London clubbing has — for a while now — been at a crossroads. House has hit the charts again and proper clubbing is no longer underground, so pressure is on to change the game.
The choice is simple. Do promoters keep sloggin' the same formula while demand is high, or try something different, keep ahead of the curve in order to attract sorts who think for themselves rather than follow the pack? MODE, from the people behind Red Sky at Brixton Electric, is a clubbing concept hinged on the latter that launched on 4th April. Crossing food, art and good quality dance music, it's an attempt to plug a gap in the scene with something it desperately needs.
“The MODE concept was born out of frustration that there was no single club/restaurant in West London that offered everything that we (the Directors) enjoy; music, food, and creative expression,” says co-director, Jolyon Klean.
London's creative spaces have traditionally gravitated eastwards to places like Shoreditch and Dalston, but the recent dance explosion in the city has seen house and techno styles spread all over, and MODE, envisioned as a fixed spot for cutting-edge creative arts in the west, is located in Notting Hill, one of its most culturally diverse spots.
“MODE was also born out of the recognition that nightlife is in a transition, as the rise of the pop-up has eaten into brand loyalty for nightclubs, chasing the DJ has become the name of the game,” he adds. “We felt we could create an all-encompassing home for the creative-minded, and offer them incredible food, music and art, letting them decide where their night goes.”
Selecting marquee underground DJs to play on the club's newly-fitted VOID soundsystem on a Friday, but not announcing them (trust us, they're decent!), MODE's aim is to attract minds that are switched-on and open.
“We believe that music transcends culture, age and gender boundaries and as such we have programmed our music, offering to make sure there is something there for everyone, in turn reflecting our desire to make this an accessible place for people to listen to music they love, or better yet have not heard before,” says Jolyon.
Paying as much attention to art and design as it does the music, sculptures are on display, including a hanging spitfire plane and a 15-foot organ DJ booth. This stylish 600-capacity place — fitted with copper bars, wooden floors and embossed tables — is strewn with art (from the likes of Obey Giant and DR.D) and kitted with an LED system.
Jolyon has no qualms making comparisons to the visions of European clubbing institutions like Trouw and Berghain, which function as a creative hub rather than just a dance venue. Lee from the Plump DJs is resident on a Friday, warming up with a selection of boogie, funk and disco. As well as tasty beats, the chef ain't bad too. Andi Oliver has created the gourmet menu especially.