The exclusive on the city's new club
Two weeks after the announcement on AfterDark regarding the exciting new Spektrum nightclub, we've spoken at length and exclusively with Sankeys' boss David Vincent to extract more details about the project.
When the team reopened Sankeys Soap in 2000, it was an inherited venue. Spektrum gives the guys the chance to launch a venue that they have designed from scratch, one that David would specifically want to go clubbing in himself. “Basically we all get older and I've designed the club that I would want to go to.” Spektrum is expected to attract a discerning, experienced clientele that feels they need a club that now suits their needs. “I'm guessing we're going to appeal to the sort of person who's grown up with Sankeys but are maybe looking for something a little more comfortable, with a music policy that's more esoteric.”
This doesn't mean that anybody is excluded. Everybody is welcome, but Spektrum is likely to find favour with those looking for luxury features such as bookable booth seating, a high-end drinks offer complete with cocktails designed by Socio Rehab and even a bed for some horizontal relaxation. Added to these will be a feature that David is particularly proud to have incorporated: the futuristic LED light system. It's “engraved into the ceiling and walls and will be computer-generated, creating millions of different possible lights and therefore millions of possible nights for the clubbers who come down.” It's this visual show that has proved to be the inspiration for the club's name. In addition, the DJ booth is dancefloor-centre and is linked to a half Phazon and half Funktion 1 monster sound system.
Over a year's ideas and research has led David to this point, including time spent observing the clubscenes in New York and Berlin. “What you find in Germany is that they've properly embraced the advances in LED technology. Most clubs in the UK are still using 80's technology. At Sankeys we showed people that this was the future and now people get it. You can literally, through a computer, program what you can get out of that light, not like regular lighting with a few different effects.” It sounds like a genuine advance, set to revolutionise the city's clubbing in terms of visuals. “Put it this way, we can put a video through it.”
No doubt everyone is eager to hear about the music. It'll be house music all night long with Greg Vickers directing the policy. David then drops a bombshell. “We can announce that we have the amazing Theo Parrish as a regular guest. We're giving Fridays over to external promoters and Saturdays will be all about pushing new emerging talent, those DJs and producers who are perhaps too underground for Sankeys.” As a one-room venue roughly one-third the size of Sankeys, Spektrum will be able to engineer a few more musical experiments.
How about the location? It's just walking distance between Spektrum and Sankeys, both of which are on Radium Street. No temptation to build it elsewhere in the city? “Why not locate Spektrum next to Sankeys? It makes the area more of a destination, with different choices on offer, depending on how you feel and where your feet want to take you.” This will also benefit the city's promoters, “because they're sister venues, we can incubate smaller nights and emerging DJ talent before they step up to Sankeys itself, give the best local promoters a platform to take their night onto the next level.”
The area has certainly changed since Sankeys first opened in 1994 and then reopened in 2000. “This was an isolated area for a long time and totally derelict until Sankeys opened up.” Now the redevelopment has taken several strides forward, with new roads and Urban Splash-designed offices next to apartments and now a new nightclub. “We're very much part of the new life being breathed into the area, it's great to see it happening.” But there have also been rumours that the redevelopment of Ancoats might swallow up Beehive Mill and take Sankeys with it. To our relief, David moves to quash this notion. “I've owned Beehive Mill for the last two years. Why would I develop a building that is fully let? I've got one of the most creative buildings in Manchester. Sankeys will be here because it provides a home for the young and creative people of Manchester and I wouldn't want to destroy something that means so much to people. It's my life.”
There's a weight of expectation on his shoulders but David sounds calmly confident. Both clubbers and media are going to think Spektrum will be Sankeys Pt.2 and the standard it has to achieve to live up to that is up in the heavens. “We're not going to make a big splash with it, or spin up some media storm because we're confident when people come down they'll be pleasantly surprised.”
Words: Justin Richards
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