Meet the party crew making a big splash on the London club scene.
Combining the intimacy of a small venue and the insane line ups of somewhere three times the size, Let’s Go Swimming are the new monthly party and label you should have heard of.
Starting out with a show on online radio the trio which includes George Mackness (Mack Ness), Will Allen (William Earl) and Henry Fry launched the party at Stoke Newington’s The Waiting Room in April of this year and were met with an unbelievable response. It’s pretty rare for a start-up to sell out on the first night, but taking in their unusual hybrid of weird ambience and club ready bangers, it makes total sense.
Working with renowned vibe curators Lobster Theremin, LGS have also been releasing some fairly eclectic records; the hypnotic, aquatic undulations of Mack Ness’s debut EP, Inter Present is a sharp contrast to the beat-heavy Wash It Out by Doppelate. The diversity is important though, as they explain, it’s all about building bridges between genres and being explorative, yet unpretentious.
It’s a busy time for the guys, who have just returned from playing at Croatia’s Obonjan festival, are already sorting bookings for next year, have a new release in the works and still DJ regularly away from their own parties. We talk beginnings, clubbing and party highlights and try wangling some hints about what’s coming up.
Okay, so can we start by talking about your musical backgrounds?
Will: I started drumming when I was seven, then I did that for ten years and then I went to study it at the Institute of Contemporary Music in Kilburn. But that kind of destroyed it and made it less fun. Then I was doing session work, then from that I met a guy called Giaco (?) who introduced me to Henry and then I got into electronic music and clubbing. The production side is very stimulating, creative. You can get really kind of engrossed, and immersed in it.
George: I started off when I was really little playing violin and guitar. I wish I’d carried on but I was like “oh violin’s not cool”. When I was about thirteen/fourteen I started playing in bands, Playing guitar with my mate, writing shit everyday. And I didn’t actually start getting into electronic music till I was about sixteen/seventeen and then I started to move more into production. I did English Lit at Sussex and doing a Liberal Arts degree you have a lot of fucking time so then I properly started to produce and DJ and stuff.
Henry: The thing that I found a turning point was when I got really into Klaxons, and Hot Chip, Homework by Daft Punk, then Justice and Simian Mobile Disco. Late of The Pier were the best band ever and how I heard of Erol [Alkan].I moved to London to try and get into A&R for Indie labels and failed miserably. I started helping out at Orlando Boom for Kiwi, then started DJing there by accident, then started DJing more and more. Then I started Let’s Go Swimming as a radio show then as a label and a party as a bit of a last attempt at trying to do what I loved and trying to do it in a way that I loved.
Are you surprised at the reception? At how quickly it took off and was successful?
George: I kind of believe that if you do something with a genuine intention, people can instinctively sense when something is legit. If you go to a small party you can feel the atmosphere, there’s a closeness.
Will: I think all the parties we’ve put on are parties we’d want to go to.
How has your approach differed to your previous parties?
Will: We’ve just learnt a lot from doing different things.
Henry: And going out a lot. The outset from straight away was not to care about money. We never want to make a ticket more than a fiver unless we have to; because we want something so badly and charging seven pounds instead of five is the only thing we can literally do to make the money back.
George: We want to book people who we believe in and will be fun to have play, who are genuine people and who are nice and well-rounded. If you want the atmosphere in the club to be nice then you need the person playing music to want to be there, because they love it not just because they want to pick up the cheque.
Was The Waiting Room your first choice of venue or was it necessity?
Henry: It happened quite naturally.
Will: Yeah, I think at the time we were looking for a place and were kind of just approaching people and The Waiting Room came up as we were looking.
George: It’s a good size for a new party and we wanted it to be intimate.
Can you define the crowd you draw?
Henry: Nice people.
Will: You can make lots of mates.
George: People who want to have a dance. The last night, the Sotofett night, the crowd was so, so great. So attentive. You can tell when a night’s going really well because there’s fewer people in the smoking area.
You have a really strict “no knobheads” policy, which you articulated in your posters for the Sotofett night. What’s the one thing you would like to completely get rid of from clubbing?
Will: Intruding on peoples personal space. You don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.
Henry: Any hate in any way. What you want is for everyone to take care of each other, be nice, don’t be rude. No touching up girls, no photos, no phones, just get on with it.
If you could have one guest to Let’s Go Swimming, living or dead, who would you most want to come and party?
Henry: Divine. Hands down. It’d be fucking sick.
George: It would probably be something very personal to me. I’d love to go out with my dad when he was my age, that would be sick. I’d love him to come.
What do you each bring to the group? What are your roles?
George: I guess I have a few connections with like artists and shit. I dunno. What do I even do?
Henry: You’ve really brought a lot of people to the label. George is such a good hype-man
George: Well you’re [Henry] really good at booking and chatting to all these agents. I think I’d be rubbish. You’re such a good deal breaker. The Sotofett thing was basically because you just bossed it. That wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Will: I’m the secretary. The PA. I’m a massive nerd, everyone knows I’m a massive nerd.
You have different artists and illustrators working with you for each poster and record, can you tell us a little about that?
Will: We all decided that we wanted as many of our mates involved as possible.
Henry: None of us could design a poster, it’s not really our thing, it’s better to bring in someone who could do it really well, someone we can tell people “this person did it, how sick is this!”
George: We want it to be a nice platform to introduce people we rate.
What’s been your highlight so far?
Will: I think the launch was a really pleasant surprise. We were never expecting the tickets to sell out and then it happened and it was mad. It was better than I ever could have imagined.
George: The first release we put out was my music; we literally hand made it all aside from the actual pressing when it was going off to the distributor that was really a really nice moment. We actually shipped a product that people are potentially going to buy, and it was my music.
Henry: Probably getting the texts from DJs the morning after they play saying what a great time they had and how good the vibe was. We’ve had a text like that every single time.
Can you give us any hints about what’s coming up?
Henry: The next release is by Will, we’ve got a release from Candid next year and we’ve got a very cool techno crew from Copenhagen playing in November but we can’t say who.