S.W.A.T (South West Audio Tek) Interview with Code Apparel
As we draw closer to the summer, with festival and party season in full swing, we thought it about time we gave you a little insight into one of Cornwalls leading lights in the raving scene.
We caught up wit the S.W.A.T team for an exclusive interview about how the night came about, the members, there thoughts on the Cornish music scene and all things in between.
Easy guys, firstly can you introduce yourselves?
Ross Sloan, Paul Bevan and Scott Kerslake. Three Cornish lads that have been around the party scene for a decade and a half (sounds like forever!). Paul Bevan has been a great addition to the team as he has been a promoter doing his own nights in Cornwall for over 10 years, he’s probably done more nights than most promoters we know and his knowledge of the local scene has helped us massively. (Paul is also part of Lush DJs and plays for SWAT on a regular basis.)
How did the idea for S.W.A.T all come about?
We have seen the local party scene slowly decay, music genres change and evolve to the modern day and big changes in the law governing music events. We felt that the free party scene had officially died thanks to the government slowly introducing stricter regulations. We therefore decided to see if we could bring back the days of good music we had experienced in the 90’s but in a modern format that would enable us to put on nights without being shut down by the police! The name SWAT funnily enough started off as a parody of Squat Party and kind of just stuck, eventually becoming South West Audio Tek.
Whats the ethos behind the night?
Providing good music, catering to a wide variety of genres while promoting good local talent. We’d like to think that if you really felt the need you could come to one of our events and dance all night!
For all those who don’t know, can you tell us a little bit about your previous nights/line ups?
Well, to be honest it has been a massive learning curve, a journey from our roots to the present day. When we first started the whole SWAT thing our first few parties were set up like the old free parties we used to go to, i.e. one sound system, one arena; although this was mainly because we didn’t really know anything different. Don’t get us wrong these were still good parties but to stay afloat financially we had to broaden our horizons and capture a wider audience, making the selection of music and talent more current. We want people to understand that it’s never been about the money but realistically we couldn’t continue to do the nights without at least breaking even, therefore we have had to evolve the parties to keep up with the times and ensure SWATs survival.
One thing S.W.A.T is renowned for is its multi genre line ups, trying to incorporate every aspect of what your followers want. In saying this what are your thoughts on the Cornish music scene as a whole?
Our first party was mainly the music we were used to and loved i.e. acid techno, hard trance and good fast pumping house music. We knew we wouldn’t be able to survive just doing these genres alone so on our first New Years Eve gig in a massive barn we mixed it up introducing the bass heavy genres. This definitely brought us a wider audience but still we realised that we had to section the genres so each arena was of similar genres ie house, techno in one, drum and bass, breaks and dubstep in the other. We slowly started to drift from our native roots of harder music and although we found this brought the party up to date and increased our numbers we felt this would discourage all the old ravers with which we had partied all those years ago..
What do you guys have in the pipeline for the rest of the year, is there to be another NYE party? If so what can we expect to see in terms of venue/artists?
Hmmm ,well there could be one in September to launch MASC surf wear and also our own , Fergus Muller from Masc surf designs our flyers which we a very proud of. As for NYE there is always something In the pipeline for that night.
What has been your favourite gig you guys have put on over the years?
Well that is not an easy question to answer, the thing is when you do these events you don’t really get to enjoy them as much as if you were actually partying. The more events we have done the stricter we have had to become, to carry on doing these events we have had to start doing them properly and professionally so I guess the first couple of parties were probably the ones we enjoyed the most.
How do you guys feel about the club culture in Cornwall? Is it an area you feel you would like to venture into over time or is it strictly all about putting on the bigger, outdoor style events you know so well?
Haha well the question we might ask would be ‘What club culture?’. We used to love the old club scene but that sadly we feel it has died in Cornwall. This could be due to the smoking ban, and lack of good generic nights, we would love to permanently move to a club night in the winter months as we did with the New Years Eve night at the Sandsifter, but we still like to stick our format and try and have multi genre rooms.
The next event see’s you holding down a full 14 hour marathon, seeing you holding host to local and up ‘n coming bands. Is this set to be a regular feature for the future?
The S.W.A.T summer jam at the end of this month will be a different format yet again which we hope sticks, we have bands starting from 4 in the main tent leading up to funk, house, tech house and main stream techno. The bass heavy stage will incorporate all the drum and bass genres i.e. dubstep and breaks etc. While the harder faster tent (one for the old ravers) will be mainly vinyl, trance, psytrance, techno and acid techno etc, We hope that this format will cater for everybodys needs, I suppose we can live in hope!
Is there any shout outs you would like to mention?
Yeah I suppose anyone that has helped us to put on these Events, you know who you are; and of course one of the founding organisers, Henry Blight who has sadly had to step back and concentrate on his own roofing business; nice one brother we could not have started all of this without you. And of course big-ups to all our followers who are of course the ones that help to keep the wheels turning, thanks peeps….
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us guys!
June 30th see’s the return of the mighty S.W.A.T team coming together once again for another showstopping event! Since its conception on New Years Eve 2010 the lads behind the the rave set up have gone from strength to strength, providing Cornwall with some of its best known parties!”
Having mixed up the location of the parties since the very first, the S.W.A.T team have guaranteed one thing in the last 2 years, there events are not to be missed. Specialising in catering for the every need of the party going followers they have racked up. With music ranging from Techno to House, Breaks to Drum and Bass, the guys fill the gap in Cornwall, they provide what the ravers want, not for the money or the praise, but for the sheer love of putting on events for people to enjoy. They include the very best from the underground DJ’s, Promoters and Producers from the region to incorporate that genuine party vibe, one place where the main stream is firmly asked to stay at home!
This time round we celebrate there 4th outing into the world of event organising with what’s set to be another roadblock on the Cornish raving calender!