Lynn Macdonald, manager and promoter at the soon-to-close Soundhaus - interview
The Glasgow techno den plans final parties for massive send-off
The first that Lynn Macdonald (manager and long-time promoter at Glasgow techno den the Soundhaus) heard of the venue’s death was in an impersonal email she found in her inbox when she arrived at work one morning. ‘It was heartbreaking,’ she says. ‘I came in one morning and it punched me in the face. I just sat here and cried, because the Soundhaus is an institution and it is different. It’s an underdog, and it’s a venue with a human face for punters and promoters.’
As of this month, sadly, it will also be no more. After 18 years as a band rehearsal space and music studio, originally founded by Graham Bisset and James Flyte, and 14 years as a members’ club venue whose programming saw it build a strong reputation for nights covering techno, harder house and hardcore styles, the building – sited in an industrial zone just off Stobcross Road in Finnieston – was bought a couple of years ago by property development company Goodman.
‘Apparently we’re part of something called Phase Three,’ says Macdonald, ‘which is a council-born project to rejuvenate the Clydeside. When the sale happened we knew we wouldn’t be here forever, but the speed of events still came as a big shock.’ Macdonald says that it was suggested six months ago the Soundhaus would have to close in around two years: in the event, they were lucky to get a six-week extension on the original early January exit date in order to clear out their PA equipment (PA hire will continue via the website, soundhaus.co.uk).
What will Glasgow be missing when it’s gone? 'A club venue which championed ‘emergent harder-edged and niche market sub cultures,’ for a start, says Macdonald. ‘It’s also going to be losing a place where older people can go and dance to techno and not feel like they shouldn’t be doing that,’ she says. ‘That’s a big loss. You can go somewhere in town and younger people look at older folk as if to say, “What are you doing here?” But our members of all ages are really open-minded.’
So what awaits for the club in its final few days? The regular live band nights have concluded already, so that leaves the final instalment of collaborative techno night Point 4 to rattle the various bunker-like rooms of the venue, all of which were built from the empty shell of the building and customised by Macdonald and the committee who run it. This date will see classic Soundhaus nights Off the Record and Animal Farm return alongside highly-regarded Glasgow promoters Kreep and Highlife, and a set from Simon Stokes.
The night after that it’s The Final Tango, featuring a procession of Soundhaus stars past and present including representatives of Monox, Inner City Acid, Chakra, Syntax, Basement and Macdonald’s own night Pussypower. And then is that the end? Not necessarily. Macdonald says a possible new venue is being eyed right now (and investment actively sought, get in touch if you’re interested), while either way she doesn’t rule out some of the venue’s promoters getting together to stage one-off parties in other Glasgow venues in future. ‘People who’ve been involved with the Soundhaus for years feel like they’re part of a family they can come back to any time,’ she says. It would be a shame to lose that completely.
The last Point 4 is on Fri 3 Feb and The Final Tango is on Sat 4 Feb, both at Soundhaus, Glasgow.