House Proud’s 10 years anniversary: “In all honesty, I had always wanted to throw my own events even before I left school” – Russell James

In keeping with Decoded Magazine’s continual support for the underground electronic music scene, we bring you Peterborough’s House Proud, a 10 year labour of love from promoter Russell James. From their first event at Mission nightclub in Leeds, House Proud has become the culmination of a lifetime dedicated to dance music. This Bank Holiday Sunday House Proud return for the final time this Summer to the magical Sol Garden terrace. Adam Shelton will be leading the way as they partner with One Records to give you an unforgettable event to round off what has been an amazing 10th anniversary year.

Welcome Russell. Firstly, I’d like to mention I thoroughly enjoyed the last House Proud event I attended last year. Time flies and now we are here to talk about your Ten year anniversary. 2017 has seen you celebrate with a number of Bank Holiday events. Can you tell us about the guests you have had so far this year?

I was pleased to welcome back terrace favourite Alex Arnout who was joined by Citizenn for the 10th anniversary event. Kate Simko and Waifs & Strays made their debut later on in the year and really took control of the dance floor.

Which leads me to your final event of 2017 this Bank Holiday Sunday 27th with Adam Shelton. …

Over the ten years you have hosted events at a number of venues. I’d like to talk specifically about your current home – Solstice in Peterborough. How well does it suit House Proud and why?

The venue is incredible as you get to experience the best of both worlds with the open-air daytime sunshine and then the darkness of the club which gives the event a whole new atmosphere.

I see Solstice was also voted #7 in Red Bulls best UK’s small club’s awards. It must feel great to have played a part in helping the venue achieve this accolade?

It’s an amazing feeling knowing that I helped drive the venues vision forwards by attracting some amazing artists in the early days. We were the first event on the terrace and the owners gave me their full support and trust which I’ll always be very grateful for as we continue our residency.

So, you have the right venue and have also demonstrated booking the right guests. Let’s now talk about the residents. How instrumental have they been in playing their part in building the brand?

Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have nothing but respect for Drew Tilney and Martin Smith. It doesn’t matter what time of day/night they are asked to play they will always demonstrate their professionalism and play tracks to suit the crowd rather than trying to have their moment of glory.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Can you tell us about the very first House Proud event?

The first event almost didn’t happen. We were scheduled to launch at Northern Light in Leeds but the venue was forced to close as part of a crack down by the local police the week before our event. After numerous phone calls and emails, I managed to secure the Annex at Mission nightclub where we launched with Radio 1’s Kissy Sellout, Ben Gomori, LJ Freeman, Oblong and Zade Cross with an amazing atmosphere in that room as we had overcome the setbacks and kick-started what has turned out to be an amazing 10 years.

Looking back now do you acknowledge the learning curve over the last ten years?

There has been a massive learning curve over the past 10 years, the world is fast paced and you have to adapt to keep up otherwise you’ll be forgotten. I’ve learned so much and the best advice I can pass on is to stay focused, remain positive, always be nice and before you give up to remember why you started.

Was there a particular reason why you started putting on your own events?

In all honesty, I had always wanted to throw my own events even before I left school I was thinking of ideas. I loved going to other promoters nights and watched how they had their own unique vibes and created a clear identity, I wanted to be involved in the music scene and what better way than to have your own event and push your own sound.

Did this in turn help boost your own profile with DJ bookings?

Starting my own event definitely helped as it opened a lot of doors for networking opportunities, other promoters could see I had a reputable brand and was taking my work seriously.

Let’s now have a Russell James ‘spotlight’ moment. I know there is a piece of vinyl you own which holds special sentiment to you. Can you tell us about that?

When starting to DJ the first piece of vinyl I learned to beat match was a track by Harry ‘Choo Choo’ Romero. A few years ago after a lot of hard work, I managed to book him to play at one of my events featuring Manchester Underground Music, label boss Jonathan Waller presented me with the latest Harry Romero pressing and I, of course, jumped at the chance to get an autograph.

The vinyl is now framed on my wall and reminds me of how far I’ve come from learning to beat match, to remix and then play alongside Harry Romero at my own event, it’s what it’s all about.

How would you define your sound and style of music you play?

I’m really focused on producing and playing techno and more recently crossing over into hardcore. I like to try and create an atmosphere during my sets where people get absorbed into what I’m doing and really let me guide them. It’s not always about the big drops I also like the tracks with subtle changes that make the mind wander where you can really lose yourself.

You also have a new release out the end of the month I believe?

That’s right, I’m pleased to have signed my latest production work on an Italian techno label called RedRum Music. The track is called Take Control which is part of a Various Artists release out on August 28.

All the best this Bank Holiday and congratulations with the big 10 years.

Tracks:

01. Souls Tide Zone – Hydraulic
02. Truncate – Transients (Drumcell Remix)
03. Dax J & Cleric – Flight 19
04. Souls Tide Zone – Labyrinthe
05. Russell James – Take Control
06. Filipe Barbosa – Europe
07. Marascia – Ode To A Boy (Dark Side Mix)
08. Madame – Inspira
09. Several Definitions – Dark Triangles (Reset Robot Remix)
10. Deepbass & Repart – Prelude
11. XHEI – Delz (Drumcell Remix)
12. Tadeo – The Motivation (Efdemin Remix)
13. Beat Therapy – Descent
14. Matt Mus & Pappenheimer – Drop
15. Rebekah – Code Black (Slam Remix)

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About the author

Daz Pearson runs the globally successful radio show for Decoded Magazine but he’s also a very gifted, incredibly humble and accomplished DJ himself having played, run and co promoted events across the UK and Ibiza.

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