Death Disco celebrates 10 years in action... and bids farewell
The Death Disco XXXmas party - featuring guest Jacques Lu Cont - will be the club night's finale
It seems apt that during their 21st birthday season, the Arches is welcoming back one of its best-loved and longest-running club nights to help mark its own significant anniversary. Celebrating ten years’ involvement in Glasgow’s clubscene, the anything-goes extravaganza that is Death Disco returns this month with an appearance from Crookers. Originally established by two former Arches’ programmers, Tamsin Austin and Tiernan Kelly, the pair aimed to put on a night combining the kind of cutting-edge bands and DJs that other clubs in the city would consider too risky to book.
‘Tamsin was going to a lot of festivals and seeing more and more exciting live acts that would work in a dance context while Tiernan was very much a fan of electro-type sounds,’ explains Death Disco resident Jill Mingo-go. ‘I was working as a publicist with a lot of the artists in the so-called “electro-clash” scene when the Arches decided to put together a band-orientated night, mixing art and dance and asked me to be a resident; it sounded like a great idea to me.’
‘The first five or six events were actually themed by country,’ adds Arches Marketing Manager and Death Disco’s publicity designer, Niall Walker. ‘We started with Norway, then moved through Europe until we got to Belgium and had 2ManyDJs play their first ever Scottish show; that’s when things really took off.’
Death Disco has long-been viewed as a ‘mixed’ night, though as Mingo-go reveals, rather than being planned, this is simply how the club has evolved: ‘The sort of acts we originally booked were often more playful, visual and flamboyant than those of the four-to-the-floor techno variety. Since there was definitely an art-orientated, leftfield element to the night from the beginning, the vibe of dressing up and being outrageous seemed to translate well to a more open-minded, mixed crowd.’
In fact, the distinctive looks and outfits of many Death Disco regulars became very much part of its brand, with striking characters at the club handpicked to model for posters and flyers. ‘Over the years I was inundated with requests from clubbers wanting to appear on one,’ admits Niall. ‘It was a fun way of recognising that the individual members of the crowd are as much a part of events as the DJs.’
The shape of the Arches played a vital role in shaping its identity, as Mingo-go is happy to acknowledge: ‘We can let clubs we love do their own rooms or simply put bands on in some; the vibe changes depending how many and which of them we have open.’
Looking back over the past decade, what are the pair’s favourite memories of the night? ‘Joining 2ManyDJs behind the decks to play ‘Walk the Night’ by the Skatt Brothers and people going ape-shit is definitely one of my all-time DJ highlights,’ says Mingo-go gleefully.
‘Watching outsize drag superstar Le Gateau Chocolat perform ‘Nessum Dorma’ in a winged gold lame bodysuit is easily one of mine,’ reveals Walker. ‘Another is the time Jacques Lu Cont played his first set for us. Beforehand he told us he was thinking of giving up DJing but after playing to the Death Disco crowd, he said he’d changed his mind. ‘We’re really excited that he’ll be back for the last ever Death Disco next month.’
Death Disco’s tenth birthday, The Arches, Glasgow, Sat 24 Nov; Death Disco XXXmas Party, The Arches, Glasgow, Fri 7 Dec.