Cork’s newest techno party Bare Bones launched their debut event on April 1st, but the Sparrow siblings who co-run the collective will ensure you that their soundsystem is no joke. The brothers are putting an onus on developing local spaces & acts for a healthy & liberating dance music ecosystem in Cork City.
On the surface Bare Bones look’s like your run of the mill new local techno party, but the parties underlying ethos and objectives dig deeper into the underbelly of Cork’s techno community which has a burning desire for competent dance spaces. An unwavering stance on how nightclubs should operate and a turn away from the glorification of DJs as the focal point of club spaces makes Bare Bones actively antagonistic in their mission for night-time escapism.
Bare Bones – it does exactly what it says on the tin. Matthew and Alex Sparrow aren’t claiming to have reinvented the wheel, in fact they’re doing quite the opposite: reverting back to the simplistic and bare boned approach to dance music events. Strip back the exterior, shred every last speck of glitz & mince any reminiscence of glam, the brothers are only interested in dark rooms, blazing strobes and a fuck ton of bass.
Gaining inspiration from D.I.Y. styled parties such as Blasha & Allat‘s ‘Meat Free‘ & DVS1‘s ‘Wall of Sound‘, the brothers wanted to inject some low-end orientated power back into their hometown of Cork. Helped by a wealthy arsenal of seasoned and hungry techno DJs, Cork has the potential to be the home of Irish techno, but due to a lack of infrastructure the Rebel County fails to even scrape the barrel of its potential. Soundtracking the sound of warehouses in a cluster of lacklustre venues, it can be hard to grasp the essence of club music in spaces that don’t even come close to resembling a nightclub, however some of the best spaces for techno have been built on similarly disparate grounds. Looking behind the veil of it takes to make a club, the Sparrow brothers boiled it down to lighting and sound, two fundamental roots which underpin a quality dance space that often play second fiddle in the world of Irish techno.
Can you explain the concept behind your new party Bare Bones?
I think we wanted to put forward our vision of techno and try and provide something we felt was missing from the scene in Cork. Our concept is to try and bring the highest quality when it comes to the essentials of a good night, having good music on a good system.
Tell us a bit about your soundsystem of choice, Danley Sound Labs.
Before getting the night up and running we both felt a step up in soundsystem was needed to provide the experience we wanted. Danley Sound Labs was already on our radar, seeing DVS1 use it for his wall of sound a few years ago plus Danley have always been renowned for how good their low end is. In researching them we found a supplier in Ireland (Outline Ireland) and reached out to them. When talking to Ian it was clear that we would be getting the setup we felt was necessary and Ian’s experience is second to none in Cork (over 40 years). He really facilitated what we wanted and was crucial in how well it turned out
Where did you get the inspiration for the party?
The major inspiration for the party was seeing how things are done in places with a more established scene than ours and in particular Meat Free in Manchester as the party they have created is really special with a tight knit crowd who go for the music. Their setup is always impressive and really showcases the music to the fullest. So when we contrasted that against some of the events happening around Ireland it made us want to try and incorporate some of these ideas into our night and bring our own version of it.
Cork nightlife has a lot of constraints in regards to closing times & officiant operating spaces for dancing. You’ve somewhat adopted a D.I.Y. approach with Bare Bones, how important is it to go that extra mile to provide a real clubbing experience?
Cork nightlife currently has the strictest opening hours of any city in Ireland with most nights having to finish by 1am. The lack of a suitable club spaces to fulfil later operating hours has driven promoters to take the room for hire route which necessitates a D.I.Y approach. It’s important to make use of the spaces that allow us to dance and make the most of them to create any sort of club experience, and by going the extra mile in getting in good sound and lights for the night it can transform any room into a space to dance.
Ireland’s techno scene has become overwhelming headliner driven, do you think this overrides the importance of providing a proper space to dance ?
We feel at the moment Irelands techno scene is stuck in the thought process that to draw in a crowd you have to be booking big international headliners, this has shifted the focus to a big name coming in rather than a focus on the music actually being played. It would be better to try and find suitable dance spaces and to try and develop local artists and give them the chance to headline gigs rather than depending on international headliners and stunting the growth of the local scene. We do feel that occasionally bringing bigger names can be a source of inspiration but long term development for local artists is more important in pushing the scene forward.
You notably booked Jamie Behan for a three hour set on your debut event. Do you think DJs need some extra time to really express themselves?
Without a doubt, that was one of the main things we wanted to incorporate into our nights was give each DJ a longer set. Recently it seems like the focus has been on trying to get as many people as possible onto lineups even though we are already restricted by short opening times. Only giving hour long slots to DJs isn’t going to allow them to push themselves or develop, for our night we want to have fewer slots and longer set times as these give DJs a lot more time to stretch their legs and express themselves by taking you on a journey. We felt Jamie was the perfect person to have headline our first show as we knew he also had the same beliefs.
Do you think the soundsystem & approach to lineup curation had an impact on the atmosphere at your debut show?
We definitely think this was the case, we found a lot more people we’re really putting in a lot of energy on the dance floor. With the sound being so intense and the DJs being able to really let loose, it created a really friendly atmosphere where people weren’t standing around looking up at the DJ, they were properly dancing and having fun. It was a really nice experience to have and we really hope everyone who was there enjoyed their experience.
Can you give us an insight into the future of Bare Bones?
We have more shows coming up later in the year and already some plans in motion for future events which we are looking forward to. We hope to build on an amazing first event and hopefully in the future make this into a regular night that people can go to and trust.