The Rise of Discopia

With contributions from Twitch, Greg Wilson, and some legendary disco-figureheads, a weekly radio show - Discopia has all you need to know about disco music today
Feature by Colin Chapman.
Published 16 April 2006
Discopia's hosting of February's Death Disco marked the first anniversary of the disco-adulating website, highlighting how far it's come in a short space of time. Starting out as a printed fanzine, it's evolved into an online publication but retained its magazine format, covering all aspects of the disco movement, past, present and future. "The terrible state of the modern dance press", explains Editor Niall Connolly, on what inspired him. "The excitement was non-existent, the genuine information sadly lacking. I wanted first hand information from people like David Mancuso and Nicky Siano and as I couldn't find it in a shop, I decided to go out and get it for myself."

Over the past seven issues he's persuaded these legendary disco-figureheads to be interviewed while also attracting contributions from Optimo's Twitch and former Hacienda resident, Greg Wilson. However, it was probably NY producer Daniel Wang's response to his e-mail at the beginning that gave Niall the encouragement to continue. "I tried to explain in detail what I wanted and I left it at that, thinking I would be lucky to hear back." The almost immediate 500-word response caught him by surprise. "I suppose a start like that meant that I had a pretty skewed take on the openness of DJs and producers to talk to us or write for us... to be honest everyone we have approached has been positive and I think it is because they like the site."

The features have been varied and gone beyond disco boundaries. Whether Twitch's detailed history of post-punk NY label 99 Records, or Greg Wilson on the emergence of Hi-NRG and its link to gay identity in the UK, both illustrate Niall's laid back approach to what's covered. "We don't have any real strategy for getting interviews and content – we generally just think... wow, that'd be so cool! I wonder if they'd be up for an interview?" Having his own weekly 'Discopia' radio show since 2002 on internet station Radio Magnetic has helped raise interest in the magazine and it's how he met Greg as well as Jon Da Silva and Alexander Robotnick, who've also featured. Aside from Discopia, he's resident DJ and promoter at his own gay, disco-inspired night, One In Ten and is bringing its' London inspiration, Horse Meat Disco to the Arches this month. He's also helping organise the UK debut of cult Italian DJ, Daniele Baldelli, at May's Death Disco.

Future plan's for Discopia? Well, a new monthly Sunday all-day event is planned for the Universal with local talent invited to air their varied record collections. In terms of the magazine, Niall feels he's already hit upon a successful formula. "I'm more than happy with the current format, the excellent contributors and their content."

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