Exclusive AAA Interview: Jacobi & Zues from trailblazing nightspot TAPE London

TAPE London, nestling in the relative calm of Hanover Square, is an exclusive nightclub offering an elegant party experience for an elite, global crowd. Featuring weekly guest sets from internationally renowned DJs attracting influential members of the music industry and music fans alike, TAPE London flys in the face of expectations, keeping up to date with what the nightlife industry has to offer while remaining accessible to the true enthusiast. A&R Simon Huxtable caught up with owners Jacobi & Zeus recently to discuss the business, the entertainment industry in 2016 and plans for the future.

Hi Guys, thanks for finding the time to chat to us a Decoded Magazine. How are you both? Let’s start at the beginning. Before TAPE, what were you both working on?

JACOBI – Both of us were working within the music industry. I put on large events throughout London that I produced myself and Zues is more on the management side of things. I devised ‘Le Baron’ the nighclub, Zues started ‘London Village Kids’ which is one of the biggest party brands in the UK and also helped launch Cirque and other clubs.
ZUES – I’ve been in music management for over ten years, I started off managing Taio Cruz and I’m currently working with Bluey Robinson and at the same time I’ve been involved in clubs, I’ve also had my own events company.
JACOBI – TAPE London is a dream that the two of us came up with along with music producer Dallas Austin. Together we have created a home for the music industry where you can record and create new music and then take it on to a stage and play live to an audience and also record and live stream the performance. And of course there is also the nightclub for the public to enjoy.

Tell us about TAPE. What made you chose to incorporate a private members club with a nightclub?

JACOBI – For me it was about creating a space that was a little bit more exclusive and where people can truly relax. We see the building as being two different businesses within one. The night club is vibrant, energetic and loud and then you have the members club which gives you a chance to step out of the night club and enter a more intimate, calmer and quieter space. When we walked into the building initially it was huge and dividing the space has really given the building a different energy.
ZUES – For me the members club is very much a place where I can host friends and the artists that I know and we can talk and hang out. Celebrities feel relaxed and aren’t troubled at all – we have actually just introduced a no camera policy in the members club to ensure privacy. High profile artists or friends can come here and hang out and feel relaxed.

Tape members LR-21

How do you find Mayfair as a viable clubbing location?

ZUES – I think being central is important we have friends internationally and they will often be in town and go out in central London.
JACOBI – I don’t see us as being in the heart of Mayfair we are on the border of Mayfair, Soho, Marylebone and we are close to a lot of the music labels. We like the energy that is in Soho – we are right in the heart of London really.

With the ability to cater for bands and DJs how have you managed bookings? Are there certain days for certain sounds?

ZUES – We try not to confine ourselves to one genre though we do follow a certain format for our nights – Wednesday is usually our live music night, Thursday is house and Friday is hip-hop then on Saturdays we follow an open format.
JACOBI – There is also an element of spontaneity that we want to keep regarding the bookings that we do and impromptu announcements. Also artists who are in town and at the club will often jump up on stage and spontaneously sing or perform and that’s a really important aspect at Tape.

Booking bands or DJs has changed over the years. What have been some of your more interesting rider demands, or contract clauses that you can talk about?

JACOBI – We actually haven’t had any divas yet who have had crazy rider demands or contract clauses – this may be more the case when you’re booking large arenas but this is quite an intimate venue and a lot of the bookings come through personal relationships.

Tape Hot Since 82

When I came to interview H.O.S.H. last year ahead of his set at TAPE, he mentioned that Mick Jagger had been in the club a few weeks before. How much of a nuisance have paparazzi been since opening and what controls do you have in place for celebrity guests wanting a quick exit?

JACOBI – As Zues mentioned we now have a no camera policy in the members club, but regarding paparazzi, we can’t control what’s happening out on the street – there are paps outside the club pretty much every night, which is inevitable when you have artists performing at the venue.

Can you tell us about any funny studio moments?

ZUES – Loads. Ella Henderson has been recording in the studio – she tweeted that she ‘would love a lobster right now’ and we got sent loads of lobster from Burger and Lobster within like 5 minutes. Dallas Austin who was in the studio with her was like ‘now tweet Ferrari and tell them that you want a car!

HAHAHA!! Talk us through the fundamentals of the business. How much of an involvement do you both have with the day to day running of TAPE, and are there aspects of the business you would like to improve upon?

JACOBI – The fundamentals of the business are the night club, the members club, the recording studio, live performances and we’re both involved in everything.
ZUES – We spend our days doing meetings at the venue and then come back to the club for the night.
JACOBI – In terms of improving the business we are looking to build our own label and digital platform, we have the technology in here to live stream and record video content so this is an exciting prospect for the future.

Tape Studio
With TAPE London now fairly well established, Can you reveal any expansion plans you may have? 

ZUES – We’re looking and we are in talks with two or three cities but we’re not gonna reveal where yet.

OK, let me ask you that in a different way, if nothing stood in the way of owning your dream location, where would you dearly love to set up a new venture?

ZUES – Stateside
JACOBI – LA – perhaps a daytime members venue with a different concept that totally suits LA, with a good restaurant, a living lounge, a recording studio and a live performance stage … watch this space!

Given that TAPE caters to a fairly exclusive and niche crowd, have there ever been moments when you’ve been starstruck? If not, who would you personally consider to be some of your favourite stars?

BOTH – Mick Jagger! On the first night we opened Mick Jagger came in – he was here dancing all night.

Besides the music, TAPE also has some great drinks. Can you tell us about your favourite signature drinks and can we have the recipe please?!

BOTH – The Rum-DMC – Its made with Zacapa 23yr old rum infused with lime leaf. Sorry, we’re keeping the recipe a secret, you’ll just have to come and taste it!

Well guys, its been wonderful to meet you both. I think TAPE is fantastic, I love the old drawing room, it’s like stepping back in time. To finish, is there anything you would like to add?

JACOBI – We’re looking forward to doing some parties and events in Ibiza this year with some world renowned house and techno DJs – so Tape Ibiza will be coming soon.