The most successful club nights are built from the ground up, so when local DJ and co-founder of On The House, Andy Raeside, promoted his first party in a small Sauchiehall St basement, he laid the foundation for what would become one of Glasgow’s most popular nights. “I have the up-most respect for anyone who has ever promoted or been involved in a club night” reflects Andy. “They will know how much hard work and commitment is involved.” Growing organically from small-scale soirees to headline events with some of house music’s hottest property, his dedication has certainly paid off.
Celebrating five years of On The House with Back To Basics legend Ralph Lawson this Saturday (16th) at The Berekely Suite, Andy has established a brand which people recognise, delivering quality house music with consistent bookings and home-grown talent. “Music is always changing and evolving so you need to keep up with the times but stay true to what you’re passionate about” Andy says of the night’s longevity. “Every promoter has their good and bad days, but when it all comes together it can be the most rewarding feeling in the world.”
Listen to the latest edition of On The House Radio as well and check out our full interview with Andy in which we talk more about the night’s origins, the challenges they've faced and some of the standout parties along the way:
SynthGlasgow: You’re celebrating five years of On The House this month, which is an important milestone for any club night. Can you start by telling us a bit about the origins of On The House and your first party in Glasgow?
Andy: Believe it or not, the brand started just over 5 years ago in a bar on Sauchiehall Street. This might give you a slight clue to where the name came from. At the time I was better known for playing another genre of music in and around Glasgow, but myself and Kris Greig had been playing house music for quite some time and were looking for somewhere that would let us play on a regular basis.
We managed to find a bar that was looking for up and coming DJs to fill slots on a Saturday night, so we decided to create a brand, throwing free parties every few weeks - that is where the name came from. We were in a pub, throwing free parties and playing house music so ‘On The House’ was born.
The brand picked up steam pretty quickly with the parties being full from the get go; even though it was only a small venue we knew we had something special brewing. At the time, our friend Neil Hood was doing something similar with his ‘Up The Tempo’ night so we asked him if he fancied hooking up with us which lead to our first official club night in O’Couture’s basement.
SG: Five years is a long time to keep a club night afloat. What obstacles have you had to overcome along the way and what would you attribute to your longevity?
Andy: Firstly, I have the up-most respect for anyone who has ever promoted or been involved in a club night - they will know how much hard work and commitment is involved and it certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Throughout the years I've faced many challenges, from flights being delayed, DJs cancelling on the day of the show and also the financial aspect of promoting a club night (I’ve found myself being all in or bust on a few occasions haha).
I think the key to longevity is keeping your finger on the pulse, knowing what’s going on around your city and with music in general. Music is always changing and evolving so you need to keep up with the times but stay true to what you’re passionate about, and of course getting people through the door helps. Every promoter has their good and bad days, but when it all comes together it can be the most rewarding feeling in the world.
SG: You promoted a huge Easter Sunday party at Proud Mary, hosting an extensive lineup across four different areas. How much planning goes into an event of that scale and what were the most memorable moments of the day/night?
Andy: The Easter Service was absolutely incredible; we were full to capacity with a fantastic crowd and atmosphere. With an event like that, with so many areas and acts to programme, it felt like promoting a mini festival.
There was months of planning involved with the event and more than one sleepless night, that’s for sure. The venue itself was fantastic and seeing all the rooms in full swing so early was a personal highlight, along with stand out sets from Peter Farley and Makaze.
SG: Local DJs are a prominent feature on your lineups and it seems like you have a keen ear for up and coming Glaswegian talent. Who has impressed you recently, both production-wise and behind the decks?
Andy: We’ve had our core residents from day one including myself, Gary Livingstone and Kris Greig - both theses guys are phenomenal DJs who slip under the radar on the Glasgow scene.
As some people may know, I’m pretty obsessed with the structure and programming of the night; I’m a great believer that the flow and build-up makes a great night, and these guys get it right every time.
As promoters tend to do, I also get sent a lot of demos and productions from up and coming talent. On the production front watch out for ‘Kleur’ - his music is on point and he has a great work ethic. Behind the decks I've been really impressed with Kieran Campbell and Denver Brooks - they really know how to adapt their set - something I find very rare in up and coming talent these days. I try to feature these three guys as much as possible.
SG: You’ve hosted everyone from Darius Syrossian to Sam Divine and Mia Dora at On The House. Looking back, what sets and parties really stick out for you and why?
Andy: That really is a tough one. Moving to Saint Judes was a massive turning point for us; we had so many amazing parties in there and it really did feel like home. For me, personally, that was one of the best venues in the city.
I’ll never forget the night with Catz ’N Dogz - the atmosphere was electric, a real sweat den. We had been trying to work out a deal with them for so long and when it finally happened it was well worth the wait.
Also, who can forget our memorable NYE party at the Drygate brewery with Broken Disco…the visual set up we had for it was incredible and the line-up certainly didn't disappoint. Illyus & Barrientos set the mood perfectly, with Reset Robot bringing in the bells and leaving Mia Dora to end the night. Stand out sets from everyone!
SG: You’ve secured an exclusive appearance from 20/20 Vision boss Ralph Lawson for your fifth birthday at The Berkeley Suite. For those who are uninitiated, why is Ralph held in such high regard when it comes UK club culture and house music in general?
Andy: When celebrating 5 years of On The House I felt it was only right that we do something special, and Ralph has been a favourite of mine for quite some time. He is one of the original UK house pioneers, being on the scene for over two decades and holding down residences with the legendary Back To Basics in Leeds and Space Ibiza.
He also runs the highly respected 20/20 Vision Recordings and is a true maestro on the decks. It’s not hard to see why he is so well respected; he is a true Jedi in the world of electronic music.
SG: On The House has hosted parties at various venues across Glasgow, but this will be your first time at The Berekely Suite. For those who have never been, what should they expect and why should they be excited?
Andy: We’re very grateful that The Berekely Suite have welcomed us with open arms and we're truly excited to be celebrating our fifth birthday with them. Expect a small, intimate venue, but with a touch of class. Were expecting a cracker on Saturday, so If you’ve never been before you're in for a treat - it really is special.
SG: Looking to the future, we’re sure you have no intentions of slowing down. What ambitions do you have for On The House down the line? And can you let us in on any party details for the remainder of 2016?
Andy: In the future we have plans to set up a record label and take the brand further afield. As you may have noticed, I’ve gone for the less is more approach this year; we haven’t had as many parties as usual but it’s definitely been quality over quantity.
This has also given me a lot more time to focus on the production side of music, so be sure to keep an eye out for future releases. For the remainder of 2016 I'm keeping my cards close to my chest, but you may be able to find us back at that special brewery again later in the year…