Voodoo Rooms - Spellbound

As the Voodoo Rooms launches in Edinburgh, Henry Northmore talks to director Ewan McNaught and one of the venue’s very first guests, David Holmes

David Holmes

Renegade, the organisation that gave us Pure and Vegas! now have their very own venue to play with. The Voodoo Rooms is situated in the space above Edinburgh’s Café Royal, restored to its former glory and populated by a mixed roster of nights that take full advantage of this unique club space. ‘There’s five rooms and three bars and it’s a beautiful building but it needed someone to take it under it’s wing,’ explains director Ewan McNaught. ‘We’re very excited as it should be a great place to come along to enjoy live music or cocktails in the context of a venue that has been tastefully refurbished. We’re going for an overall aesthetic, integrating music, food and entertainment. I think the days of getting by as a very basic venue are numbered; people are looking for more from their night out.’

Hosting live gigs from the likes of Aberfeldy (19 & 20 December) and Bee & Flower (10 December) and new club nights from the folk behind Departure Lounge, The Go-Go, and of course Vegas!. ‘We’ll be taking some of the aspects of Vegas! that made it so successful and moving in a new direction in a different environment,’ says McNaught. Forthcoming guests invited to come along for the ride include Jazzanova (29 December), Fred Deacon (8 December), DJ Quantic (5 December) and David Holmes (24 November).

Holmes produced two amazing electronica albums, the virtual film score This Film’s Crap Let’s Slash the Seats and Let’s Get Killed, which built tracks around samples of dialogue captured on New York’s streets. He later moved into mainstream consciousness, soundtracking movies such as Resurrection Man and Buffalo Soldiers. But it was his collaborations with Steven Soderbergh on Out of Sight and the three Ocean films that really thrust Holmes into the limelight.

Despite these big Hollywood gigs Holmes is still based in his native Belfast and is currently working on his first artist album in years. ‘Doing your own stuff is very liberating after working in the world of film,’ Holmes explains. ‘What you say goes, there’s no rules, no ball park except what’s going on in your own life. A lot’s happened in the last ten years, I’ve lost both my parents and some friends. This record is really the most personal thing I’ve ever done; it’s not funky in the slightest, it’s quite an emotive record.’

Famed for his eclectic tastes Holmes helped pioneer truly forward thinking DJ sets. ‘Before I was a DJ I was really obsessed with music. I got into DJing because of that obsession, and it’s been with music generally and not a certain genre.’

Having worked with the Renegade crew from back in their early Pure days, Holmes is looking forward to seeing what they’ll do with the freedom of their own venue. ‘I imagine that if they’re going to do it, it will be done properly,’ he says. ‘New venues opening are always really exciting because everyone wants to go, and nobody wants to miss it.’ Asked what he’ll be spinning on the night, he laughs: ‘I’ll be playing music that will make people dance, but I don’t know what that is just yet.’

The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, opens Fri 16 Nov; David Holmes guests Sat 24 Nov.

David Holmes

Famous for his funk-fuelled techno, hip hop, jazz and far more beyond, David Holmes heads this end of Festival special. Support from Mr Please Please.

Voodoo Rooms Opening Weekend

A selection of DJs and performers from the Voodoo Rooms weekend roster welcome you to this new venue.


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