New Opportunities

Optimo play alongside Eamon & Justin this weekend at Sunday Best not long after our latest loft party at 12-Turn-13 with Theo Parrish the night before. We've told you all about it already so we won't repeat ourselves. Instead here's a few words we shared with Keith McIvor aka JD Twitch earlier last week.

Mister Saturday Night: The reason you guys gave for ending Optimo (Espacio) as a weekly was that you wanted to go out on a high note and take the time that throwing the weekly consumed to pursue endeavors that weren’t possible before. Was there a particularly notable opportunity that you had to turn down that helped you make the decision?

JD Twitch: There were a few – playing shows in South America and South East Asia but also studio opportunities. I really wanted to work with bands producing and it just wasn’t possible with having the club every week. Oddly, the very week the club finished I was asked to produce a band and have spent much of the time since in the studio. Also, having that extra day a week and not spending so much time organising the club has led to having a massive increase in productivity in other areas. It was definitely the right decision.

MSN: Your DJ sets are, most of all, known for their eclecticism. It seems you guys could fit just about any song or any artist into a DJ set. Is there a piece of music that you adore that you’d never dare to play at a party?

JDT: Lots and lots. I have tons of afro funk gems that I never dare to play, often because they are so long, need to be heard in their entirety and I crap out of playing 18-minute tracks. More often though it will just be that I haven’t found the right moment to play a certain record at a party. I may have it in my box for months or even years before the right opportunity to play it presents itself.

MSN: We’re always considering the role that current day New York plays in the creation of our parties, from the current demographic make-up of the city, to the real estate market and the fortune of established clubs and alternative venues to the laws and politics of the city we love. How would you describe the role that Glasgow (the people, the history and any other external factors) in the creation of Optimo over the years?

JDT: Optimo was 100% a Glasgow club. It would only have worked, succeeded and lasted as long as it did in Glasgow. It fed off the very open minded, hedonistic, scarily enthusiastic Glasgow attitude. Glasgow has a rich musical history and people here are scarily knowledgeable about music. There is also definitely a distinct Glasgow character that come out of slight adversity–it’s a very poor (but crazily creative) city with awful weather. Despite having an illustrious left wing history and being run by socialists for most of the last century, the city fathers are very conservative which is reflected in the draconian licensing hours we have. This leads to very short hours for clubs to be open. The upside of that is a very compressed and intense atmosphere. All these factors absolutely played into every aspect of the club and are things that we would think long and hard about (far more probably than what records we would play!)

MSN: Your musical policy at the club and as DJs is/was famously adventurous. Was that policy and its effect on the bookings you made and the music you played instinctive or was it a case of thinking somewhat more strategically about a bigger picture for yourselves and the party?

JDT: It was completely instinctive. There was no strategy whatsoever, ever! Optimo started off as our playground where we could indulge ourselves 100%. We never thought it would take off, and when it did we just carried on as before. The difficulty came much later when people would come to the club with an expectation of always hearing wildly adventurous music, which ends up becoming a formula in itself. So, towards the very end, I also knew it had to end because that expectation from elements of the audience became limiting in itself.

Eamon chatted with Twitch in early 2009 before he played the very first Mister Saturday Night at Santos Party House. If you want to read more and also check a cracking mix he unearthed for the occasion head on over here.