Bugged Out celebrates 30 years at London's new megavenue Drumsheds this Saturday, and to crown the occasion one of its long-standing affiliates has delivered a new mix marking the club night's anniversary. Sitting at just under two-and-a-half-hours in length, it surfs through the three decades of dance music history that the event series has been a part of.
Bugged Out started out as the events-arm of the dance music and club culture magazine Jockey Slut. The magazine began as a self-published bi-monthly fanzine in 1993, founded by John Burgess and Paul Benney during their student years at Manchester Polytechnic, but became a monthly publication following Swinstead Publishing's buyout in 1999, until it switched to quarterly publishing in 2004, the same year of its closure.
The magazine grew a reputation for having its finger on the pulse as a result of covering rising stars such as Boards of Canada, The Chemical Brothers, when they labelled themselves as Dust Brothers, Daft Punk, Danger Mouse, and more.
This knack for striking the pot while it was hot was likewise imbued in their club nights, which began as a few small parties at Manchester venue Disco Pogo under the name Drinking Club. Sankeys Soap owner Andrew Spiro liked the music and crowd associated with Drinking Club and offered the crew a weekly Friday residency at his venue, and thus Bugged Out was born, with its first night inviting artists LFO, Autechre and James Lavelle.
After four years of bugging out, the event series' home in Manchester suddenly closed and the end of the Bugged Out! seemed nigh. Liverpool's Cream offered it a three-roomed, 4,000 capacity lifeline which gave Bugged Out a massive upsize and opportunity to reflect all the music that Jockey Slut was covering — one which it almost turned down, unsure if the scale would work.
Yet they didn't, and Cream's doors duly opened up to the likes ofBasement Jaxx, Cassius, Daft Punk, Quannum, Roots Manuva and Röyksopp every last Friday of the month. In the era of growing superclubs and DJ stardom, Bugged Out stood out for its tongue-in-cheek nature, matching its enticing line-ups with a deadpan tone of voice, most fondly remembered for its "It's just a big disco" banner in response to the epic proclomations of parties such as Gatecrasher's "It will always be with you". Alkan agrees, noting that Jockey Slut's enjoyable balance of "information, education and humour" was mirrored in its Bugged Out nights.
"It was never as po-faced and serious as some other clubs that felt exclusive and uninviting, and ultimately I've always found Bugged Out to be welcoming to a wide range of artists."
The event series, like its magazine sister, branched into London in the '00s and it is there where its relationship with Erol Alkan began. Co-founder Burgess had attended the DJ and producer's Monday night party Trash, at The End, and it had immediately caught his eyes and ears, and soon after Alkan was invited to play at their newly-held fabric residency in room three.
The night was a success and the DJ was given a monthly residency on the spot, as well as being taken to Bugged Out nights in Manchester and Liverpool. Since then, the Phantasy founder and Bugged Out have gone hand-in-hand, with Alkan regularly performing at its London shows and Field Day takeovers, as well as featuring at the seminal Bugged Out Weekenders.
The annual Bugged Out Weekenders begun in 2012, starting off at Butlins, Bognor Regis, for its first two editions before moving to Pontins Southport as a nod to the Tribal Gathering and Northern Soul weekenders in 2014 during their 20 years celebrations. The famed three-day-affair's final two events in 2015 and 2016 saw it return to Butlins' flagship resort in West Sussex and host DJs such as Armand Van Helden, Bicep, DJ EZ, Four Tet, Kerri Chandler, The Blessed Madonna, Joy Orbison and Maya Jane Coles.
Alkan sees risk-taking as the key to Bugged Out's success, remarking that "it always felt like Bugged Out would book particular artists six month too early and seemingly ahead of the curve.
"I personally remember times standing looking at a half full dancefloor with an amazing DJ and engaged crowd, saying to Johnno (Burgess) that in six months time this would all be so different, and it would be!"
Bugged Out's longevity also stems from its "understanding of how electronic music works alongside alternative culture," Alkan says.
"It doesn't feel like it's become more serious or intense, it feels as open as it was then."
On the eve of its 30 years of Bugged Out! party, Erol Alkan looks forward to celebrating the party that gave him his break with a room full of all the same faces from its beginning, along with a few new ones, and shares his 145 minute mix that champions the storied history of the institution.
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The mix begins off with I-F's '90s electro heater 'Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass' and refuses to let up, rolling through Helena Hauff, Justice, Chemical Brothers, Laurent Garnier, Pangaea and a classic Erol Alkan indie-rock rework before shifting down a gear with Oni Ayhun's beautiful 'OAR003-B'. The mix finishes off with Bugged Out's unofficial anthem, KÖLSCH's 'Der Alte', followed by Felix Da Housecat's 'Silver Screen Shower Scene (Thin White Duke Mix'. You can listen and read the full tracklist below.
Buy tickets to Bugged Out's 30 years party at Drumsheds featuring Hot Chip (live), Orbital (live), Basement Jaxx, Erol Alkan and more here
Tibor Heskett is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter
1 Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass (XL Version) - I-F
2 Coatnoise (Dave Clarke mix) - Midfield General
3 Rocker (Dub) - Alter Ego
4 Do You Really Think Like That? - Helena Hauff
5 Hjemme Erotic - Charlotte Bendiks
6 Girlz - Miss Kitten
7 Phantom (Soulwax Nite Version) - Justice
8 Yeah - Boys Noize
9 They're Here (Matias Aguayo Remix) - Paurro
10 Put Your Weight On It (Chicago Mix) - Todd Osborn
11 La Mouche (DJ Falcon Metal Box Remix) - Cassius
12 Chord memory DAFT PUNK remix - Ian Pooley
13 Nude Night - The Chemical Brothers
14 Crispy Bacon - Laurent Garnier
15 Do You Want To (Erol Alkan's Glam Racket) - Franz Ferdinand
16 Body Acid (KiNK’s on Acid Remix) - Gingy & Bordello
17 Midnight Request Line (Switch Remix) - Skream
18 Bone Sucka - Pangaea
19 Spectral Frequency - Special Request
20 Alien 3 (Daniel Avery Remix) - Mandy, Indiana
21 Bang The Box (Slam Remix) - Jack Master
22 Flash (Original Mix) - Green Velvet
23 La Rock 01 - Vitalic
24 Mouth to Mouth - Audion
25 OAR003-B - Oni Ayhun
26 XTC - DJ Koze
27 Desire - 69
28 Chez Moi (Club Mix) - CC Disco
29 Der Alte - KÖLSCH
30 Silver Screen Shower Scene (Thin White Duke Mix) - Felix Da Housecat