Starting as a roaming series in 2012, The Hydra — London's autumnal series of underground treats — now has a permanent home. Returning for the third year in a row at the end of August, each of the 12 events will this year take place at Studio Spaces E1 — a bespoke location situated in the heart of east London, between Wapping and Shadwell.
A set of photographic studios by day and a fully licensed nightclub at night, the venue has been used for The Hydra plenty of times before but as of 2014 it'll serve as the night's official home. With the addition of Unit Warehouse 1, The Hydra — co-run by Ajay Jayaram and Electric Minds' Dolan Bergin — now has everything it needs at its disposal. As the name suggests, the new space is a blank canvas that can be adapted for each event and the flexible, no-frills lay-out has a Funktion One system fitted by Sound Services. The other room — The Black Studio — is darker and of a similar size, while The White Studio holds the main bar and there's a rooftop smoking area too.
“We have previously been quite nomadic, moving from different venues all over London and having to constantly negotiate the vagaries of licensing, last-minute changes of venue and so on. Now we are in one place,” explains The Hydra's Ajay Jayaram. “With so many places having been being shut down or sold over the years, we felt that London was crying out for more so we feel very fortunate to be given this opportunity.”
With bags of space to spread footfall, Studio Spaces E1 can accommodate large numbers without clubbers feeling uncomfortable, like they're crammed into an abattoir. And with nights hosted by the likes of Bugged Out, Ghostly International and Ninja Tune, featuring names such as Breach, Dusky, Juan Atkins, Magda, Moodymann and Theo Parrish, they'll be no trouble filling it.
Live music is something Ajay and the team are focusing on more. Studio Spaces affords extra potential for it and surprise guests are up their sleeves still to be announced. There's also the usual NYE and NYD parties to look forward to within a city which, despite the bureaucratic issues that the move hopes to sidestep, is still the most wide-ranging in the world when it comes to electronic music especially, Ajay believes.
“I think it’s fair to say London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and with that comes a lot of creative activity,” he explains. “The authorities can be tough to deal with and we've had our fair share of uncomfortable situations but we have worked very closely with Tower Hamlets to license and sound proof Studio Spaces E1. So we hope that by working with the authorities, and making the studio a safe place to be, it offers people coming to the parties a reliable venue and one that houses a world class soundsystem.”
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