Jay Clarke came of age in fabric.
The London club was far from the first he entered - or even played as a DJ - but it came to forge a formative influence on his life, and his career.
A place of pilgrimage for 20 years, Jay Clarke rose to become a fabric resident, occupying one of the most influential slots in London clubland.
Over the weekend fabric toasted its 20th birthday and - ever-loyal to the cause - Jay Clarke was there, re-visiting old haunts and making new friends.
Remaining one of Europe's best clubs fabric has overcome time and tide, and even the odd bit of authoritarian repression, to fight the good fight at the cutting edge of club culture.
Here, Jay Clarke re-counts seven key moments from the history of the club...
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One live set which has always stuck with me is Jimmy Edgar’s from January 2006. This included tracks taken from his album ‘Colour Strip’ which had been released in 2005 on Warp Records, one of my favourite albums from that year.
The live show was an experimental electro set with plenty of funk. Hearing 'My Beats’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your STD’ live in Room 2 was very cool. UK techno legend Billy Nasty played the set before, playing a mixture of techno and electro.
Robert Hood closed things off with his energetic groovy Detroit minimalism. I think between 2004 to 2008 I made it to every Hood set at fabric!
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Anthony Rother has made some iconic electro and techno tracks over the years and anyone that transports a studio’s worth of synthesisers to a club is worth paying to see play live. In November 2007, his Datapunk label night was one of my favourite Rother experiences in Room 2.
Hearing ‘Back Home’, ’When the Sun Goes Down’, and ’Lucifer’ being played live was really something special. Plus, who doesn’t love hearing vocals through a sexy vocoder. All three rooms were full of quality music that night (Room 1: Supermayer, Room 3: Detroit Beatdown) and a step away from the normal banging techno that Room 2 normally provides.
One of my favourite Anthony Rother tracks ‘When the Sun Goes down’ which was played on the night:
I remember Sandwell District playing in Room 2 for the fabric 13th birthday (2012). I’d seen them countless times and you never knew what to expect.
Mid-way through their set, bearing in mind up until this point is was very dark and rolling, Function drops one of my all-time favourite house tracks Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk feat. Darryl Pandy ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’. The room went mental and it was a really special moment!
A complete juxtaposition to the music that was played beforehand, but it sounded so right!
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Back to Back (B2B) DJ sets are a funny thing, they seem to be en vogue the past five years but unless you spend a lot of time DJing with someone, in my opinion they don’t work.
That said, one of my favourite all time B2B sets was in 2014 when Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann closed Room 2 for the fabric 15th Birthday. It’s very rare that Room 2 stayed open until later than 8am on the Sunday, on this occasion the room stayed open until midday because the room was so busy.
The energy from start to finish was crazy and the tracks from Ben and Marcel blended seamlessly into one! Ben played a couple of my unreleased tracks that day and I remember the crowd went crazy (unfortunately I lost the project files so that track was never released). I remember getting the train up to Leeds at 3pm on the Sunday feeling broken but very happy.
Here’s one of the key tracks from the night.
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Before I fully knew what techno was, I had heard of the name Dave Clarke (no relation by the way!) by hearing his remixes of Faithless ‘We Come One’ and Goodfellas ‘Soul Heaven’.
Then as I started to understand what techno was about and who the main players were, Dave Clarke was the first name I set about collecting the music of, and as much as possible.
When I heard he was playing at fabric in December 2004 I was there!
On the line-up was another techno heavyweight Ben Sims. All that I can remember from the night is that it was pounding and intense from start to finish. I can actually say that Dave is a mate of mine now, although I still get starstruck every time I hang out with him!
Here’s a link to Dave Clarke’s Essential Mix from 2004 which to this day is still one of my favourite Dave Clarke mixes!
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Surgeon, for me is one of those artists who keeps on pushing the envelope of the typical DJ/Live paradigm. When he took his Modular show live I was very excited to see what he could do. If there is one artist who can make a modular sound interesting and not like a car alarm going off for an one to two hours, it would be Surgeon!
In July 2016 he took his improvised live show to fabric’s Room 2 which was nothing short of amazing. I remember the sound being so full and warm, each element had its space to breathe and his kick drums pounded through the room like nothing I’d heard before. Sure, kick drums are hard by nature, but are they Surgeon hard? I remember leaving the club thinking the live show had really left a mark.
This was the last time I went to fabric before the club was unfortunately shut down that September. So that live show has even more value and importance!
Here’s Surgeon’s Freerotation set from a few weeks prior to his fabric show.
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When fabric closed, it felt like a family member had passed away. It was a shock and a huge blow to the London scene. The thought that I’d never go to fabric again was upsetting moment. The club that I had provided so many amazing experiences at as a raver, was shut down… and potentially, forever! That was a very weird and surreal feeling.
The re-opening on January 7th 2017 felt very powerful, a battle for arts had been won, and I personally felt a rebirth of the club. Ultimately, I was just happy my home club was back! I played the opening set in Room 2 and the first set in four months which I still feel humbled by.
I joined Anthony Parasole, Ben Sims, & Daniel Avery (the secret quest). Anthony Paraolse’s set was my favourite of the night, really jacking and pure energy.
Since that night, I felt there has been a new energy and vibe at the club, and I feel it every time step behind the decks at fabric. For me, fabric stands for much more than a just a nightclub.
One of my all-time favourite Planetary Assault Systems track ‘Twelve’ was remixed by Luke and given to fabric as part of the #savefabric compilation. This was one of my final tracks during my opening set.
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Jay Clarke ‘KW28’ is out early December on Klockworks.
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