Ever wondered what makes a great resident DJ? TEESH party-starters Ryan Marinello and Tom Russell share the winning formula underpinning their bi-monthly shows at Sneaky Pete's
Since October 2013, Ryan Marinello and Tom Russell have been holding down the fort at TEESH, the bi-monthly party at Sneaky Pete's that champions the best of Edinburgh's alternative nightlife. So what exactly makes a great resident DJ? The duo cite "a strong synergy" between tastes as the catalyst for the pairing, but as they explain to The Skinny, it's the magic combination of right venue, right music and right crowd that contributes to TEESH's unique atmosphere.
"Any party is only as good as its venue," states Russell, a former resident of Sneaky Pete's Soul Jam nights, now based in London. "From a DJing perspective, there's an intimacy to Sneaky Pete's which you won't be able to find any where else, be it in Edinburgh or London. TEESH gives us an opportunity to curate and contribute to Edinburgh's nightlife in our own way and be confident that the end product will deliver. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel; for us it's just about having a good time and bringing our own ideas to the table."
This spirit of independent programming is central to the duo's residency. Marinello is quick to point out that TEESH is much more than a warm-up for their bigger-name acts.
"Guests aside, we take control for the whole night, bi-monthly, and we've become better DJs for it," he explains. "We're equally confident at raising a crowd and taking control of peak-time packed floors. We work very hard at being good. And our crowds always seem to be an amazing mix of lovely people."
The loyalty of TEESH supporters is what enables their innovative booking policy, confirms Russell. "For me personally, the popularity of the club and its capacity mean that we can be more flexible with the bookings. There's definitely an opportunity to book less known and arguably more exciting acts. One that stands out is our pal DJ Dreamcatcher, a leather-chap-wearing fashion designer from Sydney who played a blinder."
"Rüf Dug and Glowing Palms have released music and DJed together; both played TEESH years apart, and each brought the house down," adds Marinello. "They're two people who clearly love DJing, with a ringleader's 'embracing the crowd' style. They reflect our tastes in warm and weird sounds through raw house and disco, cosmic, boogie, Italo... all of that. We caught more well known types like Palms Trax and Project Pablo at just the right time too – very enthusiastic crowds for those and two of the best players around."
The pair also agree that when it comes to being a resident DJ, the pros of the job firmly outweigh the cons. "There aren't many drawbacks," says Russell. "It's a privilege to play anywhere, let alone Sneaky's. Perhaps if I had any criticism, it would be on the overall length of the night itself and its impact on how much dancing time we get. A 3am finish can feel painfully early on some nights but I suppose that leads to an intensity you don't get in cities with more liberal licensing laws."
The night's subtitle – 'All You Can Eat Mind Buffet' – is a further nod to their myriad influences, which according to Marinello are drawn from "immersive worlds, psychedelia, sci-fi, retrofuturism, nostalgia for VHS... and a slight vapourwave influence." Their artwork is similarly expansive in vision: Russell descirbes it as "an outlet for unbuilt ideas, spaces and places destined to remain in the mind.
"I like the idea of the artwork generating a narrative, creating a sense of mystery and a notion of an arrival at a final destination," he sums up. "Going to a party or club night is all about escapism, and I hope that the work helps people to do that." With that ethos at the forefront, TEESH has proven that a great night out needn't hinge on a headline act.
TEESH 3D World Club, Sneaky Pete's, 14 Jan, 11pm, £6