the club themselves and part of the same community which curates this unique experience.
As we looked back up Mindbreak was setting up camp behind the decks. The second InterChange resident to play the night and another co-founder of the event. Real name, Dwayne Gilpin the DJ & producer is no stranger to the game, having played around the globe for the past 10 years. As the set began we made our way to the left hand side of the room where we found a raised platform giving us a better view of the action.
Getting a glimpse of his set up, which encompasses the use of control pads and Ableton to create new tracks on the fly, it was like we could see the dark magic happening. Opting for a more hypnotic and mind-bending selection of tunes (complementing his artist name) the genre-hopping performance left us in a state of delirium, married with the venue’s entrancing production.
For lighting, we were treated throughout the night to intense strobes colourful lasers and rotating spotlights. The more minimal approach to lighting complemented the venue and music perfectly, with lighting adding to the music rather than overpowering it. A large LED screen behind the DJ displayed trippy visuals and doubled up as a giant strobe for those big crescendos. The slits on the windows add an eerie but intriguing effect, letting in tiny amounts of light. As the sun rises though, thin beams of light flood the dance floor creating a warmth in the room and a shared moment with the crowd as it first trickles through.
Before a quick freshen up in the toilets and some air outside on the caged balcony smoking area overlooking the industrial wilderness which surrounds the club, we were ready for the closing spectacle. Up steps, Viper Diva. Comprised of two artists who need little introduction, the collaboration project of Shlømo and Hadone combines two generations of producers held together by a yoke of friendship and simply outrageous techno.
Their performance was everything we’d hoped and more, pulling us from pillar to post with wall-shaking kick drums, warped breaks and anthemic synth melodies. Stand out tracks from their set included their very own iconic tune “Born To Be Slytherin” and “Alice”, released on the pair’s co-run label; Saike. With just a few moments left, the pair unleashed their final weapon; a hellish spawn of gut-wrenching gabber with the entire room flashing red and white uncontrollably whilst the sun rose to bring an experience we’ll never forget to an emphatic close.
Speaking about the event, InterChange said:
It was a pretty surreal weekend from start to finish. The standard from the Fold team was exceptional, you can tell it’s a venue run by people that understand music. The genuine feeling of community and inclusion was on a level I’ve not experienced and everything came together really smoothly. Viper Diva, Trudge, Giselle and all the Fold staff were a pleasure to work with and made the experience special.Interchange
It’s definitely a night that will live with us forever.
Big up the InterChange guys for this one. Bringing Viper Diva for their London debut was a special moment, but each DJ brought their own unique flavour of techno that pushed the vibe and envelope of the genre. Fold is truly a pantheon for the underground, creating a safe space for all to enjoy and escape the confines of the outer world. With no filming permitted, the entire crowd were engrossed on the rave at hand, a rare find in today’s scene. Bring on the next one.