We caught up with London based party brand Memory Box to source some on the ground, local knowledge on our wonderful capital city, ahead of their shows at Peckham’s Bussey Building on Friday 9th October with Darren Emerson and Saytek (live) and Friday 11th December with A Guy Called Gerald. Tickets for both shows are available at the bottom of the page.
So guys, tell us a bit about Memory Box - where the name came from and how the parties first came about?
Well originally the parties were going to be called “Moments in Time” or something like that. But then Clare (my other half and sounding board) came up with “Memory Box” which is the perfect name and has so many relevant meanings.
I’ve been putting on parties throughout my adult life in London, Sydney and Montpellier, France. Most currently, before I started Memory Box, I was running the Socialeyes nights at Corsica Studios. London has many good forward thinking club nights, it’s surely one of the best places for this in the world but I felt it was lacking a night that covers the history of electronic music.
Yes there’s back to 1995 etc nights but they’re generally all about anthems and listening to the same old tunes rather than giving an interesting history lesson. I was also noticing there was a resurgence starting in a more analogue lo fi sound rather than the current ‘push everything to the limits’ maximal sound that has been big over the last few years. There was also some great young producers coming through with a more timeless music approach but when I was speaking to them they didn’t really have much knowledge of the artists they were taking influence from. They had heard some old acid house or Detroit records that were affecting what they did but some of them didn’t even know these records were 20 / 25 years old. So I decided to throw some parties covering 80’s and 90’s electronic music. I ran these originally in room 2 at my Socialeyes parties and then on January 25th 2013 I put on the first “Memory Box” party. The tagline is “Memory Box is a project that celebrates the influences of today’s electronic music scene encapsulating some of the most memorable moments in its time.” It’s not all about old music. It’s about timeless music, a feeling, a space in the music. Looking at where the music has come from and where we are at now.
How long have you been clubbing in London and what are your fondest memories from over the years?
1989 was when it all began for me. At the Boiler House, a mid-week party in Kingston upon Thames that was a welcome break from the horrendous glitzy 80’s club nights that had taken up most of that decade! From there I started going regularly to Astoria and Busby’s, both near Tottenham Court Road station.
What is your favourite venue / party space in London at the moment?
The CLF Art Café AKA The Bussey Building which is the new home for Memory Box. It’s a really unique venue with lots of character and run by a great team. We did our first party there in August this year and I when I arrived to set up there was this whole street party / festival vibe going on around the building within the grounds. That was a lovely surprise! Also Tobacco Dock is a really impressive Venue!
…and what about the past - the ones that have sadly since closed down for one reason or another?
Well the two I mentioned earlier, Astoria and Busby’s are sadly gone and hold a special place in my heart. The Soundshaft in Hungerford Lane was another, which was the small sister club of Heaven. Between 1993 and 1997 we went regularly to a night called Sex, Love & Motion which was run by friends. That was a great underground techno social where a lot of fun was had. They were probably my three favourite clubs from my memory box.
What’s the best thing about London in Autumn?
Walking through any of the big London parks. The Autumnal colours are amazing.
Which 3 tracks will forever remind you of London?
Well the first that springs to mind was a bootleg I picked up from Bluebird Records in the early 90’s. It had bootleg versions of Kariya ‘Let Me Love You for Tonight’, ‘You Used to Salsa’, Candi Staton / Frankie Knuckles ‘You’ve Gt the Love’ and a couple of Renegade Soundwave tracks, that was a serious pick up that still gives me joy thinking about it J. Leftfield ‘Not Forgotten’ (original) because that was a classic end of night track when I was going to Telepathy in my more ravey days. And Satin Storm because that gives me strong memories of Rage at Heaven.
What is the best record shop in London?
For me it’s Phonica. It’s a nice shop in Soho which for me has always been the area to go to for record shopping going right back to the early 90’s with shops like Bluebird and the recently departed Black Market Records.
Where is the best place for food in London?
I like the randomness of London. So it’s not about having a favourite place to go it’s about finding somewhere I’ve never been and ordering something unusual, loving it and then forgetting I ever went there (my memory is not too great for anything other than music!). Although I did have a meeting at Andina’s in Shoreditch recently and really enjoyed that -nice décor plus good food and great coffee.
What about ‘other’ shops - clothing, art, whatever…
Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. They’re remarkable paces. My son loves them, they are great buildings and they currently have free entry. That’s a good day out for me. Also I love the Southbank, BFI, IMAX, everything around that area is great.
Are there any secret gems in London that you wish to share with us?
For me the secret gems in London are specific moments in time. I’m walking along and I feel an overwhelming sense of history. A really strong sense of nostalgia. I have no explanation for that but it only happens to me in London.
Besides your own events, who else is putting on a decent party in London at the moment?
There’s lots of them! London is a really good place for parties. Trouble Vision at Corsica Studios and The Hydra / Electric Minds put on regular seriously good line ups.
And finally, what else can we expect from Memory Box this year?
9th October: Darren Emerson & Saytek Live playing influences sets and 11th December: A Guy Called Gerald playing a live analogue jam. And I’m currently working on the Memory Box 3rd Birthday which will be on the 23rd January. All to be held at the Bussey Building.