Biography of Slam:
It\’s a familiar fable. A story that spans three decades and three generations. Their elasticated bass tones have touched the lives of everyone in Scotland\’s biggest city. They are the devilish duo responsible for Glasgow\’s techno city. Ex-NME hack, Channel 4\’s Stuart Cosgrove, might be spouting a load of old techno bollocks, but he is just one such infamous Scot who has been influenced by DJ Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle\’s twisted funk.
Wherever you drink, wherever you work, where ever you dance; every teen to thirty something has raved and craved Slam at the Arches. They are the dirty disco duo who form part of the cultural fabric of Glasgow\’s clubbing society. It\’s their sound that permeates every creative walk of life from marketing offices to bars, design companies to the city\’s restaurants, art institutions to hairdressers. Each month Slam DJ to 2500 people and to 25,000 people in July, that\’s 55,000 people a year in Scotland alone. Ask around the city and most people will have had a life changing moment at Slam at the Arches. This is the sound of Glasgow and Slam made it. Lock up your children.
Slam came together over ten year’s ago. Their longevity is a result of a traditional punk ethic where Manager, Dave Clarke, is the invisible third member of the band. The three of them share a passion for music and a debauched past which started with soul weekenders, punk and reggae through to The Clash and early acid-house at the Sub Club. By the late \’80s Slam had already taken the baton. Acid house exploded in Scotland with the legendary Slam at Tin Pan Ally. \”For most people,\” Orde remembers, \”Slam was their first clubbing experience.\” Soon after, in 1989, full of acid house enthusiasm, Slam produced the City\’s first all-night rave. Stuart claims this was the seed that sprouted the Slam family tree. \”We literally caused havoc in the streets. There were coaches from the Hacienda, 808 State playing live and thousands of people unable to get in. The police had to shut the streets off.\”
It turned out to be the best marketing campaign ever done. Posters dotted around Glasgow simply stated \’3 Weeks To Go\’ counting down to \’2 Weeks To Go\’ the following week. The whole city was hooked and farfetched press stories started ruminating that the aliens were coming. They weren\’t far wrong, as every young potential clubber-to-be was gagging to lose their acid house virginity. \”We didn\’t realise at the time that having too many people wanting to come to an event was the best thing that could happen to you. We didn\’t know how to manage it back then. We thought that everyone was going to hate us for not getting in.\” The following day Stuart McMillan and Dave Clarke went to Ibiza and the Slam scandal exploded.
The next ten years saw the team fire ahead relentlessly with regular nights all over the city, including most memorably Slam at the Arches through to the present day\’s Freelance Science and Pressure. It\’s no surprise, that with a premiere roster of big name DJs, Slam are the only choice to produce Scotland\’s largest outdoor pavilion at the annual T-In The Park for 25,000 hedonistic revelers.
Like all the best clubs Slam put quality before profit. \”We have always stretched the budget to make sure the night was good,\” says Orde. He\’s the gentle giant with the seriously humorous split personality.
\”We actually owned the sound system at the Arches,\” Stuart interjects. He\’s the funny one who claims he has a gravely misunderstood serious side. \”It was rocking.\”
Orde: \”People still say there isn\’t a sound system to match it in Scotland. Back then we poured everything into it and took no money for a while. I think that is a part of almost everything we have done.\”
So what is that special Slam mix that has touched so many lives? \”Er, several Jack Daniels and cokes\”, laughs Stuart. \”No of course, it\’s the DJs, the people, the production and lighting design. The whole picture, of course\”.
Like all scenes Slam owe a dept to local record shops such as Glasgow\’s 23rd Precinct, and Rub-A -Dub and their influences are peppered with descriptions that include Detroit, Chicago, Transmat, Nude Photo, Kraftwerk and clubs like the Hacienda and Ku in Ibiza. This energy has been carried over into their nights and classic tracks such as \’\’Eterna\’ Stepback\’ and \’Positive Education\’, which made it to number 44 when it was re-released earlier this year.
\”Positive Education was a track that had a real strong impact on us. It was the first techno track coming out of the UK that shook us with that energy and that thing you can\’t really describe. Going to the Arches, a few months after that, was an extraordinary clubbing experience. We felt the exact same thing that we had heard in the track. Spontaneity, energy, positive things. Soma, the label, Slam, the artists, Slam, the club, are really part of our family and we are very grateful to those many unforgettable moments we spend with the crew in Glasgow.\”
– Thomas Bangalter, Daft Punk.
If the sound of France is filtered disco and London is dominated by sub-urban acid house inflections with more breakdowns than Frank Butcher; Glasgow is dark, funky, bass heavy, sweaty, writhing, sleazy techno, punctuated with house grooves. It\’s a sound that reflects the environment – long nights enveloped by a warm friendly vibrant crowd who identify more with the US than the UK\’s capital. It\’s Slam\’s sound, and Slam\’s sound is the soundtrack to every Scot\’s best night out.
Tittle: Soma Sessions
Rls date: 28-09-2011
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