Roll Your Own
Jamie links with Roll Your Own, a specialist vinyl only night in Bedford that supports homegrown talent, record collectors and diehard vinyl junkies. Fancy a spin? Read on to find out more..
How did the event Roll Your Own start? Was it an idea between you and a friend off the back of the lack of events in your hometown or just simply from your love of all things vinyl?
“It was Andy’s idea, he’d been to a similar night for drum and bass a long time ago when he lived in Australia, and I thought it was a great idea. Pretty much all our friends have turntables, so we knew at least the first night would be well subscribed.
The important fact is that is a vinyl only night, and not really because it’s oh-so-special and sounds better than anything ever, but because it’s an even playing field for everyone and all types of music. We don’t have to worry about having the right equipment or CDJ’s or anything, just two turntables and a mixer.
Don’t get me wrong, I love records, they’re a tangible thing, they have great artwork. You can say ‘I own that’ which is something I never feel I can with digital music. Its great seeing another person’s record collection, much like seeing what books they have their shelves.”
Who thought of the event name? It’s a great play on words.
“Again, that was Andy’s idea, we had a few others such as Bring Your Own Beats and so on, but really, Roll Your Own was the name from the start.
The night isn’t aimed at one genre is it? Do you have a music policy as such?
“No, anything goes. We want to be open to everyone, all abilities, ages and types of music. Typically we get a lot of ‘retired DJs’, you know, those where life got in the way of playing records, they had kids, or moved and their decks got sold but their records are still in a lockup somewhere. We’ve people that just buy records to play at home, we’ve had guys that have inherited music. It’s exciting for us to hear new or different things, as well as finding some guy that happens to be a local soul funk legend. We like to keep a variety of music for each event so there is something for everyone, (or nothing for no one). We’ve had everything from soul, hip hop, jungle, garage, funk, house, bhangra, breaks… even a Prince only set!”
How do you select the DJs for the events?
“After we announce the date, we ask people to email us with what they want to play, as it’s easy to keep track of those that have been in touch. We tend to get responses from the usual social media spots, but primary contact is email. From there, we work on a first come, first served, system giving preference to people who haven’t played before. Two weeks before we stop taking requests, and then plan the night around who and what is going to be played. Then in the week before we let everyone know what’s happening.
We’re really fortunate with Herd as a venue as Matt the owner is really passionate about music and sound quality.
The venue is split into two parts, a bar area where we start the night and a basement that we open up after 10. It allows us to have a wide variety of music, and if people want to get a little experimental then we have the time and space for it.”
Can anyone apply? If so, how?
“Anyone can apply no matter their age, ability, music genre. We’re not limited to people from Bedford. As word has spread we have seen people make trips up from London and down from Coventry which is amazing. The best way is email or alternatively through Facebook or Twitter.”
What’s the response been so far? The photos from previous events look like it’s been popular!
“We’re really pleased, and really surprised. We’ve had great support from our friends and from the owner of the venue. Even the guys on the Drum&BassArea forum have got involved. I think one of the reasons is that we don’t do the nights too frequently, usually every 3 months. I don’t know that it is down to being vinyl only, but certainly the fact we have a wide variety of music over the night means it keeps people interested.”
Where do you want to take this next? Merchandise? Bigger events? Or just remain unique and true to your roots?
“We keep talking about t-shirts, but to be honest, we run the night on a shoestring with free entry and don’t profit from it, so anything like that would be from our own pockets and there’s no guarantee anyone would buy them! I’d quite like to take the idea to a festival too, so maybe that could happen.”
What’s next for the event? Who’s on the bill for the next one? How did you choose this lineup?
“The next event is this Friday the 27th and we have collaborated with some friends who have been promoting a successful drum and bass night called Release. Andy who co-runs Release has played for us before and suggested we do a one off drum and bass night. This genre is by far our biggest request at RYOR so it made sense to us.
For the line up we divided the 5 hours between the two groups, with an hour for the winner of the competition we held. So for the first two hours we have DJs from Roll Your Own – Andy who runs it with me, Snakey, who has played a few times before and Law from Repertoire Records. In the middle we have the competition winner – Ascension, who we are so pleased is playing, and closing we have Release DJs Optimum and Midas.”
What would your dream line up be musically and what DJs (dead or alive) would you feature?
“Oh man! Now you’re asking. Any of the DJs I grew up listening to, Micky Finn, LTJ Bukem, DJ Hype, Pascal, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and Nu Mark, Craze. But I’d have them playing anything they liked. No rules, just an hour to play whatever took their mood at the time.”
MCs – are they a welcome fit to the event?
“We don’t usually have MCs but Conrad and DRS would be my go to guys. I think either of them just flowing over some funk would be amazing. I always had a soft spot for MC MC on Helter Skelter sets too, so maybe him too, in the basement.”
Any shouts or big ups?
“I’d like to say thanks to Matt at Herd for letting us use his place. All our friends and family who have supported the night, and the DJs, collectors and selectors that have come to play. Keep buying records.”
Forthcoming events are: Friday 10th March 2017 and Friday 2nd June 2017.