Access All Areas: Behind the scenes with Bristol’s In:Motion promoter Jack Scales

Tucked away in the rocky industrial space behind Bristol’s Temple Meads railway station, Motion is a network of Victorian-era warehouses bordered on each side by a riverside terrace and a cobbled courtyard. For the last 10 years, between October and January, the cavernous reaches of the Motion complex are transformed for the Bristol In:Motion series: a three-month run of phenomenal live shows and club nights welcoming the finest artists, labels, and promoters from the UK and beyond.

This year sees the addition of the newly-revamped Marble Factory annex to In:Motion, a tailor-made space designed to host intimate limited capacity events in a pared-down environment, placing music at the centre of the experience. Ahead of the shows, Decoded took a moment to chat with In:Motion promoter, Jack Scales, on how the programs are organised, some of the lineups and his favourite local faces.

Hi Jack, thanks for finding the time to chat to us at Decoded. Good weekend?

Yes great thanks, currently using the weekends to get some down time before the season kicks off, so spent some time in North Wales.

So tell us a little about how the program for In:Motion is organised. How do you decide on the promoters you use and the order in which the events take place?

We have our key promoters who we work with every year, Just Jack, The Blast, Hospitality, plus there are always new additions to the series to keep it fresh. This year we’ve added Ibiza brands Cream, ANTS and elrow returns joining forces with Knee Deep in Sound for a special one off show. We have new techno shows with Drumcode and Crack Magazine, plus returns for drum and bass powerhouses RUN, UKF and MTA. The important part of programming In:Motion is to find a balance of musical diversity across the series.

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The venue, Motion, is a city centre skate park by day, and for the last 10 years has transformed every autumn weekend into a giant multi-roomed dance club. Who’s crazy idea was that!?

This is actually the first year that the venue hasn’t been open as a skate park for some part of the year or another, instead focusing solely on music events all year around. Unfortunately I never got the chance to witness raves on top of half pipes but I’ve heard some gnarly tales about that period.

So talk us through the line ups this year. There’s some pretty interesting nights…

Yes I’m really happy with how the whole season has come together. In particular though I’m excited for LA collective Soulection Bristol debut, having previously helped promote the first show in London at XOYO. Drumcode for the first time is big one for me, plus bringing back and helping program Bugged Out! is personally a massive achievement for me having worked for and closely with Johnno and Charlotte for the last five years. Mostly I can’t wait for the season to get underway with the opening party featuring Joseph Capriati, Eats Everything, Kölsch, Breach and B.Traits to name a few!

Like a lot of big venues, In:Motion has it’s characters. Who are the ones that stand out for you and what makes them great? (Mines Disco Dave the food truck guy)

Disco Dave is a G! Our venue manager Marco Bernardi is one of the biggest characters, he’s a Glaswegian who produces amazing techno and runs Elevator Sound, an independent music store in Bristol selling machine-based instruments. I honestly don’t know how he finds the time to do it all. This year I’ve spent a lot of time developing and employing a new promotion team so everyone is new, we’ve got Faith, Kieran and Dan on promo.

Kieran runs the record label Shall Not Fade, Dan runs a cool party in the basement of a gay sauna called SF and Faith just got back from a season in Ibiza working for Hyte, Mosaic and Space. Topped off with Joe on Graphics who’s done a great job rebranding the In:Motion season this year.

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What’s been your favourite event over the years? (Curated or attended) 

Wow, too many! Most recently Secret Garden Party which I attended with the best crew of friends and old co-workers from London in the most perfect weather. Last year I was driving to Wales with my girlfriend when we decided to hop on a plane to Basel for the Nordstern 15yr Birthday with Seth Troxler, Loco Dice, Ame, Rodhad, Guti and Andre Oliva over two days, everyone we met were so friendly. We had people coming up to us asking if we were the “London people”. That club was amazing and I’m looking forward to going to check out their new club.

Every party at Motion this year has been great, personal favourite acts to pass through include Daniel Avery (All Night Long), Loco Dice and Honey Dijon. I’m still learning alot about how the club runs and how I can make it best for our customers which is massively important for the club to progress.

In the light of the drug problems faced by Warehouse Project last year and the Fabric situation thats developed over the last few weeks, how do In:Motion manage patrons caught under the influence of substances and what’s your relationship like with local police and council?

Luckily we’ve always had a very close relationship with all the local services and council. From regular resident meetings through to more serious licence and Fire meetings it’s part of what we are expected to do here as a venue of our size. The WHP and Fabric situation hasn’t changed our procedures at all really, we operate a zero tolerance policy on drugs.

If anything, the Fabric situation has pointed out how more aware we need to be of our younger customers within the venue who may have taken a little too much before they arrive. We know we can’t stop that from happening all the time, but take every step to make them comfortable if it does.

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Do you think there needs to be a new conversation regarding the responsibility a venue has towards its patrons?

100% and unfortunately a lot of the time in society we talk about these things when it’s far too late or after a tragedy, but I do think slowly we are moving forward. The work of Fiona Measham and the Loop team is really admirable and we’ve been in talks about bringing them into the club this year.

Having previously worked at XOYO, what’s been the biggest learning curve for you at Motion?

In London we were open every weekend, here in Bristol it’s really important to pick the right times to open the club it’s much better to have less of really well promoted nights than loads which do averagely well, which suites Bristol as it moves to a completely different beat than London.

Well, it’s been real Jack. Thanks again for finding the time to chat. Best of luck with this seasons parties and I’ll see you at the front!

Look forward to it Simon! Thanks.

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About the author

Before Decoded started, UK Editor, Simon Huxtable ran a successful podcast for new and established artists covering many forms of electronic music. No slouch on the decks himself, he has DJed at some of the countries best venues and has an ever-growing portfolio of releases under his current production moniker - Real Gone Kid.

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