Resident DJ Hobbes guides us through the world of Trouble as they reach their seventh birthday (and celebrate with a two day, three event ‘Easter Weekender’)
Tearing up the rulebook: that was the basic premise when we started Trouble in 2002. Jay Feeney (Freak Music) and Erik d’Viking were programming a new live music/club venue sponsored by legendary US jazz label Blue Note Records and wanted me to run a weekly Friday night that would experiment with clubbing traditions, staging live acts but also pitting DJs against musicians in ‘live jams’ that would keep the floor moving.
Trouble was never meant to be a ‘jazz’ night per se, more a unique party for people who loved good music and dancing. Were Erik and I jazz DJs? Hell, no! But we were into black American dance music and almost all of it is influenced by jazz. I was just as keen to pepper the playlist with pioneering new records by the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Madlib. We would start at around 90 beats per minute and work our way up to about 130-140 bpm, before maybe dropping a slow tune again at the end. That first year featured Edinburgh debuts by Crazy P, Kyoto Jazz Massive, Quantic and Alice Russell.
Trouble had a forced hiatus, after the Cowgate fire left the Blue Note space water-damaged. When we re-launched at the Cellar Bar in 2004, with the Blue Note affiliation gone, we were freer to get back to our own roots as dance DJs, albeit freestyling ones.
We moved to Cabaret Voltaire in 2005 and persevered in doing things our own way, paying lip service to trends where necessary, but maintaining our own distinct identity. We’ve worked with numerous original talents and key players, such as Dixon, Rob Da Bank, Gilles Peterson, X-Vectors, Spektrum, Young Fathers, Lady Sovereign, Jaga Jazzist, The Bays and of course our own MC, Ratty B (now fronting The Correspondents in London).
Now, almost every other club is more ‘freestyle’, but on balance, nothing’s really changed for us. We still put on live acts we like, we still play records we like, no matter what the genre (there are really only two types of music: ‘good’ and ‘bad’), we still like to believe we’re way ahead of the curve and generally stick two fingers up to the mainstream.
We jumped at the chance to work with Horace Andy, the voice off Massive Attack’s classic Blue Lines, and a reggae legend in his own right. We hit on the idea of the Easter Weekender as a great way to celebrate our seventh birthday, particularly as this will also be the last ever Trouble at the Cab. Joe Acheson Quartet are renowned for a more abstract, downbeat style but Trouble is a dance night first and foremost so we’ve asked them to perform a dance set exclusively for us. We’ll be supporting them with a Trouble ‘classics set’ – which should be a lot of fun. And Found have already had great success outside Edinburgh and will be just back from a US tour, including showcase gigs at South By Southwest. Also, the Jazz Bar used to be Trouble’s home (as the Cellar Bar and before that the Blue Note), so there’s a poetic symmetry to Trouble’s Easter Weekender ending there. Good times.
Trouble Weekender: Cabaret Voltaire, Fri 10 Apr; Voodoo Rooms, Sat 11 Apr and Jazz Bar, Sat 11 Apr (all Edinburgh) see listings for details.