Polaroid were one of Leeds’ worst-kept secrets when they called a day after 6 years of memorable parties at underground hangout Wire. Having played hosts to everyone from Erol Alkan, Joakim, Optimo, Todd Terje and Brodinski, they took a break, but after two years Joe Morris, Nick Smith and the Broken Hookers are set for a triumphant return on 4th February with Leo Zero and Butter Side Up, manning new venue Musicquarium. We caught up with the team to find out what they’ve been doing in their time ‘off’, and what we can expect this weekend.
So how are you and where are you? I’m suffering from a touch of man-flu and just getting over a gruelling house move but other than that I’m tip top, thank you for asking .
Polaroid returns from its hiatus on Feb 4th in Leeds. In boxing they say never make a comeback, so why the second coming? Unfinished business? Well in the words of LL Cool J, don’t call it a comeback! We’ve always been here in spirit; it’s just the next chapter. After doing monthly parties solid for 6 years running we felt we’d earned a break. And now we have two of our long-term collaborators in Darren and Iain involved full time it takes the pressure off Nick and I, and also gives us a fresh set of ideas. We’re actually sort of organised now instead of shambling from one party to the next!
How long has the return been in the offing? Actually not that long. We looked at doing something at the end of last summer but couldn’t find a suitable venue, but once we had agreed a venue just before Xmas everything came together really quickly and we got the word out straight away. The response since we announced it has been great; I was worried we might have been away too long for people to still care.
Are you going to be piling straight back in with an 8th birthday party in April? It wouldn’t be factually inaccurate….. You’ll have to wait and see! We’ll see how we feel after the next event and if we all feel like we want to carry on it would be rude not to have some sort of celebration. 8 years is a long time running a club night, there’s not many that last that long.
You’ve got Leo Zero headlining. The producer’s new album will drop just before the party. Can we expect a few exclusives on the night? Yes I’m sure we will. I’ve had the album for a few weeks and I can tell you it’s a straight up modern day acid house record, just how we like it. Leo’s also quite prolific with edits and remixes and he’s promised to bring a load of new material to road test.
Aptly, you also have Butter Side Up, your successors at Wire, down on the 4th. How did that come about? Have you known the guys from around Leeds as
they’ve been running nights for a couple of years in town.
Yeah we’ve known the lads briefly and we’ve been admiring and respecting their line ups for a while. They’re kindred spirits on the same wavelength as us musically so it just felt natural to ask them to come and play.
You’re at a new venue, Musicquarium. Give us the lowdown…. It’s a relatively new live gig and club space with on-site studios in Kirkstall which is just out of the city centre. It’s run by serious music lovers and so they’ve laboured over building their own sound system which sounds fantastic. It’s only a small space so you get a real intimate atmosphere.
You’ve had some incredible guests over the years – Greg Wilson, The Glimmers, Joakim, Optimo, Todd Terje and Wierdo Police – which guests can you tell us about in 2012? Again you’ll have to wait and see! But what I can tell you is that we’ll be sticking to our time honoured formula of booking quality rather than flavour of the month acts.
How has Leeds changed since Polaroid last sailed? The music scene never stands still in the city. It’s still a ridiculous party town and always will be. I think people are more open musically than a couple of years ago but maybe that’s down to the underground dance scene as a whole, rather than just Leeds. I don’t know. I do still think there are too many nights putting on similar parties but punters will argue that the more on offer the better, but I’m not so sure.
What’s been the most memorable party in Polaroid’s long history? It will always be the Erol Alkan night, to get such a heavyweight to play at our little party is something we’ll never forget. But we’ve had a few memorable nights; Brodinski’s debut, the 4th birthday with Joakim, or every time time Optimo played. Any night you have sweat dripping off the walls and have to lock the doors at 12.30am is going to be a good night.
What’s been the oddest (printable) thing you’ve seen down at Polaroid? Oh man where to start!? We did used to get some odd characters coming down at the beginning. Proper Nathan Barley types. We’ve had our share of comedic moments though; Tim Sheridan instigating a half-naked dancefloor, the Polaroid vs Anti-Pop Consortium hand bags at dawn stand-off, dropping the nights takings outside Wire and watching it blow away down Call Lane, kidnapping Optimo (this happened a lot!), Nick being thrown out of his own night; single-handedly boosting Red Stripe’s share price.. I could go on all day.
Joe, you’ve been busy on the production front over the last few years. What can we expect from you in 2012? I have a few original productions slated for release in the first part of the year after spending the last year or so doing remixes for people, so I’m looking forward to that. My exclusive track for the ‘We Love..’ mix last summer is finally coming out on an EP for Matt Playford’s Social Problem label in February, I have a track for Midnight Social in May and a remix for Proper Heat out on Nang and some more stuff on a nu-disco tip for the Tirk guys who I’ve been working with recently.
1. What else have you all been up to in the last two years?
Just concentrating on producing really, Nick’s made some outstanding tracks which I hope will get picked up this year but he also found the time to get married as well.
What music is in your box? What are your favourite artists at the moment? Todd Terje’s huge ‘Inspector Norse’ is currently on repeat, been checking out a lot of Bicep’s stuff, also Neville Watson is a huge fave, loving Tornado Wallace and we are big fans of the Rush Hour, Need/Want, Future Boogie & Tusk Wask labels. Lots of great stuff out at the moment.
If you could get one guest down to Polaroid, who would it be?
Andrew Weatherall, the guvnor.
For more info on Polaroid’s party on the 4th February at Musicquarium with Leo Zero and Butter Side Up head to www.polaroidclub.co.uk, and tickets are onsale here: http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?322248.