303 in Liverpool is a night that has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2013. They pride themselves on quality underground events that attract a regular friendly, and up for it crowd. 303 has attracted some of the biggest names in dance music like Henry Saiz, Erol Alkan, James Zabiela, Guy J, Dave Clarke, Dave Seaman, and many more. With their 5th birthday celebrations due in 2018, the 303 guys have been busy locking in artists including Nick Warren, Charlie May, Quivver, Henry Saiz, John Digweed, and Patrice Baumel for what promises to be an incredible year for the team. Decoded Magazine caught up with 303’s resident DJ and promoter Stuart Hodson ahead of their NYE party for a chat about all things 303.
Hi Stuart, thanks for taking the time to speak to Decoded Magazine. What have you been up to with your day so far?
Getting ready for Christmas, and my impending 29th birthday celebrations…
Let’s get down to business. You have your 5th birthday celebrations on the horizon, and the venue you have arranged is very impressive. Can you tell us about 303V and what you have planned?
We want to celebrate 5 years promoting events in the amazing City of Liverpool. The plan is to put on events in the amazing Invisible Wind Factory (which is turning into one of Liverpool’s best venues) and of course some of our regular haunts. There will be some 303 favourites behind the decks like Henry Saiz, Guy J, Charlie May, and the ever-dependable Steve Parry alongside some new faces with the likes of John Digweed, and the up and coming Patrice Baumel with many more TBA.
I believe the venue took you some time to nail down? What finally made it all come together for your fifth birthday?
Looking around Liverpool we wanted a space to use that would have the feel of a 303 night whilst at the same time hold large numbers of clubbers. The Invisible Wind Factory ticks all the boxes and will be a huge hit with our crowd. 303V will be a special day/night at this venue and we can’t wait for it.
For those that are not in the know can you tell our readers about your 303 nights and what they could expect if they attend a night in the legendary tunnels?
The Tunnels, in our opinion, is the best small underground venue in the UK. There aren’t many like it that allow big-name DJs to come and play in such intimate surroundings. You can expect the events to be built around the DJs with extended sets being the norm and a friendly up for it crowd of all ages.
The tunnels have hosted some impressive artist like Dave Clarke, Andrew Weatherall, Robert Hood, Erol Alkan, Henry Saiz, Guy J Dave Seaman & many more over the years but who has been your favourite, and why?
Tough question. I think all three of us would answer differently given our music tastes but I know there are certain nights we all agree as being special. Andrew Weatherall has been outstanding every single time and it was a real coup to get him to play for us so he has to be up there. Dave Clarke is another one. You don’t get to hear someone like him in a venue like the Tunnels and has destroyed the place every single time. Henry Saiz, Guy J, Erol Alkan, Seaman, and Parry have all done well with the all night long shows and let’s not forget James Zabiela. Impossible to pick one but Dave Clarke and Andrew Weatherall would definitely be up there in many peoples top three.
You and the team have been creating some serious waves throughout Liverpool and the North West over recent years with your 303 nights in Liverpool and your 909 events in Manchester. Can you tell us how the idea or running a night came about, and where it all began?
The night came about from the fact we had been successfully running a night based around the 1992-2002 era of Cream called the “Cream Reunions”. These brought together many clubbers from that era who in some instances had retired from the scene and those nights reignited the passion for raving. From that Kenny and I decided to put on a night after those shows had ended and Sam came up with the name “303”. It was never meant to be anything other than just putting on parties for mates and even though the night has grown it still feels like that every time we decide on a DJ to play for us or go looking at new event spaces. “909” was an obvious name to come out of it once we moved over to Manchester. There is one DJ that we hope one day to play on his 909 at 909 just to for the headlines on social media alone.
You’re a man from Wigan, and we all know Wigan forms part of the pie triangle in the North. What is your favourite pie, and do you always put it in a barm (bread roll)?
I don’t think there is ever a comment, post on social media or passing remark in a club where Wigan is mentioned and the word “Pie” isn’t in the same sentence. You haven’t let me down in this interview either have you!!!! It has to be Steak Pie every time. However, I’m not one for wrapping it in a barm!
You have just recently become a dad. How have you found fatherhood along with running events? Bit stressful?
Running events is stressful anyway (big up to any promoter who is putting on parties & promoting shows) and it has its massive ups and downs. Trying to do that alongside being a dad has its challenges but I wouldn’t swap it for anything.
Obviously, your attention is on your fifth birthday but what can we expect from 303/909 through 2018? Any other big events on the horizon?
We will keep our ideas under wraps for now but you can expect another huge summer party again and some surprises in that infamous tunnel later in the year.
If you could host one artist that you have not yet managed to book who would it be, and why?
Stating the absolute obvious here but Sasha is one that we would love to do. All three of us have had amazing nights on many dancefloors and festivals across the UK with him at the controls. No matter what happens in the music scene with technology advancements you simply can’t beat having a great selector and mixer in front you on a night out and he is one of the very best. We do however have his mate on in 2018 though and welcoming John Digweed to 303 is something all of us can’t wait for.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to talk about before we head off and leave you in peace?
Just a massive thanks to everyone who has supported us over these five years especially our staff who graft tirelessly at every event. Also, massive thanks to the amazing team at Skiddle (they believed in us from the very start), to the DJ agents (good ones) we work with almost daily. But a special mention and thanks for all the clubbers who have turned up at our events most of which on such a regular basis to all of our shows they feel like family.
See you all in February for 303V Part I.
Lots of love