DJ Gareth Sommerville on starting afresh at The Breakfast Club

Gareth Sommerville. Picture: ContributedGareth Sommerville. Picture: Contributed
Gareth Sommerville. Picture: Contributed

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AFTER three successful years promoting underground house music, Heavy Gossip & Ultragroove returns to the club, where it all began. The Breakfast Club is the newly refurbished basement club formerly known as Medina, situated on Lothian Street.

We took the opportunity to catch up with resident DJ and promoter Gareth Sommerville ahead of Saturday’s club…

For anyone who doesn’t know about your club night, how would you describe the music policy?

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It’s house music first and foremost. What we offer is a deep, expansive sound which focuses on the groove and not just what’s in vogue. Sure, you will hear deeper records or things that fall under the amorphous genre of ‘Bass’, but you’ll also hear disco records, emotive techno and stripped back jackin’ gear. When Ultragroove started all those years ago, it was done with the express purpose of having a modern take on house music; embracing what we considered to be the best of the new, but by the same token not forgetting the music’s roots or the party aspect of DJing. I like to think we still do this now.

You and Nick Yuill were joined by DJ Laurence Nolan a while ago and made him a permanent resident, what prompted his addition?

We wanted to add some new blood to things. He’s good to have around as his passion and enthusiasm are very infectious.

Now into your third year, what have been the highlights, for you?

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Since Ultragroove started working with Heavy Gossip the highlights for me have been Todd Terje at The Green room, Medlar set at Ultragroove’s 13th birthday and, as sycophantic as it sounds, working with the Heavy Gossip crew.

How did the birthday party celebrations go?

Laurence kept the troops entertained early doors and Fudge Fingas did exactly what was expected of him at peak time. Three years is a great achievement in the present climate, so bravo Heavy Gossip.

This Saturday sees HG/UG shift digs to The Breakfast Club (what used to be known as Medina and The Third Door). What prompted the move?

It was a number of things: the size of the space; the sense of community I’d felt at Heavy Gossip parties I’d attended there in the past; the promise of a crystal clear sound system and the fact that one of the seminal figures in Edinburgh’s clubbing history, Warren Deighan, was the driving force behind the project. He is well known to clubbers of a certain vintage, but many people won’t know that in the mid-nineties he and his father built the venue that is now known as Cabaret Voltaire pretty much from scratch. Warren’s an owner operator; he knows what it takes to makes things work and won’t rest until they do. Basically, he’s a joy to work with.

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I always thought HG/UG works best in a cosy intimate club space. What’s it like to be back at the club where it all began?

Well, that’s probably a question better answered by Nick Yuill. I was running Ultragroove at Cab Vol when Heavy Gossip was at Medina. From a clubber’s perspective I really liked the sense of community I felt when I went to Heavy Gossip at Medina. If this can be replicated, there are some fantastic parties ahead of us.

The sound wasn’t great at Medina, but this has been remedied by extensive sound proofing and the installation of a new sound system which is under the auspices of Bryan Jones, who is one of the best sound techs I’ve worked with. I’m looking forward to DJing and throwing parties at The Breakfast Club.

I noticed your guest DJs are Voyeur on Kerri Chandler’s label, Madtech. How did that come about?

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Nick and I liked the mixes we’d heard online and thought we’d take a punt on them. Obviously, the Kerri Chandler connection is a big plus in terms of recognition.

How would you describe their DJ style?

Modern house music: Voyeur Boiler Room mix

Will you be throwing a pre-party or after party?

No pre-party planned, but there will afters… somewhere I hope as it’s my birthday on the Sunday.

What’s the future for HG/UG?

Next couple of guests are ESA from the Sub Club and the return of Medlar. I’m back in the studio after a ten year hiatus, working again with the sickeningly talented Andy Stentiford, so who knows what the future holds.

• Heavy Gossip v Ultragroove, The Breakfast Club, 45-47 Lothian Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HB, 22:30 – 03:00, £5 (£7 after 12)

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