WORDS: Alex Caslano
There aren’t many clubs which get the opportunity to celebrate a fifteenth birthday. From day 1 you’re pretty much up against it, whether it’s financial, circumstantial or plain bad luck, only the truly dedicated will last. But where parties like Pressure are concerned, a solid foundation has proved to be vital to its longevity, having spent six years at The Arches before launching the institution we know today. We’ve covered the history of Slam, Pressure and Soma time and time again on this website so we won’t regurgitate it again now, but with a firm foot in Glasgow’s club scene during such an important era, the night was perhaps destined to flourish.
Fast forward to 2013 and Pressure is as popular as ever, regularly boasting sell-out events and some of the best line-ups in the country. Striking a fine balance between the out and out techno that many of the night’s veterans grew up on, as well as introducing new names that reflect the current boom in house and underground sounds, the event has maintained relevance, attracting new fans month on month. Of course, it’s not just the clued-up and passionate punters who gravitate towards Pressure - the monthly guests are equally excited to play. Looking towards the 15th Birthday, Kirk Degiorgio who presents his ‘Machine’ concept offers “since Ben Sims and I started the Machine parties, a Glasgow edition has probably been our most requested. It's gonna be an anniversary to remember!” Loco Dice meanwhile, who headlines alongside Maya Jane Coles, sums it up nicely, “I had my first gig at the Arches with the Soma guys! There’s that in-your-face sound system and everything is how it should be” - a simple formula for success and a fitting way to describe one of the world’s most consistent and enduring parties.
Check out the fifteenth birthday trailer below, as well as an interview with founder and promoter Dave Clarke in which we drill down to the club’s success:
SG: This Friday marks the 15th anniversary of Pressure which really is a huge testament to the club’s stature and appeal. When you launched the night did you envisage it lasting this long and how does it feel reaching this landmark?
Dave: We have never looked too far into the future, just the same as we tend not to reflect much on past achievements. Certainly we wanted to build something special with Pressure and we were encouraged from the start by the people who came and made it their club of choice. We were excited by the possibilities of having artists, mostly DJing, in two and sometimes three rooms.
Everything we had put on up until that point - from our Atlantis Saturdays with Harri at the Sub Club and our big all-nighters like Slam in the Park in 1990 and our 6 year weekly Friday Slam party in the front Arch had revolved around one room of music. We’re glad it’s thrived and it's better now than at any point in its history. 5am finishes, three rooms and underground and credible DJs like Ben Klock & Sebo K or Pan-Pot & Chris Liebing 2000, plus people going crazy...
SG: Obviously there is a great team behind Pressure and two of the world’s finest residents in Slam, is a great deal of your success down to teamwork? Does everyone have an important role to play?
Dave: We have a great team at both Soma and Pressure. For the club we are working with Scott McDonald who has done lights, created visuals and designed spectaculars for us from day 1 and works on the Slam tent too. Johnny Whoop, Dave Pringle and Kev Eadie work on the sound and technical needs of the DJs and performers. The entire Soma team help in various ways on the big Pressure nights as people we trust and rely on - Claire, Dom, Darren and until recently moving to Berlin, also Conor and Asiya. Yes it's a team effort. Most of the forward planning and thinking happens within the Slam inner circle of myself Stuart and Orde. We've worked together for 25 years. It's our life.
SG: You had your 13/14 opening party in September and you commented that there was a great balance of veterans, newbies, students and music lovers. Do you feel the crowd has become more diverse over the last five years or so? And do you think the increasing popularity of house with the younger generation has been noticeable on the Pressure dancefloor?
Dave: That opening party was unbelievable; we'd taken a complete break from The Arches during the summer when we had the Soma stage at RockNess, the Slam Tent and then the Riverside festival to work on. Absence certainly did make the hearts grow fonder! We sold out on the Friday afternoon and we could have sold another thousand. Everyone was trying to get a ticket last minute - a massive success and a great night. Jackmaster & Heidi packed out the front Arch and Pan-Pot rocked the main room after Slam. Clouds short live set in between them and Liebing was a baptism of fire! It was a diverse and friendly crowd of techno and house aficionados.
SG: Finally, you have another stunning line up for your 15th birthday, including a headline set by Loco Dice and a ‘Machine Room’ with the likes of Ben Sims and Kirk Degiorgio, can you tell us how you think the bill represents Pressure going into it’s fifteenth year?
Dave: It's a stunning line-up and befits the occasion perfectly. A well balanced mix of guests providing music within our favoured sphere of house and techno in its myriad forms with a couple of debutants and a few top drawer repeat offenders!