Liverpool’s dance music scene has become one of the healthiest in the UK. Driven by energies from new creatives and established promoters alike, young ravers in particular have latched onto fresh, intimate parties with an underground twist. The Meine Nacht events – with their secret, never-before-seen warehouse locations and bring your own booze policy – have really struck a chord with those thirsty for a hedonistic experience, particularly one which eliminates the sometimes unnecessary frills of event production and promotion.
Now with a successful run of parties under their belt and more ideas brimming, Meine Nacht founders Orlagh Dooley (also known by her DJ alias Or:la) and Jessica Beaumont are turning their hand to a label, something which will embody the things which made the events so successful; a unique aesthetic, a focus on audience involvement and a musical policy which doesn’t pigeonhole. DEEP SEA FREQUENCY will be the newest platform for the pair to explore and generate.
After studying a similar music production course at university, a friendship developed between Orlagh and Jessica, stemming from a mutual interest in music after meeting on Liverpool’s clubbing circuit. With a similar outlook and taste, they launched Meine Nacht with Liverpool immediately enamoured to the raw and rowdy get-togethers, soundtracked by soulful house, gritty techno and frenetic bass; but it’s with the label that they view creative longevity.
“We didn’t expect the party to take off the way it did, but it just worked for us. We’ve continued to push forward with it and it’s just been a snowball effect from there,” says Jessica. “We love doing the parties but ultimately we want something that will last and we don’t have to be stuck in one place to do them; with a label we can reach a worldwide audience.”
Similarly to the way the pair plan their events, a meticulous attention to detail and innovative ideas for format and delivery is at the forefront of Deep Sea Frequency. Focusing on vinyl-only releases to begin with, the tactile element will be present in more than one way. “We’re going to have braille on the record so that it’s multi-inclusive,” explains Jessica. “It’s going to be one of the first labels that will have that incorporated in that way.”
It’s not the first time that physicality has played a part in their ideas either. For their most recent Meine Nacht warehouse event, they hid copies of all of the film photography from previous parties around the venue so that revellers could pick them up and keep a memento of their experience. “We’d documented it over a year and we wanted our audience to have a copy,” explains Orlagh. “It’s the touch element which we wanted to keep, and the people who are releasing on the label will be able to keep something personal to them. It’s very important to us.”
The name for the label itself stems from the reliance marine animals have on sound for survival, and how they adapt to their environment to enable them to communicate different messages. The changes in rate, pitch and structure alter the messages, which is where differing frequencies become important. In relation to music, it will represent the information and interpretation of the abstract communication between producers and their audiences.
Orlagh has been producing under her Or:la moniker for a few years now, and late last year she had her breakthrough with her release on Scuba’s renowned Hotflush imprint. But finding a home for her music has been a struggle to contend with as an emerging artist, and it’s this market that the pair think they can tap into to create more opportunities. “It was hard to find a label which actually combined all the different sounds which I liked in it on an EP,” tells Orlagh, “so with us creating this label it’s going to be easier because there won’t be any rules of restrictions about genre.” The first release on Deep Sea Frequency will be an EP by Or:la that comes out in May, with a launch party at a secret location alongside it, which will feature acts coming over from New York and Barcelona.
In many ways the label is an extension of the parties, where Jessica and Orlagh regularly meet budding artists who were keen to share their music with them. “We realised that the stuff we were getting sent is actually really good and these people didn’t have a platform to put their music out,” explains Jessica. “We have an EP ready from a guy from Liverpool who attended all of the parties and became our mate. It’s an important thing for us to release local stuff because we want to give people a chance that maybe we didn’t get at the start of our journey.”
A keen eye for new talent was expressed even earlier when Orlagh and Jessica started up a DJ society at university with the intention of getting more girls involved in the scene. With more production courses popping up specifically for females (like the workshop developed in Glasgow by DJ Nightwave), it’s refreshing to see more and more women conquering an often male-dominated scene. “The girls did express that they were embarrassed and they didn’t feel like the inclusion was equal,” remembers Jessica. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard for us, but we’ve just had to make our mark. If you want to do something then you just have to go for it. It all boils down to passion.
“Holly Lester [a friend and fellow DJ] made a nice point recently, that perhaps people don’t see being a female DJ or producer as a proper career. Maybe that’s down to how to people are perceiving it, but you’re just as worthy as any man and you can do just as good a job as any man, because we’re just humans. We shouldn’t be separated by gender.”
With a genuine interest in adventurous and underground music, you can expect a dynamic attitude towards nurturing new talent alongside a penchant for unearthing unheard gems. The club night has already proved their panache for thinking outside the box, with no reason to fear a dimming of their enthusiasm anytime soon. “I’ve always had the attitude that if you want to do it, then do it. Nothing like that has put an obstacle in the way of us doing what we want to do,” says Orlagh. “It’s been a really good journey and I hope that this is just the beginning.”