Harri - Subculture
David Pollock talks to Harri, the guiding force behind Glasgow’s house institution Subculture, as it celebrates its 15th birthday
‘God, it doesn’t feel like 15 years,’ says Harri, key member of the DJ team behind the Sub Club’s decade-and-a-half old house institution Subculture. ‘It’s flown in, and I was there back when the Sub Club was Lucifer’s more than 22 years ago. I used to run Atlantis with the Slam boys, which was the regular Saturday night before Subculture’.
Harri’s latest night actually emerged when Slam decided to leave the Sub Club and concentrate on a more techno-heavy sound. At the time he enlisted Domenic Capello and Oscar Fullone to join him as Subculture’s residents, although Fullone would head to London after a couple of years to establish the Mish Mash brand. Capello meanwhile, recently moved to Barcelona, but still returns home for one Subculture appearance a month.
‘It wasn’t like we were the only ones doing it,’ says Harri. ‘I seem to remember loads of good house nights in Glasgow at the time. What set us apart, though, was the venue itself and the sound system we had. It was one of the best in the city at the time, and now I reckon it’s the best.’
While the Subbie’s importance to Glasgow’s clubbing scene and Subculture’s success can’t be overstated, there’s more to it than that. Subculture is one of Scotland’s most recognisable and respected club nights. Its reputation stems largely from being a dynamic and forward-thinking institution, a characteristic it maintains to this day.
‘It’s about not getting complacent and not thinking you’re too big for your boots,’ says Harri. ‘You’re only as good as the last week you’ve played, so we try to constantly evolve. We’ve never been stuck in one single genre; things like deep house, boompty and tribal techno have all been and gone, and Subculture has taken them on board and played them, but not to the extent that they took over the night. You know, other people run techno and dubstep nights, but we play these genres alongside everything else. House has always had a broader meaning at Subculture.’
Where the night was originally a residents’ party with occasional special guests, Capello’s move away has allowed others to come in to fill the gaps. While many of these are touring international names – including Dixon for this 15th birthday special – some new local DJs have also been brought into the fold, including Telford, Junior and Esa. ‘If you’d told me when I started buying records at 13 that I’d be playing Subculture one day, I’d have laughed,’ says Junior, aka Chris Ingram, half of the team behind Sensu. ‘You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t nervous about following in the footsteps of two of the best residents ever, but it’s exciting more than anything’.
So could this be a sign that Harri and Domenic are readying to step down? ‘As long as the music’s good, we’re there,’ laughs Harri, ‘There’s no way we’d give up the best job in the world. Will we make it to 20 years? Well, I don’t think about milestones. It’s all just about the next weekend for me.’
Subculture’s 15th Birthday Party with Dixon is at Sub Club, Glasgow, Sat 2 May.