As part of my Forgotten Files series, I reveal what happened when I asked Gideön — co-founder of Block-9 and founder of R3 Soundsystem––what makes an underground space really underground.
Gideön: I think there’s sort of these funny key indicators that you can refer to when you’re trying to work out if something is underground or not. The shittier the toilet, the better the club — the more underground it is. There’s a good one.
The more podium-like the stage that the DJ is playing on is, or the more everyone is facing the DJ, the more cult-personality worship that’s taking place, the less underground something is. And — it’s ridiculous to say, but — the hotter the DJ, the more that they look like a supermodel, the less… Well, it’s clearly about the cult of personality more than it is about the music. It’s about their ‘brand’. Their saleable brand. The uglier the DJ the better their music is likely to be — that just happens to be a rule of the universe.
What does ‘underground’ mean to me? I think it means all of those things and being in an underground space for me means if you dig down into the core of it the thing that you are doing is creating the time that you wanna have as opposed to consuming a product.
Entertainment is provided by you, so it’s as much about your attitude as it is about anything else. So, if you are rocking up to consume an entertainment service put on by the O2 Dome [the The O2 arena, in London] and you go there, you’re expecting high production value, enough lasers or whatever, verses breaking into to a fucking warehouse, tapping into the power supply, rocking up with a sound system, setting up the decks and creating the thing that you want to be part of… It sounds like a communist pipe dream, but that’s how I came up. And that is the benchmark that I view everybody’s events and productions by.
I like shitty toilets.
Living With 17 People In A Warehouse
With the capital becoming an increasingly challenging environment for young creatives, more people are forced to seek…
This is an unreleased excerpt of a an interview which took place during the research for this article, The real life of an underground DJ: Part III, which was published in DJ Mag in March 2020.