Freakin has revolutionised the way dance music is brought to the public
About 'Freakin' Time!
I meet York based club night promoter Rich Clark and club promotions manager James Longley as they set out to change the face of the local dance music scene.
It's at a very special time that I managed to sit down with two very inspirational characters who have been hard at work in York to revolutionise the way dance music is brought to the public.
Cups of tea in hand Rich and James filled me in on all the work they've been doing in recent, and not so recent years.
Rich began by describing what Freakin really was:
"Freakin's roots lie in the Northern tradition of losing yourself on a dance floor after the stresses of the working week. It is a refuge of quality House music, fiercely proud of its open-minded attitude.
Freakin provides the intimate and raw atmosphere of acid house for big hitting DJs on the circuit. They don't come for just another pay day; they come because they love the crowd. And that's why 12 years on the floor's still full."
Rich has been in the industry a long time and evidently knew his stuff. Freakin was started in 1996 at The Arts Centre in York where it ran for two years before closure of the Arts Centre led to the search for greener pastures.
1998 onwards saw Freakin jump from venue, to party, to illegal rave, and more recently The Junction, Cert 18 and now Ziggy's night club. The path that led Freakin to where it is today has not been an easy one, as Rich explained:
The Freakin organisers are looking forward to a move into a new venue
"It's been probably the most difficult thing we've had to do in life with frustration of venues and people's attitudes towards dance music. But it's now come around where people have actually figured out that it is a good and positive thing for York to have some dance clubs"
Freakin is a rare phenomenon that has not forgotten where it's come from:
"It's very much a York thing, we have done gigs elsewhere, but we just do it for the people of York really."
Promoter and DJ Rich spends most of his days making posters and flyers, distributing them, getting the word out and promoting online, not to mention preparing mixes for when he plays.
Rich wasn't alone the whole way. Local music fanatics Paul Jackson, ex record shop owner Leo Clayton and Patrick Funk all had a vital input to make the night what it is today.
More recently James Longley has been working with the Freakin boys to improve its new venue Ziggy's, shortly to become The Hub. James went on to explain that months of on-going hard work were needed to change the perception of the venue as it had been widely tarnished as a 'bit of a hole' with dated decor and an uncomfortable layout:
"What we've found by experimenting is that the importance of local established nights is far and beyond the hype of other nights. We've really pursued something that's going to get a 'hub' of people who will then become fundamental to the club.
Essentially what we're looking to do is to create a real community vibe!"
James explained what was so different about the nights he and other local promoters were organising for The Hub:
"We're very much about getting the right people in the club, getting the good vibe going and making sure the right artists are there."
The Hub will not just be home for Freakin's underground house nights. Other nights including Breaks, Movements, Spill the Beats, Spangled, How Do You Do, Herbal Mafia and Hi-Jacked will all be part of the fresh approach to live dance music in York.
Freakin runs the first Saturday of every month.