On a dismal Saturday night, I hauled my behind to The Booth to check out a new club night, Club Dead. It’s aim is to play sludgy, grinding music, that you’d probably never hear in any club ever, which defies the typical music scene instantly.
It’s the brain child of the lovely Joolz Muckhart-Lilley, who’s got so bored of the lack of Hereford club scene, (with hiding alternatives everywhere afraid to crack open their shells), that he thought he’d conjure up a wee bit of noise himself. As a frequenter of Leeds industrial scene, he needed something more, which the like minded, shell crackers are so relieved to hear.
I was lucky enough to interview him, as I leaped on him as he ventured outside for a cigarette, poor fellow. But I was greeted with a humble, grateful soul, and it goes a little something like this:
What inspired the night, ‘Club Dead’?
What me and my mates like doing is lying around listening to really far out music, and we often get the problem of unsympathetic neighbours, as we like to do it loud! I remember when you used to be able to go to clubs, and really transgressive music was playing, like you wouldn’t bat an eyelid hearing bands such as Godflesh or Swans in a club, and I realised I hadn’t been to anything like this in years. Music had a peak in the 80’s of being completely savage, whereas you go to metal nights these days and they’re less grindy. I like the perversity of making this anti-club where people aren’t expected to dance. I’m after chilling and listening.
Is this going to be a regular night? And if so, what will change?
It’ll change as we’ll have live specimens. We’re going to have some live bands that will integrate with the whole thing. We’re going to set up the stage downstairs so that you can watch from above and throw veg and underwear if the need takes.
Who is this DJ Dead and where does he hail from?
The truth about DJ Dead, is that he allows any of my little bunch. We all come out of the Hereford Hardcore scene, so Fetus Christ and Maniac SS, and I was in one band ‘Sun’ who were briefly very loud a few years ago.
So, the point of DJ Dead, is there’s practically nothing for you to do when you’re playing 15 minute long songs. I mean, what are you going to do, just stand there? All DJ’s do is play records, and anything that isn’t sophisticated dance music, DJ’s just play in order.
You dont need to pay a guy to do that! There’s nothing for a human to do up there, so we had this idea of getting a Skelington to do it instead, which means that anybody can be DJ dead. (Ladies and Gents, I’ve been lucky enough to meet the anatomical hunk that is DJ Dead, and regardless of the one eyeball, he is HOT! And I asked if I could borrow his hoody but there was no response).
So what’s the oldest record you’re playing and the newest tonight?
The newest would be what we opened with, which was ‘New Dark Ages’ by Godflesh that was released in 2015. The oldest would be from the 70’s – it was Bauhaus. We did ‘Stigma Matyr’ which was very late 70’s, or perhaps peaking into the 80’s. We were going to go back a bit further with Hawkwind (Please do next time – they kick ass!) as they’d have a great place in Club Dead. But we’re going in at the deep end with the heavy records as a challenge and to see how it goes. We can go cosmic later.
I tried to fit in with the whole Club Dead thing by having boots with feathers on – is there anything else that you’ve seen tonight that fits in with the dead right now?
*Laughs* Not really. But I’m one of these people that still looks like an industrial person from 1991 with big boots and a leather jacket. I’ve always been into Death culture – I loved horror films as a child and found out about metal a few years later. Like there was an actual music that correlated with death! I’ve also written a thesis about death. I’ve always had morbid streak.
The Booth was built at the end of the 14th Century and is pretty old. Do you think that there was an actual Club Dead at the end of this period and someone actually died? And how do you think they died?
There was a myth knocking about that it was used as a courthouse at first and a coaching house. Apparently there were a few hangings here – probably for sheep stealing and the like, similar to The Skirrid Inn on the Abergavenny road.
I came to a club here once in 1988! It’s great though as Willow and Arran (the owners) are trying to re-frame what this place is. They should make up a ghost story to go with it – it’d be totally believable! *Conversation leads to the ominous looking shed next to The Booth. Joolz reckons there’d be meat hooks hanging from the ceiling to carve into the flesh of innocents, whereas I imagine if you slept in there and get stirred by a freaky noise, you’d soon realise you’d been awoken to a hungry donkey roar. Interview ends with our donkey impressions*.
I spend the rest of the evening taking in the tunes upstairs, with the red lights decorating the dark room and watching black and white films on the big screen, I realise there’s something old worldly about this. As I fiddle with candle wax, guess wrong tunes and drink far too many Westons, I realise there’s something comfortable here. Even if bands play at these events, I hope the chill factor continues afterwards. This is escapism at it’s best.