Preview: The Return Of Optimo Espacio
PREVIEW: The Return Of Optimo Espacio
WORDS: Colin Brownbill
Where do you start with Optimo? Was it their classic Essential Mix back in 2006, thirteen years of legendary parties or the sprawling queue which snaked its way into the horizon for the final night in 2010? For us, it was the latter. If their was any doubt of how much Glasgow truly loves their dynamic duo, then you need only regale the hordes of anxious fans lining up for that final dance. The atmosphere on the 25th April 2010 was utterly electric, and with the Sub Club spilling over, you could sense a genuine affinity for a night which over hundreds of parties had become woven into the very fabric of the city.
Following that final night, there had been one-offs and special appearances, but losing what was essentially a cherished staple in Glasgow’s clubbing landscape, you were always hoping that one day they might make a longing return. Finally, after two years, that return was confirmed last month when they announced a new bi-monthly (that’s one every two months) residency at the world-renowned Sub Club (cue audible gasps around Glasgow). Having split their time between extensive touring, their superbly on-point label and numerous other projects, the duo made a realisation that it had actually become easier for their friends to catch them in London rather than their hometown - something that is perhaps unjust considering Glasgow’s influence on the pair.
So, with Optimo Espacio now ready to kick off your Easter Weekend, should you be expecting a homecoming parade of brightly coloured floats and pretty girls waving pompoms? No, this is purely about two of Glasgow’s finest DJ’s doing what they do best – playing records. Don’t expect them to be mixing through rose-tinted specs either, while Optimo have always championed an eclectic and inclusive approach to DJing, they also like to push things forward, and it’s that notion which will once again see a long, sprawling queue form at 22 Jamaica St.
Check out a recent mix by the duo for Electric Elephant and read on for our exclusive interview:
Synth: So, last month the news finally broke that Optimo will be returning to the Sub Club on April 6th. After the roadblock that was your final event in 2010, how are you going to feel returning to that famous DJ booth? Will you regard it as somewhat of a homecoming or do you feel there's part of you that never left?
JD: Feeling very excited! In many ways we haven't left as we've continued to promote Sunday events, but bar Halloween and a couple of events round Christmas, we haven't really played any club gigs together in Glasgow and we have really missed doing it in our hometown. We felt the time was right to do a handful of yearly Optimo events in The Sub Club again.
Synth: You mentioned in the press release that it was becoming easier for people to see you in London rather than Glasgow. How much has that influenced your return to the Sub Club?
JD: I think that was the clincher that sealed the deal. When a friend posted on our bulletin board about it being easier to see us in London than Glasgow, it seemed faintly ridiculous as Glasgow is after all the city that gave birth to and supported Optimo. It's also the best city in the world to DJ in.
Synth: Obviously when Optimo was running on a weekly Sunday, the community atmosphere was truly something special - friendships were formed and you'd bump into people you might only see on that particular night - would you say that was integral to the club's success?
JD: I'd say it was absolutely vital. The music was never, ever secondary but far more important than any guest we ever booked was having somewhere where people with similar outlooks and attitudes could go regularly and forge friendships and even creative collaborations. There were always a huge number of regular faces at the club, although obviously over so many years these faces would change, but it never lost that community feeling that is vital to having a successful club that has longevity.
Optimo: until the music stops...
Synth: In researching this interview we stumbled across a video from the final Optimo at the Sub Club in which you played Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain' to sensational reaction. Looking back over the years what's been your favourite 'one more tune' moment?
JD: I didn't actually mean to play that as the last tune but it worked out pretty well. For years I had always had the idea that 'it's not over until the fat lady sings' in my head and knew that Nina Simone (sorry Nina!) would be the last song. However, after I had played Nina, Mike, one of the owners of the club, made an impromptu speech. No offence meant to him but I didn't want that to be the last thing that was heard in the club so played the nearest thing to hand which was "The Chain". But, to answer your question, it's impossible to answer as there were 600 'one more tune' moments and in all honesty it's all become a bit of a blur. There are a couple of audience participation moments that stick out though - recording the whole club singing 'Pump Up The Jam' and then playing it back to them and also, one birthday of mine that I thought I had kept secret and at the very end of the night the whole dancefloor sang "Happy birthday". I'd be lying if I said that didn't bring a tear to my eye.
Synth: When you get the club to that point, after hours of building up an atmosphere and taking the crowd where you want, what's it like when the moment finally arrives that you can pretty much drop anything and see it go off?
JG: When you know you're at that point, when things can really change direction and you might be able to do something to make that night a particularly special one, it's often a case of standing there, running out of time with a record in each hand wondering what way to go…? Or we are each standing holding a record wondering who's going to make a move. I wish it were a case of being able to drop anything at that point but actually it feels like the biggest risk of the night - to leave your crowd with something memorable or meaningful to take away. When it goes well it's a great feeling.
Synth: This is our first interview with you and we're sure you've been asked this many times before, but over the thirteen years that Optimo was originally running, is there one moment or night which truly stands out over all others?
JG: I'd say no, not one moment in particular. We were lucky to have such a special crowd and so many brilliant artists who played that this combination just lead to so many incredible moments. One that springs to mind was when Liquid Liquid dropped "Optimo" live - I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing from the crowd - it was bananas…
WHAT: The Return Of Optimo Espacio
WHERE: Sub Club, 22 Jamaica St, G1 4QD, Glasgow
WHEN: Fri 6th April // 11-4am (Pending)
SOUNDSYSTEM: Sub Club's Own
FACEBOOK EVENT: http://www.facebook.com/events/296291410443536/
Optimo on Facebook
Optimo on Twitter
Optimo Music Website
Optimo Music on Soundcloud