Basing House Can Do No Wrong - Our Club of Choice

I distinctly remember my first encounters with 25 Kingsland Road. It was 2005, I was 22 and had a collection of fluro leggings that put American Apparel’s S/S 2009 collection to shame. I also had an obsession with appargiated bass lines and Miss Kitten style lyrics that saw me prance into Trailer Trash at On The Rocks on a weekly basis. Transvestites to the left, shoulder thrusts to the right, I was in the middle of electro clash heaven. Resident Hannah Holland would take her place in the odd motorway toll style booth while the queues of young, creative freaks that resembled the cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show trickled through in their masses. Inside, a packed, dark, sweaty room and some of the most horrendous toilets you’ll ever have the misfortune of squatting in became a magical playground. The music was a mix between electro, disco, house and techno with a sprinkling of acidic pop for good measure. It was…FABULOUS.

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Trailer Trash at On The Rocks - 2008 – Photo courtesy of Christopher James for weknowwhatyoudidlastnght.com

Eventually and inevitably, times moved on and by 2009 my leggings wore away to have the elasticity of an old piece of chewing gum and On The Rocks had lost its charm, crowds and heyday. Instead, I found my forefinger twitching to minimal in darkened warehouses and it appeared that the owners of 25 Kingsland Road may well have written their own fate by calling themselves ‘On The Rocks’ as that’s precisely what the venue became. At some point in 2009 (I think) it became The Sports Bar, a monstrous place with gazillions of flat screen TV’s and Shoreditch city boys necking pints of Stella and “oi’oi’oing” at other men running around a football pitch (I can only assume this as I never went inside, but that’s what I like to think it was like) - 25 Kingsland Road dropped off our club radar entirely. Whilst The Sports Bar was a cataclysmic error it was also a blessing in disguise for Jason Colbert and Chris Bird who now run the refurbished venue; its insignificance in the underground music scene meaning that when Basing House opened in 2011 – it felt like a brand spanking new venue had arrived. Just in the nick of time too with TBar long gone, Nomad demising by the second and the council getting their evil claws into just about every warehouse space in East London.

In January 2011 Jason Colbert was running a party called Detail and in search of a space to hold his event, he stumbled across the loft area of Basing House. After three parties, Jason and Chris Bird (who used to manage 54 on Commercial Road) managed to convince the owner of Basing House that if the downstairs bar was transformed into the blank canvas dance vibe of the loft, Basing House could reclaim its place as a clubbing venue. “The first few months were really tough” explains Jason, “Sunday mornings when the bar closed we’d be in there working until Thursday’s, stripping the walls back to their original brick work – one little corner at a time, week by week.” Getting the right promoters to aspire to have their events at Basing House was no easy task either. “You’ve only got one chance to show promoters round, and showing them a half refurbished venue was tough. In the beginning the parties that we were getting weren’t quite what we were aiming for. We really struggled for the first few months to be honest.”

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Basing House Roof Terrace - 2011

As 2011 entered its summer the transformation of Basing House was complete with brand new lighting, air conditioning, a smoking terrace and the unnecessary cocktail bar stripped back to good old basics. Most importantly though, a Funktion 1 sound system, Allen & Heath mixer, turntables and CDJ 2000’s now spanned the entire length of the back wall, emphasizing Jason and Chris’s priority and focus for Basing House – the music. Nights began to draw attention with the new music policy bringing a selection of house, disco and techno events run by some of East London’s most forward thinking promoters. Nearing the end of last year, that once fabulous venue was finally reliving its calling agrees events manager Jason, “November was a turning point, we started to get the parties we were after and the crowds that we wanted. It’s nice to see parties that have been strict warehouse parties for years now holding their events here“. Joined by Chris in the role of promotions manager, they have an in-house promotions team and believe in treating events as if they were their own, making sure the promoters and artists receive as much support as they can give. In a recent interview with Club Focus they explained, “We see it as a necessity that we promote the music, artists and labels we love. We are genuine fans and hope this comes across in how we carry ourselves as a venue. We’re music lovers so the most important aspect has to be staying true to that. A huge amount of thanks have to be paid to the promoters we work with.”

Those promoters are increasing rapidly with Hypercolour, Bread & Butter, Make Me, Voyage and Simmer being just a handful of Basing House’s bi-monthly promotions. At not even a year old, the new DJ set up has seen the likes of Chez Damier, Kenny Larkin, Tim Xavier, Voigtmann, Redshape, jozif, Seuil, Will Saul, Wildkats and many more perform their trickery behind the decks to a full house of mature, electronic music lovers.

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Mooch 3rd birthday featuring Tim Xavier at Basing House – 2012 – Photo courtesy of Daddy’s Got Sweets

In the lead up to their first birthday celebrations this June, Basing House have already secured events such as A Night With…Sebo K, Deep’Art with Krankbrothers & Corey Baker, Make Me with Dvs1 & Bill Patrick, Excuse the Mess with Harry Klein’s Ana and the long running Phonica will take up their new bi-monthly slot. Six years after I first stepped foot into 25 Kingsland Road things have changed dramatically. Those appargiated bass lines are now warm and deep, electro pop is now house tech, Miss Kitten’s lyrics have been replaced by live appearances from the likes of Robert Owens and the freaks of 2005 are now, well, the freaks of 2012. One aspect of that era is back though...It is FABULOUS once again.