R:EVOLVE was once a lowly Bradfordian drum & bass night, born in a dingy basement. Now it has grown up, and the soundsystem and collective based around Bradford and Leeds is now comprised of a range of organisers, lighting and sound technicians, and of course the DJ’s who know just how to make you wobble. Their passion is plain and simple: to provide a great night out for the public; and by now they are renowned for putting on some of the most fantastic parties in some of the most idyllic locations in the North. Every time I’ve been to a night where R:EVOLVE soundsystem has played, they are the most consistently on-it crew I’ve seen, always making sure things are in check and that people are happy. On top of this, they provide a perfect opportunity for young creatives to mingle and share their talents. What more could you want from a soundsystem?
How was R:EVOLVE born?
Milo started R:EVOLVE as a drum and bass club night originally taking place at the old Rio’s rock club in Bradford. Historically there was very little in the way of drum and bass, or any other heavy bass genres, being played in Bradford so it seemed like a good idea. The night took a while to take off properly and required a bit of commitment on our part and a bit of help from other local nights like JoyPad to get us on track.
Eventually we managed to sustain a good local crowd for our nights and a great forum for local DJs. The R:EVOLVE club night still exists today causing a stir around Bradford on special occasions. That being said most people associate the name R:EVOLVE with our rig.
The idea of building a soundsystem didn’t occur to us at first, even though we were well aware of the notoriety of Valve soundsystem and other local soundsystems. It wasn’t until we had all been introduced to the free party scene in and around Yorkshire and Lancashire that we realised it was feasible. The free parties all revolved around an often custom built soundsystem, in an old warehouse or in the countryside. The parties were always such an amazing experience; the soundsystems were immense and the vibe was really friendly.
By this time our crew had grown quite large (having joined forces with JoyPad) and we were building quite a reputation for throwing parties in some form or the other in and around Bradford. We were out pretty much every weekend, all weekend doing anything from student house parties to squat parties to our regular club nights. It was at that point that Milo started researching soundsystems and tinkering about in the basement where he lived. He botched together a small(ish) sub from a driver that he acquired and a load of wood stolen from skips. For ages this sub made regular appearances at house parties and other small events. That year the majority of Milo’s student loan was spent on building up the basis of what is now R:EVOLVE soundsystem.
Since that initial investment R:EVOLVE soundsystem is more or less self-sustaining as we reinvest any money that we make from parties and club nights back into the rig. However, we have also had some more significant gear contributions from some of the other crew too.
Did you build the system yourselves?
Although we don’t actually make the speaker cabinets ourselves, the majority or the system is custom made using open source cabinet designs. The system sits on a base of 4 Hog scoop bass bins built by Insomnia speaker systems which were some of the first of that design used in the UK. They are pretty popular cabs these days.
At Temple Works the R:EVOLVE bass scared the owner so much so she thought the building was going to collapse you must have some good sound from your system...
Yeah! We’ve never seen anyone so worried about bass, poor woman! Luckily the building is still standing, and we’re all still alive too! We had another odd situation recently where it felt like it was snowing inside a venue – turned out we were causing the plaster to crumble and fall from the ceiling! We’ve also vibrated light fittings from venues roofs! It’s the combination of our 4 hog bass scoops, coupled with our Void Infinate8 and Infinate5 amps that generate that lovely warm bass that wobbles your insides (and sometimes cause minor building damage!).
Do you all, as DJ’s have a preference to a certain genre of music or do you like to mix it up a little? What genre’s gets you all going?
We love that bottom end, and are definitely into our bass-heavy sounds – You’ll usually find the likes of breakbeat, drum & bass, dubstep and jungle emanating from our rig, although we don’t restrict ourselves to those genres. Recently we’ve been heard shaking buildings with healthy doses of house, trap and garage. We run a podcast on our website (www.r-evolve.net) with mixes from our DJ’s, so you can get a real feel of what we’re about there!
On your website it says that you like to provide a great night out for the public as well as bringing together young creative’s. What other creative’s are involved in R:EVOLVE and what do they do?
We are all pretty eclectic in what we do – as well as being music loving folk a lot of us come from creative backgrounds. We have graphic designers, VJ’s, photographers, artists, filmmakers as well as music producers and DJs. Between us, there’s not much that we can’t do, making us a pretty dynamic and efficient bunch!
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