In just under three years, Zutekh has risen to become one of the biggest and most exciting names on Manchester's party circuit.
From humble student beginnings in Derry to playing at some of the biggest club events in the country (Warehouse Project, anyone?), the night has gone from strength to strength thanks to the hard work of the guys behind it as well, of course, to its loyal fans.
We chat to Zutekh's Damian and James to find out all about the night's past, present and future, and the secrets behind the night's success.
How did Zutekh begin? What was the original idea behind it?
James: Zutekh first originated in Derry, Ireland before moving to Manchester in September 2008. I initially set the night up with a very good childhood friend until I relocated to Manchester to study. The idea behind it when I came to Manchester was to basically give our friends a party they can enjoy and create an underground night showcasing some of the best DJs in UK house and techno as an outlet for our own residents to play the music we love.
Where did the name come from?
James: The name again originally came from my early years DJing and promoting in Derry. A boring day in the college library and a quick look through many music sites, magazines, cutting and pasting words and phrases finally got me to come up with something original. The name at first was meaningless but nearly three years on it now just means “a damn good party”.
Were all members involved from the start?
James: When we started off in Saki Bar, it was just myself, Dave and Henny but after four parties there we met Damian and then Richard, and when they got involved that was the real turning point for us.
Damian: We all met through DJing and living in Manchester and were brought together through the love of music and a good party. From then on we realised we have more in common and wanted to all put our heads together and make something good out of our passion. We’re now an extended family with us five and then Carl and Meano who look after the designs and visuals, and Sam who covers our photography.
What do you think it is about Zutekh that’s made it such a success so far?
Damian: First and foremost, the support from our loyal following that make the atmosphere what it is, the hard work from the team involved and all the DJs that we have had play over the years have all brought something to the table and made it work well so far – we’re really grateful.
What’s your criteria when booking artists?
Damian: Primarily we are all DJs so our combined music tastes and constant digging for good music keeps up on the pulse in general – we have a good idea what we like and what we think would make a good party so we choose what we believe in and want to share with people. Also a vital part is that we want to know whether a DJ can actually work the crowd, we want everyone to have the best night they can so the DJs need to deliver and not just be a known name.
- Date: Friday 4th March 2011
- Event: Zutekh & Construct w/ Craig Richards (fabric) & Subb-an at Sound Control
- Venue: Sound Control
- Artists: Craig Richards
You pride yourself on not sticking to any one genre – so what’s the common ingredient that binds all your parties together?
Damian: We kind of waver between Disco, House and Techno so there are a lot of grey areas in between to choose from. We don’t want to just book the same formula of music style each time; we want to keep it interesting for us and for the crowd so they experience fresh, good quality music every time. What really binds the parties together is the crowd’s eagerness to hear new music. We honestly believe that we have the best crowd in the city. Everyone is friendly and it is a real good vibe in there; that makes whatever DJ we have on want to play their best!
What’s a typical Zutekh crowd?
James: A lovely bunch of party animals!
Damian: Our crowd is a mixed bag; they range from students and graduates to purist music lovers, DJs and Promoters from the scene. We also get people who haven’t been out to a night for years, the proper music heads; when we had Slam on in February a 40 year old man said he hasn’t been out for years and was allowed by his wife to come because she understands the music will be what they used to go to years ago when they were raving! Everyone is welcome with the right attitude basically.
What up and coming local DJs are you backing at the moment?
Manchester has tons of great DJs and the likes of Ruthit and Calor, Andro & Dimit, Arnaldo of course our very own Zutekh DJs sets are ones to watch out for. Keep an eye out for Morris Cowen, Cytukay, Sellie, Aura and Oli Furness too; they all are local and have some great productions on the go.
Your favourite Manchester club?
It may sound a bit biased but Sound Control hands down! The basement in particular with its bare bricked walls and raw appearance all add to its unique character; it came at a time when the Manchester scene needed a kick in the right direction and in just over a year it has become the perfect venue for a rave! Secondly I have had many a good night each season at the WHP at Store Street, it is a nothing short of a miracle what they do to transform that car park on a Friday afternoon!
Your fondest Zutekh memory?
James: Chris Duckenfield’s History of Acid House set back in July 2010 was the highlight of the year for me at Zutekh. It was an amazing musical journey for anyone lucky enough to be there and of course Chaka Khan's “Ain't Nobody” went down a treat 4am to finish off the night.
Damian: The launch of Zutekh at Sound Control with Terry Francis playing to a full capacity club was pretty special but mine would have to be watching the crowd go wild to Adam Shelton dropping an amazing set in November 2010 giving us no choice but to make him a resident DJ for 2011.
What other Manchester promoters are doing exciting things at the moment?
James: I really love what Uber:motion are doing in Sound Control, they’ve had some fantastic line-ups recently and are definitely ones to watch. Drum clinic is another night to watch out for their Dubstep and Techno crossover is definitely guaranteed to be a big success.
Damian: We’re spoilt for choice in Manchester at the moment T-Pot, Arthouse, Audiofarm, Back2Front, Fingerprint, Micron and Dirty Analogue have all been doing really good stuff independently in the scene for a good while now.
What are your plans for Zutekh over the next year? Any plans to expand outside of Manchester?
It’s already looking like a busy year for us. We have got a few things planned to do some one-off parties in Liverpool and Derry in the coming months. We also have some big DJ gigs with the WHP and out of town in Leeds, Birmingham and London coming up. In the Summer we are playing Parklife Weekender which will be ace, and then in July we're off to Croatia as part of Hideout Festival to play alongside a huge line-up at open air clubs, beach bars and boat parties on Zrce beach.
Interview by: Jayne Robinson
Friday March 4th sees Zutekh bring Fabric legend Craig Richards to Sound Control. Tickets are available through Skiddle below.
Tickets are no longer available for this event
You can find these artists/djs playing at the following events:
Originally published: 28th Feb 2011