Nottingham has spawned a fair share of trailblazing dance nights. Dollop — now based in London — was booking Carl Craig and SMD on the same line-up back in 2007, before it was even a year old.
Wigflex — the self-proclaimed purveyor of “rudeboy techno” at a time when Blawan was barely a whisper — led by residents Hizatron and Spamchop since 2008, is now a label helping to redefine UK bass music, while booking Lone, Untold and Randomer just last month.
Two nights, doing it for themselves, both with one common factor — they both lived at Stealth.
So, what's next? Who's waiting in the wings to take the stage as tastemaker for Nottingham's new generation? We'll give you a clue, it's at Stealth. Well, who'd've thunk it!?
“We held our first event there in March 2010 with Andrew Weatherall, Hector and Dave Congreve,” says Sam Williams, DJ/producer behind the Chamboché moniker and one of the minds behind Zleep alongside Nick Cobby and Matt Wickings. “There was a lull in the house and techno scene in Nottingham after many years of being a real hub. A group of us put together various ideas until we thought we had the right formula.”
Home to legendary club The Bomb, Nottingham's scene for house and techno is by no means short of heritage. However, the venue's demise during the mid-'00s — contributed in part by Stealth's arrival — helped basslines take over the main affections of the city's student-heavy club kids.
“Dubstep had really just blown up and into the mainstream and was perhaps at its peak,” Sam elaborates. “Drum & bass has always been very strong in Nottingham, and other than the odd bar night, there wasn’t much house or techno being provided, certainly not at Stealth, which is widely regarded as the best club in Nottingham.”
Basking in clubland's reinvigorated interest in house and techno history, Zleep isn't against doffing its cap to the future of the sounds of the bass scene, too. Just last month it welcomed Nina Kraviz, Space Dimension Controller and Bicep into the sweaty confines of The Shire's most beloved underground club, while previous parties have featured Martyn, Deetron, Shonky, Lone, Magda, Seth Troxler, Catz 'N Dogz and Jamie Jones. Focusing firmly on the 4/4 formula, Zleep's vision, while seeming stable, certainly isn't in danger of stagnating.
“We book acts from across the house and techno spectrum,” Sam confirms. “We spend a long time deliberating who to book, particularly as we don't hold it every month. The UK scene is currently in very good health and we're making the most of that.”
Not that they are concerned only by home turf — this summer saw them deliver Objekt and Locked Groove to a boat at Croatia's Dimensions Festival, and we may well be seeing the promotion appearing in The Big Smoke very soon. Don't just sleep on it, Zleep on it!