Alice’s adventures in clubland
By Kernan Andrews
ALICE IS not your usual clubnight. It does not take place in a specific venue, rather it is a multimedia experience - clubnight, web page, radio show - and a constantly evolving one at that.
ALICE is the brainchild of Galway DJs Byron B Yates and Yoseph Sheridan which revolves between The Factory, The Blue Note, and Kelly’s. Depending on what venue it is being held in clubbers can expect a different visual and aural experience.
Byron and Yoseph are keen to champion new electronic and dance music, particularly by Irish artists, while celebrating the music’s roots in soul, disco, and house. Above all, they want to inject fresh momentum into Galway nightlife, and give something different to clubbers.
Over the last three years Byron has established himself as one of the finest young DJs in Galway. Passionate and obsessive about music, he developed an interest in DJing in his teens and began spinning the decks with Kit Kola in the Róisín Dubh, playing fifties and early sixties rock’n’roll, r’n’b, and pop.
Later he played post-punk, new wave, and new romantic with Eoin Reilly, before turning to house, electro, and indie with Yoseph in ALICE. Despite the many genres his DJing embraces, for Byron, it all comes back to soul.
“What I like stems from soul music,” he tells me during our Monday afternoon conversation. “I like vocal tracks and eighties house and anything that stems from soul, as a lot of disco and club music does.”
Yoseph first came to attention as the drummer with the great and much missed indie-rock quartet Lost Chord, and more recently with Galway based indie band Go Panda Go. More recently he has turned to DJing, co-running first the CURFEW nights and now ALICE. His own musical tastes would involve hip hop and contemporary electro.
The contrasts and overlaps in their musical tastes was one of the reasons the pair decided to DJ together.
“Being a drummer I’m interested in rhythm and the drum and bass parts of songs,” he says. “I listen to a lot of Curtis Mayfield and Marvyn Gaye and how all that came into club music, so there was a middle ground there for me and Byron.”
“We have a nice balance but because we are not exactly the same that also keeps things fresh,” adds Byron. “We both love music and that buzz of finding new things. We’re always sharing new music and that adds to the rush.”
The idea of contrasts and overlapping also fed into how the night should be run.
“We want it to be fun but not always in the same venue because then it becomes too associated with one place,” says Byron. “Being in different venues allows us to always try something new. In The Factory we have visuals, and in The Blue Note and Kelly’s it’s more ‘fun disco’ style.”
Both Byron and Yoseph note the growth of clubnights for electronic music, a desire among young people to hear more electronica, and a determination among many music fans and creative people to try new endeavours and take risks.
“Things like that happen during a recession,” says Byron, “and there are also new venues opening.”
“For a time there wasn’t enough going on and both of us thought, well if no one else is going to do it then we will,” says Yoseph. “Others were feeling the same and there is also Bap To The Future, Epoch, Cults, and The Factory, and 110th Street is putting on great nights. We like to think ALICE is part of that. Not as many people are going out now as before so you really have to put on something good and give them a good reason.”
What is the origin of the ALICE name for the clubnight? Byron and Yoseph were trying to come up with a name but nothing was working. At one point Byron’s eye caught the book What About Alice and he wondered if that might work. Yoseph agreed, so the name stuck.
“We wanted a name that was different,” says Byron, “one that would not be immediately obvious as to what the night was about, something that would make people ask ‘What is that?’ Although it wasn’t intentional, we like the irony of the night being named after a girl despite the fact that it’s two guys DJing.”
Where to catch ALICE
The next three ALICE nights take place in The Factory at The Electric Garden, Abbeygate Street. This Saturday ALICE will host Frank B, the Dublin DJ/producer who is currently making waves with his song ‘Chain Of Fools’; Byron and Yoseph will be in a DJ duel with Cult (as support to Vito De Luca, aka Aeroplane) on December 22; while in February ALICE will host DJ/producer Moon Boots.
ALICE also hosts a radio show on Flirt FM every Thursday from 8pm to 9pm, playing new releases and old tracks. Also check out their website, www.aliceclubnight.com for more information and music.