Interview & mix with Steve Manning (Hidden Agenda)
Steve looks like you’ve had a busy summer, could you tell us a little bit about your experience playing alongside Jackmaster at the casa Bacardi stage at EP. Looked like a great set!
I have played every year at Electric Picnic and to close Saturday at Casa Bacardi was a great honor. Despite the torrential rain, it was an amazing experience and I felt very privileged to get to play. There was always going to be a few nerves and anxiety following Jackmaster but thankfully they dispersed after I played my first song.
Where do you get your musical tastes/ inspiration from?
I listen to so much and have always had a huge appetite for discovering new music. I tend to get obsessed with a song/artist and continually listen until I’m sick of the track (currently its Yaeji on repeat). I also regularly trawl through the mixes website and listen to mixes from the likes of Harvey, Larry Levan, CJ Mackintosh, Theo Parrish & Lil Louis – which always throws up music that’s new to me.
You were one of the owners of Nightflight, and now one of the owners of Hidden agenda you must be super proud to have brought some music and joy to the people of Dublin. What have been some of your highlights over the years of running and playing at events?
Promoting events can be very stressful and mentally exhausting, so to be still be doing it after 15 years is probably what I am most proud. Any collective that I have been part of, be it Hidden Agenda, Nightflight, Bodytonic or District 8 has allowed me to meet many like-minded people and forge strong friendships. There is a really healthy community of promoters in Dublin.
When did you get into playing music and why?
Around 1994/95, as an innocent teenager, I went to a happy hardcore rave in Navan to see Ultrasonic, Ultimate Buzz, and Mark Kavanagh and become hooked on dance music and DJ culture.
I got a part-time job and bought some belt-driven turntables and began weekly pilgrimages to Abbey Discs to buy vinyl.
At 17, I moved to Birmingham to go to University and was exposed to a greater variety of music. I started to DJ more at places like Tribal Sessions in Manchester & Speedqueen in Leeds. The late nineties were a defining time in dance music cultural history and it was an exciting time to be in the UK.
What is one of the best parties you’ve ever been to?
Probably Speedqueen in Leeds – it was different to anything I’d ever experienced (uniquely at the time it was run by two women). It was seen by some as a gay club as there were lots of drag queens/ cross dressers but it was open to all and very welcoming. The club wasn’t about forking out thousands for international DJs and was based on an ethos of providing a platform for local talent, particularly women, and having amazing decor. It ran for 10 years from 1996 to 2006 and to me it was a very inspiring place.
As an event host and promoter how have you seen the club scene progress and evolve over the years and what do you think is to come next.
I have been going to clubs since 1996 and I have never seen the Irish scene as healthy.
I think things go in cycles, they peak and trough naturally. Inevitably things will change, club nights will finish, venues will close, new ones will open, new genres will emerge and people will moan it’s not as good as used to be
Where/ how can our audience keep up to date with you and get to know more about you online?
Check www.hiddenagenda.ie for all your gig needs x