8 years ago this weekend myself and a guy with a pop star name, David Bowie, started a night in Dundee called Autodisco. I had started to do nights in the town the year before down The Reading Rooms – mainly Disco Deviance events featuring myself and Greg Wilson. However when I re-met Dave (who I had known briefly back in the 1980s) we came up with the idea of joining our powers and forces and creating a hybrid night. That night was AUTODISCO. Musically the plan was to blend Disco and Funk (which I was mostly playing) with House and Italo (which Dave was on at the time) along with the Electrofunk sound we both loved in a kind of anything goes fashion. An Automatic Disco….get it? And also to not play too fast…which at the time was a bit of a thing.
On the first night Dave and I both DJed, and myself and Calum Walker did a Boogie Corporation live set using a laptop and old vintage synths. The highlight for me of the live set was a reworking of The Model, which we had prepared especially. The night was packed and Autodisco had gone off like a disco rocket.
From there the night built into an annual round of get-togethers where great DJs we admired and who became friends – Pete Herbert, Chris Duckenfield, The Revenge, Craig Smith, Greg Wilson, Eddie C and Frank Booker amongst others- came to play and party with us.
The Reading Rooms as the venue has also been key to the night’s success. A brilliant DIY space packed with knowledge and experience as well as cool, it has supplied the perfect location for Autodisco to thrive. First time I went there I went as an outsider to the city and was more used to Glasgow’s clubs where one sound mainly House or Techno had come to dominate. And at the time I had lost interest in that. So when I arrived at The Rooms and the place was buzzing and Norman Jay was playing eclectic music to a jumping dance floor…well basically I fell in love.
Anyway that is one version of the history…I am amazed we made it this far tbh and are still alive to tell the tale. But it has been a great journey so far…and it has filled our lives with so many amazing memories and so much great music, which makes it all worthwhile. I remember legend Jazzie B playing ‘It’s Not Unusual’ by Tom Jones and the place going crazy, Ashley Beedle playing ‘Young Americans’ and the whole room singing along, the infamous Horse Meat Disco birthday party when a rather poorly Severino after a a big night with Derrick Carter made an amazing recovery and then rocked the house. Then of course there was the lighting snow storm and sliding backwards down a hill in a taxi with Greg Wilson on the way to an after party. And of course the festival appearances…those who were at Rockness that year at Rizla will never forget that weekend although I doubt they remember much of it either! Lastly there are the residents nights which have always been that wee bit special for us…with the whole room singing the chorus to Rock The Casbah on top of the dub version, and the tingles when that Frankie Knuckles intro drops.
And we are happy to say that the good vibes continue…the last two Autodiscos with Eddie C and Frank Booker from New Zealand absolutely rocked!!! And both DJs were appearing for the first time at the night. Great stuff.
For this birthday party we have invited back one of our favourite ever guests….DJ Rahaan from Chicago. Rahaan’s blend of proper disco and house always rocks the floor and he belongs to a long tradition of US disco DJs like Ron Hardy and Larry Levan who have inspired nights like Autodisco around the world. WE LOVE RAHAAN and are honoured to bring him to play at this wee night we love so much.
Anyway enough of this…time to stop being so sloppy about the history and focus on what is to come. This Saturday night we will be doing it all again…same routine as we have done for 8 years now…setting up the soundsystem, pouring the Havana clubs and ginger or sprite, laughing and making people dance.
Join us if you can…or if you are ever passing this way.
And massive love and respect to everyone DJs, club and dancers who have made it all possible these last 8 years.
See you under the disco ball x