It kicked off daytime outdoor parties in London
Starting life in the summer of 2001 in east London, secretsundaze took a healthy dose of inspiration from outdoor parties in Ibiza where founders Giles Smith and James Priestly had been in attendance for many years. Sunday parties were rare and Shoreditch had not lost its underground cool - The Loft, 93 Feet East and The Poet were venues of choice. Early guests included Ashley Beedle, Doc Martin, Ewan Pearson, Kenny Hawkes, Ivan Smagghe, Tiefschwarz (their second London gig) and a little known Ricardo Villalobos on a rooftop in Curtain Road. They were responsible for bringing a mass of DJ’s to London for the first time – for example Cassy Arpiar, Dorian Paic and Guido Schneider - but secretsundaze was characterised as much by the varied mix of people on the dancefloor as it was by the DJ’s in the booth.
It takes place at the very best venues
The list of essential venues touched by the secretsundaze vibe is lengthy – Village Underground, The Light Bar, La Terrazza in Barcelona, Blue Marlin in Cala Jondal Ibiza, T Bar, Plastic People and The Garden and Barbarellas in Tisno all stand out. The 10 th birthday session on the rooftop of the Bussey Building harked back to legendary days in Kings Cross on the rooftop of Canvas. More recently the party takes place in London at The Pickle Factory (arguably London’s current best small venue) and The Southbank Centre; on tour, they’ve taken the brand to Studio 80 Amsterdam, Robert Johnson and Panorama Bar in Germany, the Electric Pickle in Miami and many more.
The residents are musical dons
Both possessing a depth of musical knowledge and true love of club culture, Giles Smith and James Priestly are the real deal. Smith has played everywhere you’d expect of a modern great – from Panorama Bar to Robert Johnson, Fabric to Plastic People, Trouw to Cielo, The Rex to Club 11 as well as at many of the parties which most influenced him in the early days including Back to Basics and Faith. He says - “So much dance music sounds contrived following a fad or fashion and this is something that I avoid at all cost. I also have a strong belief in keeping the human touch, not overproducing music and keeping a live, more natural and raw sound.” Priestly started out listening to and playing Jungle, DnB, House and Hardcore, spending years living and breathing the music industry whilst working for Selectadisc, Timewarp Distribution, Phonica Records and Arision Recordings. He has a distinct DJing style, playing broadly what you would describe as deep House & Techno, often borrowing from his freestyle background and preferring to move things around rather than follow one linear groove.
Their record label is responsible for some real gems
2007 saw the launch of secretsundaze music, which has since gone from strength to strength, spawning a string of successful releases, including three installmenst of cracking resident-led compilations. For their ten year anniversary, the label released heavyweight EP’s from Brawther, Two Armadillos and Ethyl & Flori - other key releases have come in from BLM, Bleak, Amir Alexander, Shanti Celeste and DJ Qu’s sublime SS1 (a Ticket Tannoy favourite).
Essential listening, essential days (and nights) out. Secretsundaze visits Patterns in Brighton with Steffi on July 30.